Fun Things to Do with Your Baby in Chicagoland

Check out these places before their first birthday!

For all new parents out there, you don’t know how lucky you are to raise a child in Chicago! We know a lot happens in that first year, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring with your little one. We’ve rounded up the best things to do with your baby in the city and suburbs.

Attend a story time.

Your baby loves reading at home, so why not take him to a story time? Check our roundup of the best public libraries in Chicagoland to find a library branch near you that offers baby story time programming.

Explore some nature.

There are plenty of nature centers throughout the Chicago area where you can take a stroll with your baby. Here are some indoor nature centers you can visit all year long.

See a butterfly haven.

If you need a break from the cold, step foot into Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. The greenhouse is filled with 40 species of exotic butterflies that will keep your baby’s eyes moving. Every day at 2 p.m., enjoy the First Flight Butterfly Release, where butterflies and moths fly for the first time.

Take a swim.

Splashing around in an indoor pool will make them giggle. Why not start them with swimming lessons, too?

Sign up for a music class.

Photo credit: Old Town School of Music

Old Town School of Folk Music’s Lullabies class is perfect for ages 5 months and under. You’ll rock your baby to sweet lullabies. And when they grow out of that class, consider the Wiggleworms program.

MCA Stroller Tour, Photo Credit: Nathan Keay

Stroll through a museum.

On the first Wednesday of each month, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago offers a 45-minute stroller tour at 11:30 a.m. You’ll be able to learn about the museum’s current exhibits as your baby rides along.

Go to the zoo.

Your babies will go wild seeing animals at the zoo. Spend the day at Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield Zoo for some family fun.

Stare at The Bean.

Introduce Millennium Park to your little ones and we bet they would love to stare at their reflection on The Bean. While you’re there, explore the slides, swings and more at Maggie Daley Park.

Eat your way through Chicagoland. 

When it comes to enjoying Chicago’s delicacies, the only difficult choice you should have to make is between tavern-cut and deep dish. While babies can’t enjoy all the great foods that the city is known for just yet, they can begin expanding their tastebuds. Check out these kid-themed restaurants where babies are welcomed and the kids menus have plenty of great options for even the tiniest guests.

Stroll through a farmer’s market.  

Farmer’s markets are your one-stop shop for the freshest produce, tasty treats, and exciting new sights, sounds, smells and tastes for your baby to discover. These farmer’s markets around Chicagoland have a variety of vendors and great family-friendly programming.

Book a photo session.

Your baby won’t be little forever! Preserve these memories with a professional photo session. TK Photography (who also happens to take photos for our print issue) offers Smash Cake & Birthday Sessions if you’re looking to save for a special occasion.

Join the Newborn Fan Club.

It’s never too early to start raising baseball fans at home! Luckily, both the White Sox and Chicago Cubs have newborn fan clubs, which helps your baby rep their future team at their first baseball game. Headed to a game this season? Read our tips for families attending a Chicago Cubs or White Sox game.

Head to the mall.

If you’re craving a shopping day, check out these malls with play spaces to keep you and baby happy.

Work out with your baby.

Gain a new workout buddy with these Mommy and Me classes at Prenatal Fit. If your baby is between 6 weeks and 12 months old, then he or she can be involved with these classes including yoga, pilates, aerobics and more. Prefer an at-home workout? These workout videos for parents and babies are exactly what you need to add to your routine.

Check out a children’s museum. 

There are quite a few children’s museums around Chicagoland, and many offer programming just for babies. Attend a story time at Kohl’s Children’s Museum, or have some fun at an adaptive play session at the DuPage Children’s Museum — kids under 1 are free!

Take a class at Bubbles Academy.

Whether your baby is a pre-crawler or starting to walk, Bubbles Academy has a class to help introduce the arts. Bubbles also offers a variety of special events throughout the year.

Stop at an indoor play space.

Don’t feel intimated by the thought of taking your baby to a play place. Luckily, some of these indoor play spaces have areas geared for littles or special toddler times. A few of our favorite drop-in spots for babies are hellobaby, Little Beans Cafe and Waterlemon.

Have a beach day.

When the weather’s right, you’ll love nothing more than to see your baby explore the beach, and react to the sand and lake. Consider these family-friendly beaches in the city and suburbs.

Spot some fishies. 

Here’s a way to get up close to some of your favorite underwater animals. Even your baby will be obsessed with staring at all the fish at Shedd Aquarium.

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