Hot Ground Gym

Strengthening The Future

Northbrook, Illinois Kids Development


After many hours observing children at play in different settings, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder say natural terrain playgrounds, those that incorporate trees and grass, even if they include some man-made structures, are effective against stress.

Published in the journal Health & Place, the study is the first to focus on the effectiveness of student access to natural settings, including playgrounds that include dirt, scrub oak and water features among others.

“Many schools already offer stress management programs, but they’re about teaching individuals how to deal with stress instead of creating stress-reducing environments,” says Louise Chawla, CU-Boulder professor of environmental design and lead author of the study. “Schools are where children spend a major part of their life hours, so it’s an important place to look at for integrating daily contact with the natural world because of the many benefits it brings.”

The researchers logged a combined total of more than 1200 hours observing a variety of age groups either at play or completing assignments that require being outdoors.

To diversify their data, they visited a range of institutions, including elementary schools in Baltimore and Denver and four public and private entities for teenagers that included a college preparatory school, a public high school, an alternative school and an afterschool program, all located in Colorado.

Observation at the Baltimore elementary school spanned three years, during which 96 percent of children opted to skip the conventional playground alltogether and play in the woods when given the choice.

While the younger set showed a tendency to observe and take in their natural surroundings, older children organized projects like fort building.

In both cases, teachers reported longer attention spans in students returning from recess and parents said the experience was important to their children’s school-life balance.

Observation at the Denver site found an unusually peaceful atmosphere.

“In more than 700 hours of observations at the Denver school’s green outdoor space, zero uncivil behaviours were observed,” said Chawla. “But there were many incidences of arguments and rudeness indoors, as there are at many schools.”

For schools with limited access to nature, Chawla suggests contacting local city parks in the interest of creating joint-use agreements as well as tearing out as much asphalt as possible on site.

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I would absolutely recommend this place for birthday parties

We just had my son's 8th birthday party at Hot Ground and they did a terrific job!  It's no easy feat to whip 15 high energy little boys into shape and Paul and Joe did so, while still mana…Read More

Amy V.

You’re Doing Great Things For So Many Kids’ Lives

Our three boys cannot get enough of Hot Ground Gym!  They ABSOLUTELY love it there. The instructors are fantastic!!! They are friendly but firm, consistent weekly, focusing on strength, ind…Read More

Hillary M.

Highly Recommend to All Parents

I can't say enough good things about how great this place is. The owner and people that run Hot Ground Gym obviously love what they do and do it well. We had my son's 9th birthday party here…Read More

Shayna P.

Strengthening The Future

New Age Concept Educating our Youth

Take on obstacles you have never seen before, challenge your mind, and push yourself to your limit by racing through a course packed with fun. Who will be the best? Make your party a competition or work together to get through obstacles, either way it is a test of your abilities! Our skilled instructors and creative design will keep all your guests engaged in your party, and they’ll be sure to remember it for years to come.

These are not regular camps, our camps' activities help today's generation reconnect with the outdoors and become more responsible, self-confident and self-reliant. It is a blend of growth with adventure and fun.

Junior Boots is more than just an after-school activity. Hot Ground Gym has designed Junior Boots to be a comprehensive fitness and education program that implements five pilars. Fitness, Leadership, Critical thinking, Teamwork, and Discipline.