Chicago Parent - November 2019

Page 1



N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 9



Standing up against discrimination



in the

50 local toys under $50 that shine





























20 Shiny & bright

Real Life .................... 10

The top 50 toys for less than $50

Failing with Gusto ..... 14

26 Up in vape

Viva Daddy ................ 17

The vaping epidemic and what parents need to know

Around Town ............. 18 Calendar .................... 48

31 Essay: How I finally

Parenting Dilemma.... 64

became friends with my infertility


Special advertising section: How to make the most of a school visit and more. Plus, great schools you should know.

On the Cover: Lilia Lucero Garcia, 11, of Chicago


Thomas Kubik



Standing up against discrimination

Lauren Jeziorski and Kelly Buren


N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 9

Photography: Design:

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. © 2019 Zoe Communications Group Inc. All rights reserved.




in the

50 local toys under $50 that shine

EditoR’s Note

The November rush



he late Thanksgiving this year is really going to mess with the amount of time we have to shop for all of those presents on our kids’ wish lists – that is, for procrastinators like me. So, this issue is dedicated to helping you out for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. As we have done every year, Managing Editor Hillary Bird set out in late August and early September to find the coolest toys for babies to teens from some wonderful independent toy stores. After hours and hours of shopping, with the guidance of the local toy gurus, she

narrowed the list to 50 that will bring the wows without the ouch in wallet. The thing I always love about our annual gift guide is that these are toys you can find right here in Chicagoland. Sure, I like Amazon Prime as much as the next mom, but nothing beats the feeling of being in an actual toy store, especially this time of year, and the expertise and friendliness you find by shopping local. I always use this gift guide as inspiration and motivation to get started on my own shopping and holiday prep. Even those of you awesome parents always on top of your game and with the bulk of your


shopping done, this gift guide comes with some splurges you might have missed on your first round. As we march (too quickly) toward the holidays, I want to take a moment to tell you how thankful I am that you are along on this parenting journey with me and the Chicago Parent team. I wish your family a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with yummy food and sweet moments with family. Happy November.


our village

Being thankful It’s all about gratitude this month! As hectic as the holidays can get, it’s important to step back and spend some quality time with your children. We’ve got plenty of fun ideas for your family to try at If you love posting these memories on Instagram, use #sharechicagoparent for a chance to be featured in this column. KATINA BENIARIS

Enter to win Get a head start on holiday shopping this year by entering our giveaways at ChicagoParent. com/Contests. For November, we’re giving away tickets to “‘Twas the Night Before...”, a new holiday show by Cirque du Soleil. Of course, you don’t want to miss our big holiday gift guide giveaway, where you can win a BIG prize package of toys featured in this issue.


Palmer from Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, Instagram: @kate_and_crew

our village

We want to hear from you Your holiday celebrations just got a whole lot sweeter. In our December issue, we’re sharing our favorite holiday cookie recipes. You’ll even see us bake these scrumptious treats on our social media. Got an amazing cookie you want us to feature online? Send your favorite holiday cookie recipes to

ICYMI Follow us on Instagram This year, we’re thankful to see our Instagram community growing! Follow us @ChicagoParent to see behind the scenes of our team and photos from our readers. We also feature real Chicago parents in our weekly Family Funday Takeover series. Find the “Real Families” Story Highlights on our profile to catch up on past takeovers.

Don’t forget to give back during the holidays. If you ever wanted to volunteer as a family, check out our guide filled with volunteering opportunities perfect for kids. Download the list for free at VolunteerGuide.


Real life | DAD




dam Jacobs can sing, dance and act. Best known as Broadway’s original Aladdin, the Chicago dad who also notably appeared as Marius in Les Miserables, Sky in Mamma Mia! and Simba in The Lion King, says his full-time role as dad to his twin boys is the most rewarding—yet challenging—gig he’s ever had. How has your family embraced Chicago since moving in 2018? There’s so much to see and explore, so we’re still playing tourist in our own city. The kids love going to the Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Illinois Railway Museum. Gilson Park in Wilmette is also a top hangout for our family. I grew up going to beaches, and my wife grew up spending time at a lake house, so Chicago beaches are really the best of both worlds. Why is it important to get kids exposed to the arts at an early age? Unstructured play is important. Kids should have time to use their imagination and play pretend. With the advent of all the technology, being able to have productive time away from those things and knowing you can have fun without an iPad is key. As an actor, I try to emphasize to my own kids that we need to make time to use our imagination, be silly and laugh. At night, we have a CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

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The triple threat

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 11

Real life | DAD


Adam Jacobs ■ Day job: Broadway performer (recently wrapped up playing the role of Shakespeare in Something Rotten). ■ Wife: Kelly ■ Kids: Twins Jack & Alex, 5 ■ Parenting must haves: audiobooks for road trips, Pokémon cards to keep the boys busy and a soccer ball to kick around whenever we can. ■ What you are most thankful for: The transition from New York City to Wilmette has gone smoothly for our family over the last year. bedtime ritual of singing lullabies to the boys. But instead of using the traditional lyrics, we like to swap them out for funny ones. They get a kick out of it.

