Dance To EvOLvE Blog

Free Things to do in Chicago This Winter!

Posted by Brittany White on Jan 21, 2016 4:49:29 PM

Happy New Year!

Got a case of the post-holiday empty wallet blues?

    It’s okay, trust us, we understand. But don’t leave all of the fun in December. We’ve got a bunch of ways to bring the family fun into 2016, for free! Frugal fun seekers, rejoice!

    For starters, at the Fine Arts Building, the same place we host our kids dance classes, is a gallery of breathtakingly beautiful murals and paintings. This historic Chicago landmark houses paintings, as well as the offices of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Boitsov Classical Ballet School and Company, and the Chicago Youth Symphony. We’re so lucky to share a kids dance space with such wonderful pieces of art, and so many ways to get more involved in the Chicago fine arts community! Set some time aside before or after class Monday through Saturday, to expose the kids to some truly wonderful art, at zero cost.

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    Feel like soaking in some history on a Sunday? The DuSable Museum of African American History offers free admission to everyone each and every Sunday of the year! With exhibits like Africa Speaks, a collection of over 2,000 ancient artifacts and contemporary pieces showcasing the cultural richness of the continent, it’s an awesome way to expose young ones to some of the different cultures of the world, while keeping the credit cards in your wallet!

    Swim on over to Old Town Aquariums for a bit, to see beautiful exotic fish in artfully crafted installations. It’s a whale of a time, with none of the hassle of getting tickets to a real aquarium. Even better, if you do see one you like, you can bring it home with you, 'no squidding'. Take this oppor-tuna-ty to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at some pretty fish with your shrimps for an hour or two. Or, if your busy schedule aligns with one of the Community Discount Days, flip your fins over to the John G. Shedd Aquarium for free family admission with an Illinois ID! Winter free admission days coming up are January 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22-26, and February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29. After a full day at the aquarium, you and the kids can dive into a bowl of popcorn and watch Finding Nemo! This is bass-ically the best way to wind down after a long day.

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(Alright, we agree, it’s time to stop floundering around with all these fish puns, we promise to stop being so koi.)

    For the littler tinkerer in your family, lots of hands on museums offer free family days to enjoy. The Chicago Children’s Museum offers free admission every Thursday night, from 5:00- 8:00 PM. Some of the current exhibits include Snow Much Fun, Tinkering Lab, Skyline, Dinosaur Expedition, and WaterWays. Second Saturdays, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, feature family-friendly activities from 11:00AM- 3:00PM. With arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and look and learn activities aplenty, there’s tons here to keep your little one occupied all afternoon. The Chicago Architecture Foundation features open studio days, where Lego Inspiration Stations let kids imaginations run free in the structural realm. Check their site to find out more information on when these Open Studios are taking place.

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    Cat and Mouse Games in West Loop offers free craft activities for kids every Sunday from 10:00AM-12:00PM. Families can drop in and try out a new game or two from the game library on the first Friday of every month, for Free Family Game Night!

     For a sweet treat, go for a few samples at Cone Gourmet, our newest Dance to EvOLvE location. This ice cream parlor offers something for the whole family, with ice creams infused with Jameson, Guinness, and Baileys, or cheeky flavor choices like Netflix and Chill for the adults, and classics like cake batter, mint chip, and peanut butter chocolate for the kiddos. 

     Did the kids just get out of dance class, but are completely wired from that ice cream? Bring them to one of several free indoor play areas in the city, to let them run off the extra energy. There’s one in the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, one in Gurnee Mills Mall, and one in Northbrook Court. All of them feature sitting areas, so you can catch up on some reading while your little ones run amok for half an hour.

Hope these ideas help get your family out of the house during the blustery winter! Most of these free Chicago activities are inside, so no need to worry about catching cold. And the best free activity for your kids this winter? Taking a risk free trial dance class at one of our new Chicago locations in North Center, at the Dance Center Chicago, in The Loop, at the American Rhythm Center, or in the West Loop, at Cone Gourmet Ice Cream Parlor and Dance Studio. Call or email us now, to set a date for your trial dance class now! We can’t wait to see you there!

Happy New Year, from Dance to EvOLvE!

