Two new kids' play franchises are opening their first bricks-and-mortar Long Island centers this month. Kidville, a gym and learning center, has a grand opening celebration in Roslyn Heights this weekend, and Bricks 4 Kidz, which offers Lego activities, opened in Syosset on Saturday.
Jamie Dardashtian, 35, of Woodbury, poked her head into Kidville recently, eager to know when the center would open so she could come in with her two sons, Max, 2, and Miles, 7 weeks. She recently moved to Long Island from Manhattan, and had been to a Kidville franchise there. "It becomes just an easy resource for moms," she says. "That's why moms really gravitate toward it."
As for Bricks 4 Kidz, owner Lisa Gallo finally opened a permanent venue for her business after three years of traveling from school to school. "We were kind of like the chess club -- kids would go once a week for six weeks or 10 weeks," Gallo says. Now, her Bricks 4 Kidz will have a home.
250 S. Service Rd., Roslyn Heights 516-559-7122; kidville.com/roslyn
FOR AGES Newborn to 6 years
OFFERS Gym play; art, dance, music and science classes; summer camp; birthday parties; Kidville University preschool program
An open gym includes a zip line, basketball hoops, a gymnastics area and a climbing wall. "I can have all my three kids in one room. That's pretty good," says Lori D'Agostino of Hewlett, whose children, Louis, 6, Isabella, 4, and Michael, 8 months, enjoyed a trial run recently.
The art room has vinyl walls so kids can paint on them. "You would cringe if they were doing it at home. Here, they can let it all out," says owner David Miller.
In music classes, kids play along with Kidville's live Rockin' Railroad band. Kidville has locations across the United States as well as in Canada and India.
Kidville's free grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will include Rockin' Railroad performances at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.
49 Ira Rd., Syosset, 516-364-7100; bricks4kidz.com/northshore
FOR AGES 3 to 12
OFFERS After-school programs, summer camp, robotics club, Mommy and Me, Kids Night Out, birthday parties and more
Legos are king at Bricks 4 Kidz. While several Bricks 4 Kidz groups operate on Long Island in schools and community centers, the Syosset center is the first stationary location here. "We Learn, We Build, We Play . . . with LEGO bricks" is the slogan.
Projects usually include a lesson -- for instance, kids learn about satellites and build their own model from a kit. Some projects include motors. "The things we do at Bricks 4 Kidz you can't find on the toy-store shelf," Gallo says. The kids are encouraged to work in groups for camaraderie and cooperative learning.
The great-room center has picnic-table style benches and tables, a race-car ramp for racing Lego cars, a zip line for zip vehicles, flat-screen TV for instruction and computers.