1675 N. Lancaster
South Elgin, IL 60177
Each year our vacation budget seems to shrink a little more and we need to get a little more creative with how we spend those hard earned dollars. Fortunately, living in the Chicago area you don’t need to go far to enjoy a lot of life and experience for not a lot of money.
My post last year summed up lots of unique spots to check out around the area and I don’t want to just duplicate that (but feel free to check it out here as much of that still applies), so this year we will look at different categories of attractions that even some Chicago residents might not think about while making the most of life in this great metroplis.
Because I’m a list maker and categorizer, we’ll break this down into Get Active; Grow ‘n’ Learn; and Give Back.
Of course there are the obvious: parks, forest preserves, bike trails, swimming pools, and sports teams. But here are a few places to definitely check out to add active fun to your staycation.
– Trampoline parks. A newer addition to the bouncy world of fun, these parks take trampolining out of the backyard and turn it into a group activity. Many include areas with trampolines made into activity specific areas like dodgeball, basketball, jumping into foam pits, just jumping and smaller tramps for little ones. This is not generally a cheap outing, but check for after hours and holiday specials throughout the summer. This is a great way to spend a rainy day when the kids are bouncing off the walls at home anyway. Check out different centers (different owners, but similar facilities) in Buffalo Grove and Carol Stream, Niles, South Elgin, and Naperville (note that trampolines do bring an element of risk with them. Encourage kids to jump safely, watch the safety videos, and you should expect to sign a waiver in order for them to jump)
– Disc Golf. Not your mother’s frisbee game, and growing in popularity especially among older “kids.” This is a great activity for families with kids that are a bit older and ready to take on a challenge. There are currently 163 courses in Illinois, although not all in the Chicago area. Perfect for those cooler days with friends or just family. Check out the Disc Golf Course list with links to locations and more details on some of the courses.
– Bowling. Not as heart pumping or muscle building as the others, but a fun afternoon of bowling keeps a wide range of ages happy and offers a great environment for active fun together. Brunswick offers free bowling to kids all summer long, one game per day per child. Of course you’ll have to rent shoes (unless you’re lucky enough to find them at garage sales or thrift stores), but still a nice deal. AMF also has bowling lanes in various cities. Many cities will have a local bowling alley, but another popular destination is Funway in Batavia which offers many activities from bowling to go carts to roller skating.
The library deserves a section all its own because it is a huge doorway to tons of fun right in your backyard, most of it already paid for by your tax dollars, but I’ll highlight our favorites. Be sure to check out your own local library for programs, movies, outings, speakers, displays, and reading incentives to keep you learning all summer long.
– Summer reading program (and winter one if they have it, too, but that is not coming soon). Get your kids reading and earn free family outings. From the summer reading program we earn at least 3-4 of our family staycation outings. Each year we get a pass to DuPage Children’s Museum, baseball tickets, Medieval Times passes, water park tickets, meal coupons, and many more exciting and free passes to keep our summer fun at an all time high.
– Museum Adventure Pass. I mention this periodically, and it should not be overlooked. Each museum or location has a different deal that you activate through your library card. Stop in to see your librarian and with a few clicks she presents you with a pass for the Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Cantigny, Brookfield Zoo, or a variety of other places. We have used these a few times now and have really enjoyed each one.
– Summer classes. Many colleges offer classes for various ages through the summer. Check out the closest one, and also take a look other places like Fermilab for keeping learning alive through this break in the traditional school year.
– Donley’s Wild West Town. Part fun, part learning, Donley’s will teach you to use a slingshot, entertain you with a gun fight drama, take you on a pony ride, and let you pan for gold. Younguns won’t quickly forget all the fun and adventure as they travel back to a little less tame period of history.
Hanging with friends, relaxing, and stimulating your intellect are all great parts of vacation, but you can also spend part of your staycation giving back to those less fortunate. We may worry about having enough money to make special memories with our kids this summer, but others worry about just having the necessities of life. Look for a way to lend a hand this summer.
– Feed My Starving Children. We have enjoyed taking part in this program a few times now and cannot believe how quickly 2 hours flies by. Sign up for a 2 hour time slot of packing nutrient dense meals to ship to countries in need. By the end you are chanting, “Chicken, veggies, soy, rice,” and in so doing are providing food for the hungry. My daughter enjoyed herself so much she wants to have her birthday party there this year. Kids 5 and over can attend with adult supervision. I loved watching my 6 year old scoop, weigh, and count, having fun in the process of making a difference. They have locations in Schaumburg and Aurora, so make sure to get a group together and find a couple hours to spare for this worthwhile cause.
– Food bank. Meeting a need closer to home, area food banks are also always looking for volunteers. Northern Illinois Food Bank is one with multiple locations that are always seeking volunteers of a variety of ages. Check out their page for other local food pantries that might be able to use your help as well.
– Check out other volunteer positions around the Chicago area at Chicagovolunteer.net. They have listings for forest preserves to museums and more.
This post may spark your thinking for some special ways to spend your staycation this year and may even begin a relationship that will open new opportunities and experiences for years to come. Vacations shouldn’t end with summer. Build some memories that will take you full force into the next school year and beyond. Hope some of these ideas will help your staycation stick with you a little longer.
