House of Playful Soul

Thuy Petersen

House of Playful Soul




House of Playful Soul


Company Description

House Of Playful Soul or HOPS as we affectionately call it, is a children’s learning and development play center located in Forest Hills.  HOPS was purpose built to use play as the conduit for children and families to deliver on our founding principles to cultivate learning, connect with others, and serve our community together.  We call this Play With Purpose

I started the business because…

Because I love kids and believe they all deserve a safe space to learn, explore and play that stimulates them with open ended and sensory based activities.  I also believed that it needed to be an enjoyable experience for parents/caretakers as well.  I didn’t know I had sensory issues until I had kids and would feel so overwhelmed at some children’s places because the colors were so bright and primary and there was an excess of toys that my kids would ping pong from.  So we created a space that parents could feel peace and calm while kids got a unique play experience through our invitation to play

My business is unique in that…

We are purpose built to support families of children 0-2year old.  This is the market that is underserved with limited options for enrichment. Our space, events and classes are designed for this younger age group which brings great comfort to parents that allow the youngest to play, explore and learn safely.

You should reach out to me if…

You have kids 6mo-6yo and are looking for classes, special seasonal event, hosting a part or need a meaningful play experience for your children

Key values my business stands for are: 

  • We value personal growth.  Growth happens through active learning and life experiences.  We believe learning never ends and through our space and classes, both parents and children learn together
  • We value connection.  Connections to others is what makes life so rich and colorful.  We bring people together at HOPS and there is no purer connection than that between young children
  • We value community.  Life is made up of what we give rather than what we take.  We believe the joys of giving should be afforded to all even those youngest in our community

Winning QEDC StartUP! Competition will allow me to …

We’ve survived a tough year through a global pandemic that shut down our business a week a half after we opened for nearly 6 months.  We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish since reopening but our next phase is to scale our business.  And that means continuing to invest in the systems that will allow us to grow and reach more families.  This grant allows us to do that for our summer camp programs and fall classes.

Being a woman and minority entrepreneur means…

I can show my daughter there isn’t anything she can’t do.  I learned I was pregnant with my 3rd as we secured our space.  So she was with me for literally every step and stage through opening, lockdown, and reopening.  It also means I can support and mentor other women in their career ambitions or business ventures.  It’s how I give back for all those that supported and mentored me.

The most fulfilling moment in my business so far…

It isn’t just one moment.  It’s every moment we see kids connecting and making friends.  It’s every moment, we see a child master something we’re teaching.  It’s every moment we have a parent tell us, we are their first taste of normal and so grateful to have a space for their family.  I have held each one of these moments in my heart to give me strength through all the low moments of surviving this challenging time.

What keeps me motivated? 

It’s the families we have come to know and love.  We see what HOPS has meant to parents and their children and feel so grateful to offer any comfort and joy during a difficult time.  We care so deeply about the experience each family has when they visit us and that is evident in our events, classes, party and play experience that we offer.