Chicago Parent Playdate is 10 a.m.-3 p.m., April 30 at the Athletico Center, 1900 Old Willow Road, Northbrook.
Advance tickets are $4 kids under 2, $8 kids 3-15, free parents and kids under 1. Prices increase April 29. Get tickets at chicagoparent.com/playdate
This year's charity partner is Cradles to Crayons. Families who donate brand new socks, underwear and PJs at the Playdate will be entered to win a big prize pack at the event. (Sizes can range from newborn to adult medium.)
10:30 a.m. - Twisticity
11:00 a.m. - Mr. Dave
11:30 a.m. - Storybook Princesses
12:00 p.m. - Fonseca Martial Arts
12:30 p.m. - Superhero Training with Royal Princess Parties LLC
1:00 p.m. - Israel Idonije
1:30 p.m. - Bubbles Academy
2:00 p.m. - Comedy Sportz
2:30 p.m. - Mary Macaroni
Party PlayGround, Presented by The PlayGround Games
Entertainers at the spring Chicago Parent Playdate April 30 will turn the Athletico Center in Northbrook into a wonderland of excitement and adventure. Kids can meet familiar friends, say hi to their heroes, get their groove on and try some new activities.
ComedySportz is great at getting laughs from both parents and kids, and their appearance at the Playdate will undoubtedly lead to loads of giggles from all ages. Renee Rock, director of operations at ComedySportz Chicago, says comedy teams will be playing lots of interactive games as well as doing a short exhibition match on the stage.
“You never know what kids are going to say, which makes the games a lot of fun. The interactions that comes from the adults and kids responding to each other, and each coming from a different place, is hysterical,” says Rock.
“Music is such a great way to connect with all ages and we’re looking forward to jammin' with new friends!” says Natalie Monterastelli, executive director of Bubbles Academy, which just opened in its new location in Chicago. “One of our teachers, Miss Veronica, will be bringing some fun and bright props, instruments and, of course, bubbles to make her concert extra fun and silly.”
Scott Ingerson of Twisticity does balloon twisting and face painting but the focus of his appearance at the Playdate will be the giant bubbles he creates. Big enough to encase children and limited only by what the space allows, his bubbles generate a lot of “wows” from all ages.
“There’s something about bubbles that brings out the kid in all of us,” he explains. “The parents are just as engaged as the kids. They want to see just how big I can make them. Of course, the kids just want to pop them. There’s a bit of tension there,” he laughs.
Karen Burris, better known Mary Macaroni, has been entertaining little ones for 15 years. She knows what gets the little ones engaged and energized. She’ll be both singing and performing a little magic at the Playdate. “It’s really fun doing the magic tricks for the kids. They’re so funny – it’s so fun to fool them, make them laugh and see them get up and dance,” Burris says.
Music classes at Mr. Dave Music are popular, and you can see why firsthand when Mr. Dave performs at the Playdate. “We are very excited to be a part of the Playdate and looking forward to doing a high-energy show with songs from my new record, Feeling Good,” says Dave Hamilton.
“I really enjoy the interaction and feel like I’m giving back to the world through kids’ music,” he says. “And kids don’t lie. if you get a kid to like your music, you know you’re doing something right.”
From bowing to balancing to basic paddles, little ones can try out karate in a mini-class at the Playdate taught by instructors from Fonseca Martial Arts.
“It’s amazing when you can see when their face lights up and that they are both expending energy and getting energy from the class at the same time,” says Elisa Fonseca, co-owner of Fonseca Martial Arts, which has locations in Chicago’s Roscoe Village, Wilmette and Evanston. They will also have some top students on hand as a demonstration team to showcase their karate skills.
Kids should be ready to swing into action during the Live Super Hero Training Show, created by Royal Princess Parties.
Melissa Duncan, co-founder of Royal Princess Parties, says the superheroes love “creating smiles, getting hugs from that shy child, and making magical moments that are unique to that family and that child alone.”
“Bringing characters to life is our passion,” she says.
Rachel Shapiro, founder of Storybook Princess Parties, shares the exciting news that Rapunzel will also be in attendance at the Playdate! She says that the looks on the kids’ faces when they see one of their favorite princesses is priceless, noting that their eagerness to believe is its own kind of magic.
“It’s exciting to make a little one’s dream come true!” she says. “It’s so fun at the end of the event to know that made a child’s day.”
Although she’d like to be taller and have more time to dive into good books, Shannan is awfully happy with her life as a recovering attorney living in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and teen daughter.
See more of Shannan 's stories here.
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