Best Things to Do with Kids in Chicagoland This January

Plan ahead! We've rounded up some of the best activities and events to do with kids in Chicago and suburbs this month.

When raising kids, you know life can get busy with school, sports practices, dance classes and other extracurricular activities. That’s why it’s sometimes helpful to plan ahead when searching for exciting events and attractions in Chicagoland. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do with kids this month.

There are many happenings around Chicagoland in the month of January. Check out the New Year’s events along with other winter fun including sledding hills and outdoor ice skating rinks.

Keep on scrolling to see our top picks of kid-friendly events in Chicago and the suburbs. You can also find more family events listed in our calendar.

City

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Mammals & More Animal Encounter at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Jan. 3, 2023

Join special guests from the Flying Fox Conservation Fund to learn about some of the most unique animals in the world and get up close with a sloth, an armadillo and more. For all ages.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Through Jan. 4, 2023

The museum features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree surrounded by more than 50 other trees and displays. Each surrounding tree is decorated to represent holiday traditions in other cultures around the world.

Family Storybook Yoga at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Jan. 4, 2023

Join Buddha Belly Kids Yoga for a storybook yoga class with your family. Families will interact through moving, breathing and connecting while listening to a story. This class is designed for children ages 2-8. Advanced registration required.

Raptors in Winter Animal Encounter at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Jan. 5, 2023

Join special friends from Wings and Talons to see all kinds of raptors live and up close. For all ages.

Sensory Friendly Fridays at the Insect Asylum

Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27, 2023

Enjoy a sensory friendly day at The Insect Asylum with no music, no flashing or distracting lights and limited entry of 10 per group. 

Light Up the Lake at Navy Pier

Through Jan. 7, 2023

See Chicagoland’s largest indoor lighting experience. It features interactive light displays, birch tree maze, skating rink and more.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass Theatre Company

Through Jan. 8, 2023

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up, Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman’s production is a gorgeous spectacle of music and movement. For ages 5-plus.

Wild Color at The Field Museum

Through Jan. 8, 2023

Rooms at the Field Museum will be dedicated to different colors of the light spectrum and visitors can see how color is displayed in the natural world: gems, minerals, animals that glow under UV light and more. The presentation includes sounds, vibrant visuals and media projections.

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Through Jan. 8, 2023

Enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland.

Icicle Picnic: Journey to the Sun at Chopin Theatre

Jan. 11-15, 2023

Enjoy the family-friendly production of Journey for the Sun, which features giant puppets, live music, beat boxing and more.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert at Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Jan. 12, 2023

See Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone accompanied by live music by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Asleep with the Fishes at Shedd Aquarium

Jan. 13-14, 2023

Explore exhibits throughout the evening, complete a scavenger hunt, create aquatic crafts and enjoy a sleepover at the aquarium. For ages 5-12.

The Lion King at Cadillac Palace Theatre

Through Jan. 14, 2023

Ages 6 and up can head to Cadillac Palace Theatre to see the musical, The Lion King, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The Art of Brick at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Through Jan. 16, 2023

The largest display of Lego art features more than one million Lego bricks transformed into more than 100 sculptures by artist Nathan Sawaya. The display includes Sawaya’s original sculptures as well as re-imagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces.

Chicago at CIBC Theatre

Jan. 17-29, 2023 (Tuesdays-Sundays)

Celebrate the Broadway show Chicago’s 25th anniversary and see a tale about fame, fortune and all that jazz. Recommended for ages 13-plus.

Las Wavys at Merle Reskin Theatre at DePaul University

Jan. 19-Feb. 11, 2023 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays-Sundays)

See a performance about four students from the South Side of Chicago band that together to become Las Wavys, crimefighters and DJ Superheroes.

Polar Adventure Day

Jan. 21, 2023

There will be tons of winter activities including live animals, Husky team sleds, nature-inspired winter crafts, snowshoes, marshmallows over the campfire and more.

FORTS! Build Your Own Adventure at Filament Theatre

Through Jan. 22, 2023

A self-directed creative play experience for children and parents. “FORTS!” uses theatrical design elements to inspire the imagination and get families playing together. Recommended for families with kids ages 5 and up.

