April 25th is Bring Your Kid To Work Day and what better way to tell your little one what you do for work than bring them to your actual place. But, wait. You work from home? Although, your office might be in a shared family space or a separate room, we decided to shake things up and give all the parents who WFH an idea of how to celebrate this day.
We visited a place called Wild Child Gym, located in Culver City. It's family friendly, work friendly (in progress) and most of all, exciting for both kids and parents. We interviewed, the Owner, Wai who gave us all the deets on the ideation and opening the doors of a place dear to his heart.
How it all started
Aloha! We are Wai and Allison Sallas, husband and wife duo + co-founders of Wild Child Gym. We opened in gorgeous downtown Culver City on November 5th, 2019 and have never looked back! As parents of two young sons, we wanted to build a space that matched our priorities as a family and help bring community together. Our concept is the marriage of our expertise. I have worked with children for the last 10+ years, both as a franchise business owner and coach for all ages. Alli is a fashion veteran, working as a buyer for companies like Anthropologie, Lucky Brand, Disney and currently, as the VP of Merchandising and Buying for Sole Society. Wild Child is our brain child, our passion project and was created with the explicit intent of building a space that parents + children would equally enjoy. We offer a unique children's play experience and believe the environment should act as an extra teacher. It's this concept that led us to create the beautiful natural elements offered exclusively at Wild Child. It’s an understated, yet rich sensory experience specifically designed for young children. From our authentic Manzanita trees to climb and swing from, to our beloved grassy hill to run up and slide down. Children feel a connection to nature here. All our of equipment is handmade by master craftsmen and locally sourced. Alli grew up in Sedona, Arizona and I am from Hawaii. Creating and maintaining a connection to the beauty and wonder of nature is very important to our brand. You can definitely feel these influences in the space at Wild Child. Ultimately, it’s a bit California cool with a distinct Hawaiian vibe.
We took a minimalist approach because so many times we have entered a children's facility and been overwhelmed, as have our children. We believe that creating a beautiful environment like this encourages a child to be more creative, imaginative, interactive and playful. It also allows more room to run and play without having their impulses being stretched every which way. We want to be a space that sparks joy and fosters (and protects) the magic of childhood. Everything we use, teach and sell here is chosen with intention and purpose. Mr. Rodgers said, "for children, play is serious. Play is really the work of childhood." And we take that to heart.
Who can join? What age range can enjoy the space?
Our current class curriculum is perfect for children 6 months to 8 years old. We have plans to launch our infant classes very soon. However, our designated age groups are more of a guideline than a strict cut off. Children grow and develop very differently. We can help determine the best class group for your child, so please just reach out. Our main goal is to be there for children, to help them build confidence and strength. Studies show that active children are more likely to be healthier, successful, balanced adults. We want to be a part of their first steps towards successful lifetime patterns.
What classes can kids and parents enjoy?
We currently offer signature classes, Wild Play and Enrichment classes for children and families
The Signature classes available are: Movers (6 months - 12 months), Cruisers (13 months - 23 months), Bruisers (2 - 2 and a half), Super Bruisers (2 and a half - 3), Beginnings Skills and Development (3-5), Advanced Skills and Development (5-8). These classes are taught by our experienced teachers and are a unique blend of structured activities, games and child led free play. We incorporate music, movement and imaginary play into every class.
Wild Play or free play is unstructured play and is just as vital to a child's development. Our monthly membership includes a combination of Signature Classes + Wild Play, and drop-ins are always welcome for non-members as well (pending space availability.)
We aim to be a community hub and offer a growing roster of enrichment classes for both the kiddos and parents. Parent and Me Yoga, Wild Child Music and Wild Child Art to name a few. For families we offer Conscious Parenting Workshops + Family Circles, Date Night (where you can drop your little one off on the First Friday of every month, and they'll play at Wild Child) and family events. We are intentionally growing this roster and intend to offer additional free workshops and speaker series throughout the year + more pop ups and collaborations with local brands and professionals we admire and/or recommend.
You mentioned that co-working is a potential future feature. Tell us more.
Anything is possible! Serving our community is always at the top of our list, so if we have a true demand for more co-working opportunities, it is definitely something we can explore. Our goal is to support families through all phases of early family life. We know it takes a village, and we just want to be a part of it.
Play, Grow, + Aloha,