Keeping Active in a Virtual World

By Sara Yaniga, Macaroni Kid Chicago (Midtown) April 20, 2020

Physical activity is so important, especially now with limited access to the spaces and programs we had incorporated into our routines before COVID.  The great news is that Chicago businesses have adapted to a "shelter at home" lifestyle and are now bringing their programming right into our living rooms with the help of technology.  Here we share the five businesses that are helping our family keep moving at home!  Check them out and add your favorites to your weekly routine - many are fun for the whole family to try.

Buddha Belly Kids Yoga
Each week Buddha Belly Kids Yoga has been releasing a full calendar of virtual classes for kids of all ages!  
Classes you already know and love such as Busy Buddhas, Blissful Buddhas, Storybook Yoga, and Movers & Shakers fill the calendar PLUS great parenting workshops and special events.  You can even schedule a private virtual class just for your own family, friends or team!  How great would it be to let your kids see their favorite and familiar people in a class together?  

We have been implementing the BBKY classes in our new "stay at home" routine and have really begun to bring what we are learning into our daily lives.  Our 8-year-old said that he likes how "it feels like you are in a real live class.  It's calm and you can really focus."  Yoga looks a little differently for our 3-year-old.  She mostly just gets a kick out of the novelty of yoga class on tv, but she will come in and out of class, usually veering off to do her own thing at the midway point, but she is always back for the Rainbow story and songs to wrap up the class.  I personally look forward to a period of relative quiet with the kids to stretch and focus my own mind!

I also find the virtual setting to be a great way to try something new, so if you have always wanted to try a class, but have been hesitant to try, now is a great time!  Many of the Buddha Belly Kids Yoga classes are offered at a PWYC (or Donation) price too, or you can partake in their special membership ($108) which will get you unlimited access to ALL of their virtual classes, including special events and at-home resources you can't get anywhere else right now. 
Plus you can do it in your pajamas and with your favorite stuffed animal!


Chicago's own unique and imaginative fitness for kids, enerGEEwhizz, have brought their creative and fun workouts online!  Mondays through Saturdays you can join Tiffanie for a workout that is sure to get your kid's feet moving and heart pumping.  Each class will also incorporate elements to exercise your mind - like our son's favorite 'Math Attack' workout which incorporates basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division into the class OR the Fitness Adventures where each class is built on a different storyline. 

The enerGEEwhizz formula for focused fun is available to you by registering online or checking out their available videos on YouTube!  You can also get sessions lined up at their northside facility because the small class sizes are a dream for a post-COVID reality.  They are also offering Summer Camps (risk-free) from June to September for kids ages Preschooler and up! 

Kids Run The City

The Kids Run This City race series sprinted into Chicago in 2019 with an intent to strengthen children’s lives by installing a sense of resolve, determination, and achievement through running.  It quickly has become a favorite of families all around Chicago for their Lincoln Park events and COVID_19 will not keep us from the fun.  You can still participate in the May 2020 race virtually!  

Just sign up here for the 1k, 2k or 3k distance race and complete the race to receive your finisher's medal and shirt!

Want some tips for completing a successful virtual race?
  • Decide when and where you run, use a GPS if possible to map out a course.  A loop, or "in and out", on a paved surface is recommended.  Pick the distance that is just right for your runner - 1k, 2k or 3k distances are options
  • Make it fun!  The races in Lincoln Park are always packed full of fun from local businesses and there is no reason you can't recreate some of that fun for your runner(s).  Create a cheer sign, play music as they complete their race, decorate their race bib and setting up a finish line are just some of the ways you can make a little race magic at home.
  • Record your time and go for a photo finish! My son loves trying to beat his race times and a virtual race will be no different.  No specific type of running app or GPS is needed, just use what you have available to get your most accurate time to submit.  And don't forget to snap some pics along the way!  Definitely grab a finishing photo, but one at the starting line and mid-point would be great too!
  • Run with friends! It was always fun catching up with friends at the race day festivities and we can still run with friends in a virtual world.  Share it with your neighbors and plot out a course that people can use (in a socially responsible way of course) or have your little league team sign up and run "together". 

Skip & Scoot

Skip & Scoot classes have been a favorite activity for our youngest and I was initially hesitant to try them out in the new online format.  I had no doubt that my youngest was going to love it, but now we are all home together and the fun needs to fit an 8-year-old too.  We did a trial of the Fitness Adventures program and I am now sorry I waited as long as I did to add it to our weekly routine!

I asked our oldest for his "pros & cons" after the first class and he said, "Pros - I really liked how we are always keeping our bodies moving.  It was awesome and Ms. Luci is really nice and positive."  I asked, "What about the cons?", fully expecting him to make a comment about it being a "little kid" class since that is how he knew it before, as a class his little sister attended.  He paused for a minute and shook his head.  "I don't have any cons, it was fun!"

What I enjoyed was that for the ages of my kids they were pretty self-sufficient to do the class without my full attention and help.  It was nice to be able to take a step back and just let them have their time with Luci on the screen.  The Fitness Adventure classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday each week through the end of May.  Every class includes songs, a warm-up, a physical actvity/game and a cool-down period.  You can join the class any week and not be "behind" if you missed one, but the kids will still be building on their skills.

Here is a quick video to give you an idea of what the class is like:

West Loop Soccer Club

Our family is seriously missing our spring sports right now.  Getting together for weekly practices and games on the weekends has always been something to look forward to during the winter weather and now those seasons may not even happen.   For those soccer players who are feeling the same way, check out these awesome videos created by West Loop Soccer Club!  
There are multiple videos of drills to help keep our feet moving and skills developing.  Here is one of our favorites called the Minefield Game:

If you visit the West Loop Soccer Club channel on Youtube you will find a growing library of videos for you and your soccer players.  Be sure to share with your teammates who are surely missing the season as much as you!  Also, be sure to check out the summer camp program offered by West Loop Soccer Club for players of all ages and experience.

Like this article? Macaroni Kid Chicago is full of local information like this PLUS tons of daily kid-friendly events on our event calendar.  

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