Family Activities for Summer

This Summer, Take Advantage of These Family-Focused Activities All Around Chicagoland and Online Too!

School is out and that means it's time to make plans for fun and educational ways to keep the children engaged and to spend time together. Illinois Action for Children's Enhanced Referrals team has compiled this incredible list of things to do in and around Chicago, including virtual activities you can do at home.

Take a look, make a plan, and most importantly, have fun!

Grant Park Music Festival

Cost:  Free seating available with reservations


Maxwell Street Market-2021

Cost: Free

Event Times: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. First and Third Sundays, June-December 2021


Deer Park Art Show

This juried fine art and craft show features dozens of artists offering jewelry, paintings, sculptures, photography, woodwork and more. Festival-goers will enjoy live performances from a variety of musical acts on the stage, food from local restaurants and art activities for kids, including an art scavenger hunt and spin art.

Cost: Free, timed reservations required

Event times: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 26-27, 2021


Millennium Art Festival

The three-day festival, formerly known as the New East Side Art Festival, showcases more than 110 juried artists with an array of original artwork, including paintings, ceramics, photography and furniture. Millennium Art Festival blends live performances, food and interactive art-filled experiences. Families are encouraged to bring gently used art to the fest and donate it to The Chicago Furniture Bank.

Cost: Free, timed reservations required.

Event Times: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, July 16-18, 2021


Chinatown Summer Fair

This neighborhood street festival will open with a lion dance procession at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, a welcome at 1 p.m. on the main stage, followed by Asian performances, kung fu demonstrations, samplings from Chinatown’s restaurants & unique gift shops, arts & crafts exhibits,

street vendors with an array of merchandise, a children’s area with pony rides and petting zoo. Current CDC and local regulations for mask wearing and social distancing will be followed.

Cost: Free

Event times: Noon-7 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, July 17-18


Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby

Chicago River

Cost: Free; $5 to adopt a duck

Event Time: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2021


Oakbrook Art Festival

Cost: Free, registration required

Event times: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11-12, 2021


Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival

Cost: Free, timed reservations required

Event times: Noon-5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 13-15, 2021.

Windy City Ribfest

Fest features live music, lots of ribs, arts crafts and kids' area. Located in Uptown, this festival has become a Fourth of July tradition.

Cost: $5.

Event Times: Noon-10 p.m. daily, July 2-4, 2021


Southport Art Festival

The two-day festival will showcase some of the city’s best and most diverse artists. Southport Art Fest will put numerous art forms including oil, acrylic, watercolor, jewelry, sculpture, photography, wood, fiber, glass, paper, metal, and mixed media at center stage all weekend long. A kids' area has been designated with interactive games and activities.

Event Cost: $5 donation

Event times: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. July 10-11, 2021


Roscoe Village Burger Fest

The savory patty and a rockin' music lineup are in the spotlight for Roscoe Village's burger bash. In addition to food and music, arts/crafts and a "Kids' Zone" for children and families are on the weekend's menu.

Cost: $10 donation.

Event times: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 10-11, 2021


Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

This festival, held at the busy Lakeview intersection is teeming with top local tribute bands on the main stage, a second community entertainment stage, food and drinks. Families enjoy arts and craft vendors and a kids' play area.

Cost: $5 donation.

Event Times: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., July 17-18, 2021


Jeff Fest

The northwest side's cozy Jefferson Park neighborhood throws its annual community party with food, music, arts/crafts and activities for kids. Look for the Kids Zone on the north side of the park.

Cost: $5

Event Times: 5-10 p.m. Friday, 2-10 p.m. Saturday, 2-9 p.m. Sunday, July 30-Aug. 1, 2021


Gold Coast Art Fair

Cost: $10, Free 12 and under, advanced ticketing available

Event Times: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 21-22, 2021

Lakeview Taco Fest

The taco gets the spotlight treatment at this fest in the heart of the Southport Corridor. In addition to tacos and music, features beer and taco pairings, Mexican wrestlers, a kids' activity area and arts/crafts.

Event Cost: $10 donation

Event Times: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 18-19, 2021

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Event Cost: $5 donation requested

Event times: 1 pm-midnight Saturday, 1-9:15 p.m. Sunday.


Highland Park Festival of Fine Arts

Features the works of nearly 100 juried artists, music, food, art workshops and kids' activities. Also, check out the Youth Art Division of the fair.

Cost: $5 donation benefits The Art Center Highland Park.

Event Times: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, June 26-27, 2021

Chicago Park District

Offers Virtual Programs, In-person Activities, Day Camps, Nights out in the Park, and more


Chicago Summer Guide: Things to Do Around the City This Season

Cost:  Varies


Mommy Poppins In-person Summer Camps for Kids in Chicago/Suburbs:


Chicago Parent

Get your FREE Chicago Parent Summer Camp Guide!:


Chicago Kids Summer Camps Guide


Oaklee’s Family Guide for Chicago and Suburbs Summer Programs


2021 Summer Camps for Kids in the Western Suburbs:


2021 North Suburban Camp Guide:



Northwestern Center for Talent Development Summer Programs


Evanston Summer Programs


Chicago Early Learning

Chicago PrE-Learning:

Chicago PrE-Learning features at-home educational activities that will be updated regularly.


Stages Performing Arts Virtual Classes

Check out the YouTube channel for virtual baby music classes, musical theater classes, and more. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and you'll be notified whenever new videos are available. Classes held multiple times per week on varying days.

Time: Any time

Cost: FREE

Ages: All ages


Art with Ms. Choate

Ms. Choate is a Chicago art teacher who is hosting a free daily online art class. New story times are posted daily and can be watched any time.

Time: Any time

Cost:  Free

Ages: All ages


Miss Katie Sings

Miss Katie is an early childhood music teacher creating fun videos for your little ones during quarantine.

Time: Any time

Cost: FREE

Ages: All ages


Philly Zoo at 2 (1pm CST)

Get an insider’s look at the Zoo during our Philly Zoo at 2 Facebook Live series and virtually meet and interact with our amazing animals and dedicated staff every weekday at 2:00 p.m./1pm CST.

Time: 1pm CST

Cost: FREE

Ages: All ages


Museum in Chicago

Free Museum Days in Chicago


Chicago Parent

Virtual Camp Fair

Looking for a kids camp in Chicagoland — and beyond? You’ve come to the right place! Chicago Parent’s first-ever FREE Virtual Camp Fair is packed with top-notch overnight camps, day camps and specialty camps ready to give your kids a safe, memorable and fun summer. Discover what camps offer, explore our Official Camp Planning Guide, and check out the camp chat videos. Happy camping!

Virtual Art of Reading Summer Book Club
The Virtual Art of Reading Summer Book Club is designed to keep PK-2 students engaged and excited about reading throughout the summer. This new book club combines reading with art, to inspire creativity and self-expression as children continue to develop their love of reading and writing over the summer. This program has been designed in alignment with the Chicago Public Library’s Start with Art summer reading challenge. For further information on the digital texts, materials, and curriculum, please visit 


Mr. Dave Music

Virtual Online Music Classes


Chicago Kids

Virtual Classes

If you need help finding child care this summer, Illinois Action for Children can help!

Child Care Referrals

If you have any questions, please let us know how we can help!