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to be playing Princess Jasmine on Broadway).

How do you and balance work and family? It has gotten tougher with the boys going to kindergarten, especially since my schedule is to work nights and weekends, but I try to maximize the time we do have together. We recently bought a huge bin of Legos and we love dumping them out and building together.

Being an actor is all about having confidence in yourself. In a world filled with bullying, how can children find their confidence? My wife and I teach our children that everyone is different and special in their own way, and to treat everyone with kindness and respect. As a parent, we can only hope that we’ve given them the tools and emphasized the correct behavior to let them find their own way.

Who were your Disney heroes as a child? Aladdin was always at the top. He was a little brown boy like me. So I was drawn to that character. I remember pretending to be him with my younger sister, Arielle (who just happens

Since you are the original Aladdin, we have to ask: If you had three wishes, what would they be? World peace, to have a superpower (telekinesis), and health and happiness ‘til the end for my family.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 13


The book bag


looked down at my pleading 5-yearold and stood firm. We were at Eddie Bauer with my rewards dollars. Joey wandered over to the hiking area, coveting a bright green $100 Adventure backpack. It was bigger than he was. “I think I’m going to need this for kindergarten.” “No. That’s more than I’ve ever spent on a purse in my life,” I replied. MARIANNE Joey continued to follow me around the WALSH store begging and offering to pay me back once he had a job. You know. In 11 years.


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I threw out what I thought to be a negotiation killer. “If I get you this bag, it goes with you to college. You are not getting another book bag for the rest of your life.” Surprisingly, Joey quickly agreed. Joey is in sixth grade now. The bag is 6 years old. When I retrieved something out of it the other day, I noticed it was torn and filthy. It looked like it had survived several combat missions. While his older brothers clamored for different, trendier bags every year, Joey had stuck with his solemn word. I was about to put it in the laundry. “You can’t wash it, Mom. The dirt is what’s holding it together!” I was once a very consistent parent. What I said was law. Over the years, I’ve been beaten down, and I now forfeit more battles than I win. My older boys know this and push the limit. But Cap’n Literal? He still thinks of me as an immovable object.

I decided to let him off the hook. I told him he needed a new book bag and we’d look for one over the weekend. “NO! I want to bring this one to college. It holds all my memories.” “Joey, the bottom is about to fall out.” “We do nothing until that happens.” The idea of the bag collapsing on the way to school toting Joey’s books and random treasures made me nervous. I envisioned my youngest child stopping traffic on Western Avenue to collect homework and Wiffle balls. Yet I admire his integrity. Not too many 5-year-olds negotiate a deal and stick to it a whole lifetime later. In an era where everything is disposable and promises are broken when the wind blows, I had a child who valued his word. Then I remembered Joey had once promised he was going to live in an RV in our driveway with his five dogs forever. I am so screwed. Marianne Walsh, mom of three boys, is married to Chicago firefighter and lives on the South Side.

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A doll's house


he fact that my daughter is empathetic, kind and patient surprises me none. The fact that I myself am NOT a brawling hellion surprises me greatly. I say this because the toys she plays with are largely figures of characters who are friends and who solve problems together whilst overseeing imaginary kingdoms. My toys were designed to kill one another with guns and swords (and the dark side of the Force). MATT BORESI My daughter Viva loves to play with toys—particularly superheroines, mermaids, princesses, Descendants, Star Wars heroines—be they 3 ¾ inches, 6 inches or 12 inches (Barbie) scale. As a withering Gen Xer, I’m still deeply attached to the toyetic franchises of my '80s youth: G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man, Star Wars, etc. I keep many vintage or collector toys

another’s broken hearts—with their tiny blasters, sabers and assault weapons dumped by the wayside—I feel a pang of regret that I’ve filled the house with militant little monstrosities while Viva role-

around the house, much to my wife’s chagrin, and they all seem to find their way into Viva’s doll house and into regular rotation as the friends, suitors and sociopolitical rivals of her toys. My die-cast Voltron lions nuzzle with Snow White, Pocahontas and Princess Leia. Darth Vader and Maul and Kylo Ren are currently promenading at some sort of plastic cotillion with Belle, Elsa and Anna, and my Marvel Legends Moon Knight seems to be in a long-term relationship with Superhero Girls Cheetah. When I see these fierce warriors eating birthday cake, dancing and mending one

plays problem-solving with her tiny totems. Boys’ toys seem to be preparing males for a war-like society that is largely and blessedly past, while girls simulate potentially useful interpersonal skills cloaked in ball gowns. I’ve got a lot to learn from Viva, and if I ever get my Moon Knight figure back, he and I are going to have a long talk about how to solve problems without using violence… and I’ll ask him how things are going with Cheetah. Viva Toys. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy. Viva is 8 years old. Daddy is about 6x that age. They live happily with Mommy in Chicago.

