School is out and summertime Chi is in full effect! It’s time to get out and enjoy our beautiful city with the kiddies. As often as possible, I try to find activities that expose my son to new learning experiences and a chance to explore different parts of the city. Here are plenty of options below. All activities are packed with fun and many are $free.99.
1. Movies in the Park is always a great way to visit a new park and watch movies the family would love. From The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dori to The Sandlot (one of my childhood favorites) and The Wiz. Find a full list here.
2. Help your little one whip up some fun and food by taking a culinary class at The Kids Table in Wicker Park. They offer hands-on cooking classes for families and kids of all ages.
3. Ride your bikes along the new 35th street bridge in Bronzeville and roll to 31st street to build sandcastles and be beach bums for the day.
4. One of the best places to play and learn is at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Check out their new Forts exhibit where kids can build a fort using everyday materials and their imagination. Visit the museum during Free Family Nights on Thursday evenings or every first Sunday of the month.
5. While you’re at Navy Pier, take a ride on the new Centennial Ferris Wheel and enjoy a 360 degree view of the city. Before you go, do a quick check of Navy Pier’s promotional page for discounted or free tickets.
7. Go brunchin’ at a kid-friendly spot like Honey Butter Fried Chicken in the Avondale neighborhood. They have a great outdoor space and a magnetic wall for kids to use while you wait for chicken & grits or their oh-so-good honey butter corn muffins.
8. Enjoy a baseball game during White Sox Family Sundays! Experience the game along with activities for kids throughout the concourses. After the game, kids have the opportunity to run the bases!
9. Get handy with Home Depot Kids Workshops that are free and include fun projects like building a truck, birdhouse or toolbox. Kids receive a kit, apron, and certificate of completion. Check monthly classes here.
10. Stop by Fiesta Del Sol (July 27-30th) in Pilsen for arts and culture at the largest Latino festival in the Midwest. Face painting, games, and other educational activities are available for kids in the children’s area.
11. Catch story time on Saturday mornings at Open Books in the West Loop.
13. Check out Brookfield Zoo Summer Nights that include a laser show, kid activities, and entertainment.
15. Visit Washington Park for the African American Festival of the Arts this Labor Day Weekend. Kids can enjoy games, drumming and crafts on all festival days from 12pm-4pm.
16. Explore Dusable Museum of African American History. Admission is free on Sundays!
17. Be there for the weekly butterfly releases, turtle feedings or drop by family fun at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum.
18. If you want to beat the heat, cool off at King’s Bowl for all you can play bowling, billiards, and table games for a decent price (only on sunny days until labor day).
20. Fly away (or at least your kite) at the Chicago Botanic Garden Kite Festival. Don’t have a kite? No worries. Attend a kite making workshop and see awesome kite flying demonstrations and performances throughout the day.
Feel free to add others in the comments below!