Fun ideas for Chicago kids to beat the summertime boredom blues

Now that we’re about three weeks into summer, I hear the same thing out of my kids every day, “I’m bored, I’m bored.” In this day and age of technology, kids expect to be entertained every hour of the day. Whatever happened to the days of playing outside until the street lights came on?! These days, I practically have to force my kids to play outside.

While we don’t do an activity every day of the summer, I did come up with a list of activities that can be done close to home and for relatively cheap for when kids pull the “I’m bored card.” And if all else fails, we head to Chuck E. Cheese.

The pool – This is pretty much a no-brainer. What kid doesn’t love going to the pool in the summer?! Some pools often have discounts after a certain time or offer coupons. Another option would be to set up a pool or sprinkler in your backyard. Better yet, if you have a friend with a pool, try to get an invite to their house.

The splash park – This is another great option to keep cool in the summer. There are lots of local splash parks that are free. I usually pack up a lunch and then the kids and I spend the afternoon eating, playing and cooling off.

The Children’s Museum – If the weather is yucky or a little too hot, then a children’s museum is a great indoor option. They often have activities for kids of all ages and you can usually find a coupon for discounted admission.

The zoo – The zoo is so much fun in the summer. Once again, you can pack a lunch and spend the day exploring all the animals. If you make frequent trips to the zoo, then a zoo membership will often pay for itself after a few visits. There are also a few local, smaller zoos that only charge a few dollars admission.

The library – The library is a great place to go in the summer to cool off from the sun. Younger kids can attend storytime while older kids can find new books to read. It’s also a great place to check out movies for free, and some libraries offer classes and activities for kids.

The drive-in movie theater – How fun is a drive in movie theater?! If your kids have never been to one, they’ll love the experience of watching a movie outside under the stars.

Parks – The park is a great, free place for kids to burn off their energy. There are so many local parks – make a game of how many you can go to during the summer. Remember which ones were your favorites so you can go back!

Camping – If you have a free weekend during the summer, take the kids camping. Not only is it fun but it’s also a great time to unplug from technology and enjoy each other’s company. Plus, who doesn’t love s’mores over a campfire?!

Farmers market – The farmers market is a great place for kids to learn about local produce and where fresh food comes from. I usually give my kids a few dollars and let them pick out any fruit or veggie they want. It’s a great way to get them to try new produce!

Summer camp – Most local park districts have summer camps available for kids. They can go as little as one week or they can go all summer. It’s a great way to keep kids busy and have them try out new activities.

Sports – Getting kids involved in sports is a great way to keep them active during the summer. There are so many indoor and outdoor options to choose from – swimming, soccer, baseball, gymnastics, running, etc.

Carnivals – During the summer, it seems like there’s a carnival in every parking lot, and of course my kids scream to go to every single one. Carnivals can get a little pricey so we usually go to one a summer and it’s such a special treat for the kids. They love the rides, the cotton candy and the whole experience. We usually go during the Fourth of July weekend to make it extra special.

What summer activities do you enjoy doing with your kids?

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