Summer in Chicago is full of opportunities to immerse your children in international culture through a variety of events and festivals around our many wonderful, ethnic neighborhoods. You can “travel” the world without leaving your hometown! Marcie Wolbeck, The local Development Director for Cultural Care Au Pair
knows a thing or two when it comes to the benefits of cultural exchange. "Exposing your kids to various world cultures opens their eyes to the world beyond Chicago. Even if a jet-setting, international adventure is not on your summer calendar, these festivals are a great way to inspire children to think like global citizens," says Wolbeck.
Check out these ten upcoming summer events that will be sure to teach your children something new and provide fun for all.
June 6-8, 2014
5200-5500 N. Clark
Join the 50,000 people that come out each year to celebrate with international food, entertainment and artisan crafts. Free admission, but $10 donation requested...
We never miss a Chicago Children’s Theatre production. All of their shows are winners. We are lucky to have the opportunity to expose our little theatre-goers to these sorts of cultural opportunities. This is a no-brainer. Make the time for these sorts of family-friendly cultural experience. You won’t regret it. The Elephant and The Whale... Read more »
The City of Chicago does a really good job of offering free or low-cost opportunities for families (I am thinking about things like the Family Fun Festival at Millennium Park, the spectacular Kite Festival each spring, etc.). And they are at it again.....
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events just unveiled Juicebox
, a new music and performance series for the “stroller set.” Performances will take place on alternate Fridays beginning February 1, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall
(78 East Washington) except where noted. All performances are FREE. Parents and young children can enjoy Chicago’s best music, dance, and theater in a kid-friendly setting...
When the holiday hoopla and the new toy excitement die down, your kids will still be on holiday break from school. I’ve learned the hard way that it behooves you to make a plan ahead of time and figure out ways to keep the troops entertained during what can frankly be a long week. Here... Read more »
Harold and The Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson is a popular bedtime story pick at our house. In fact, my husband has declared that this book was his childhood favorite and it was the first children's book we purchased when we were expecting our daughter 8 1/2 years ago. So needless to say, expectations were high for the Chicago Children's Theatre's rendition of Harold and the Purple Crayon
at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts when we went to check it out last week.
We've been lucky to see a number of performances courtesy of The Chicago Children's Theatre (most recently Goodnight Moon) -- and this group consistently delivers high quality children's theatre (that mom and dad truly enjoy as well).
In case you are new to the the story of Harold and his adventures, let me get you up to speed. Harold is a curious four year old boy dressed in super cute pjs. Armed with his trusty purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. When Harold wants to go on a walk in the moonlight, he finds there is no moon. So Harold draws one. When he has nowhere to walk, Harold draws his own path. Along the way he encounters dangerous dragons, embarks on a perilous sea voyage in a trim little boat, takes a hot air balloon ride, and enjoys a nine-pie picnic. When he grows tired, Harold draws himself back to his own bedroom.
Chicago Children's Theatre's Chicago premiere of Harold and the Purple Crayon
stars Nate Lewellyn
(Harold), and Alex Goodrich
and Bethany Thomas
. This performance features Goodrich and Thomas as "storytellers" who embark on this creative journey with Harold. I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this departure from the story. While I understand that the charter of Harold needed other people to interact with on stage, the other two performers were often way more entertaining and engaging than Harold himself. We absolutely love Alex Goodrich from his work in previous shows and his performance is once again the real stand out. The scenery is the other show stealer. We all loved how the set really brought the story to life as Harold used his larger-than-life purple crayon to create purple images across the stage. My kids were marveling at the special effects here. In addition to the cool set and inventive costuming, the live music was another real treat.
We took advantage of the pre-show pizza party (offered for select performances) and my kids also enjoyed the program books full of activities (and complete with a purple crayon naturally) almost as much as the show. Other pre-show activities included the chance to draw on butcher block paper attached to the wall of the theatre. The one-hour run time was about as long as my kiddos could handle on school night. They were wiped out by the end of it. The performers hung out in the lobby after the show and did an amazing job of interacting with the little theatre-goers. Seriously, this is a first-class cultural opportunity for Chicago-area families. Worth every penny...
We live in the city and are lucky to frequent many "downtown" destinations like Navy Pier
and the Museum Campus fairly regularly (in fact, this is a large part of why we chose to raise our kids in the city).
So why would we need to spend a night in a hotel downtown just a couple of miles from our actual home?
This was my cab driver's question to me as we traveled back to our real home in Wicker Park from the Swissotel
after a one-night Giles Family Staycation last weekend...
This morning I was part of a Bump Club and Beyond
panel of "city moms" talking to a packed room of new mamas and their little ones about bringing up baby in Chicago.
I was in good company, joining Kelly Aiglon and Lindsay Gladstone of Daily Candy Kids
, Samantha Lande from Eater Chicago
, Cindy McCarthy of On the Go Chicago
, Rebecca Little of Pinwheel
and my bestie and business partner
Sara Fisher of Self-Made Mom fame. We talked about everything from family-friendly restaurants to navigating the CTA with a stroller and the best places to buy high-end kid's resale.
I spoke a little bit about finding activities that meet my two pieces of criteria. First, I love a free, quality activity when I can find it (if you read Wee Windy City, you already know this about me). In addition, I also love an outing where both mommy and
the kids get something out of it. With those two things in mind, I recommended the following urban activities and destinations...
Got a little foodie at your house? Someone who loves to don an apron and pint-sized chef hat, grab a whisk and whip up a batch of something yummy? Indulge your future Thomas Keller in a real-life, grown-up cooking experience taking place during the upcoming “Epicurious Entertains Chicago"
culinary event taking place in Chicago the weekend of May5-6, 2012.
The weekend-long event is happening at the Chicago Illuminating Company with select events benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The editors at Epicurious
have convened a group of Chicago’s renowned chefs, sommeliers and mixologists as they host this first-ever local event. The two-day experience has something for everyone -- including your kiddos...
Have you heard about Stages, Sights & Sounds? This unique event is an international performing arts festival for families (and theatergoers of any age really). The festival showcases fresh, original work from Europe and Canada that you won’t see anywhere else. The festival is in its thirteenth year and runs May 2–12, 2012 at venues in... Read more »
I love a good surprise. When my kiddos recently received an intriguing package from Grow Books, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. What we discovered inside our neatly-wrapped, rectangular, red package actually isn’t a book at all. Local Chicago company (by now you surely know that I am a sucker for all-things local) Grow... Read more »