Following a curriculum designed by Dr. Lin Day, a British child-development expert, the classes at Baby Sensory help to forge the bond between parents and their infants by engaging all the baby’s developing senses. Sessions begin with a song accompanied with sign language before diving into one of 40 unique lesson plans, which incorporate everything from exercise and stretches to music, puppet shows, and tactile games with scarves and feathers. Parents and children then split off into an exploratory play area—suited for both noncrawlers and babies strapped into tiny roller skates—to engage in play together and meet other families in a comfortable and safe environment. Lessons conclude with more structured sensory activities based on the latest research and developmental theories.
When Karen Beninati's son was young, she had a hard time finding a childcare facility with which she felt comfortable. So she decided to create WeVillage—a drop-and-go daycare, preschool, and summer camp that parents would feel comfortable leaving their kids at and a place where kids would actually want to go.
To put parents at ease, Beninati hired professionals with degrees in early childhood education and certifications in first aid and CPR. She also ensured they went through a thorough background check. To make WeVillage a place kids wanted to go to, she decided to offer activities such as dodgeball in the park, drawing, and visits to nearby museums.
All the activities at WeVillage are aimed at helping children improve their mental and physical skills while building the social skills necessary to succeed in school and make meaningful connections with their peers. Kids at WeVillage are also exposed to international culture via yoga classes, world music, and global cuisine.
Each of Cascade Paddle Boards’ fiberglass standup paddleboards are made the same way: by taking a blank EPS foam board, adding a hardwood stringer in the middle of the board for stability, covering the board with fiberglass cloth, and wrapping everything in an epoxy resin. The result is a lightweight, yet durable board that has been tested in all types of water—on both smooth and choppy waves found in rivers, lakes, ponds, the ocean, and fish tanks. The boards are sanded down to sizes of 12 feet, weigh 30 pounds, and are recommended for paddlers up to 220 pounds.
Play Boutique makes a thoroughly wholesome experience out of the classic childhood combination of snacks and playtime. Kids burn off energy in structured but creative educational play sessions, stopping for snacks made from ingredients such as Tillamook cheddar cheese, low-fat greek yogurt, and fresh fruits and veggies. Themed events often arrange for simultaneous parents' date-night entertainment and kids' activities.
Kate Dessommes has traveled the world in search of techniques to further her knowledge of yoga. She began with a five-year apprenticeship under Luciana Proaño in Portland before packing her bags for New Zealand to study with instructor and author Donna Farhi and John Friend, founder of Anusara yoga.
At Portland Yoga Studio, Kate and her team of instructors fold those globe-gathered techniques into classes that incorporate Ayurveda, asanas, meditation, and relaxation techniques. They also offer special classes for students who otherwise might not be able to participate, such as those with MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or problems balancing. Classes for children and families round out the curriculum, giving parents and their kids a new way to bond that’s more active than watching television and safer than traveling to the future by falling into a coma together.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.