Chicago weekend events for kids

There's a lot going on in this world-class city we live in, and the options can be overwhelming. So every week, we'll pick our not-to-miss events. Chances are, you'll see us there, kids in tow. If none of these suit your schedule, browse our full calendar to find events near you.

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Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat crews are comprised of competitive teams around North America, as well as local corporate teams. The event includes an Athlete’s Village, food vendors, entertainment, and awards.


Word Weekend

A day of interactive performances, collaborative art making, and ‘live literature’ experiences exploring the role of words and language in contemporary art and culture. Features partnerships with the local literary community, including a book fair representing Chicago’s small press printing scene organized by the Printers’ Ball.  Local artists who use text and word in their work lead innovative art experiences, including Matt Austin’s basketball game with crumpled paper and discarded writing.  Visitors can participate in workshops led by Chicago Slam Works and the Write Club and contribute to a collaborative chalk drawing on the museum’s plaza with Robbie Q. Telfer of Encyclopedia Show. The day concludes with a silent film screening in the MCA sculpture garden.


Kids Fest

Includes Kids Fest Stage, face painting, chess wizards, Lego robotics, bounce house, arts & crafts stations, hair streakin, nail painting, Mary Macaroni and origami.


Family Day: Who Am I? Exploring Identity Through Art

Families are invited to explore not only appearances, but internal characteristics and traits through facilitated, art-based activities during this special program presented by the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the Anti-Defamation League. Reservations required.


Trades Day

Discover trades from the past to the present. Visit with artists and tradesmen, such as the blacksmith, quilter, pewtersmith, needle felter and more. Test your own crafting skills and bring home a do-it-yourself souvenir. Help pump the 1874 Joe Naper Pumper firefighting apparatus at 2:30 p.m. Some activities may require a small fee.


Baby and Toddler Expo

Includes the Daddy's Play Yard Race, Shop 'til You Drop, Beautiful Baby Contest, exhibitors from around the world, bounce house, and shopping event for new and expecting parents and families. On-stage activities and presentations provided by KLOVE Radio.


Kids' Fun Races (Bike Races)

Kids can take part in the Downers Grove bike races. Each of the four separate heats ends at the finish line of the racecourse at the corner of Main St. and Grove. The 3-4 year olds will go about 50 yards, the 5-6 year olds will go about 100 yards, the 7-8 year olds will go 200 yards, and the 9-10 year olds will go about 350 yards. A parent or guardian must register each child in advance. Each child who participates must wear a helmet. For more information, visit


Ice Cream Social

Listen to music on the grounds of the Dawes House, watch Kevin Kelly’s magic show, enjoy a serving of Andy’s Frozen Custard, see a performance by Leslie Goddard as Frances Willard, and much more. Plus, kids’ games, displays, popcorn, lemonade and treats from Whole Foods Market,


Fire Up A Cure

Firefighters from across Illinois compete in a series of challenges to raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials and for local children who are battling this illness. Events include a fire truck pull, a hot wing eating contest, an obstacle course, inflatable jousting, tug-of-war and more. Children's activities include an inflatable fire truck slide, an obstacle course, a kids' fire pole to slide down, real fire trucks to explore, face painting, a photo booth and a balloon artist. A DJ provides music and there are performances by local dance troupes, travel cheerleading squads, and a magician. Plus, food trucks and vendors.


Ed's Fest

A day of luau-themed activities, food and sassy service. Includes food and drinks, games like hula-hoop, a dunk tank, Mitchell's Ice Cream eating contests, corn hole, face painting and more. A portion of the proceeds from the many Ed's Fest games and attractions will benefit local charities such as the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Rescue Warriors Corp and The Israel Idonije Foundation.


Kids’ Concert: Miss Jamie and The Farmhands

Miss Jamie and her puppet friends from the farm will take the audience on a magical barnyard adventure in a sing-along, dance-along show that's fun for kids and grownups alike. Lawn seating; chairs and blankets welcome.


Herb Garden Weekend

Programs about growing and using a variety of kitchen garden herbs. Herb Discovery Carts will be set up to introduce visitors to the herbs and edible flowers they can grow in their own gardens. An herbal expert will staff a display and answer herb gardening questions throughout the weekend. A number of family-friendly activities will be set up to help teach the difference between herbs and spices, including "Sniff and Guess," planting an herb seed and making a plant label to go with the seed and making a dried herb mix to take home to make an herb butter. The youngest kids can use cups and spoons in the "Herb Sandbox" to find dried petals and herbs in small tubs. Vendors will offer plants and herbal products for sale. Visitors can take an herb seedling home (while supplies last).


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