Developing Kids: KidStrong opens in Noblesville with focus on physical activities, socialization, problem-solving


A new development training center in Noblesville wants to impact children through fitness, problem solving and building confidence.

KidStrong focuses on brain, physical and character development at its facility, 9510 E. 146th St., Suite 102, for children walking up to age 11, said Samantha Snowden, who owns and operates KidStrong with her business partner, Manuel Torres. Snowden said the overall goal of KidStrong is to build stronger and more confident kids.

“We want kids to be able to handle adversity with grace, not be afraid to raise their hand in the classroom, know how to respect their peers on the field or in the hallways,” Snowden said.

Snowden said once she learned about the KidStrong franchise, she knew she wanted to pursue it. The Noblesville facility opened its doors Aug. 15, and children up to age 3 have their parents on the floor with them, while those ages 4 and up participate in independent classes.

Classes are led by two coaches, who lead students using age-appropriate curriculum that changes on a monthly basis, said Melany Sherrill, director at KidStrong in Noblesville.

“This programming builds upon itself,” she said. “We’re very parent-focused.”

Snowden said with her background in adult fitness, she saw how overcoming physical challenges changed people’s mentality, confidence and health. She ultimately decided to open her own KidStrong franchise, she said.

“Knowing that KidStrong does that for kids just means that we’re providing an opportunity to build confidence at an early age,” Snowden said.

KidStrong is considered to be a milestone-accelerator, meaning that when children meet those milestones, it gives them a goal to strive for, according to Snowden. Parents also have a way to gauge their child’s progress, she added.

And KidStrong isn’t just for kids as parents can also get engaged with their children during classes. Parent education is also offered at the facility, and feedback is provided to parents every week on how their child is progressing, Snowden said.

“We teach them why we’re doing what we’re doing and how they can work on it at home,” she said. “KidStrong is so much more than an in-facility membership. You get reliable information directly from child development experts.”

Drew Crabtree, head coach at KidStrong, leads child development classes that are approximately 45 minutes each. One of his recent classes for children up to age 3 had kids learning sign language, five-finger breathing and follow the leader. He was joined by fellow coach Ross Eckert, who helped guide parents and children through various exercises.

Crabtree also pointed to a large television monitor during the session, saying phrases such as, “I am strong,” “I am brave” and “I can do this.”

“We try to unlock those powers so parents know what (their children) can do and achieve,” Crabtree said.

Carmel resident Betsy Simpson was among the parents who attended a recent class with her 2-year-old son, Brooks. Simpson was all smiles as she watched her son navigate a mini-obstacle course.

Fellow parent Heather Boehm, who lives in New Palestine, also attended with her 17-month-old daughter, Raelynn, and said she decided to enroll her child after seeing an ad on Facebook. Boehm said she thought KidStrong would help her daughter with developing social skills and develop physically since she is the only child at home.

“I just want her to be a kid and just get all that experience,” Boehm said.

Boehm also said that Raelynn has been watching and mimicking other children who have joined her in the classes, which has been beneficial as well.

“It’s very good skills for her to learn,” she said.

Sherrill also said that employees at KidStrong are excited to see children grow, describing it as being “a very structured environment” that is also designed to be fun.

“Parents know the rhyme and reason of why we’re doing what we’re doing,” she said.

Sherrill added that KidStrong focuses on three pillars as part of its mission: Strong bodies, strong character and strong brains.

“We give them variations of those skills, challenges every week,” Sherrill said.

Still, preparing kids for the future and setting them up for success is a key focus at KidStrong.

“We want strong bodies, strong minds and strong little people,” Sherrill said. “We really want parents to acknowledge where they’re at.”

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