While members of the Health, Fitness & Recreation Center (HFRC) at Moraine Valley Community College climb the Stairmaster, their kids now can climb the walls – literally – in the center’s new KidRec, which opened July 11. KidRec offers care for children ages 3 months to 15 years, but the space also is used for programming, sports camps, birthday parties, and more.
Each KidRec area is designed with age-appropriate activities to keep kids active. Tots Landing is geared for children ages 0 to 6. In addition to the play space, this area houses two hands-on, experiential learning exhibits provided by the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum. The veterinary area where kids can take care of animals helps create empathy and helping others. The building exhibit provides different blocks kids can build with, which bolsters critical thinking skills. Both areas teach cooperative play. The museum plans to switch out exhibits from time to time.
“We’re extremely excited to partner with Moraine Valley on this project. Anytime we can take the mission of the museum, which is to positively impact a child’s life through play-based education, and extend it beyond our four walls, it’s a tremendous opportunity. And to be able to do that with another educational institution like Moraine Valley is exciting,” said Adam Woodworth, executive director of the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum.
Moraine Valley and the Children’s Museum have been partners for several years. The museum has been an internship location for the college’s Job Resource Center since 2009 and awarded the college its Partner of the Year in 2015. At that time Woodworth asked Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, college president, about other ways the organizations could collaborate, and she introduced him to the HFRC staff.
Woodworth said Tots Landing has the potential to be a great on-campus internship opportunity for Moraine Valley students earning an education or psychology degree. “This area could be one of observation for them for class. How are kids learning? How are they playing? And it’s right on campus so it opens the door for Moraine Valley students to use the area and observe what kids are learning,” he said.
The KidRec X-Rooms are for 7- to 15-year-olds to use technology-based active equipment. For example, the T-Wall is a large wall with lighted squares where kids can compete against themselves or others in over 100 games and activities. Kids can horizontally transverse a bouldering wall and pedal exercise bikes to activate an Xbox video game system. When pedaling stops, the game turns off.
“We’re really excited about the X-Rooms because they set us apart from other fitness centers,” said Lisa Hanson Lamey, associate director of operations and membership at FitRec. “This space is for older kids who normally wouldn’t have anything to do in a childcare setting. It’s fun and engaging and it keeps them active.”
The Sports Zone is dedicated to instructional sports programming for youth. Kids can register for classes to gain skills at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Kid Central is a multipurpose room used for birthday party rentals, dance and educational classes, special event programs, and more.
KidRec is available to FitRec members ages 3 and up as a monthly add-on fee for $12 a month for the first child, $9 a month for the second child and $6 a month for additional children. The monthly fee allows for unlimited access to KidCare, discounts on children’s programming, free family “play” times, and special events. Members and nonmembers also can use KidRec for $4 per visit per child. Children ages 0 to 2 are free with a parent membership to the HFRC. Parents who sign up for KidRec in July will receive the remainder of the month of July for free.
For more information about KidRec, visit morainevalley.edu/fitrec or contact Angela Caringella at (708) 608-4066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Schneider, director of the Health, Fitness & Recreation Center at Moraine Valley Community College, instructs kids how to transverse the bouldering wall at the KidRec open house on July 9.