Cheap and Easy Ideas for Enjoying Summer in Chicago with the Kids

One of the very best parts of summertime is the chance to be outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and gentle warm air. There’s lots of fun stuff to do with kids in and around Chicago year-round, from shows to restaurants to amusement parks and world-class aquariums and museums. But you don’t always have to spend money to have a good time and get out and enjoy the great summertime activities that Chicago has to offer to kids and families! Wonderful free and easy options abound as well.

Here are a few easy ideas for enjoying summer in Chicago on the cheap with the kids:

Go looking for bugs

Bugs are one of the most fun and fascinating gifts from nature – and can be found, for free, literally in your own backyard! Help instill a sense of wonder and appreciation of the nature around us all the time and go on bug-seeking adventures with your little one this summer! You can marvel at the different shapes and colors, and make it educational by talking about the differences between each bug’s different kind of anatomy, defense mechanisms, and roles they serve in the biological ecosystem.

Visit a farmers market and make some delicious purchases

Farmers markets are a great way to show kids a good, cheap, community-supporting good time. You can sample the different food vendors and show support to the ones you enjoy, buy some healthy fruits to eat as you walk, and get some veggies to take home to cook that night. You can tell your little ones about how the food came from the farmer’s farm, to the market and then right to your house and dinner plates, and make it a really special meal.

Go to an outdoor movie

Movies are fun; outdoor movies are even more fun because they add an element of adventure and novelty. Many places offer outdoor movies throughout the summer – grab the kids and head out to see one of the new features, or an old family favorite! Here are just a few samples of the movies you can catch this month:

Saturday, Aug 11 at 8:15pm
The Incredibles (Museum of Science and Industry)
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Jensen Park)

Sunday, Aug 12 at 8:15pm
The Secret Life of Pets (Walsh Park)

Tuesday, Aug 14 at 8:15pm
Clue (Lincoln Park)
Moana (Kells Playground Park)

Wednesday, Aug 15 at 8:15pm
Ferdinand (Hamlin Park)
The LEGO Batman Movie (Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park)

Friday, Aug 17 at 8pm
Coco (Maggie Daley Park)

Saturday, Aug 18 at 8pm
Sing (Sauganash Park)

Monday, Aug 20 at 8pm
Moana (Rowan Park)
Coco (Montgomery Ward Park)
Coco (Lawler Park)

Tuesday, Aug 21 at 8pm
A Dog’s Purpose (McKinley Park)

Saturday, Aug 25 at 8pm
Coco (Kosciuszko Park)
Cars 3 (Wolfe Playground Park)

Sunday, Aug 26 at 8pm
Mary Poppins (Jonquil Park)
Brave (Hoyne Park)

Monday, Aug 27 at 8pm
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (South Shore Cultural Center/Fieldhouse)
Jurassic Park (Grant Park)

Get out and get some sun and enjoy the warm weather while you can – winter will be right back around the corner soon!

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