By Jennifer Toback, Contributing Blogger
We recently held a “Gymnastic Hawaiian Lulu” themed 5th birthday party for my daughter at Kids ‘N Shape’s Staten Island Location (there is another location in Howard Beach, Queens). Kids ‘N Shape, which is run by Paul, Robert and Joanna Guarneri, has a 5,000-square-foot play area which is equipped with such children’s attractions as a bounce house, ball pit, 32-foot inflatable obstacle course, a zip line, air hockey and more. There is also a big open space that has scooters, balls and soft play equipment. My 2 ½ year old especially enjoyed the scooter,which was perfect for tiny hands and easy to control. The soft ball pit was also a big hit among the younger kids as well.
“At Kids ‘N Shape, we foster physical activity that is geared toward improving and developing children’s gross motor skills,” said Paul Guarneri, 29, who runs the Tottenville-based business with his brother Robert, 31, and sister, Joanna Guarneri, 24.
Growing up watching their father run a children’s exercise and play center that put smiles on thousands of youngsters’ faces, the Guarneri siblings aspired to one day open a place of their own.
While the elder Guarneri — whose business was in Brooklyn and later in Queens — has recently stepped down, his children have opened a children’s fitness and recreation outlet on Staten Island to help kids enjoy “free play.”
The Guarneris want children to enjoy athletic activities and recreation that fewer kids are opting for amid the electronic age.
“A lot of kids are at home glued to their video games, computers and iPads. This is a good way to give them the exposure to the activities a lot of us grew up with that seem to be on the decline,” Guarneri said. “Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. There aren’t too many places like this to give them the chance to learn how to play.”
Birthday parties are offered for kids 1 to 10 years old, and offers structured activities, from parachute games to “friendly” sports competitions. I especially liked that my daughter was the center of attention with the host calling her name and making her feel very special during the activities. We had made a special request for my daughters’ favorite limbo and they were very accommodating.
Party packages range from $375-$575 with add-ons. Upon arrival each child is checked in using an iPad, which was very organized and specific.
Included in the packages are invitations, balloons, drinks, coffee, paper goods, pizza for the children and ice cream cake.
Recommendations: I would recommend you supply an additional cake, as well as your own paper goods. The cake that’s offered in package is quite small and many of the our adult guests did not get a piece. Also, the paper goods that are included in the package are very plain, white with clear cups and no colored table cloths. Also, children under 3 are free. If the child is 3, then it is an additional $20-$25 charge.
Another suggestion for your party is to include extra pizza and food for the adults as there wasn’t enough pizza for our adults, but we brought in our own food for our guests.
The facility also can accommodate school class trips.
Products and services
Kids ‘N Shape offers a regular schedule of open play times where kids can enjoy the many different fitness equipment housed in the colorful recreation facility.
153 Main St.
Staten Island, N.Y., 10307
Jan. 2, 2013
I received a small discount for my party in exchange for this review, but as always, my opinions are my own.
Currently living in Staten Island, New York, Jennifer Toback is a mother of two vivacious and active daughters ages 5 and 2 1/2. She holds a Bachelors in Music and a Masters in Education and is currently a full time elementary school music teacher. Writing reviews has been such a wonderful opportunity to meet other Mommy bloggers and review some amazing products. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with you.