Saturday, June 20, 2009

Monday 6/22 - Sunday 6/28

Thought of the Week: Last Minute Lucy
When I want to watch The Bachelorette on Monday night, my husband is often fighting for DVR control in order to watch football. I know many of you can relate, but in my house football does not refer the NFL. The DVR frequently works odd hours recording games like Manchester vs Liverpool. My husband is a soccer fanatic. You'll find him at The Globe at 6am on a random Saturday morning, packed in with a bunch of accented, pint-drinking blokes, watching a game from across the pond. And I'm not complaining. I'd rather lose him to a few 6am soccer games than entire Sundays during NFL season. Now you understand why every time I pass a soccer field with cute little toddlers playing ball with their dads on Saturday morning, I kick myself for not finding the time to research tiny tot soccer. Then I envision myself drinking a latte and reading a book on Saturday morning while my child and spouse happily kick the ball around the soccer field. And this is when I finally jump into action. To my delight, I found a soccer league that a. hasn't started yet and b. still has space in their Saturday morning class. And bonus: this organization also offers other sports, music, and art classes that are still available this summer. If you don't want to commit to a six week program, the music and art classes are available on a drop in basis for $10. There is even a music class instructed by the very popular Little Miss Ann. Click here to check out the summer programs offered by Friends of Agassiz in Lincoln Park. Classes start this week and are available for 2-6 year olds. I love it when procrastination pays off. Happy Father's Day honey. For all you know, I've been planning this for months.


Craft Mobile: Throughout the week the Chicago Park District is hosting outdoor crafting stations at various parks and playlots throughout the city. Kids under age 6 can enjoy outdoor craft projects that will include sidewalk murals, stained glass window hangings, drawing, and more. All crafting supplies will be provided. Hit the above website to see where to find the Craft Mobile this week. FREE
Where: Various playgrounds throughout the city (hit the link above to a location near you)
When: Mon - Fri this week

Toddlers, Tunes, and Turtles: this Park District program will make its way to various Chicago parks throughout the summer. Kids can get up close and personal with a turtle and other animals, participate in nature-themed art projects, and listen to live performances by artists from Old Town School of Folk Music. FREE
Where: Kilbourn Park • 3501 N Kilbourn Ave
When: Wednesday • 5:30p-7:30p

Pals in the Prairie: Set out on a summer safari in the prairie area surrounding the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. This nature exploration is best for kids ages 3-6. Stay for a while after the class and enjoy free admission Thursday at the museum. The class is $7 for members and $9 non-members.
Where: Nature Museum • 2430 N Cannon Drive, Chicago
When: Thursday 9:30a-10:30a

Family Village at the Taste: Normally I would advise parents from staying away from the Taste at all costs. I would rather go to a neighborhood festival for funnel cake and corn dogs than trek all the way downtown to just to be crammed shoulder to shoulder in a hot, sticky, tourist-laden crowd. But, I have to admit that the Family Village at the Taste this year sounds intriguing. On Friday the Alder Panetarium, the Museum of Science & Industry, and the Brookfield Zoo will be present in the family area with crafts and activities. The Brookfield Zoo is even bringing one of their life-size animatronic dinosaurs (see On-Going Activities below for more details on the dinosaurs). There will be inflatables, face painting, crafts, games, recycling projects and an Eli Cheesecake decorating station. What more can you ask for?
Where: The Taste of Chicago Family Village • southwest corner of Columbus and Jackson
When: Fri-Sun • 11a-7p

Long Grove Strawberry Festival: if the above listing didn't convince you to hit the Taste, then head out of the city to adorable downtown Long Grove for Strawberry Fest. Aside from tasting strawberry treats like smoothies, ice cream, baked goods, chocolate covered strawberries,and farm fresh strawberries, kids will enjoy the Jam Kids' Fair. There will be a petting zoo, mascots, kids' bands, pony rides, etc. Parents will enjoy checking out downtown Long Grove's cute shops and restaurants. Free admission and free parking - you won't find that at the Taste of Chicago!
Where: Long Grove Historic Village • Robert Parker Coffin and Old McHenry Roads
When: Fri 10a-8p • Sat 10a-8p • Sun 10a-6p

Fountain Square Arts Festival: As much as I love a good street fest, the thought of pushing a stroller around Old Town Art Fest sounded about as fun as potty training. For a lower key art festival experience, head to downtown Evanston for the Fountain Square Arts Fest. There will be plenty of art, jazz, food as well as crafts for the kiddies in the children's art tent. $5 donation.
Where: Downtown Evanston • Sherman Ave and Church St
When: Sat and Sun 10a-6p

Race to Taste: Want to make your chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick a guilt free experience? Register for the 5K run/2 mile walk/kid's dash which starts in Grant Park, proceeds along the lakefront and ends at the Taste. Kids of all ages can participate in the Kid's Dash as there is even a crawling race for participants under age two. Registration includes a strip of Taste tickets to help kick off the opening of the Taste on Sunday. Race participants will be there bright and early so you'll likely beat the crowds to the Turkey Leg booth. $30 for the run/walk and $5 for the kid's dash. Click the link above to register by Wednesday at midnight.
Where: Southwest Corner of Buckingham Fountain • Columbus and Balboa
When: Race is Sunday 8am • Register by Wednesday


The Alder Planetarium The Planetarium is currently showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure in which Big Bird, Elmo, and a friend from China, discover fun facts about the stars, planets, sun and moon. Weekday shows are at 1p and 2:30p and weekend shows are 12n and 3p. The cost of entry plus the show is $19 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-14.
Where: 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.
When: Mon-Fri 10a-4p • Sat-Sun 10a-4:30p

