“I was in the hospital for about a week and I was bored to death.”
Charlotte-based entrepreneur Kevin Gatlin’s childhood experience of in-patient isolation got him to thinking beyond the plain white bedsheets of the sterile hospital ward. Decades later, the murky memory would prompt thought into action.
Gatlin visited a friend whose child was in the hospital. “What if this was my son?” he thought. “How would we occupy the time?” Gatlin had kids of his own by then, and the visit prompted a lively chat with his wife on the drive home. It wasn’t long before Gatlin roped his mother, an experienced school teacher, into the conversation.
Playtime Edventures was born.
Gatlin recalled how his wife used to use the expanse of the bed, the “biggest piece of furniture in the room,” upon which to play board games and even complete homework with their son. The cogs started turning: Gatlin’s new entrepreneurial adventure would focus on designing engaging, educational bedsheets and pillowcases for kids in dire need of a little extra stimulation.
Gatlin’s mother’s input was invaluable. “I told her that I had this idea to put games on the bed and she looked at me and said, ‘I hope you’re going to put something educational on the bed as well,'” Gatlin recalled, speaking to News West 9.
Over the two years that followed, Gatlin met with six teachers to brainstorm.
“We put together bedsheets and slumber bags that cover everything from Geography, Math, Science, Grammar, word find games, over-sized game boards … all on a three-piece set,” Gatlin shared. In the initial stages of the project, Gatlin consciously focused upon kids in the hospital.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that a child is in,” the concerned dad shared. Beyond engaging the child, Gatlin also identified a need for the bedsheets among the doctors and nurses who must keep their patients calm, and distracted. “It’s great for the child life coordinator and the nurses and doctors,” Gatlin continued. “It gives them a tool that they can use before they just poke the kid!”
I personally want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported Playtime Edventures. As a company the…
A number of hospitals have adopted the Playtime Edventures philosophy, and of course, the bedsheets too. Some of them even donate the bedsheets to their little patients upon discharge from the hospital: the healing continues at home, and the bedsheets alleviate the excruciating boredom that can accompany a bed-bound recuperation.
Gatlin’s project has always been much, much more than a money-making venture. “You’re a business and you have to make money,” Gatlin clarified, “but when you notice a child utilizing your product for what it’s meant for, that’s priceless.”
“It warms my heart.”
Part of our company’s commitment is to children and communities. We believe that our bedding products create a calming…
Today, the company has an excellent feature whereby customers can purchase bedsheets and donate them to their hospital of choice, either within the United States or internationally. As of 2019, Gatlin’s bedsheets are used regularly in 10 hospitals, and the entrepreneur hopes that the idea catches on; he hopes that Playtime Edventures bedsheets eventually become a hospital standard.
Gatlin spoke to Scary Mommy to expound his philosophy. “To a child, the bed is the most important piece of furniture in their life … We want our Playtime Bed Sheets to help create an environment where kids can continue to play, learn, sleep, and heal on their favorite piece of furniture!”
It’s a noble venture, and the proof is plain to see … the kids are absolutely loving it.