Fun (Santa-Free!) Things to Do with Kids in December 2018 – Southwest Suburbs

Santa and the holidays are everywhere during the month of December. Sometimes, you just need a break! If you are looking for some events that are Santa-free leading up to the holidays, we have listed some great ideas below, including skating, museum events, storytimes, crafts, nature events, and more. Check our list of fun December events in the southwest suburbs!

December fun with kids

Santa-Free Things to Do with Kids in December 2018

Ice Skating Events and Outdoor Rinks

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink (Orland Park)
December 1, 2018 through February 24, 2019. Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Saturdays 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, and Sundays 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
Skates are available for sizes youth 8 through adult 14.

Christmas in the Commons Rink (New Lenox)
December 2, 2018 through January 6, 2019 | Hours vary; check website
Admission is free; skate rentals are $5/ person with cash or $5.50/person with a credit card.

21st Annual Ice Skating Party (Orland Park) 
December 27, 2018 | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Pre-registration is required. Admission is free; skate rentals are $1.

December Museum Events

Adler Planetarium Free Days
December 1, 3-7, 10, 2018
Valid with an Illinois I.D.

Brookfield Zoo Free Days
Tuesdays and Thursdays the month of December 2018
Admission is free on Tuesdays and Thursdays; parking is $14/car. The Hamill Family Play Zoo within Brookfield Zoo is also free during December.

Pumpkin Patches with Apple Picking Near Chicago

December Nature Events

Wild Wednesday with Kankakee Stargazers (Frankfort)
December 5, 2018 | 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Come out to the Kidworks Children’s Museum and view planets and constellations through telescopes. Price is between $2 and $4.

Stars, Stories, and S’mores (Palos Hills)
December 7, 2018 | 5:00 pm
Fire, s’mores, storytelling, hiking, astronomy, and natural material building. Hosted by the Little Red Schoolhouse.

December Kids’ Craft Events

Michaels Kids Club Craft (Multiple locations)
December 1, 8, and 15, 2018 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Kids ages 6 and up can sign-up or drop-in for a craft at Michaels stores. Priced between $2 and $5.

Kids Painting Craft (Palos Park)
December 1, 2018 | 12:30pm – 1:30 pm
Drop in to Palos Park library with your child (1st grade and up) and make a painting craft using acrylics.

Family Paint Party (Joliet)
December 2, 2018 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Register to paint on canvas at the Joliet Library. Materials are provided.

Tween Coloring and Hot Cocoa (Palos Park)
December 12, 2018 | 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Bring a friend to the library and relax while coloring and drinking hot chocolate.

Caring Cards (Oak Lawn)
December 28, 2018
Come to the library and decorate cards for troops to be sent overseas, or for Oak Lawn residents who are homebound in the community.

Pumpkin Patches and Pumpkin Farms in the Chicagoland Area

December Storytime Events for Kids

How to Catch a Snowman Storytime and Activities (Multiple locations)
December 1, 2018 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Listen to a story at most Barnes and Noble location.

Stories at the Lake (Palos Heights)
December 6, 2018 | 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Enjoy a story inside at Lake Katherine.

Storytime at Panera (Frankfort)
December 10, 2018 | 9:30 am – 10:00 am 
Stories, songs, a simple craft, followed by cookies and milk. Register online or call the Frankfort Public Library for information.

Winter Storytime (Homewood)
December 10 and 11, 2018 | 10:30 am – 11:00 am
Special family story time at the library with songs and fingerplay.

End of the Year Family Storytime (Joliet)
December 29, 2018 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Celebrate the end of the year with a story, party favors, a ballon drop, and grape juice toast.

December Movie Events for Kids

Disney Movie Marathon Jammie Day (Homewood)
December 26, 2018 | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wear your pajamas and enjoy popcorn while watching Disney movies all day at the library! Bring your own pillow and blanket.

Marvel Movie Marathon Jammie Day (Homewood)
December 27, 2018 | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
It’s a Marvel movie marathon! Wear PJs and enjoy popcorn all day at the library. Bring your own pillow and blanket.

Pumpkin Patches with Apple Picking Near Chicago

Other Special Family Events In December

Junior Chef Harry Potter Cookie Potter (Multiple locations)
December 8, 2018 | 10:00 am
Visit your local Williams Sonoma location to make special Harry Potter cookies from start to finish. Suitable for ages 8 – 13 years old. $30 per participant.

Light Up the Park Playdate (Homewood)
December 13, 2018 | 6:00 pm
Bundle up and join the recreation crew under the flood lights at the park. Warm beverages will be available.

Check out fun December events in the west suburbs for even more activities a bit further out! Then, find other upcoming events near you.

About the Author

Jill Kowalski
Jill is the mom of two energetic little girls, ages two and four, who keep her seriously busy. She and her husband grew up in Orland Park and are now raising their family there as well. When Jill and her family have free time, they love to check out local parks or drop-in at fests where their girls can take over a dance floor. She is always looking for cheap, yet entertaining and worthwhile things to do. When she is not wrangling her kids, Jill has a passion for starting, and sometimes finishing, do-it-yourself home improvement projects, trying out random recipes she finds on Pinterest, and organizing every nook and cranny of her life.

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