Raising elementary kids may be my favorite phase of parenting so far. (Shh, don’t tell my toddler!) Elementary school kids are old enough to understand my corny jokes, but not too cool to spend time with me. Plus, I don’t have to carry a diaper bag around anymore!
Children’s personal interests are really starting to develop at these ages. It’s exciting to explore new passions, topics, and skills, all while having fun together. Our list of local places for kids is filled with places indoors and outdoors where they can be sporty, creative, and more.
Go Mini-Golfing Together
Is your child showing more of a competitive side? Challenge them to a round of miniature golf.
Lace Up Your Bowling Shoes
Bowling is a game loved by all. These kid-friendly bowling alleys have the ramps and bumpers to help even the youngest of bowlers.
Enjoy a Sweet Treat
Go Roller Skating
Lace up your skates for an afternoon of roller skating at these local rinks.
Visit an Arcade or Entertainment Center
Enjoy Full-Body Play Inside
- Get all that energy out at places to bounce or indoor rock climbing facilities. Don’t forget to add yourself as a participant. Nothing excites my kids more than to see me out there having fun, too.
Plan a Relaxing Afternoon
Tackle an Escape Room Together
Select escape rooms, such as Fuzzy Logic in Downers Grove and Escape Factor in Forest Park, offer kid-friendly themes that will get all of your brains moving. Work together to solve the puzzles.
Enjoy Quality Time
No matter the age, parents and kids love quality one-on-one time together. Check out this list for kid-parent date ideas to enjoy a night out for just you two.
Immerse Yourselves in a New Experience
Looking for something new? We are constantly updating our list of new exhibits and immersive experiences. Your kids will love to be the first of their friends to check out these places.
Go for a Swim
Don’t pack away those bathing suits yet. Keep the summer fun going indoor water parks, or plan a trip around visiting a Midwestern water park resort. Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee was great for my elementary-aged kids, but the Wisconsin Dells are always a family-favorite vacation, too.
Try Out a New Class or Activity
As your child moves into elementary school, their passions really start to come alive. As a toddler, my daughter wanted to do everything. She’s starting to realize there are things she enjoys more than others, and wants to embrace her interests! Your Guide to Kids Classes and Teams in the Western Suburbs is a one-stop shop for all the classes and activities your elementary-aged child may be interested in learning.
Time-Travel Through History
As kids begin to read and engage with longer stories, history can really come alive. Our round-up of kid-friendly history museums is a great resource for finding a spot that will resonate with your kids.
For more active historical fun, try outdoor history destinations. Check out the tanks at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, stroll through living history at Naper Settlement in Naperville, or explore the grounds of Blackberry Farm in Aurora.
Local nature centers help kids learn about native plants and animals in our area. Many have hands-on displays and opportunities for kids to go deeper learning about ecosystems, sustainability, and local wildlife.
Take Advantage of a Museum Free Day
Once kids begin reading on their own, museums really open up for them! The Chicagoland area is filled with incredible museums, and even better, many offer the best discount possible: free. We have a full list of when museums are offering free admission.
Expand On Scouting Topics
Is your elementary aged child a Girl Scout or Boy Scout of America? Our guide of ways to earn badges will help your child dive into their scouting interests.
Find a Fun New Playground
After spending so much time in the classroom, these kids are ready to get outside! Here are a few of our favorite playground guides for this age group:
- Our list of the best playgrounds for elementary school-aged kids is a great resource; it features bigger parks like Harvester Park in Burr Ridge and Berens Park in Elmhurst, which have plenty to do for school-age kids.
- Our lists of best playgrounds and new and improved playgrounds will be great to check as well.
- Give skateboarding a try at these skate parks throughout the western suburbs. Don’t forget your helmet!
- We’ve rounded up a list of all the ninja parks in the Chicago area. Put your child’s strength to the test and burn off all that big-kid energy.
Explore the Great Outdoors
School-age kids need time to run around more than ever! Stretch those legs and get out for a walk at a park with a walking path, or a tree-lined trail. Lyman Woods and Waterfall Glen are both great options.
Or, make a weekend of enjoying the great outdoors. Since our winters can be rough, the summer and fall are the time to be outside, so go bike riding, camping, horseback riding and fishing. This age is perfect, as they can help carry gear and have a longer attention span to enjoy the wilderness. Nicole’s family loved their time at Mallard Lake in Hanover Park.
Spend Time on the Water
Kayaks, paddleboats, boats, and canoes are a lot more fun with this age, since they can start to help with everything involved! Herrick Lake and Blackwell are both popular spots.
Jump Into Outdoor Adventures
The Forge: Lemont Quarries is a full outdoor adventure park, including ropes courses, biking, water fun, and more. Check out Annie’s insider tips before going to maximize your fun.
Embrace Winter Fun Outside
While it’s not the season yet, keep our Winter Guide ready for skiing, snowtubing, and sledding fun. These are especially fun as your child gets older and can last outside in the cold for longer stretches of time.
Looking for ideas for another age group?
Head to the main Activities by Age page so you can find local places to go for every age range.