Planet Play Inc.
Early Learning Hub
2401 Campbell Street
Kansas City MO 64108
Play everywhere, for everyone
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 481-4143
Mission Statement
Planet Play is about play everywhere, for everyone. 
 
Planet Play brings creative play experiences to young children and their families in Greater Kansas City. We lead the play movement locally through accessible play and learning experiences, address a need that’s not currently met in our community and collaborate with partners that share our vision for a more playable Kansas City. Our innovative, sustainable model brings play to children where they are and helps the adults who care for them make play a part of families’ everyday lives.
 
Why? Kids need play. Seriously.
Unstructured, child-directed play is how young children learn about their world and build the social and cognitive skills they need to become productive, happy adults. Play helps them develop critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and collaboration skills that form the foundation for a lifetime of success. Children become active, engaged and confident when they can laugh, explore, discover and imagine in unstructured play. Play makes learning happen naturally, joyfully and inexpensively – no batteries required.
 
Families and communities need play, too.
Play builds close, involved families. Families grow stronger as they explore, imagine and create together. Shared play experiences foster inviting, safe, vibrant communities that come together to nurture children, support families and provide gathering places for all ages to experience the joy of play.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Lauranne Hess
Board Chair Ms. Barbara Loring Foster
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Activist
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2012
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement
Planet Play is about play everywhere, for everyone. 
 
Planet Play brings creative play experiences to young children and their families in Greater Kansas City. We lead the play movement locally through accessible play and learning experiences, address a need that’s not currently met in our community and collaborate with partners that share our vision for a more playable Kansas City. Our innovative, sustainable model brings play to children where they are and helps the adults who care for them make play a part of families’ everyday lives.
 
Why? Kids need play. Seriously.
Unstructured, child-directed play is how young children learn about their world and build the social and cognitive skills they need to become productive, happy adults. Play helps them develop critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and collaboration skills that form the foundation for a lifetime of success. Children become active, engaged and confident when they can laugh, explore, discover and imagine in unstructured play. Play makes learning happen naturally, joyfully and inexpensively – no batteries required.
 
Families and communities need play, too.
Play builds close, involved families. Families grow stronger as they explore, imagine and create together. Shared play experiences foster inviting, safe, vibrant communities that come together to nurture children, support families and provide gathering places for all ages to experience the joy of play.
Background Statement
All kids and families need to play and learn, and Greater Kansas City kids and families want more places to play and learn. Planet Play conducted surveys and focus groups in order to better understand the needs and interests of young children, ages 0-8, and their families. We reached families in diverse communities across KC, including the urban core. Caregivers overwhelmingly said they wanted more quality play and learning experiences to enjoy with their children, and they wanted those places in their local communities. Planet Play’s model of a network of community-based events and sites was designed to serve the needs of the growing KC metro region.
 
Planet Play incorporated as a nonprofit in Kansas in 2012, did our feasibility and business planning in 2013, and received our 501(c)(3) in spring of 2014. In August 2014, we were awarded an Imagination Playground in a nationwide contest. In January 2015, a crowdfunding campaign raised over $11,000 to support development of our Pop-Up Play Lab.
 
Planet Play launched our programming with Year of Play 2015. In 2016, we launched play everywhere, for everyone and moved into the Early Learning Lab building at 2401 Campbell with our partners Turn the Page KC, Parents as Teachers, and Start at Zero. In 2017, we purchased our PlayMobile cargo van to expand our reach and impact. We are bringing our children's discovery play experiences to communities across Greater Kansas City by offering partner programs with nonprofit organizations that work with children and families in economic need.
 
Our long-range plan – by 2020 - is to develop and open a network of small Play Lab sites in diverse communities across the Kansas City metro area. In addition to serving the surrounding neighborhoods, network sites will enable staff training as well as prototyping new experiences and research/evaluation. Each Planet Play site will be designed with input from the community where it is located.
 
