Outdoor Activities for Kids in Chicago’s Western Suburbs

Nothing beats spending some time outside! And there definitely isn’t a shortage of outdoor activities for kids in our area! Below you will find all of the articles we have done about local parks and playground, u-pick farms for fresh food, and outdoor activities organized by season so it’s easy to look through and a great page to bookmark when you need some ideas. Click on any of the activity headings to get location options and also don’t forget to check out the Kidlist calendar for more kid-friendly fun.

Parks and Playgrounds

These are great lists that you can use to find what type of park you are looking for!

New Playgrounds
Stay up to date with what’s going on and enjoy a brand-new playground in our area.

Best Parks with Walking Paths
All of the paths in this list are paved and the photographs include some of the playground equipment and path so you can get a preview.

Best Playgrounds for Elementary School-Aged Kids
We asked all of you for the best playgrounds for elementary school kids and you answered… There are special stories behind some of these play areas, so check them out and have fun!

Mud-Free Playgrounds
Check out the playground options with a soft, rubbery surface instead of mulch.

Fenced-In Parks for Toddlers
Take your little ones to play without worrying about them taking off or running into the street before you can catch them.

Parks with Sand
Kids love sand. So whether you are seeking out parks with sand to please the kiddos and let their imagination run wild, or avoiding sand like the plague, you are going to want to check out this list.

10 Best Parks and Playgrounds in the Near Western Suburbs
Kidlist readers voted and came up with the best of the west! My kids and I had a wonderful time checking out all of the parks you suggested, took photographs, and played around to try everything out. There are even slideshows if you would like to see all of the features for each.

Walking Playground Tour in Oak Brook
Visit three different playgrounds as you walk along a peaceful, winding path. This article has a map and photos of each play area to enjoy.

Best Mulch-Free Playgrounds
You are going to love these colorful, mulch-free playgrounds! Check out the fun rubbery and soft surfaces in our area.

Best Parks with Walking Paths
Take a walk on these paved paths and stop to play at the playground. Photographs and descriptions of the parks are included in this one.

U-Pick

Outdoor Activities by Season

Spring

Kid-Friendly Baseball and Softball Games
Check out all the teams you can cheer on in the city and western suburbs here! There is also info on awesome Kids Clubs, special events and activities geared towards little ones before and/or during the games.

Arbor Day
The Morton Arboretum celebrates Arbor Day with a visit from Curious George and many other family-friendly activities.

Dinos & Dragons
From May 6 through September 17, you can explore the new multisensory Dinos & Dragons exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, which re-creates a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Discover interesting facts about dinosaur history and learning about dragon legends through culture and literature.

Races and Fun Runs
Whether your kids are ready for a full-blown 5K or a short and sweet fun run, the western suburbs are packed with local running events. Many of these races are community parties with live music, food, and games for kids.

Amusement Parks
A comprehensive list of local amusement parks and tips to make your day enjoyable for all ages.

Miniature Golf
Your guide for where to go miniature golfing, along with hours, prices and course features.

A Day at the Farm: Farms to Visit with Kids
Local farms that offer opportunities to interact with adorable barn animals, pick seasonal fruits and veggies, learn about the pioneer days, and enjoy attractions such as carousels and wagon rides.

Mud-Free Playgrounds
Check out the playground options with a soft, rubbery surface instead of mulch.

Camping with Kids
Locations within three hours to take your kids camping!

Horseback Riding
Whether it is a weekend trail ride, on-going lessons, a birthday party or summer camp you seek, horse enthusiasts will love this list.

Kite Flying Events and Festivals (2016)
Make a kite, fly and kite, and watch expert kite flyers at one of these kite flying events. A perfect spring activity!

Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids
Want to take a walk outside but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted and these are the best for kids.

Where and How To Take Your Kids Fishing
Ponds to go fishing, where to buy kid-sized fishing poles, how to tie the hook to the line, where to buy bait, and how to cast your line. Basically everything you need to know to go fishing with your kids!

Memorial Day Parades (2016)
All of the parades, events, and ceremonies to honor those who defend our country.

Geocaching
A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that you can do anywhere you are (locally or on vacation), any day and time using GPS coordinates.

