Dropping in for fun and play in Washougal

Mother of four opens child care center in Evergreen Marketplace

A mother of four has opened a business that caters to a segment of the population she knows well — busy parents of young children.

Shannon Gruelle, of Washougal, opened Get it out! Genuine Play, in December of 2017, to offer drop-in childcare in the Evergreen Marketplace, near Safeway, in Washougal.

She said the location makes it convenient for parents who want to drop off their children for an hour or longer while they go grocery shopping or get their nails done at a local nail salon.

“Parents can go workout or have a lunch date,” Gruelle said.

Sarah Clifford, of Washougal, has utilized the drop-in child care services for her 13-month-old, Lincoln, on at least five different occasions.

“It’s nice to know you can run errands, and they are safe,” Sarah Clifford said of dropping her child at Gruelle’s child care business. “Shannon is great. It is clean. There are cameras, and it’s a great location.”

At Get it out! Genuine Play, arts and crafts are featured on Mondays, while music-oriented activities occur on Tuesdays. Sports-themed activities are held on Wednesdays, and reading and bookmaking happen on Thursdays. Fridays feature interactive games such as “Duck, Duck Goose” and “Hide and Seek,” while Saturdays are reserved for dance-related activities.

Gruelle named her business after an expression she has often used with her children.

“Let’s take them somewhere, so that they can ‘get it out’ — their energy,” she said.

“Parents Nights Out” are held from 5 to 9 p.m., on the first and last Saturdays of the month.

“(There is) a strong need for parents to connect with another,” Gruelle said.

Her experience caring for children includes working at the Kids Club Fun & Fitness in Vancouver. While there, Gruelle taught swimming and gymnastics and assisted in the preschool classroom. She also has worked as a nanny.

Gruelle’s own children are 11, 8, 6 and 4 years old. Skyler Gruelle, 4, enjoys playing with the toy cars and trucks and the blocks in the “building zone” of Get it out! Genuine Play. His favorites are the purple and blue toy cars.

Scarlette Filion, 3, of Washougal, enjoyed spending time in the bounce house and the play kitchen. There are also doll houses and art areas.

The facility can be rented for birthday parties on Sundays.

Gruelle plans to offer half-day and full-day preschool, for children ages 2-and-1/2 to 5 years, Monday through Friday, starting in April.

“A lot of parents are asking for full daycare,” she said. “The local places have waiting lists.”

Get it out! Genuine Play, at 3307 Evergreen Way, Suite 604, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 360-835-1678, email getitoutgenuineplay@gmail.com or visit www.getitoutgenuineplay.com.