Marie Holmes of Point Pleasant started a pandemic business, inspired by the need to occupy her two-year-old son, Trip. Here she shares the story behind her unique “sensory boxes” that have become a hit with kids of all ages.

New Jersey Family: How did your business come about?

Marie Holmes: Holmegrown Play Co. is a product of the pandemic. It was mid-2020 and daycare had just shut down. At home with my 18-month-old while juggling our busy season at work, I needed fun, meaningful play options that he could explore mostly independently. So, I tinkered with my homemade play dough recipes and started making sensory kits to occupy him during conference calls. I just really enjoyed creating them and watching my son dive in – sometimes literally face first! From there, I knew I needed to see if other parents could benefit from these kits and my hunch was correct!

STAFF PHOTO The mermaid kit was a big hit with our writer’s daughter.

NJF: What need does your business serve to NJ parents?

MH: We provide parents with an easy activity that truly engages their child and keeps them thinking, creating, and playing. Sensory and open-ended play are critical for a child’s development, and these kits just make it so fun!  All of our eco-friendly kits are handmade with deep care and attention and offer a safe, stimulating play option that is proudly handed on from our family to yours.

NJF: Any exciting new things you want to spread the word about?

MH: Yes!  We just launched new play dough kit jars.  The jars are perfect as a party favor, for plane travel, a road trip or just an easy activity to occupy little ones while grabbing a bite to eat.  There are currently 11 themes, with more coming!


NJF: What advice do you have for moms looking to start a company or business?

MH: Just do it! I spent so much time questioning if it was the right time, the right product, the right everything. Looking back I wish I would have just jumped in!

NJF: What are some of your favorite places in NJ?

MH: We live at the Shore, so obviously the beach and boardwalks are our go-to. Island Beach State Park is gorgeous and we spent many early mornings driving on the beach trying to get our baby to sleep!

Get a sensory kit at Holmegrown Play Co. on Etsy including favorites such as the Sea Life Busy Box, the Unicorn Play Dough Kit and the Dinosaur Boredom Buster.