We have a long list of favorite things to do in Chicago, and as luck would have it, some of our favorite places are offering specials to help Chicago parents and their kids weather the Chicago Teachers Union strike.
Free museum days:
The timing couldn’t be better for free days at some of the best museums in the world to keep kids entertained and learning. The Museum of Science and Industry is free every weekday this month, while Field Museum, the Chicago History Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Art Institute offer specific free days. The Chicago Children’s Museum is offering free admission to CPS students this week. View all free days here.
CPS students can spend a great day getting to know the city better. Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline, and the John Hancock Obervatory, have teamed up to offer its 90-minute Urban Adventure free to groups of four CPS students (11 and under) with one paying adult chaperone ($35).
The adventure includes a sightseeing cruise and a visit to the Hancock. They can be done together or divided over two days.
Tickets are available online using the code 40004 at mercuryskylinecruiseline.com.
Learn a new language:
Multilingual Chicago, 2934 N. Milwaukee Ave., is offering a Spanish Immersion Camp for grades K-5
Drop-off as early as 8:30 a.m. (class starts at 9a.m.); pickup at 4 p.m. $299 per child (10 percent sibiling discount-enter code MKSIB at checkout). Daily and half-day options available. Daily: $60; half-day week: $150. Call or email to register.
The James Dyson Foundation, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library, is offering hands-on engineering workshops. Build rover racers, construct marble runs and craft geodesic domes. Snacks will also be offered. All workshops start at 2 p.m. (4 p.m. on Thursday).
Tuesday: Chinatown Library, 2353 S. Wentworth Ave.
Wednesday: Walker Library, 11071 S. Hoyne Ave.
Thursday: Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street
Friday: Toman Library, 2708 S. Pulaski Road
Embrace the drama:
Lookingglass Theatre in the John Hancock Building, 875 N. Michigan Ave., is offering Daytime Drama Workshops for ages 5-13 based on two of its summer camp programs, Arts Quest and Summergglass. Kids 5-8 will engage in arts exploration activities, including storytelling, music, and art, while kids 9-13 try out theater activities, including physical theater.
Drop off is 8:40-9 a.m, and pick-up 3-3:15 p.m. $65 per day. Call (773) 477-9257, ext. 193 to register.
Dance away the tension:
Young dancers can explore the exciting world of contemporary dance through improvisation and structured choreographic activities at Dance Explorers: Imagination in Motion.
Students work with teaching artists of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd., to create their own unique choreography. Each day culminate with a short performance of student work.
For grades kindergarten-sixth, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Several options are available: 3-Days: Sept. 12-14, $180; 5-Day: Sept. 17-21, $300; Per-Day Option: $60, register by 8:45 a.m. by calling (312) 850-9744 x139.
Make some art:
One Strange Bird, 2515 W. North Ave., a unique place that combines a boutique of handmade goods with an art studio, lets kids try out art activities at special day camps. All materials are included, but be sure to pack a lunch and snacks for your kids. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with before- and aftercare available ($10 an hour). $60 for each day.
Go back to camp:
The Chicago Park District is offering camp-style activities for children in half- and full-day options from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parents must register their children at the park sites. Students will participate in sports, arts and nature activities. However, no meals are provided. Visit chicagoparkdistrict.com to see a full list of parks.
Wish away the strike:
Wishcraft, 2312 Roscoe St., is offering CPS strike camps for kids kindergarten-eighth grade to keep kids busy (while sneaking in math, science and reading.) Reduced rates will be in place until the strike is over. Spots are given to families in the order that they register.
9 a.m.-2 p.m. $50 ($40 for Crafter-School Students), drop-off at 8:45 a.m. After-care is available 2 p.m.-6 p.m. for $25 extra. For info, call (773) 348-WISH or visitwishcraftworkshop.com.
Nail down a sitter:
If you’d prefer to have someone watch the kids at home (and your favorite sitter just shipped off to college!), Sittercity is offering Chicagoland parents a month’s free membership. Visit www.sittercity.com and enter the promotion code: CPS. Parents can choose from more than 22,000 babysitters in the Chicago area – and maybe find someone to help with date night when the strike’s finally over.
BUILD wants kids 10-17 to stay safe during the strike. It is offering academic assistance, recreational activities, mentoring and leadership skills at its new headquarters in the Austin community for CPS students 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through the end of the strike.For details, call (773) 227-2880 or visit BUILD at 5100 W. Harrison, Chicago.
Ham it up:
Laughter is the best medicine, and The Second City Training Center – yes, the place responsible for names like Steve Carell and Amy Poehler – is a great place for a laugh. The legendary comedy studio opens its doors to kids 8-14 for free day camp 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sept. 12-14. Students spend the morning learning Improv games and exercises and the afternoons studying Sketch comedy, and get to see a family-friendly Second City show. Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Register at www.secondcity.com/kids. Bring a sack lunch.