At The Thinkery, a place for kids to grow and create

Dynamic duo expanding with eye on bringing people together through creativity

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/25/21

After a year defined by online education, Jennifer Winslow and Sophia Sun are betting youngsters are ready to get together and get real again.

 

Winslow and Sun run The Thinkery, a …

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At The Thinkery, a place for kids to grow and create

Dynamic duo expanding with eye on bringing people together through creativity

Posted
After a year defined by online education, Jennifer Winslow and Sophia Sun are betting youngsters are ready to get together and get real again.
 
Winslow and Sun run The Thinkery, a community collaboration space at the Aspen Grove shopping center in southwest Littleton.
 
The Thinkery will offer a wide range of summer camps for young people, focused on a whirlwind of arts, crafts, science projects and other creative endeavors.
 
“Think shop class, home ec and art class rolled into one,” said Winslow as she put finishing touches on the sprawling space.
 
The Thinkery is the grandest manifestation yet of Winslow’s longtime business, Red Hen Createry. She started the Createry in 2015, after making a breakthrough with her son.
 
“He had ADHD-like symptoms,” she said. “He was having problems at school. When he did art projects, he was calm.”
 
Winslow, who was working as a designer for a sip-and-paint studio, started teaching after-school art classes. Troubled kids found peace in her sessions.
 
“Art calms the mind,” Winslow said. “Computers, social media — it’s overstimulating. It contributes to anxiety and depression.”
 
Winslow founded Red Hen Createry in a small house, where the idea continued to blossom. After-school programs, summer camps, ladies’ nights, birthday parties — all focused on hands-on creativity.
 
“It all comes back to the same goal: to get people connecting again.”
 
Red Hen outgrew the little house, and Winslow moved into a space in the Belmar shopping center, then later to Southwest Plaza. Eventually a friend courted her to move to Aspen Grove.
 
Opening day at Aspen Grove was scheduled for March 14, 2020 — just as the world shut down in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Red Hen shut down, Winslow went full-bore making face masks. Aspen Grove management found odd jobs for her to work off rent.
 
The rest of 2020 was spotty, with strict capacity limits curtailing the ability to hold classes. But as the pandemic begins to subside, Winslow said the time was right to expand.
 
Red Hen still occupies its shop space on the west side of the shopping center, and will transition to being a vendor space for some of the items created at the Thinkery, in a separate storefront at the south end of the shopping center.
 
Sophia Sun, Winslow’s close friend from their college days, joined forces with her after Sun lost most of her work as an event and conference planner.
 
“Humans are social creatures, and that’s what I loved about conference planning,” Sun said. “Adults have suffered a lot through COVID, and kids have too, but they can’t articulate it as well.”
 
Sun said she has been inspired and delighted by the creativity of children she’s taught so far in classes with Winslow. One boy, bored to tears with an art project, told Sun he wanted to build a robot instead. Together they figured it out.
 
“Nothing compares to the creativity and passion of children,” she said.
 
The duo has plenty of plans for The Thinkery: space for adult classes, enrichment programs, guest speakers, cooking demonstrations, tutors, parties and fundraisers. And one that really excites Winslow: space to help teenagers cultivate entrepreneurial ideas.
 
Eventually, Winslow and Sun would love to franchise Red Hen Createry and The Thinkery under one name, with branches around the state or country. Winslow also dreams of outfitting a van or bus to take projects to underprivileged schools.
 
Sun said she’s confident they’re in the right place at the right time.
 
“We’re supposed to do this,” she said. “I’m so excited to fill this place. I can’t wait until it’s noisy in here.”

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