New exhibit gets kids moving during cold weather months

When the leaves starts to change, parents start to worry about their kids going stir-crazy in the approaching winter months. But there’s a bigger concern: in these days of childhood obesity and “Let’s Move” initiatives, how does a parent get their child to exercise when the world outside is a frozen tundra?

If you go

Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action

Sept. 29-Jan. 10

Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview


Climbing Canyon


That’s where “Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action,” Kohl Children’s Museum’s latest temporary exhibit, comes in. Created by the folks at Minnesota Children’s Museum (who definitely know cold weather), the exhibit explores different ways for kids to “work out”—although the ideas might not be what you would expect.

In the spirit of Mad Max: Fury Road and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, “Run! Jump! Fly!” puts kids in the role of action stars with the whole exhibit as their training center. After donning a costume, they can practice kung-fu animal stances, pedal a Flycycle, and maneuver across a climbing canyon (competition is encouraged), or show off sick moves—and burn calories—in the dance club and balance on a snowboarding/surfing video simulator. As they complete activities, they stamp them on Action Tracker logs to show progress.

All of the exhibit’s activities are designed to test balance, strength, coordination or endurance.

While there is a traditional gym set-up where kids can try a leg press, rowing machine and chin-up bar, Sheridan Turner, president and CEO of the museum, says the point is to get families thinking outside the box of what qualifies as “working out.”

“Being physical can really be fun,” Turner says. “There’s all kinds of things you can do that get you moving.”

She also says the timing is ideal, since the museum’s popular “Fitness for All” programs are held outdoors and are dependent on the weather. So the indoor space will help bridge the seasonal gap and keep kids engaged and moving around.

“It really promotes that creativity and imagination can be vital as children engage in physical activity,” Turner says. “Everybody can be physically active.”

And thanks to the exhibit, they can do so even when it’s cold.

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