We’ll prepare for our future site network with prototype sites starting in 2018. In these temporary, experimental sites, we’ll try out exhibits and programs, implement and refine our evaluation processes, and train our funstigators. The sites will serve as our planning headquarters and give us opportunities to meet our mission with minimal overhead and other expenses. We’ll continue to travel with our PlayMobile as we prototype sites.
Impact Statement
Planet Play launched our programming with Year of Play 2015 to bring monthly “pop-up play” programs to many young children and their families across Greater Kansas City. We also developed a partnership process to bring our pop-up programs to areas of economic need and other Kansas City communities during Year of Play. We reached our goal for Year of Play by offering our pop-up programs in 12 diverse KC communities in 2015, nine of which were communities of economic need. Half of our Year of Play 2015 programs were in Missouri, and the other half in Kansas. We reached over 1,100 children and adults in Year of Play 2015.
 
In 2016, we launched play everywhere, for everyone and moved into the Early Learning Lab building at 2401 Campbell with our partners Turn the Page KC, Parents as Teachers, and Start at Zero. We are collaborating with our partners in the Early Learning Hub to offer outstanding programs and support to the children and families that we all serve.
 
As we grow, we are focused on fund/resource development, raising awareness, building systems and operations, and evaluating and improving our experiences. We are also expanding our board, developing our partners for the next stage, raising earned and support revenues for the next stage, building awareness and supporters and determining next steps to maximize our impact.
 
In 2017, we purchased our PlayMobile cargo van to expand our reach and impact. We are bringing our children's discovery play experiences to communities across Greater Kansas City by offering partner programs with nonprofit organizations that work with children and families in economic need. These programs are sponsored by individuals, foundations, and corporations who wish to join us in reaching underserved communities.
Needs Statement
We are seeking support for the following:
  • PlayMobile program sponsorships – funding to bring our traveling children's discovery play and learning programs to communities in economic need
  • Play Lab experience development funding - learning landscape and experience development support for our Play Lab prototypes
  • Capacity support – support for our accounting and database management, staff salaries, and other general operating needs for Planet Play to grow and thrive
  • Play Symposium and KC Play Coalition funding – financial support to develop and implement our Play Symposium and KC Play Coalition
Service Categories
Children's Museums
Educational Services
Alliances & Advocacy
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
MO - Jackson County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Kids, families, and communities need play. But these days, play is in decline. Since the 1970s, kids have lost 12 hours of free time per week and experienced a 50% decrease in time for unstructured play. Why? Screen time has replaced free play time. Structured activities, like sports and lessons, gobble up more free play time. Parents prioritize academics, even for little ones, with the best of intentions but not the best outcomes for children. Growing safety concerns and limited access to safe play spaces have made parents fearful of letting the kids go out to play, especially in low-income neighborhoods.
 
And grown-ups don’t get it. Parents and other adults aren’t aware of the importance of play, so don’t value, support or make time for it in their children’s lives. Or sometimes, even know how.
 
Planet Play is here to help! Our model is grounded in research and learning best-practices. It’s flexible, sustainable and responsive to the expressed needs of families in our community. It is developed by experts with 50+ combined years in both formal (school) and informal (museum, exhibits, activities) education who are leading the play and learning movement in Kansas City. It’s mobile, taking play to the people. And we “play it forward” by educating parents and caregivers about the “whys” and “hows” of play so they can incorporate play and its benefits into the family’s everyday life.
 
Planet Play:
  • Achieves learning objectives through play for children birth to eight years old and their immediate families.
  • Lets children explore and design their own play experiences, enabled by developmentally appropriate play materials and encouraged – but not directed – by trained “funstigator” staff.
  • Fosters confidence and interest in learning through active exploration, physical activities, role-playing and problem-solving, which promotes creative, physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills.
  • Brings play to the people, not the reverse. With its flexibility, low overhead, and community focus, Planet Play is sustainable and responsive to the expressed needs of families in our community.
  • Is led by educators and nonprofit professionals in early childhood development and both formal (early childhood, elementary, and secondary school education) and informal (museum and exhibit) learning environments, as well as experts in all aspects of operation.
  • Leads the play movement and offers thought leadership on play and play research in the Kansas City area.
Programs
Description
Planet Play creates and catalyzes innovative play and learning experiences.
 
