This post was originally published in Lollygag Blog – and can be viewed here

If you’ve been peeping on my social media lately, you’ve probably noticed that my kids are doing a ton of stuff right now. I’m not usually a fan of the whole “doing a ton of stuff” thing, either, because a) it’s expensive as bejesus, and b) it’s borderline ridiculous to coordinate. (And okay, c) I tend towards “lazy.”) So what gives? Did I get a burst of energy? (No.) Did P.J. get a marvelously jacked raise? (…No. P.J., you’d tell me, right?)

I became an ambassador for Pearachute, a flipping terrific company (and concept) in Chicago. If you’re like me, I’m sure you have questions. Like, “does an ambassador get a sash and special parking exemptions?” (No. Which is, like, come on.) Another question might be, “how does Pearachute work?”

It’s brilliant:

  • One website (on your computer or phone) gives you access to hundreds of classes all over town. (Seriously,check out their listings. They’re rad.)
  • Drop-in scheduling means you can plan up to 2 weeks in advance- or an hour before.
  • Canceling can be done up to an hour before, because things come up. (Napping kids, non-napping kids, etc., etc.)
  • Options include open play, music, dance, art, sports, language, and story time. New classes and studios are being added every day!


But what does it look like in action?

Jasper’s highlights:

Open play. This kid is king of the open play, whether it’s at the Little Beans play cafe in Bucktown or Evanston. (The latter also being home to the Big Beans area which offers- among other things- 2 year-old indoor soccer. Jasper will report back after tomorrow morning.) He was also a particularly humongo fan of the Happy Play Cafe in Lincoln Parkwhich also doubles as a hands-on place to love and potentially adopt fluffy bunnies and chirping birds.

Jasper pearachute

Susannah’s highlights:

Oh, Susannah. This kid has really taken to the “anything and everything” approach of Pearchute. Once or twice a week she’s dropped into classes like musical theatre at Away We Play in Old Irving and- her new absolute favorite-Brazilian jiujitsu at the Andre Marco studio in Wicker Park. It turns out that Suzy’s really, really good at martial arts. This is one of those things that I legit wouldn’t have tried with her until she was much older. But there was zero commitment risk, and I’m oh-so glad that she wanted to try it!)

Susannah Pearachute

Nora’s highlights:

My kindergartner is an artist. All she wants to do is sit somewhere and draw quietly. (Or gather crazy materials and craft quietly.) Pearachute’s model is perfect for her, as we can check her mood after a (sometimes long, long) day of school, and sign her up for a last minute textile class- her new favorite is Easel Arts in Wicker Park- or a hands-on art and music afternoon at Away We Play. (Next up for her? Her random choice of swim lessons at the British Swim School this coming week. Okie doke, pal!)

puppy Pearachute

(Nora wanted me to include a pic of the puppy she sewed, named Puppy.)

I can’t rave highly enough about Pearachute (and, since I rarely accept ambassadorships, that should speak volumes, too). These classes and drop-ins and special events would normally cost about a bajillion dollars- times three. Chicago is such an incredible town for kid-friendly stuff, and this is such a fun way for you (or your spouse, or your nanny, or or…) to expose your kids to as much awesomeness as possible on a completely convenient schedule.

With the option to opt-out when you need it. Because sometimes you really, really do.

And it’s easier on the conscience- and potential future stir-craziness- to know that Tiny Barre ballet is on the docket for later in the week.

(Trust me.)

Want to find activities near you? Click below to create a free account and browse Pearachute’s full list of classes and locations.