Schedule Your Trial Dance Class In Chicago

 

Tags: free family friendly activities in Chicago

8 New Years Resolutions for the Whole Family!

Posted by Brittany White on Jan 20, 2016 11:09:17 AM

 

We rang in 2016 with celebrations and declarations of “new year, new me!”, deciding to finally drop that ten pounds, or go after that job of our dreams, or do more volunteer work. But in this time of self improvement, there’s an opportunity to teach valuable life lessons to our children as well. Our little ones are always growing, and learning methods of self improvement now will be beneficial to them later on in life. Here are some suggestions of how you can help your kids EvOLvE in the new year.

 

1.) Reduce screen time. 

Yes, in the digital age, it’s getting harder and harder to not be looking at a screen every hour of the day. With jobs, it’s even harder for a lot of us. But for kids, especially, it’s important to set time aside for off screen activity. For one hour a day, reading a book, playing outside, doing some arts and crafts, sand or water play, or cooking a meal with family, is a great way to disconnect from the web. Not to mention, this is a great time for you to get some away-from-keyboard time as well. You may also consider having your kids "earn" their screen time by reading books or doing chores. This method teaches kids that screen time is a privilege, not a right, and can incentivize preferred behaviors (like cleaning their room or reading to their little sibling). Go play!                                        

2.) Eliminate wrappers.

Kids like snacks. Especially the kind that come in shiny, colorful packaging. But most of those snacks come loaded with sugar, fat, and lots of empty carbohydrates. For 2016, get kids eating healthy snacks that come in edible wrappers. No, we don’t mean these, (although, they are pretty cool). We mean fruit. Bananas are great on the go, with zero mess. They can get bruised and black, but consider getting a banana keeper. They protect the fruit so it will remain “kid approved” all day. Or, try a peanut butter banana quesadilla! You can add spices like cinnamon, ginger, or cardamom to give this classic a flavorful twist. For those who like the sweeter things in life, add honey!  Apples also offer great portability, and there’s an apple to suit nearly every taste profile! Well, except salty, but sliced apples dipped in salted caramel are a match made in heaven. This healthy snack drawer is genius! Kids are increasingly busy with day to day activities, so let’s make healthy eating a breeze!

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3.) Establish happy mental health habits. 

Your kids work hard. In school to keep up good grades, at home to help out around the house, in extracurricular activities, and some of our older ones are even balancing part time jobs, college applications, and relationships on top of it all. But every now and then, everybody gets stressed. Even our kids, who like to feel invincible. It’s important to teach younger and older children alike that stress is alright as long as you find healthy ways to alleviate it. Teaching children to recognize their personal reactions to stress is a key part of establishing emotional resilience in young people. Coaching kids on how to manage their stress, create methods of tackling large to do lists, and never be afraid to ask for help when needed is how we get healthy, emotionally stable, and happy children. 

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4.) Reinforce healthy sleep habits.

You think they’ve gone to bed hours ago, but when you walk past their bedroom door,  you see it: a little blue glow peeking out from beneath the blankets. It’s 11:00PM, and you can practically already hear the meltdown you are in store for if these little monkeys don’t get some sleep, STAT! The best way to combat after-hours web surfing is to leave all electronic devices in the living room, or another place away from sleeping areas. Make bedrooms a phone free zone, and keep chargers in community areas. Keep lots of reading material, or small notebooks around, for some wind-down activities before it’s time to sleep. Looking at a screen too close to bedtime leads to less restful sleep, while reading before bed reduces insomnia.

 

5.) Teach accountability. 

We hear it all the time from our kids, “but he started it!” It’s time we start asking “what did you do to end it?”  Pointing the finger is a tough habit to break. But if we start teaching children how to  take responsibility for their actions, and that they have no control over what anyone else does, only         how they react to it, it’s a lesson they will take with them all through adulthood. 

6.) Teach bravery.

Many things in a kids life takes courage. Trying out for the school play or sports team, making friends in a new school, taking on new responsibilities around the house, or asking for new privileges. In doing all of these things, they are bound to fail at some point. As hard as it is as a parent to watch your kids struggle, it is important to remember that they’re not going to die, and the world is not going to come crashing down. They may feel hurt for a little while, and that’s justified. But teaching our little ones to bounce back from the “no”, will make rejection a tool for success later in life.

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 7.) Teach kindness.

