Her two-year-old son was the inspiration Anne Broussard needed last year to open Wiggle Room, an indoor play area for children in Hinesburg.
“I thought there were limited activities for that age group,” she said, “and I thought that offering a space where caregivers could come would be a good service, and needed in the area.”
Broussard admits that when she first opened her play area on Mechanicsville Road in October of 2015, many people thought it was a day care center, but parents and other caregivers have been delighted that it’s something different. Wiggle Room has a large collection of age-appropriate toys including an area with mats and soft-play equipment, and a ball pit where children who fall will not get hurt. There is also a toddler slide, a play kitchen, a train table and a shelf full of books, cars, trucks and other toys. Visiting children range from newborns to up to five years of age.
Caregivers pay $8 per visit to come with one child and $5 for each additional child. Additional adults are free of charge and Broussard noted that many parents come with adult friends. There is no time limit on the visits and those who want to come on a regular basis can purchase a ten-visit pass for $70. Many caregivers come once a week with their charges. Broussard also hosts birthday parties and notes that several day cares have made field trips to her facility.
“I’ve met so many really great families and children,” she said. “It’s been a great experience so far.” Broussard has been pleasantly surprised by the geographic range of Wiggle Room customers. “People come from all over Chittenden County and beyond,” she said. “I’ve even had people come up from southern Vermont.”
Broussard moved to Hinesburg in 2007, but later spent four years living in France with her family. That experience, together with a background as a high school teacher as well as in customer service, helped her come up with the idea of opening Wiggle Room.
“I think living abroad really challenged me,” she said. “Living in another culture and speaking another language makes you take risks. It set me up for a challenge. I wanted to try something new.”
Broussard is enjoying the interaction with her customers. “It’s really fun to spend time with the babies and toddlers and preschoolers as well as the moms and caregivers,” she said. “I’ve met so many amazing moms, grandmothers, and babysitters who have their own story. It’s really rewarding to be able to spend time with all kinds of people.”
Broussard has a five-minute commute from her Hinesburg home, which she and her family returned to in 2014. “On a daily basis I’m not sure how many people will come, but I feel like the space is fun, clean and safe,” she said. “As a mom, I appreciate that people can come when they want and watch their kid play and play with them. It’s something that I would want and I’m happy to offer it to others in the area.”