Today, we accomplish this through our PlayMobile children’s discovery experiences brought as family programs in communities across the metro area. In the future, we plan to offer multiple, small, neighborhood Play Lab children's discovery center sites in diverse communities across Greater Kansas City.
 
In our PlayMobile programs and our future Play Lab sites, the experience is directed by the child, not the adults or the equipment. Materials enable imaginative, creative play. Adult “funstigators” enable the child’s own choices for free play, and engage caregivers in learning how to extend unstructured play experiences in everyday life.
Category Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
Children and families that participate in our PlayMobile or Play Lab programs learn and play through these core experiences:
  • Create: Children design and construct with supersized shapes, building and testing different structures.
  • Discover: Children explore, question and follow their curiosity to build early science and engineering interest and confidence.
  • Imagine: Children express creativity and imagination with costumes and props, taking on roles and engaging in symbolic “pretend” play.
 
Planet Play’s creative play materials let children explore and design their own play experience. When play is fun and child-directed, children want to play and learn.
Long-Term Success For children, our goal is to increase access to high-quality, open-ended, child-directed, free-play informal educational experiences with clear physical, social, and emotional benefits. For parents, our goal is to positively impact parents’ attitudes towards their children’s learning, specifically through play, and impact the role that parents play in their children’s learning/education. For youth/teens, our goal is to provide leadership opportunities in education/play facilitation for area youth as "play facilitator" staff at events.
Program Success Monitored By
Planet Play experiences are firmly grounded in proven research of family learning, play experiences for young children, and human development. Formative evaluation with target audience groups enables us to test and improve our experiences. As we offer our PlayMobile and Play Lab, we are prototyping, evaluating and refining our experiences. We are creating and using observation and visitor reaction data collection instruments to evaluate the effectiveness of our experiences.
 
Another indicator of success is the number of partners we work with to reach the communities they serve. In 2015, Planet Play partnered with the following organizations to offer our Year of Play events to their communities:
  • Family Conservancy
  • Linwood YMCA
  • Genesis School
  • Paseo Baptist Church
  • Notre Dame de Sion School
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School
  • Rosehill Development Association
  • Gladstone Community Center
  • Westview Elementary School in Olathe
  • Spring Hill Parks and Recreation
  • Hope Leadership Academy
  • Start at Zero
Examples of Program Success
Katrina Ball at The Family Conservancy said, “The Family Conservancy was able to partner with Planet Play in 2015 through 4 family engagement events. The first 3 events, held at low income housing complexes in Wyandotte County, reached over 130 children and parents. Talk, Read, Play was the focus of the events which Planet Play assisted in actively engaging the parents and children together in creative play and conversation. One parent said, ‘The children don’t normally play nice together but they are tonight.” Another said, ‘My son has a hard time relating to other kids,’ but he was involved the entire time and the last child to leave. The 4th event held at Paseo Baptist Church engaged several unique family units and cultures. A grandfather built a house with his granddaughter then read a book in the house they built. Another young girl attended with her mother and grandmother who spoke little English and enjoyed the opportunity to play together in a relaxed, inviting environment.”
Description
Planet Play inspires communities to promote and support play.
 
Planet Play is creating the Center for Play and Learning. We understand play, know how to bring play to communities, and want to share our experiences with others. We're planning a Play Symposium where we will invite nonprofit program staff and other early educators to enjoy an interactive program led by a national expert in learning through play. We're also developing future large-scale community play events for Kansas City.
 
Planet Play is already working with national and international partners in the play movement, and we look forward to expanding the play movement in Greater Kansas City.
Category Education, General/Other Educational Research
Population Served Families, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Planet Play’s Center for Play and Learning will host a Play Symposium in 2017 for metro organizations that promote and value the importance of play. The Play Symposium will bring local and national experts in play, education and early childhood development together to create a KC metro-wide agenda for the advancement of play.

