Jessica Roubitchek, owner of Purple Monkey Playroom and the mother of a toddler, creates a friendly, community play space for young children and their parents. Her 1,500-square-foot playroom entreats sock-clad young ones to join their parents in exploring age-appropriate activities as they shuffle, bounce, and slide across plush carpet. Jessica commissioned Crayons Gone Wild to paint soft, yellow wall murals depicting friendly animals. The whimsical images frame colorful, interactive toys and set pieces such as flexible tunnels, a soft, padded train, and a wall made entirely of velcro for vertical napping. As parents keep a close eye on their kids, Jessica enhances the pleasant space with complimentary tea, coffee, and wireless Internet. The playroom seats up to 26 guests for parties, and can comfortably accommodate up to 50 in all.
Ride Chicago and Rentaruckus are two different businesses that are bonded by their passion for promoting two-wheeled transportation. At Ride Chicago this passion manifests in a variety of classes, for which it supplies beginners with motorcycles or scooters. Once student riders are geared up, the facility’s state-certified instructors teach everything from scooter-riding basics to motorcycle licensing at controlled, off-street sites across the city and suburbs. This diverse curriculum allows people of all riding experiences to climb aboard a two-wheeler and learn safe canyon-hopping methods.
Rentaruckus’s mission is a bit more concise: get people behind the handlebars of a Honda Ruckus scooter. To do this, the staff offers rentals and organizes tours of Chicago, where swarms of the minimalist bikes buzz past the city’s historic neighborhoods and sights.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
After years of research and exercise, Dr. John Spencer Ellis felt he'd hit upon a premium fitness formula for producing athletes. Inviting Kelli Calabrese, a master trainer, to help him develop a curriculum, the two pooled their exercise knowledge—which amounted to 45 years of industry experience and 35 fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle certifications. From this wealth of training and education, they created Intense Mixed Performance Accelerated Cross Training, or IMPACT Fitness Boot Camp.
Their formula requires that each workout begin with a sports-conditioning-style dynamic warm-up, before proceeding into speed, agility, and quickness training, which allows patrons to more effectively chase cars down the highway. They then challenge students with full-body-strength conditioning, which focuses on all the muscles versus only the muscle group you want to train, and a high-intensity session of cardio training. Though the formula always remains the same, the exercises vary from session to session. One day, patrons might heave medicine balls and sprints, the next, they might jump rope and stretch TRX bands.
Pied Piper Parties & Playschool provides enriching play for children of all ages with active classes and themed events. Using her experience working at a Montessori preschool, Stephanie Williams oversees the youth playschool and camp, while colleague chef Janelle Rinehart leads hands-on cooking classes that introduce nutrition and discuss where dinner comes from and why it can never go back. Youth playschool helps children 5 months–3 years gain social skills with four progressive classes filled with music, art projects, and story time. In cooking classes, youths up to 10 years old prepare sweet and savory treats with supervised use of cooking equipment. Two-hour parties celebrate kids with custom themes ranging from dinosaurs to princesses, and include games, cake, and take-home gift bags.