Earlier this year, Katy Goldman, 42, and Allison Zaslow, 41, launched B2 Events, a company that curates one-off classes and excursions for tweens and their parents. It’s an opportunity that the pair says is lacking for families with children this age.
“There are so many [activities] for kids and parents together up until age 4 or 5,” Zaslow said. “Then it just drops off.”
Goldman agreed. “That’s where the gap is,” she said. “The mommy-and-me for older kids doesn’t really exist.”
While the phrase “mommy-and-me” may conjure up images of sing-alongs and somersaults, Goldman said that their goal is to create events that are sophisticated enough to engage both parents and children equally.
“I think everybody assumes that you’re just chaperoning. You’re sitting there checking your email while your kid is putting M&Ms on a cupcake,” she said. “We thought, ‘We need to take this to another level so that parents have a real sense of accomplishment along with their child.’”
Since launching the first series of events this past spring, Goldman and Zaslow have held pasta making, cake decorating, knitting, self-defense and cardio dance classes for parents and their 8-to -14-year-old children.
In some cases, they organize all aspects of the events, from hiring a chef to renting a space and purchasing supplies. For other classes, they partner with organizations such as Central Park TaeKwanDo to develop programs specifically geared for the parent-child audience.
Zaslow and Goldman said they also try to take advantage of the unique opportunities that New York City has to offer. For example, in December, they are hosting a sneaker-decorating class taught by legendary New York City graffiti artist Sen-One.
B2 came about as a result of Goldman and Zaslow’s own experiences. Both have 10-year-old daughters with busy schedules who will be making the leap to middle school next year. It’s become more challenging to find time to spend together, they said.
“When you have younger kids, you do so much with them,” Zaslow said. “Then you realize, well now they go to school all day and then they go on a play date and a sleepover and to sleep-away camp. You’re like, ‘When are we ever going to spend time together?’”
The best part of B2 classes is that the kids are also happy to be spending that time with their parents, Goldman said.
“It’s something that they really look forward to,” she said. “They get so excited. They’ll ask, ‘Is the cake-decorating class next week? It’s just the two of us, right?’”
Jillian Berman, who has attended three B2 classes with her 10-year-old daughter, said that it could be difficult to get kids this age excited about spending time with their parents.
“I feel like at 10, 11, they’re a little ‘too cool’ for everything,” she said.
However, Berman noted that making pasta together and partnering up for dance moves helped break down that boundary with her daughter.
“It wasn’t just her with a bunch of kids and me as the annoying parent,” she said. “All the kids are there with their parents, so that element where they’re trying to be cool, it sort of went away with my daughter in these moments.”
Ariana Stolar, who attended a brunch-making class with her daughter, said it also helped them to relate in a new way.
“I wasn’t the authority figure there,” she said. “We were both learning from the chef so it was more like we were peers.”
Stolar said that in the few weeks since they’ve taken the class, her daughter has asked to make one of the recipes they learned three times.
Stolar said she also appreciated that all of the details were taken care of for her.
“Usually I’m the one orchestrating and planning everything for my kids,” she said. “But with this, I just showed up, I cooked, I ate and I didn’t even have to clean up.”
Zaslow said the goal of B2 is to make it as easy as possible for parents to spend time with their older children.
“As they get older, it’s drop-off; it’s a play date; it’s a sleepover. They have 87 activities after school and you just drop them off,” she said. “Why not be together instead?”