It was 10 years in the making, but Carla Reaves has opened the doors to My Little Playhouse, a place where children can have a safe place to play with various toys and dress-up costumes and adults can rent the space to hold birthday parties and other gatherings.
“I’ve lived here for 25 years, and I raised eight children here,” Reaves said. “My children were always complaining that there wasn’t anything to do here, so I always had it in the back of mind that I wanted to open a children's party place here.”
Located in building 691, just to the east of the intersection of Seventh Street and Fry Boulevard in Sierra Vista, Reaves said she has been collecting costumes and toys for years for the playhouse.
“When I found the building six months ago, it needed a lot of renovation,” Reaves said, “Everything is brand new. We really went kid friendly.”
Half of the building is allocated as a play space for children, with Reaves providing a rack of dress-up costumes, toys to play with, a fashion runway and a beauty parlor where visitors can get their hair and make-up done by princesses.
Reaves said that children aged 1-10 are welcome to walk in or space can be reserved during business hours, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at a cost of $10 per hour. Parental supervision is required.
Reaves said those who bring in more than one child will get a 50% discount on admission.
The other half of My Little Playhouse is a studio, where Reaves said adults can take yoga classes, painting lessons and rent the space for birthday parties, business meetings, bible study, etc.
Reaves outlined the business’ COVID-19 safety protocol, saying that all staff members are masked at all times and all surfaces are sanitized with Lysol and a UV lamp. Visitors will have their temperature checked and will be provided complementary face masks to wear.
“While we were designing the playhouse, we added more hand washing stations. We have four stations right now, so they can wash their hands before they play,” said Reaves.
My Little Playhouse opened its doors on Jan. 9.
“It was amazing, we were busy all day,” Reaves said.
During the grand opening, princesses greeted visitors and did hair and makeup and posed for photos. Reaves said she holds casting calls for high school through college aged students to work as princesses on the My Little Playhouse Facebook page.
Those interested can contact Reaves via the phone number provided on the My Little Playhouse Facebook page. No prior experience is required.
“I had a casting call a moth ago, with all the high school and college girls doing distance learning, I had over 80 girls contact me saying that they wanted to be a princesses,” said Reaves.
When asked about the response from the community, Reaves said,“The mommys are just thankful, they have sent me so many thank yous for doing something for children.”
Reaves plans to host Lila Yoga Studio’s reading circle on Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Children ages 2-8 are invited to read from “Sulwe” by Lupita Nyong’o, “I Promise” by Lebron James and “I Believe I Can” by Grace Byers.
There will be two reading circles, limited to eight children at a time, at My Little Playhouse, 9-10 a.m. and 10-11 a.m., with admission for the event being $5.
Reaves encourages those interested to reserve their spot on the Facebook event page.
Looking to the future, Reaves said, “I just really hope that we purchase the entire island and we want to turn it into a children’s entertainment venue, a boys laser tag, mommy’s tea venue, just a little island on Fry for children.”
Behind My Little Playhouse, Reaves hopes to provide more opportunity for youth activity businesses to come to Sierra vista.
“Our community is so lacking for things for children. We’re trying to foster that love for Sierra Vista community. If we can encourage businesses to come for our children, I think Sierra Vista will benefit from that,” said Reaves.