Sunnie provide the little ones at Big and Tiny with lunch and snacks to keep them energized and nourished throughout the day! We wanted to share the important information provided by their in-house nutritionist, Jill Castle, MS, RDN, on balancing sugar and treats with children.
Kids eat more sugary foods today than at any other time in our history. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sugar makes up about 17% of what children consume each day. Why are sugary foods gaining a stronghold in kids’ diets? For one, there’s simply more options available. Also, kids are being introduced to them earlier, cementing a preference for them.
What’s a parent to do? Some parents have unwittingly turned into food cops, policing every morsel of food that enters their child’s mouth. Others feel they’ve been set up to fail. Navigating these foods without controlling them seems super-human.
I get it. As a pediatric dietitian, I’ve seen families struggle with sweets and treats. On the one hand, parents want their kids to enjoy them. On the other hand, they don’t want them to take over the healthy diet they’ve worked hard to establish.
The good news is there’s a way to manage them. A way that will allow your child to enjoy them without ruining his healthy diet or his relationship with you or food.
But first, let’s clarify what constitutes sugar, because many parents are confused.
What is added sugar?
The sugar recommendations for kids and the guidelines put out by health organizations, detail the limits on added sugar. Added sugar is the refined sugar, such as white sugar, brown sugar or agave, that’s added to foods during processing. For example, homemade cookies and quick breads have a cup or two of sugar in the recipe, which makes them sweet. Added sugar is found in candy, cookies, and sweetened beverages like soda and lemonade.
Other foods contain added sugar but aren’t so obvious – they’re hidden. They may be found in mayonnaise, bread, baby food, cereal, crackers, tortillas, sausages, salad dressings, packaged oatmeal, yogurt, and spaghetti sauce, for instance.
Recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) state that children’s added sugar intake should be less than6 teaspoons per day (or less than 25 grams). This doesn’t mean the number of teaspoons you actually add to your child’s food. This is the daily added sugar allowance from all food sources, including obvious and hidden sources.
For younger children (under the age of two years), experts from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) caution against introducing added sugar in the daily diet. If you can hold off on introducing sweets and treats until later, you can get a head start on helping your child develop healthy eating habits.
Reading the ingredient labels on food packages can help you detect added sugar. Words that end with “-ose,” like sucrose or glucose, and ingredients such as honey, molasses, agave, and coconut sugar indicate sources of added sugar.
What Does Not Constitute Added Sugar?
Sometimes parents get confused about sugar, vilifying fruit or milk as sources of sugar. They see the Nutrition Facts Panel and see the word “Sugars” and automatically think it means added sugar. It doesn’t. There’s actually a separate line for added sugars, which makes interpreting the labels on food packages much easier.
The nuance is this: Yes, fruit and milk contain sugar, specifically fructose and lactose, but these are not added. They occur naturally. Grapes, banana and watermelon are naturally packaged with sweetness. Nature intended milk to have lactose, and fruit to have fructose as part of the package. Because these foods don’t contain a source of added sugar, you won’t find formal limitations for them in the diets of children.
How to Balance Sweets and Treats
Including sweets and treats in the diets of children is a balancing act. Research informs us that eliminating them altogether or tightly controlling them may drive children to like them more and overindulge when eating them. Alternatively, creating a free-for-all with sweets will likely lead to overeating them. You need to hit the sweet spot – a strategy for including sweets.
Here are some suggestions:
Use the 90 – 10 Rule. The 90 – 10 rule is based on the idea that 10% of calories in the daily diet come from sugary and fatty foods, or sweets and treats. Essentially, 90% of what kids eat should be nutritious, wholesome foods, leaving the remaining balance for sweets and treats. For most kids, this ends up being one or two sweets and treats per day, on average, and in a normal serving size.
When do sweets make sense? You can make sweets a part of your everyday life, or not. Some families do well with a petite sweet every day, served alongside a meal or snack. Other families experience more sweets on the weekends due to parties, sports and other family activities, so they pick a day or two during the week for sweets and treats and allow more on the weekends. Figure out the right balance that will work for your family.
Use naturally sweet foods to curb cravings. How about a bowlful of fruit with a dollop of vanilla yogurt? Or a piece of peanut butter toast with a few carob chips perched on top? The treats in our Sunnie® lunch kits are primarily made with dates, which are a source of natural sugar, not added sugar. While you may find some coconut sugar here and there, we add the least amount for the most flavor.