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Around town



Find more family fun ideas at Glenview

CP EAT: Dairy Bar. A staple in Glenview for more than 50 years, it serves good, oldfashioned high-quality ice cream cones, sundaes, malts and more that are a great reminder of an era gone by. The prices are also extremely inexpensive (kid's cone costs only $1.15!). Tip: They only accept cash payments. PLAY: Kohl Children’s Museum. The Place Where Awesome Lives features 17 engaging permanent exhibits for your little ones' own creativity and imagination. It’s advantageous to get a membership as two visits to this museum pay for your family for an entire year. SHOP: Stella 315. This adorable boutique features stylish clothes, shoes, accessories and one-of-a-kind gifts. It’s truly one of those cute stores where you could buy one of everything.

North Shore comfort and style



lenview is a perfect place for families who want to be close to the city—since it sits just 20 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago—but who also love the ease of

suburbia. The downtown area has been undergoing a revitalization project to increase more desirable amenities, such as parking, open space and streetscape improvements and more businesses. When people mention the North Shore, they think of safety and communities with exemplary schools. Glenview ticks all those boxes. When visiting, you will find quite a few charming areas filled with a variety of restaurants, bakeries, shopping, nightlife and play that both kids and their parents can enjoy.



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HIDDEN GEM: The Glen. This was home to the Naval Air Station in the Chicagoland area. You can see the preserved control tower of Hangar One proudly displayed at the heart of The Glen Shopping Center. Want to know more about the history? Head to the Naval Air Station Glenview Museum for guided tours.

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t h g i r B



& y n i h S


The top 50 great toys for less than $50 BY HILLARY BIRD PHOTO BY THOMAS KUBIK


Ditty Bird (Ditty Bird) Book is bright enough to sing, compact enough to fit in a diaper bag. $16.99

Oombee Ball (Fat Brain) Babes will learn stacking without getting the pieces all over the place. $24.99

inding the perfect toy and holiday wow is never an easy endeavor. Before you turn into a Grinch with all the hunting and searching, we talked to our favorite toy shop owners and did the work for you, with gifts to keep even Scrooge on the “nice list.” Thanks to our trend-spotting friends at independent toy stores across Chicago and the suburbs, we found 50 great toys that won’t hurt your wallet: all are less than $50! Get ready for squeals of joy, for your favorite family members and your bank account.

Where we shopped Becky & Me Toys, Evanston Building Blocks Toy Store, Lakeview, Wicker Park and Lincoln Park *play, Logan Square and Lincoln Park

Tobbles Neo (Fat Brain) Wobbles on its own and stacks when together, plus the cups are great for bath time. $30

Bop-A-Tune (Sassy) Drum mimics sounds of do-re-mi for musical interludes. $24.99 100 First Words for Little Geeks (Familius) Inconceivable, holy grail, gigawatt and kryptonite are among the 100 words. $9.99

Moore Toys & Gadgets, Wheaton

Go to to learn how to win all of the toys in each age group. Your family members will thank you.

Flappy Flora (Gund) Sings and plays peeka-boo with babies. $39.99 Dolce (Dolce) Plush for hugs, and crinkles, twists, beeps and honks for fun. $34.99 CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

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Warm Pals (li4 group) Weighted plush friend is microwavable and smells of lavender. $19.99

Air Fort (Air Fort) Add a box fan for an in-home fort. $60

Playviator (Fat Brain) Ascent and decent gives littles the feeling of a real plane. $19.99

Fruit Friends (Fat Brain) Each stacking pal has a puzzle inside. $33

Working Cars (People Blocks) Attach, mix up and reattach cars and parts. $29.99

Poke-A-Dot! (Melissa & Doug) Bubble popping activity book. $12.99

Timber Tots (Fat Brain) City of friends for youngest players that packs into its own treehouse case. $49.99

Special Needs

Pebbles (Water & Lightning) Odd-sized stones look like circles and stack like blocks. $29.99 22 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Dimpl Duo (Fat Brain) Color and shape toy with braille descriptions. $24.99

Light-Up Cubes (Glo Pals) Glows in water and developed by mom of kid with sensory needs. $12

