In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Sylvia, the owner and operator of Ballroom Dance Center, draws on more than 15 years of ballroom-dance experience and her title as US Rising Star Latin Champion to teach students the graceful art of dance. She and her coterie of instructors lead a variety of programs based on students’ ambitions and desires, ranging from basic dance lessons for students who just want to learn the moves to gold packages that prepare hobbyists for performances and exhibitions. Sylvia solidifies steps during private lessons that focus on technique and styling and supplements these sessions with group lessons and practice parties that allow dancers to experience different partners and practice in a social setting.
The nine holes of Willow Hill Golf Course sprawl across 87 grassy acres before the scenic backdrop of the Chicago skyline. The par 35 course conjures up visions of the early days of golf with a Scottish links-style design winding for 2,895 yards through low rolling hills and dense rough, left high to punish errant shots and provide cover for napping golfers mid-game. Before or after a round, players can work on finesse around the greens at the 100-yard short-game practice area, or hone their hacks on the driving range, where all 40 stations mimic strokes off the fairway with grass hitting surfaces.
Course at a Glance:
Champion United Taekwondo Center's Head Master, S. Y. Jeong, hails from Korea and boasts more than a decade of competitive sparring experience. Alongside Master K. H. Nahm, he teaches the Korean art of tae kwon do to students as young as 3.5 years old. Besides imbuing students with physical strength and self-defense skills, these classes are designed to boost confidence and self-discipline in both youths and adults.
The six-week Baseline tennis program at Five Seasons Family Sports Club infuses beginners ages 18 and older with a passion for the game through energetic weekly lessons. Racket rockers learn from a team of experienced pros at both the Northbrook and Burr Ridge locations, each boasting climate-controlled indoor courts and adventurous outdoor courts completely at the mercy of the climate. Students harness basic footwork, forehand, backhand, and behind-the-back no-look slam dunks in a group setting. Social events let fellow net apprentices compare notes throughout the course, including a welcome reception, a member-appreciation party, and a graduation mixer. Any student not born with rackets for arms—or who simply doesn't own one—can borrow one from the club. Classes are generally held Monday through Thursday and on Saturday, with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions available; students should call the club of their choice for complete scheduling information and sweatband fashion tips.