Gigi's Playhouse, a Down syndrome education and awareness center in Des Moines, Iowa, recently installed a new custom-themed, interactive soft play area after consulting with doctors, occupational therapists, physical and speech therapists. The children's healthcare providers recommended that the Down syndrome children would learn through play on the new indoor play area equipment. Multi-sensory play experiences improve the brain's ability to change and grow.
“The Gigi’s Playhouse mission is to ‘educate, inspire and achieve,’” says board member Gretchen Baldwin. “PLAYTIME's interactive soft play areas totally fits our mission by providing active play therapy for kids!”
Physicians, as well as occupational, speech and physical therapists have described the new PLAYTIME indoor play area at the Down syndrome center as “very beneficial”. Research shows that multi-sensory play experiences improves the brain’s ability to change and grow.
With 14 locations nationwide, GiGi’s Playhouse is a Down syndrome awareness and educational center that provide resources, specialized teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community.
Baldwin’s 9-year-old son, Joshua, has Down syndrome. She says that GiGi's Playhouse Des Moines used to have a play area but it wasn’t as safe, clean and inspiring as many of the parents wanted.
“I was at a mall indoor play area and I thought, ‘Look at all these kids playing,’” recalls Baldwin. “My son had never been able to play in the mall because of health issues and I knew numerous other families whose children couldn’t play in the mall, too.”
Baldwin "googled" soft playground equipment and found Playtime.com. She also spoke to doctors and occupational, physical and speech therapists about the soft play equipment and, she says, they each believed the new play area concept could be beneficial for the children families that the center serves.
“Physicians said it would be good for our kids to have a place to play without lots of other kids around. Also, PLAYTIME’s antibacterial coating was huge for us,” she says. “The physical and occupational therapists said that anything which incorporates physical activity into fun would encourage our kids to play, improving their coordination and strength.”
The speech therapists suggested the play area could be incorporated into its literacy program, turning reading into an experiential learning process.
Baldwin says that children, parents and siblings all love the new play area at the Des Moines center.
“GiGi’s Playhouse mission is to ‘educate, inspire and achieve,’” says Baldwin. “We use the new play area to educate through our literacy program. Obviously, the system is inspiring! And by playing on this system, our kids can build their strength, coordination and creativity to achieve amazing things.
“We are so excited to have PLAYTIME at our playhouse!”
PLAYTIME is the global provider of unique, interactive healthy play areas and playground equipment for indoor, outdoor and water play. Designed to engage children, the company's themed soft play areas drive traffic and enhance customers' brands. Thousands of families EXPERIENCE PLAYTIME everyday at shopping centers, restaurants, airports, stadiums, childcare, healthcare centers, fitness centers, churches, resorts, recreation centers, water parks and museums – any place that kids play. PLAYTIME is trusted by more brands and sponsors to bring their images to life, including McDonald’s, Warner Bros., Sesame Street, Garfield & Friends, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, LA Fitness and Life Time Fitness. PLAYTIME is a recipient of the Colorado Top Companies to Watch Award.