Shawn Johnson earned major mom points after bringing son Jett, 19 months, and daughter Drew, 2½, with her when she recorded her recent guest appearance on Blippi
The retired Olympic gymnast, 31, will make a guest appearance on the fan-favorite preschool series — amassing a billion monthly views on YouTube — teaching Blippi's best friend Meekah all about her favorite sport.
Speaking with PEOPLE joining the Blippiverse in the episode, debuting May 13, the mom of two says she scored some major points with son Jett James, 19 months, and daughter Drew Hazel, 2½, after bringing them to the shoot.
"They worship the ground Blippi walks on," Johnson East tells PEOPLE. "And when they got to come on set and meet Blippi and Meekah — our daughter has still not stopped talking about it. She thinks Blippi is her best friend and honestly, there are the kindest humans ever."
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"They played with my daughter as if they were best friends. And it was, it was such a special moment for me as a mom," she shares. "They are very, very excited to see the episode."
Johnson East explores gymnastics with Meekah in the episode, something she's also been doing with her daughter Drew.
"It's very normal to start the sport of gymnastics around age 2. It's really one of the only things you can put a young kid in, so for us, it's a reason to get to do something active and give her an activity that she has a lot of fun with."
Seeing the gym as a "giant padded playground for a kid," Johnson East says Drew "likes it better than ballet or soccer so far, but I think it's because there are more activities she can do there at this stage."
The mom is adamant she's not invested in either of her kids following in her footsteps, saying, "I'm as far from wanting her to be a gymnast as humanly possible."
"I just want her to fall in love with something and I'll be her biggest cheerleader, no matter what it is."
Jett also has an athletic streak, with Johnson East and husband Andrew East, 31, often sharing the hijinks the adventurous toddler finds himself in.
"We have noticed that his personality is very headstrong and curious and able, and I think the best way I can parent him along with my husband is just to let him be curious," she shares.
"We trail behind him pretty closely, but he is a wild man," she laughs, adding, "He just wants to venture out and learn. He's gotten to do a lot of crazy things, and it's been really fun to see."
Recently, that included learning how to ride a bike with training wheels. "That was probably the most exciting milestone we've had in a while, especially because he's not even 2."
The family of four has endured some difficult moments this year, both within their family and within their larger community in Nashville. Though their little ones are young, the mom of two says she and her husband have a policy of being "very open and communicative with our kids."
"That's something my husband and I have agreed on and have worked really hard to do," she tells PEOPLE. "As very faith-based people and with young ones where you can't explain quite everything yet, it's been a great learning experience for us, teaching them how to have their own little faith, which has been really cool. It's been challenging, but it's shown us the light in the dark times.
Staying engaged in their community has also helped them navigate both good times and bad.
"We started this thing the year Drew was born that has honestly been one of the most life-changing things for us, which is simply a game night. But we invite all of our friends, many of whom started having kids and realized life was pulling us away from each other."
Johnson East continues, "Having kids can make your social life a little more difficult, but we kind of just put it in our minds and hearts that once a month, we host a game night where we have food and drinks, and we always say it's an open door policy for anyone in our community."
"It starts at the same time on the same day, and anyone's welcome. Through it, we've been able to really build this amazing community of friends that have been some of our biggest supporters through the hard times."
The couple also makes sure to carve out time in their busy schedules to keep the connection between them strong.
"That's another thing we've done since the day Drew was born. We do weekly date nights — which I know we're very privileged to be able to have a wonderful support system to help of a babysitter and my mom and dad to help with that."
This summer, the family will enjoy adventuring together on a Greek island cruise.
"We're taking a really big family trip. We're taking our kids, my parents, my husband's mom and her best friend," she shares. "We're going to try to adventure this summer. We've been saving up for it and we're very excited to make memories together."
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