Focus on eating enjoyment. Allow your child to enjoy sweets when he has them. No guilt trip. Period. This may damage his relationship with food, and confuse him. After all, sweets do taste good!
Don’t blame your child (or yourself) if your child likes sweets. Our little ones are human. And they’re wired for a sweet preference (amniotic fluid and breast milk are sweet!). Our larger food environment puts sweets and treats front and center for kids. If they taste them, see them, and smell them, they’ll probably like and want them.
Whether we like it or not, sweets and treats are part of the childhood nutrition experience. We need to help our kids navigate them, and not instill guilt or create unhealthy eating habits.
At Sunnie, we’re committed to creating what we call “next generation” sweets, using low glycemic sweeteners or natural sugars. Yes, we include a sweet treat in every lunch pack. But, our nutritionist uses the 90 – 10 Rule to balance all our lunch kits. We focus on natural sources of sweetness and try hard to eliminate added sugar in our treats. Just look at our nutrition panel. You’ll find low sugars (which mostly come from natural sources) and no added sugar.
We know you want to feel good about what you feed your child. And we believe your child should enjoy eating balanced meals, even with a sweet treat.
Antonia Plunkett is a hospitality consultant, from London living in Echo Park, LA with her husband, son Jack and their dog Kodak. She was brought up in France where her love for food and beautiful establishments started. She has worked in the hospitality industry in London, Hong Kong, Italy and LA. She loves meeting new people and helping them realize their dreams.
How are you finding being a new Mum? I’ve been very lucky to have an easy baby, which enabled me to go back to work very quickly. Perhaps too quickly! I was back after 11 weeks and in the end decided I needed a bit more time to be at my best and as productive as possible. On the whole it has been an incredible journey and it helps I have a really supportive husband.
Did you have a support system after giving birth?
When you’re pregnant there is a support system; and you are treated as this miraculous being. After the child was born, I struggled to find support; especially as I live so far away from my family. I wish there were more conversations about being a new Mom and so we can be more prepared about having this new identity.
As an expat and Brit working in the US, do you feel you are missing a support network of your wider family?
It 100% it takes a village. So I had to find my village elsewhere since I didn’t know many people in LA at first. Finally I found Big and Tiny which is a place I can get my work done, build back my confidence and find a group of like-minded parents.
How are you finding balancing your professional life with your new family?
Big and Tiny have helped me find a balance that I am really comfortable with. I don’t feel I have had to make sacrifices at all. I know Jack is in good hands and if anything happens I am just next door. We, working Mums, always feel a certain level of guilt either to our bosses or to our child. Places like Big and Tiny are vital to bringing about an end to that guilt.
As a hospitality expert, is your industry a nurturing place for a working Mum.
Yes and no. Yes because a lot of women work in my industry and therefore there is this general understanding of each other and our needs.
No, because it is very demanding as it requires late nights and working weekends. So at some point it becomes impossible for a mother to execute some of the roles offered within the hospitality industry.
Who I work with and my job role has evolved with my own personal situation and lifestyle. I definitely can no longer work for a snazzy nightclub like I did during my wild Hong Kong days!
Is being a mother really the most rewarding job in the world?
(Laughs) Yes and no, again. Yes of course. I’m learning everyday about being a mother and learning a lot about myself in the process. But for me getting back to work was really important, personally I enjoy being in a pressured work environment, meeting and connecting with people, and making things happen everyday.
Do you still find any time for you? To pamper?
Pamper? I wish. But I always make time after Jack has gone to bed to have aperitivo with my husband or to watch a current documentary. I feel a child shouldn’t 100% dictate what a family is doing; we can still go on culturally awakening trips together. Jack just needs to behave!
Oh and Big and Tiny do offer manicures and facials at work – which is a complete godsend.
Is child care expensive where you live? Very. I was pretty shocked by the child care prices compared to the UK even. So I limit Jack’s time with a nanny. And I find it more lucrative for him to come with me to Big and Tiny, besides he is a lot more entertained there!
When you first returned back into a work environment did you realize that you had changed? I was more emotional and burst into tears more (Laughs!.) – mainly due to lack of sleep. Other than that I felt more powerful, confident and grown up. I stood up for myself more, because I realized there are more important things in life. So I got rid of a lot of negative energy and negative people when I returned to work. Something I never had the courage to do before.
Members Clubs and Co-working spaces are your thing. Tell us LA in relation to London and beyond.
