1851 names 10 leading kids activity franchise brands with over 50 units.
Children absorb their environments like sponges, so it’s natural for parents to look for constructive settings for kids to spend their time that put them in a position to gain valuable skills to take with them throughout the rest of their lives. Those that function differently than traditional classroom settings provide children with a novel arena to challenge themselves and be challenged. These are the brands that have nicely married fun and skill development to provide a valuable service to children and their parents.
Drama Kids International
Unit count: Over 1,500 locations in 25 countries
Investment range: $28,800-$59,750
Drama Kids has been the exclusive U.S. provider of Australian TV actress Helen O’Grady’s developmental drama program since it made its way to America 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 creating a unique and novel environment to learn in so no two weeks are the same. Activities are structured to teach students public speaking, collaboration and social skills while developing leadership, creativity and self-confidence along the way. Drama Kids also offers a variety of summer camps.
My Gym Children’s Fitness Center
Unit count: More than 550 units worldwide
Investment range: $36,750-$244,200
As youth physical fitness becomes more of a priority in the U.S. and across the globe, My Gym Children’s Fitness Center has occupied an increasingly essential role in the children’s activity segment. Founded in 1983 in Southern California, the brand has steadily grown thanks to its in-demand service offering and benefits for franchisees that have increasingly led to multi-unit development. My Gym Children’s Fitness Centers teach movement, tumbling and exercise classes to kids from the ages of three months to 9 years old. Beyond classes, centers host child birthday parties, summer camps and community events.
Unit count: 290 centers in 32 states
Investment range: $110,140-$353,270
Technology is an integral part of everyday life, even for children. Code Ninjas harnesses this interest in an educational setting, teaching kids to code through an engaging, game-based curriculum that develops teamwork, logic, math and problem-solving skills. Operating outside of traditional extracurricular activities, the brand is able to tap into a segment of children aged seven to 14 that are alternatively engaged, while still appealing to everyone. Code Ninjas offers drop-in, after-school and camp-based learning sessions, with some locations even offering classes on Friday nights so parents can have a much-deserved night out. The brand has exploded in growth in 2018 thanks to an active partnership between its operational and development teams.
School of Rock*
Unit count: More than 200 locations across the globe
Investment range: $169,350-$399,100
School of Rock is a performance-based music education franchise that has expanded to a worldwide presence over the last two decades, teaching over 26,000 students in nine countries. School of Rock’s curriculum caters to children of all ages and is tailored to their specific interests. From weekly group classes for preschoolers using hand percussion to teach rhythm to an All-Star program that takes children 17 and younger on a multi-city, nationwide tour, the brand’s approach taps into the passion of every young musician to help them realize their full potential.
Romp n’ Roll
Unit count: 200 locations
Investment range: $241,000-$360,500
Romp n’ Roll is in the business of childhood development for children aged three months to five years, offering them and their parents a wide array of award-winning classes in music, art, gym, science, dance and more. The brand’s classroom setting, an imaginative and playful environment that encourages learning through diverse, research-based activities, develops kids’ skills and abilities to prepare them to enter the school system. The brand operates on a cost-effective and automatically renewing membership fee model, leading Romp n’ Roll to success in multiple countries. The brand also offers summer camps and birthday parties as learning settings for kids.
e2 Young Engineers
Unit count: Operating in 150-plus territories worldwide
Investment range: $36,400-$59,183
e2 Young Engineers is a home-based children’s franchise that provides education and tutoring services to children through a STEM curriculum utilizing LEGO and K’nex bricks to teach engineering, computer coding, math and physics. The Israeli company has expanded its operation to 43 countries, helping about 25,000 students gain skills in class sizes no larger than 16 students, keeping the learning experience intimate and personalized. e2 Young Engineers collaborates with local schools, community centers, libraries, museums and anywhere else children assemble to offer its services to children aged four years to 14 years.
Unit count: Over 140 locations worldwide
Investment range: $17,950-$46,100
Kinderdance International turned the traditional dance studio concept on its head by recognizing the lack of preschool-age students taking lessons and creating an on-site dance instruction business. The brand now works with preschools, child care centers, school systems, community centers and more by teaching group dance, music and fitness. Kinderdance International offers programs for 15-month-olds to five-year-olds, with a select number of other programs offered to six through 12-year-olds. The brand employs a methodology that focuses on children’s development of social, communication and motor skills while they engage in activities that help them gain a better sense of touch, feel, sight and sound.
British Swim School
Unit count: More than 100 locations
Investment range: $92,900-$239,400
British Swim School offers programs for kids of all ages to learn how to swim, preventing child drownings by teaching proprietary techniques that include the back float, considered the most important water survival skill. Experienced instructors teach more than 13,000 lessons per week to specific age groups, including to children as young as three months old. Coupled with swim lessons are water safety education and awareness classes aimed to reduce the chance of child drownings. To minimize maintenance and upkeep costs for franchisees, British Swim School rents existing pools in the area as a location for services. The brand just recently opened its first center in Indiana, marking its 21st state of operation.
Unit count: Over 90 locations across the U.S. and Canada
Investment range: $41,250-$48,120
Young Rembrandts was founded by mom and watercolor artist Bette Fetter in 1988 to give children a place for artistic expression. Fetter’s vision began with her hosting in-home art classes for preschoolers with an emphasis on drawing, the fundamental skill of all visual arts. Over time, Fetter developed and fine-tuned an original, step-by-step method to teach children drawing, and the techniques and subject matter were adapted to two age groups comprised of 3- to 5-year-olds and 6- to 12-year-olds. Young Rembrandts turned to franchising in 1997, and now holds drawing and cartooning classes at daycare centers and various after-school programs across the country and beyond. Franchisees enjoy a home-based franchise model with a relatively low investment due to the lack of a brick-and-mortar presence.
Unit count: Approximately 80 locations worldwide
Investment range: $47,600-$62,450
Challenge Island is another STEAM-oriented (science, technology, engineering, art and math) educational enrichment franchise that is fast-tracking its expansion plans. Programs are offered to students between the ages of four and 14 in the form of after-school classes, field trips, camps, parties and more. Sessions take place on different thematic “islands” where children tackle different intellectual, creative and educational challenges with their group members, or their “tribes.” The cross-curricular activities develop kids’ real-world social skills like team building and problem-solving in an active and engaging environment, while also providing supplemental education opportunities to their classroom curriculum.
*Brands marked with an asterisk are clients of 1851 Franchise or No Limit Agency.