Foam Alive (Moose Toys) Constant moving “sand” with kinetic abilities. $5.99-$15.99



Hey Clay (Fat Brain) Clay adds color as a free app teaches youngsters to be sculptors. $15.99

Chasing Fireflies (Toy Smith) Hide lit bugs to collect for nighttime play. $29.99 Robot Engineer (Kids First) Erect a toy with many variations. $49.99

Coding Critters (Learning Resources) Kids learn how to tell critters to move over obstacles in STEM play. $42.99

Scent-sory Putty (Crazy Aaron’s) Putty with smells of chocolate, berry, gumball and even pizza. $5.99



Uh Oh Hippo (Educational Insights) Develops memorization, categorization and identification — and the hippo poops. $22.99

Pblz (On Trend Goods) Textured magnetic rocks that stack. $17.99

Heads Talk Tails Walk (Think Fun) Act like a dog, talk like a cat and make the matches in this action-filled game. $14.99

Sensy Band (Sensory Genius) Slap bracelets with sensory feel. $5.99

Brio Wireless Engine (Smart Tech) Wireless controls “talk” to engine and connect with existing Brio sets. $89.99

Power Drivers (Flybar) Supplied drill for building a vehicle becomes an RC controller. $24.99 CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

= Becky & Me Toys;

= Building Blocks;


= Moore Toys & Gadgets

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Early Elementary Door Pong (Fat Brain) Invented by a kid to play ping pong without a table. $24.99

Smart Farmer (Smart Games) Game gets harder as the player ages. $24.99

Rainbow Gummy Candy Lab (Thames & Kosmos) Make – then eat – your own gummy creations. $19.99 World Colors (Faber-Castell) Blendable neutrals can make any skin tone. $8.99



Perfect Petzzz (Perfect Petzzz) Breathes like a real pet without the mess and food. $39.95

4D Chef (Professor Maxwell) VR glasses teach the science behind cooking. $39.99

Yogibo Beanbag Chair (Yogibo) Smaller beads make for comfy fit and washable outer shell. $179.99

Axe Throwing (Toy Smith) Velcro plus light-weight projectile means no actual axes are involved. $24.99

Last Mouse Lost (Fox Mind) Almost as addictive as popping bubble wrap. $9


Mini Boom Box (Boom Box Couture) Blinks, plays sound and uses Bluetooth speakers. For teens and the young at heart. $50

DIY Cosmetics Set (STMT) Make and use your own cosmetics. $29.99

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Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle (USAOPOLY) Deckbuilding game with Harry Potter-ability to create your own character. $25.99

Tumbling Hedgehog (Thames & Kosmos) Build, then program a pet using your own claps. $39.99


Late Elementary

Eraser Animals (Klutz) Build, bake and then use your own erasers. $12.99

Ultimate Putty Challenge (Crazy Aaron’s) 10 games and activities using putty. $24.99



Just One (Repos) Cooperative game uses lots of thinking and one-word clues. $28

Y’Art (Kahootz) Draw and create using yarn for art. $14.99

Pigasus (Brain Games) Make pairs that look nothing alike. $14.99

Gumball Machine Maker (Thames & Kosmos) Add obstacles for the gumball to fall through. $39.99

Artie (Educational Insights) Code a robot to draw and create art. $74.99

Shashibo (Shashibo) Shape maker defies the eyes. $21.99

ICECOOL2 (Brain Games) Penguin-flicking game is already a multi-award winner. $29.99



Hacker (Think Fun) Requires on-board coding and line fixing. $24.99

= Becky & Me Toys;

Escape Puzzle (Ravensburger) 759-piece puzzle requires answers to questions to solve. $19.99

= Building Blocks;


My Audio Pet (My Audio Pet) Little stereo packs a sound and personality punch. $24.99

= Moore Toys & Gadgets

Microlite (Odyssey) Drone with LED lights that can fly to 200 feet. $59.99

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 25


iper Johnson nearly died. The cause: Vaping. The oldest of seven kids, the New Lenox teen became Colorado’s first case of severe respiratory illness attributed to vaping. She was on her way from Illinois to the Centennial State with her parents, excited to start her freshman year in college, when they were forced to visit an urgent care because Piper couldn’t take a deep breath. One day’s delay could have meant an entirely different outcome, Piper’s mom, Ruby Johnson, said doctors told her.