The LA landscape is one behind London when it comes to membership clubs. In fact some great spaces I’ve been to started in London and opened an outpost in LA. Such as Second Home, Soho House and the H Club.
London just does private member club really well and they’ve been around since the 1600’s – but they were stuffy gentlemen’s clubs then. But LA has integrated the work-life- wellness balance in such a great way, and therefore their co-working spaces are at the top of their game, they offer hotel like amenities and foster collaboration.
Should you ever get a chance for a date night, where would go?
You can’t beat getting a table at the Hollywood Bowl, sharing a bottle of wine and a platter of cheese over live music. One of my favourite restaurants is Cafe Stella in Silverlake. It’s a French Bistro and it reminds me of my time in Paris. Otherwise getting out of town to stay at the gorgeous The Colony in Palm Springs or an airbnb in Big Bear Lake for a date weekend is always on the radar.
Upon your first visit to Big and Tiny, chances are you noticed Keltse Bilbao somewhere in the building. Like the beautiful design at each location, Keltse seems to be a permanent feature at Big and Tiny. Whether it’s sitting at a table typing away on her laptop, helping the staff, or checking in with one of the parents, Keltse is truly the definition of someone who lives and breathes her business.
As a serial entrepreneur, mom of two, and spouse of a famed musician, Keltse is the definition of a busy woman who (magically) is able to prioritize herself, family, and business all within a short 24-hour window.
As a serial mompreneur, I think everyone is curious to know how you juggle running two Big and Tiny locations, raising young daughters, and still manage to have time for yourself. How do you prioritize your day?
The truth is, at this stage of my life, the day doesn’t have enough hours. Because of that, I’m more productive than ever. I wake up early to be with my family and spend quality time together during breakfast. This is one of my favorite moments of the day with the chaos and the rushing, but this time precious to me. I also try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. It’s 45 minutes for myself that I really enjoy and need. Afterward, I stop by the Santa Monica location almost every day to check up on the team and review the plan of the day. Luckily, I have an amazing team that has been with me since the beginning as well as some great new acquisitions that make things easier. As soon as I’m done, I drive to Silver Lake where I sit down with my daily planner and my laptop as the day whizzes by.
I feel that creating a to-do list with top priorities actually helps me organize my time better. I have to admit that some of the things on the bottom of the list never get to the top, but I manage to take care of the most important items. At 4 PM I run back home to spend time with my girls. Most of the time I’m exhausted, but I manage to muster enough energy to have fun with them before dinner and bed-time. There are days when I go back to work after putting the girls to bed, but I try to keep a portion of the evenings to spend time with my husband. A cup of wine after a long day always helps, but the truth is that date nights don’t happen as often as they used to!
There are two tricks that help me get through the day; the fact that I bring my girls to work so I can be with them while taking a break, and the fact that I have a music studio at the new location where my husband loves to work and compose.
Creating a play-work space is the main idea behind Big and Tiny, but creating a community of like-minded individuals really seems to be at the heart of what you are doing. How has creating this community affected you and the evolution of the space?
The play work space defines the service that we offer. It is an immediate solution to a need that parents have. I like to think we are much more than a co-working space with childcare. The truth is that parenthood is a wonderful thing but it can be very difficult, lonely and frustrating. Your life changes dramatically once you have kids and you have to rediscover yourself in that process. There is a real need to build a community of like-minded parents that share not only parenthood, but interests, conversations, business, and friendship. I believe this is an important part we can offer to the “BIG”, a place to grow in different aspects at a very busy time of our lives.
When we first started Big and Tiny, we wanted to satisfy the need for a place where parents could work while their “Tiny” children were playing and learning. After realizing the need was already there, we decided to follow our vision and focus on building a community of like-minded parents. With this in mind, we designed a space where adults could work, meet new friends, work out, play an instrument, or unwind; a place to come with your family and enjoy quality time and company.
Where are you currently finding inspiration in your life?
From simplicity. I’m going through a process where I’m enjoying the simple things and natural beauty. This is clearly reflected in the design and environment of both spaces, but especially the Silver Lake location. I love bringing back the “old ways”. I’ve heard clients commenting on the shortage of toys in the space. I believe it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of toys that stimulate creativity and imagination.
How do you define success personally and professionally?
I always have this conversation with my husband. I believe professional success is not just about money, but recognition and in most of the cases, contributing or leaving something of value behind. Personally, success to me is about love and the people you surround yourself with.
