Oct 222014
 

Friday

Happy Hauntings (Chicago)
The “People’s Palace” comes alive with spooky decorations and family-friendly fun – including music and theater performances, arts & crafts and more. Click on the event title for the full schedule.

Halloween Costume Party (La Grange Park)
FREE event for anyone eight years and under. Put on your costumes and enjoy a night of eerie fun at the Recreation Center. Carnival games will start the night out from 5:00 to 5:45 pm, followed by an enjoyable show.

Halloween Night Walks (Fullersburg Woods)
Halloween tricks and natural-history tales during a 75-minute walk through the woods after dark.

Halloween Party (La Grange)
There will be games, prizes, entertainment, and tons of fun. They will end the evening by raffling off 2 bicycles sponsored by the La Grange Fire Fighters Union.

Pumpkin Hunt (Oak Brook)
A Pumpkin Hunt at the Family Aquatic Center! Children will search for pumpkin-shaped capsules filled with candy and find a real pumpkin.

Tricks-N-Treats Halloween Quest (Clarendon Hills)
A quest for goodies and candies hidden in the woods. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight and bag to collect the goodies. Feel free to get in the Halloween spirit and come dressed in costume. This is a family friendly and not scary.

Haunted Forest Walk (Woodridge)
Hawthorne Hill Woods will be transformed into a thrill of scary scenes, complete with ghosts, ghouls, and all sorts of creatures that slither and groan. The Saturday afternoon session will be more suitable for children 9 and under and the faint of heart (parental discretion).

Saturday

Boo! at the Zoo (Brookfield)
Carve pumpkins, decorate spooky cookies, corn maze, pumpkin smasher, creepy cowboy carousel, professional pumpkin carver, haunted hayride, costume parade, costume showcase, build a scarecrow, several pumpkin patches and zoo chats throughout.

Halloween Window Painting (Downers Grove)
Check in and water-based paints will be supplied. Bring your own brushes and canned good donation for F.I.S.H. Pantry.

Trick or Trot 5K and Little Devil Dash 1K (Villa Park)
All proceeds benefit Villa Park community organizations and families in need.

Halloween for Ghouls & Goblins (Darien)
No tricks, just treats & lots of fun at our Halloween party for all 2-5 year olds. An adult needs to come along to help your child with the activities, games & crafts.

Happy Hauntings (Chicago)
The “People’s Palace” comes alive with spooky decorations and family-friendly fun – including music and theater performances, arts & crafts and more. Click on the event title for the full schedule.

Haunted Forest Walk (Woodridge)
Hawthorne Hill Woods will be transformed into a thrill of scary scenes, complete with ghosts, ghouls, and all sorts of creatures that slither and groan. The Saturday afternoon session will be more suitable for children 9 and under and the faint of heart (parental discretion).

Haunted Hayride & Bonfire (Burr Ridge)
Hop on board for a tour of the haunted woods. They also have an early excursion for the younger kids begining at 5:00 p.m. After the hayride, stay for scary stories and S’mores by the bonfire.

Haunted Forest Tour (Westmont)
Participants will walk for the first part of the tour. Then narrators will tell you the story of the haunted woods as they conduct guided tours on hayracks.

Halloween Night Walks (Fullersburg Woods)
Halloween tricks and natural-history tales during a 75-minute walk through the woods after dark.

Sunday

Boo! at the Zoo (Brookfield)
Carve pumpkins, decorate spooky cookies, corn maze, pumpkin smasher, creepy cowboy carousel, professional pumpkin carver, haunted hayride, costume parade, costume showcase, build a scarecrow, several pumpkin patches and zoo chats throughout.

Happy Hauntings (Chicago)
The “People’s Palace” comes alive with spooky decorations and family-friendly fun – including music and theater performances, arts & crafts and more. Click on the event title for the full schedule.

Spooooooooky Halloween Art K-2nd Grade (Westmont)
Don’t make holiday decorations, make art! Join them for a spooktacularly fun halloween art project: painting and decorating a creepy coffin.

