Fun Guide for Tweens and Teens 9+ in Chicago’s Suburbs

Have your kids reached a new stage where entertaining them has become more of a challenge? Suddenly, they are “too old” for all the usual spots that used to provide hours of amusement. Welcome to the tween/teen years! Thankfully, there are still plenty of awesome ideas out there to keep these older kids engaged, learning and happy. Enjoy this comprehensive list that will hopefully inspire some fun new outings together!

Things to Do with Tweens and Teens 9+ in the Chicagoland Suburbs

  • Take a workshop, sign up for a class or drop in for open hours at your neighborhood pottery studio or art studio. Katie and I recently updated those lists with new info for 2020!
  • Your local craft store is often another good spot for crafty tweens to learn new skills like sewing, knitting or crocheting.
  • Just wandering through an art museum can also be lots of fun! Many offer free admission with a student ID.
  • If your library offers a Creativebug subscription, that’s a great resource for teens to take their crafting or drawing skills to the next level.
  • Try a ziplining adventure at Go Ape. They are making safety adjustments to allow for outdoor fun during this time.
  • The Forge: Lemont Quarries is new this summer! This giant outdoor adventure park has ziplines, ropes courses, climbing, and more.
  • Local drama, music, vocal or dance classes are a great way for tweens to gain confidence and explore their creativity. Many are offering classes via video call, outdoor classes, or other socially distanced offerings right now!
  • Martial arts and ninja classes help develop kids’ strength and discipline, as well as teaching self-defense skills. Many studios are focusing on touch-free classes.
  • Soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and tennis lessons are hits with this age range. Local businesses are adapting safety and health precautions, and sports like tennis are great for social distancing.
  • Yoga is becoming increasingly popular with the younger crowd. Many studios offer lessons specifically taught for this age group!
  • Sign up for a 5k race or fun run together! Making you sweat, too, will be half the fun — and it’s a wonderful way to bond.
  • Many tweens love to get lost in a good book, too! Check out some new reads at your local library.
  • f you have a tween who loves to read, just perusing your local bookstore can be lots of fun.
  • Mini golf is always a favorite, too!
  • Any age is a good age to enjoy the great outdoors. Check out the Best Forest Preserve Trails and go hiking or biking together.
  • Try your luck at fishing together.
  • Head to the beach! This is an inexpensive outing for a group of friends, too.
  • Spend some time with nature indoors at a nearby conservatory. Nature-loving tweens can spend more time learning about the plant life.
  • There are all kinds of neat cactus, succulent and terrarium projects that are perfect for tweens, too!
  • Plenty of nice restaurant choices can be found right in your neighborhood where kids to eat free. Typically for 12 and under, take advantage before you have a teenager!
  • Check out a local farmer’s market with your tween and cook a farm-fresh meal together.
  • Cooking classes are great fun, too! Many spots have special classes for tweens and teens.
  • And, last but not least, how about setting aside special time for you and your tween? We have tons of fantastic ideas for kid and parent dates. They’re growing up fast; enjoy these moments!
May 2021 Family-Friendly Events

Looking for ideas for younger kids too?

Head over to the main Activities by Age page where you can find local places to go for every age range.

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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