On days when you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to help yourself feel grounded?
Talk to my husband. We don’t talk a lot about business so It helps me disconnect and put my thoughts somewhere else.
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own company?
1- You have to learn your own way through your own mistakes.
2- Don’t try to invent something new. Reinvent something that already exists and do it better.
3- Don’t expect to follow your business plan. It’s an ongoing open-ended document to use as a guide that will evolve into something unexpected.
How has parenthood changed the way you approach work and running your own business?
In my particular case, in many ways. I use my short experience as a mother to improve my business in any way I can. I use my daily life as an inspiration to help other moms and dads navigate through the same challenges I have.
What is the vision for Big and Tiny as you continue to grow and expand?
Our vision is to provide as much for the “Big” as for the “Tiny”. We are offering a community for the “Big”, but it’s important that we build educational programs for the “Tiny” as well. Our mission is to provide a safe and inspiring environment for kids to grow, become independent, socialize, learn how to communicate, and respect the world around them. We have an amazing team of educators who facilitate the program and the experiential learning experience.
In California, coworking spaces are evolving as a sign of the times, striking a delicate balance between the professional and personal realms. So it came as no surprise when Zooco Estudio unveiled Big and Tiny, a work environment welcoming the children of its members in a space to learn and interact with peers without being separated from their parents. A concept that fully grasps the quintessence of smart working, parents at Big and Tiny are able to save time from rushing to and from daycares while cultivating a tight-knit community.
Imbuing the coworking space for parents with a signature style, Zooco Estudio was inspired by simple geometric forms. Founded in 2008 by Miguel Crespo Picot, Javier Guzmán Benito and Sixto Martín Martínez, the Madrid-based studio flaunts a prestigious portfolio with a wide variety of projects. Many will recognize their work at the Centro de las Artes di Verin, with its monolithic volumes, or the De Vinos y Viandas wine shop enclosing interiors marked by simple and sinuous lines. Their trademark, however, is a keen sensibility to craft a clear concept for each project, responding to the needs and pre-existing spaces of each site.
Aaron & Jon Photographers
In this case, the 196 square meter space for coworking in Santa Monica was organized with a precise primary objective: to construct a welcoming atmosphere with the right mix of formality and familiarity, resembling a home with spaces dedicated to diverse tasks.
The property was thus divided into three macro-areas: one for play, one for work, and one for meetings. To order the respective spaces, an intricate intertwining of wooden trusses marks the ceiling, where visual continuity is established moving down between geometric references. Arches, triangles, and rectangles become the guiding lines to interpret each space in a free but modular succession inspired by puzzles.
The relaxing effect of natural wood is felt in the furnishings and lighting from Ferm Living, while high walls and select industrial elements like exposed tubing create a harmonious visual balance. The color palette, meanwhile, draws on typical daycares and calming tones like pink and sky blue, which are further exalted in the play area and the relax area with ceramic tiles.
At Big and Tiny, adults can work between the furnishings from Normann Copenhagen, make calls in the complete privacy of isolated stalls, or organize meetings. Meanwhile, the little ones are free to play or follow classes at the in-house art studio.
A kids’ play area is included in this co-working space in Santa Monica designed by Spanish firm Zooco Estudio, so its members can bring their children to work.
Big and Tiny is among the first co-working facilities in the US to offer onsite childcare. The company was founded by an entrepreneur who is a mother with the aim to empower parents by helping them integrate their personal and professional lives.
The facility occupies a 2,100-square-foot (195-square-metre) storefront space in the coastal Californian city. Designed with both adults and kids in mind, it is intended to foster “productivity, creativity and community”.
It features a high ceiling with a series of wood-bow trusses, which Zooco Estudio used as an organisational device. Three separate areas were established – a cafe-cum-shop, a kids’ play area and a work zone.
The trusses also informed the design of plywood partitions and certain pieces of decor.
“Using the original truss ceiling as an example of a universal geometric language, we created a repetitive modular and constructive system that reminds us of a puzzle,” said Zooco Estudio in a project description.
“This adaptable system creates appealing elevations in all the three areas.”
The front zone contains a coffee bar and a boutique with kid-themed merchandise. Visitors can sit at round wooden tables and pastel-hued chairs.
Hanging on the walls are triangular and semi-circular iron racks. The front area also features tile-clad blocks that are used to form shelving and a display counter.
“The modular and movable cubes are made out of 10-by-10 ceramic tiles in pink and blue, which is the brand’s colour palette,” the team said.
