Summer reading has a new look this year, thanks to fun story times that take the words right off the page and make them come to life. Here are five unlikely spots to hear your favorite tales–not a hushed library among them.
In a hammock. An aerial yoga hammock, to be exact. Families with kids 6 and up can hang from branches of mighty oak trees and listen to stories that tell of the wisdom of the oaks. No yoga experience is necessary. Your biggest challenge just might be staying awake for The End. $43, $35 members. 10-11:30 a.m. July 11. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074.
By the pool. Turtle Splash Water Park has tube slides, tot slides and corkscrew slides, not to mention waterfalls and a zero-depth entry. After you’re done splishing and splashing (or just need a break), hear stories from West Chicago Public Library for a little literary fun in the sun. $8, $6 kids 3-17, free kids under 3. 2-3 p.m. July 16. 129 W. National St., West Chicago. (630) 231-1552.
In the woods. Naturalists know a lot about the great outdoors, but some of them are also experts at telling stories. This open-air storytime includes games, crafts and a short hike for kids 3-6, so it’s ideal for little ones who haven’t quite mastered the art of sitting still. $8. 10-11 a.m. July 16 and 30. Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901.
Among the ruins. Take a seat on a magic carpet (or maybe just a Persian rug) and get swept away with stories based on The Arabian Nights. After hearing the featured book, kids 5-8 can enjoy a fun activity, too. Keep an eye peeled for genies–or at least any suspicious oil lamps. Free. 3 p.m. Tuesdays; 10:30 a.m. Thursdays. Oriental Institute Museum, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago. (773) 702-9514.
While you shop. Chicago’s favorite storyteller, The Storybook Mom, takes her act on the road, giving moms and dads the chance to browse while the kiddos hear books come alive. Stop by Little Beans (Tuesdays), Monica& Andy (Wednesdays) or Explore& Much More (second and fourth Fridays). Or–our favorite–enjoy some frozen yogurt at Froyo Chicago’s Southport location for an even sweeter storytime (fourth Thursdays). Free.