What four innovative companies are doing to enhance the lives of kids and parents
As anyone with children knows, getting childcare can be a challenge. WeVillage Childcare Center in Sherman Oaks aims to change that. With a flexible drop-off program and extended hours, the center caters to the needs of busy parents. Spur-of-the-moment appointment? No problem—the center is fully staffed with certified caregivers and teachers and ready to accept your kid. Last-minute Saturday night sitter cancellation? WeVillage to the rescue. Gotta work late? Not an issue—the center is open.
WeVillage’s nontraditional approach extends to the space. The well-crafted, 3,000-square-foot structure is state-of-the-art, with designated play areas for each age. There are toddler, transition, preschool and after-school programs. Enrichment classes, weekend care and camps are also offered.
And even the smallest of tots are welcome. The center accepts infants as young as 6 weeks old.
Main attraction: A climbing net—essentially a Tarzan-style indoors play area—which kids of all ages go bonkers over.
The Ultimate Sleepover
When Trish Healy’s newly adopted daughter—a 12-year-old foster child—asked to have her first sleepover party, the former Korn Ferry executive went all out—crafting a large, hand-sewn tent filled with mattresses and lush bedding where the girls could bond over a magical, shared experience. When guests raved afterwards, Trish was inspired to found WonderTent Parties.
There is a full range of tented sleepover experiences to choose from in just about any theme. For the Slumber Under (ages 3+), a tented experience is created for kids not yet ready for the full overnighter. The SleepOver caters to ages 7+. For the SleepOut (ages 12+), a ginormous outdoor tent is fabricated and stocked with comfy mattresses, lush blankets, bedside tables and lanterns.
Trish and her team provide everything needed: delivery, setup and styling, as well as breakdown and pickup the next day.
New attractions: WonderTent is now doing experiences for adults. The company recently did a “boho chic” 50th birthday party as well as a Dodger-themed surprise soiree that provided 10 female guests with sleeping quarters in a “WonderDome.”
Adventure in a Cube
Start your child’s love affair with food early. That’s one of the goals of Tummy Thyme, which combines food groups in striking color combinations in a fist-sized cube—all aimed at stimulating your baby’s palate and visual curiosity.
The online company is the brainchild of a Valley couple who came up with an innovative way of preparing food for their own daughter. Their signature product is a vibrant, fresh-frozen cube for babies and toddlers. The 4-ounce, preservative-free cubes—which layer ingredients in an attractive palette—are made with locally sourced (when possible) organic fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains and non-GMO proteins. Immediately after cooking, the various meals are frozen into cubes, locking in important vitamins and minerals without the need for preservatives.
For infants, dishes include Roasted Pear & Ginger with Greek Yoghurt, Japanese Sweet Potato with Coconut & Cilantro and Baked Atlantic Salmon with Asian Greens. Toddlers can choose from items like Baked Grass-fed Beef Spaghetti Bolognese, Savory Corn and Zucchini Muffins and Quinoa Mac n’ Peas.
New on the menu: a ready-to-serve line. The “grab and go” meals in a jar are refrigerator safe for up to three days and don’t require any preparation.
Let’s Do Lunch
In 2011, when her child was nearly a year old, Lisa Rotondi began making baby food for friends. The operation turned into a home/frozen meal delivery service for families, who then started asking for homemade, healthy, delivered meals for their children’s lunches. And Organic Kids L.A. was born.
Operating out of a commercial kitchen in North Hollywood (a nut-free facility), the company now delivers meals to schools across the city, including 15 private institutions here in the Valley. Lunches are available in three different sizes: small, medium or large.
The company gets 99% of its fresh fruits and veggies, as well as much of its frozen produce for smoothies, from a certified organic farmer. There are no pesticides or GMOs in any of the dishes. Red meat is mostly grass-fed and chicken is free roaming with non-GMO/pesticide-free feed. The company works with the La Crescenta-based Harmony Farms, which sells the Mary’s Free Range Chicken brand. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
Bonus: Organic Kids L.A. now has classes and summer camps for young cooking enthusiasts, and it recently started offering family take-home dinners as well.
Sabzee Mediterranean Market, an Encino grocery store, bakery and café from Hoss Zadeh, serves great fried trout.
Murray Wishengrad founded The Stand in 2003 and added son Jason to the mix the following year. In the early years, the family-run restaurant group focused on a nod to American classics like hot dogs and hamburgers. The Stand has taken a recent turn toward the future at a Northridge branch that features a more […]