Indoor Activities for Kids in Chicago

Kids activities in Chicago

Chicago is a city which offers families dozens of parks, hiking trails, amusements, gardens, and playgrounds. However, being part of the midwest, Chicago can also serve up some truly nasty winters, and extreme summers. We all know that outside play is healthy and necessary for kids, but when the weather conspires against you, what can you do?

After you’ve made Playdoh on your stovetop for the 5th time this month, after you’ve been through every piece on construction paper in the house, after you’ve completed every puzzle you could find, it’s time to get out. Ask any stay at home parent what it’s like to be housebound with little ones for days on end, and most will admit that they’d give anything for a chance to get back outside.

Each parent probably has a few go-to solutions for rainy day activities, but these can get old after a while. Certainly, many indoor play solutions come with a price tag, and it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to add some less expensive options to your repertoire.

Luckily, there are some wonderful indoor activities for kids in Chicago (and their parents) which can help break up the cabin fever, and allow kids to burn off some of that excess energy. Many of these locations are pretty budget-friendly too, which is especially helpful for larger families.

Here’s my list of the best things to do on a rainy, or windy, or snowy, or scorching Chicago day.


Sky High Sports

Sky High Sports - Indoor Play Places


Ever heard the term “bouncing off the walls”? Parents know all too well what that looks like when kids have been stuck indoors for too long, but what if you could take them to a place where they (and you!) could actually bounce off some walls?

Sky High Sports is an indoor trampoline park complex, where the trampolines stretch from wall to wall… and then continue up those walls on an incline. If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a trampoline yourself, be prepared for an excellent workout. Your kids will get the chance to run themselves ragged too, but in the best possible way.

There’s a foam pit for kids to jump, flip, or vault into, an obstacle course, and even a few dodge ball arenas. After a few hours here, “excess energy” won’t be an issue anymore.

Location: 6424 Howard Street, Niles



Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield Zoo

Brookefield Zoo


The Brookfiend Zoo itself makes a great destination, but when the weather is a little too harsh for your little ones (or the animals!) to be outside, there is still plenty to do in the Hamill Family Play Zoo section. This is an indoor area specifically aimed at younger kids who may get a little overwhelmed by the zoo in its entirety.

Kids can become animal explorers, and find out how to track our 4-legged friends by following footprints. For a more hands-on activity, kids can participate in activities that allow them to build different animal homes, and even meet and pet some friendly animals too.

Location: 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield



Kids Island

Kids Island - Fun indoor places


If you’re dreaming of the beach on a dreary, February day, why not take the kids to an indoor beach right here in Chicago?  Kids Island is a wonderful indoor play space offering kids the chance to try out all sorts of toys and activities. Although, among the many fun attractions, the crown jewel of this venue is undoubtedly the amazing indoor sandbox.

If sitting in the sand with a dozen preschoolers isn’t exactly your thing, fear not! Kids Island also happens to be a cafe. Parents can meet up for some much-needed coffee and adult conversation while the kids build castles and dig. This can be a great chance to set up some adult “play dates” of your own, or just to make new connections with new friends.

Kids Island even offers some short-term babysitting services, so if mom or dad wants to pop next door for a little shopping, you can take advantage! This is especially helpful during the holidays.

Location: 1358 W Webster Ave. Chicago


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