Resolve to Rock Your Budget with Free January Fun

With the holidays coming to a close and a New Year upon us, we need fresh new ideas of fun things to do with the kids! Even better, how about a list of fun things that are free?! Kidlist has you covered with all kinds of outings, indoor and outdoor, to entertain your kids all January long!

Free January Fun for Kids in Chicagoland

Free Days at Chicagoland Museums in January

Adler Planetarium
Admission is free for Illinois residents on January 21-22 and 29-31, 2019.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Admission is free to all Illinois residents Thursdays from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Chicago Children’s Museum
Admission is free to all children under 15 years old the first Sunday of the month.

Chicago History Museum
Admission is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday from 12:30 pm – 9:00 pm.

DuSable Museum of African American History
Admission is free to all visitors every Tuesday.

Elmhurst Art Museum
Admission is free the first Friday of the month (January 4, 2019).

Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art
Admission is free to all visitors every Friday.

Museum of Contemporary Art
Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays.

Free January Fun at Area Nature Centers

Hidden Oaks Conservation Area (Bolingbrook)
A habitat tree, animal sound and scent wall, and discovery rooms are just a few of the interactive exhibits you’ll find here.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center (Glen Ellyn)
Native wild species and indoor discovery area with various games, puzzles and activities.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (Oak Brook)
Have fun at their tree house and with many other hands-on activities.

Lake Katherine Nature Center (Palos Heights)
Explore their children’s play center, reptile and animal exhibits along with a huge book collection.

Little Red School House Nature Center (Willow Springs)
See live animals and exhibits and check out their children’s activity room.

Free January Fun at Local Zoos

Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield)
Free admission is provided on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for the month of January.

Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago)
Always free admission to all visitors.

Free January Fun at Local Libraries

Libraries are always a great place for free local fun. Get lost in a good book, check out some games/puzzles, explore cool kids areas and more! Whether you live in the western suburbs or southwest suburbs, we have all the libraries in one convenient list for you below:

Free January Fun at Outdoor Ice Rinks

Ice skating is such an awesome January activity. If you own your own skates, outdoor rinks are generally free! Check out our guides for both the west and southwest suburbs for an outdoor rink near you. (Of course, a small fee would apply if you need to rent skates.)

2019 Family-Friendly Halloween Events

Free January Fun at Sledding Hills

Another wonderful outdoor activity that is free of charge… sledding! Check out our lists for a great round up of sledding hills near here.

