1. Go to Lincoln Park Zoo - hands down, the
best free zoo around.
2. Trace your body with chalk on the sidewalk, color in funny
faces and clothes.
3. Have a talent show-raid your stash of old Halloween costumes
to get started.
4. Dig for worms.
5. Plant a small vegetable garden. Use starter plants to get
going quickly. Need tips for reaping -- and eating -- what you sow?
We've got those,
6. Keep a journal of what you do this summer.
7. Visit the
LaGrange Pet Parade at 9:30 a.m. June 5 to see local pets hit
8. Camp out in the backyard.
9. Make s'mores. Then make some more!
10. Visit the Chicago History Museum on a
Monday when it's free.
11. Take a nature hike. Collect fun stuff to make a nature
12. Set up a lemonade stand. Get squeezing with these ideas.
13. Grab some blankets, drape them over the low branches of a
tree and make a tree house.
14. Get your friends and neighbors together-have a parade with
the decorated bikes.
15. Make a compost bin. Use the worms you dug up.
16. Make pancakes for dinner-add chocolate chips for a sweet
17. Have a neighborhood baseball game. Make it Cubs vs. White
18. Run through a sprinkler.
19. Grab a flashlight and go on a night hike-search for moths
and nighttime bugs.
20. Bake some brownies to sell at the garage sale.
21. Learn to tie your shoes.
22. Round up the pooches. Have a dog wash.
23. Pull out the slip 'n' slide and slip away for an
24. Decorate your bike.
25. Help a neighbor.
26. Stay up late and look for the Big Dipper.
27. Have a picnic. Let everyone plan and help make the food.
Bring a Frisbee.
28. Catch fireflies.
29. Paint a birdhouse.
30. Go to the beach-the best sandbox in Chicago. Check out our
31. Collect photos and buy an inexpensive album. Create a family
32. Jump rope.
33. Learn to swim. Visit your park district or YMCA
34. Go rollerblading.
35. Learn more about stars at the Adler Planetarium.
36. Walk barefoot through the grass.
37. Play Ghost in the Graveyard while you're up late.
38. Take a bike ride.
39. Have a bubble gum-blowing contest.
40. Have a car wash with bikes.
41. Visit the library. Find the public library closest to you here.
42. Make homemade bubbles to blow.
43. Go to a baseball game-inexpensive minor leagues abound in
44. Go swimming.
45. Clean up your neighborhood. Pick up litter.
46. Paint a terra cotta pot and plant a flower.
47. Have a water balloon fight.
48. Paint a rock family.
49. See a baby mammoth at the Field Museum, where Lyuba the Ice Age baby
is on display. Read our
50. Have a fashion show with your friends. Take lots of
51. Visit the new Great Bear Wilderness at Brookfield Zoo. Watch
for a preview.
52. Go on a scavenger hunt.
53. String beads.
54. Make popsicles with Kool-aid or juice, paper cups and
55. Grab a camera, take a walk and photograph nature.
56. Put on a skit.
57. Have a barbecue.
58. Get out the squirt guns and get wet.
59. Look for butterflies. See them upclose at Notebaert Nature Museum
or read blogger Amy Bizzarri's review.
60. Collect flowers to press and frame.
61. Gather pillows and blankets and make a fort.
62. Read a book.
63. Clean out your toy box.
64. Have a garage sale with all the extra toys. Need some tips
to get started? Click here.
65. Fly a kite. Need suggestions? Check out readers' favorite
places to fly a kite.
66. Make popcorn and watch a movie.
67. Have game day in the backyard. Make it board games if it
68. Send a care package to the troops in Afghanistan and
69. Take a hike in a forest preserve.
70. Learn about storms at the Museum of Science and Industry's
new Science Storm exhibit. Read our
71. Learn how to spell your name in sign language.
72. Learn a magic trick. Darien dad Tim Balster knows a
thing or two about magic. He and his wife Robin have spent the last
25 years performing magic shows around the world. Here's a simple
trick from Tim to get your kids started creating a little magic of
73. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Even better, head to the
beach super-early to watch the sun come up over the water.
74. Play at the park.
75. Write a letter to a friend or relative.
76. Go on a bug hunt.
77. Learn something new.
78. Build a sand castle.
79. Visit the Bean at Millennium Park. Splash in Crown
Fountain. Don't forget a towel.
80. Play loud music. Have a dance party.
81. Have a cultural day. Learn about another country on the
Internet or at the library. Plan a meal in honor of your chosen
country. For more ideas on visiting ethnic neighborhoods in
Chicago, click here.
82. Make a dandelion bouquet.
83. Tie-dye a shirt.
84. Learn to do a headstand. Make it a handstand if you're
85. Make a kazoo from a paper towel roll, waxed paper and rubber
band. Have a marching band parade.
87. Inflate your wading pool and throw a pool party.
88. Go bird-watching. Learn to identify different kinds of
89. Stay up late and tell ghost stories. Make it silly stories
if the kids are little. Let everybody add a line to the story-see
how scary or silly you can get.
90. See a concert in the park. Check Chicago Parent's calendar for one near you.
91. Make sock puppets. Put on a show.
92. Make your own yummy ice cream sandwiches. Soften ice cream,
smoosh between two cookies, roll edges in mini-chocolate chips.
Wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer until ready to eat.
93. Play hopscotch.
94. Make a volcano with stuff from your recycle bin and some
homemade playdough. Mix vinegar and baking soda and prepare for
explosions. Add food coloring for special effect.
95. Pick berries and other seasonal fruit. Search "u-pick" on
our site for where to go.
96. Learn to whistle. When it comes to whistling-and just
about any other sound you can make with your mouth-we turned to the
expert: Fred Newman, author of the book MouthSounds: How to
whistle, pop, boing and honk. Here are his step-by-step tips to a
If you have trouble producing a whistle, look in the mirror as
you try. Open and close the small hole between your lips ever so
slightly, make it as round as possible. (Be sure your tongue is out
of the way of the center hole.) Try tensing your lips into a more
"pointed" pucker and vary your lip tension.
97. Take a sketch pad outside and draw a picture of your
98. Make paper airplanes. Fly them outside.
99. Write 10 things you like about someone and send it to
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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