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10 Children’s Activities Franchises To Watch in 2020

Parents will always invest in the enrichment of their children—and as a result, business opportunities in the children’s activities space are more viable than ever. 1851 selected the top franchise brands to dive into within this industry sector.

With many schools cutting programs related to art, science and physical activity, more and more parents around the country are faced with the challenge of finding a way to make up for such losses in their kids’ lives. Many businesses have been able to tap into this growing need through entertaining and engaging activities that put children in a position to gain valuable skills they can take with them throughout the rest of their lives.

“The children's activity industry is one of the fastest growing in the country, and families are faced with more choices than ever before,” British Swim School Director of Marketing Ashley Gundlach told 1851. “In addition to traditional activities like sports, arts and crafts, and music, we've seen the emergence of new options that didn't exist at a broader level previously, such as Bollywood dance lessons, or even fencing for kindergarteners! It's a fun time to be a kid, but as a parent, the options can be overwhelming.” 

Though it offers a much different service than British Swim School, Drama Kids International is also a player in the children’s activities space focused on providing children with valuable life skills.

“The segment has continued to expand,” Drama Kids International president Charlie Kerr said. He added that the key to success is when franchise businesses, like Drama Kids International, have a “strong curriculum that focuses on developing lifelong skills. We continue to add new programs for kids and introduce new curriculum so it is constantly evolving and improving.” 

Here are 10 children’s activity franchises keeping their opportunities competitive in the fast-growing space. 

Bricks 4 Kidz

Unit count: 570+

Investment range: $17,625 to $75,975

Franchise opportunity website:

Anyone who enjoyed their fair share of LEGOs as a child will appreciate this particular franchise opportunity. Bricks 4 Kidz is a mobile, home-based franchise that provides children from the ages of 3 to 13 the chance to learn STEM concepts through the beloved building blocks. Kids can even build models using LEGOs and then write code to control them—a decidedly modern adaptation to the classic form of children’s entertainment. The curriculum at Bricks 4 Kidz include preschool and after-school classes, a robotics program, Kidz Night Out evening sessions for parents to escape to date night, and more.

What you can learn from this brand: Bricks 4 Kidz celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, proving that no matter how niche the concept, innovation spurs longevity—and that parents are always willing to invest in the development of their children. 

Big Blue Swim School 

Unit count: 5

Investment range: $1,825,500 to $3,687,000

Franchise opportunity website:

This swim education brand was founded by former Olympic swimmer Chris DeJong, who lost to Michael Phelps by three-tenths of a second when seeking to qualify for the Games in 2008. That loss served as the catalyst for DeJong’s mission to reform competitive swimming at the youth level—eventually achieved through the founding of Big Blue Swim School. Today, the brand is rapidly expanding throughout the U.S., with multi-unit deals signed in Salt Lake City, Denver and more.  

What you can learn from this brand: Big Blue Swim School locations have two pools instead of one, which makes scheduling and rescheduling easier on families, especially those with multiple children. The brand also pursues real estate left vacant by big-box retail brands that couldn’t survive the retail apocalypse, making the brand incredibly appealing to landlords struggling to fill those spaces.

British Swim School 

Unit count: 200+

Investment range: $54,275 to $150,875

Franchise opportunity website:

British Swim School offers swimming lessons for everyone, from full-fledged adults to infants as young as three months old. British Swim School also offers a special abilities program to ensure that any and all kids can learn to be the best swimmers they can be. Water safety is a major theme in the curriculum at British Swim School, with all classes aimed at preventing child drowning through the teaching of proprietary techniques including the back float, considered the most important water survival skill.

What you can learn from this brand: “We were honored this year to receive accolades from several prestigious organizations, ranking on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 and Top Franchises under $150,000 lists, as well at the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies and Franchise Times Top 500 lists,” Gundlach said. “Our growth is a direct reflection on the strength of our program, our commitment to putting people first, and our dedicated franchise owners.”

Drama Kids International 

Unit count: Approximately 70

Investment range: $27,500 and up

Franchise opportunity website:

Drama Kids International has its roots in Perth, Australia, when actress Helen O’ Grady started teaching drama classes in 1979. The brand would eventually expand throughout Australia and the world, landing in the U.S. in 2000. In the program, children ranging from age four to age 17 attend drama classes held in schools, community centers and other public forums once per week for 40 weeks, with each class designed differently to provide a totally new learning environment.

While Drama Kids International franchisees are not required to be professional actors, they are asked to teach a few initial classes in order to really get to know the business. 

What you can learn from this brand: This past year, Drama Kids International celebrated an enrollment milestone: “We now have over 15,000 students enrolled in the U.S., which is greatly attributable to the very strong curriculum that we have and the overall concept,” Kerr said, adding the brand has also seen such success on the consumer side of the business due to the strong marketing support provided to its franchisees.

