Play + Joy + Passion = Fort Pure Play

A cute little house sits at 202 Herndon Street in Downtown Fredericksburg, but what awaits inside is play, joy and passion.

Photo by Fort Pure Play

Fort Pure Play is a place for children that “merges the world of play – delight, joy and passion – with beautiful sensory rich material,” according to founder Jodie Vaughn. Being a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Jodie recognized the need in the community for a place for children of all abilities to gather and just play.

She wanted it to be a space where parents could hang out, enjoy a cup of coffee while enjoying time with their children or watching them interact with others in a calm, relaxing environment where PLAY is at the heart of the mission.

The main floor welcomes little ones into a glimpse of what is to come with small sensory surfaces filled with loose parts and small world play that can be scooped up and moved around.

Stepping outside, a large Thicket designed and made by Kelly English of Cheeriup in Minnesota sits in the corner of the yard waiting for children to climb up and explore. With room to grow, the outdoor space will become magical in the Spring and Summer.

Heading up the green staircase to the top floor is like making your way to a secret room.

At the top, the bright space greets you with a bicycle hanging from the ceiling, a teepee filled with toys, rows of bins with little creatures waiting to gain life with magical stories the children create and a giant tree in the center. Superheroes and other imaginative characters are created here.

The dream of Fort Pure Play was five years in the making. Jodie turned to the team at Spaces Design Studio to help with the architectural and engineering sides of the project while she focused on the finishes.

Together they created an airy space that lets in as much light as possible. All the finishes and furnishings has kids in mind from the cork flooring to the white walls to the small tables.

Fort Pure Play has several goals with five days of programs –

  • To host open play
  • To promote joyful wellness for parents and children through classes such as “Happy Baby Yoga” taught by Kiersten Kennedy of Flux Movement
  • To teach mindful meditation
  • To offer music and other enrichment type classes

Jodie’s goal is for the programming of Fort to be an “organic process” that will ebb and flow to grow with the community’s need. Through each of these goals and programming, the one constant is PLAY.

Play doesn’t end at Fort Pure Play either. Fort To Go offers parents a chance to purchase many of the items that the children play with in Fort Pure Play.

The retail pieces were selected by Jodie because of the way that each evokes “imaginative, open-ended play.”

Fort To Go carries the following lines –

  • Maileg
  • Fog Linen
  • Love Lane
  • Plum NYC
  • Olli Ella
  • Royal Apparel

All of these make perfect holiday gifts for the littles in your home! Stop by!

Thank you Jodie for creating Fort Pure Play, taking us on a tour and giving the children of the community a place to stretch their imaginations!

To find out more about Fort Pure Play, visit