Janell Panicko is a mom, wife, registered nurse—and the founder of Jordan’s Corner.

“While navigating daily life with two kids under two, I noticed the need for a space specifically geared towards babies, toddlers, and preschoolers,” she says. “I wanted to see a space where younger kids could freely play and explore without the hazards or harsh heat of a traditional playground and the judgment of others.”

At the time, Panicko’s children were also enrolled in speech, occupational, and physical therapies. 

“I knew as a mom with children with delays that I was not the only mom wishing for an inclusive place for my little ones to work on their therapy goals and make friends,” she says. 

Wanting a space for all young children, she dreamed up Jordan’s Corner, an enrichment space and indoor play space for all. 

“At Jordan’s Corner, we focus on creating a community where child-led play, inclusion, and fun are encouraged, and differences are respected.”

Here, we talk to Panicko about this unique Scottsdale destination, the great lengths she went to be able to fund it, and more.


Tell us about Jordan’s Corner …

Jordan’s Corner is Arizona’s first enrichment center and indoor play space intentionally designed to encourage multiple types of open-ended and inclusive play for children ages six and younger. With over 2,800 square feet of air-conditioned purposeful play areas, children can safely explore this space along with parents, caregivers, and other children.

Family-owned and -operated, Jordan’s Corner has become a home away from home for many local families to learn, play, and grow together. To prioritize caregiver comfort, we have created comfortable seating for adults to rest and gather, too. 

The space has an open layout, so each child can be seen from every corner of the room. With restrooms and exits securely gated off, caregivers can relax while their children engage in play with their peers. 

The focus is to provide an inclusive space, so you won’t see gates to separate infants or sections to isolate different play styles. We encourage all the kids to play and share the space. 

There are multiple types of play available for your child to choose from: sensory, dramatic, constructive, exploratory, Montessori works, and physical. Our indoor swing, interactive walls, and wooden climbers allow children to use gross and fine motor skills inside a cushioned, climate-controlled environment. 

Our toys are always stored “out in the open” so children can clearly see their options. This Montessori-type approach is what allows us to create a yes space, where little ones are encouraged to explore and play in their own special way.

Janell Panicko

What can parents and kids find there?

Our enrichment center and play space are a unique mix of playground, toy room, and classroom—intentionally designed to encourage fine motor, gross motor, cooperative, and independent play for children of all abilities. It has a Montessori classroom focus and a sensory-rich environment approach, so parents will see lots of workstations, all work is easily accessible and visible, and the space has several sensory-seeking opportunities. 

What are the benefits of a destination like this?

Jordan’s Corner is an inclusive space. It is a play space for all and designed that way. Inclusive play is beneficial for all children. It encourages empathy, creativity, and most importantly, an understanding of all people. Sharing a space with a diverse community allows children start at a young to accept everyone, including those with disabilities and without. 

To maintain the integrity of our space, we ask everyone to abide by these principles while enjoying Jordan’s Corner and often witness so much growth in families overall when it comes to inclusive play. 

·       Respect all children, families, caregivers, and staff.

·       Be kind, considerate, and understanding.

·       Allow children to make mistakes and try new things with grace.

·       Acknowledge that children will not behave perfectly all the time—that is ok in this safe space.

·       Approach each situation with patience and empathy.

In addition, children get to visit a space with a classroom design, allowing for littles to get practice before heading off to preschool. 

Can you just drop in?

Yes, drop in anytime Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations are highly encouraged during peak season and checking the space’s hours on the weekend. 

You went to great lengths to fund this space. Can you tell us about that?

At the time I had just left nursing and was happy being home with our kids. Nash, my son, was 6 months and Jordan was 1 1/2. As I slowly started to explore opportunities to take them out, I quickly noticed the lack of children's enrichment facilities for their age. I did have savings, but I learned that this project would cost much more than I expected, so I decided to go back to working as a nurse. I did do a few shifts at a local hospital but realized I needed to invest large amounts if it was truly going to be my design. I applied for a job with FEMA and got it. The downfall was the commitment and the rules. I had to travel quite a bit and was not allowed to bring my family. This was hard but my husband and I had an understanding that it would be temporary. This experience was challenging but shaped me into the person I am today. 

What inspired the name “Jordan’s Corner?”

We went back and forth on so many names! However, we built this place with our daughter in mind. She was speech-delayed, no friends, and needed a space to grow up in. One day our lawyer kept talking about how Jordan’s name is so strong, and a respected name, and we should consider it. We felt the same and decided that this space would be dedicated to our little girl who helped us see the need for it. 

What do you like to do during your downtime?

There is not much downtime, but when there is, I sit around planning the next big steps for Jordan’s Corner, or I also enjoy taking my kids out to new places. 

Favorite places around Scottsdale?

There are so many! I love Kaleidoscope juice and Ameila’s by Eat.

Motto you live by?

“Just keep swimming” and “I can go the distance.” 


15681 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260