OCT BUSINESS: Gymboree Play & Music
Looking for an indoor place where your child and you can play together? How about a padded playground that changes every few weeks? This new innovation comes from Gymboree Play & Music, a company that’s been in the business of children’s play for 35 years.
“It’s called a continuous play floor,” explained Blythe Donovan, owner of the location at Northpark Mall in Oklahoma City. “The entire floor of Gymboree is padded, with no gaps or spaces that can cause tripping hazards. All of the play equipment can be reconfigured to make new playscapes for children to explore, so it’s different every few weeks.”
According to Donovan, Gymboree’s national research reveals that children are not physically challenged the way they should be. Instead, children are sitting more and doing less climbing, jumping and running.
“Our philosophy is that children learn best through play, so our new equipment offers more challenges. Multiple levels of scaffolding provide different skills for children a few months old to five years in age.”
On one level, children might crawl through tunnels and mazes, and at another, they might jump off convex and concave surfaces. The staff is helpful in explaining each developmental skill to parents, such as, “This is what will help your child crawl under the table without hitting his head.”
Gymboree is not a “show up and play all day” facility. Instead, families pay a membership fee and enroll in specific classes—which are mostly designed for parent participation. Hours vary, but classes occur daily. Gymboree also offers birthday and holiday party options.
“We have seven teachers on staff, and they all love kids and have a passion for educating children,” Donovan said.
Donovan has taught in various Gymboree locations for 11 years. She loves the family-friendly atmosphere, which often fosters lifelong friendships.
For Donovan, being a mom was the only career she ever wanted. Purchasing the Northpark Gymboree location two years ago allowed her to work, while embracing her love for children. For her, the benefits have come in the form of baby steps, literally.
“Five different babies have taken their first steps with me. I’ll never forget those families, because I was part of such a special moment—and something like that goes far beyond the scope of Gymboree.”
Check out their location at 11940 N. May Ave (Northpark Mall) or give them a call at 755-3445 to learn more.