Just like it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, it takes much more energy to be mean than to be nice. From complimenting someone’s outfit, or piece of work they produce, to holding the door for someone, or helping someone with a heavy box, or even just smiling at someone, being nice is easy. A wise person once said, “You can tell a lot about a person's character by how they treat someone who can provide nothing for them”. When kids learn to be nice to everyone, not just those they want to be liked by, it builds great character, and will most likely lead to your kid being pretty popular anyway. Win-win!

 

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8.) Teach the importance of taking care of your body.

While health and wellness comes in all shapes ans sizes, physical fitness is  always important to maintain health of mind and body and manage stress. Encourage your little one to join a sport at school, or take up a physical hobby, like rollerblading, mountain biking, gymnastics or dance! Dance is fantastic way to improve coordination, memory, and self confidence. Get your little ones moving in 2016, with our toddler dance classes, and dance classes for kids aged 4-12! Schedule a risk free trial class today. 

  Trial Dance Class in San Diego                Trial Dance Class in Chicago

 Schedule A Trial Dance Lesson in San Diego             Schedule Your Trial Dance Class In Chicago

 

Tags: dance, Kids, dance classes for kids, wellness, kids dance classes in san diego, family, fun, health, new year, 2016, january, dance classes for toddlers, kids dance classes in chicago, sleep, mental health

Free Kids Activities in San Diego!

Posted by Brittany White on Jan 14, 2016 3:01:46 PM

    Ah, the holidays. A time of giving, of spending time with family, and spending the money. Between travel, family gifts, office gift exchanges, having to buy a last minute present for that neighbor that sent you a fruit basket, and holiday dinners, it adds up quickly. No doubt, the holidays don't leave much wiggle room in the budget for post-December entertainment. But never fear! Dance to EvOLvE is here to make sure broke bored in San Diego now that January is here.

    For starters, if you're near Mission Hills, you can bring the kids to scenic Balboa Park, close to downtown San Diego, where there's lots to see, whether it’s the talented street performers, beautiful gardens, or even heading in for Free Museum Tuesdays! Balboa Park has something for everyone in the family, even the dog! Nate’s Point is a cool, well-maintained off leash dog park in the heart of Balboa, where lots of San Diegans bring their pups. Your four legged pal is bound to make some friends, and bonus, you get to pet all the dogs you want! Pro tip, go in the mornings, there are lots of puppies there.

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              Look at these cuties!

 

     A fun family friendly museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Downtown, has free daily admission for anyone under 25, and free for all ages on the third Thursday of every month. It's conveniently located within a two minute walk from the America Plaza trolley station. The trolley, but the way, is an excellent activity for the kids. Who knew preschoolers and kindergarteners would 

    Just a hop, skip and a jump away is Mission Beach, one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego, where there’s lots of space to set up camp for the day, have a picnic, a sunset bonfire, and watch the SeaWorld fireworks on summer nights. There’s a bike trail, and another off leash dog park too, Fiesta Island. Bring a flashlight if you go to Fiesta later in the day, it gets dark early nowadays!

    Closer to Point Loma? A five minute drive from Liberty Station is the Pearl Hotel, where the Dive-In Theater is offered. Every Tuesday, guests can gather around or lounge in the vintage oyster shaped pool, and enjoy kid friendly favorites like Elf, Frozen, or a Christmas Story. It is recommended that you make a table reservation for your family in advance, and while tableside viewing is free, pool access requires a drink purchase. Showtime is 8:00 PM!

    It’s a well known fact that food tastes better when it’s free. For tons of free samples, check out the Little Italy Mercato Famer's Market every Saturday morning! One of the largest weekly farmer's markets in San Diego, free samples of delicious fresh prepared food and farmer’s finest fruits, good music, family friendly arts and crafts for the little ones, are spread out over several blocks. This is also a great way to expose your kids to different fruits and vegetables without having to prepare a whole meal!

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                                                        A most plentiful bounty.

 

      For the cheese enthusiast, go tasting at Venissimo, where delicious cheeses from around the world are sold. This is a great way to discover new ingredients for your grilled cheese sandwiches, without breaking the bank! We all know kids love cheese, so let them sample some more exotic varieties like manchego, chimay, or little boy blue.

