Kindergarten is the age when parents can breathe a collective sigh of relief. You’re no longer carrying a diaper bag around or worried that your toddler is going to run from you at the park. Celebrate this new independence by trying out places that may have felt intimidating before. These top activities are perfect for elementary-aged children as they transition into big-kid fun!
Things to Do with Kids Ages 6–8 in the West Suburbs
Indoor Hot Spots for Elementary Schoolers
Indoor play areas and spots for active fun are still plenty of fun for this age range:
- Funtopia is geared towards elementary-aged children, and Ball Factory is great for pleasing a wide range of ages.
- Check our list of 10 best indoor playgrounds and play spaces for more insight on local favorites!
- Places to bounce give kids a chance to get out extra energy. Kids this age tend to love trampoline parks!
- Does your child still have more energy? Test their physical strength and endurance at these indoor rock climbing walls or gymnastic open gyms.
Classic Fun for Kids and Parents
You probably enjoyed these activities as a kid! These are great family activities that offer a chance for everyone to bond:
- Tap into your child’s competitive spirit at a bowling alley!
- Arcade games and laser-tag arenas are the height of cool for ages 6 to 8.
- Get some relief from the hot summer temps by enjoying a $1 movie at these local theaters.
- Is your child showing more of a competitive side? Challenge them to a round of miniature golf. For first timers, we went to Miner Mike’s Adventure Golf in Downers Grove, which is a great value and right next to McCollum Park for even more fun.
Water Parks and Pools for Ages 6–8
With elementary-aged children showing more independence in the water, you’ve got a lot more options.
- Indoor water parks are full of water slides, lazy rivers and wet-and-wild fun. Pelican Harbor in Bolingbrook is a great local choice.
- For a longer trip, Grizzly Jack’s in Utica just reopened; get all the details about the renovations from Annie’s review.
- Consider a membership to these pools to maximize your summer fun.
Ideas for Quality Time with Early Elementary Kids
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!
Learning Fun for Ages 6–8
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:
- Paint and pottery classes and theater for kids are perfect for introducing your child to the arts.
- This is the perfect age to step it up to the big leagues . . . the museums of Chicago. Check out our list, which includes information about free days.
- 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.
- Does your child love to tinker or solve puzzles? Activities like escape rooms or events such as the Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo introduce your child to STEAM activities in a fun way.
- Check out Annie’s recent interview with Katy Lynch, the founder of Codeverse and consider signing up for a free coding class.
Playgrounds for Elementary-Aged Children
After spending so much time in the classroom, these kids are ready to get outside! 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 that have plenty to do for school-age kids.
If you’re headed to downtown Chicago, but don’t forget a stop at the beautiful Maggie Daley park. Talk about an incredible playground for big kids!
More Outdoor Activities for Elementary Schoolers
Looking for more outdoor fun? 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.
- If your elementary-aged child is exhibiting more endurance, these family fun runs are great ways to introduce your child to the sport!
- Make a weekend enjoying the great outdoors. Since our winters can be rough, the summer is the time to be outside, so go bike riding, camping and fishing. This age is perfect, as they can help carry gear and have a longer attention span to enjoy the wilderness.
- 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.
- Enjoy a family-friendly night at the Kane County Cougars game (like our Kidlist team did!) or a Chicago Dogs game. Or venture out to the big leagues in Chicago. (Don’t forget to reference Rachel’s tips for taking kids to a baseball game if this is your first time going.)
- As children begin to learn more about the world around them, their appreciation for nature deepens. A fun-filled afternoon on a farm or a stroll through a conservatory can help children see more of the beauty in nature.
- Go on a treasure hunt! Explore your neighborhood or another one across town by hunting for geocaches.