Go Ape
Cross rope bridges, swing through the trees like Tarzan, balance on logs, and zip down the lines at the end of each section. An exhilarating experience for ages 10+.

Summer Pool Memberships
This one is listed under spring for reference because many of the local pools have early bird discounts that end before the summer starts. So if you would like to join a pool, check out this one!

Safety Villages
Find a safe place for your kids (ages 4 through 10) to explore and ride along safety town roads in this great list! Registration takes place in the spring.

Summer

Splash Pads, Spray Parks and Fountains (2017)
Find a splash pad to cool off. This list is split between free spray parks and splash pads with a fee; complete with features and photographs.

Pools with Day Passes
If you’re tired of hanging out in the kiddie pool at home, check out these nearby pools with day passes.

Beaches in Chicagoland

Indiana Dunes

Farmers Markets and French Markets (2017)
All of the markets in the near western suburbs with locations, schedules, a free printable with markets by day, and tips for buying in-season food.

Free Ice Cream at Mars (2016)
Every July the Mars Chocolate plant gives away free ice cream bars and novelties. Get the details about when and how to get a tasty treat.

Summer Concert Series: Live Music (2017)
Live music, fresh air and free entertainment add up to a nice night. Some venues offer food and snacks for purchase, or you can pack a picnic to enjoy under the stars. Either way, it’s a great way to gather with your neighbors, support local bands and enjoy al fresco dining all at the same time!

Art Festivals in the Chicago Area (2017)
Art Festivals and Fairs are plentiful in Chicagoland over the summer and most of these have activities for children as well.

Summer Festivals (2017)
Summer isn’t complete without taking the family to a neighborhood festival or two! Think beautiful weather, tasty food, live music and carnival rides – it’s the perfect recipe for summertime fun. This list has the entire line-up in chronological order!

Outdoor Movies (2017)
Now presenting all the outdoor movies being shown in the near western suburbs! Some even have pre-movie activities or entertainment and concessions available, so check out the details here.

$1 Kids Movies: Summer Movie Series (2017)
Many of the local theaters offer a special summer movie series where shows are offered for $1 and are usually held in the morning. This has a handy schedule with location details for all the participating theaters in our area.

Family Days at Arlington Race Track
Sundays starting in May through Labor Day are Family Days at Arlington International Racecource. You can enjoy watching the horse races and cheering for your picks. There are also many activities for the kids in the “Junior Jockey Zone.”

Go Ape
Cross rope bridges, swing through the trees like Tarzan, balance on logs, and zip down the lines at the end of each section. An exhilarating experience for ages 10+.

10 Best Parks and Playgrounds in the Near Western Suburbs
Kidlist readers voted and came up with the best of the west! My kids and I had a wonderful time checking out all of the parks you suggested, took photographs, and played around to try everything out. There are even slideshows if you would like to see all of the features for each.

Miniature Golf
All of the mini-golf courses with hours, prices and features.

Strawberry Picking: Farms With U-Pick Strawberries (2017)
This list breaks down all the strawberry farms that are within an hour and a half drive from our area and includes estimated dates when picking is expected to start. You will also find tips for your trip!

Kid-Friendly Baseball and Softball Games
Check out all the teams you can cheer on in the city and western suburbs here! There is also info on awesome Kids Clubs, special events and activities geared towards little ones before and/or during the games.

Blueberry Picking: Fields For U-Pick Near Chicago
Where to go blueberry picking, within reasonable driving distance from our area.

Amusement Parks
A comprehensive list of local amusement parks and tips to make your day enjoyable for all ages.

A Day at the Farm: Farms to Visit with Kids
Local farms that offer opportunities to interact with adorable barn animals, pick seasonal fruits and veggies, learn about the pioneer days, and enjoy attractions such as carousels and wagon rides.

Mud-Free Playgrounds
Check out the playground options with a soft, rubbery surface instead of mulch.

Camping with Kids
Locations within three hours to take your kids camping!

Horseback Riding
Whether it is a weekend trail ride, on-going lessons, a birthday party or summer camp you seek, horse enthusiasts will love this list.

Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids
Want to take a walk outside but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted and these are the best for kids!

Where and How To Take Your Kids Fishing
Ponds to go fishing, where to buy kid-sized fishing poles, how to tie the hook to the line, where to buy bait, and how to cast your line. Basically everything you need to know to go fishing with your kids!

