Chicago Parent - February 2020

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Warm thoughts

Our big summer camp guide is here

e v o L

YOU What three moms discovered
























A journey to self What three moms discovered about self-love to help their kids Off the beaten path Seven wacky and fun Chicago places kids will love


16 Crafting friendships


Real Life …. .............. 6




LIFE IN CHI Failing with Gusto .... 8 Viva Daddy ............... 8


Summer camps provide a place to practice life’s soft skills


On the Cover: Dr. Kiarra King and her daughter, Kai, of Chicago

Special Advertising Section: Get the kids set for summer with our big summer camp guide.

Photography: Juan Carlos Pelayo The Happy Garage mural in Ravenswood created by Chicago artist Chris Uphues

Chicago Parent is published monthly by Zoe Communications Group. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chicago Parent, 332 S. MIchigan Ave., 9th Floor, Chicago, IL, 60604. © 2020 Zoe Communications Group Inc. All rights reserved.


Design: Kelly Buren


Calendar ................... 30 Parenting dilemma ... 40

EditoR’s Note

Hearts and flowers



he person I see in the mirror is not the person I feel I am inside. The person on the outside never shed the baby weight and likes sweets and carbs way too much. And since insomnia is a nightly enemy, the person on the outside looks very, very tired. The person on the inside still feels young, in shape, energetic, happy and excited to greet the day every day. I don’t like the person on the outside and the trouble is, my kids know it. Of course, I’ve read all of the research about the need to pass positive body image from

mom to child and I’ve tried to bite my tongue in moments where I might tell them I hate how I look. I’ve slipped up more times than I should. I want my girls to love and appreciate themselves inside and out. I don’t want them to resort to Snapchat filters to present a different version of themselves to the world. It should be the same advice I give to myself in the mirror. I know I am not alone in this quandary as I hear from too many moms who, like me, keep themselves out of photos with their kids and later lament not having a photo of everyone together. I have hope that the tide is turning a bit as I see more moms sharing the mostly good, but even unfiltered ugly moments, of their lives and parenting on social media. It’s 2020, for goodness

sakes. You’d think we would all understand by now the need for self-love. But self-love means so much more than just being kinder to yourself when it comes to how you look on the outside. It is learning to love and appreciate all of the things that make up who you are. This month, we are sharing the stories of three wonderful moms with very different stories on steps they’ve taken toward self love and the impact they hope it has on their kids. I think you’ll find their stories as inspiring as I do. I hope, in this month of hearts and flowers, that you do make yourself a priority. I know you’ll find out that you are pretty great, both inside and out. Let me know how it goes ( Happy February.


our village

Family love


There’s nothing sweeter than spending some quality time with your loved ones. On this month, we are sharing some special ways to give your family extra love, including Valentine’s Day festivities, fun events and last-minute romantic getaway ideas for the grown-ups (because parents need to treat themselves, too!). Share your family photos with us on Instagram by using our community hashtag #sharechicagoparent.

Enter to win


Your dino fans will love nothing more than seeing life-size versions of their favorite prehistoric creatures. This month, we’re giving away a family pack of tickets to Jurassic Quest at Navy Pier March 6-8. Enter for a chance to win this prize and more at


Hafsa and her son Dean from Chicago’s Western Suburbs, Instagram: @happilyhafsa


Talk with parents At Chicago Parent, we want our readers to have a space to connect with our team and fellow Chicago parents. That’s why we created our Facebook group—Chicago Parent Village. What would you like us to share more in the group? What kind of topics would you like to talk about? Join the conversation at


Plan your weekend

Cabin fever has hit, but that doesn’t mean you should go into hibernation. We’ve rounded up a list of winter activities in the Chicago area to keep your family busy. Read more at

We know finding last-minute plans for the weekend can be hectic. That’s why we made it easier for you by providing our Weekend Picks for you! Visit to see the best Chicagoland events your entire family will love. While you are there, sign up for our Weekend Picks newsletter (delivered Thursdays) to get the round-up directly to your inbox. PHOTO CREDIT FUNTOPIA


Real life | mom



ou probably know Ana Belaval as the fun-loving, charismatic “Around Town” reporter for Chicago’s toprated WGN Morning News. But she’s also the mom of two and a four-time Emmy Award winner who is proud to represent Latina women in mainstream media. How does it feel to be a role model to Latina women? I take my position very seriously and understand that I have to help other Latinx to make it just like I have. It’s (2020) and I can’t still be one of a few Latinx personalities on English media. I know I have a seat at the big table and I do my best to make sure other Latinx talent is represented and considered. I make sure if any young Latinx journalist calls or emails for advice that I make the

The mom Around Town


mom | Real life

“It is a privilege for me to be a role model to other Latinx people. I wanted to be that someone they could relate to on TV and say ‘oh look, she looks like me, she sounds like me, that could be me one day.’” Ana Belaval

time to help them out just as I was helped. It is a privilege for me to be a role model to other Latinx people. I wanted to be that someone they could relate to on TV and say "oh look, she looks like me, she sounds like me, that could be me one day." As the Around Town reporter, you’ve gotten to go to some of Chicago’s coolest places. What are some of your favorites? Any time I get to be on stage with any ensemble of a regional theater, I absolutely love it because I would have loved to have been a musical actor, and the acting community in our city has been wonderful to me. I really love when I get to go to any of our museums with our crew before it opens to the public and I get to enjoy our cultural treasures in peace and quiet. I also love discovering little treasures from our neighborhoods, like Freddy’s Pizza in Cicero or El Mercado in Lakeview.

■ Spouse: Steve

■ Children: Amelia, 12, and Alex, 6 ■ Hometown: Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood ■ Parenting must haves: Patience, flexibility and a sense of humor ■ Favorite family winter activity: Nothing outdoors!

What’s been your top live moment on air? My favorite live moment is when I didn’t know Ricky Martin, one of my idols, could hear me fan girling over him after I interviewed him. How do you balance work and motherhood? Some days are better than others, and I’ve accepted that. I’m lucky that even though I work early hours, that allows me to be home with the kids in the afternoons. I also include my children in what I do. I tell them and they can see how much I love it, and I think that helps them deal when I can’t be with them.

You are a prime example as someone who hustled and worked your way up to fulfill your dream. What’s your best advice for young girls—especially minority girls—about facing obstacles? I can’t stress enough the importance of educating yourself, of preparing yourself so that when opportunity knocks you are ready and you can say yes without risking making a mistake. … We always tell my daughter that I can make my job look easy because I work hard at it every day, that such ease doesn’t happen overnight or because of natural talent. You have to work and polish that talent daily.




The feminist slug

The dads are all right

have friends who make me wonder why they like me. They go to the gym every day. They travel the world. They have actual date nights with their husbands. I work up a sweat hauling three hockey bags from the minivan when the boys forget. My GPS loves screaming “TURN OFF THE PAVED ROAD!” in the middle of a blizzard toward some remote rink in Wisconsin. Date night is Joe MARIANNE selecting a diner, drive-in or dive closest WALSH to that aforementioned unpaved road. At this stage of life, I know I am supposed to be nurturing my own passions outside of kids. I have even thought about signing up for one of those wine and paint parties. Maybe master French or write the great American novel. But here’s the truth. My life? Right now? It is everything I have ever wanted. Betty Friedan’s best-selling 1960s book, The Feminine Mystique, told a generation of women that depression and lack of fulfillment were the end result for many women who stayed home to have kids. The cultural norms of the times definitely limited choices, and countless mothers were left searching for a more diverse identity, a vaster purpose. The book highlighted the unfulfilled promise of generations of women. It also allowed some women to finally admit motherhood wasn’t the best representation of what they could offer the world. But here was the slam. There were still women like me who were thrilled to cast previous interests aside in order to read How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight for the thousandth time. In liberating some, Friedan relegated my kind to the basement of feminism. And while I have never developed complex math theorems or cured cancer, I could totally smell the soft, sweet hair of a newborn. For like a week. Women are facing an increasing menu of career, family and personal fulfillment options. I applaud all those who seek the best version of themselves. Several of my girlfriends have shared stories about their unhappy mothers who were unsatisfied with housewifery, thus validating Friedan to the letter. The weight of an unhappy mother takes a serious toll on a child with effects lasting well into adulthood. Knowing this now, I have started losing my “woe is me” persona best utilized when trying to get someone to unload the dishwasher. I want my kids to know that I am truly happy, and the life I have is more than I could have imagined. Feminist slug…right or wrong…but this thing called motherhood? I can’t help it. It is my everything.