“This offers the flexibility to configure the space according to different needs.”
Situated behind the cafe and shop is the children’s area, called Tinyland, which aims to offer “purposefully selected sustainable toys to stimulate imaginative play”.
A playground consists of wooden structures such as a ball pit, a slide and a small stage. The room also has a studio space where kids can work on art projects and take classes. Concrete flooring is covered with an eco-foam material.
The rear zone houses the co-working area for adults. The room has Scandinavian-style office furniture from Normann Copenhagen, along with a soundproof phone booth from Room.
Membership to Big and Tiny, which includes childcare, starts at $305 (£241) per month. The charge for a two-hour drop-in is $49 (£39).
Zooco Estudio – which has offices in Spanish cities Madrid and Santander – was founded by architects Miguel Crespo Picot, Javier Guzmán Benito and Sixto Martín Martínez. Other projects by the studio include a complex of granite-clad buildings that form an art centre in the city of Verín.
Co-working spaces have been on the rise in recent years as working lifestyles become increasingly digital and nomadic.
I have always been very devoted to my passion of performing and writing music. Like any endeavor, you get what you give and the grander your aspirations and ambition are, the more time you need to dedicate yourself to whatever it is you love.
Being more efficient.
Before we had our first child, I took most of the free time I had for granted. I wasn’t “in a hurry” or with a constant to-do list on the back of my mind. With a few exceptions that demanded a certain level of responsibility, most of my free time was spent doing the things I loved most; traveling and playing the guitar or writing music. I would spend many hours listening to music, playing the guitar, sketching out my own first compositions without a time constraint or really much of a schedule at all.
Becoming more efficient.
Two kids later, I’ve had countless sleepless nights. I now have a sizable to-do list and much more pressure and yet, I’ve never been more efficient. At first, I didn’t realize that this enormous time vortex known as fatherhood would be a blessing in disguise for my career and my time management skills. You become more efficient because you have to, otherwise you wouldn’t have much of a life outside of your parenting duties. You realize that 6 or 7 hours of sleep is usually enough and that being very focused on a task for 45 minutes is way more effective than spending hours on it half heartedly.
If used wisely, this new “time constraint” that comes with being a parent is a great way to discipline yourself. You have much less time so you must lear how to use it more efficiently and that in turn makes for better results.
Efficiency Vs Abundance
You have much less time so you must learn how to use it more efficiently and that in turn makes for better results. I know realize what I could’t possible have understood back then. It’s not “how much” time you have but how you use it that counts. Efficiency of time vs. abundance of it. Try switching your mindset and crush your “to-do” list!
Occasionally motherhood can be summed up in a few words: wake the kids, make breakfast, get everyone dressed, leave, forget something, leave again. The ability to navigate all of that—or better yet, to navigate it all with dignity and grace and a modicum of sanity—is as much science as it is art. We asked a few of the women we know best (the ones we share an office with) for the tools (apps, products, coffee) they rely on to keep it all together—seamlessly.
“My son is a big fan of watching videos of himself during meals. Aren’t we all? (Not stellar parenting, but it works.) Having a PopGrip on my phone means that I can stand it up wherever Sonny choses to take his dinner: the counter, his high chair, the dining table. It’s also a godsend when FaceTiming with his East Coast grandparents in the evenings. Coincidentally, it’s when he’s feeling the most energetic (witching hour is real) and running through the house at full speed—tables, chairs, and the dog be damned. The little grip allows me to aim the camera at him and clear the way at the same time.”
“Jennifer Garner recently launched these awesome organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, BPA-free, refrigerated (a big deal because so many pouches on the market are shelf-stable) baby food pouches. Sonny is almost two, so he’s definitely aged out of baby-food pouches as a meal. They do, however, make for excellent park snacks. He’s a fan of the Wild Rumpus Avocado, Just Right Oats, and Gold-y Mango flavors. And the pouches themselves are recyclable through TerraCycle, so I don’t feel like a total jerk.”
“The weekends are sacred in our family. It’s when the three of us get quality uninterrupted time together. A few times a month, we take Sonny to this adorable play space where he gets to hang out with other kids (supervised, of course), and we can either run errands (Costco!), get breakfast, or simply chill out in the little café area out front. There’s also a work area in the back if we need to drop in and answer emails during the week while he plays. The doors to the play area—where they have swings, a ball pit, and tons of toys—have a little window parents can peek through without disturbing play time. They also host and plan themed birthday parties right on-site, which is a hack all in and of itself.”
