Chicago kids’ imaginations soar at Away We Play

There’s a magical place for children and parents in Old Irving Park where movement, music and art collide. Catering to children six months and up, Away We Play offers mom & me classes, musical theatre, dance, art, preschool play, birthday parties and parenting coaching services. It’s truly a one stop shop to get your children’s creative juices flowing and get some guidance for yourself.

If you go

Away We Play

4318 W. Irving Park Road

Cara Pollard, a mother, wife and parenting coach whose life’s work has been advocating for families, founded this creative venue with the intention of offering a nurturing environment that helps stimulate the emotional, physical and intellectual growth of children. She is also one of the teachers bringing joy to the kids.

“Our curriculum will offer children the tools they need to express themselves and to share their experiences. Maybe it’s that gallop with abandon, or the song that’s sung with noticeable passion or it just might be the art they create themselves that is worthy of wall space,” Cara said.

My kids and I have personally fallen in love, in art, in dance and in theatre with Away We Play. A bright room, colorful rug and a wall covered with dancing mirrors sets the scene for a joyous adventure. My 2-year-old toddler has been attending Music, Movement & Art, a morning one-hour class. As soon as we enter the space a smile spreads across her face and she is ready to enjoy Open Play. There are dinosaurs, balls, foam and wooden blocks, and a tunnel to satisfy any active child’s jumping and climbing impulses.

After Open Play, we move on to Meet & Greet and Movement & Music where the teacher sings songs and plays instruments. The kids sing along, follow her lead and participate in games involving jumping, pretend-driving and jumping over hoops. Parents are welcome to participate.

Then comes Messy Art, which is an opportunity to dive into “process art” and explore paints, feathers, strings, glue, play-doh and much more. Finally, a little unwinding with yoga poses, a snack and a goodbye song.

My tot has become used to the routine and it makes her so happy. She has been singing and dancing her heart away at home, practicing what she’s learned.

My 7-year-old son loves Musical Theatre class with Ms. Eliza-Jane Morris because it allows him to imagine games, color and play. As performer and music teacher with Emerald City Children’s Theatre and Storybook Princess Parties, she uses her beautiful voice and acting skills to open doors to endless imagination and learning.

Every week is centered around well-known musicals that children have come to love. Children also have the opportunity to practice acting exercises with one another and act out their own make-believe scenes.

I am grateful for the staff at Away We Play and their passion for children. This is the one place both of my children have requested to visit again.

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