What do you do with an energetic 1-year-old when
it's raining and cabin fever looms?
That's the question my sister and I faced when her active
son needed an outlet. We decided on the newly expanded Bubbles
Academy, Lincoln Park's play-and-learning center for kids under
Bubbles' Mountain Room, which opened Dec. 10, lives up to
its name, with high wood beams and a brightly painted mural that
made me forget the dreary weather.
Bubbles Academy is one of our 9 Best Indoor Play
Places. See them
During Open Play in the downstairs Meadow Room, little
ones climb on foam cushions, crawl through tunnels and stack
blocks. Every so often, a faculty member fills the air with
Gone are those irritating tunes that get stuck in your
head for weeks; Bubbles plays kid-friendly music-think "Yellow
Submarine"-that doesn't demand attention.
Bright colors and stimulating toys invite kids to play
together, and signs request caregivers' cell phones be left
outside, although some ignore the appeal.
For those seeking more structure, Bubbles also offers
classes, from yoga to preschool practice.
We chose a family creative movement class, helping kids
identify body parts, explore speeds of movement, follow the teacher
and run under a parachute.
My nephew was too young to do everything, but the teacher
encouraged him to explore. And when a bigger kid sat on him, he
handled it with aplomb-and mom's help.
Bubbles has other age-specific classes that narrow down
physical activities according to developmental
When it was time to go, my nephew cried, his version of an
endorsement. He also fell asleep on the way home-success in the
eyes of his exhausted mom.
Although Bubbles has reserved parking, a pass is required,
which can be difficult if yoru'e flying solo with your little one.
But once you pick up a pass, it lasts for several weeks, so the
inconvenience is only temporary.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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