There is no shortage of engaging and educational activities in Chicago. The biggest challenge though is prioritizing and choosing activities that are worth your family’s time and money. Here are some of our favorite places that are easy on the wallet and make a big impact on little brains.
Nature and the Earth has been said to be one of the greatest ways for children to learn. North Park Village Nature Center hosts an array of events throughout the year to engage children in nature. Even if you can’t make the Maple Syrup Festival or a Parent + Child In the Wild events, you can visit the nature center any day that it is open. Fossils and artifacts greet you as you walk in. However, it is the cozy preschool setting that keeps many families engaged. A room full of puppets, books and manipulatives make this a great spot to learn rain or shine!
Garfield Park Conservatory is a gorgeous place to visit for any age. However, they also have an area completely dedicated to children. They include plenty of shovels and containers to play with and volunteers are more than happy to discuss the Earth and our connection to it. If your child needs to get some energy out, they can trek up the stairs to the slide that will return them to the children’s area! They also offer events and storytimes for more structured activities.
Local fire stations
A fire engine racing off to a fire is definitely on top of a list of things that toddlers are obsessed with. Right up there with bubbles and singing the alphabet. Want to give your little firefighter inside knowledge? Contact your local fire department. Many of them are more than happy to welcome families and small groups to their station to share how they keep our communities safe!
Libraries are not just for reading any more. Libraries are now hosting storytimes and other learning events for young learners. From coding and science labs to book clubs, the library is the old-new spot to explore new topics.
That coffee shop that knows your kid’s name and just how they like their hot chocolate? The pizza place that your family eats at once a week? The dentist that makes your kiddo feel right at home? Think of any place that gives you the warm and fuzzy feelings because they seem to really get kids. They also may be open to taking the time to share their passion and knowledge with them. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to ask. They will likely be flattered that any young person is interested in what they have to offer!
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