By Emily Harrington
There’s been something different in the air lately. I can smell it and feel it and see it thanks to the endless back-to-school commercials. Marquees on every school announce it and the leaves are even beginning to show it—fall.
With the turn of seasons comes an inevitable drop in temperatures. But, alas, I have to face the indoors beckoning us to come in to avoid nippy noses and chilly toes. The running stroller will be used less and less as we head to the gym more and more.
One of the biggest roadblocks between moms and exercise is lack of time since “free time” is ultimately spent caring for kids, entertaining kids or planning and preparing for the next kid-related item on the To Do list. But, what if you could combine entertaining/caring for your kids and time for yourself to exercise?
Fortunately, we have many gyms and recreation centers in our area with staff and resources dedicated to taking care of your children (on a drop-in basis) while you exercise. One of the options is sure to fit your budget, schedule and proximity to your home or workplace.
Leonhard Recreation Center Indoor Playground
Location: 2307 W. Sangamon Dr.
Contact: (217) 398-2571
Accepted ages: Walking to 12
Child care cost: Free with all memberships, otherwise cost is $5 per child or $10 per non-resident (outside of Champaign-Urbana) child.
Child care hours: Monday and Wednesday 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Time limit: 2 hours
Notes: The Leonhard Center offers Come Play With Me, Wiggles and Giggles and Tiny Tots Playgroup designed for preschoolers as well as open gyms for teens. Call the center for more information.
Mettler Center’s Tot Spot
Location: 2906 Crossing Ct. in Champaign
Contact: (217) 356-6543
Accepted ages: Crawling to 8
Child care cost: Free to all using facility
Child care hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Monday through Thursday 4 to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Time limit: 90 minutes
Refinery’s Child Activity Center
Location: 2302 W. John St. in Champaign
Contact: (217) 355-4444
Accepted ages: 3 months to 11 years
Child care cost: Certain membership packages include use of the activity center, otherwise cost is $2 per child for two children—three or more children are free. Parents can buy discounted visits to the activity center with a pass.
Child care hours: Monday through Friday 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Monday through Thursday 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday 7:45 a.m. to noon
Sunday 3 to 7 p.m.
Time limit: Not specified
Savoy Recreation Center’s Discovery Room
Location: 402 W. Graham Dr. in Savoy
Contact: (217) 359-3550
Accepted ages: Crawling to 7
Child care cost: Free with Family Membership, otherwise cost is $2 per child or $3 per non-resident (outside of Savoy) child. Parents can buy a pass for discounted visits to the Discovery Room.
Child care hours: Monday through Friday 9-11 a.m.
Monday through Thursday 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Friday 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Time limit: Not specified
Notes: The Savoy Rec offers Tag Along Gym on Thursday mornings from 9-11:30 a.m. during the school year. The gym is filled with toys and equipment appropriate for ages 1 to 6. Tag Along Gym is available free for members or for a small fee depending on residency and number of children. Passes are also available. No pre-registration is required.
Stephens Family YMCA’s Child Watch
Location: 2501 Fields South Dr. in Champaign
Contact: (217) 359-9622
Accepted ages: 6 weeks to 9
Child care cost: Free with Family or Single Parent Family Membership. All other members must pay a guest-pass fee.
Child care hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 8 p.m.
Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday 2 to 5:45 p.m.
Time limit: 2 hours
Notes: The YMCA has different rooms and activities depending upon the needs and ages of your children. If your children are ready for a workout or you want to exercise alongside them, the YMCA offers Family Yoga, Family Yoga 2, Yoga Kids, Boys Strength and Girls Strength fitness classes. Open Gym is also geared toward kids and is available at different times of day, every day. Check out the website for a schedule.
It’s important to state that the listed gyms are not licensed day cares. If your child is inconsolable for a lengthy amount of time or needs a diaper change, you will be interrupted and asked to help your son or daughter. You can’t go run errands at this time, either. You must stay on the premises.
Another important note, if your child is sick they are expected to remain at home for the safety of others. Each gym has guidelines the user will be asked to adhere to.
Check out one of these kid-friendly gyms out and pick up your workouts where you left off this summer or start the fall off right. Call or check the gym’s website for membership cost and any possible fall specials.
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie that left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job to be a 24/7 mom to a dreamy son. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Oh, and let’s not forget her other son, a degenerate canine named Heppenheimer.