As a parent, I hate summer even more. It’s too long for kids to be out of school. They get lazy and cranky, then forget half the stuff they learned through June. Meanwhile, parents are trying to get work done or maintain a routine, and it all becomes a mess.
And so, with that rant out of the way, I present the Top Ten ways to keep kids entertained this summer. Ally Gercken and Drew Lantz contributed to the research and testing.
- Sign up for weekly activities from the Museum of Science and Industry and Camp Wonderopolis.
- Join a book club at Barnes & Noble, Open Books, or Pottery Barn.
- Visit your nearest public library for tons of children’s programs.
- Go to a water park. Many park districts have them, and Groupon and Living Social often have deals for private parks.
- See a movie. Regal Cinemas and the Davis Theater have summer movies for kids.
- Visit the zoo! The Lincoln Park Zoo is free (although you have to pay to park), and there are small, cheap zoos in the Western Suburbs and Northwest Indiana.
- On a rainy day, build a house of cards or make something with duct tape. On a nice day, splurge on sidewalk chalk and bubble soap.
- The North Park Nature Center has hiking trails and special activities.
- The Chicago Summer of Learning program has tons of other ideas.
- And, of course, Chicago is bordered by one of the longest stretches of public beach in the world. IN THE WORLD! So you have to go.