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1419 Chapin Avenue
Burlingame, CA, 94010
United States


rec room creative is an indoor play space & boutique for families with littles (0-6 years old) in downtown burlingame.  we provide open-ended, collaborative and tinkering type play, and provide opportunities to engage in mini-maker activities and lol (love out loud - organized and random acts of kindness). we strive to bring together family, creativity and doing a little good in the world -- a trifecta of awesomeness, right?!  we hope you'll join us =)


LOL (Love Out Loud)

Jennifer Quan

LOL (Love Out Loud)  

Article for Foster City Parents Club September

I’m thankful for the opportunity to write about loving out loud and doing a little good in the world, because this has occupied much of my head and heart space for the past five years. I hope that you find my learnings useful and that you join in on making kindness and compassion fun, constant and contagious =)

A Snippet of MyJourney

My views on doing good five years ago looked very different than they do today.  Sure, I donated time, money and goods, but I did so prescriptively...and if I were being really honest, not very generously.  I was “that person” who when the pastor gave “that sermon” about tithing, I started analyzing what that “really meant”.  I’d rationalize that if I added up all the money we gave to charity and offerings and tithes, it got close to 10%...or I’d think, “10% of net not gross, right??”  Was I giving?  Yep.  Was I giving joyfully?  Nope.  

My husband has always been more altruistic than me =), but back then, as a family, we didn’t have a giving strategy.  We gave indiscriminately; there wasn’t a common thread to the causes we supported, we didn’t have goals, and when we gave, it was more reactive than intentional.  

And so it was that as a family we developed a clear philanthropic philosphy.  (If you’re curious as to what ours is, shoot me a note, would be happy to share. =)  And ironically, it was applying business practices to our personal life that began my journey of thinking with my heart, and not just my head.

O+ (oh positive), achoo and hi five

When I left my cushy corporate job (that’s another article entirely… ;) and started thinking about what I was going to do when I grew up, I knew this new “heart thinking” had to somehow be a part of this new chapter of my life.  And so in my planning of rec room creative, our DNA was designed around LOL (Love Out Loud), which I define as organized and random acts of kindness. It informs many of the decisions we make as a business and  is a small way of contributing to our local communities and doing a little good in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 11.49.08 AM.png

LOL also helped bring our mascots into existence!  achoo got his name because what do you say when someone sneezes?  “Bless you!”  

hi five the starfish was inspired by The Starfish Story.  I’m including it below because it’s just soooo good.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

And lastly, O+ (oh positive), the non-disease carrying mosquito, was inspired by the African proverb, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try locking yourself in a room with a mosquito.”

I recently met an amazing mom at rec room creative, and after she’d shared some of her story with me, I’d asked her, “I’m curious given everything you’ve accomplished and been a part of professionally, how has this impacted your personal giving or philanthropic philosophy?”  I’m going to paraphrase her response, but the net of it was that she had become incredibly jaded.  If the smartest people and millions and millions of dollars couldn’t change anything even temporarily, why even try?  But during the course of our conversation she’d also mentioned an elderly neighbor that lived alone.  She and her family visited him regularly to simply spend time with him, and to also deliver food and freshly baked cookies on occasion.  She didn’t share that in the context of generosity, but in the context of chatting about our neighbors and neighborhoods. And so I shared about our mascots and told her, “You may not be actively working to improve the lives of thousands anymore, but know that you and your family are making a profound difference in the life of one person, and that matters.”

Lately it feels like we’ve all somehow been transported into some kind of apocalyptic film. Charlottesville, Cancun and Los Cabos, Houston...and so many other atrocities happening every day all around the world.  It’s paralyzing isn’t it?  The depths of human depravity, the magnitude of destruction...what can any one person possibly do to make a difference?

If you feel paralyzed, or your actions simply haven’t caught up with your intentions, let me encourage you to start small, and to engage your littles.  Ask them how they would go about creating smiles in the community.  It’s inspiring and amazing to hear what they come up with!  

I’ll share some things we do to get the ideas flowing.  Sometimes we pay for the person ahead of us in line, or behind us when there are tolls.  We keep socks for the homeless in our cars. Sometimes we just offer a word of encouragement to a harried cashier.  Not too long ago, we saw a homeless gentleman outside of Safeway in San Mateo.  We asked if he wanted dinner, and he replied that he’d love a sandwich and a Pepsi.  So we went in and my girls chose a sandwich from the deli menu.  A man was checking out in front of us and overheard me chatting with my girls.  He asked if we were buying the man outside dinner.  We replied that we were.  He then went on to order three more sandwiches and sodas and said he felt he now needed to buy food for some folks he drove by everyday on his way home from work.  Creating smiles doesn’t require tons of time and money, just a willing heart and a little action...and a little good can be contagious =)

During summer camp at rec room creative this past month, we started each day with story time to set the day’s intentions, we chose a ‘word of the day’ from the book - like consideration for example, and the campers struck a pose whenever that word was said (anyone remember Pee-Wee Herman’s secret word of the day?! ;), and we went on a couple LOL adventures.  

