I don’t know about you, but my kids are already asking if it’s winter break yet. This winter, many local school districts have off until the second week of January, which may prove to be a scheduling challenge for many families. These can be great days for staying in pajamas, testing out new toys, and recharging your batteries, but they also tend to be days that blend together.
In our winter break guide, you’ll find great ways to build some structure into your days with winter break camps, family outings, or activities at home.
This post is sponsored by Breakaway Basketball.
2023–24 Winter Break Camps
Whether you’re looking to meet your childcare needs, or simply want a chance for your child to socialize, there are quite a few organizations offering winter break camps this year. Kids can get out of the house, engage in countless fun activities with friends, and enjoy their time off of school. Stretch their legs, learn a new game, and make new friends. Read on to find your little camper’s calling for winter break fun!
Breakaway Basketball Winter Break Camps
Breakaway Basketball has several different camps to choose from at the following locations:
- Oak Brook Park District
- Hinsdale Community House
- Connect 44 in Lombard
- Lions Rec Center in Mt.Prospect
- MegaPlex in Homer Glen
All of the camps are divided by grade, ranging from 1st through 8th grade. Register here.
Breakaway Basketball is the leader in basketball skill development for players. They are the largest skill development program in Illinois, servicing over 12,000 players a year and partnering with over 500 teams to provide in-season skill development training.
More winter break camps to consider:
- Addison Park District Winter Wonderland Day Camp
- Bartlett Park District Day of Fun Camps
- Batavia Park District’s Klub Fun
- Carol Stream Park District’s Days Off Club and Winter Break Camps
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Winter Camps (Chicago)
- Chicago Red Star’s Holiday Break Camp
- Double J Riding Club Animal Adventure Single Day Camps (Countryside)
- Winter Break Camp at Flying High (Countryside)
- Elmhurst Art Museum Winter Break Art Camps
- Windy City Ninjas Day-Off Camps (Elmhurst)
- Park District of Forest Park Winter Break Camp
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Winter Break Camps
- Glen Ellyn Park District Winter Break Camps
- The Community House Winter Break Day Camps and Sports Camps (Hinsdale)
- Hinsdale Humane Society’s Winter Break Camp
- Hoffman Estates Park District’s Winter Break Camps
- Park District of La Grange’s BASE Winter Break Camp
- Lemont Park District Winter Day Camp
- Naperville Park District’s Winter Break Camps
- Naperville Yard’s Holiday Camps
- North Berwyn Park District Camp Igloo
- North Riverside Recreation Holly Jolly and Chess Camp
- Oak Brook Park District Winter Break Camps
- Little Kitchen Academy’s Winter Break Camps in Plainfield
- River Trails Park District’s Camp Winter
- Schiller Park Recreation Department Winter Break Camp
- Villa Park Winter Camp
- Warrenville Park District’s Winter Break Camp
- Blue Moose Sports Camp (Western Springs)
- Westmont Yard’s Holiday Sports Camps
- Kids Science Labs (Wheaton)
- My Gym Winter Camp (Wheaton)
- Woodridge Park District Winter Wonder Camp
Top Things to Do for Winter Break 2023-24
We’re so excited to be able to get out more this winter break, so we’ve added a few more than we usually do. Indoors or outdoors, quiet or active, there’s something that every family can enjoy.
Check out our Events Calendar.
Not sure where to start? Look in our calendar. Special storytimes, pop-up events, movie showings, and museum free days are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the family fun you’ll find in our events calendar.
Many light displays continue through the new year. Nicole’s guide has details about walking, drive-through and household displays. Navy Pier is hosting its winter event, Light up the Lake. Lincoln Park Zoo offers free admission to their ZooLights on Mondays, and Morton Arboretum’s Illumination is always a popular spot.
Explore a new exhibit or immersive experience.
Go skating at indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks.
Grab your skates (and cocoa for afterwards) and head out for a family skate indoors or outdoors, like at the The Chicago Wolves Ice Rink in Rosemont or the Gallagher Way rink near Wrigley Field.
Have fun in the snow.
We have lists for the best sledding hills, places for skiing/snowboarding, or snowshoe rentals, and cross-country skiing. If there’s snow on the ground, getting outside is always the perfect activity to burn off some energy and make memories!
While the zoos are great places to go for holiday lights, don’t forget to see the animals too. Avoid the crowds of the holiday shows and enjoy an afternoon with your favorite animals. Lincoln Park Zoo is always free, and Brookfield Zoo is hosting quite a few free days at the beginning of January. Don’t forget some of the smaller zoos in our area, too!
Explore free nature centers.
Kids can explore and learn about animals, plants, geography and more at an awesome indoor nature center. Call ahead to confirm any special holiday hours.
If the temperature gets above freezing, we are outside! Get some fresh air and enjoy the sights at a new (to you) forest preserve.
Keep the spirit of the holidays alive and do good with your family by volunteering together. Many organizations appreciate the help after the holiday rush!
Visit new indoor play spaces.
Indoor play spaces are a great place to explore new toys and burn off extra energy.
Head to your local library.
Grab some new titles and enjoy a quiet afternoon at home. Many libraries are offering winter reading programs to incentivize reading fun.
Visit a local children’s museums.
Some of our favorite days are spent tinkering at these incredible spaces to play and learn.
Go swimming at an indoor water park.
Forget about the temperatures outside, it’s warm at these indoor water parks. Pelican Harbor in Bolingbrook, for instance, has an indoor pool with two water slides, tumble buckets, a lap pool, and a zero-depth entry pool.
Take in a live theater performance.
What a special treat to see a live show! Check out our full list of shows going on this winter.
Enjoy a real-life Throwback Thursday.
Puzzle things out together.
Family-friendly escape rooms are a fun way to bond as you problem-solve together and try to make your way out in time! Check out our list for recommendations with kid-friendly features.
Grab a meal together.
Enjoy a mini vacation.
You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a vacation. We’ve compiled a list of hotels with indoor pools for a change of scenery, some extra time in the pool, and maybe even a free breakfast
Don’t forget to tag us on social media with your winter break fun using the hashtag #sharekidlist!