5 top toddler hangouts in Lake County

Toddlers rock, but during what feels like an endless winter, they can also be exhausting. Getting out of the house becomes a must, if for no other reason than keep my house picked up for five whole minutes! These are our favorite toddlerific activities in Lake County:

Open Gym/ Open Play

Almost every park district has some variation of an open parent-tot gym. I stick pretty close to home for these so that would be The Grayslake Park District. The gym is filed with ride-ons, bikes and balls. Check your local park district for one near you. Some churches and preschools offer them as well.


While we love storytime at our local library, when we need to burn off some energy we head to a different one. Some of our non-local libraries have had great remodels or have spectacular kids areas. A favorite is the Waukegan Public Library. Their Early Learning Center is themed and changes annually. With hands-on displays and activities, it’s like a mini children’s museum. 

Bounce Houses – Open Jump

Bounce houses can be cringe-worthy with a large group at a party or on the weekends. Big kids bouncing your kids all over like a rag doll, losing them in the crowd. However, during the week, the big kids are in school which makes bounce houses a perfect hangout for the toddler crowd. Head to Bella’s Bouncies in Lake Villa for their morning open bounce. It’s perfect for the smaller bouncers and they have a climber and slides for those that don’t want to bounce.

Toddler Art

My toddlers love to create; painting and cutting are among their favorite things. They are, of course, messy. I love taking them to an open art studio or a toddler art class where they can create and have fun, and someone else cleans up. Our favorite is through Artist at Heart with locations in both Grayslake and Libertyville. For $5 a kid they can get as messy as they want and I can keep a clean house.

Toddler Tuesdays at Legoland Discovery Center

On our winter bucket list is to try out Toddler Tuesdays. The center opens the second floor up early just for toddlers and caregivers. There is a storytime, free play and other activities ($7, 10:00 a.m.- 12 p.m.)  My four-year-old has just really gotten into Legos and her brother loves Duplos – especially when you add wheels. I like the idea of it being less crowded and taking kids who won’t want to buy everything they see!

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