Lisamarie Messano, left, and Amanda Kiefel, co-owners of More than Play, demonstrate...

Lisamarie Messano, left, and Amanda Kiefel, co-owners of More than Play, demonstrate an activity at their newly opened play space in Seaford on May 25. Credit: Drew Singh

When speech pathologists Lisamarie Messano and Amanda Kiefel started More Than Play as a pop-up in May 2021, they couldn’t keep up with demand. The duo recently opened the doors to their storefront in Seaford, where children can do exactly what the name implies: more than play. 

On the calendar, customers will find a selection of “social" sessions (think open play) mixed with enrichment classes focused on language and play. The classes aim to "nurture development, imagination and social experiences utilizing our background as clinical speech pathologists," Messano says. 

She and Kiefel, who met while working together at a special needs school, left their full-time jobs as speech therapists to open the center, which has classes “led by other developmental providers, whether they are speech therapists, occupational therapists or licensed educators,” says Messano.

One of its more popular classes, More than a Mess, is instructed by Kiefel and focuses on “child-led sensory exploration.” Children between 1 and 5 years old use different materials, crafts, art supplies and such, encouraging them “to use their creativity and imagination,” says Kiefel.

“All of our classes are run on thematic curriculum,” adds Messano. “Since we are clinicians first … and business owners second, we wanted to embed a lot of evidence-based practice in research into formulating our business.”

Each class is run by two instructors with a student count between eight and 12; at least one parent per child is required to stay.

More Than Play also offers a special needs series comprising its Inquisitive Minds, music and More Than a Mess classes, with some memberships including open play sessions and a parent support group. “We operate them at a reduced capacity so it’s a little more sensory friendly, a little more hands on for instructors as well,” Messano says. 

Bookings are a la carte and can be scheduled on the website. More Than Play caters to children up to age 5, with its play space, which features a cafe, wellness center and construction site, catering to children beginning at the walking stage. Signature classes start at the newborn phase.


WHEN | WHERE Open Tuesdays to Sundays with hours varying based on class schedule; 1282 Hicksville Rd., Seaford

COST One-hour social play, $22; 45-minute classes range from $30 to $35; special needs memberships range from $60 to $135

INFO 516-804-4837,

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