Summer freebies: 5 no-cost events for families

Family Fun Festival

Every day through Aug. 23, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Millennium Park Chase Promenade North, kids will find activities, arts and crafts and music at the free Family Fun Festival. Get there at 10 a.m. to catch the Wiggleworms program from Old Town School of Folk Music, join a reading circle at 11 a.m. and stay for more family performances at 1 p.m. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes after splish-splashing around in Crown Fountain. Make a full day of it by checking out the amazing nearby Maggie Daley Park.

The bard’s stories

Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings Shakespeare to 17 community parks across Chicago. Catch an original production of “Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits,” which will bring Shakespeare’s greatest characters to life. Find a schedule of park performances here.

Nuts for Peanuts

The timeless humor of the Peanuts characters goes interactive at the Elmhurst Historical Museum with a new traveling exhibit by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. See 50 of Schulz’s popular football-themed strips, classic Peanuts objects and memorabilia–and let the kids dress up in the team locker room, snap a football trading card photo, and try out Lucy’s infamous “Fall Classic” by pulling the football from Charlie Brown. The museum is a half block from the Metra station, making transportation super easy.

Baby got game

Cat& Mouse Games, 2212 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, one of our fave stores for games, opens its doors to families for Family Game Night the first Friday of the month this summer, 5-7 p.m. It is open to everyone old enough to play games. Tweens and teens will especially like the weekly Game Night Tuesdays in the Bucktown location where they can play games from the store’s huge library or bring their own.

Museum hop

While the big four–Shedd, Adler, Field and MSI–aren’t offering free days this month or next, don’t let that keep you home, especially on Thursdays. Chicago Children’s Museum is free 5-8 p.m. every Thursday and the first Sunday of every month for kids 15 and under (save on Navy Pier parking by taking public transportation); Art Institute of Chicago is free 5-8 p.m. Thursdays for residents (kids 13 and under always free); Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is free on Thursdays for Illinois residents (kids under 3 are always free).

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