When Director Tony Youhanna and George Solomos founded Little Legends Soccer Academy in 2009, they found themselves filling a niche. At the time, the North Shore offered no quality soccer coaching for youngsters interested in the game. Their first session was a success, drawing thirty eager players, but it didn't prepare them for the popularity that was to come. Since that day, the academy has ballooned: more than 300 children ages 24 months to 8 years old are currently enrolled in its various programs.
Each clinic helps kids build soccer fundamentals such as foot skills, passing, and receiving in an environment that encourages fun and teamwork. Very young players—24 to 36 months—start off in the Born to Kick program, which couples soccer skills with mind-nurturing topics such as shapes, colors, and vocabulary. As children get older and their skills progress, they move into clinics aimed at more advanced techniques, eventually putting them to work in games. The academy's Space program—standing for speed, agility, core, and endurance—does away with the soccer ball altogether, focusing instead on exercises to improve footwork, speed, and balance.
Ping pong balls ricochet off 10 tables arranged neatly within a 5,000 square-foot dedicated space, only to rise up and meet a whipping paddle that instantaneously reverses their direction, back over the net and across the table. The scene may conjure images of international tournaments, and for good reason: Joola Table Tennis Club, an official table and apparel sponsor of USA Table Tennis, was never bound to take the game lightly. Instead of limiting invitations to championship-caliber players, however, the club also invites mere mortals to take hold of a paddle, line up themselves up at a table, and try their hand at the challenging, fast-paced sport. Novices can enroll in private or group training with a professional, or even rent a robot for concerted stroke repetitions or practice shaking someone's hand. When ready to put their new skills to the test, players can also take on challengers during all-day open play sessions.
Through spellbinding drama and whimsical musical performances, the Chicago Kids Company showcases familiar and imaginative children's stories to enchant kids and adults alike. Colorful costumes, hilarious characters, and sing-along songs will captivate youthful imaginations as professional actors and up-to-date references pique parents' interest until the final curtain.
With more than 23,000 square feet of public space, Kohl Children's Museum gives its young visitors plenty of rooms in which to play. The kid-focused facility houses 16 permanent exhibits for infants and children up to 8 years of age, each filled with hands-on activities designed to encourage learning and exploration.
City on the Move helps children learn about Chicago by challenging them to build city scenes from geometric shapes or crank an electricity-generating wheel to power a pretend John Hancock Center. Kids can follow animal footprints to their source in Nature Explorers, move musical notes to create melodies in Ravinia Festival Music Makers, or explore the rotating temporary exhibits.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.
Adapted from the popular animated film by DreamWorks, Madagascar Live! brings to life the furry adventures of the familiar cast of on-the-lam zoo animals as they break out of New York's Central Park Zoo and return to their ancestral homeland in the African isle of Madagascar. This frenetic fusion of music and dance celebrates friendship with original songs, imaginative sets, and vivid costumes, leaving audience members clamoring to stage their own inspired midmorning escapes from the carpool lane. With more than 4,000 seats—each with unobstructed views—Rosemont Theatre provides a much more stately venue to witness a dancing-animal show than the neighborhood dogs' backyard production of The Sound of Music. Seats will be located in balcony level A through S or floor level AA-HH. Ticket pick-up is available starting an hour before the performance. Groups should plan to pick up their tickets early for best chance of sitting together.
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