FREE Family Event ‘Thrive to 5 Playfest’ Set for Sat Mar 23

Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood development,is hosting the third annual Thrive to Five Playfest on Saturday, March 23, 2024, from 9am to 1pm at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. 

This free family event features activities tailored for young children from birth to five and is designed to help families create a stronger foundation.  Registration for the event opens Tuesday, January 23 at

“Thrive to 5 Playfest is an opportunity for parents and children to engage with their world through rewarding play, creative expression and immersive literacy experiences,” said Louann Phillips, Southwest Human Development’s Special Events Manager.  

“Children learn about the world and themselves through play and develop social, emotional and physical skills to build upon as they grow,” Phillips continues.  “This event is our gift to the community, and we’re thrilled to bring the best of all we do to this day of play for young children and their families.”

This year’s activities include story time, free books for every child, art activities, yard games, free family photos, stage performances from local groups and many other family-fun activities.  In addition, SWHD partners are making their own unique contributions, so families can spend time with an Arizona Coyotes street hockey clinic and the PNC Grow up Great® Mobile Learning Adventure. 

In addition to kid-sized fun for the whole family, Thrive to 5 Playfest is home to a community resource fair offering a one-stop opportunity to learn more about the services Southwest Human Development and other nonprofits in the Valley offer. 

The event is also the first opportunity for the community to meet Southwest Human Development’s newest Ambassador families.  Ambassadors are families currently using the agency’s services who have agreed to share their stories to inspire and help other families who may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of caregiving or parenting an infant, toddler or preschooler.  Past Ambassadors have shared their experiences with the nonprofit’s services for children with disabilities, support for families struggling with medically fragile infants, opportunities in early childhood education, and real-time assistance with parenting questions and dilemmas. 

Attendance and all activities at the Thrive to Five Playfest are free; however, tickets are limited to provide a curated experience.  Registration is open now at