Barnes and Noble Story Time: Are you looking for a free activity for a rainy day? You can enjoy a latte while your kids enjoy story time at one of the Barnes and Noble city locations. 2-3 times a week the city locations offers a story time activity for children ages 0-3 years.
Where: Webster Place (1441 W. Webster) or State and Elm (1130 N. State)
When: Webster- Every Mon, Tues, Thurs 10am / State- Every Mon & Sat 10am

Brookfield Zoo: In the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit, the Brookfield Zoo has created a Jurassic Park experience minus all the scary stuff. Kids can touch and control the movement of life-sized dinosaurs along a wooded path in an outdoor forest setting. The exhibit also features a dig site that allows visitors to find replica dinosaur fossils. General zoo admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children 3-11. Admission for Dinosaurs Alive! is an additional $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-11. The exhibit runs through October.

Chicago Botanic Garden -Model Railroad Garden: Starting this week, the Botanic Garden is featuring an area devoted to model trains. Seventeen trains travel across bridges, through tunnels, and around various American landmarks in a miniature garden setting. Admission to the Botanic Garden is free but there is a $20 per car parking fee. There is an additional fee of $5 for adults and $3 for kids for the Railroad exhibit.
Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Daily 5/9-10/25 • 10a-8p

Chicago Children's Museum: The first Sunday of the month is always a free day at the Children's Museum and a perfect time to check out the new Block Party exhibit. Block Party is a kids-sized replica of Chicago's neighborhood festivals. Kids will have the chance to get on stage to perform in a rock band, prepare meals in food booths for the festival goers, use the cash registers, or just chill out on the lawn for some people watching and live music.
Where: Navy Pier • 700 E. Grand Ave, Chicago
When: M-W/F-Sun 10a-5p and Th 10a-8p

Family Fun Festival: Kid-friendly activities start up again this week in Millennium Park. Head down there any day this summer for a Wiggleworms class, story time Reading Circle, or music and dancing during Family Performance. The perfect place to wiggle and sing, chill-out, boogie, do the bean-thing, and run through the fountains all in the same day. FREE
Where: Millennium Park Chase Promenade North
When: Daily starting Wed 6/10 • 10a Wiggleworms • 11a Reading Circle • 1p Family Performance

Garfield Park Conservatory: Every Wednesday through the fall is Little Green Thumb Wednesdays at the conservatory. Little gardeners can unite to dig in the soil, plant pretend veggies, play with wheel barrels, and other gardening activities. No registration required. FREE!
Where: 300 N. Central Park Avenue, Chicago • Outside in the Demonstration Garden (moves indoors to the Children's Garden in bad weather)
When: Every Wednesday through 10/28 • 3p-6p

Green City Market: Visit Chicago's largest Farmer's Market in the heart of Lincoln Park every Wed and Sat through October 31st. Be sure to stop by the Growing Home booth for your organic produce. My son loves to run around the park and boogie to the live music while I shop for our groceries.
Tip: if you are not a zoo member, consider becoming one. why would i pay to join a free zoo, you ask? zoo membership gives you free parking adjacent to the zoo and a short walk to the farmer's market (as well as a short walk to the nature museum, the beach, etc). plus zoo membership is tax deductible. we usually get an early start on saturday mornings and hit the farmer's market and then make a stop at the zoo. this makes for a full morning of outdoor activities that the entire family can enjoy!
Where: The south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton.
When: Every Wednesday and Saturday 7a-1p

The Kids' Table offers cooking classes for 2-3 year olds almost every day of the week. Classes for 4-6 year olds, 7-10 year olds, and 11-16 year olds are offered several days a week as well. The classes for toddlers and kids are one hour and cost $25. The classes for teens are 1.5 hours and are $110 for a series of four. 2337 W. North Avenue.

Museum of Science and Industry: Bring your kids to see the Harry Potter exhibit, the Green Home exhibit, and to see live science experiments. June through October the museum will host a free farmers market on the first and third Fridays of the month from 7a-2p. The museum will always have free admission on farmers market Fridays. Otherwise, general admission is $13 for adults and $9 for kids ages 3-11.
Where: 5700 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Mon-Sat 9:30a-5:3op / Sun 11a-5:30p

The Pig Pen: Pig Pen is half clothing store and half arts and crafts studio. While you shop for locally made, organic, and gently used children's clothes and accessories, your kids will paint, glue, glitter, sticker, and stamp their little hearts out. Kids under age 4 can spend an hour crafting for $5 while kids 4 and older are $10 for an hour. Tara, Pig Pen's owner, throws a great birthday party at a great price.
Where: 1536 W. Jarvis • Rogers Park
When: Tue-Sat 10a-5p / Sun 10a-3p

Pump It Up: when it is too hot or cold to play outside, Pump It Up offers indoor play in Chicago and the suburbs. Kids can jump, slide, and climb on giant inflatables during Pop-in Playtime on the weekdays. The city location also has a separate area designed for little kids age 1-4. Pop-in playtime is $8 -$10 for 1.5 hours. Hit their website for hours and the address of the location nearest you. Locations include: Chicago, Glenview, Elmhurst, and Vernon Hills. Don't forget socks!

Tots on Tuesdays at the Shedd: Every Tuesday the Shedd Aquarium offers activities devoted to toddlers and pre-schoolers. There are story times, crafts, animal touch programs, videos and costumed characters.
Where: The Shedd Aquarium • 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Tuesdays • 9a-5p