My Name Is ... Kristi Swen

Manager of Kids Wonder, opening this year at 7562 S. University Blvd.


About me

I'm a Colorado native. I was born at the Air Force Academy. I spent a large portion of my life in California. I went to San Francisco State and got my teacher's credential from Fresno Pacific University. I came back to Colorado 10 years ago.

I've been a lifelong teacher. I've taught preschool, elementary school, high school and adult education. I have also been a specialist and assistant principal, and I've worked at the Colorado Department of Education.

I have two kids and my husband, Cameron, has two, so we have a total of four kids. We are a blended family.

Starting a business

When I had young children, I would go to play centers and there was always this little sparkle of interest, but it was nothing I ever pursued. I had a successful public teaching job for over 20 years. It wasn't until my husband was doing his MBA at Colorado State University when we started talking about a business plan.

Three years ago we started to look at what existed in Colorado. We went and viewed 30 play centers. We took the pieces that we loved and tried to find what Colorado was missing. We came up with a concept that I think is unparalleled to anything in the state.

Our motto is learn, party and play. We are south metro Denver's only intentional play center. We are dedicated to the physical, intellectual, social and emotional intelligence of kids up to age 8. We have unstructured independent play that's been identified as an essential tool for developing young minds.

Inside Kids Wonder

We offer classes for kids ages 6 weeks to 4 years old, with activities that build on developmental skills, and enrichment and support classes for parents. We host parties of all kinds. On the community level, we have connected with over five different organizations that are providing education support for families.

We have a 13,000-square-foot facility on the border of Highlands Ranch. We are open seven days a week. What makes us different is that we have a “pretend town” with eight little buildings, including a restaurant, fire station, pet vet, home, school and grocery store. We believe strongly that kids need unstructured time to play. So often kids have very directive opportunities.

We have another area called whole body play that is foam-matted with two large inflatables. We have a healthy snack bar, gift shop with sustainable toys, a quiet spot — because we know some kiddos get overwhelmed — and exercise equipment for parents.

Fun fact

If I weren't working with kids, it would be with puppies.

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