EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) — One night, two moms of young children, Casey Caldiero and Laura Piskorowski, came up with an idea and decided to make it happen.

“We thought it would be such a great idea to have the kids play outside of our home,” said Caldiero, “The next day I called Laura and I said, ‘I’m serious if you’re serious,’ and I was unhappy with my job and so she said, let’s do it.”

They came up with the idea of creating a safe space for children to play peacefully, away from screens and structure.

“I think that screens have just become such a big part of everyday life, that I think just taking that away and giving kids the opportunity just to use their imagination is huge,” said Piskorowski. “Their imagination — they’re little sponges and giving them this kind of opportunity to play in a different type of way and not have any screens, and kind of back to the old school methods of like, playing and exploring, is just really magical.”

They took an old can and bottle return space in June, and remodeled and gutted the entire space by the time they opened earlier this month. They collaborated with Buffalo Tree House to create an indoor tree house for children to play on. They also included a lounge for parents and caregivers to enjoy with free coffee, tea and water.

“With COVID and with people working from home, we wanted to give people an opportunity to get out of the house and plug in their laptop, do some work here while their kids safely and peacefully play,” said Piskorowski.

The space helps children grow their fine and gross motor skills through play and imagination. The owners say they hand-picked all of their toys to be non-toxic and sustainable.

Village Play is available for open play hours, art classes and pop-up programs, and they’re holding after-school programs for kids ages 1-8, but it’s for all ages to enjoy, as well.

To find out more information, visit their website here.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.