n the span of this week alone, my daughter Viva has informed me that I make grilled cheese wrong, I make mac & cheese wrong, I brush hair wrong, draw a bath wrong, choose pajamas wrong, sing wrong, dance wrong, tell jokes wrong, and that I smell bad. Sure, I get a bit of a funk after a long day of work, but I firmly reject the rest of those assertions. Dunking on dads is practically MATT BORESI the national pastime. We can blame fiction—all the comic strips and sitcoms where dad is a lovable doofus while mom is a foxy whirlwind of competence and wisdom. We can blame the patriarchy: since dad’s role has traditionally been that of breadwinner and not of caretaker, there’s an assumption that dad is bad at keeping hearth and home. But dads needn’t be pigeonholed as hapless Dagwoods or Lesser Belushis, constantly bumbling and bungling. (My grilled cheese is fine. Who could mess up grilled cheese?) It’s time we pushed back on the sass. Dads don’t do things incorrectly, they just do things differently, and that’s OK. I brush hair a little more aggressively, I run the bath a little deeper, I put the Star Wars pajamas into rotation a little more frequently, but the hair gets brushed, and the bath gets run, and the pjs get got. Have I lost one of Viva’s shoes at the hardware store? I have, but why weren’t they on her feet? Have I served Viva pecan pie despite her mild allergy? Sure, but it is a very mild allergy. Have I misplaced Viva at Maggie Daley Park? Only briefly! And Maggie Daley Park is very fun. I make a mean pizza. I build an awesome fort. My tree climbing abilities are legend. No amount of mockery about my puns or my snoring can take that away. So, dads, stand tall. The next time you’re told your Orange Justice is clumsy, or your lullaby is pitchy, or your use of the toaster oven has set off the smoke alarm again, remind yourself that beating up on dad is just what families do. Continuing to be a great father in spite of those slings and arrows is what dads do. ... And you smell just fine. Viva Dignity. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy.


Marianne Walsh, mom of three boys, is married to Chicago firefighter and lives on the South Side.



Viva is 8 years old. Daddy is about 5x that age. They live happily with Mommy in Chicago.

Life in Chi

HUSTLE WITH HEART Chicago businesses with community at their center



mall business has long been known for being more focused on community than larger corporations. Many of Chicago's growing businesses are building “People before Profits” right into their brands. These five are out to change the world.

Bubbles Academy

Bubbles Academy is adored for its music and arts-based classes and arts integrated preschool. Its Whole Child Arts non-profit’s mission is to expand what Bubbles Academy offers, to give more families access to quality activities in under served neighborhoods. One of the more impressive goals of Whole Child Arts is to not just teach children of color but to also create and train more artists of color to teach young children. So, children can see themselves in the people creating art with them. 2184 N. Elston Ave.,


Kido, a kids’ empowerment clothing company, started as an online boutique that grew its following with clothing of positive affirmations geared primarily towards children of color. Kido’s community building started with hosting Baby Soul Jam events with Mama Fresh. These Saturday morning dance parties on the South Side were designed to build community with families. Once the flagship store opened in the Roosevelt Collection, Kido exploded with communityfocused events, clothing and books. Now you can visit Kido for lessons on hair care, storytimes that celebrate a wide range of cultures, to hang out and chat with other local families and pick up your favorite graphic tee to affirm your child’s beauty. 1137 S. Delano Court.

Helix Cafe

Helix Cafe opened its flagship shop in Edgewater in May. What appears to be another hip coffee shop actually has a pretty unique mission. The coffee shop serves as a training and skill-building tool for Chicago area youth. The café doesn’t just give them a job, it helps them discover their skills and talents and see how they can use them in the workforce. You can volunteer to help inspire and mentor, or just find a great cold brew and lunch. 6237 N. Clark St.

Hip Circle Empowerment Center

This haven for belly dancing, women’s fitness classes and workshops believes in its mission so deeply that it converted its business model from a for-profit business to a non-profit organization. That has allowed Hip Circle to expand its resources for women to fully accept and love their bodies. Local businesses sponsor classes and workshops, giving room for women to forget their finances and join a class. 727 Howard St., Evanston.

Sip of Hope Coffee Bar

Sip of Hope in Logan Square stands as a beacon for those struggling with mental health. All of the proceeds go to Hope for the Day to help the non-profit continue its work with suicide prevention and mental health education. Sip of Hope also offers workshops and outreach for those struggling with mental health. A big piece to the puzzle is that it provides training to all staff members to recognize and support those who may be seeking mental health help, meaning someone in need can just stop in for a cup of coffee and find help. You can get a stellar hot chocolate or chai to help support the mission. 3039 W. Fullerton Ave.








What three moms discovered about self-love to help their kids


oms are notorious for putting everyone’s needs first, always too busy with the kids and always juggling too many balls to pause to think about themselves for even just a moment. As we started this brand new decade, Facebook and Instagram feeds filled up with hopes for a greater emphasis on kindness to others. This just might be the right time for you to take a moment to also be kinder to yourself, to really think about your happiness and what makes you great. As it turns out, it even helps the kids as three Chicago area moms discovered.

Joy and happiness BY HEIDI STEVENS


hen I was going through my divorce, I used to ask my friends: “Was your mom happy?” We would talk about how different childhood would’ve been had the answer been yes instead of no; no instead of yes. I was lurching toward my own happiness again and I hoped my kids, then 2 and 6, would be better for it. Because a joyful parent, I believe, is a gift like no other. Happiness should be a priority, like exercise or friendship. I have tried to carve out ample space in my kids’ lives for joy the way I do homework time and sleep. They’re 10 and 14 now. They’re really good at joy. I also try to model it. They see me laugh. They see me love. They see me make time

for pursuits I believe in and books I adore and people who light up my face. I didn’t always. I modeled exhaustion and martyrdom because I thought that seemed noble. But I realized one beautiful day that I would never want my children to walk that path. I want them to live their lives with intention, to enter their relationships—with friends, with co-workers, with partners—set on giving their all, but also expecting respect and generosity and, yes, joy, in return. I want them to move on when those things aren’t possible. So I modeled that. And I try to continue modeling that. And some days I model exhaustion and martyrdom, but not for long. Because my kids deserve better than that. And so do I.

Heidi Stevens is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune. Join her page, Heidi Stevens’ Balancing Act, on Facebook and check out her podcast, “On Purpose: The Heidi Stevens and Dr. John Duffy Podcast."


CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 11





self A cup always full BY DR. KIARRA KING


Bangles and blazers BY JUVERIYA MIR


here are two closets packed to the brim in my house with my clothes. It’s not because I have shopaholic tendencies and I do not hoard clothes. I have two separate closets for my clothes because I have multiple cultural identities. One closet is filled with jeans and comfortable sweaters, bright leggings and blouses. What I wear to work and what I wear to social gatherings at cozy restaurants with friends belongs in this closet. The other closet contains colorful saris that I wear to Indian weddings and cotton salwar suits I wear during Sunday family brunches filled with endless cups of chai. These two closets do not mix. I do not wear saris to the mall. I do not wear jeans to my Indian grandmother’s house. This separate system

lasted me for years until my 9-year-old daughter challenged this system. She asked if she could wear Nikes with her traditional Indian clothes. She wanted to wear Indian bangles at the mall because she loves the way the bangles jingle with a flicker of her hand. She doesn’t have two separate closets, she’s learning to adapt and mix her two cultures effortlessly, her Indian heritage and her American nationality. For her, beaded dresses and jeans belong together. Her confidence gave me confidence. I began to wear salwar suits to museums and on summer walks. I wore bangles with my work blazer. My two identities didn’t have to be separate, but could be fused with love, care and confidence that will continue to bloom in my daughter.

Juveriya Mir is a high school teacher, mom of two and proud Indian American Muslim. Follow her on social media @mirteaching. 12 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

elf-love, self-care, selfawareness, what do they really mean? In this day and age, those terms are thrown around often without the full weight of their impact. I’m a huge proponent of self-love not being a one-size-fits-all monolith. As the saying goes, “to thine own self be true.” Interestingly enough, becoming a mother brought me a greater awareness of what it means to love oneself. It can be hard to make time for and not “lose” yourself when you’re busy pouring into a new little life. I had to be intentional about being present for myself as a form of self-love. Part of my morning routine has always been to read a devotional and scriptures that help center me; that alone time is the perfect start to my day. Additionally, I continue to pursue things that excite me! I started my

blog when Kai was 7 months. It became an outlet to creatively express my passions including fashion, wellness and, of course, motherhood. My life journey has led me to be very self-aware; I know what will and won’t leave me feeling my best. All of this allows me to parent in a way that I don’t feel guilty. I can replenish my cup and never have to pour from an empty one. More importantly, Kai can see a mom who is creative, empowered and responsible for meaningfully impacting the lives of others; ideally this will lead to her continuing to be a well-rounded citizen of the world. If I could sum up what I desire for my life and parenting journey, it would be in a quote from one of my favorite series, “Call the Midwife.” It says “The longest paths lead into sunlight when they are paved with love.”

