When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.:m]]
Adventure Kids provides a dynamic, clean, and safe space for kids to engage in fun, creative activities under the supervision of qualified staff. Busy parents can make a reservation or drop their young one off to satisfy their last-minute babysitting needs. While parents enjoy some much-deserved me-time, kids can roam the play palace, which is packed with barrels of toys, video-game consoles, and arts and craft supplies for mind stimulation and constructing baroque popsicle-stick busts. Little nostrils will circulate Honeywell-filtered air as they uncover hidden talents on the karaoke stage or meet future maids of honor on the air-hockey field. In addition, the facility contains a movie theater, playhouse area, and large playscape to keep kids active and engaged. The first-aid- and CPR-certified staff lead lively group activities and take care of story-time and the nursery for pre-toddlers.
Dizzy’s Tumblebuses both look like bright yellow school buses, yet they have never taken a kid to school. They don’t even have seats inside. Instead, their interiors are stocked with tumbling equipment, ball pits, and slides, and they make stops at schools, where they augment gym classes. These traveling fun-buses were invented by founder and mother of three, Dizzy, who has spent the last 10 years growing her company, trying to find parking spaces big enough for her buses, and testing out lesson plans with her own eager kids.
And in addition to the busses, Dizzy also created Dizzy’s Bus Stop, the company’s stationary facility. Despite its immobility, the facility hosts a bus structure inside that recreates the fun of the company’s popular Tumblebuses. Kids can clamber up a pint-size rock-climbing wall, jump on trampolines, and join in activities from dress-up to play dough sculpting. To accommodate a variety of little ones, the center offers drop-in day care, parent-supervised open play sessions, or preschool for tykes ages 2-5.
Lined wall-to-wall with vibrant, interactive play areas, Discovery Village welcomes kids to play, learn, and explore. The 8,000-square-foot facility is made up of four play areas, designed for kids up to 10 years old. The indoor playground houses padded play equipment, and the Village invites kids to pretend they're grown-ups, stopping at the farmers' market, caring for pets at the vet, or making pizzas at the Pizzeria. In the Moon Sand Beach, kids build impressive sand castles, and the Drawing Table provides space for kids to tap into their creativity with a host of art supplies.
As kids roam freely making friends and enhancing their motor skills, parents can take advantage of the free Wifi at the Discovery Cafe. It serves coffee along with nutritious lunches and snacks—ensuring kids will never need to worry about Cookie Monster stealing their treats.
With a specialty in martial arts, the instructors at Bellevue School of Arts work closely with kids in pre-kindergarten through middle school to improve all aspects of their development. The after-school and summer programs give youth the opportunity to develop focus, self-esteem, and discipline during engaging activities. With more than 150 students currently enrolled, they offer a traditional, individualized and coordinated curriculum from grade to grade, with an emphasis on core subjects that range from piano lessons and fine arts to Chinese and tae kwon do. Tutoring services are also available to help kids with their homework during the school year and mischief lessons during the summer.