Hi Everyone! It’s time for Lincoln Park Moms Meet a Mom Monday! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Jenn Mitalas – Mom, Preschool teacher, and the founder of Learn. Play. Dough. Jenn makes the most adorable playdough sensory kits, which would an amazing holiday gift for any young kiddo. Read on to learn more about Jenn and her life as a Lakeview Mom!
If you are a local mom that would like to be featured in our “Meet a Mom” series, please send an email to [email protected]
Hi Jenn! Thank you for speaking with us today! Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for interviewing me. I am mom, teacher, wife and now an entrepreneur. I have my bachelor’s degree in Child Development and my master’s in Education. I have been a preschool teacher on the North Shore for 11 years and that is where I developed my passion for my business, Learn. Play. Dough!
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Chicago?
I am born and raised in Chicago. I grew up on the northwest side, left for college and came back to live in the Lakeview area for the last 16 years.
You’re a mom! How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Yes! I have one daughter, Penelope, who turned two in July.
What are your favorite things to do with your family around the city?
My husband was born and raised in the city as well, so we can’t get enough of it. We love to take bike rides, grab donuts at Dinkles, explore new parks, head to the beach and go to Wrigley to watch the Cubs.
How about without your daughter, what are your favorite spots?
We love going to Cubs games, Zanies and meeting friends for drinks at Butch McGuires.
Tell us more about your career background, and how it led you to found Learn. Play. Dough.
I have been a preschool teacher for 11 years. Early education experts know that strong muscles are the foundation for the writing skills that will come once in elementary school. Playdough is always my number one recommendation for children to work on those tiny muscles. It also helps with language development, creativity and is an activity that creates calmness.
My kids LOVE playing with dough, but your kits take sensory play to a whole new level! Tell us more about what parents & kids can expect from your kits.
Thank you! My kits allow children to be imaginative and to explore different themes, textures and experiences. It’s a screen-free activity that also gives parents a break. So many customers have wrote to me expressing how much they got done when they pulled out the kits. You can finally enjoy that coffee, while it’s hot!
Your daughter must love testing out the products! Do they have any favorites?
Penny LOVES when Mama has to make some dough or assemble kits. She knows this means she gets to have new dough and toys for herself. I make custom party favors so I am constantly ordering new items. I just did a sloth theme party so now she has a new bendy sloth to play with! My favorite moments are when I look over at her and she is mimicking her Mama by mixing or kneading her dough.
You’re a preschool teacher, a mom, and an entrepreneur! Do you have any tips for juggling a busy schedule? What helps you get through your days?
I just started this company 8 months ago with it really picking up this summer. I work on LPD mostly after my daughter goes to sleep. The nights are long sometimes, but this has been an absolute dream. I am excited to work every night and I think that is how all successful businesses begin. I am grateful that my husband is supportive and will work for me for free!
What is the best way to get in touch with you to order a kit, and to follow along with your product offerings?
Right now you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook at ‘Learn. Play. Dough’. I have many new products that are going to launch soon. You can message me through there to place an order. I hope to have my website live by the new year.
Rapid Fire Round:
Go-To coffee order? Grande iced coffee, non-fat milk with caramel
Favorite movie? Pretty Woman
What’s your go-to snack? Salt and vinegar chips
Favorite restaurant? I don’t have a favorite. Chicago has so many choices that we keep trying new places.
Best way to relax? Cozy blanket, candle and a guilty pleasure tv show
Favorite vacation destination? Greece
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Lakeview