Progressing academically doesn’t always have to revolve around numbers and letters. Art and craft projects can help children reach developmental goals and increase fine motor skills. While the entire family may not be able to join in on all the fun at the bouncy house or the indoor playground, finding a place to do arts and crafts can be a great way to have everyone participate. Parents can be satisfied in having the kids participate in a developmentally stimulating activity, as well as keeping the mess off the kitchen table. Take advantage of all the arts and crafts activities provided in the Chicago area and make keepsake mementos filled with family memories.

Glazed Expressions
717 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 867-1792
www.myglazedexpressions.com

Located in Lincoln Park, Glazed Expressions is fun for all ages. There is a huge selection of different pottery products and paints to choose from, with a studio fee of $8 for adults and $6 for children under 14. Designated creation stations help to let your imagination flow and each piece is glazed in a kiln and ready for pick up in a week. This is a BYOB establishment, so parents might have to flip a coin as to who gets to bring a bottle of wine or some beer while painting. The result is a fun arts and crafts venue suitable for the entire family.

Genesis Art Supply
2525 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 292-2992
www.artsupply.com

Genesis Art Supply sells art supplies for projects big and small, whether you’re looking for a simple sketch pad or rejuvenating some old furniture. The staff is comprised of art professionals, and collaboration with Unicoi Art Studio features children’s art classes at the new and improved location. The Children’s Toy and Class Center features 60 minute, 90 minute, or two hour classes starting at $23 per class. While the kids enjoy an arts and crafts activity, parents can purchase supplies for all the special projects for home.

Brookfield Zoo
8400 W. 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000
www.czs.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Home

The Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield Zoo is free for children under three, $3 for children between the ages of 3 and 11 and $3 for adults. A reprieve from Chicago’s summer heat, this indoor facility hosts a number of appealing exhibits for kids of all ages. Inside the arts and crafts area, there is always a project ready to be discovered. Whether it’s making a nature book bound together by a twig, painting glitter onto a festive pinecone, or making a holiday-themed item, this arts and crafts center ensures your child will be excited to create. The whole family is welcome at Hamill Family Play Zoo, whether it’s bringing out the inner artist at the face painting center or making a specialized art project before visiting the next animal exhibit.

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Riverside Arts Weekend
90 Bloomingbank Rd.
Riverside, IL 60546
(847) 726-8669
www.riversideartsweekend.org

The Riverside Arts Weekend starts May 16 and 17 in Guthrie Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Located about 10 miles west of Chicago, this art festival features a myriad of different activities to suit everyone in the family. Live music, art, fashion, food, and drinks will be offered throughout this weekend event. A free hands-on art project is offered for small children, while older family members can enjoy the sites of historic downtown Riverside.

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600
www.artic.edu

For those looking for the pinnacle of art appreciation in Chicago, the Art Institute is the perfect place to partake in some arts and crafts. Admission is free for children under 14 and there are programs and workshops to suit all ages. A take-home art project can be made at the Ryan Education Center with free admittance at the Artist’s Studio. The Mini Masters Workshop is offered for children ages 3 to 5, Family Workshop is offered for children ages 6 to 12, and the Tween Workshop is for those between 9 and 12. Perfect for families with siblings in different age groups, the Art Institute of Chicago encourages art enthusiasm through its exhibits and its hands-on projects.

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.