10+ Activities Your Kids Will Love To Do This Summer
July 15, 2020 1 CommentCategory: Motherhood, Parenting
Tags: Children, Interactive toddler experiences, Kids activities, Summer, Summer Bucket List, Toddler Activities
Life has been turned upside down this summer with COVID-19 canceling camps and indoor activities and closing all city parks and playgrounds. With so many restrictions, it’s been challenging figuring out what to do with out little kids so I’ve outlined 10+ Activities Your Kids Will Love This Summer that you can do at home or that aren’t location-specific, and then a few others that are close to Chicago and open during Phase 4.
1. Go on a Nature Hunt and create a “masterpiece”
We collected sticks, leaves and flowers we found on the ground and brought them home to make an art piece. I stocked on these foam boards for art projects, and this glun gun which has gotten SO much use this summer.
2. Plan a menu and make lunches for the homeless
This was a special day that really helped Chloe understand the importance of helping others and got her involved in the process! Chloe made her own lunch menu, shopped for the ingredients, assembled meals and dropped them off at a local shelter.
3. Host an ice cream social for your neighbors or friends who live close by
We hosted this cute little party in front of our home and invited all of the neighbors to join. It was so fun and such a hit! I bought this ice cream table cloth, these ice cream napkins, and made this invitation on Canva.
4. Plant a veggie garden
We planted an assortment of veggies and herbs and Chloe now takes responsibly for them by watering and caring for them. We often use them in meals which makes the experience come full circle. I made the signs below using images/my laminator but in retrospect, I should have simply used these signs. The rain ended up ruining mine.
5. Popcorn & Pajama Movie Night
Let your little one pick a movie of their choice to enjoy with some popcorn (which you can pop together with this easy popcorn maker!).
6. Develop a family tree with pictures
Create your own tree leveraging printed pictures and labels so your little one can see how everyone in the family is related. I am excited to do this so Chloe not only learns everyone’s names and faces but so she can see how everyone is related. Those foam boards would be perfect for this project too!
7. Make a “flower vase” with fresh flowers you find outside
Draw a vase on paper and add in flowers you find in your garden or around your neighborhood.
8. Make fresh squeezed lemonade or OJ
Nothing beats a fresh glass of lemonade or orange juice – especially in summer! This hands-on activity is one of Chloe’s favorites to make and beats the concentrate stuff from the store! A lemon squeezer like this one is needed.
9. Plan a picnic date at the park!
We pack our lunches and head over to local parks in the neighbor where we play games and Chloe can run around! It’s fun to explore new places and get out of the house for a change of scenery. This summer I finally invested in a larger cooler bag which has come in so handy!
10. Head over to your local farmers market
Enjoy the freshest produce and a fun time roaming around your local farmer’s market. To make it more experiential, pick out a fresh ingredient and make a meal out of it. Chloe and I made gazpacho with the ingredients we collected – yum!
We also bought fresh flowers which she later cut and assembled into a vase, which she LOVED!
Few More Ideas in or around Chicago
Novelty Golf Mini Golf (Lincolnwood)
Chloe’s first time on the golf course was a success! She really got into it and it was fun heading back to Novelty which was where I went mini golfing as a kid.
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (Oak Brook)
Only the outside area is open but here’s a Visitor Guide with what you can do
Wildwood Nature Center (Park Ridge)
Great place to teach your kids about science, the outdoors, wildlife and the environment. Sadly the indoor nature center is closed now, but the outdoor surrounding forest preserve / hiking trail is open.
Pony Rides at Memory Lane Stables or Sarah’s Pony Rides
We went to Memory Lane Stables with my dad and had a great morning. We opted for the 1 hour trail ride ($20 for kids, $30 for adults) which was a nice walk. You could otherwise do an hour in the barn area for kids only. Masks required in the barn.
This waterfall is a hidden gem outside the city. Chloe loved jumping from rock to rock, getting wet and playing in the water. I’d recommend bringing a bathing suit, enclosed shoes and a picnic for lunch.
Visit the murals on side of Hubbard Street (West Loop, Chicago)
This was close to home so Chloe and I enjoyed a long walk and 3 blocks of vibrant animals and characters!
This is one of my favorite adventures we’ve had! Beautiful, open park space that surrounds a pond. You can have a picnic and then go explore all of the sculptures that are around the park.
Note: The main area is where this woman sculpture is but the others are on a small trail that you’ll have to find when you’re there. The trail starts in back of the parking lot.
Fabyn Forest Preserve and Town of Geneva, IL
This forest preserve is magical and reminds me of an “enchanted forest” with lots of greenery, secret gardens and old world vibe. There is huge windmill up on the hill that you’ll see after you park which is pretty awesome. Bring a scooter or bike for your kiddos. There are a lot of people fishing, ducks you can watch and great places for a picnic. We opted to go into the town of Geneva for lunch and dined at the Herrington Inn which was adorable. They have a great outdoor patio that’s close to the water. The town of Geneva is adorable – lots of small, quaint shops and a delicious chocolate store called Graham’s that’s a must-see.
Splash Island (Oak Brook)
I am renting out this awesome splash park for my friends and their kids for a very reasonable price ($275)! Every family will contribute $10 per person (same price as simply going to the public park!). Easy and safe way to get your friends together.
Goat and Chill at GlennArt Farm (Austin, Chicago) – Spend an hour hanging 1:1 with the sweetest goats. Bring carrots for them!
The Indian Caves are small narrow caves that include a little ravine that runs through to the Kankakee River. It is such a beautiful place to visit.
Visit a Raspberry or Blueberry Farm
Mike’s Blueberry Farm in New Buffalo, MI is supposed to be a hidden gem. Note: cash only!
This drive through Safari is an animal adventure that kids will love!
Lincoln Marsh (Wheaton)
This hiking spot looks GORGEOUS. They offer some fun, interactive scavenger hunts to do too.
Nina’s Hands, Paws and Claws (McHenry, IL)
An exotic animal sanctuary that houses more than 50 animals. Nina and her team offer a 1:1 experience where your kiddos get a private introduction to goats, alpacas, a mini horse and cow, bunnies, ducks, chicks, and more. $15 pp. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book or call 773.316.6679.