Geocaching
A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that you can do anywhere you are (locally or on vacation), any day and time using GPS coordinates.

Free Summer Fun (2017)
Did we say free?! Yes! We have rounded up all of the activities and events you can do this summer that you don’t even need to pull out your wallet for.

Autumn

Fall Festivals and Oktoberfests
This one contains all of the fall fun in the western suburbs to enjoy with your family. Keep reading to find out about fall festivals, Oktoberfests, and activities by date and throughout the season!

Apple Picking
Where to pick apples, complete with a map to locate an orchard near you, start dates, phone numbers, hours, admission/parking fees, and descriptions.

The Best Caramel Apple Recipe
We’ve searched far and wide for a great homemade caramel apple recipe and found it! Get the recipe and tips to be successful.

Pumpkin Patches with Fall Activities
All of the pumpkin patches within an hour of the western suburbs of Chicago below with descriptions, admission prices, and hours.

Family-Friendly Halloween Events (2016)
Decorate pumpkins, watch Halloween-themed movies, take a hayride, listen to a storyteller, enjoy Halloween treats and games, and more. Mark these down on your calendar and celebrate the season all throughout the month!

Go on a Leaf Hunt
Walk around the block or through the forest preserve and use the free printable found in this one to search and hunt for common found tree leaves in our area.

Amusement Parks
A comprehensive list of local amusement parks and tips to make your day enjoyable for all ages.

Miniature Golf
Your guide for where to go miniature golfing, along with hours, prices and course features.

A Day at the Farm: Farms to Visit with Kids
Local farms that offer opportunities to interact with adorable barn animals, pick seasonal fruits and veggies, learn about the pioneer days, and enjoy attractions such as carousels and wagon rides.

Mud-Free Playgrounds
Check out the playground options with a soft, rubbery surface instead of mulch.

Camping with Kids
Locations within three hours to take your kids camping!

Horseback Riding
Whether it is a weekend trail ride, on-going lessons, a birthday party or summer camp you seek, horse enthusiasts will love this list.

Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids
Want to take a walk outside but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted and these are the best for kids!

Geocaching
A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that you can do anywhere you are (locally or on vacation), any day and time using GPS coordinates.

Winter

Ice Skating (2017)
Grab your skates (or rent some) and don’t forget the hot cocoa for afterwards! You will find all of the indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks, along with admission fees, skate rental info and more on this list.

Sledding (2017)
Find a hill nearby or try a new one! Check out this great list of places to sled, organized by town.

Skiing and Snowboarding Near Chicago
The Midwest may not be known for mountainous terrain, but it turns out there are several well equipped ski resorts within a three hour car ride. Whether you have a few hours, a day or an entire weekend to ski, here are places in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin that would make for a great winter experience.

Illumination
Walk through a magical wintertime walk in the woods at The Morton Arboretum, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of vivid, colored lights and surprising and delightful interactive effects.

Best Forest Preserve Trails for Kids
Want to take a walk outside but don’t know where to go? Kidlist readers voted and these are the best for kids!

Geocaching
A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that you can do anywhere you are (locally or on vacation), any day and time using GPS coordinates.

Best Holiday Lights in Chicago’s Western Suburbs
This list includes inspiring residential lights as well as lights to walk through.

Christmas

Christmas Tree Farms: Where to Cut Down or Buy A Precut Live Christmas Tree
Have you tried cutting down your own Christmas tree at a tree farm? It’s fun to walk around in the brisk air and choose just the right one!

Live Nativities
The churches listed below all have live animals and there is no fee to bring your family.

Where to See Santa
Are your kids excited to see Santa? Kidlist has searched near and far to find where Santa will be making appearances this holiday season!

Eat with Santa
Do you want to dine with the man in red? We’ve assembled a red-hot list of all the spots to eat with Santa… breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks and more! Many of these spots require advance reservations, to make sure to call and book ahead of time.

Free Photos with Santa
Bass Pro seems like the go-to place for free photos with Santa, but did you know that there are tons of opportunities to take free pictures with the big man this holiday season?

About the Author

Annie Tandy

Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie’s chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

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