With the"green revolution” upon us, local families can take heart. Despite Kermit’s words to the contrary, in Chicagoland, it’s easy to be green.
You’ll be seeing a sea of green during Chicago’s 53rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, when the Chicago River magically turns green. This year’s event falls on March 15. The river goes Irish at 10:45 a.m. The best view is from the upper-level bridges at Michigan Avenue or Columbus Drive. The parade kicks off at noon on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe. www.chicagostpatsparade.com and greenchicagoriver.com
Learn to keep your home green at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s"Extreme Green House” exhibit. This indoor, full-size bungalow helps children learn how every nook and cranny of a home is linked to nature. From composting food, to plumbing and a creepy basement, the home of the fictitious Green Family makes learning fun. www.naturemuseum.org
Get out on the greens. Chicago Golfers wait for the green of spring and a return to their favorite sport. Children are getting in on the action more and more. The Illinois Junior Golf Association provides playing opportunities for kids ages 6-18, including educational clinics and tournament events. Far from being a"rich man’s sport” any more, park districts offer beginner classes and Chicago has its own chapter of The First Tee, whose primary focus is to provide young people from all backgrounds an opportunity to develop character through the game of golf. www.ijga.org or www.thefirstteechicago.org
Develop your green thumb. If planting a tree for Arbor Day is out of your league, consider a gardening class at your nearest conservatory. At the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, visit the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden for kid-safe exploring or take advantage of scheduled activity times for more in-depth learning. At the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, classes and children’s programs offer outdoor experiences filled with observations, hands-on activities and fun-filled explorations. www.garfield-conservatory.org and www.mortonarb.org
Teach your child to take care of her"green.” Any time is a good time to teach the value of a dollar. Visit your local bank to open a savings account with your child. It’s best to call ahead and schedule an appointment with a personal banker who will take the time to talk with him about where the money goes and how he can track it.