So, Piper and her family are using all of their breath these days to keep vaping products out of kids’ hands. Ruby Johnson traveled to Washington, D.C., several times to meet with legislators, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and to testify at a congressional hearing on the dangers and to share her story. “As parents we’re fighting this battle that almost feels like sometimes, how do you even fight it?” Johnson says. “… I think this is a problem that is bigger than just parents or just teenagers. It’s got to be everybody. It’s got to be our

legislators, our educators, parents, our doctors. If we all work together and educate and regulate, we can start to reverse this problem.” Illinois recorded the first death from vaping in August and since then, the numbers are climbing around the country. Illinois has since recorded more than 100 cases of vaping-related lung disease, the youngest of whom is 15. Nationwide, the number has exceeded 1,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Durbin has called on the U.S. Surgeon

General to take immediate action on what he’s calling the youth e-cigarette epidemic by launching a national strategy to address “this public health crisis.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September announced it would ban all non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors and states, such as Michigan, are taking their own steps to ban the flavors that experts say make vaping particularly enticing to kids. Johnson is pushing for mint and menthol flavors to be added to the banned list. The FDA reports that between 2017

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and 2018, vaping by high school students increased 78 percent and by middle schoolers increased 48 percent. The CDC recently released data showing five million children vape. Closer to home, the latest Illinois Youth Survey found that nearly 30 percent of Illinois 12th graders reported using a tobacco or vaping product. Lured by the “cool factor” on social media, experts worry that kids don’t realize or care about the dangers of e-cigarette use, which can be even more addictive than tobacco cigarettes. “There are at least 40 different chemicals ingested through vaping, and at least half of them are known to be harmful,” says Dr. Kevin Germino, pediatrician at DuPage Medical Group. PIPER’S EXAMPLE Johnson found a “little pouch” in Piper’s room when she was a sophomore. “I’m like any parent, I don’t smoke, I’ve never vaped. You’re not even 100 percent what you are looking at,” she says. And just like she is now hearing from

so many parents reaching out to her who heard the same phrase, Piper claimed it wasn’t hers; ‘I’m holding it for a friend.’ “That time we believed her,” Johnson says. By the end of her junior year, though, Johnson found another device and Piper fessed up. They grounded her, threw everything away and made her keep her bedroom door open. The Johnsons thought that would be the end. But it had become a habit and Piper admitted she was using two to three pods a week (in some products, each pod is equivalent to a pack or a pack and a half of cigarettes). She told her mom she quit about a week before they left for college because it hurt too much to take a deep breath. But it was already too late. She wound up in the hospital, as her parents watched liter after liter of oxygen pump into her lungs and waited for steroids to work their magic. All the while, Piper was missing out on what was supposed to be a fun start of her college life.

She told her mom that if God let her live, he must have big plans for her. “I have to make an example of myself,” Piper told her mom. It was a scary wake-up call for the family, who are all on a crusade against vaping. Johnson found out one of her other children tried vaping, but got sick and didn’t do it again. Still, he told her ‘everybody does it.’ “I always take it with a grain of salt when my kids tell me ‘everybody’s doing this’, but I feel that’s really close to the truth. It’s so rampant right now,” Johnson says. She’s hearing more from teachers and other parents that vaping is happening as early as fifth grade. Her kids show her social media stories of classmates vaping in class as the teacher teaches. For her part, Piper is settling into college life, though still finds herself fighting to breathe when she exerts herself. Will her lungs ever fully recover? Right now, Johnson says, that’s the unknown.


If your teen or tween isn’t vaping, they know someone who is and they’ve been tempted. It’s happening in school bathrooms, playgrounds and even right in the classroom when the teacher’s back is turned. And chances are, kids are hiding the evidence in plain sight. Vaping is easy to conceal. Intentionally so, New Lenox mom Ruby Johnson believes. “It blows my mind that we didn’t know it,” she says about her daughter’s vaping. “I think the fact the things are so sleek and so sneaky, once they get the kids hooked, they are easily able to hide it from the adults in their life.” Johnson urges other parents to learn all they can about e-cigarettes and vaping.

Even the kids you would never suspect would vape, might be, she says. “From my experience, I would say don’t be surprised if your kid is trying it. It is incredibly pervasive. There is something about it that doesn’t feel as bad as smoking cigarettes, almost like it is the video game version of smoking,” says Carrie, an Oak Park mom who was surprised when she found an unfamiliar “charger” in her son’s room. “I was really surprised as he had previously seemed pretty against vaping and had even written a research paper outlining the dangers of it.”

2. SAFER THAN CIGARETTES MYTH Many kids believe that vaping is safer than smoking. Yet, e-cigarettes put nicotine into the bloodstream 2.7 times faster than a cigarette. “People who maybe

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normally wouldn’t have tried smoking are now vaping. Essentially, vaping has created a whole population of people who are going to be addicted to nicotine,” says Dr. Kevin Germino, pediatrician at DuPage Medical Group. Considering e-cigarettes are only a decade old, research on long-term effects is limited. “The more research we see on vaping shows that vaping is certainly harmful, and possibly as harmful as smoking tobacco cigarettes,” says Karen Wolownik-Albert, executive director of Gateway Foundation Lake County. Plus, she says, using nicotine frequently at high levels, as seen in e-cigarettes, can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Germino says it can also make teens more prone to mood disorders and attention issues. Wolownick-Albert also points out that when teens

share vaping devices, they are also sharing germs that could cause bacterial or viral infections.