On the first day of camp, I gave each camper a $5 bill and we walked to Starbucks.  They had fun selecting their gift cards (the designs are cool aren’t they?!) and purchased them themselves.  And we talked.  A lot.  About homelessness and poverty and mental illness, and how blessed we were, and how we had to practice kindness, and how we had to practice safety while carrying out acts of kindess, etc.  They then got to decide where the gift cards would be kept - one camper opted for mommy’s wallet but first warned mommy that it wasn’t for a latte for said mommy (hahahaha!)  Another day we also asked them to select items from their pantries or the store based on CALL Primrose’s needs list.  They loaded up a wagon, and we pulled that wagon to the non-profit.  They had a blast loading up and carrying their donations into the service elevator, loading the basket and touring the facility.  They had TONS of awesome-sauce questions for the Director, and enjoyed meeting some of their clients.  

It’s true that there is a lot of darkness in this world.  But it’s also true that the smallest flicker of light can overcome darkness.  The possibilities to create smiles is limitless, and can be lots of fun with friends.  Start small and do something.  Then from there, determine what it is that’s yours to do.

Be like achoo, O+ and hi five - we’ll be cheering you on as you LOL!

Endless Summer Fun - Letting Them Be Little!

Jennifer Quan

 fun times in the kiddie pool!

fun times in the kiddie pool!

Growing up, my little brother and I had a tiny plastic kiddie pool out back behind our most humble home, and we spent endless hours during the summer months having a blast in just a few inches of water =).  We created worlds, came up with our own games and shows, narrated stories and more; we were sailors, mermaids, olympic swimmers and many other cool characters on the stages of our imaginations.  Splashing around, discovering what floated vs. sank, learning to squirt water by cupping our hands together, and just simply staying cool was loads of fun too!

These days, if I’m not intentional about it, it’s easy for me to complicate the simplicity and joy of “letting them be little” by not giving them sufficient time and space to do so.  I’m blessed that my littles can come and enjoy open-play and creating at rec room creative, but isn’t there just something about spending hours of play time outdoors?


I went online shopping a couple weeks ago (yes, it’s my super power, and something I’m looking to do a better job controlling….ahem) and placed an order at walmart.com and got them a kiddie pool for our backyard =)  Here’s what I got:

I also bought cool character band-aids cause I’m allergic to paying for shipping (and who doesn't enjoy a good Mickey Band-aid??), and needed to get above $35 ;)  The electric pump isn’t necessary either, but what can I say, it’s HOT outside for the Bay Area and I’m just not a fan of unnecessary labor…

The pool took less than 2 minutes to inflate (yaass!) and the kiddos started enjoying it immediately (after applying my favorite sunscreen by thinkbaby that we just got in)!  I’m also itching to try some nighttime black-light stencil action with this pool =)

Here’s to letting them be little!  How will you un-plan some good old fashioned summer fun?!

*I’m not affiliated with Walmart or any of these products in any way shape or form!

My Dad is a Super Hero! - an article for Burlingame Mother's Club

Jennifer Quan

Many thanks to BMC for the invitation to write the cover story for their June newsletter, we're honored =)

“My Dad is a Super Hero!”

 My husband Eric and I have four spirited munchkins that fill our lives with the deepest love, joy and happiness…...aaannnnd chaos, frustration and palm-to-forehead moments…can you relate??!  But joking aside, I’m truly honored to be able to write about my husband in his capacity as dad for this article, because I couldn’t ask for him to embrace any more fully his responsibility, role and journey as “baba”, and because I’m so very grateful that I have the privilege of being his partner-in-life.  

 I asked my girls for their input (do you like their title? =), and hope their perspectives and wisdom as littles, my observations, and the lessons we’ve learned, often the hard way, are beneficial to your journeys.


It’s not just about bringing home the bacon (...plus Eric’s allergic to pork, literally  ;P)

Both of us grew up with “traditional parents”.  Our moms stayed home full time to raise us and to manage all matters domestic, and our dads worked hard, really hard, and showed their love primarily by being the best providers they could be.  

 Prioritizing family over work was a commitment Eric made prior to us having kids; one he made and stuck to prior to us having the financial stability we’re blessed with today.  Perhaps it has something to do with how he’s wired, or with how he sees the world because of the filter of his childhood, or because he lost both of his parents way too early...but he honors this commitment daily, sacrificially and selflessly, and our family benefits immensely because of it.

 It’s inspiring to observe him live life because he genuinely lives out his convictions.  His personal and professional obligations far exceed the numbers of hours in each day, but his schedule is meticulously prioritized.  When he’s working, he dedicates 100% of his focus and talents to the job at hand, but he rarely allows business to displace family time.  This means choosing to decline travel or speaking engagements or meetings; decisions not made lightly, but always made thoughtfully and intentionally.

 He’s taught us that regularly taking an inventory of what we say matters, and that evaluating how we prove it, is a practice worth investing in.  He’s shown our family through his choices that while workplace responsibilities are extremely important, they’re not of paramount importance to a life well lived.  

