A couple decades ago it was the television, but now it’s electronics; there always seems to be that certain something that kids will zone-out with once they get out of school for the day. And because of this, parents often struggle to find activities for their crew for those hours which aren’t spent in school or doing homework. But fortunately, there is a host of programs and activities for kids to get involved with, in settings which create both safe and fun environments for kids to find enrichment. Here are some of the best after-school activities for families in Chicago.
Kids Museum Passport
Chicago Public Library
The Kids Museum Passport makes it easy for kids and adults to take advantage of Chicago’s wonderful museums. Made possible by a partnership with Museums in the Park, Chicago residents with a library card can check out a Kids Museum Passport providing free admission for up to two adults and at least one child under the age of 18 to an array of the city’s 15 different cultural institutions. From mummies and dinosaurs to art to submarines, museums make learning so much fun. Passports are available at all Chicago Public Library locations, and click here to find out how to get a library card for yourself or your kids.
Sky High Sports
6424 W. Howard St.
Niles, IL 60714
If you’re concerned that your kids aren’t getting enough exercise and Pokémon GO isn’t doing the trick, then a place designed in wall-to-wall trampolines might do the trick. Sky High Sports in near-by Niles, Illinois is jam packed with interactive amusement that has nothing to do with a smart phone or video game. Bring the kids, and come and bounce your best on their basketball court sized Freestyle Court; sign up for a game of dodge-ball; grab a hold of the Tarzan rope swing, and dive into a sea of foam squares. Sky High Sports has also got a cafe where parents can take a break from the bouncing and snack while enjoying free wifi as the kids continue to burn off all that youthful energy.
4701 Oakton St.
Skokie, IL 60076
Named the ‘Best Rainy Day Activity Site’ by Chicago Magazine, Skokie’s Exploritorium offers up a delightful time on sunny days too. Offering a place for children and their adults alike to explore together, activities include a Tubes & Tunnels Indoor Playground, a giant ‘Lite Bright’ wall, a costumed dress-up area, climbing wall, water play area, fun with trains, a toddler zone for the smaller tikes and so much more. Ten-visit explorer passes are available for purchase, and every Friday after school from 3-5 P.M., purchase one admittance and get the second for free. Check the Exploritorium’s website for special holiday events, and every third Tuesday of the month offers a Storybook Corner free with the price of admission.
Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60611
Take the kids to the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze located on Navy Pier. Kids and adults alike can navigate the maze’s brain-teasers, puzzles, colorful strobe lights and a few good-fun scares. Narrated to also teach about some of the interesting facts of Chicago’s history, the Funhouse Maze is open year-round. And with 4,000 square feet of tunnels and and mazes at the ready, you and the kids will want to lose yourselves in it more than once. The little ones won’t realize that they’re honing their problem-solving skills; they’ll just think they’re having a blast.
Chicago Park District Programs & Events
Chicago Park District
There is an option for engaging your little ones without spending a fortune, and it’s through the Chicago Park District, which offers an array of programs and events for the entire family and throughout the Chicagoland area, from hockey to dance, gymnastics to skating, swimming to the arts to cheer-leading and so much more. With more than 8,300 acres of parkland, the Chicago Park District is the largest municipal park manager in the country, and with 585 parks and thousands of athletic, cultural and environmental programs for available for youth, adults and seniors, there’s something for everyone in the entire family offered through the Park District.
Soon after earning her BA in journalism, Melanie Falina began writing about one of the loves of her life – music. Since then, she’s covered some of the biggest names in music, in addition to writing on an array of other topics as well. She has written for Black Belt magazine, KISS: The Official Authorized Quarterly Magazine, Examiner, AXS.com, Yahoo Voices, and more, and was editor for Don Lemmon’s KNOW HOW Book Three, Refuse To Fail. Melanie is also a poet with six published collections of poetry available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various establishments.