    Got a pair of binoculars at home? Take the kids to the Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, and spend the day doing some bird watching! An extra fun twist, bring some colored pencils and a sketchbook along, and take turns drawing the colorful birds you’ll see. All done bird watching for the day? Take a hike! No, really, this place is great for hiking, and has some seriously spectacular views.

  If you’re looking for some springtime landscaping inspiration, the San Diego Botanical Gardens have got you covered. On the first Tuesday of every month, free admission is offered, and family friendly bonus: if you have more than four people in your car, the parking charge is waived too. Score! There's lots of green space to run around and play in, as well as tons of rare and exotic flowers to ooh and ahh at, so this is bound to be a hit with kids and adults alike! 

    Looking for a park experience that just keeps on giving? Sunset Park near San Elijo offers 19 acres of free kid friendly activities, with walking trails, lots of green space to run around, playgrounds aplenty, a soccer field, volleyball and basketball facilities, a picnic area, and a dog park, you’d be hard pressed to run out of things to do here.Kids_activities_Sunset_Park_San_Elijo.jpg

   Last, but certainly not the least, there are free children’s dance classes happening in all of these areas! In Grantville, at the Party Fitness Studio, in San Elijo, at the San Elijo Park & Recreation Center, in Liberty Station at the new Kid Ventures, and in Mission Hills, at RISE Studio. All of these locations feature our EvOLving Dance Days, where our instructors offer free classes! This is a chance for your kids to try out several types of dance for free! We will be collecting donations benefiting the Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego. The minimum suggested donation is $3.00.

And feel free to schedule a risk free trial dance class at any of our locations, so you can see what kind of dance your little one likes best!

Schedule A Trial Dance Lesson in San Diego

Tags: kids dance classes, San Diego, Kids, San Elijo, Mission Hills, free, Grantville, family, fun, new year, 2016, january

New Kids Dance Class Locations in Chicago

Posted by Brittany White on Jan 4, 2016 1:49:08 PM

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Chicago is a beautiful, bustling city full of art and culture. Dance to EvOLvE has been proudly contributing to the art scene in Chicago providing quality kids dance classes for years, and we are proud to announce our two new locations which opened in September 2015, and a third coming February 2016! If you are from The Loop, West Loop, or North Center- now you can find the dance classes you love even closer to home!

The Loop and West Loop

11988645_949040445139439_8641800112183618144_n-1Located in the central business district of Chicago, the Loop is a great area with beautiful architecture and a gorgeous view of the ocean. Now you can take your little one to our high-quality tap/ballet classes for kids just around the corner from home! Our classes offered are:

  • Tab/ballet for toddlers and preschoolers aged 2-4.5 on Wednesdays starting at 9:00am
  • Hip Hop for kids aged 4-12 on Thursdays starting at 4:00pm
  • Tap/ballet for toddlers and preschoolers aged 2-4.5 on Saturdays starting at 9:00am.

After class ends, grab an early lunch at Native Foods or even Frontera Grill for some quality time with your little dancer! 

West Loop is the newest addition to Dance To EvOLvE's convenient locations. Classes start in February 2016 at Cone Gourmet Ice Cream - Dance Studio located at1047 W Madison Ave. Classes offered are toddler and preschooler tab/ballet combo starting at age one and a half. Not only are the toddler classes great, you can't beat a dance class and a gourmet ice cream cone! The perfect combination!

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North Center

Just a little north of the loop is the wonderful community of North Center Chicago. Dance to EvOLvE is proud to now be apart of such a vibrant neighborhood with an eclectic mix of retailers, restaurants, live music, live theater, and service-oriented businesses. We are providing a wide variety of classes Mondays and Saturdays, ranging anywhere from Ballet and Tumble combo classes, all the way to kids Hip-Hop classes. Check out our full list of classes here.

Dance to EvOLvE is dedicated to providing high quality dance classes for kids throughout the city of Chicago, and we will continue to make our classes increasingly available to you! Especially with the winter season just around the corner, there is no better time to enroll your child in after school dance classes! Take advantage of our new locations as soon as possible- spaces at regisration do fill up quickly. As always, risk free trial classes are available at all of our Chicago kids dance class locations. Click below to sign up for your trial!

We hope to see you at the Loop, West Loop and North Center soon!

 

Schedule Your Trial Dance Class In Chicago