Free Summer Fun for Kids in the Southwest Suburbs 2019

Summer is just around the corner! If your house is anything like mine, structure is definitely required, at least a few days per week. Many nights before bed, my children ask, “What are we doing tomorrow?” Planning events in the summer can be overwhelming and expensive, there are plenty of FREE activities available if you know where to look! Here is a list of activities that will keep your kiddos entertained . . . without draining your bank account.

2019 Free Summer Fun in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs

Nature Centers and Forest Preserves

Nature centers and forest preserves offer tons of activities while being absolutely free. Pack your gym shoes and take a hike. Bring binoculars and go bird watching. Skip stones in the pond. Search out and identify animal tracks or if the forest preserve allows, bring a blanket and set-up a picnic. The ideas are endless because nature has so much to give and teach!


Make it your mission to visit a few new (to your family) playgrounds this summer! A new playground can be really exciting for younger kids. There are so many variances amongst these playgrounds to keep kids amused. Some offer water features or even sand areas! Pack your hats and sunscreen, snacks, or even a picnic lunch and check these out!

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Festivals and Parades

Summer weekends are made for fairs and festivals. While a day spent at a festival can be quite costly when you factor in rides and food, it doesn’t have to be. Many offer free music or other entertainment on different stages. A great way to avoid the hefty price tag is to look for festivals that center around a major activity or theme. And, the parades that kick off those festivals….always free and sure to delight!

Story Times

There are times when the sun is too strong, or the kids have had enough of outdoor activities. Escape to one of these story times near you!

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Museums and Zoos

During the school year, it’s hard for us to carve out time to get to the zoo or children’s museums. Even though we have been to the zoo many times, it’s always one of my kids’ favorite activities. Likewise, our museums always have new exhibits or areas to explore. If you are feeling really adventurous, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is always free, and there are plenty of parks, green space, and the beach to make a whole day out of it!

Kidlist Calendar

Make the Kidlist calendar your first stop to finding free events near you. Simply filter the events by date, price, and location to fill in your summer agenda. The calendar is constantly being updated with events, so check back frequently. Below are a few notable free events in the southwest suburbs.

Cruisin Frankfort (Frankfort)
June 6 – August 22, 2019 | 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Concerts in the Park (Countryside)
June 6 – August 1, 2019 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Homewood Artisan Street Fair (Homewood)
June 7 – 9, 2019

Parties in the Park (Frankfort)
June 10, 2019 | 6:00 – 7:30pm

Movies in the Park (Tinley Park)
June 11, 2019 | 7:30pm

Movies on the Green (Frankfort)
June 11, 2019 | 8:30 pm

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Remember: Summer is supposed to be relaxed, carefree, and easy! Sometimes, the best memories are made right in your own driveway with some sidewalk chalk and bubbles. Happy summer!

For more summer fun, check out all the outdoor activities going on in the southwest suburbs this season.

About the Author

Kristen Sheehan
Kristen is a Burbank native who settled with her family in New Lenox in 2016. She loves her new neighborhood and could not be happier with her new home. Kristen and her husband have three amazing children – two daughters, ages six years and 18 months, and a four year-old son. She also has a furry shih-tzu baby, who is 11 years old. The kids are active and energetic, but Kristen enjoys providing a mix of structured play/activities and downtime at home. She is passionate about keeping her family healthy and happy. During the winter, Kristen likes to go sledding and skating – as well as experiencing indoor play spaces. During the summer, she loves getting outside with her family – playgrounds, festivals, fairs, picnicking, bike riding, and trips to the zoo. Her kids love helping in the kitchen, and Kristen enjoys cooking and baking with them!

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