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Nanny & Kid-Friendly Summer Activities in Chicago

Wondering how to make the most of summertime in Chicago with your nanny charges? There are so many kid-friendly (and budget-friendly) activities nannies and kids can enjoy in and around Chicago. This summer, be sure to check these things off your bucket list!

See how toys are made at the Museum of Science & Industry

At the ToyMaker 3000 exhibit, kids can watch exactly how a toy is manufactured, from parts to packaging, on this modern assembly line. The ToyMaker 3000 exhibit is included in the museum entry fee, but for $5 extra, kids can get a custom toy engraved with their name.

Looking for more fun exhibits? There are a ton of kid-friendly museums in Chicago.

Go troll hunting at Morton Arboretum

Since 2018, gigantic wooden trolls have been spotted in the forests of Morton Arboretum. These sculptures, made from reclaimed wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, can reach heights of 30 feet! Morton Arboretum also offers visitors a Troll Hunter’s Handbook packed with clues on each troll’s location, and an accessibility guide so you can make sure your adventures are “stroller-friendly.” Make sure to visit the site to see the most up-to-date info before you go: https://www.mortonarb.org/events/troll-hunt (and make sure to pack fun tools, like a compass, sun hats, and even binoculars to lend to that sense of adventure).

Beat the heat at a water playground or pool

Chicago neighborhoods are home to over 20 water parks where kids can cool off on hot days. Adams Playground Park in Ranch Triangle is one of our favorites since even the smallest kids can enjoy the facilities. Another is Burnham Park near 31st Street Beach, a busy park with indoor and outdoor pools, in addition to many other amenities. Find a park near you on the Chicago Park District map.

Enjoy music and nature at Chicago Botanic Garden

When you need a break from the daytime heat, take the kids to Chicago Botanic Garden for a Dancin’ Sprouts event. Every Wednesday evening, a family-friendly band plays music that’s sure to get the kids up and dancing. Bring a chair and relax in the garden as the kids get their wiggles out.

Have a Chicago-style picnic at Hot Dog Fest

The Chicago-style hot dog is one of Chicago’s most iconic foods — and even the pickiest of eaters enjoy a good hot dog. Celebrate at Chicago Hot Dog Fest, where the city’s top hot dog connoisseurs will be grilling and serving up hot dogs. There’s also live music, games, kid-friendly activities, and more for just a $5 suggested donation at the door. The festival will be held on August 9 to 11, 2019 at Stockton and LaSalle Drive.

Catch a kid-friendly movie under the stars

There’s nothing like a free outdoor movie on warm summer nights. Cantigny Park hosts movies every Friday night at 8:30 pm for free, though parking is $5. Millennium Park starts their movies at 6:30 pm on Tuesday nights amidst the skyscrapers, and has a more diverse offering of movies (though many are rated PG-13 or R, so be careful). You can also lay out a blanket on the green at Oakbrook Center and catch one of their movies on Wednesday nights at 7 pm. Find a park and schedule that works best for you and the kids.

Spend a day at Millennium Park Family Fun Festival

From late June to early August, kids can enjoy a variety of summer activities at the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park. Activities include games, arts and crafts, music classes, story times, and much more. Plus, the festival is free!

Climb and explore at Maggie Daley Park

Kids have much to explore at Maggie Daley Park. The Play Garden in the southeast section has unique interconnected play spaces for kids of all ages. There’s “The Sea,” an 8,500 sq. ft. play loop with shifting play surfaces. The Harbor is a boat-themed play area with three full-sized play boats. And The Enchanted Forest has an imaginative network of upside-down trees and play zones. There’s no entry fee, but some activities like mini golf and the climbing wall require admission.

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Can’t wait to try out these Chicago must-sees with your nanny kids this summer? Find a great family that is just right for you by joining Chicago Collegiate Nannies, a free nanny placement agency.

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