Dr. Kiarra King is a board certified obstetrician gynecologist who loves fashion, healthy living and motherhood. Follow her on social media @drkiarraking.

off the


Seven wacky and fun Chicago places kids will love BY AMY BIZZARRI

If you're eager for a family adventure, Chicago is filled with historic, wacky and wonderful gems tucked away in hidden corners—or hiding in plain sight.


FILBERT'S SODA POP FACTORY IN THE LATE 1800S, George Filbert delivered milk, ice and coal to homes in the South Side’s Bridgeport neighborhood by horse-drawn wagon. George's son, Charlie, loved root beer, and was just in time for Prohibition when he created his very own recipe for the root-sourced, alcohol-free beer. More than 90 years later, fourth generation family member Ron Filbert continues to make his family's famous root beer from the same South Side soda pop factory. Not only can you count on having a taste of old Chicago via the namesake brew, you can watch it filled onsite in this factory that looks pretty much the same as it did when it began selling the popular bubbly beverage in roaring ‘20s. 3430 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago; 14 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM


(REEBIE STORAGE AND MOVING CO.) WHEN BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGIST HOWARD CARTER discovered a step leading to a hidden tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922, he set off Egyptomania, a renewed interest in all things ancient Egypt. Around that same time, in Chicago, the Reebie Storage and Moving Co., owned by brothers John and William Reebie, was planning a new building. The brothers, inspired by Egyptian Revival architecture, decided to construct an ancient Egyptian temple of their very own, smack dab in the middle of the north side neighborhood of Lincoln Park. As Arthur Reebie, William's son, noted, “The Egyptians were the first moving and storage men. They floated the grain down the Nile and stored it against the lean times of famine.” Fittingly, the moving and storage company's logo became a Pharaonic sphinx’s head. The building's design was based on two ancient Egyptian temples, Dendera and Edfu, erected about 200 B.C. by Pharaoh Ramses II. Note the two statues of Ramses, representative of the two founding Reebie Brothers that flank the entrance. 2325 N. Clark St., Chicago

BOOKWORMS BIG AND SMALL will want to make a beeline to Chicago's amazing American Writers Museum, where a surprise bookshelf brings the words of diverse American writers to life through touch, sound and even smell. Located in the museum's Nation of Writers Gallery, this one-of-a-kind, 85-foot-long bookshelf celebrates the diversity of writing forms, from novels to song lyrics to comics and more, from America's most iconic authors. Open up one of the 100 illuminated book placards and expect to be surprised: flip Stephen Foster’s cube to hear “Oh! Susanna,” flip Harper Lee’s to hear the sounds of a mockingbird, open Julia Child’s to smell cookies fresh from the oven, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury flips to reveal books on fire. 180 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago;

METHOD SOAP FACTORY TOUR TAKE A TOUR of the colorful Pullman-based factory and you'll see the soapmaking process in action. You'll also learn how pioneers like Method are working to find solutions to climate change. Kids will be mesmerized by the carefully orchestrated manufacturing process and the thousands of interesting shaped bottles marching down the assembly line. But it's Method's green initiatives that truly amaze. The certified LEED Platinum factory is located on 22 acres of land, much of which is a wildlife and natural habitat. A 230-foot wind turbine makes electricity. Three 35- x 35-foot solar tracking trees in the parking lot also gather energy. Method's plastic bottles are made on site out of recycled materials. Group tours are held at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Wednesday. To reserve a spot, email soapboxtours@ or fill out the online form on its website. A minimum of one-week advance notice is required. 720 E. 111th St., Chicago; beyond-the-bottle/soap-factory


GIANT, GREEN HAIRY MONSTER AT THE DOOR OF BIG MONSTER TOYS BEWARE OF THE HAIRY, GREEN MONSTER that lives in the West Loop. Approach his Racine Avenue residence with caution: whenever he senses the smell of an approaching little kid, he heads straight to his massive front door and glares from behind the windowpane, hoping to scare any potential toy robbers away. Brave children who stand at his doorstep and peer into his googly eyes can expect to have their perspective magically altered. Chances are you or your kids have played with a toy that grew out of the minds of some of the non-monsters that work in this playful building: Big Monster Toys designs, engineers and prototypes toys and games for big names in the toy biz: Mattel, Moose, Fisher Price and Hasbro to name a few. Founded in 1988 by three former partners of the legendary Chicago-based toy design firm Marvin Glass & Associates, Big Monster Toys stands as one of the few remaining toy manufacturers operating in the city. The unique door is a reminder of the unexpected, unrequited joy of toys. For a truly Alice in Wonderland experience, see if you can jump up and grab the monstersized doorknob. 21 S. Racine Ave., Chicago;

CELEBRATE YOUR COOL ATTITUDE with a rainbow of icy treats at Pretty Cool, a whimsical, colorful, playful and just plain cool ice cream shop that doesn't sell by the scoop. Instead the 50+ ice cream novelties are a gourmet take on what you'd find on an old-school Good Humor Truck, served skewered with a wooden Popsicle-style stick. The bars and ice pops here are classified into five cool categories: Custard Bars are ice cream submerged in chocolate, with flavors ranging from the classic—vanilla or cookies and cream—to the exotic peanut butter potato chip, coffee pretzel toffee. Truck pops transform the standard Popsicle with inventive flavors such as litchi lemon tea and passion fruit hibiscus. Plant pops are vegan-friendly, creamy treats made with non-dairy milks. Magic Shell-inspired Party Pops are cream cheese bars dipped into Pretty Cool’s proprietary shell blend and topped with sprinkles. Pony pops are made with tiny appetites and little hands in mind: smaller in size, they're available in classic, kid-friendly flavors—vanilla custard, strawberry buttermilk, chocolate custard, grape pop and pink lemonade pop—and cost $2 each. 2353 N. California Ave., Chicago;

AJI ICHIBAN AJI ICHIBAN TRANSFORMS the typical penny candy shop visit. At this, the U.S. flagship for one of the largest snack companies in Hong Kong, candies of all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors— salty and sweet—fill the shelves and the bins to the brim. Forget boring chocolate or caramel and give kumquat pellets, dried cuttlefish, super-salted plums, crispy baby crabs or tomato gummies a try. Shredded squid and shrimp crisps are other popular picks. Even the American brands take on new flavors: KitKats are filled with pureed sweet potatoes; Oreos trade their vanilla creme with matcha; Lay's Potato Chips arrive sprinkled with Kyushu seaweed. Be sure to taste the Lychee hard candy, the kiwi chewing gum and Botan Rice Candy (its wrapper melts in your mouth!). 2117 S. China Place, Chicago

For more Chicago insights, check out Amy Bizzarri's new book 111 Places for Kids in Chicago That You Must Not Miss. CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 15

16 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Crafting Friendships Summer camp s pro v i d e a pl a c e t o practice l i fe ’s s oft s k i l l s B Y C HICAGO PARENT STAFF


verscheduled. Screen addicted. Bored. Disengaged. Anxious. Today’s kids get a lot of labels stuck to them, sometimes unfairly. But what experts do know is there is a shift in the relationship-building skills contributing to those labels as friendships are shaped and filtered over screens rather than

the face-to-face of their parents’ days. That’s not something Naperville mom Betsy Castillo wants for her daughters, Paula, 13, and Sara, 11, particularly as her oldest hit the harder middle school years. So, when the time came, she did what her own parents did for her: She sent them to summer camp.

“I feel that going to camp is a very positive experience for the kids to gain independence, to create friends who know who they are, because they shared their genuine self. It’s not based on who you are at school or how your peers view you, but they know you for who you are on the inside,” Castillo says. Friendship is one of the biggest benefits of summer camp, says Colette Marquardt, executive director of the American Camp Association, Illinois. American Camp Association research has found 95 percent of campers reported making friends at camp, and Marquardt

says they are often long-reaching friendships that stretch into adulthood. Marquardt and Castillo are real-life proof of that; they met as youngsters at summer camp and remain good friends today. “The whole purpose of camp is about relationships and community building so the emphasis is about friendships, about learning to work with others, getting to know other people you never knew before that come from different backgrounds and locations,” she says. “There’s such a variety of people in this world and camp can provide a place for a really good mix of diversity that

helps enhance a child’s life.” With most camps still technology-free, Marquardt says, campers find themselves sitting together at a table, learning how to have a conversation and how to work together and through conflict with people. Those are skills that they can take to college and into the workforce, she says. “They are often referred to soft skills, but they are really hard skills. Giving your child opportunity to develop those skills young in life, it’s going to make their entire lives easier and more impactful,” says Marquardt, adding that working on these skills is CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 17

Crafting Friendships


“If we all lear n how to work with other people starting at a young age, to live and coexist, imagine how much kinder the world would be.” typically not as emphasized as kids focus more on standing out in their extracurricular activities and getting good grades the rest of the year. “It’s such a cool experience and not enough young people get to go to camp,” Marquardt says. “If we all learn how to work with other people starting at a young age, to live and coexist, imagine how much kinder the world would be.”