Parents should be able to recognize the various types of vaping devices and how the “juice” is packaged and sold, Wolownick-Albert says. Some even contain cannabis and THC. “This is dangerous enough that we need to be snoopy parents,” Johnson says. “I wish I would have dug through more, but if you don’t know what you are looking for, you are not going to know when you find it.” Germino says it is as important to talk with your kids about vaping just as you would about smoking cigarettes. Now is the time to demand change, Johnson says. “As parents, we have a voice to use, to say we are demanding better for our kids.”

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How I finally made friends with my infertility LESSONS TO TAKE AWAY FROM A THREE-YEAR JOURNEY BY AMANDA RECUPIDO

Infertility can often feel like an endless cycle of anticipation and disappointment. My husband and I are at the three-year anniversary of trying to conceive, but instead of viewing infertility as a burden, I’m appreciating everything my life has become instead. My communication with my partner is stronger than ever. I completely understand how going through infertility can drive couples apart. Nothing prepares you for the hollowness of uncertainty, the fear that everything that could go wrong at every step, the inevitable blame you silently throw each other’s way for elements beyond anyone’s control. I was lucky that my husband and I were on the same page about what we wanted to do and when, but even we learned quickly that we needed to overcommunicate and check in on how we were feeling more often than usual.

My relationship with my body is the healthiest it’s ever been. After we knew of our infertility but before we started treatments, I spent a year as a spin instructor and watched my body get stronger. Once I learned I had endometriosis I ate to reduce inflammation and gave up alcohol and caffeine. I came to pay attention to the littlest signs in my body and had a near epiphany when I realized how my external actions affected what was going on inside.


Now I know to give myself a break if my body isn’t performing as it should or if I’m not in the best mood. My body has gone through a lot and I’m thankful it’s gotten me this far.

I finally learned how to set boundaries and ask for what I need. I’ve always kept busy and pushed myself to be all things to all people, but infertility forced me to take a break and make my wellbeing a priority. At work, it meant asking to work from home to make my appointments. With family and friends, it meant bowing out of baby showers and Mother’s Day if what I really needed was to nap and cry. It meant texting my close friends to share my vulnerabilities and have them validated. For myself it meant doing less, prioritizing exercise for my mental health as much as my physical body, getting plenty of sleep and doing things that nourished me, not depleted me.

I appreciate everything just a little bit more. We’re still hopeful for a baby and are far from giving up, but even if our story doesn’t result in a child, we know we’ll have a happy ending because of all we have already. And if I do become pregnant, I know I’ll be a better mother and am already a better person for what I’ve been through. I never thought I would view these years as a blessing in disguise. I may not yet have what I want, but I’ve been given what I so desperately need.

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chool visits and open houses can be exciting—and a little overwhelming. To help you get the most out of your time at a school, those in the know at some of Chicago’s top schools share some great tips you can use for any grade level.

Do learn from current students “See if students feel comfortable and seem excited,” says Karen Fisher, director of enrollment and financial aid at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. She encourages parents to talk with current students if possible, paying particular attention to how they talk about their peers and teachers. Anique Seldon, director of admissions, marketing and communications at the British International School of Chicago South Loop, agrees. She recommends that parents ask current students how they feel and focus on what they’re learning, rather than the teaching, “The teaching could be incredible, but if the children are not taking anything away from it, it’s not a successful program,”

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she explains. Seldon says that parents can often learn the most by visiting the grade that their child is currently in. “Often parents are looking at the next step, but they will better understand the overall program when they can make a direct comparison,” she says.

Don’t forget the “other” parts of the school Parents focus on classrooms, as they should, but miss the opportunity to see other parts of the school. Lisa Zimmer, head of early childhood at Catherine Cook School in Chicago, encourages parents to check out the library and make sure that it “reveals a love of reading.” Hallways can also be important places. She recommends looking

for classwork proudly displayed. Fisher suggests making a point to see the art and music classrooms and as much of the school campus as possible to get a sense of a school.

Do make the most of the admissions staff Many parents don’t always share their questions or concerns with the school admissions staff, and that means they could be missing out on valuable information. “If there are any doubts, that’s when families should feel comfortable talking with admissions,” Seldon says. “That’s when I can help by putting them in touch with another family who felt the same way or were looking at similar schools, and I can help talk through those issues.”