Trunk or Treat (Wheaton)
Come in costume to Trick or Treat from Trunk to Trunk. You’ll collect candy from costumed church volunteers and see their decorated car trunks at this family event. Indoors you’ll find crafts, games, prizes, hot dogs, and dessert. All activities are FREE.

and last, but not least:

Pumpkin Patches with Fall Activities

 Posted by at 9:02 pm
Oct 212014
 

little ballet feet

Looking for dance classes for your kids in the west suburbs of Chicago? Or maybe considering going to an adult dance class? There are great dance studios in the area, teaching everything from ballet and tap to Irish dance, jazz and hip hop. And dance classes are not only for girls! All of these studios welcome boys as well as girls in the their classes. I have listed the earliest age you can enroll your children.

jo's footworkJo’s Footwork Studio
1500 Walker Street
Western Springs, IL 60558
(708) 246-6878
Ages 2 years and up

Hinsdale

Hinsdale Dance Academy
414 Chestnut Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521
(630) 484-3241
Mommy and Me for under 3 years old
Ages 3 years and up

Westmont

Salt Creek Ballet
98 East Chicago Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 769-1199
Ages 2 1/2 years and up

Expression Dance Studio
21 W. Quincy
Westmont, IL
(630) 968-5678
Ages 1 1/2 years and up

The Center for Dance
226 N Cass Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 541-9207
Ages 3 years and up

Academy of Music & Art
350 E. Ogden Ave.
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 654-8426
Ages 2 years and up

Mulhern School of Irish Dance
414 Plaza Drive, Suite #303
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 789-1127
Ages 2 years and up

Westchester

Panda Dance Studio
1913 Mannheim Rd.
Westchester, IL 60154
(708) 223-0531
Ages 3 years and up

La Grange

Dance Center of LaGrange
539 S. LaGrange Road
LaGrange, IL 60525
(708) 352-5552
Ages 3 years and up

Impact Dance Studio
6 S La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 354-5867
Ages 1 year and up

Countryside

Lively Arts Dance Academy
919 A. 55th Street
Countryside, IL 60525
(708) 482-4240
Ages 2 years and up

Impact Dance Studio
6475 Joliet Road, Suite C
Countryside, IL 60525
(708) 469-7678
Ages 1 year and up

Lyons

Miss Mickey’s Dancers
3903 Joliet Ave
Lyons, IL 60534
(708) 447-0700
Ages 2-6 years old

Beyond Words Dance Company
3903 Joliet Ave
Lyons, IL 60534
(708) 447-0700
Ages 10-18 years old

Berwyn

Pulse Dance Studio
6800 w Cermak Rd
Berwyn IL 60402
(708) 317-5233
Ages 3 years and up

Oak Park

INTUIT Dance Studio
237 Harrison Street
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 524-0500
Preschoolers and up

TranscenDance Studios
711 Madison Street
Oak Park, IL 60302
(773) 944-5352
Ages 3 years and up

Panda Dance Studio
1003 Garfield St.
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 386-0743
Ages 3 years and up

Forest Park

Principle Dance
7610 Roosevelt Rd., Suite 102
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708) 548-5476
Ages 2 years and up

INTUIT Dance Studio
7515 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708) 524-0500
Preschoolers and up

Downers Grove

The Academy of Dance Arts
1524 Centre Circle Drive
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 495-4940
Ages 2 1/2 years and up

Bluestone Academy of Dance and Music
5012 Fairview Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 963-0456

Dance One
6400 I Woodward Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60516
(630) 655-4210
Ages 3 years and up

Wheaton

The Upper Room Dance Studio
533 West Front Street
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 752-1836
Ages 4 years and up

Front Street Dance
26W229 Geneva Rd
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 373-2623
Ages 2 years and up

Elite Feet Dance Center
26W281 Geneva Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 690-0838
Ages 2 years and up

Moves Dance Studio
1000 W Prairie Ave
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 264-6300
Ages 3 years and up

Lisle

Yang Dance Academy
2727 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60540
(630) 328-3598
Ages 4 years and up

Glen Ellyn

Dance Dance Dance LTD
413 Main Street
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 469-1991
Ages 2 1/2 years and up

Sunshine Dance Project
460 N Main St. Suite 101
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 790-1880
Ages 2 years and up

Deforest Dance Academy
483 Roosevelt Rd.
Glen Ellyn, IL
(630) 469-3600
Ages 3 years and up

Elmhurst

Deforest Dance Academy
300 W. Lake St.
Elmhurst, IL
(630) 832-3700
Ages 3 years and up

 

Adult Only

While making this list I ran across two studios that have ballroom dance for adults, such as Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha-cha, Swing and Salsa. So if you are interested in grabbing a partner and learning to dance or even competing, check out these studios:

Arthur Murray Dance Studio
1915 S Meyers Rd
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 953-2623

Celebrity Dance Studio
2115 63rd Street
Downers Grove, IL 60516
(630) 969-2800

 Posted by at 8:53 pm
Oct 152014
 

Friday

A Spooktacular Halloween
Bring your family for a spooktacular evening of mysterious mini pumpkin painting, a thrilling bounce house, and more ghoulish activities! Decorate your own Halloween cookie and enjoy ghostly storytelling.

