Chicago parents wait patiently through the long winter months -- dreaming of the glorious time when their kids can play outdoors . . . and
then summer finally arrives and it is often just too hot to go outside. On a day like today when the heat index is 106 and the kids are eager to run, jump and play, what's a parent do to?
When it is so hot that my kids might literally melt at the park, I
like to take advantage of one of Chicago's indoor play spaces. I have two
favorites I want to tell you about.
Frog is a 4,000 square foot facility located in an office building in the Streeterville neighborhood (it is so inconspicuous that you could easily miss it). Day Frog is designed
for children age six and under and features two large slides, a pretend
kitchen, an infants-only play area, train tables, costumes, and ride-on
cars, amongst other activities. Day Frog
also offers finger painting and a kitchen area for kids to enjoy snacks
and drinks from home.
My kids always seem to find plenty of activities to
keep them busy for a few hours. I am also always impressed with how clean this environment is (and that is sometimes hard to come by in places that are swarmed by kids on a daily basis). My favorite feature of Day Frog is the involved staff. Friendly staff members mill around talking to the kids, encouraging interested little ones to participate in the daily art project and tidying up the play space.
One word or advice: try to use public transportation if you are planning an excursion to Day Frog -- parking in this neighborhood will really add to the expense of this trip.
Another favorite is Room 2 Play, located in the South Loop/Chinatown neighborhood. The space is bright, open, and inviting (plus free
parking is located just a block away). The main play space is divided
into a few different areas, but everything is basically continuous
(which is great when you have one kid headed to the kitchen area and
another intent on playing dress-up). The layout makes it easy for
parents to keep an eye on all of their little ones. My three year-old son loved the
toy selection -- and so did I. Room 2 Play offers a nice selection of
imaginative, sturdy, wooden toys (think Plan Toys, Melissa and Doug,
etc.). Room 2 Play also has a large eating area if you wanted to bring
a snack or lunch to enjoy. This space is great for a play date with a
large group because each kid can play with the toys that interest them
and the Mamas can stick close enough together for a little chit chat.
Room 2 Play also offers a lot
of other programming including birthday parties, musical
performances and summer camps. Visit the website for more information.
Know of any other great spots where kids can keep cool and burn off some of their crazy energy?