Mall Play Areas for Chicagoland Kids

Shop (and play!) 'til you drop at these malls around Chicagoland.

Spend a little too much time watching “Paw Patrol” or “Bluey” and you’ll definitely find yourself needing a break and some adult conversation. Kids are the same way when it comes to too much “adulting” in one day. 

Next time you need to get a bit of shopping done, consider choosing one of these malls with a great children’s play area, tasty treats and other kid-approved activities. While they let off some steam and take a break from retail overload, you can get off your feet and charge your phone before your second round of shopping begins. Talk about a great deal! 

This article was recently updated on March 6, 2024 by Chicago Parent’s Assistant Editor, Nikki Roberts. Her update included checking the malls’ websites, Google listings and reviews on these play places to provide the latest and most recent information, aligning with Chicago Parent’s mission to provide the top parenting resources for local families. Questions? Please reach out to

Chicago Premium Outlets

Save your shopping for a nice day so you can fully enjoy this luxury outdoor shopping experience. Kids will love hopping outside to move between stores, but their favorite part will be the small playground with monkey bars, climbing equipment, slides and more. The children’s play area is right next to the Feature Pond, so have a couple of wishing pennies ready. 

Gurnee Mills Mall

Who says you need to hit the Mag Mile to shop with skyline views? The children’s play area here is Chicago-themed with smaller (but still scalable!) versions of the Willis Tower, Navy Pier and a giant Chicago hot dog. Kids can run around the entire city, all contained to a 1,000-square-foot play space. 

Hawthorn Mall

Located by J.C. Penney on the Lower Level, this mall play space has oversized climbing structures, large puzzles and plenty of space to get all their wiggles out. Pro tip: When you arrive at Hawthorn Mall, grab a Smart Carte — a colorful shopping cart/stroller combo with a toy steering wheel to keep those busy hands occupied.  

Northbrook Court

The nature-themed Tree House play area is on the lower level, conveniently next to an AMC movie theater. Now, we’d never use the word “bribe,” but telling your kids there might be a trip to the movies after your shopping session might inspire some good behavior.  

Westfield Fox Valley Mall

The woodland-themed playground here is complete with climbable frogs and bears, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Give everyone a break from walking and get around the mall on the Fox Valley Express, a trackless train that transports shoppers around the mall. Before you leave, make a stop at the two-story carousel near the food court.

Woodfield Mall

The Children’s Play Park is located in Macy’s corridor, just across from Grand Court. Note that the park is cleaned at 2:30 every day, so plan a lunch or snack break during cleaning time so kids will be recharged and ready to get their energy out. For extra fun at Woodfield Mall, visit Peppa Pig World of Play. 

Yorktown Center

Yorktown Center isn’t technically a kids fun center, but it might as well be! In addition to a 2,000-square-foot play area that combines art, tech and play, there is also a Brookfield Zoo-themed dining area with zoo murals. Take a ride on fun kiddie rides or the express train, which drops passengers off at FunFlatables, an inflated indoor playground.

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.
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