North/Northwest Suburbs

Photo credit: Harlem Globetrotters International

Harlem Globetrotters at BMO Center

Jan. 5, 2023

Watch the Harlem Globetrotters as they go head-to-head against the Washington Generals in an exciting, trick-filled basketball game.

Clayson’s Kids Days at Clayson House Museum

Jan. 8, 2023

There will be a drop-in craft and you’ll be able to visit with mascot, Clayson, the Family Dog. For ages 4-12.

Gnome Hunt at Emily Oaks Nature Center

Through Jan. 8, 2023

Discover the 26 hidden gnomes of Emily Oaks. You can also take home a build-your-own gnome kit for an additional cost.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanical Garden

Through Jan. 8, 2023

See thousands of twinkling lights while walking through the Winter Cathedral and a reimagined fire garden.

Winter Wonder Fun! at Emily Oaks Nature Center

Jan. 8, 2023

Depending on outdoor conditions, activities at this event may include ice sliding, snow treasure hunting, snow painting and more. End with a cup of hot cocoa. Ages 4-plus. Pre-registration required.

Disney on Ice presents Frozen & Encanto at United Center 

Jan. 26-29, 2023

At this show, families will enjoy seeing Mirabel, her sisters, Isabela and Luisa, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven and more.

World Made of Glass: A Book Release Party with Ami Polonsky! at the Book Stall

Jan. 22, 2023

Come out to the Book Stall to see Ami Polonsky’s release of her new novel for young people, World Made of Glass. The novel is best for children ages 10-14.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party at NOW Arena

Jan. 28-29, 2023

Monster truck fans of all ages will experience the thrill of watching their favorite trucks in the dark! See Mega Wrex, Bigfoot, Bone Shaker, Tiger Shark, plus the all-new Gunkster light up the floor as they smash, crash and compete in epic monster truck battles! Spectacular laser light shows and Hot Wheels toy giveaways, too.

Prehistoric Play Day at Rolling Knolls Forest Preserve

Jan. 28, 2023

Learn all about Ice Age Illinois through a series of family-oriented games and activities at Rolling Knolls Forest Preserve. Recommended for ages 5-8.

Skating in the Park at Parkway Bank Park

Through Jan. 29, 2023

Try out the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink, an NHL-sized, outdoor skating rink. Guests are invited to bring their own skates.

The Negro Motorist Green Book at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

Opens Jan. 29, 2023

This exhibit explains the history of “The Green Book” and included different artifacts from that time period, including images, business signs, postcards and other firsthand accounts.

South Suburbs

Photo Credit: Matt Zuro

Amaze Light Festival at Odyssey Fun World

Through Jan. 8, 2023

  • Address: 19111 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park
  • Cost: $36/ages 13-plus, $30/ages 2-12, free/under 2 (VIP tickets and family bundles are also available); $15/pre-paid parking

Guests enjoy an all-immersive storybook experience highlighting five-themed worlds of displays and activities. There will be 3D lighted decor and photo opportunities around every corner.

Western Suburbs

Photo credit: Illumination – Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Storytime at IKEA Bolingbrook!

Jan. 5, 19, 2023

Ages 2-6 can enjoy a story time at Ikea on the first and third Thursday of every month. Also, free milk and cookies after a librarian from Bolingbrook Fountaindale Public Library reads stories using puppets, music and movement. RSVP required.

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

Through Jan. 7, 2023

  • Address: 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
  • Cost: $19-$24/adult, $13-$16/kids, free/2 and under; member tickets at discounted rate; early bird specials available, too

Surround yourselves with color while walking on the one-mile paved pathway. Enjoy seasonal music, captivating light designs and roasting s’mores on a fire at this outdoor event.

Winter Lights at Central Park

Through Jan. 8, 2023

Enjoy a half-mile walk to see the holiday lights through Central Park. See inspirational signs, colorful rainbow arches, cascading snowflakes and more.

Wonder Works for Everyone at Wonder Works Children’s Museum 

Jan. 29, 2023

The museum will open one hour earlier for an accessible and inclusive environment for those children with special needs. Pre-registration is required.

This post is updated monthly.

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