What the studies say Research is pointing to Gen Xers and Millennials being lonelier than the older generations, the reverse of what it used to be, says friendship expert Shasta Nelson, a sought-after speaker and author of Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness. It would be easy to blame social media, but she says the research is still mixed. What she is seeing, however, is that as we spend more time interacting with screens, we get less practice at the face-to-face social skills and empathy. She says we are also living in a culture with more worry and anxiety, where kids are all being carpooled to different activities rather than all staying in the same school, same pool, same gym. Nelson says one of the most fascinating research studies out of the University of Kansas she's seen recently points to the time it takes to become friends, up to 100 hours, and even more to become best friends. That's why Nelson, a former summer camper and camp counselor, calls summer camp "magical" for creating that time for kids. Summer camps also tick off two other boxes required of making solid relationships: Positivity (think laughter around 18 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

the campfire, skits, accomplishing the ropes course and all those memorymaking positive accomplishments camp brings) and vulnerability of being away from home and trying new things in a shared experience, she says. "So it's really a powerful accelerator for all three of the things that we need to bond with people," she says. "The rest of our lives, we are trying to replicate that. We are very rarely ever in a moment like that."

Seeking a camp When Castillo started looking for a summer camp for her girls, she says she focused on finding a non-competitive camp. She wanted to see them expand their interests over the three weeks and return energized for school and their regular activities. This year will be Paula’s fourth year at Clearwater Camp in Minocqua, Wis., where she says she likes that camp gave her a fresh start. Going into middle school, she says she had a nice friend group, but sometimes they made her feel unwanted. “When I came back (from camp), I realized maybe it was best if I try to find a different friend group, because I realized at camp what it felt like to have a really good friend group and feel like you are a part of something,” she says. Sara says it’s been nice to discover for herself what having a real friend looks like, not just having a friend on her phone. Plus, she likes that she can leave behind what kids at school might think of her and be who she is on the inside. “When you take that technology piece away, I think they not only learn who they are, but they learn how to create relationships with other people and the authenticity of those friendships,” Castillo says.

Today’s safety concerns The American Camp Association, Illinois, staff is hearing from more families concerned about making sure camps are safe for their kids. The best advice: Ask the camp directors the same questions about gun and mass violence as you might ask at your child’s school. Use these three other tips when considering an overnight or day camp. 1. Ask how staff is hired, trained and background checked no matter what kind of camp it is, including church or school-related camps. Executive Director Colette Marquardt says many non-accredited camps do not do thorough staff training and background. Of the many camps in Illinois, only about 150 of them are accredited through the American Camp Association, which requires regular peer reviews and strict background checks and training. 2. Ask how medical or health needs are handled, including mental health needs. Ask about staff training, qualifications and whether the staff is prepared for your child’s specific needs. These questions are not just about safety, but also about finding a camp setting where your child can thrive. 3. Ask about the counselor to camper ratio versus staff to camper ratio. The American Camp Association released updated ratios in December: Ages 5 and younger: 1 counselor per 5 overnight campers, 1 counselor per 6 day campers Ages 6-8: 1 counselor per 6 overnight campers, 1 counselor per 8 day campers Ages 9-14: 1 counselor per every 8 overnight, 1 counselor per 10 day campers Ages 15-18: 1 counselor per every 10 overnight campers, 1 counselor per 12 day campers In addition, 80 percent of the staff should be at least 18 years old, the new guidelines suggest.


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CAMPS 2020

DAY CAMPS The Ancona School 4770 S. Dorchester Ave. Chicago (773) 924-2356 Journeys is a hands-on, studentcentered, eight-week adventure for grades 1-8 comprised of four unique two-week journeys: Makers, Theater, Cooking and Ecology. Avery Coonley Summer Camp 1400 Maple Ave. Downers Grove A diverse offering of summer enrichment courses for curious kids from kindergarten through 8th grade, designed and taught by outstanding educators. Camp Naper at Naper Settlement 523 S. Webster St. Naperville (630) 420-6010 campnaper Naper Settlement offers kids in grades 1-8 unique, hands-on activities with advanced activities for older campers. Spend the summer exploring history, science, art and more. Chesterbrook Academy Bartlett, Lisle, Naperville, Oswego, St. Charles, Shorewood, Westmont (877) 959-4182 Our summer camp offers children a chance to explore, make friends and learn new skills. We offer sports, swimming, field trips, art, science and more. Camp GEMS 350 E. South Water St. Chicago (312) 809-8910 GEMS offers fun and educational seasonal camps during school breaks! Join Camp GEMS for

daily fun in science, language, Field Studies and sports. Decoma Day Camp Northbrook (847) 945-4455 Generations of children have enjoyed fantastic summers, special friendships and lifelong memories. Highlights include individual attention, small staff/ camper ratios, mature experienced counselors and flexible programming. McGaw YMCA Summer Day Camp Evanston (847) 475-8580 For campers entering 1st through 6th grades, Summer Day Camp offers an engaging, exciting and safe community where children develop new skills, explore the outdoors and build relationships that last a lifetime. Sacred Heart Schools 6250 N. Sheridan Road Chicago (773) 681-8419 Summer at Sacred Heart offers the perfect blend of academics, fitness and fun! Camp focus classes

include STEAM Explorations, Kids Who Code and Summer Sports. Early morning care and extended day options are available.

education, enrichment in math, science, technology and the arts, waterpark trips, physical education and traditional camp games.

St. Benedict Preparatory School 3900 N. Leavitt St. Chicago (773) 539-0066 St. Benedict Prep offers weekly summer enrichment camps for grades PreK-2 and weekly athletic camps for grades 1-8. Before and after camp childcare is available.

Summer Lab 1362 E. 59th St. Chicago (773) 834-7766 Summer Lab offers sports and theater to urban adventure and academics for all ages. Programs are designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and confidence in children.

Skokie Park District 9300 Weber Park Place Skokie (847) 674-1500 For decades, the Skokie Park District has provided summer camps that focus on adventure, friendship, fun, exploration, discovery and safety.

Wiz Kids Camps The Wiz Kids Foundation Campuses in Chicago and Flossmoor (708) 799 9400 ext. 5203 Elevate your child’s summer experience with the only camp that perfectly blends of academics, sports and field trips.

Summer Adventures in Learning at Science & Arts Academy 1825 Miner St. Des Plaines (847) 827-7880 summer Unique preschool-8th grade day camp offers early childhood

OVERNIGHT Black River Farm and Ranch Croswell, Mich. An overnight Summer Horse

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Camp for Girls since 1962 where campers experience caring for the horses, mounted lessons, trail rides & ground lessons and much more creativity and fun. Camp Anokijig W5639 Anokijig Lane Plymouth, Wis. (920) 893-0782 New friends, positive values, personal growth and outrageous fun are the foundations of the Anokijig experience. Customize your summer adventure, including horses and adventure trips. Camp Chippewa for Boys 22767 Cap Endres Road SE Cass Lake, Minn. (218) 335-8807 Established in 1935, its balanced program of in-camp activities and canoe trips in Minnesota

and Canada provides opportunities for growth and resiliency. Unique enrollment of 75 boys. Cub Creek Science Camp 16795 State Route E Rolla, Mo. (573) 458-2125 A summer camp with its own hands-on, interactive zoo! For animal, science and adventure lovers ages 7 to 17. McGaw YMCA Camp Echo 3782 S. Triangle Trail Fremont, Mich. (847) 475-7400 We offer programming for all ages! At Camp Echo, youth discover independence in a safe, inclusive environment that emphasizes personal growth alongside strength of community.

St. John’s Northwestern Summer Leadership Academy 1101 Genesee St. Delafield, Wis. (800) 752-2338 Reach new heights this summer at St. John’s Northwestern. Overnight camp and academic programs are available for grades 7-12 with an opportunity to earn course credit.

SPECIALTY Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University 2020 Summer Programs 617 Dartmouth Place Evanston (847) 467-1575 summer2020 CTD’s Summer Programs provide

CAMPS 2020

life-changing residential and commuter programs for academically advanced students, PreK-grade 12, at Northwestern University and other Chicago-area sites. CervantesKids: Spanish camp Instituto Cervantes 31 W. Ohio St. Chicago (312) 335-1996 Immerse your child in the wonders of foreign language learning at Instituto Cervantes with our Spanish Camps. Camps run on a weekly basis. Camp Invention Multiple locations (800) 968 4332 Imaginations will soar in the allnew Camp Invention program, Elevate! Visit the website or call to secure your spot and save today.

