Play: Great Play of Northshore

I'm not big on organized activities and classes. They usually come with an organized activity price tag. And a commitment to be somewhere at a certain time. (Why, oh, why, do the kids decide to sleep in on the one day I forget to set the alarm and we have somewhere to be? I guess it's the law of having children.)

But I'm a convert. I was from the moment Robin from Northshore Great Play responded to my email about trying out a class. (Great Play lets you try out your first class for free! And you all know who loves free! Me!) Robin was super nice over email and super-duper nice in person.

Sorry for the blurry pics. Blurry photos = kids having loads of fun.
We tried out the Intro Motor Skill class for kids 20 months to 3 1/2. (Grady was a little young for this class but he did just fine.) Great Play is pretty much great from the start. They have a nice waiting area with toys that keeps kids busy from the get-go.

The class starts out with little free-play to get the kids warmed up and then circle time with songs and introductions.

Grady's first favorite activity

During the circle time the coaches set up the equipment for 3 different activities. At each class they focus on locomotor, stability and manipulative skills. For this class there was a fishing pond, an obstacle course and a climbing area. The coaches were there to help and encourage the kids through each of the areas. They could try them all out or stick to the same one (Finley was a big fan of the fishing, as were most of the kids!)

Throughout the 50 minute class, the mascot "Buddy" was playing games on the 8 big screens around the room. He plays peek-a-boo, showing up on the different screens. Chasing Buddy around the room was Grady's second favorite activity.

Then it was game time. The coaches led them through a game of putting different objects in their buckets and bringing them back to the big bucket. I wish I had more to say about this part. I was too busy watching Finley listen to instructions from the coaches to pay attention to the actual game. She never listens to me like that!

After that, it was bubble time. This was probably Grady's favorite part. The kid loves to look at  bubbles, loves to pop bubbles, loves to say the word "bubble." Everything is a bubble to him.

Next it was time for a little more playing. They brought out lots of big blocks and hung two swings from the ceiling. The swings might look like swings from the park but they're totally not. However they hang them from the ceiling makes them swing really far and long. I wish I had a picture of Finley swinging along. She was mesmerized by it.

The class ended with a good-bye circle time. As I said before we don't have much experience with organized activities and classes. This was apparent by Finley's lack of enthusiasm during the welcome circle time. But by the time the good-bye circle was in formation, she was singing right along with all the other kids. I call that a success!

Great Play offers Intro Motor Skills classes for kids as young as 6 months all the way up to Sports Skills classes for 5th graders. The prices aren't exactly for the frugal-minded (a 4-week pass is $75 and $67 for siblings). But their prices seem to be comparable to other gyms and classes. (For instance, Gymboree classes are $69 for a month.) As an added benefit, Great Play offers free Open Gym sessions 3 times a week for kids enrolled in a class.

Or if you don't want to commit to a weekly class, you can always pay $10 for their Open Gym sessions.

Play, Stay Way, or Just Okay
With a name like Great Play, I have to give this place a Play rating. :)

There were a lot of things I loved about Great Play. First, it's super-duper clean to the max. And when I say clean, I mean spotless clean. I have been to a few other gym-type facilities and I was reaching for the hand sanitizer every 5 minutes. Robin said she makes cleaning a big priority at her location and I appreciate that. All the equipment looks nice and new, too, which makes for a great first impression.

I also love that this is an activity that I can do with both kids. I know I'm not the only one out there with two kids close in age but at different activity levels. This class is perfect for them. It's also well structured with coaches who are very helpful and encouraging.

Oh, and the other great part? The drive home takes us right past Caffe Ladro, Daniel's all time favorite coffee place. With a weekly delivery of his favorite latte, I'm sure I can convince him to sign off on a 4-week pass for the kids!

Details ---
Where: Northshore Great Play (6748 NE 181st Street Kenmore, WA)
When: Various times. See the schedule for more information.
Cost: $75 for a 4-week plan (discounts for siblings and 10 and 30 week plans)
More Info: Here
Details: Call (425-486-7900) or email (northshore@greatplay.com) to set up a free trial class.

If you're looking for other activities in the area, check out the Local Activities page for information and reviews!

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