Tips on finding the best fit for your child


You know your child best. Use their unique learning style and personality traits as guides on your school search. Remember that schools are not one size fits all. What is a perfect fit for one child may not be for another. Be clear on your family values and ideals. Pay attenCATHERINE COOK SCHOOL

tion to the mission statements of the schools you visit. Which

Don’t focus solely on academics While academics are obviously essential, when visiting “it’s also very important to ask about what happens outside of the classroom, from residence life to athletics to spiritual/character development to extracurricular activities to campus safety,” says Paul Borens of St. John’s Northwestern Leadership Academies. “Extracurriculars are important,” agrees Seldon, who notes that students are still exploring and discovering what their passions will be.

Do include your child in the visit and talk before you go “Involving the child in the visit is very important,” Borens

says. “Having an open discussion about why the visit is being scheduled and getting agreement from both sides goes a long way to a successful visit and potential enrollment.” How a child reacts to a school environment can give parents valuable insight into whether a school is the right fit. Fisher advises parents listen to their child’s take on a school and to try to get below the surface reaction.

ones match best? Which schools are clearly putting those values into action? Ask current parents at the school what they love most about the school community.

Don’t ignore your gut Trust your instincts. While your gut shouldn’t be your sole source of information about a school, don’t be afraid to trust it, either. “You’ll know you’ve found the right school when you get ‘that feeling,’” Zimmer says.


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eamwork makes the dream work,” as the saying goes. That turns out that it’s true, especially when it comes to your child’s education. We got some expert advice on how parents can best partner with schools to help their little learners succeed. (And fear not, running the school fundraiser was not mentioned!) Outside the British International School of Chicago Lincoln Park every day, regardless of the weather, Principal Ed Pearce greets students and parents. Even a 30-second conversation can be a great way to establish a positive relationship between home and school, fostering a strong community feel in the process, he says. The experts all agreed that mornings are an opportunity to both socialize with staff and students and also to model the shared values found at both home and school, whether that’s a polite “good morning,” a kind compliment or holding the door

open for others. Tameka Ray, director of Sonnets Academy in the South Loop, agrees that parent partnership with school starts first thing in the morning. “The first step is arriving ready to go each day,” says Ray, who notes that it is a big help to teachers. Morning interactions are a great way to set the tone for the day. “It’s incredibly important for parents to be positive,” according to Ray, who notes that parental attitude influences even the youngest of children. Sharing information from home is also important. “When parents are as transparent as possible, it lets the staff know how best to relate to the child,” Ray says. Pearce notes that personalized learning is hugely important, but school “can only achieve that if we work with parents who understand how their children learn best.” Sharing that information and insight with teachers can be very helpful.


In addition, show an active interest in your child’s schoolwork, urges Ulf Hennig, head of German at the German International School Chicago. He says that includes “asking meaningful questions, supporting a positive homework routine and checking their bags daily.” He says parents should not

feel pressure “as we are aware of the busy nature of families’ lives” but rather they should know that small acts of involvement can make a big difference. That can be putting a sign in the yard, talking about the school with friends and colleagues, volunteering to chaperone a field trip, attending an event on the CONTINUED ON PAGE 37

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Help Kids Succeed CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35


weekend, or yes, even fundraising, he says. The German International School has even developed “effortless fundraising.” Schools often try to recognize that not every family has the same schedule by hosting events not only during the school day but also on evenings and weekends. Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines takes it a step further by providing recordings for parents who can’t make it in person. Watching it with your child when schedules permit is a great way to send a message to your child that you care about what happens

at school even when you cannot be on site. A large part of that is finding a school where parents feel comfortable. “Parents are understandably focused on finding the right educational fit for their child, but we also emphasize the importance of parents finding the right fit for them as well,” says Tim Costello, of Science & Arts Academy. “Parents are the primary educators of their children, and the partnership between home and school is strengthened through mutual trust, respect and child-centered focus,” he says.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 37




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he educational landscape has changed, and many private and


independent schools have shifted their focus away from memorization and learning by rote. Educators in the area’s top schools are not simply teaching to a specific test, but rather are helping children develop the skills necessary to problem solve in a changing world. CONTINUED ON PAGE 41


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Not by Rote:

Altering what assessment looks like Assessment comes from the Latin root meaning “to sit next to” and that fact has influenced the approach at Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago, according to Marjie Murphy, director of curriculum and instruction. “We want to sit next to a student and get a handle on what they know, how they are showing mastery and what it is that they are ready to do next.” She says assessment can be anything from a quick exit ticket to class presentation to a more formal assessment to a standardized test. While standardized testing still happens, Murphy views it “as a multifaceted piece that gives us different angles and viewpoints of what our students know and what they are ready to learn.”