SENIOR DIRECTOR, BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & SALES, AND MOM TO VIVIENNE, EIGHT MONTHS
“I love going to Drybar. It’s one less thing I need to do in the morning, and it gives me extra time to bang out emails. So much of my job involves meeting with clients, so even though I’m still getting back into the groove, I need to look pulled together. I heard the Drybar founders are coming out with a massage app, Squeeze, soon, too.”
“Between sleep deprivation and crazy schedules, this app keeps me sane. You can keep track of feedings, diapers, sleep, weight, and height, but I focus on Vivienne’s feeding schedule. My husband, Chris, and our nanny have access to the app, so they never have to wonder when Vivienne had her last feeding.”
“We introduced Vivienne to solids a little before six months, and the baby-food delivery company Yumi is incredible. Each meal is made with fresh, organic ingredients, and the basic purées are a great way to get her exposed to new tastes. Since her diet consists mostly of breast milk, I just freeze whatever we don’t use right away. For everything else (diapers, household supplies, etc.), I rely heavily on Amazon so I don’t have to make trips to the store.”
“Once I had Vivienne, I knew I needed to simplify everything in my life, and that included having an arsenal of clean products that I know I love. I don’t have time to shower in the morning, so showering at night has become the norm. It also helps cut down on the time I spend getting ready in the morning, so I have more time with Viv.”
SENIOR DIRECTOR, BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & MARKETING, AND MOM TO STELLA, SIX, AND THEO, FOUR
“My husband pulls more than his share of the weight—if he’s cooking, I’m cleaning. If I’m managing the kids’ schedules, he’s handling the car payments. I use the Cozi app to organize our family to-do and shopping lists. I’ll break out my shopping list by type: grocery store, big box, department stores.”
This rainy winter continues (sob sob) and what feels like weeks of inclement weather has us all getting a little cabin fever. Thankfully we have some super cool indoor playspaces for kids that let them run, jump, play, and give their imaginations a workout (without driving you crazy). There are even a few spots that will keep you keep your sanity with coffee bars, workspaces as well as wine and beer options. Scroll below to check out our favorite indoor play space picks.
This gorgeously-designed play space in Santa Monica not only offers a creative playground for kids 6 months to 6 years old to climb, swing and jump but they’ve also partnered with the School of Wonder to offer enrichment classes that will keep your kids happily engaged.
In addition to the play space, they have an on-site cafe plus the flexibility for working parents to get some work done while their kids are pre-occupied.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (check the schedule on weekends as they sometimes close for private events. Rate: Two-hour open play is $18; play passes are also available $80 for 5; $140 for 10
Insider Tip:There are various co-working plans that will give working parents access to a workspace, printers, WiFi, etc. while kids enjoy enrichment classes and activities.
1731 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-392-0113 Online: bigandtiny.com
Wild Child Gym, mixes chill Hawaiian vibes with California cool that results in a fun, interactive, eco-friendly space complete with a “grassy” hill that feels more at like natural playspace than a busy metropolitan city storefront.
Daily classes are available for “Droolers” (newborn-5 months) all the way up to “Advanced Skill and Development” (5-7 year-olds), along with free play options, birthday parties, camps for kids and workshops for kids and for the whole family. But what we really love are their extended hours—perfect for working parents or those tricky school holidays.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Rate: Per class price is $30 (based on availability) or choose a four-week session which includes one “Wild Play” drop-in class for $100. Become a member for $25 and receive discounts on parties, events and more.
This indoor jungle gym lets your little monkeys climb and play like they’re outside all within four window-lit walls. The fully-padded structure features tunnels, and a winding slide that drops into a ball pit. There is also a pint-size merry-go-round and a separate play area for toddlers. The space is small, but there are plenty of cozy spots to sit back and relax while still getting a bird’s eye view of the entire play area.
The space also has an indoor picnic area where you can bring in your own food and snacks to eat. Coffee, juice, and water are also available for purchase.
Open Play: Mon. 10-5 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. 10-7 p.m., Fri. 10-5 p.m. Rate: Open play is $10 per child
Insider Tip: There are tons of great restaurants within walking distance along Ventura, like D’Amores Pizza, The Carving Board, and Wanderlust Creamery so you can grab a bite or sweet treat after play time.
