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5 ways to play with the ones you love

This cold and dreary weather makes it hard to feeling like playing, but we’ve got five good ideas to get your family on the go again. And if these aren’t what you’re looking for, we can also help with ideas to fit your specific interests.

This cold and dreary weather makes it hard to feel like playing, but we’ve got five good ideas to get your family on the go again.

For my son’s 16th birthday, we took a batch of learning-to-drivedudes to K1 Speed, an indoor electric go-cart facility in BuffaloGrove. Watching them have the time of their lives, I knew we’d beback for more. It’s the perfect playful date night, either withjust your partner or, even better, a group of ready-to-racecouples. If you’re the parent of teens, I assure you this is afabulous way to connect. K1 Speed has locations in Addison andBuffalo Grove.

And if you have a group of at least eight, you get the track toyourselves. Find out more atk1speed.com/chicago-buffalo-grove-location.html.

Go Speed Racer, GO!


One off-the-wall way to connect with your kids, spouse,girlfriends or grown-up siblings is by getting downright sillytogether. And one of our city’s performing arts treasures, TheSecond City, has a multitude of ways to help you get your silly ON.If you don’t want to commit to a series of acting or improvclasses, you and your loved ones can pop into one of the drop-inimprovisation classes, held 6-8 p.m. every Sunday. No skillrequired, but you’ll want to check your ego at the door. There issomething special that happens when people let their guard down,forget reality and pretend.

Find out more about everything The Second City has to offer atsecondcity.com.

Act it out


My teenage son has hopes of being the next Bobby Flay, and whileI LOVE his zest for the culinary arts, I wanted to make sure heknew how to properly use all those knives in the chopping blockbefore unleashing his Iron Chef-ness. So he and my husband took aknife skills course together.

Not only did they learn proper chopping technique, they had alittle bonding moment over all those blades. Whether you take acooking class with your teen, your partner, your small kids or yourelderly parent, the act of preparing good food often results ingood conversation. Plus, it’s just fun to learn something newtogether. Two great places for unique lessons in the culinary artsare The Chopping Block with locations on Lincoln Avenue and in theMerchandise Mart, and Sur La Table located on Michigan Avenue andin Naperville, Northbrook Court and Old Orchard. See a full list ofclasses at thechoppingblock.net and surlatable.com.

Chop to it


“Do it scared” has long been one of my favorite mantras. When weface a fear, especially with people we love beside us, it can beoverwhelmingly empowering. Not to mention a total trustbuilding/bonding kind of thing. So why not learn to leap from aplatform and take a swing on the flying trapeze?

Just north of downtown, in the Edgewater neighborhood, sits anold school fieldhouse that houses the Trapeze School of New York inChicago, where people are overcoming their fears and learning tofly every day. There is instruction for all levels, from scaredycat to superhero. Check out chicago.trapezeschool.com for classesand times. Or stop in at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. BroadwaySt., Chicago.

Learn to fly


When I think of what I want most from the relationships with thepeople I love, it’s to know them better. I want to connect on alevel beyond carpools, homework, housework, mortgage payments,weekly responsibilities and the daily grind. Play is anything thattakes us to that sweet spot where time stands still, and there areno rights and wrongs. When I have taken the time to learn somethingnew, right along with my kids and spouse, we are able to see eachother in a new way.

So this month, choose something fun and and learn to do ittogether. I’ll get you started with a few things, below, you mightconsider learning with the folks you love.

  • Ski (We did this at 40. Our kids are now on Black Diamond andwe’re still on green, but we learned!)
  • Crochet (it’s easier than knitting)
  • Play poker
  • Juggle
  • Paint with watercolors
  • Write HTML code
  • Throw pottery
  • Play the accordion
  • Do a cartwheel
  • Tie a cherry stem with your tongue
  • Make bread from scratch
  • Tap dance

Start from scratch


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