Free January Events

Free Family Movie Night (Palos Heights)
January 1, 2019, 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Winter Break Make and Take (Joliet)
January 2, 2019, 12:00am
Disney Royal Day (Bolingbrook)
January 2, 2019, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Open Gym (Westmont)
January 2, 2019, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Winter Break Nature Drop In Days (Northbrook)
January 2, 2019, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Raptor Rendezvous (River Forest)
January 2, 2019, 1:00pm
The Lego Movie (Chicago Ridge)
January 2, 2019, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Wild Wednesdays (Chicago)
January 2, 2019, 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Disney Days (Bolingbrook)
January 3, 2019, 9:00am - 5:00pm
STEAM Thursday (Chicago Ridge)
January 3, 2019, 9:00am - 9:00pm
Nature Story Time (River Forest)
January 3, 2019, 10:30am
Whole Foods Kids Club Storytime (Willowbrook)
January 3, 2019, 11:45am - 12:15pm
Groundhog Day Again (Northbrook)
January 3, 2019, 1:30pm
Farm Life in Winter (West Chicago)
January 3, 2019, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Family Tent Night (Naperville)
January 3, 2019, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Family Movie Night (North Riverside)
January 3, 2019, 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Everything Disney Day (Bolingbrook)
January 4, 2019, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Juicebox (Chicago)
January 4, 2019, 11:00am
Winter Break Out Adventure (Oak Forest)
January 4, 2019, 11:00am - 2:00pm
Perler Pop (Darien)
January 4, 2019, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
First Fridays (Aurora)
January 4, 2019, 5:00pm - 11:00pm
DIY Kids craft ()
January 5, 2019, 9:00am - 12:00pm
Disney Days (Bolingbrook)
January 5, 2019, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Nature Discovery Days (Naperville)
January 5, 2019, 10:30am - 2:30pm
Juicebox (Chicago)
January 5, 2019, 11:00am
Fiddleheads (Chicago)
January 5, 2019, 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Winter Gym Jam (Glen Ellyn)
January 6, 2019, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Winter Gym Jam (Glen Ellyn)
January 6, 2019, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Bone Appétit (River Forest)
January 6, 2019, 1:00pm
Morning Glories (Chicago)
January 7, 2019, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Read Aloud at FPLD (Frankfort)
January 7, 2019, 6:30pm - 7:15pm
Story Time with Aunt Tillie (Glen Ellyn)
January 8, 2019, 10:30am - 11:15am
Story Time (Oak Brook)
January 8, 2019, 11:00am
Mother Nature and Me (Willow Springs)
January 9, 2019, 10:30am - 11:30am
Sit Down With a Skunk (Northbrook)
January 9, 2019, 1:30pm
Lets Create (Bolingbrook)
January 9, 2019, 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Farmhouse Museum Tour (West Chicago)
January 10, 2019, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Cookies and Milk Storytime at Panera Bread (Joliet)
January 11, 2019, 9:30am - 10:15am
Homeschool Group (Chicago Ridge)
January 11, 2019, 10:00am - 11:00am
Adventures in Homeschooling (Bolingbrook)
January 11, 2019, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Cold Weather Creations (Palos Hills)
January 11, 2019, 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Candle Lantern Hike (South Holland)
January 11, 2019, 7:00pm
St. Mary School Open House (Riverside)
January 12, 2019, 9:00am - 12:00pm
KIDS Urgent Care Grand Opening Open House (Wheaton)
January 12, 2019, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Sensory Storytime (Bolingbrook)
January 12, 2019, 10:30am - 11:15am
Winter on the Green Ice Fest (Frankfort, IL)
January 12, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Make Breaks ()
January 12, 2019, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Build It (Bolingbrook)
January 12, 2019, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Nature Play Date (South Holland)
January 13, 2019, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Jo's Footwork Studio Open House (Western Springs)
January 13, 2019, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Robot Rally (Joliet)
January 14, 2019, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Story Time Tuesdays (Lombard)
January 15, 2019, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Farmhouse Museum Tour (West Chicago)
January 17, 2019, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Drop in Crafts (Chicago Ridge)
January 17, 2019, 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Storytime at the Museum (Bolinb)
January 18, 2019, 9:30am - 10:30am
Craft and Vintage Market (Berwyn)
January 19, 2019, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Tribute (South Holland)
January 19, 2019, 10:00am - 5:00pm
Smarty Pants Big Balloon Show (Palos Heights)
January 19, 2019, 10:00am - 11:00am
Storytime and Activities ()
January 19, 2019, 11:00am
Winter Wonderland (Orland Park)
January 19, 2019, 11:00am - 3:00pm
Winter on the Green Winter Carnival (Frankfort, IL)
January 19, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
STEAM Family Workshop (Bolingbrook)
January 19, 2019, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Blacksmithing Demonstrations (West Chicago)
January 19, 2019, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Show and Tell (Bolingbrook)
January 19, 2019, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Lunar Eclipse & Night Hike (Glen Ellyn)
January 20, 2019, 7:30pm - 11:30pm
Lunar Eclipse and Night Hike (Glen Ellyn)
January 20, 2019, 7:30pm - 11:45pm
MLK Day of Service (Palos Heights)
January 21, 2019, 9:30am - 12:00pm
Dr Martin Luther King Celebration (Chicago Heights)
January 21, 2019, 10:00am - 11:00am
Nature Center Open House (Oakbrook Terrace)
January 21, 2019, 11:00am - 2:00pm
Kids Movie Matinee Wreck It Ralph (Darien)
January 21, 2019, 12:30pm - 2:00pm
StoryWalk (Oak Lawn)
January 21, 2019, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Animal Encounters (Northbrook)
January 21, 2019, 1:30pm
Bright Horizons Open House (Lisle)
January 22, 2019, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Fantastic Families Storytime (Darien)
January 23, 2019, 10:15am - 10:45am
Rhythm & Rhyme Storytime (Westmont )
January 24, 2019, 10:00am - 11:00am
Shake, Shimmy, & Dance (Darien)
January 24, 2019, 10:15am - 10:45am
SciTech Storytime (Aurora)
January 24, 2019, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Bright Horizons Open House (Oak Brook)
January 24, 2019, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Cookies and Milk Storytime at Panera Bread (Joliet)
January 25, 2019, 9:30am - 10:15am
SciTech Super Saturday (Aurora)
January 26, 2019, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Winter on the Green Winter Sports (Frankfort, IL)
January 26, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Super Smash Bros Ultimate (Joliet)
January 26, 2019, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Barnes and Noble Puzzle Party ()
January 26, 2019, 2:00pm
Indoor Farmers Market (Homewood)
January 27, 2019, 8:00am - 12:00pm
Two Owls & a Naturalist (Northbrook)
January 27, 2019, 1:30pm
Bedtime Stories (Darien)
January 28, 2019, 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Bright Horizons Open House (Naperville)
January 30, 2019, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Bright Horizons Open House (Naperville)
January 30, 2019, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
All About Fire (River Forest)
January 30, 2019, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
IKEA Storytime (Bolingbrook)
January 31, 2019, 9:30am - 10:30am
Bright Horizons Open House (Western Springs)
January 31, 2019, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Bright Horizons Open House (Wheaton)
January 31, 2019, 6:00pm - 7:00pm

You can also find lots of cozy indoor activities for the winter months in our Winter Activities Guide!

About the Author

Jill Borkowicz
Jill is thrilled to be sharing her insight and knowledge of local fun on Kidlist! As an Oak Park native, Jill and her husband settled in La Grange Park in 2007 and couldn’t be happier with the community they call home. Raising two lovely daughters, ages 8 and 10, Jill is always on the lookout for cool things to do as a family. She is passionate about yummy food, an organized abode, creative entertaining, frugal finds, travel adventures, a healthy spirit, and overall family fun. Jill’s favorite wintertime activity with the fam? Ice skating followed by hot chocolate! Summertime family favorite? Long pool days with friends that end with a BBQ!

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