There’s adventure to spare here with a ton of energy burners including a basketball court, mazes, tunnels, climbing bouncy houses, gymnastic mats and plenty of playrooms. There’s not a ton of supervision happening, but that’s ok, as you’ll want to get in there and play, too. With a ropes course and rock wall for bigger kids (note: both cost extra), Toddler Town for wee ones and even a café when need to refuel, you just might be here all day.
Open Play: Hours vary for the play structures and Toddler Town, so make sure to check the website. Rate: Admission is $12. You can also sign up for a Flex Membership and get unlimited drop-in play for $29 per month, $19 per month for siblings
Insider Tip: Adventureplex offers Parents’ Night Out every Fri. and Sat., 5:30 – 9 p.m. for kids 3 and up if you want to get an evening away the kids will be begging for. Cost is $30, and $20 for siblings and includes dinner.
Dress up, painting, building with blocks, utilizing motor skills through soft play and storytelling-the name of the game here is child-initiated play in all its many forms. It’s filled with bounceable, slideable and jumpable inflatables, an obstacle course, playhouses, dress up and more. We love it because it caters to a mix of ages, and at over 4,000 square feet has room for the jumping the bigger kids (up through about age 7) need and also a toddler area where small fry won’t get run over. With so much stuff to do and play with and explore, kids won’t get bored, and they will be eager to come back.
Open Play: Tues.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $12 per child, $9 for siblings, (under 2s are $8). Multi-visit passes and memberships are available that will save you money
Insider Tip: Brent’s Deli is a few doors down for lunch. It’s one of the best and most authentic delis in town, with pickles that will live on in your memory. There are four kinds of fries for kids to pick from, a kids menu for B, L or D, and don’t leave without sampling a black & white cookie.
A play space for kids…and adults? The Coop is the place that doesn’t sacrifice the sanity and patience of parents for their kids to romp around in a gritty and overly cutesy play space. Free wifi and a cappuccino bar are just some of the perks for adults in this modernized play space that looks like an ad for Phillipe Starck for IKEA. Kids will love sliding into the ball pit, the touch-sensitive, luminescent dance floor, and dress-up play. There are three locations in Studio City, Redondo Beach, and the newest spot in Woodland Hills.
Open Play: Each location has different hours but all are open Mon. – Fri. Rate: $12 per child
Insider Tip: The Woodland Hills location has a full cappuccino bar and free parking.
Locations: Woodland Hills, Studio City & Redondo Beach Online: thecoop-la.com
Snooknuk – Larchmont
This colorful play space showcases an enchanting mural and life-size tree that transports tots to a magical landscape usually found in fairy tales. Artwork is filled with positive images families will appreciate, and music exclusively scored for Snooknuk sets the perfect tone for a happy day of fun. Many parents bring kiddos in just for a simple afternoon of play or play dates, while others come for classes but still love the convenience of having a play area to entertain siblings while they wait. Don’t forget to indulge in their on-site Caffe Luxxe gourmet coffee, pastries or paninis while the kids enjoy the play area.
Snooknuk offers a supervised play option so you can sit on the patio and get work done while the kids play. This space also offers loads of classes, plenty o’ snacks and is on the Larch. Your whole inclement day is now planned. While most of the activities are ideal for the 6 and under crew there are some classes available for older kids, up to 12 years old.
Open: Mon.-Fri. 9-6 p.m.; Sat. 9-5 p.m. Rate: Day passes are $8, or $5 per sibling
Insider Tip: You’re on Larchmont Blvd., which means you have approximately 6 coffee options, a retail shop for kids, a resale shop for tots, a vegan and raw food spot, a vegan and GF bakery plus bookstore and two toy stores all in walking distance. Welcome to parenting paradise.
506 N. Larchmont Blvd. Mid-City Los Angeles 323-498-5258 Online: snooknuk.com
Who says your kids can’t play and learn? Peekaboo Playland is the progressive and artistic indoor play space for your kids’ creative energy to flourish and grow. Let your little one explore the boundlessness of their imagination in the 3,300 square feet building. One of our favorite things is the separate baby space upstairs, where crawlers can explore without getting trampled.
Open Play: Mon. – Thurs. 10-6 p.m., Fri. 10-5 p.m. Rate: $10 per child over 12 months, $8 for siblings and babies 6-12 months. The Bel Air location is $11 and $9 respectively
Insider Tip: Oinkster, Swork, and Four Cafe are all right nearby so you can get tasty lunch and coffee to go and eat at picnic tables here when kids need to refuel. There’s a second location in Bel Air.
