Salon du Larp House: Velveteen Hearts

Join us on June 17, 2023!
|| Click here to register to play! ||

Updated: The title of this work-in-progress larp has changed from “Batting Hearts” to “Velveteen Hearts”

As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.

A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.

If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.

―Winnie the Pooh


Children at preschool enter the land of make believe with their stuffed animal companions. This is a physical play experience, where players literally enact childsplay and wind through the rambling-dream logic of stories children tell. How does the child’s inner life come through make-believe play with their stuffie? When hardship comes and fears threaten to overwhelm, who supports who and how? Leave this game feeling a little more grown-up and a little more connected to childlike parts of yourself.

Written and Organized by Jon Cole
Admin Support by Olivia Montoya, Katherine Shane

This event is a playtest. Velveteen Hearts isn’t totally finished, though it will be a complete play experience. There might be some missing pieces or rough patches in play. If this game sounds interesting to you even though it is not in its final form, we will be very glad to have you join us!


Saturday June 17th, 2023, from 1 to 4pm

A little girl with light skin whose face is obscured by a hood clutches a stuffed rabbit to her chest, as if for comfort.

Details about the Larp


Relationships form, light-hearted adventures are had. Like a story told by an early elementary schooler, cause and effect or a singular plot coherence is less important than the emotions characters feel at any given moment. To that end, when hardship comes scary feelings mirror the issues in each child’s life outside of school. During the climatic thunderstorm children may feel alone and overwhelmed. Throughout the story there are many opportunities for children to offer and receive care from stuffies, and from each other.

Play is divided into 3 different acts, each a different day at school. Between the days of school, players participate in a guided meditation to imagine what happens at home that raises the stakes on their story for the next day. At the end of the last day the children decide what to do with their stuffed animals as they leave the preschool: keep the stuffie for big kid school, return them to their home in make-believe, or pass them on to another child who needs their support.

Play Style

Each player portrays both a child and their stuffed animal. Players will be guided through opportunities to puppet their stuffie silently, make sounds as their stuffie, speak as their stuffie to other stuffies without the child present, and to speak to their stuffie as the child. Generally, children don’t speak to each other directly and instead use stuffies as intermediaries.

Play can be as athletic or gentle as an individual player desires. Not every child nor every stuffie likes to get dirty, play on the floor, or be rough.

You might like this game if:

  • You want to experience a childlike state of mind, with a chance to express tender care
  • You want to play with stuffed animals
  • You are a fan of Calvin and Hobbes or Winnie the Pooh

Three stuffed animals rest next to one another: A purple tiger, a sky blue whale, and a white porpoise.

Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.



ECMN Offices, 1101 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis MN 55411

Enter through the side door of ECMN on Emerson Ave.

Metro Transit routes 5, 14, 30, and 32 stop nearby. Small parking lot on site, street parking also available.


Get a ticket by filling out the Velveteen Hearts registration form. Once you have filled out our form you don’t need to do anything else besides show up to play!

On the day of the event we request a pay-what-you-want goodwill cash donation ($5–$20 suggested) to support low-cost immersive scenarios in Minnesota. No one will be turned away if they do not make a donation.

A little girl with light skin whose face is obscured by a hood clutches a stuffed rabbit to her chest, as if for comfort.

Covid policy

Attendees need to be covid vaccinated and boosted to the extent recommended by the CDC for their demographic group. Bring proof of your vaccination status for inspection during check in, which could be your card, a picture of it, a document on your phone, etc. Our policy means that for most people, you will need the most recent bivalent booster two weeks in advance of play or we will turn you away at the door. Please reach out if you have any questions about this.

N95 masks or better are required, and we will have some to share. If you have any symptoms of covid, stay home. If you are able to, take a rapid test before arrival.

Other Information

Content Advisory

Children characters experiencing distress, anxiety, grief. Stuffed animals puppeteered to be mean or physically rough to other stuffed animals.

The issues that children face in this game are intended to be universal and something children can begin to face during play. Some examples are being picked on by older siblings, feeling ignored due to a new baby sibling, grief over the loss of a grandparent. For this playtest we are not including issues for the children characters that involve abuse or warrant a call to child protective services.

Safety Tools

Check-in, Brake, and Cut, will be reviewed and practiced prior to play.

Following play, we will debrief our experiences and shed the roles we assumed for the game. The debrief is encouraged, but not required.


Our venue is in the basement and climate-controlled. The building is ADA compliant. Our playspace has plenty of seating. Two gender-neutral restrooms on site.

Water will be available, and we recommend bringing a water bottle for your ease of access. No food will be provided.


No costuming needed. If you want to wear something that makes you feel like an imaginative preschooler, go right ahead.


After the event some folks will get food together and continue to hang out at Dream Creamery. Hanging out afterwards is totally optional, and we think it’s fun to get to know your fellow players as people, not just as their characters. Folks who didn’t attend the event are welcome to attend this part.

A stuffed bear faces the viewer in a portrait. The bear is wearing a t shirt that says “I ♥ U”

Great experiences are even better when they’re shared.

―Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes


Contact us with any questions or concerns!

Image credits

Mattea Steeke, Zach Lezniewicz, Trevor Vannoy, Janosch Lino, Aedrian

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