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German International School Chicago (GISC) 1726 W. Berteau Ave. Chicago (773) 857-3000 Learning German has never been more fun at a Germanimmersion summer camp for ages 3-11. Tuesday field trips and Friday beach days are included. Knowledge of the German language is not required. In partnership with the Lycée Français de Chicago. Register at Lakeshore Academy Gymnastics 937 W. Chestnut St. Chicago (312) 563-9400 Lakeshore Academy offers halfday and full-day camps during

the summer term, winter break and on special days throughout the school year. Lifeline Theatre Summer Drama Camps 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. Chicago (773) 761- 4477 Our camps not only teach kids how to embody characters and act out stories, they also help them to gain confidence, express themselves, and work patiently and respectfully with each other. Lillstreet Art Center Chicago (773) 837-9046 With more than 200 different specialty camps to choose from, there’s something for every

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young artist. Campers learn pottery, photography, jewelry, painting, printmaking, sewing and more! Lookingglass Theatre Company 821 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago (773) 477-9257 x193 curiosity/camps/ Get curious with Lookingglass this summer! The theatre camps invite children to create a world beyond imagination, working collaboratively to invent and transform stories. Noggin Builders Northbrook Court Mall 3000 Dundee Road, #201 Northbrook (847) 687-2450

Keep your curious kids engaged this summer with a STEM adventure! Fun, hands-on, weekly STEM camps for PreK & grades K-8. Second City’s Spring Break Camp; Summer Comedy Camps! 230 W. North Ave. Chicago (312) 664-3959 chicago/camp-summer-7-11 chicago/camp-summer-12-18 The Second City Training Center offers a variety of classes including improv, acting, writing, stand-up, etc. for kids and teens all year long. In addition to classes, camps are available all summer and during school winter and spring breaks.


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25 family-friendly

events you can’t miss

FEBRUARY Ice-A-Palooza.

Meet ice queen and princess, try open skating and hockey, see ice carvings and concession food Feb. 8 in Wheaton.

Chicago Auto Show. The nation's larg-

est and longest-running auto exposition showcases more than 1,000 vehicles, auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles and project, antique and collector cars Feb. 8-17 at McCormick Place.

ChillFest. Attendees

can stroll from venue to venue in Wicker Park and Bucktown, taking in live music sets while shopping on Feb. 8.


Girl Scout Night at Chicago Wolves. Join the Girl

long at Chicago Park District parks.

Long Grove Cocoa Crawl. More than

Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Wolves for the Girl Scout Cookie Rally Feb. 1 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

two dozen downtown merchants team up for a fun-filled day of free cocoainfused treats Feb. 1.

A Princess Tea Party. Girls will sing,

Lunar New Year Parade. Chinatown’s

dance and craft with the special princess guests at this royal tea Feb. 1 at Blackberry Farm.

yearly parade features marching bands, colorful floats and traditional lion dances Feb. 2.

Shoot for the Stars: Black History Month Kickoff. Enjoy crafts,

Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures. Take a

balloons, music and storytelling to kick off Black History Month Feb. 1 at Bronzeville Children’s Museum. Also, check out Black History Month events going on all month

high-octane ride with Mickey and pals through Feb. 2 at the United Center and from Feb. 6-9 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Lunar New Year Celebration. Learn

30 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

about the Lunar New Year with lantern crafting, Chinese calligraphy, a photo booth and more Feb. 2 at The Shops at North Bridge.

carving demonstrations and more Feb. 7-9.

The Incredibles.

vibrant music, engaging storytelling and enchanting visuals in a playful concert experience Feb. 8 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Escape the cold with a showing of the Pixar movie about a family with superheroes that comes out of retirement to try to save the world Feb. 5 at the Beverly Arts Center.

Once Upon a Symphony: The Boy & The Violin. Enjoy

The free concert program will showcase songs from African American culture and history with performances at Symphony Center Feb. 10-12.

Sweet Saturday.

Taste your way through the fruits and vines of the Garfield Park Conservatory Feb. 15.

{ }

Dragons Alive! The Science and Culture of Reptiles. The newest

exhibit at Peggy Notebaert kicks off Feb. 1 with lore about the culture of dragons.

Downers Grove Ice Fest. Unique ice

Chicago Children's Choir Black History Month Concerts.

sculptures line the streets while visitors enjoy live

Chicago Auto Show

Black History Story Time

Be immersed in MLK’s historic speech


Black History Story Time with author Valerie Reynolds. Meet Valerie

Reynolds, a Chicagobased author of The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy Feb. 15 at Evergreen Park Public Library.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks come to life, combining Hot Wheels’ iconic jumps and stunts with epic crashing and smashing Feb. 15-16 at Sears Centre Arena.

Presidents Day Teen Dance Competition. Teens can

form a group to join a dance competition of any style on the school day off Feb. 17 at Broadway Armory Park.

Fire and Ice Festival. Enjoy

roasted marshmallows, indoor skating, arts and crafts, ice bowling and more Feb. 21 at Chicago Women's Park and Gardens.

Hejsan! Crafts and Story Time.

Learn about Hejsan story and craft program for young children Feb. 21 at Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration.

Engineering Fest. Drop by to

build and learn, view two floors of exhibits, meet engineers and discover systems that

move Chicago at the CAC’s annual twoday Engineering Fest Feb. 22-23.

McCormick Mansion Tours. Take an

exclusive look into the 127-year-old McCormick Mansion’s past with a tour from a Lawry's guide Feb. 22.

Wizard Fest. A

magical event put on by fans of the great

wizard and witch books/movies that is meant to bring fans together and give wizards the chance to enjoy community in this immersive environment Feb. 22-23 at Lincolnwood Town Center.

Homewood Chocolate Fest. Enjoy live

music, children's activities, demos and vendor booths Feb. 22 in Homewood.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live PHOTO CREDIT SHANNON FRITTS


s the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech reaches its 57th anniversary this year, the DuSable Museum will show the march on Washington in a new, revolutionary exhibit. The March, which opens Feb. 27, will put visitors into the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Through a project by TIME Studios and actor and producer pair Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, the 1963 Washington, D.C., march can be viewed through the power of virtual reality. “Chicago has always been an epicenter of civil rights leadership, and the DuSable Museum of African American History is proud to be the premier location for The March,” says President & CEO of the DuSable Museum Perri L. Irmer in a release to media. “To be able to experience Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington in this state of-the-art virtual reality exhibit is an amazing opportunity, especially for our young people to connect with the civil rights movement and inspire our ongoing pursuit of social and racial justice that is still a hard fought battle—even today.” The immersive experience will include the 10-minute VR presentation and is supported by the King estate, which allowed the reproduction and likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. during the speech. The exhibition will run through November. Hillary Bird

The March DuSable Museum of African American History Opens Feb. 27, Free with admission CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 31

main activities including trivia, origami, calligraphy and face painting, and performances. Fees for food. Noon-4 p.m. Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park. (708) 434-3386,

Girl Scout Night at Chicago Wolves

Long Grove Cocoa Crawl. More than two dozen downtown merchants team up for a fun-filled, family-friendly day where visitors can crawl out of winter hibernation to take in the town and its cocoa-infused treats. Noon-4 p.m. Long Grove Visitor’s Center.


Lunar New Year Parade. 1 | SATURDAY CHICAGO

Shoot for the Stars: Black History Month Kickoff. Enjoy crafts, balloons, music and storytelling to kick off Black History Month. $5. 1-3 p.m. Bronzeville Children’s Museum.

Cold Blooded Weekend. Learn about reptiles with an immersive experience. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Won’t Bach Down. Children of all ages have a chance to become more familiar with music from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. 10 a.m.-noon. St. Gregory the Great Church. (773) 354-4533,

Lunar New Year Celebration. Learn about the Lunar New Year with lantern crafting, Chinese calligraphy, a photo booth and more. 1-3:30 p.m. The Shops at North Bridge. (312) 3272300.


Girl Scout Night at Chicago Wolves. Join the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Wolves for the Girl Scout Cookie Rally. A ticket includes entrance to the cookie rally, commemorative

T-shirt, Chicago Wolves game ticket, free parking and a rally patch for Girl Scouts. 2 p.m. Allstate Arena, Rosemont.

Winter Family Day. Meet the furry friends at Big Run Wolf Ranch. Dog sledding demonstrations from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and music, food, hot chocolate and a bonfire. $7. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch, Lockport. (815) 588-0044,

A Princess Tea Party. Girls will sing, dance and craft with the special princess guests at this royal tea. $20, $15 resident; registration required. 9-10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Blackberry Farm, Aurora.

Nature Discovery Day. Complete a craft to take home, explore the science of nature, go sledding or cross country skiing, view animals and enjoy a roasted marshmallow. 10 a.m.-noon. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901,

Winter on the Lake. Enjoy kid-friendly winter activities such as face painting, crafts, visits with animals and other activities. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, Palos Heights. Japan Fest. Highlight the Tokyo Olympics with Olympicrelated sports games, crafts and

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Features marching bands, colorful floats and traditional lion dances. 1 p.m. Chinatown.

