When my eldest sons were a toddler and baby I spent 2-3 days a week at Gymboree Play & Music and I can honestly say that Gymboree helped keep me sane and happy during those first few years of motherhood.  I loved the Play & Learn classes and that we had somewhere to go that was safe and clean (and fun).

Meet Jen, the owner of the brand new Gymboree Play & Music in Orleans! I recently had the chance to attend a Gymboree Play & Music class to take photos and am excited about two upcoming events that I will be attending at Gymboree to take photos.  Curious about what Gymboree Play & Music is?  Read on!


1.  Tell us about yourself: what do you like to do with your family, what are your favourite things to do around Ottawa.  In your spare time, what do you like to do? 

I remember once upon a time having spare time… Pre-Gymboree!  Ok but really, when we have downtime, I love taking my kiddies to the amazing museums we have in this city. The Children’s Museum is still our favourite, they discover something new every visit, so it never gets old. When we’re home, we like to bake together, make Playdoh and Lego creations together, and build forts for a movie night in the playroom.

I, LOVE to travel. With or without kiddies, if I could do nothing but travel I would. The next adventure I’m planning is an epic holiday with my two closest girlfriends (no kids!).  Sun, sand, skydiving: it’s going to be a FANTASTIC time!


  1. Tell us about the Gymboree Play & Music classes.  What do parents love most about the classes?

I think every parent gets something different from our classes. I love feedback, so I ask parents often. Here’s what I’ve learned about what parents love:

  • The physical space most: how clean, bright and inviting the play floor is.
  • How we’re specifically designed for little ones 0-5.
  • How age-appropriate and safe our equipment is.
  • That we aren’t just a play centre: that we are teaching them, and of course their children, through play.
  • That there is a lesson plan, learning objectives and outcomes, and that it’s not just free play.
  • That they are able to meet and connect with other parents with children the same age as theirs. They appreciate the support they receive from fellow parents facing the same challenges.

We are happy to be a hub for information sharing and encouragement for families with young children.


  1.  Tell us about the birthday party packages available: aside from the gorgeous bright space, what do people love most about Gymboree birthday parties?

What makes a Gymboree birthday party truly amazing, is the fact that we host ONE party at a time. When you book a party package with us, you receive private access to the entire site! We assign a teacher to host just your family and friends, and we’ll teach a custom play lesson based on the theme of your choice. Our parties are educational, safe, and fun! No searching for children in a crowd, no chaos, you’re not one of 40 parties that day: we focus on one party at a time. Our parties provide no-stress and no-mess experience, so parents can focus on what really matters: their little one!

Our packages include admission for 12 children, and unlimited adults as well as the party supplies (plates, napkins, cutlery), and we can provide the cake/cupcakes or you can bring your own (nut-free, of course). We have a number of options for add-ons such as pizza, extra play time, and loot bags. We are always willing to work with parents to add the personal touches that will make their party unique.

If you want to see more photos of Gymboree, check out the album on Facebook


  1.  What’s your favourite part of teaching the Gymboree Play & Music classes?

The firsts! I LOVE seeing firsts. First smiles, first crawls, first steps, claps, words… It is unbelievably rewarding to SEE the learning happen, and to watch little ones develop right in front of you. It’s impossible to have a bad day.

  1.  During those first few years it can be exhausting and overwhelming for parents to sort through all the information about what is best for their little ones.  After being involved in early childhood education for so long what are your tried and true strategies for playing with little ones?  

I believe one of the most important things we can give to our children is our time. Make time to play: Put aside all the everyday stresses, unplug from the world, and just play with your children because it’s how they learn! No expensive, light-up gadgets are required, just keep it simple. As parents, all we need to do is give them our time and provide a few options: they’ll take it from there.


  1.  Favourite song you sing?  

That’s a tough one, there are soo many! “Tony Chestnut” is probably my current favourite, its a bit of a tongue-twister that incorporates actions to label body parts. Parents have a good laugh while they try to sing along and babies LOVE it.

  1.  As parents we tend to think about our kids first (how would Gymboree benefit our little one) but how can Gymboree also support parents?  

This is so important! New parents can often feel isolated. Parents can feel lonely when they’re home alone with a non-verbal infant they’re trying to figure out. Parenting is so challenging! They need support, a place to meet other parents, to share ideas, information, tips and tricks…we are SO thrilled to be the place where moms and dads feel welcome to share their stores and make new friends.

Join in on the fun and try your first class for FREE!