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AG Church opens Kidsworld to public in Willmar, Minn.

Bennett Rodelius, 3, scales the climbing wall, part of the indoor playground at the Assembly of God Kidsworld in Willmar, Minn. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

Need a warm place for your children to play? The Willmar Assembly of God Church’s Kidsworld addition is opening to the public this week.

The 20,000-plus indoor play facility will be open to anyone who wishes to come and play each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon starting on Wednesday, according to Keith Kerstetter, senior pastor of the church. There is no cost to visit; parents are required to stay and monitor their children while they play.

Inside Kidsworld is a large, park-like area that includes multiple play structures with slides, climbing areas and swings. There is a larger play structure for bigger school-aged kids and a smaller unit for younger toddler and preschool-aged children. There are multiple seating options for parents who can either be near their children or sit further away in comfortable chairs in a mezzanine area over the play space.

The play area is connected to the new children’s worship space, to the classrooms for toddlers and preschoolers and to the baby nursery, all of which were constructed or improved with the recent Kidsworld building project. The church’s goal is to reach out to children and families, according to the pastor.

“We want kids to have an adventure with Jesus,” Kersetter explained. “We can’t teach the kids if they are not here, so we need to make it fun and exciting first.”

There are not a lot of spaces for kids to play inside in the community, he said, noting that families are limited to businesses or facilities where they have to purchase something or pay to get in the door.

“We wanted to build an asset for the community, not just for the church,” he said.

Church officials may change the availability times, depending on the public’s response and other factors, Kerstetter said. The kid-oriented space, an addition to the east side of the church building, is the church’s second youth-focused space. The EPIK center, for teens and young adults, opened in 2006 across the parking lot from the main building.

“The EPIK center has been used in ways we hadn’t thought of,” Kerstetter said. “We are open to new options.”

Kidsworld has a separate entrance than the main church lobby and starts with an area called the “treehouse” because kids love to have adventures in treehouses. When kids need to slow down a bit, there is a tech area where they can use tablet computers that are set up for safe, kid-friendly use. There are also areas for art, building with blocks and games, including interactive learning play.

The play area, which also includes an outside set of play equipment for when spring finally comes, is designed for children from toddler to fifth grade.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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