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How Fun Empowers the Next Generation: The Funtastik Labs Philosophy

How Fun Empowers the Next Generation: The Funtastik Labs Philosophy. The children's amusement franchise offers a fun environment for kids to fall in love with STEAM.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 03/01/24

Funtastik Labs, the emerging science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) franchise, has created a model that breaks STEAM out of the traditional children’s education and daycare mold. By offering a wide range of enticing activities — including hands-on slime, robotics, art, and science experiments — along with a fun and welcoming vibe, the brand has cultivated an environment where kids can explore their passions with a feeling of support rather than a pressure to perform.

“Our focus on STEAM stems from our belief in their essential role in shaping critical thinking and spurring innovation,” explained Raj Gupta, co-founder and managing director of Funtastik Labs. “Science, arts, and engineering aren’t just great career options, they develop amazing skills in their practitioners. Scientists are experts in running experiments and building models of the world, engineers are amazing at solving problems and working within constraints, while artists are masters of communication and perspective. Not only are these tremendously valuable life skills no matter what profession a child takes up, they’re the basis of any great innovation.”

With kids getting most of their exposure to STEAM in daycares and schools, Funtastik Labs stands apart. 

“Schools and daycares are great at what they do — instilling a standardized set of curricula — but they aren’t always the best at inspiring children,” says Gupta. “Oftentimes, children are encouraged to focus on grades and perfection from an early age until they’re out of college. It’s a structure that unfortunately and unintentionally leads them to internalize that they’re good at some skills and not others regardless of the true underlying cause.”

Research over the last few decades has demonstrated that success in any endeavor is more a function of practice and grit versus talent. 

“We focus on creating that spark of interest and building passion. Because that’s what we believe drives kids to intrinsically want to do more of it and want to get better at it,” said Gupta.

There are no grades, no progress reports, no tests, no lectures, and no right answers at Funtastik Labs. Designed as a “play lab” for kids and families, it’s an environment children visit out of choice, with their peers, friends, or family, and are empowered to take ownership of the activity and make it their own.

“We view Funtastik Labs as complementing schools and daycares, not competing with them,” Roli Sangal, CEO of Funtastik Labs is clear: “Where schools provide rigor and depth, we recharge children’s spirits and nurture their passions for STEAM. We encourage them to explore these domains in a way that builds their confidence, helps them discover their own passions, and support the growth of skills without expectation or measurement.” Which is why Funtastik Labs has become a popular destination for school and daycare field trips.

The willingness to break beyond the school and daycare framework is the pinnacle of the Funtastik Labs model.

Kids go to Funtastik Labs on family outings, playdates, field trips, or camps and get to choose from a wide assortment of STEAM activities. 

“We want to capture their interest and help them intrinsically reframe their perspective of STEAM by experiencing joy, flow, and discovery,” Gupta said. “In doing so, we aim to encourage more participation and derive more enjoyment rather than internalizing the idea that they need to ‘do better’ and practice for the sake of academic performance. It’s something positive they can latch onto and let their natural curiosity and passion drive them deeper.”

Since its inception, Funtastik Labs has made hands-on science, arts, and engineering more accessible and enjoyable for all age groups and skill levels. Kids as young as 3, their parents, teenagers, couples, and grandparents can paint, make slime, play scientist, and even build and code robots (ages 5+). 

“What really propels me are those moments when we see parents smile because their child is insisting on staying longer to do more STEAM,” said Sangal. “By nurturing a love and appreciation for them, I believe we’re making an impact on the future these kids will create.”

This model is rare in the children’s entertainment space, and it’s even harder to come by in the franchise industry. Still, the leadership team at Funtastik Labs and its base of loyal fans in Texas have all seen the benefits firsthand. Gupta says they are working to bring their new and upgraded centers to children and families in more markets across the nation and have already started getting pre-bookings for their new Sugar Land, Texas, location opening this spring.

With plans to award franchises, Funtastik Labs is looking to partner with passionate entrepreneurs who share an interest in bringing these experiences to the children and families of their own communities. While the team has identified Florida and Texas as prime markets for growth, they recognize the need for a concept like Funtastik Labs everywhere and are open to exploring expansion in other new markets.

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