 Lessons learned and questions to consider: The elusive “work-life-balance” isn’t about individual decisions, but rather about the overall trend of choices made; stated priorities need to win out more often than not, and priorities can be seasonal.  What are your current priorities?  What does your calendar reveal?


 Love as an active verb.

 Have you asked your littles the question, “How do you know daddy loves you?”

 If not, I highly recommend asking them semi-regularly because responses change over time and can be very revealing.  They can shed light on your littles’ love language/s, as well as potential areas to work on.

 When asked, our girls don’t have to stop to think about it - they start exhibiting symptoms of logorrhea immediately.  =)  

“He head coached my soccer team last season!”

“Mine too!”

“He takes me to choir!”

“He plays with me!”

“He does homework with me!”

“He takes 1:1 daddy trips with me!”

“He tells us!”

Watching Eric exhibit his love for our girls has shown me the difference between knowing you’re loved, and seeing, feeling and experiencing that you’re loved.  He deepens his bond with our girls daily by yes, being physically present, but perhaps more importantly, by being mentally and emotionally present and available as well.  He’s also shown me the difference between parenting our girls, and just simply enjoying them.

 Lessons learned and questions to consider:  It’s important to understand and define what love means to you and your littles.  What does it mean to you?  How do you communicate love?  How do your littles receive love?  Do how you communicate and how they receive love align?

“Show don’t tell”...or maybe, “Show and tell”

Throughout my school years, I received the following comment in the margins of my papers - “Show don’t tell”.  I guess I was a little slow on the uptake, but isn’t that just a great life lesson?  Though if I were to tweak it a bit, I’d lean more toward the preschool teaching method of “show and tell”, because it’s wonderful to hear those three words regularly too. =)

 Littles are super sponges.  They pick-up and absorb what do you and who you are, perhaps even more than what you say.  And they experience dissonance when behaviors don’t align with what’s said.  

 I’m so thankful that my girls and I have an amazing role model in Eric.  He models faith in action; he lives out beliefs like “love your neighbor as yourself” by welcoming our neighbors into our home to enjoy food and drinks and each others’ company, and by regularly grabbing a coffee or meal with the homeless among us.  He’s an example of what it means to be a great husband, father and friend; he carves out and protects quality time with loved ones, and does things like go lay flooring with a friend for a low-income school when he receives a phone call at 10:00pm in the evening because the project is falling behind schedule.  He exemplifies being as generous and compassionate to others as we often are to ourselves; he’s established a giving philosophy for our household, and protects it by ensuring potential significant personal expenditures like vacations or school choices don’t detract from our giving commitments.

 Lessons learned and questions to consider: When what you do and what you say don’t align, be open and honest about it, and ask your littles for grace and forgiveness without rationalizing it away.  How do you “show and tell”?  


Great dads are great dads.  Not Mr. Mom’s or babysitters.

 I’m going to end with something I feel quite passionate about, so please forgive me in advance if my next words appear too strong and too blunt (thank you for your grace =).

I can’t tell you how often I hear things like, “Wow, he’s so awesome!  He’s Mr. Mom!”  or “Whoa, he took the big girls to Disneyland all by himself when you were eight months pregnant??!  Wasn’t babysitting hard for him??!”  

 Ugh.  Sorry.  But just ugh.

 When men are parenting and being dads, can we all agree to not allow sub/conscious societal expectations to diminish their roles?  “Traditional” parenting roles and expectations have shifted in many ways, but have stayed staunchly in the past in others.  I do believe the studies that show that men and women are wired differently in some ways, but I’m advocating for us to break-free from the traditional paradigms that elevate resume-driven lifestyles above all else, and to expect or perhaps even demand more; to acknowledge and respect the choices of present, intentional dads - as great dads, not Mr. Mom’s or babysitters; and in the same way we honor and respects womens’ decision to work full-time outside of the home, to honor and respect mens’ choices to be full-time, stay at home dads.

 Lessons learned and questions to consider:  There isn’t one right way to parent or be a dad, and what’s right for your family today may not be right for your family tomorrow.  How has the filter of your childhood and upbringing impacted how you parent?  Does the filter need any adjustments at this point in time?

 I’ll end with a little note to my husband.

 Eric, I know you’re probably cringing a little bit because you’re a genuinely modest guy that never seeks out the spotlight, and I know you’d be the first to admit that you’re not perfect, but thank you for striving and choosing each day to be the best husband and dad you can be. Jordan, Chloe, Riley, Emma and I love you and want to thank you publicly for being a Super Husband-Dad, Happy Father’s Day!!  XO, Jen

Meep!!! RED TRICYCLE Article!!!

Jennifer Quan

We are so humbled and so grateful for the lovely article by Anita Chu of @redtricycle 🙏🏼.

Thank you for capturing our heart and our essence so eloquently!!  

Click to Read!

 Anita's little creating a red tricycle scene on the Play-LED wall we had created for our space =)

Anita's little creating a red tricycle scene on the Play-LED wall we had created for our space =)

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