The unique twist here is that they understand that kids need to play, but parents need some pampering too. So you get a break while the kids (ages 18 months and up) can enjoy some supervised play (parents or caregivers have to stay on the premises). They also have Parents Time Out sessions for 4 hours on Sat.
Open Play: Make an appointment or walk-in Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Rate: $13; Supervised play cost $25 for two hours for kids under 3 and $20 for kids over 3
Insider Tip: During supervised sessions, free coffee and wi-fi are available so you can relax, work, or catch up on browsing your favorite parenting website.
This children’s restaurant and play space have spots in Glendale and Woodland Hills full of castles, pirate ships and dragons – oh my! Kids can have loads of fun here running, jumping and playing, and there’s even plenty o’ live entertainment on tap. Play all day and pay based on mobility. Unlike most other spots, this one is open on weekends for free play, although they do host parties then as well so it can get crowded.
Open Play: Mon. – Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Rates: Big kids are $14, $11 for sibs and $8 for non-walkers
Insider Tip: It’s a restaurant (with organic, kid-friendly food). So lunch doesn’t have to be pre-packed or cobbled together out of chips and pastries. And did we mention the wine and beer?
Tube crawls, web crawls, barrel rolls and giant slides are just a few features of Jump ‘n Jammin’s multilevel play structure. This is a spot that is as much fun for the 3-year-old as for the 13-year-old (and Mom and Dad, too). And the best part? They don’t automatically close all weekend for parties and have other locations in Mission Viejo and West Covina.
Open: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $14.95 for the first child (plus adult); toddlers are $6.49 plus adult. Additional adults are $3.95
The aptly named spot offers a vast array of indoor and outdoor fun for the little ones up to 10 years of age, featuring a 60-foot inflatable obstacle course, a giant slide, an indoor crooked house and even a race track for the aspiring Andrettis. They also offer Parent’s Night Out at $25 for the first two hours; $10 per each additional hour.
Open Play: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rates: $10 per child. Monthly memberships are $39 or you can purchase a 10 play pass for $60 that never expires
Insider Tip: If you’re here because it’s too hot to play outside (not too cold), they often break out an inflated water slide to cool kids down on broiling days. So don’t forget the change of clothes!
It’s not just a clever name. Here the monkeys can go bananas and the mommies can get down to business, each with their own dedicated space to do so. With a sweet little courtyard connecting the two diametrically different havens, arrive with a potty trained independent walker, kiss them good-bye, and off you go. The “Escape Artists” (aka awesome kid watchers) will take it from there. You leave for the land of low voices and lattes. This space is best for the under 5 crowd.
Open Play: Mon., Wed., Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Tues., Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Rate: $12 for kids; $10 for additional sibling
Insider Tip: Hit Proof Bakery afterward for outstanding treats on the way home. Win-win.
Kids World Family Fun Center – Simi Valley Even big kids who think they’re too cool for indoor playspaces will beg to spend the day here. This entertainment spot raises the standards with virtual games, climbing tubes, slides, foam ball launchers, zip lines, basketball court, American Gladiator style arena, a video game floor with motion activated games and old-school arcade. But it’s not just for big kids, there’s also a Toddler Corner designed for children newborn–3 years old for the little ones to learn and play in their own gated space.
Open: Tues.-Sun. at 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Rates: $11.99 admission for kids 24 months-15 years; kids under 2 are $5.99; siblings are $10.99 (weekdays only). Grip socks and arcade games are extra.
Insider Tip: Ahem, with beer (did we not mention that the café serves beer?) and video games, it satisfies everyone and is why we say it’s worth the drive for a rainy day excursion.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym – Multiple Locations
We love this unique gym that caters to children with autism and special needs creating a safe and warm environment where they can play and strengthen their muscles and skills. While kids can just have fun, you’ll know that everything here actually serves a positive purpose: swings promote balance, the zip line is for stress release and joint and body relaxation, the trampoline builds core strength and play structures, sensory-based toys and arts & crafts areas all work on motor, social and eye-hand skills. It’s for kids at every spot of the spectrum, and kids of all ages and abilities will have a ball. Rates and hours vary by location. Some spots also offer drop-off care.
Open Play: Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Call ahead on weekends to confirm openings) Rate: $14 per child (siblings $12)
Insider Tip: The whole place is cleaned top to bottom daily with only green products, so the planet will stay as healthy as our kids.