Hatch is a play gym that opened at the Podium Mall today.

I learned about it from The Parenting Emporium’s post, but couldn’t really quite grasp what it is, that’s why we went on their opening day to find out!

In their about page, this is what’s written:

Opening up a world of options for kids with special needs
• Open Gym
• Open Play
• Open Space
• Classes out in the Open
• Open to all Abilities
What I initially noticed: unlike the typical play areas where you see what’s happening inside through glass walls, this offers more privacy. You will not see what equipment they have or who are inside from the outside.

I think to grasp the concept of this space, it’s best to visit. But i’ll tell you a bit about my impressions and learnings today.

Basically, it’s an indoor play space – but designed in such a way that the equipment can also be used for therapies for children with special needs.

From my understanding, their main market would be children with special needs, but since it’s a movement area, it is also open to all kinds of children. So to answer your question, yes, whether your child has extra needs or not, whether you’ve had your child assessed for any developmental concern or not, your child is welcome here.

Unlike typical play spaces, they have huge mirrors here.

As a mom who practices Montessori and RIE, I would say the space is a great opportunity to allow your child freedom of movement – there are lots of opportunities for your child to swing, crawl, walk, bounce, jump, roll, climb, etc. Gross motor skills can be highly refined in this space.

There seems to be a lack on fine motor skills work, though. I’m not sure if that’s something they’ll be adding, or something they bring out whenever someone goes for therapy sessions. [edit: The Hatch team reached out to me, and yes, they do have a lot of fine motor work pieces, but they’re in a closet, and you have to ask the staff for it. Any paying child is free to use it.]

They also have a wall climbing area designed by mountaineers. They have child-friendly holes that have cute designs, too!

If you can spot those corners with orange beddings, they can serve as quiet spaces. Because it was on soft opening earlier and they were open to everyone for free, it got a bit crowded and noisy. That orange spot became one of my son’s favorite spots to hide. I think he was finding it too noisy or crowded at times, so he would go there on his own to have his down time. They do have specific rooms for calming down, too.

This is what I saw – a room with padded walls and padded floor. I feel this is especially helpful for children with special needs who may be banging their heads at times to help calm themselves. What I would appreciate to see here for children in general though, would be some items to help a child calm down, like a calming jar, or books that talk about calming down, or a stress ball. But this whole place was supposedly designed with consultation from therapists, so they probably are more familiar with the purposes of the whole design.

This was a popular spot for many kids – the yellow box is actually a pit of balls. I think the balls was inviting enough to encourage children to jump in. Many children really liked this area.

They have an area for walking the line. This is one of the easiest ways to help a child gain balance and coordinate movements. Every Montessori classroom has this (mostly in the form of tape on the floor). My son enjoyed walking here several times.

They also have pilates balls and a balance board. I feel the round pilates balls will be more child-friendly if they had the smaller sizes, but they do have some smaller bouncing items in a different shape (which my son totally loved), so I guess they could use that, instead.

And they have a toddler room.

We’ve been playing in the other room, only to find out that room is for ages 5-13. And they have a smaller room meant for toddlers. It has this low swing, a rocker slash stepper, rocking animal, a small ball pit, a small slide, and a push vehicle. You know what my son liked the most in this room though? That orange net behind the swing. I think it could be used as a chair-hammock, but my son just kept pulling it while singing. He was dancing, he said.

Another part of the room for older children

I’m not sure if they will allow toddlers to go to the bigger room with the trampoline and the climbing wall and swings when they officially open since apparently, it’s for children ages 5 and up, but I certainly hope they do. That’s the room my toddler liked the most. [edit: The Hatch team reached out to me, and yes, if your child prefers to big room, s/he will be allowed! Yey!]

Here are some more details about the place:

* It’s a place that can be used for just play, or actual therapy.
* They have in-house therapists, but therapists outside are welcome to do sessions here, too!
* They also have closed rooms for therapies/ sessions/ developmental assessments. Developmental Pedias may do sessions here if they wish.
* Their therapists can also do assessment for your child/ren.
* You can hold birthday parties here!
* They will be having classes and seminars here, too. Follow them to learn more about it.

Okay, so a few more thoughts before I finish this post:

* I’m so happy a place like this exists – where children of all abilities are welcome! I love how there’s a beautiful space for play and therapy! It’s a great place where you can allow your child to discover and move on his/her own – because it’s safe enough for you to be able to allow risks.
* My favorite – they allow children to go barefoot (actually encourage it)! They’re the only place aside from Gymboree that does this from our experience. It’s always made me sad that children are required to wear socks in indoor play spaces – a lot of tactile experience and brain development is lost when we aren’t barefoot. So yey for this! PS: If a child wants to wear socks, though – they do allow it (except during therapy sessions, I think). But for adults, sorry, we are required to wear socks.
* I love the overall look of the place – it doesn’t look cluttered and busy. I love how each equipment can help a child with his/her developmental need, too!
* I just wish there would be things for fine motor work, too, next time. – [edit: they apparently have! But it’s stored in a closet. You have to ask them for it. They can be played/worked with by any paying child.]
* I really wish even toddlers will be allowed to access the big room on regular days – because if the only access available to toddlers is the smaller room, I’m not sure it’s worth the price. For our family, I know it already – it’s not. [edit: You can access the big room even if your child is below 5. They will be doing crowd management, though. So I’m not sure yet how they will do this. But yes, the good thing is the big playroom is open even to children below 5 if that’s where your child prefers to play.]
* Speaking of price, it’s more costly than the typical places. Double or triple the price, depending on where you compare it with. It’s probably smaller, too, because the typical play spaces have a lot of corners – one for pretend play, one for ball pits, one for general movement, etc. But, it looks a lot more peaceful, probably quieter on general days, and the equipment are more targeted to help children with their developmental needs.
* While the space is beautiful and purposeful, I cannot speak about its effectivity for children with special needs, because I am not sure what exactly their needs are. I do know though, that exposure to natural textures help all kinds of children. So I would love for this place to add natural materials in their space – rock floors, some soil and grass, some twigs and sand perhaps, dried leaves, etc. [edit: The Hatch team reached out to me, and they’ll be adding some natural stuff soon. Yey!]

Curious about their rates?

PHP 600 for one child and one adult
PHP 300 for another child/ sibling
PHP 150 for extra adult

PHP 850 for one child and one in-house therapist

*** Rates are discounted for children with PWD ID
*** You can also go for membership if you have PWD ID. The rate comes out cheaper.

I am not in any way connected to the company. I am just sharing my own experience today and relying on their Instagram and Facebook for the rates and other information. So for more questions and/or clarifications, please contact them:

4/F Podium Mall

Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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