Secret Agent Storytime. Sing, dance, read books and make crafts with Agent Zach. Recommended for junior agents ages 0-4 and their families. 11 a.m.-noon. The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. (646) 239-9625, events/352704895576700. SUBURBS

Stalking the Sleeping Groundhog. Learn to identify the clues the groundhog leaves behind and the tracks of other local wildlife. 1 p.m. Crabtree Nature Center, Barrington.

Sweet Treats: Cold Eats. Kids 4-10 put together (and taste) some easy-to-make fruity treats like smoothies and shaved ice. $24, $19 members. 9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe.

Groundhog Day, Again. Learn the story behind the peculiar holiday of Groundhog’s Day. 1:30 p.m. River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook.

Groundhog Day. Learn how groundhogs and other native animals survive winter. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland. Dog Admission Day. Hit the trails with your furry friend. Fee includes

a stylish Arboretum bandana for your pup. $5 per dog plus regular admission. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,

Groundhog Day. Learn how the groundhog got its own holiday, then do special activities and make your own groundhog weather predictor. 1 p.m. Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest. 5 | WEDNESDAY The Incredibles. Showing of Pixar movie about a family of superheroes that comes out of retirement to try to save the world. $6, $5 members. 7:30 p.m. Beverly Arts Center, Chicago. Mother Nature and Me. Children ages 3-5 and their favorite adult learn about nature through exploration and outdoor activities. Today’s topic: Snow. Registration required. 10:30 a.m. Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs.

Stroller Tours. Caregivers discover the MCA’s exhibitions with a docent, exploring galleries without concern that their baby or stroller will disrupt the tour. Free with admission. 11:30 a.m. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago.

7 | FRIDAY Family Valentine’s Day Dance. Dancing, concessions and a photo op. $5. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mayfair Park, Chicago.

Princess Dance at Rosedale. Enjoy princess-themed songs, crafts, games, and, of course, fun. $5, registration required. 6-8 p.m. Rosedale Park, Chicago.

Moon Madness. Enrich your experience of the Buzz Aldrin: Space Visionary exhibit with the Buzz Aldrin Education Cart. Free with admission. 3-4 p.m. Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, Chicago. (773) 728-8111,

main Parent and Child Valentine’s Dance at West Lawn. Put on your dancin’ shoes

est audience members. $17. 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

for a Valentine’s Day Dance. 6:30-8:30 p.m. West Lawn Park, Chicago.

UMOJA Black History Month Celebration. Features

Downers Grove Ice Fest. Unique ice sculptures line the streets while visitors enjoy events, such as live carving demonstrations. Downers Grove.


CAC Family Day. Families with kids ages 3 and older can explore the galleries to learn fun facts, find hidden gems and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Themes and activities change each month. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. (312) 922-3432,

Once Upon a Symphony: The Boy & The Violin. Vibrant music, engaging storytelling and enchanting visuals blend together in a playful concert experience designed especially for the young-

Family Flake Fest.


Ice-A-Palooza. Meet the ice queen and princess, open skating and hockey, ice carvings and concession food. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Central Athletic Complex – Ice Rinks, Wheaton.

performances by children and adults in park programs, vendors of African-American products and attire and food vendors featuring soul food menus. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Homan Square Park.

Feb. 1. Today’s location: Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest.

Family Day: Museum of Contemporary Art. Take

Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. Features more than 1,200

part in workshops, open studio sessions, gallery tours and performances. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Black History Month Celebration at Tuley. Activities will include performances, cultural interactive displays, and tours. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuley Park.

Chillfest. Attendees can stroll from venue to venue, taking in live music sets while shopping in Wicker Park and Bucktown, sitting down for a drink or even getting a salon treatment. 2-6 p.m.

Won’t Bach Down. See

travel experts from the world’s top destinations. $11, $18 twoday; Free kids 16 and under. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont. (203) 878-2577 ext. 100,

Sweets for Sweetie. Decorate a sweet treat and personalize a Valentine’s Day card. Fees for activities. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Lambs Farm, Libertyville. (847) 990-3749,

Tree Cookie Painting. Take in the scenes of winter and paint them on take-home tree cookies. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland.

Activities include a learn-to-skate clinic, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, ice sculpting and warm cocoa is available. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Yukich Fields, Evergreen Park. (708) 229-3373, evergreenpark-ill. com.

Downers Grove Ice Fest. See Feb. 7.


Chocolate Sundae Sunday. Create your own sundae, take the chocolate trivia challenge, vote for your favorite topping, and design a delightful Valentine. $3, $2 members, plus admission. 2-4 p.m. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford.

Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. See Feb. 8. Today’s times: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Nature Art. Kids ages 8 and older and their families will have a rockin’ time creating unique framed nature art. $15. 10 a.m.noon. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901,

Downers Grove Ice Fest. See Feb. 7.

10 | MONDAY Valentine’s Day Crafts at Maplewood. Kids ages 3-6 get crafty for Valentine’s Day. $5. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Maplewood Park, Chicago.

Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Concerts. The concert program showcases songs from African American culture and history and is themed around the 2020 Black History Month national theme of “African Americans and the Vote.” 10:45 a.m. Symphony Center, Chicago.

11 | TUESDAY Valentine’s Day Dance.

Downers Grove Ice Fest

Enjoy dancing, treats, music and more. 5-6:30 p.m. Lincoln Park Cultural Center.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 33

main Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Concerts. See Feb. 10 12 | WEDNESDAY Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Concerts. See Feb. 10 13 | THURSDAY Family Valentine Dance at Union. Enjoy dancing, crafts and treats. 4:30-6 p.m. Union Park, Chicago.

14 | FRIDAY The Fantastic Frozen Adventure. Kids ages 6-10 will set out on an adventure to find the source of woodland magic with clues, challenges and building a snowman. Bring warm, waterproof outdoor clothing and boots for exploring outside. $20. 1-3 p.m. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901,

Valentine’s Dance & Open House at Lake Shore. Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy dancing, crafts and treats. 6-7:30 p.m. Lake Shore Park, Chicago.


Sweet Saturday. Taste your way through the fruits and vines of the Garfield Park Conservatory. This event is open to all ages. $10 suggested donation. Noon-3 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory.

Special Needs Family Dance at Marquette. Families with special needs members can put on dancin’ shoes for the Family Valentine’s Day Dance. 2-4:30 p.m. Marquette Park.


Black History Story Time with author Valerie Reynolds. Meet Valerie Reynolds,

a Chicago-based author of The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy as she reads her vividly illustrated, history-based children’s book. Fees for book purchase; preregistration requested. 2-2:45 p.m. Evergreen Park Public Library, Evergreen Park.

Freedom Songs: The Music of Black History. Meet incredible Americans like Scott Joplin, Billie Holiday, Little Richard and more in a tale that is sure to intrigue audiences in grades 3 and older. Preregistration required. 2 p.m. Homewood Public Library, Homewood. brownpapertickets. com/event/4306661.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live. Hot Wheels Monster Trucks come to life, combining Hot Wheels’ iconic jumps and stunts with epic crashing and smashing. $10-$44. 12:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Sears Centre Arena, Hoffman Estates.

Family Fun Fair. Families can enjoy live entertainment, games, program demos, inflatables, food and raffles. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Vaughan Athletic Center, Aurora. Sweet Treats: Cold Eats. See Feb. 2.


Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live. See Feb. 15. Today’s schedule: 1:30 p.m.

Fun with the Lincolns. “President Lincoln” will talk about growing up in a log cabin, how he got his beard and the importance of never giving up on oneself. Stay after to celebrate Mr. Lincoln’s birthday with cake as well as presidential activities and books. $5, free members; reservations required. 2-3:30 p.m. Wilmette Historical Museum, Wilmette. (847) 853-7666,

17 | MONDAY Presidents Day Teen Dance Competition. Teens can form a group to join a dance competition of any style. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

34 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM


Broadway Armory Park, Chicago. napervilleparks.

Snowfari. Kids ages 6-10 go on

Hejsan! Crafts and Story Time. Hejsan story and craft

a winter safari to find out who is playing in the snowy forest. $20. 10 a.m.-noon. Heller Nature Center, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901,

21 | FRIDAY Black History Ice Cream Social at Brainerd. Enjoy fun, games and ice cream while learning about Black History. Brainerd Park, Chicago.

Fire and Ice Festival. Enjoy roasted marshmallows, indoor skating, arts and crafts, ice bowling and more. Recommended for ages 2 and older. $5 per child, free adults and under 1. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, Chicago.

Black History Month Celebration at Hayes. Activities will include performances, cultural interactive displays and tours. 6-8 p.m. Hayes Park, Chicago.

