As a stay-at-home Mom to a toddler, I’m always looking for things to do to during the day. Especially in the winter when it’s difficult to get out of the house and run around the playground.
During my time in Chicagoland, I’ve discovered that the best activities happen in the morning around 9 or 10 a.m. So after nap time (my son usually wakes up by 3 p.m.), I’m wondering what to do until my husband comes home from work.
Of course, in any city, you could always try to run errands, such as grocery shopping or the gym (with a babysitting option). If your local library stays open late, this is my personal favorite because it’s free and educational.
Since I wanted to learn more about my neck of the woods, I turned to my local Mom group to ask for advice …
Here are the afternoon activities that I’ve tried and recommend in the Western Suburbs of Chicago:
My Gym – a franchise with over 600 locations so the name may be familiar to a lot of people. I’ve been to a couple of classes in different states and my son and I always have a blast. The membership is a little expensive. But if you can use the parachute app (or something similar) for a discounted rate, I think it’s worth it. The gym is not available all the time so check their calendar for classes and open gym times.
Wonder Works Children’s Museum – this is a creative play space for kids ages 0 to 8. Drop in anytime before they close at 5 p.m., except on Tuesdays (when they are closed all day). I have nothing but good things to say about the museum, but it’s not the first choice for my very active son. But I still recommend taking the time and spending the money to check it out for yourself. They host a lot of fun events as well.
Peekaboo Playroom – another drop-in play space that is open until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also located on North Avenue in Oak Park. There are plenty of toys to keep entertained all day. And plenty of seating options for parents. If you have older kids, you might be able to get some work done while your kid(s) play(s).
Garfield Park & Oak Park Conservatorie(s) – both conservatories are very family-friendly although I haven’t had to change a diaper at either location. The Oak Park conservatory is open late on Thursdays (until 7 p.m.) and the Garfield Park Conservatory is open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. I‘m very impressed with the Garfield Park conservatory and there’s a play area with a slide for kids!
Baby Beats – a really fun music class where children of all ages start learning some basic notes and rhythms. Classes are once a week and the afternoon option is at 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
Brookfield Zoo – unfortunately for every zoo in the world, I am familiar with the San Diego Zoo. But even compared to SD, the Brookfield Zoo is still pretty great and there are a lot of animals to see & activities to do. While it’s not free (like the zoo in Washington, D.C.), I do think it’s a fair price.
Little Beans Cafe – what’s not to love about this place other than it’s the farthest activity away from my house? The space is fun, the food is good, the price is reasonable. Two thumbs up.
An afternoon activity I haven’t tried, but was recommended:
Lunges ‘n Lattes – has an open gym for young kids from 3 – 5 p.m. during the week. Once I try this place, I’ll update this blog post.
Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.