New business focuses on ‘playing with a purpose’

March 29, 2018

As Andrea Boerigter has watched her new business, Bloom, prepare to open next week, she’s convinced the kids who will play and learn there won’t want to leave.

“I’m all about playing with a purpose,” said Boerigter, a pediatric speech and language pathologist. “And I’m passionate about family development and family enrichment. So I wanted so badly to create a space where this is possible, and I think we did it.”

Bloom, which is located at the Park Ridge Galleria at 26th Street and Western Avenue, is aimed at kids age 2 through 8. It features a large motor and sensory gym with a ball pit, monkey bars, climbing wall and 12 rotating swings.

“It’s not like playground swings,” Boerigter explained. “They provide developmental skills, whether it’s balance or core stability, things like that. What’s so cool is that every aspect of Bloom isn’t just fun. It’s functional in at least two areas of development.”

Another focal point is a “tiny town” that didn’t exactly live up to its name. Kid-sized houses represent a diner, grocery store, barn, hospital and repair shop where they can play as parents interact with them.

“It’s huge, which is so cool and fun,” Boerigter said. “We tried to keep it really open, so kids don’t feel like they’re in a separate room, but you can see into each building in town, which I think is so cool.”

Open play starts April 2, but an open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. It’s aimed at educators, child care providers and parents.

“I want to show them different aspects and how they can utilize it and what makes it different than an indoor play center,” Boerigter said.

Annual memberships and day passes are available. A pass is good all day, as “our target audience usually consists of quite a few nappers,” Boerigter said. “So I want a mom to be able to go play at 8 a.m., play for two hours, come home and do lunch and nap, and if they want to come back in the afternoon, they can.”

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Parties are available during open hours using a party room and after hours with reservations. For information, visit

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New business focuses on ‘playing with a purpose’

From a “tiny town” to a sensory gym, every element of play at Bloom is designed to help kids develop.

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