Infusing Chicago culture into kids

“But museums are soooooo booooring,” refuted my tween when I told her we were going to infuse some art, music and learning into our family. With hibernation just around the corner, I’m gearing up my growing children to love our city again – even in the winter.

We began with a trip to the new math exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. This was a rare opportunity to allow my younger two girls a chance to roam free, have fun and discover something fun in a museum. While math may not have sounded like much when we left, they were pleasantly surprised. This exhibit incorporates a super cool fractal maze that wowed my tween (and sort of scared my tot). It was hands-on and hidden learning of the best kind.

This trip to MSI reminded me of the years when I first moved to Chicago. I would take my son, who was just barely two at the time (and is now 18), when we visited museums and events, and to explore new areas of the city. Seeing the joy on my younger children’s faces at the museum made me realize it was time to veer away from play spaces or amusement zones and reintroduce some cultural experiences from the myriad available in Chicago.

Next up will be a family trip to the Art Institute. An icon of the city, it was a forgotten on my list of go-to places beyond a quick wave at the lions on our way to Millennium Park last summer. I used to take my older teens there years ago, let them select a postcard from the gift shop and go on a ‘hunt’ for their artwork. This always allowed me an opportunity to see the art I loved, while they search for their pieces. Playtime in the lower children’s level where they could touch and feel art became a great reward for good behavior. Hot cocoa over at Ghirardelli’s, just a short walk away and we were all in a great mood at the end. I am excited to relive this experience through my younger daughter’s eyes to show them art can be so much more than “booooring.”

Most exciting on our list will be a special family event at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra over Thanksgiving weekend. Convinced I could make even the symphony fun for all ages of our children, I was so happy to learn that the CSO offers more than just concerts for adults. I sifted through some really fantastic family programming and arrived at their upcoming show, Pixar in Concert. This unique experience will feature film scores performed live by the orchestra with film clips from my kids’ (and my) favorites like the Toy Story Trilogy, Finding Nemo, Up, and Monsters University. What a great way to sneak in some culture and teach them about instruments, conducting and fine music.

Be sure not to miss this event Nov. 28, 29 at 8 p.m. and Sunday November 30 at 3 p.m.

This is just the beginning of a winter chock-full of Chicago culture. I am looking forward to carrying these experiences over to date nights too. Getting us out of our ‘sit on the couch with a movie’ rut and back out into our city. I hope you follow us on our journeys over the next few months.

Disclaimer: Although I was offered tickets from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to review their upcoming PIXAR show, all opinions and excitement expressed herein are my own.

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