Thanks to Michele for forwarding this tidbit from the Tree Line publication of the Kane County Forest Preserve:
Join us for this nature program series designed for homeschool families. Each month, the program focuses on a different topic at a different forest preserve. Activities this fall include searching for insects, identifying trees, and observing squirrels. All ages are welcome, but the activities are designed for ages 5-10.
Tuesday, Sept. 13; 10-11:30 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person or $8/family of 4 or more
Monday, Oct. 24; 10-11:30 a.m.
Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve
Merrill Road, 1 mile east of IL Route 47,
Fee: $2/person or $8/family of 4 or more
Wednesday, Nov. 16; 10-11:30 a.m.
Jon Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 IL Rte. 31, South Elgin
Fee: $2/person or $8/family of 4 or more
This class is geared for the very young beginner dance student and is a prelude to formal ballet instruction. Students will work on developing gross motor skills through music and movement in a structured environment. An excellent and fun way to introduce young children to the joy of dance.
When: Tuesdays 11:30-NOON (please arrive 15 minutes prior to class)
6/21, 6/28, 7/5, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2, 8/9
Cost: 8 weeks 1x/ week $40
Where: 900 Robertson Road, South Elgin
Class size is limited.
Please call in advance to register. Payment is due in full at 1st class.
Needs: Sports shorts & t-shirt, long hair in a pony tail
If little girls have pink ballet costuming, they are welcome to wear it to class
Please DO NOT purchase new costuming prior to talking to instructors
Please bring a labeled drink bottle with water to classes
There will be a Final Presentation Tuesday, August 16 in the evening for family & friends to see what the children have accomplished. This will include presentations from the older dance students as well. An approximate $10 costuming fee will be required.
Kendra Knorst (age 16) & Megan Martin (age 17), accomplished students of MagnAttitude will be teaching the classes.
“Let them praise his name with dancing” Psalm 149:3
MELISSA MARTIN, director of MagnAttitude Dance Academy, began her fine arts training at a young age. She studied piano and later flute at the Chicago Conservatory. Most of her early dance training was with her mother at Valley Dance Center. Advancing rapidly she continued to study at many well known studios in Chicago including the Ruth Page Foundation, Chicago City Ballet, Ellis-Duboulay and Elizabeth Boitsov. Madame Boitsov is a graduate of the State Ballet School and State Bolshoi University in Moscow. Melissa was selected to train for the International Ballet Competition and studied in New York City with Madame Darvash. She has appeared in the full length productions of Cinderella, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee, and the Nutcracker and has performed solo variations from ballets such as Don Quixote. At the age of twelve Melissa held the leading role in a student production of the Wild Swans. She then appeared with Rudolph Nureyev and the Zurich Opera Ballet. She started teaching in 1990 and especially loves imparting excellent technique to her students. As a teenager and after a dramatic transformation that took place in her parents’ lives when they dedicated themselves to God, Melissa accepted Christ as her own personal Savior and Lord. She is married to David Martin and the mother of 11 children.
“O Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:3
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5
900 Robertson Road, South Elgin, IL 60177
From a reader:
Wanting to get the kids out for some fun and exercise?
This is a low key, relaxed setting. We have a large range of ages, sometimes as young as 4 or 5 through adult. Parents are welcome to play! We will learn some basic soccer warm-ups, drills and skills, so expect a little structure. There is no fee. Let us know if you are interested, and we will keep you posted by email. I will try to send an email “reminder” out no later than noon on Fridays.
Danny Kubasak will be coaching again this year. We look forward to another great year!
We would like to stripe the field as we have done in the past, but would need donations for the paint. The field needs to be striped about every other week and the cost of paint is approx. $15 each time. If funds are available for paint, volunteer help for the striping would be appreciated. If we do not have funds for the paint, we will mark the field with cones.
Beginning Friday, May 6
Weather permitting, Fridays 3:30-5:30. Come the weeks you can. Don’t worry about the weeks you can’t.
3:30-4:00 come if you can to warm-up and practice on your own.
4:00-5:30 practice some basic soccer skills and join in on a fun game of soccer.
NOTE: We have the field reserved until 6 p.m. so we might go over at times. If you need to leave @ 5:30 please feel free to.
Fox Meadow Park, South Field
On the corner of Jenna Dr & Hobart Dr just west of Fox Meadow Elementary School in South Elgin
WHAT TO BRING:
soccer ball (we would like everyone to bring their own if possible)
-There is a port-a-potty & children’s playground for the younger ones. There is a picnic table and a few benches at the playground.
-Parent’s/guardians might want to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on.
-Please do not drop your child off unattended. If you are unable to stay, please make arrangements with another adult to be responsible for your child.
-Younger children are welcome to play understanding that soccer can be rough at times. The ball sometimes accidentally gets kicked into people and more often than not it hurts really bad.
-If we have too large of a turn out, we will be dividing the children up into 2 groups according to age.
Email Melissa for more information at: mmartin0698 @ sbcglobal (dot) net (remove spaces and substitute the “.”)