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Ideas for family fun on a snowy Chicago day

One of my favorite ways to enjoy the snow is from the inside looking out. My husband Walter and I have lived overlooking pint-sized Indian Boundary Park in West Ridge for nearly five years. The snowy winter wonderland scenes of our courtyard and the park beyond have been a source of creative inspiration for my writing and my husband’s videography. (Check out his time-lapse snow video!) Since we became parents in February a whole new type of creativity is taking shape as we figure out how to fight our urge to binge watch Netflix and do fun things as a family.

Whether you decide to hibernate or bundle up and head out, these ideas can help you to not only survive a snowy Chicago day, but to thrive as a family, building memories along the way.

Get cozy

Recently, when the weather outside was frightful, we just hopped in my 11-month-old’s play yard with him and threw a sheet over us. He went wild with glee, and we had fun just playing and goofing around together. This is quite the simple fort, but the possibilities are endless. Go wild with this giraffe tent or check out Target’s Pillowfort line for teepees to snuggle in.

Get cookin’

While the snowflakes are falling outside, pile into the kitchen for a family cooking session. Our son is still getting the hang of solids, so we pop him in his high chair and take on new cooking challenges together. We recently made this naan recipe, and I showed my son how to roll out the dough while my husband fried it up.

Another option for foodies comes from hometown culinary star and new parent Stephanie Izard. She had our city’s weather in mind when she came up with “The Never-Ending-Chicago-Winter Beef Stew.” With unexpected ingredients such as apple and pear, this ultimate comfort food dish would be ideal for a newbie eater and Mom and Dad. And if you are a Stephanie Izard fan, you’ll want to check out her recent Q&A about becoming a parent.

Get to a play place

If the snowy conditions aren’t too terrible, why not head out for some fun at play place? My husband and I enjoyed ourselves at Gameworks in Schaumburg just as much as my niece and nephew. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a spirited air hockey tournament?

Another great space is Little Beans Café in Evanston. Our son enjoyed the different playhouses in the Little Beans Village (designed for ages 0-6) and even got his grill on at the kid-sized camper. The Big Beans area (designed for ages 5-12) features everything from an obstacle course to karaoke. There is also a Chicago branch as well.

Get your skate on

What could be more quintessential Chicago than skating between the snowflakes downtown? A snowy evening on the rink at Millennium Park is worth the crowds. I was excited to find out about a new option for ice skating near Millennium Park: the incredible looking Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, which opened last winter. After my little one has mastered the art of standing, we are going to take a spin on this undulating icy adventure.

Whether you snuggle in or venture out, there is something magical about snow in Chicago.

Do you prefer to hunker down or head outdoors on a snowy day? What are your favorite activities for a snowy day? Share it with the Chicago Parent community in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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