Kansas City, MO will be designated a Playful City USA in 2018. Playful City USA is a national recognition program that honors cities and towns across the country for taking bold steps that make it easy for all kids to get the balanced and active play they need to thrive. These communities are recognized for their efforts to create more playable, family-friendly cities. Planet Play is leading these efforts in Greater KC.
Long-Term Success
Kansas City will become a more playable community. Planet Play’s Center for Play and Learning will inspire play everywhere in Greater KC. Leaders and changemakers from every sector in Greater KC will work together to transform spaces into theaters of activity, inspiration, and discovery—and in the process, to change minds and habits.
 
All families deserve to live in a safe community with abundant opportunities to learn through play, but we currently have inequitable distribution of services, resources, and opportunities for low-income families. Planet Play and our partners in the Center for Play and Learning will ensure that Greater KC offers opportunities for play for all children and families. Together, we’ll develop long-term, comprehensive plans that effectively and equitably create family-friendly communities that benefit all kids.
Program Success Monitored By
We will do pre- and post-assessment surveys of participants in the Play Symposium to gauge understanding of the need for and benefits of play and actions to foster impactful play experiences. As we work together to create our metro-wide play agenda, we’ll set goals and indicators of success.
 
Kansas City will be recognized as a Playful City USA in national press, on KaBOOM’s website and social media, and through signage in Kansas City. 
Examples of Program Success Taylor Kennedy, Operations Coordinator at KaBOOM!, said, “At KaBOOM!, we strive to prioritize balanced and active play for all kids to thrive and become healthy adults, especially those living in poverty in the United States. Planet Play exemplifies our mission by bringing play opportunities to the communities in Kansas City and putting play in the forefront of the minds of city decision makers and parents. We are ecstatic to partner with them on multiple initiatives, such as our Creative Play mobile products and the submission of an application for our Playful City USA program. We look forward to expanding our partnership and highlighting the great work this organization does for the kids and families of Kansas City.”
Description

Planet Play collaborates with partners that share our vision.

Our Center for Play and Learning will bring partners together around a shared vision and understanding of the benefits of play. In 2017, we’ll be convening other metro organizations that promote and value the importance of play. This KC Play Coalition will develop our metro-wide play agenda.

We’re sharing the Early Learning Lab building at 2401 Campbell with our partners Turn the Page KC, Parents as Teachers, and Start at Zero this year. We are collaborating with our partners in the Early Learning Lab to offer outstanding programs and support to the children and families that we all serve. We look forward to expanding our partnerships across the metro to create a more playable Kansas City.
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Public, Society Benefit, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success
The KC Play Coalition will develop and implement our metro-wide play agenda.
 
With our community partners, we will build awareness and extend our partners’ and our own reach to young families. We will work with our partners to reach new young families not yet being served by our community partners as well as to deepen our partners’ impact to families they are already reaching.
Long-Term Success The KC Play Coalition’s metro-wide play agenda will build a more playable Kansas City. Metro organizations that serve young children and their families will collaborate, not compete, and achieve collective impact. Together, we’ll inspire play everywhere, for everyone.
Program Success Monitored By
As the KC Play Coalition works together to create our metro-wide play agenda, we’ll set goals and indicators of success.
Our partners in the Early Learning Lab building at 2401 Campbell, Turn the Page KC, Parents as Teachers, and Start at Zero, will develop evaluation criteria and instruments to measure the impact of the programs we are developing and offering together.
Examples of Program Success Mike English, executive director of Turn the Page KC, said, “We know that most brain development takes place in a child's early years, so it is critical that parents talk, read, and play with their kids each day. Turn the Page KC is excited to partner with Planet Play on an effort to engage parents from low-income families to create a more playable Kansas City.”
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Lauranne Hess
Term Start June 2017
Experience Lauranne Hess has a strong background in education and extensive nonprofit leadership experience in project management, strategic fund development and fiscal planning. She founded Planet Play, led the board and planning team for the first years, and now serves as Executive Director. Previously, Lauranne was Interim Executive Director at Front Porch Alliance, where she led an organizational capacity assessment, and strategic planning and implementation to address capacity needs. Lauranne also served as Executive Director of Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, where she merged and integrated three different children’s museum projects to form one organization and led the educational master planning process, fund development, and financial management. In the past, she opened and directed the Challenger Learning Center at the Kansas City Museum, developed educational programs for Science City at Union Station, and was project manager for traveling exhibits at Union Station. She has taught at the elementary, middle school and university levels and consulted on gifted education, curriculum design and exhibit development. Lauranne has a B.S. from the University of Virginia in Early Childhood Education, a M.S. from the University of Kansas with an emphasis in Science Education and additional certification in Gifted Education, and a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Nonprofit Management from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Director of Exhibits and Experience Development
Experience/Biography

