If chilly temps and close quarters have your kids climbing the walls, it’s time to set them loose in one of these work-up-a-sweat spaces. Maniac kids welcome.
If they like to … parkour
Yes, the Little Beans in Evanston has the usual playspace standbys: ride-on cars, dress-up clothes, art supplies. But if you want your pint-size adrenaline junkies to work up a sweat, the Big Beans room is where it’s at: My kids spent a solid hour on the ninja obstacle course, scaling a near-vertical wall, diving into the pool-size foam pit and scuttling across a rope net. The course is designed for kids 4 to 12, but when crowds are sparse on weekdays, younger kids can typically go crazy as well.
430 Asbury Ave., Evanston, 847-807-3731; littlebeanscafe.com
If they like to … slide
A conservatory isn’t the first place you think of when brainstorming “burn off energy” locales, which is probably why the Garfield Park Conservatory remains relatively uncrowded all winter. Follow the winding, plant-lined path to the Children’s Garden, where a two-story twisty slide looms against a verdant backdrop. An endless loop of climbing stairs and then the squealing, giggling slide’s descent can easily fill an hour. Every other Saturday morning, you can also catch a free Juicebox kids concert in Horticulture Hall, with plenty of space in front of the stage devoted to dancing, wiggling and twirling about.
300 N. Central Park Ave., 312-746-5100; garfieldconservatory.org
If they like to … twist and turn
Sun salutations can seem even more appealing during dark winter days, but finding a yoga class that appeals to kids and parents alike can be tough. Tula Yoga in Logan Square offers Sunday afternoon classes that include plenty of storytelling, partner poses and animated descriptions, so young kids stay engaged while the whole family sweats it out. In Ravenswood, Bloom Yoga’s robust schedule spans from parent and tot classes (heavy emphasis on the adult’s practice) to storytime yoga targeted at preschoolers to tween and teen drop-in classes.
Tula: 2827 W. Belden Ave., 773-620-9945, tulayoga.net
Bloom: 4663 N. Rockwell St., 773-463-9642; bloomyogastudio.com
If they like to … bounce
No question, Pump It Up reigns supreme for birthday parties with the preschool set. But the bounce house mecca is also open for free play most days. An hour of inflatable obstacle courses, climbing walls and basketball hoops might not sound like a ton of time, but every kid walking out looks wiped. And parents of smaller kids will appreciate the separately scheduled Toddler Hour (for kids under 42”), when your wee one can run wild without get trampled.
821 W. Eastman St., 312-664-7867; pumpitupparty.com
If they like to … glide
Ice skating may feel like the quintessential winter activity, but if you prefer your skating minus the frostbite it’s time to head indoors. McFetridge Sports Center, part of the Chicago Parks District, boasts an NFL-sized rink, and all-age open skate Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. School-aged kids pay just $4 (adults have to pony up a whopping $5), and skate rentals are $3.
3843 N. California Ave., 773-478-2609; mcfetridgesportscenter.com