Family Fireside Halloween
Spooky stories, hay wagon rides, pumpkin painting, creepy craft, bonfire, s’mores and hot chocolate

Halloween Hayride
Explore things that go bump in the night by taking a hayride around Terrace View Park learning about interesting Halloween creatures along the way. This family-friendly evening will also include an outdoor story time, exploration in the Nature Center, a “spooky” craft activity, and refreshments at the campfire circle.

5th Annual Halloween Happenings
Ghost and Goblins of all ages are invited to come in costume to Trick or Treat outdoors at each “Spooktacular” Halloween scene created by local merchants and organizations. Then join them inside to create your own Jack-O-Lantern.

A Scarecrow Tale
Walk with us on the Twin Lakes trail for the tale of, The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything. After the story, we’ll gather around a warm, toasty fire for some festive fall refreshments and yummy s’mores.

Monster Madness
Come and enjoy a festive autumn fun fair filled with friendly games, ghouls, animals and goodies. Win Halloween prizes at the Carnival and enjoy a snack at the “Creepy Café.” Visit the pumpkin patch and the petting zoo. Take a pony ride or a walk through the straw maze designed especially for children and the young at heart.

Saturday

Boo! at the Zoo
Carve pumpkins, decorate spooky cookies, corn maze, pumpkin smasher, creepy cowboy carousel, professional pumpkin carver, haunted hayride, costume parade, costume showcase, build a scarecrow, several pumpkin patches and zoo chats throughout.

Boo Bash
Enjoy a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating, Trick-or-Treat Town, Glen Ellyn Public Library storytelling, special games and activities, apple cider, Halloween treats and entertainment.

Fall Family Fest
Dress in your best Halloween Costume and join them for a FREE day of FUN! Enjoy pumpkin decorating, inflatable’s, entertainment and carnival games. Trick or Treating will be available in the downtown business district. Pumpkins for decorating will be available for the first 500 participants.

The Best of Bucharest
Grape stomping, roasted pig and lamb and gypsy music.

A Happenin’ Halloween
Carnival games, a pumpkin patch, hay rides, and more! Put on your scariest face or cutest costume to show off your Halloween spirit for the costume contest.

Halloween Carnival
Wear your costume and enjoy all the activities for free. There will be a haunted house, bounce houses, crafts, games, and much more. Every child that attends will receive a treat bag.

Scarecrow Scramble 5k Run & Walk
Family 5K Walk/Run and Fall Festival including a costume contest, food, DJ music, hay rides, pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales for sale.

Sunday

Boo! at the Zoo
Carve pumpkins, decorate spooky cookies, corn maze, pumpkin smasher, creepy cowboy carousel, professional pumpkin carver, haunted hayride, costume parade, costume showcase, build a scarecrow, several pumpkin patches and zoo chats throughout.

 Posted by at 8:01 pm
Oct 142014
 

Welcome back Lou… We love your guest posts!

touchgallery

Last year, my husband added art appreciation to his already-too-long list of hobbies, and to facilitate this, he bought a membership for the whole family to the Art Institute of Chicago.

I was skeptical. Not that I think a membership to an art museum is a bad idea—according to TripAdvisor the Art Institute of Chicago is the no. 1 museum in the world, and like other cultural institutions, I assumed it offered programming appropriate for school-aged children.

But our family is deep in the toddler stage. We can barely let our two-year-old loose in our home, much less in a museum filled with priceless works of art.

But my husband insisted that we could visit the Art Institute as a family, so I agreed to an adult-only trip to conduct reconnaissance. I wanted to see what we were getting into before unleashing our toddler on this world-famous museum.

My husband acted as tour guide, giving me an overview of the museum and showing me exhibits he thought our daughter would enjoy. We picked up the current family programs brochure as well as a piece featuring a museum scavenger hunt game for older children. We checked out the Ryan Education Center and questioned the on-duty staff member about activities appropriate for a toddler.

I was sufficiently convinced that we could conduct this toddler-in-an-art-museum experiment without other patrons giving us dirty looks or having to take a second mortgage on our house to cover the cost of toddler-inflicted damage, so the next weekend, we headed to Art Institute with our two-year-old.

Getting There
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could take the Metra into the city, but for those of us in the western suburbs, it’s a bit of a hike from Union Station. We drove and found relatively reasonable metered parking on Columbus Drive about four blocks from the museum. The Art Institute also offers valet parking and has partnered with a service called Parking Panda, which allows you to reserve parking close to the museum in advance. Find out more on the Art Institute’s Directions and Parking page.

Admission
Children under 14 get in free at the Art Institute, and Illinois residents get a discounted admission rate of $20. If you think you’re going to visit the museum regularly, a membership might be worthwhile. If you live in the city and have a Chicago Public Library card, look into the Kids Museum Passport Program.

