We know it can be hard to find an indoor play space that caters to tykes with developmental delays. And finding one that isn’t overwhelmed by large crowds, bright lights and colors and noise levels can be even harder. That’s why we’re super excited for the opening of Roo’s World of Discovery. This new play space in downtown Kirkland is where little joeys can come play and feel welcome, no matter what their developmental level. And it’s where kids with special needs will find a calm and relaxing environment, encouraging peaceful, playful learning.
photo: Roo’s World of Discovery Facebook page
The Inspiration Behind the Play Space
Michelle Landwehr, founder and owner, drew her inspiration to open Roo’s World of Discovery from her three-year-old daughter who was born premature and has experienced developmental delays and sensory issues. After visiting an amazing play space on the East Coast, inspired by Maria Montessori and Reggio-Emilia, Landwehr decided to take her early childhood Montessori training and experience to create Roo’s World of Discovery. “I created this space for families with children of all abilities to play in a peaceful environment and connect with others who are going through the same experiences,” said Landwehr. As a first-time parent of a child with special needs, Landwehr felt even more isolated and alone. By opening Roo’s World, Landwehr hopes to give moms, dads and caregivers a safe place to connect and share their stories.
photo: Jennifer B. Davis
A Nurturing Environment
This Montessori-inspired environment, geared towards ages 0-5, provides a tranquil (yes, parents, we said tranquil) and nurturing environment amid the bustle of Kirkland’s waterfront. And it’s not only engaging and nurturing to the Littles; parents, grandparents and caregivers will find the same extra focus and attention from the comfortable seating (comfy couches and padded chairs) and dedicated times for Dad & Me Dates to the Mommy Mixers, Grandparent’s Play Days and Story Time Yoga.
Are you a new mommy? Roo’s World of Discovery offers new mom classes such as Breastfeeding Essentials and New Baby Care which might just be the push you need to get out the door with your little bundle of joy. Landwehr wants to provide a nurturing environment for parents and caregivers to interact and is hoping through a membership focus and set classes and activities each week, she will help build community and sharing between kids and adults. Sounds like a win-win to us!
Who Will Benefit
All children and families are welcome at Roo’s World of Discovery, however tykes who might benefit most from this type of environment include children who are introverts and shy away from larger, noisier crowds, have developmental delays, physical delays or disabilities or sensory processing disorders. Kids who are medically fragile or receiving physical or occupational therapy might also benefit from this play space since Roo’s World of Discovery takes special care to use green cleaning products to sanitize their toys and space daily and strives to keep a healthy play and learning environment at all times.
photo: Jennifer B. Davis
Party Like It’s Your Birthday
Looking for a space to throw your birthday boy or girl’s next party? Roo’s World of Discovery is available for private events like birthdays, baby showers and mommy group play dates. Choose your event package: Play Party or Play and Activity Party and Roo’s World of Discovery will provide dedicated staff to help set up and facilitate the celebration as well as cut and serve cake or cupcakes and clean up. Party packages include two hours of exclusive access to Roo’s World of Discovery, 20 minutes of set up, 90 minutes for the party and 10 minutes for clean up. Everyone in your party will also receive a one day admission coupon to Roo’s World of Discovery for use on a future visit. Celebrations can be hosted on Fridays from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1:30 p.m.– 6 p.m. Note: Roo’s World of Discovery only hosts one party per day.
Another truly thoughtful offering is the discount provided to lil’ hoppers who visit on the same day as an appointment at Children’s Hospital. Just bring your Seattle Children’s patient sticker with you to Roo’s World of Discovery and voilà – post-doctor-visit fun!
photo: Jennifer B. Davis
In addition to this awesome play space, you will find a boutique shop featuring eco-friendly toys and books for babies and children as well as products for pregnancy and motherhood. Be sure to browse the shelves and see what’s in stock before or after your visit.
Good to Know
1. Roo’s World of Discovery is a nut-free zone.
2. The play space is designed for ages 0-5. Kids ages 5-10, with special needs, are welcome during sensory hours.
2. Limited snacks and socks are available for purchase.
3. There is a changing table and extra diapers and wipes, if you need them.
4. You will find Bumbo chairs in the restroom, so you don’t have to worry about your little one crawling away.
5. Quiet music is played in the background to inspire your child’s development.
6. The play space provides a calm and relaxing ambiance that encourages peaceful, playful learning which means you will not find bright lights or colors. There is also a special sensory room to calm kids down.
7. Many of the toys in the space are designed for kids with sensory processing challenges.
7. Downtown Kirkland offers an array of restaurants, coffee houses, snack shops and ice cream shops all within walking distance of Roo’s World of Discovery
Roo’s World of Discovery provides a variety of membership options and a limited number of drop-in passes each day.
$20/Day – Drop-In (good for all day)
$37Month – Mini Membership (two days/month for one child)
$85/Month – Limited Membership (afternoons & weekends)
$50/Month – Monthly Infant (under age 1)
$115/Month – Annual membership (unlimited access and visits per month)
$375/Year – Professional membership (unlimited weekdays for licensed, credentialed and insured physical and occupational therapists and speech language pathologists—verified credentials required)
Hours: Mon., Wed. & Thurs., 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri., 9:30 a.m.-5 pm., Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; closed Tuesdays. Low sensory hours are available daily; check their schedule and make a reservation.
Do you plan to visit Roo’s World of Discovery? Have you already been? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.
— Jennifer B. Davis