Boredom-busters--Chicago style

Nine novelties to keep your kids busy and happy this summer

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The JUF's Young Families team wants to help families with young children maximize the fun this summer.  From Chicago landmarks to fresh twists on perennial favorite summertime activities, check out these ways to keep the whole family entertained and engaged in the warmer months:

"Book" a picnic

Bring a picnic basket and your kids' favorite books to your local park or the beach for story time in the sunshine, and opportunities to run around and play. Bring some friends for an educational and creative summer playdate.

Get your culture on

Help your children discover how the Windy City is the best place to be in the summertime. Explore some of our million local offerings like street festivals, cultural events, art fairs, and food festivals throughout Chicago's 77 neighborhoods. Use resources like the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events websites to find your family's next outing.

Frequent the farmers market

With a little creativity, a grocery run to the farmers market can be an adventure. Take your kids through a scavenger hunt for new foods and brainstorm questions for vendors about how vegetables are grown. You can also work together to come up with an original recipe, find and buy the ingredients, and cook with the whole family.

Pay attention to street art

When you're out walking, how often do you stop to check out the colorful murals peppering the city? Point out interesting shapes, colors, and patterns, or find creative ways to take pictures with unique backgrounds.

Take a playground crawl

You're probably familiar with a pub crawl; this G-rated version combines exploring the city with a day of play. Start at your neighborhood playground, and then see if you can make it to three playgrounds in an afternoon. Try to carry on the same activity or game with your kids with different playground equipment and toys or find new ways to engage with each place.

Enjoy Shabbat under the stars

Shift your family's Shabbat routine to the great outdoors with a barbecue or picnic dinner and meditative prayers and songs by the water or in a peaceful park.

Be a tourist in our own city

Most of us don't frequent tourist sites in the town we live in. But who says you have to hop on a plane to be a tourist…especially in Chicago with so much to see. Escort your kids to some of Chicago's most iconic attractions--from The Bean to the Zoo to Chinatown, and see the second city through your children's eyes.

Splash around

Wade in the lake or a pool, take a water taxi, or check out splash pads and sprinkler parks throughout the city. And don't be afraid to let your kids get a little wet--even if you didn't pack a  bathing suit.

JUF Young Families, jBaby, and PJ Library offer classes, playgroups, and many fun ways for families to spend quality time together. Learn more at juf.org/youngfamilies .


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