Kids’ Night Out: Sweet Hearts. Kids enjoy a night filled with Valentine fun. Dinner and juice are provided. $39, $26 resident; preregistration required. 6-9 p.m. Naperville Park District, Naperville.

program for young children. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m. Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, Chicago.

Daddy Daughter Princess Ball. Guests enjoy great music, dancing, a sundae bar and more as dads and daughters make memories. $38-$48, preregistration required. 6-8 p.m. Wheaton Park District Community Center, Wheaton.


Engineering Fest. Drop by to build and learn, view two floors of exhibits, meet engineers and discover systems that move Chicago at the CAC’s annual two-day Engineering Fest. $6, free for kids ages 12 and younger. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. (312) 922-3432, McCormick Mansion Tours. Take an exclusive look into the 127-year-old McCormick Mansion’s past with a tour from a Lawry’s guide. The tour, which even features spooky stories recounted by

main 27 | THURSDAY

the staff, includes a variety of seasonal bites and cocktails at various stops. $50, reservations required. 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. Lawry’s The Prime Rib. (312) 787-5000,

Black History Month Celebration at Carver. See Feb. 25.


Black History Month Celebration at Lindblom.

Black History Month Celebration at Carver.

Activities will include performances, cultural interactive displays and tours. 4-7 p.m. Lindblom Park, Chicago.

See Feb. 25.

Family Painting at Rosedale.

CatVideoFest. Enjoy a program of the best cat videos of the year. $12, $9 under 12 and seniors, $8 members. Noon. Music Box Theatre.

Polar Adventure Days



Lincoln State Cat Club Feline Event. Cat show and educational fair. $10 adults, $8 children 6-12, free 6 and under. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles.

Wizard Fest. A magical event put on by fans of the great wizard and witch books and movies meant to bring fans together and give wizards the chance to enjoy community in this immersive environment. $30-$70. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Lincolnwood Town Center, Lincolnwood. Homewood Chocolate Fest. Features live music, children’s activities, demos and vendor booths. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Homewood Park District.

Sap’s Rising. Walk in the sugar maple forest to learn about the sweet history of maple syrup making. 1:30-2:30 p.m. River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook. (847) 824-8360,

Blippi Live. Blippi’s first tour brings the fun and antics of his beloved adventures to the stage. $25+. 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont.

Underground Railroad

Hike. An imaginary journey follows an Underground Railroad route used in Illinois in the mid-1800s. 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland. event/black-history-month-underground-railroad-hikes.

Sunday Morning Cartoons. Wndr Museum shows classic cartoons projected in the food and beverage space plus all-you-caneat cereal from the cereal bar. All ages welcome. $20, Free 10 and under with adult. 10 a.m.-noon. Wndr Museum. event/sunday-morning-cartoons.

Sunday Funday. Enjoy a matinee movie and a family craft or experience that relates to the movie. Today’s feature: The Goonies. $6, $5 members. 2 p.m. Beverly Arts Center. Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. Justin and his world-class band will have parents and kids dancing and singing along to his silly and sophisticated songs about growing up. $15, $13 members. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Old Town School of Folk Music. (773) 728-6000,

Engineering Fest. See Feb. 22. CatVideoFest. See Feb. 22. SUBURBS

Princess Luncheon. Two popular princesses will sing songs, play games, tell stories and take photos. Dress in best princess attire and enjoy a light lunch buffet. $10.95, $6.95 10 and under; reservations required. Noon-1 p.m. Stony Creek Golf Course, Oak Lawn. (708) 8572433,

make breakfast and take home recipes. $24, $19 members. 9:3011 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe.

Lincoln State Cat Club. See Feb. 22.

The Des Plaines River and the Underground Railroad. Take a guided hike along the Des Plaines River to a site that was part of the Underground Railroad. 1 p.m. Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest.

Sap’s Rising. See Feb. 22

Julius Dein’s Magic. In a live performance, Julius Dein brings some of his favorite magic feats to life while intermixing mindreading and illusions. $25-$100. 7:30-10 p.m. Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago. pe/10474486.

Black History Month Celebration at Carver. Activities will include performances, cultural interactive displays and tours. Noon-6 p.m. Lindblom Park, Chicago.


Make Your Own Butter and Pancakes. Kids ages 4-10 will

Black History Month Celebration at Carver.

learn about the plants used to

See Feb. 25.

CHICAGO The program features world premieres, including American Traffic, a new work by acclaimed tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance and Melinda Sullivan commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre. $35+. 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Auditorium Theatre.

Polar Adventure Days. Explore Northerly Island and enjoy winter activities. Free, $3 parking. Noon-4 p.m. Northerly Island.


Today’s time: 7 p.m.


Trinity Irish Dance Company.

Wizard Fest. See Feb. 22.

CatVideoFest. See Feb. 22.

As a family, participants ages 2 and older learn basic techniques including brush strokes and work in a variety of mediums to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. $3, registration required. 6-7 p.m. Rosedale Park, Chicago.

Black History Month Celebration at Washington. Activities will include performances, cultural interactive displays and tours. Noon-3 p.m. Washington Park.


The Fantastic Foam Science Show. Learn about electricity, molecular compression, light refraction, dry ice, fantastic foam and so much more during this science extravaganza. 2-3 p.m. Morton Grove Public Library, Morton Grove. (847) 929-5102,

Sap’s Rising. See Feb. 22. Make Your Own Butter and Pancakes. See Feb. 23. CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 35


Chicago Auto Show


Art on the Mart. Curated digital art installation across 2.5 acres of theMART’s river façade. About 4-6 p.m. WednesdaysSundays. The Merchandise Mart, Chicago. Castles. An original exhibit inviting young imaginations to create their own kingdom in a one-ofa-kind castle-themed playspace. Kids hold the power to play in a castle complete with secret tunnels, a rope bridge, tower, dungeon, throne room, market and more, setting the stage for a fantastical experience where the only limit is one’s imagination. Daily. Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000.

Chicago Auto Show. The nation’s largest and longestrunning auto exposition showcases more than 1,000 domestic and imported vehicles, auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles and project, antique and collector cars. Kids enjoy interactive displays throughout the show. $13, $8 seniors & kids 7-12. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 8-16; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Feb. 17. McCormick Place, Chicago.

Fantastic Bug Encounters.

sky. Free with museum admission, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Adler Planetarium, Chicago.

Told from a bug’s point of view, Fantastic Bug Encounters! invites you to take a closer look at the beauty, diversity and abilities of these resourceful creatures. $6+. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Field Museum, Chicago.

Dragons Alive! The Science and Culture of Reptiles. Learn about the culture of dragons, then see 10 species of reptiles and lizards with dragon-like features. Free with museum admission. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago.

The March. “The March” brings the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to virtual reality for the first time. Free with admission. Begins Feb. 27. DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago.

Enchanted Railroad. Watch more than 10 model trains wind through a two-level display. Free with arboretum admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Through Feb. 23. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,

Chicago’s Night Sky. This 5,000-square-foot exhibition encourages people to look at the

36 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond. In collaboration with WTTW, Nature Cat and his friends encourage kids to explore the natural world. Free with museum admission. Kohl Children’s

About the calendar The deadline for submitting listings for the March issue is Jan. 27. All events are subject to change. Please confirm before you go. Events taking place on four or more dates during the month are listed in Ongoing Events, beginning on page 36. ■

Searchable listings updated daily

Museum, Glenview.

On the Right Track: By Rail to Chicago & Beyond. Visitors discover how Chicago-area railroads helped create the suburban transportation landscape. Free with museum admission. 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays & Sundays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst. (630) 833-1457,

Remembering Dr. King: 19291968. Walk through a gallery of key moments in Dr. King’s work and Civil Rights Movement. Free with museum admission. Through March 1. Chicago History Museum, Chicago.

Stunning Stories in American Indian Jewelry. For thousands of years, artisans have expressed their cultural stories in a wide range of jewelry. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaysSaturdays, Noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston. (847) 475-1030,

Wired to Wear. The first-ever exhibit dedicated to wearable technology—smart clothing and devices designed to extend the human body’s capabilities. Recommended for ages 6 and older. $12, $9 ages 3-11, $6 members. Timed ticket required. Museum of Science and Industry,


Chicago. (773) 684-1414, OTHER EVENTS DAILY

Baby & Me. A chance for parents of infants to meet others adjusting to parenthood, ask questions and make friends. Free with admission. 9:30-11 a.m. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview.

Story Time. Listen to a story selected for the littlest visitors, and then keep the fun going with games and activities. Free with admission. 11 a.m. daily. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. (773) 755-5100,

Winter Play. A self-guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play. Free with admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, SUNDAY Fiddleheads. Join the conservatory for activities and projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world. Each week is a different science-based activity. Noon-4 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, Weekend Crafts. Explore the Native American culture with crafts for different age groups. Crafts change monthly. Free with admission. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston. (847) 475-1030,

TUESDAY Kido Books Storytime. The story time specializes in books that feature multicultural characters and encourage empathy and inclusivity. 10:30-11 a.m. KIDO, 1137 S. Delano Court, Chicago.

