On Saturday, October 15th, the ribbon cutting for the “Outdoor Play Oasis” at the Hyannis Public Library took place.  It is an outreach initiative of Cape Cod Toy Library in collaboration with Hyannis Public Library to meet the COVID pandemic needs of 2019-2020 of rebuilding community, reconnecting families, and revitalizing the economy. Deb Willsea, Founder & President, Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event and Steve Gross, Founder & Director Life is Good Foundation – Playmakers, was the keynote speaker.  He spoke about the power of play in healing and in quality of life, how play and play environments help children thrive.  Steve even led a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”.

The Cape Cod Toy Library continually seeks new ways to fulfill its mission of promoting children’s healthy development through play.  The vision to create an enriching outdoor play environment for children and families to experience joy and community connections was accelerated by the pandemic.  At the center of Hyannis Main Street, the Play Oasis purpose is to serve as a refuge, a “play protection zone”, for families to spend time together. This natural playground is designed to foster social connections, curiosity, creativity, imagination, problem solving, and physical activity. This Outdoor Play Oasis was inspired by a MassDevelopment “COVID-19 Response: Resurgent Places” grant to help communities recover from social isolations and economic hardships. Locating the Outdoor Play Oasis at Hyannis Public Library is intended to promote the missions of both the Library and Cape Cod Toy Library. The Toy Library collection includes recycled toys and play materials that are professionally curated to support child development, play and learning.  

The Outdoor Play Oasis is also a story of caring for the environment by intentionally integrating features using natural materials.

  • The log tunnel is from a 200-year-old reclaimed maple tree.  
  • Log benches, play kitchen and fences were made from black locust trees harvested from Heritage Museum & Gardens.  
  • The stage was made with black locust lumber, a rot resistant invasive species.  
  • Instruments were hand-made using sustainably harvested materials and tuned to pentatonic scales.  
  • The “whale drum” and “fungiphone drums” were made by repurposing propane tanks.
  • Natural polymer paving materials were used for pathways.  
  • Natural granite stones were used for the labyrinth.  
  • Flowering pollinators were planted to provide nectar and pollen for native butterflies, birds, and bees to promote life and well-being of the natural world.

Design and Construction Team: Project Vision: Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc., Deb Willsea MS EdD;  Architect: The Design initiative, Inc, Mary -Ann Agresti, AIA; Landscape Architect: LANDSCHOP, Christopher Buccino,ASLA; Construction: Graham LLC, Chris Graham

Cape Cod Toy Library opened its Toy Lending Library in May. The Toy Lending Library offers 1,500 toys for all areas of child development and a resource library for parents. The Toy Library and play space is open every Saturday 10 am-1 pm at the First Lutheran Church, 1663 Main Street (6A), West Barnstable. Programs and events hosted by Cape Cod Toy Library will be held at the Toy Library location as well as at the Outdoor Play Oasis site at Hyannis Public Library. https://www.capecodtoylibrary.org/new-events,