DIY Friday: Did You Make Your Summer Fun List Yet?

We've been making it for several years now - before kids and now with kids. We set aside an evening at the beginning of each summer, get the laptop booted up, iPhones handy, fridge calendar, sports practice schedules, and whatever else is needed to plan. Everyone in the family gets a chance to weigh in on it. It's our Summer Fun List.

Summer is a glorious time meant for being outdoors, spending time away with family, and getting a break from the daily school routine. Too often though, kids' and parents' agendas quickly fill up with work obligations, summer camps, and sports practices. The Summer Fun List helps us achieve balance for our family by purposely scheduling in fun, while taking advantage of some of the great things summertime in Chicago has to offer.

Here are some of the activities that have made past appearances on the list.

  • Golf outing (s) - I put plural here because these could certainly become a weekly occurrence around here if someone didn't lay down the law.
  • Schaumburg Boomers/Kane County Cougars - This is a great environment for younger kids who may be going to their first baseball game without investing the time and effort to head into the city for a major league game.
  • Cubs Rooftop - The kids have their game (above). Now, we have ours. With the gluten free options available at Wrigley, I feel right at home. This activity usually involves a pit-stop for hydration at Moe's Cantina.
  • Watch Fireworks - There are a few on our summer roster. We definitely try to take in a fireworks show along the lakefront, as part of Navy Pier's twice weekly fireworks show. We are also patrons of some local shows, including Algonquin's Founders Day fireworks. These are by far THE BEST fireworks in Chicagoland. Maybe its partly due to the fact you can watch them explode right above your head and reflect off the waters of the Fox River, but they certainly put on a fabulous show.
  • Attend an Air Show - Flying is in our blood, not to mention my son's love for the Blue Angels. If we can't make it up to Osh Kosh, we'll try for Peoria or Rockford. Both have great shows with a variety of static aircraft displays as well. If you can attend by boat, Chicago's Air and Water Show is truly an amazing experience.
  • Ravinia - Last year's event involved a party bus for 18, a great live performance by the Bodeans, delicious food, and a game of slap-the-bag on the way home. We've got our bus reserved for this year. I guess we late thirty-somethings still know how to have fun.
  • Attend a Fest - Ribfests have been a favorite for this meat-loving family (Naperville and Lake in the Hills both put on a great fest), but art festivals are right up there too. Having participated in past art festivals, I appreciate the time and effort artists not only put into their craft but also in sharing their work with the community.
  • Camping - This can be in our backyard or at my husband's family farm in central Illinois. Either way, we get out the tents, sleeping bags, Coleman lanterns, air mattresses - the whole experience.
  • Michigan/Indiana Dunes - My daughter still thinks we are in "North Carolina beach" every time we head to the Dunes. The lake looks so huge to her, she might as well be at the ocean. She loves the gigantic sand dunes and squeals in delight as the cool waves of Lake Michigan splash up on her.
  • Berry Picking - Nothing beats eating fresh blueberries in late July. Head right over the border to Indiana and you'll find several berry farms to choose from. We pick them ourselves at Stateline Blueberries (Michigan City, Indiana) but you can buy them by the pound if you don't want to spend the time picking.
  • Chain O' Lakes - Boating is also in our blood, so we make a point to spend a day up on "The Chain". There is almost a resort atmosphere up on the Chain O' Lakes with several bodies of water throughout McHenry, Antioch, and Fox Lake connected to the Fox River. It is reported as the busiest inland recreational waterway per acre in the United States.
  • Kazoo Night - My daughter added this last one. I'm envisioning some sort of family competition of kazoo song for a rainy summer night.

Now, go start making your own list!

Got any ideas for items to add to a Summer Fun list for Chicago? Send me a comment and share your thoughts.




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  • I want an invite for kazoo night.

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