BYO Stroller
Did you know that you can roll your stroller through the entire museum? Not only is it permitted, it’s doable. The Art Institute’s layout offers wide-open spaces, and we found navigating a stroller through the exhibits was relatively easy. And while stroller parking isn’t like, a thing, there are plenty of spots to tuck a stroller outside of galleries if you wanted to let your child roam free. It also provides a convenient location for all of the toddler accessories you are likely traveling with since backpacks are not permitted in galleries.

The most difficult aspect of maneuvering a stroller around the museum is finding the elevators, which often seem hidden. Check out the map beforehand, or plan to stay on one level.

Exhibits
When in a public space meant for people of all ages, it’s important to be realistic about your toddler’s limits. We picked two galleries to take our daughter to before we retreated to the children’s area of the Art Institute.

miniaturesThe first was the Thorne Miniature Rooms. My husband thought she would enjoy these 68 rooms filled with miniature European and American furnishings. The little rooms held her attention longer than I expected. She spent several minutes asking, “What’s that?” and pointing to various pieces of furniture.

The second gallery was the Arthur Rubloff Collection of Paperweights. This is not a gallery where a toddler can left to their own devices, as it is basically glass encased glass, but she loved the bright colors and shapes.

There is plenty to see at the Art Institute, and even if you can’t do a child-free trip prior to taking your young child, check out the website for information on the current exhibits. They even provide recommendations about family-friendly galleries. Pick one or two that you think will appeal to your child and have a general idea of how to get to those exhibits quickly. Avoid anything that may seem upsetting, scary, or bring up questions you don’t want to answer at this point in your parenting career. For example, we skipped the Clown Torture exhibit (as much for her sake as for ours, really).

One thing to note about the exhibits we chose: We did have to lift her up to see the miniature rooms and some of the paperweights—be sure to factor that into your decision making.

Family-Friendly Food
Any parent of a toddler knows that keeping them happy means keeping them fed and watered. The Art Institute’s Museum Cafe offers kid-friendly fare complete with your child’s favorites: mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, tacos, and more. The museum does have a policy against bringing in food, so prepare according—give your child a snack beforehand or plan to visit the cafe.

Children’s Area

familyroom

The Ryan Education Center includes the Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery, the [Not So] Still Life gallery, the Artist’s Studio, and the Family Room, and was where we spent the bulk of our time.

The Family Room offers a variety of options for kids of all ages. From blocks and books to computer games and large puzzles of famous artworks, our daughter was happy and occupied in the Family Room. We also visited the Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery, which allows children to get up close and personal with sculptures.

notsostilllifeOur final stop was the [Not So] Still Life gallery. We weren’t planning to take our daughter to this area because we were told it was primarily for older kids, but she loved it. I don’t think she understood that she was supposed to be creating a still life—or what a still life is—but pretend food and household items are pretty popular toy options right now. And she did put together her own little work of art.

If You Go
There’s plenty to do with a young child or toddler at the Art Institute, and it wasn’t as scary or stressful as I feared it would be. Our daughter was more engaged with the galleries than I expected.

Before you go, check out the Visiting with Your Family section of the website, where you’ll find all kinds of useful information, including recommendations on which galleries and exhibition are appropriate for kids, where you can find family restrooms and areas for nursing moms to comfortably feed babies, and a calendar of family activities.


louLou is a writer and content strategist living in the suburbs just west of Chicago with her husband, two-year-old daughter, and dog. She writes about the trials and triumphs of motherhood at Mommy Sanest. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Oct 132014
 

autismspeaks_lp_0

On October 26, 2014 at 4pm there will be a special Blue Man Group performance to accommodate individuals with autism, which will be great for children in general! The sound level will be reduced during select moments of the show (headphones are also always available) and the lobby will be a calming environment with bean bags, dim lights and quiet corners for anyone seeking a sensory break from the high-energy fun of the show. Also, $5 of every ticket purchased for this performance will be donated to Autism Speaks.

All tickets will be sold at $49 (including the $5 donation to Autism Speaks). For more information and tickets please visit: http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/4inhh5.

“Those with autism often experience hypersensitivity, anxiety and difficulty communicating, making it challenging to attend events in large public settings,” said Mary Rios, Manager of Field Development, Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks. “We are so excited that ‘Blue Man Group’ has made an autism-friendly performance available for the autism community, allowing them to experience something that others may take for granted. We are thankful to have amazing partners in the ‘Blue Man Group,’ who will also be donating a portion of ticket sales back to Autism Speaks.”

You can also read my review from when I took my 4 year old to Blue Man Group here and some tips and more info here.

Blue Man Group and Autism Speaks
Sunday, October 26 at 4 p.m.
Briar Street Theatre
3133 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL

 Posted by at 8:14 pm