10 Ideas for Winter Break Child Care

10 Ideas for Winter Break Child Care

I just realized that there are six weeks between now and Winter Break.



Doesn't it seem like the older you get, the faster time flies?

I'm lucky to be a self-employed, free-wheelin' mommy blogger slash educational consultant. My busy season is coming to a close and I look forward to two weeks of extreme family togetherness over the holidays. I am also looking forward to lazy mornings with no wild scramble to get everyone up, dressed, and out the door in time for school.

Many people I know, however, are not so lucky to have such generous time off over the Winter Break and are scrambling for affordable, short-term, high-quality child care.

Here are ten great ideas (local to Chicago) for Winter Break child care solutions:

 1. Lill Street Art Center

Lill Street is located in Ravenswood and has all-day (9 - 3:30) art camps for both weeks of Winter Break. Lill Street can take kids ages 5 - 16 and the cost is $320 per pweek.

2. Smarty Party

Located in West Lakeview near the Belmont/Lincoln/Ashland intersection, Smarty Party offers half-day camps from 9 - 2 on December 22,23,26,27,28,29,30 and Jan 2,3,4.

Cost: $40 per child
Ages: 4 and up (must be potty trained)
Space is limited
Register: 773.687.0521

3. Chicago Botanic Garden

If your child loves the great outdoors, the Chicago Botanic Garden (located in Glencoe) is holding a week-long camp for kids ages 5 - 8 that includes outdoor explorations as well as indoor messy fun! This camp is from December 19 -22, 9:30am - 3:00pm and the cost is $275.

**bummer! Just realized that CPS Winter Break doesn't start until the 24th! Oh well, check this out if your kids are in private school or homeschooled.**

4. Chicago Park District

The Park District is hands-down the most affordable and convenient option for Winter Break child care. Numerous park district locations such as Amundsen, River Park, and Margate Park will provide child care from December 20 - 30 for kids ages 6 - 12. Times and fee vary depending on the location.

5. Lakeshore Academy of Artistic Gymnastics

If your children are 5 - 12 and love gymnastics or rock climbing, this place looks So. Cool. Half-day Winter Break camps (December 19 - 23 and 26 - 30) are $183. Located at 937 W. Chestnut.

6. Kids Science Labs

This is a brand-new place located in the same building as the Whole Foods on Kingsbury. If your kid is more of a science nerd than an aspiring artist, then you might check out their half-day Winter Camp from December 19 - 23.

7. Kids Playing Camp

If you live on the north side, check out Kids Playing Camp, located at Northeastern Illinois University. December 19 - 22 camp will be held at NEIU from 8 - 4. Cost is $50 per day. Kids Playing Camp also has an overnight option from December 27 - 29 at Camp Duncan. Check the website for more details.

8. Windy City Fieldhouse and DePaul Mathnasium

I put these two together because I heard they were holding Winter Camps but I can't find anything about it on their websites. You might have to call for more information.

9. Emerald City Theater

For December 26 - 30, 2011 and January 2 - 6, 2012, Emerald City Theater is holding camp for kids with aspirations for the stage and screen! Half-day camp for kids ages 3.5 - 5 will run you $225 per week and full-day camp for ages 6 - 10 costs $450 per week.

10. College Nannies and Tutors

If none of these options fit your needs (most of them only go until 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. What are you supposed to do if you have to work until 5:00 or 6:00?) then you can find a short-term nanny through this wonderful agency. At $18 per hour, it's not super-cheap but the agency takes all the headache out of finding, vetting, and scheduling a nanny for you. They handle the taxes, they handle the insurance, and the carers they send are all top-quality.




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  • six weeks? Didn't school start like a week ago? Time does fly.

    I want to check out that new science place for my son, I think he would love it and I'd have an excuse to shop at mega whole foods.

  • In reply to Yoga Mom:

    You can park at the Whole Foods parking garage for free too, while you're dropping off. Extra bonus!

  • fb_avatar

    Is this anything like CHRISTMAS BREAK?? You politically correct cowards make me sick!

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    Thanks for commenting, Dick. Winter Break is the term used by Chicago Public Schools.

    I don't know about other schools, but at my child's school there are many children from many different religious and cultural traditions. I don't think there's anything wrong with showing some respect for the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. You are welcome to call it Christmas break, however, if that's what you choose.

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    Um, because there are no other holidays at the end of December? I present Hanukkah, NYE, Kwanzaa and Festivus.

  • Also Boxing Day!

  • In reply to Dick Clark:

    Do you need a hug?

  • And New Year's Eve -- which was a WAY bigger deal for me than Christmas when I was a swinging single.

  • It is crazy to think the holidays are already here! I am with Beth and want to visit the Kids Science Labs! I have been bundling the kids up and throwing them in the yard to play with random sticks and just get dirty! Old school, how I used to play! :) Great info!

  • Thank you for taking the time to put this list together. You have saved me hours.

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