Family schedules are jam-packed, so it can be hard to squeeze fitness into the agenda for the kids. Hopefully they’re busying themselves with tree climbing and bike riding, but if you see more screen time than sweat time happening, check out one of these local spots that help kids develop lifelong healthy habits . . . and have fun while they’re at it.
This unique kid-centric fitness facility will blow your mind and is so fun, you’ll wish it was for adults too. To tackle the issues that stem from the sedentary lifestyles kids can sometimes lead, enerGEEwhiz created this engaging fitness experience focused on ensuring kids have fun while improving their overall health. Each participant gets a dynamic program based on their communicated goals and proven abilities that can adjust in real-time in response to their individual progress. Kids compete only with themselves in an environment that uses play and imagination to carry out the unique exercises, building self-confidence in the meantime. Not only does this program get the kids moving, but they also work with local partners to educate kids on healthy eating habits. They also offer day-off and summer camps and host birthday parties.
1418 N Kingsbury St., Lincoln Park
Windy City Ninjas
From kids who prefer books over balls to the most athletically gifted, everyone can benefit from activities that improve strength, agility and endurance while getting a little self-confidence boost at the same time. Windy City Ninjas has developed a special 55-minute curriculum tailored to varying age and skill levels using concepts from the American Ninja Warrior show. Students complete multiple circuits focused on target areas, rotating stations and obstacles for the first 45 minutes. The last 10 minutes is reserved for your child to show how they’ve improved via unique weekly obstacle courses.
Locations in North Center and Elmhurst
For kids who harbor fantasies of being a superhero, Ninja warrior, or any other leaping, jumping or swinging creature, Pow! Kids offers fantastic options. From more than 50 classes a week in everything from martial arts and boxing to speed school and teen fitness, we’re sure you’ll find something that’ll tickle their fancies.
950 W. Washington, West Loop
CrossFit Kids at Atlas Performance
The CrossFit craze isn’t just for grownups, kids can get in on the action in a safe, age-appropriate way. The strength and conditioning program incorporates jumps and lifts with kettlebells, sandbags and other non-traditional weights. Atlas Performance offers Sunday drop-in sessions ($15) at 11 a.m. for all levels, ages 5 and up. The coach gets the eager crowd warmed up with games and stretching, and the workout changes every week. Positive reinforcement and teamwork are big parts of the program.
1030 N. Larrabee St., River North
Ultimate Ninjas offers American Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle courses for kids of every age and skill level, including an agility course, swinging ropes, monkey bars, quintuple steps, and climbing and warped walls. You will also find a large gym area for basketball, soccer, floor hockey and warp-speed running.
Three locations in Naperville, Libertyville and Irving Park; Online: ultimateninjas.com
Bloom Yoga Studio
Bloom Yoga Studio makes it their mission to have something for all ages and stages of yoga practice. From mommy & baby yoga to story time yoga to teen yoga, they can support your family through all of life’s stages.
4663 N. Rockwell, Ravenswood
This outfit in Naperville has trained elite athletes across all sports, think Casey Short with the Chicago Red Stars and Cameron Brate with Tampa Bay Buccanneers, but what does this mean for your kids just getting interested in athletics? While they’re often blessed with coaches passionate about their chosen game, those coaches are often times not trained to teach them how to use their bodies correctly to achieve optimum speed and agility, while minimizing injury that can come from overuse of muscles and improper form. With most kids today playing multiple sports, it’s imperative they build core strength and learn the proper techniques required to keep them safe. This is where Acceleration comes in. They empower kids with a deep understanding of and comfortability with how to move their bodies that travels with them into adulthood,
1607 Legacy Cir., Naperville
1740 Quincy, Naperville
Hip Circle Empowerment Center
Baby weight doesn’t stand a chance against Malik Turley’s Mother/Daughter Bellydance. And even if you don’t shed it, you won’t care, because the primary purpose here is to boost self-confidence and body image for moms and girls. Ditto for the no-holds-barred Dance With Me, Toddler class, where you shake it like you’re on DWTS. Salsa, merengue and samba moves will make you work up a sweat.
709 Washington St., Evanston
Bike as a Family with Kidical Mass
The owners of Four Star Family Biking in Logan Square also co-founded a very active grassroots community group called Chicago Family Biking, which organizes family-focused events, like Kidical Mass rides. Kidical Mass rides are typically 2-4 mile routes completed at a slow pace, rain or shine. To get involved now, follow their Facebook page to stay on top of scheduled events.
— Maria Chambers
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