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Meet Carrie Shoup of PlayLab in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Shoup.

Carrie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began working with children as a youth softball coach while completing my undergraduate degree at The University of Notre Dame. After graduating I moved to London to work as an ambassador for the sport of softball and developed youth leagues throughout the country. I returned to the US to teach preschool while completing a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Loyola Marymount University. While teaching preschool, I became interested in the behavior of young children and shifted to working as a Behavior Analyst for at-risk youth in Los Angeles. After spending 6 years helping parents to better understand and connect with their children, I became a mother myself. During the early months of being a mother, I realized how isolating and challenging the transition can be. I wanted to create a place where parents and kids feel supported and have fun, thus, the idea for PlayLab was born.

After my daughter was old enough, we started to explore the local play places and I was inspired to design an amazing play space that would be perfectly accessible for infants and toddlers, where different age children up to preschool and kinder could safely mingle and play together. I loved the idea of making a place for parents to find play groups and Parent & Me classes, and supportive parenting groups especially in the early years, when parents really want to connect with other local families.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I am not a business minded person-I am a people person-which is good when working with kids and families. But not so good when it comes to starting your first business. Luckily, my husband, Jason Shoup, was able to teach me a lot about the ins and outs of starting and running a business having had his own business from before we started dating.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with PlayLab – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
PlayLab is more than just a play place – we are a growing community of like-minded parents, learning and connecting with other families, hosting weekly classes and groups, parent & child classes, and playgroups.

I reached out to my network and gathered teachers with a similar child-centered philosophy to create her class offerings within the family center side of PlayLab. Many of the classes give parents new skills and ideas about engaging their children in types of play that encourage healthy development, emotional resilience, and school readiness.

Play is the way children discover and make sense of the world. PlayLab’s creative play space is the perfect place for children to be curious, experiment and share their play with others as they are engaged through the senses. Our child-centered toys are carefully selected to stimulate open-ended imaginative play, and most are made of natural and sustainable materials. Allowing children the freedom to play builds better problem solving and emotional resiliency, as we play nurtures developing brains.

PlayLab had a very stylish and distinctive look compared to other indoor play spaces. My sister, Georgie Wisen-Vincent, designed the space to be funky and cool, and at the same time calm and-believe it or not-relaxing for adults. I am a parent too, and I wanted PlayLab to be a place where parents looked forward to going with their kids, and to bond with other parents-not just some place to pass the time before nap time.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are looking forward to making continued improvements to PlayLab, and adding new and interesting play experiences. We have this great outdoor area that we would like to turn into a sensory garden, with water tables, messy art, and sand play!

We also are always looking for ideas for fun offerings for parents like exciting guest speakers or hosting date nights at PlayLab. In the fall, we plan on offering a couples Improv class!


  • Day Pass $10
  • Monthly Unlimited Membership $60, $55 if you sign up for automatic payments
  • 3 month Unlimited Membership $135

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nicola Borland Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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