Gymboree Play & Music 

Unit count: 700+

Investment range: $143,080 to $273,450

Franchise opportunity website:

Many an early childhood education expert will stress the value of play, and Gymboree Play & Music brings that in droves. The brand specifically focuses on children aged 0 to 5 years and offers a variety of classes, including Baby Lab, Family Music and Family Art. Franchisees go through Gymbo University to learn the ropes and are supported by curriculum, equipment and marketing materials that are all created by early childhood development professionals.

What you can learn from this brand: A January 2019 CNBC report noted that the brand’s former parent company, Gymboree Group Inc., had filed for bankruptcy. However, the filing had no effect on Gymboree Play & Music, which was sold in July 2016—the brand still has franchise availability in a number of markets across the U.S. 

Kidcreate Studio 

Unit count: 11

Investment range: $108,800 to $231,750

Franchise opportunity website:

This art-centric brand encourages children ages 18 months to 12 years to get messy. Founded in 2008 by Lara Olson, a frustrated mom looking for a more immersive creative outlet for her son, Kidcreate Studio is an environment where kids can build confidence, problem-solving skills and social skills through creative expression. The brand is growing, with new locations set to open in Chicago, San Antonio and more and plans to expand into more major markets, such as Dallas.

What you can learn from this brand: Kidcreate Studio puts major emphasis on having fun and ditching the electronic devices so children have the chance to socialize and express themselves through art. Kidcreate Studio also offers franchisees a lucrative, two-fold business model by offering various classes and art-themed birthday parties through both its brick-and-mortar locations and on-the-go studio division.

Kinderdance International

Unit count: 150+ 

Investment range: $15,000 to $40,000

Franchise opportunity website:

Parents of more active children may rejoice in a franchise such as Kinderdance International, a concept that emphasizes play and education through dance, gymnastics and fitness. Kinderdance International is a home-based business, as classes are held in local child care spaces throughout the communities in which it operates. Franchise opportunities are divided into different levels based on the degree to which an owner wants to be involved in the teaching of the classes, an interesting model in the space that allows for the possibility of absentee ownership.

What you can learn from this brand: Kinderdance International celebrated its 40th anniversary in September, a milestone birthday for the brand. Since the brand does not require a brick-and-mortar location, a model that shields its business owners from the effects of e-commerce. 

Little Medical School 

Unit count: 40+ globally  

Investment range: $19,500, plus equipment and curriculum package of $13,100

Franchise opportunity website:

While STEM education is a popular emphasis underlying many concepts in the children’s activities sector, Little Medical School takes a different approach to science. The brand teaches children the basics of science and medicine including first aid and how to use medical instruments—all through a mobile, home-based business model. Programs include the Little Veterinarian School, the Little Nursing School and the Little Dental School.

What you can learn from this brand: Little Medical School was recognized this year by outlets such as Franchise Gator and Entrepreneur Magazine as both a top and fast-growing franchise, proving that when it comes to children’s activities, a science-forward concept is tough to beat—especially when approached through the lens of medicine. 

Nutty Scientists

Unit count: 300+

Investment range: $35,500 to $43,800

Franchise opportunity website:

Another contender in the science space is Nutty Scientists, an international franchise headquartered in Doral, Florida with locations in more than 40 countries. The brand works with children ages 3 to 16 and offers after-school programs, awareness campaigns and special events and parties. Nutty Scientists offers both a home-based and brick-and-mortar model, providing franchisees with flexible ownership options in an industry that doesn’t usually offer much in that regard. 

What you can learn from this brand: Not only does Nutty Scientists try to encourage a love of science, the brand takes a long-term approach by also actively teaching students about conservation, a topic of rising importance in the current global climate.

songs for seeds

Unit count: 23

Investment range: $92,250 to $122,650

Franchise opportunity website:

As unique a franchise concept as there is, songs for seeds focuses on laying the foundation for early childhood education through music and musical activities. Franchisees are not required to have a brick and mortar location; instead, their business works through partnerships with local schools and other spaces that cater to children in which the brand hosts music classes. The brand’s interactive 45-minutes classes encourage children to sing, dance, pick up an instrument and play along with a live, three-piece band while simultaneously teaching development through concepts like shapes, colors, numbers, counting and more. 

What you can learn from this brand: As more schools cut art-related programs due to a lack of proper funding, including music, and as businesses fight for survival in the age of e-commerce, songs for seeds combats both of these issues. The brand has also carved out quite the niche for itself in the space by offering programs for the youngest of little ones, from newborns up to 6-year-olds.