Jimmy Holmes is a founding board member of Planet Play and leads Planet Play’s experience development, operations, and research and evaluation. Jimmy has worked for over 20 years in the fields of informal science education, children’s museums, and educational and literacy program development, implementation and management. He holds a master's degree in Educational Research and Psychology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Liberal Arts from UMKC. His research interests include early childhood knowledge construction, learning in informal settings, cognitive development of scientific thinking, and program operations evaluation. Jimmy is skilled in exhibit and experience development, fiscal planning and management, operations, science education, and research and evaluation.

Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 0
Paid Part-Time Staff 5
Volunteers 8
Paid Contractors 0
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Collaborations
  • Turn the Page KC
  • Association of Children's Museums
  • KABOOM!
  • Imagination Playground 
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Barbara Loring Foster
Company Affiliation Community Activist
Term June 2017 to June 2019
Email barbaraloringfoster@gmail.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Barbara Loring Foster Community Activist
Ms. Courtney Kounkel Verity Construction Solutions
Ms. Dana Patterson Nelson Olathe Public Schools and Second Baptist Church
Ms. Lisa Skolnick Community Activist
Mr. Doug Stockman El Dorado, Inc.
Ms. Kate Walz Strategic Communications Professional
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Debra Box Support Kansas City
Ms. Linda Odell Community Volunteer
CEO Comments

Planet Play was established with the goal of bringing children in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area locally accessible and meaningful play and learning experiences. For the first two years of its existence, the organization began with a Transitional Board of Directors consisting of between six to eight members. The Transitional Board, as typical for a start-­up entity, was hands ­on and performed any and all functions necessary to create Planet Play and implement its programming. In addition to acting in an advisory role, Board Members performed ministerial tasks and attended and facilitated Planet Play events. Planet Play is currently assembling a full Board of Directors consisting of 12 board members. 

- Lisa Skolnick, Board Member
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $68,662
Projected Expenses $83,100
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using the organization's internal financials.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$23,445$17,917--
Administration Expense$10,264$7,897--
Fundraising Expense$2,257$1,205--
Payments to Affiliates$0$0--
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.581.52--
Program Expense/Total Expenses65%66%--
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%4%--
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$37,943$17,326--
Current Assets$37,943$17,326--
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$701$1,521--
Total Net Assets$37,242$15,805--
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities54.1311.39--
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%--
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- ----
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Organization Comments

It appears that we are projecting a loss in 2017; however, we received a generous donation at the end of 2016 for a cargo van and did not make that purchase until 2017. Removing that anomaly, we are projecting a revenue-positive 2017. Currently sharing a facility with other community partners and offering purposely low-tech materials and supplies that enable imaginative play, our overhead is far lower than other family experiences in the area.

Organization Name Planet Play Inc.
Address Early Learning Hub
2401 Campbell Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Primary Phone (913) 481-4143
Contact Email connect@planetplay.org
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Lauranne Hess
Board Chair Ms. Barbara Loring Foster
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Activist
Year of Incorporation 2012