Little Playtimes. Legoland opens early for toddlers and their parents. $10 in advance; $12 at door; free kids 2 and under. 10 a.m.-noon. Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg. chicago. WEDNESDAY Wild Wednesdays. Kids explore nature, get their hands dirty and discover new things about plants, animals and nature. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4-7 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, Mindfulness and More. Oral storytelling and mindful awareness games. Free with museum admission. 3:30 p.m. Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815,

Arbor Reading Adventures. MONDAY Morning Glories. Children and their caregivers can explore different areas of the Children’s Garden. Educators provide storytime, imaginative play and sensory activities. Recommended for 5 and younger. Free, donation requested. 10 a.m.-noon. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, Art Games. Children create art through playing games and play games while creating art. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815,

Interactive story time and fun crafts indoors before heading out on the grounds for an adventure walk. Themes change each week. $5. 11-11:45 a.m. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,


kid-starring performances and more. The rest of the month on Thursdays, entrance late in the day is $14.95 for up to four people, $5 each additional person. 4-8 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000.

need to understand the official rules and be able to play independently. For those who need to learn, there is a drop-in group instructional session 10-10:30 a.m. Must have a deck of 60 cards. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Cat & Mouse Games, Chicago.

Songs and Stories. Attend every Thursday afternoon for songs and stories. Entry includes cost for open play. $12, free enrolled families. 3:30 p.m. Bubbles Academy, Chicago.

Stories and songs celebrating classic literature for preschoolage kids. Free with admission. 10:30-11:30 a.m. American Writers Museum, Chicago. (312) 374-8790,

FRIDAY Juicebox. A music and performance series for the stroller set. February performers include Funkadesi, Feb. 7-8 and Deep Fried Pickle Project, Feb. 21-22. 11 a.m. first and third Friday. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago. Arbor Reading Adventures. See Wednesday.

THURSDAY Play Late Thursdays. On the first Thursday of each month, kids take center stage with programs including open mic nights with guest MCs to run the show, themed dance parties for the whole family, kid-friendly and

SATURDAY Kids Pokémon League. The Cat & Mouse Games Kids’ Pokemon League brings together kids 6-12 serious about learning how to play the game. Participants

Little Squirrels Storytime.

S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays. Each week, kids get a chance to learn more through play focusing on chemistry, geometry and physics. Free with museum admission. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, Family Fishing. This 2 1/2-hour class for fishermen ages 8 and older includes in-class instruction and on-the-water fishing (weather permitting). $5. 8-10:30 a.m. Northerly Island, Chicago. Juicebox. See Fridays. Today’s location: Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. Fiddleheads. See Sunday. Weekend Crafts. See Sunday. Saturday times: 11 a.m.-noon.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM February 2020 37


Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures

Bunny’s Book Club. Celebrate the joy of reading in this world premiere adaptation of Annie Silvestro’s celebrated picture book. $20, $15 ages 2-18. 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays through Feb. 16. Lifeline Theatre, Chicago. (773) 761-4477,

Chicago Kids Company Presents Goldilocks & The Three Bears. Kids ages 2-10 will enjoy a one-hour musical based on the classic tale, with an adapted script and original songs. $14. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and occasional Tuesdays, through Feb. 21, and 1 p.m. Feb. 1. Stahl Family Theater, Chicago. (773) 205-9600,

ComedySportz. Chicago’s longest-running, game-based improv comedy show is recommended for ages 7 and older. $25. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, plus 6 p.m. Saturdays. ComedySportz Theatre, Chicago. (773) 549-8080, Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures. Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride. Other Disney characters in the show include

Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, princesses Rapunzel, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana, and Maui and Moana. $20-$75. Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at United Center, Chicago, & Feb. 6-9 at Allstate Arena, Rosemont.

The Fantasticks. A funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl and their two fathers who try to keep them apart. $40-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, beginning Feb. 7. Citadel Theatre, Lake Forest. (847) 735-8554,

Grease. Join in the fun of the hilarious antics of Rydell High’s class of ‘59. $50-$60. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 1 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. FridaysSaturdays, 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Sundays. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

Love, Chaos, and Dinner. Dinner and unique circus event. $123 and up, includes four-course meal. 7 p.m. WednesdaysSundays, noon Saturdays & Sundays. The Cambria Hotel Loop-Theatre District, Chicago.

38 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Pinkalicious, a play. Based on the popular book, follow the tale of Pinkalicious, a little girl who can’t stop eating pink cupcakes. The one-hour presentation is performed by adults and teens for younger audiences. $15. 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 29-March 1. Sherwood Elementary School, Highland Park. Red Kite, Brown Box. A live theater experience that leads children with autism and their caregivers on an imaginative journey where simple cardboard boxes transform into a magical world full of treasures and joyous play. $12. noon & 1:30 p.m. Saturdays beginning Feb. 29. Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago. Riverdance - The 25th Anniversary Show. The groundbreaking show is reimagined with innovative and spectacular lighting, projection, stage and costume designs. $14.50+. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4-7, 2 p.m. Feb. 5, 8-9; 8 p.m. Feb. 8. Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago

The Secret of My Success. Adapted from the 1987 Michael J. Fox movie, Brantley Foster, a young

ambitious Midwesterner, moves to New York City to start his dream job at a major corporation and hilarity ensues. Recommended for ages 10 and older. $36+. Begins Feb. 12. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, Aurora.

Storytown. Kids design the setting and help shape the story, and the Storytown actors, artists and musicians bring it to life. $10. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Stage 773, Chicago.

That’s Weird, Grandma: Travels Through Time. Stories written by Chicago students help lead the PlayMakers Laboratory plays through time. $20, $10 12 and under. 3 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 16. Neo-Futurist Theater, Chicago.

Wake Up, Brother Bear. An interactive show that will take theater-going cubs on a fun-filled journey through the four seasons with a playful pair of bears. $22. 9:30 & 11:30 a.m. SaturdaysSundays through Feb. 16. Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago.

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L ast word




y husband thinks I love our kids more than I love him. If I am telling the truth, he’s probably correct, but I think that is the way it should be. He says that’s so wrong. I’m wondering what other parents think about this.

I think both parents should prioritize the needs of the children. Love should never be compared. He sounds jealous and I would be very uncomfortable with that. If he needed more of your affection, the mature and stable thing to do would be to tell you that without comparing the relationship you have with your children to the one you have with him. Jen K. ■ A strong marriage makes a strong family. Sounds like he is missing you. Spend some time with him. Start dating again. Many times when the focus is on the kids and when they are grown and have moved out, many marriages break apart because the couple have lost their connection to each other. Kirsty B. ■ Husband should be first. A secure marriage makes kids feel secure and it models healthy relationships for them. Andrea J. ■ They are two completely different types of love. You can and (probably) do love them both the same. You love your children as individuals yet part of you, as a teacher, chef, protector, nurse, boo-boo healer, advisor, cheerleader, disciplinarian, as THEIR everything. Your HUSBAND owns an intimate part of you as your lover, friend, confidant, protector, savior, through your tears, smiles, good and bad. Dawn D.

■ I don’t see how comparing the two is useful. I love them differently, not more or less. My kids require more of my attention. It sounds like your husband wants more of yours. Kate S. ■ Personally, I don’t think you can compare the two. And if you can, then your marriage is in trouble. He sounds insecure and this competition he seems to have with your kids for your love sounds dangerous. Sarah R. ■ Husband first, then kids. Kids will grow and have their own families. He was there before, during and after the kids. Jen E. ■ I personally think people compare the two way too often.

40 February 2020 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

You actually should love them both equally just in different ways. Dianna A. ■ It doesn’t matter what we all think. Your partner is struggling in your relationship and that should matter to you. Talk it though and find a balance that works for you both. If you can’t do it alone, then find a therapist who can help. Jennifer D. ■ A healthy strong relationship is based on communication. When my husband and I agreed on committing to a loving marriage, we made sure to meet each other’s families, sat down and discussed our goals personally and professionally, children, home, pets, likes and dislikes. And although it takes time to build a relationship it was important to discuss together before marriage.

I believe husbands are the center of attention at first when married and then your children come and it becomes our children first and then us. For us it has worked well to place our children first and then us. We have loving, caring, respectful, not perfect but great marriage. Mia A. ■ I would guess that he is saying this because your marital relationship isn’t getting the attention it needs and this is his attempt to tell you that, not because he is insecure or trying to have a competition with your kids. I would look at the amount of time being invested in maintaining it. The marital relationship is equally important to a happy home and kids as is the parent/child relationship. Kids are very time consuming and can make it hard, especially when they are young. Karen I.