Give students learning power “When students have (power) over their learning, it is deeper and longer lasting,” says Adrianne Finley Odell, head of school at Roycemore School in Evanston. Students there have a lot of choice, particularly when it comes to their personal passion projects. Students have learned computer animation, written and published graphic novels and

6 W AY S S C H O O L S A R E M O V I N G B E Y O N D T H E T E S T

worked in labs at Northwestern with alumni serving as mentors. They learn not only the subject matter but also communication and project management skills. “Tests still exist, but we have authentic learning opportunities in our program to help young people gain the skills needed in an exponentially changing world,” Finley Odell says.

Shifting the focus away from facts Facts matter, but a “fact-based education system is outdated and filling students up with facts is not needed in our world the way that it used to be,” says Luke Goodwin, administrative director at Chicago Waldorf School, who notes that facts are easily accessible in a way they were not a few decades ago. Goodwin says students “are coming to school not for facts, but rather searching for the truth about the world. That’s what we’re helping them understand.” “We think you need to be able to think and act compassionately, creatively, resiliently. You need higher order skills,” he says.

Educating good citizens of Chicago and the globe At GEMS World Academy Chicago, there is a dual emphasis on both fundamental skills and

exploring how to be engaged, productive contributors to the world. “The door to helping our kids be good global citizens starts with being good local citizens first. We talk a lot about civic responsibilities,” says Tom Cangiano, head of school. He says that civic responsibility is a thread woven throughout the school’s curriculum, which is intentionally focused on Chicago and the issues pertinent in the city right now. Cangiano says that having a framework for what it means to be a good citizen here then goes with the student “anywhere and they can transfer those skills and values to whatever context they live in later.”

Prioritize socialemotional learning The seventh- and eighth-grade humanities curriculum at Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove has shifted; “the focus is on synthesis, analysis and discussion” according to teacher Gwen Cooper. The school has also integrated social-emotional learning (SEL). “When students strengthen their SEL skills, they process diverse perspectives in their lives and in the classroom materials on a deeper level.” SEL can include many skills ranging from crafting support-

ive relationships, developing empathy and practicing selfadvocacy, all of which Cooper says enhances understanding. “It directly impacts their discussion abilities and changes the class culture where they are more open and understanding, which makes students more likely to share a new idea.”

Let students be the thinkers and leaders Most parents remember school as the teachers having predetermined expectations about the outcome of a project, but that’s not the case for students at Vanguard Gifted Academy. Elizabeth Blaetz, head of school and primary master teacher, stresses that by using project-based learning, the product is not dictated by the teacher but rather the teacher coaches and guides children through the process. The students “use their prior knowledge to consider next steps and create a strategy for developing the needed skill.” Blaetz says that when teachers are willing to follow students’ lead, “the learning is more permanent, allowing the student to build on the foundation in the future.”

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 41



INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Baker Demonstration School Preschool-8th Grade 201 Sheridan Road, Wilmette (847) 425-5871 Nationally recognized for excellence in progressive education, Baker offers a challenging, hands-on education to a diverse community of learners. Open House: 12-12:30 p.m., Nov. 6, Tour & Explore; 9-10 a.m., Dec. 13, Preview 1st grade, 1-2:30 p.m. Tour, Explore & Boat Regatta.

Catherine Cook School Preschool-8th Grade 226 W. Schiller St., Chicago (312) 266-3381 The school provides a nurturing, technology-rich environment that inspires personal excellence and community values. Open House: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Nov. 3

Chicago Waldorf School Early Childhood-High School 5200 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago (773) 465-2662 • At Chicago Waldorf, every child is a mathematician, writer, scientist, artist, musician and athlete. It’s how the school teaches that changes everything. Open House: RSVP for a tour.

Francis W. Parker School Junior Kindergarten-12th Grade 330 W. Webster Ave., Chicago (773) 797-5107 • Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse, democratic society and global community. Open House: Middle School 1 p.m., Nov. 9, Upper School, 10 a.m., Nov. 16.

Near North Montessori School Parent/Infant-8th Grade 1434 W. Division St., Chicago (773) 384-1434 • One of the oldest and largest private Montessori schools in the country, the school believes independent thinking, self-sufficiency and creative problem solving will prepare students for the future. Open House: 9-11:15 a.m., Nov. 8 & 22, Dec. 6 & 13, Jan. 10 & 17, Feb. 7

Sacred Heart Schools PreK-8th Grade 6250 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago (773) 681-8418 • A Catholic school that welcomes children of all faiths and offers inspired teaching, personalized learning and a supportive community to ensure students thrive academically and grow in service to others. Admission Coffees: 9:15-11:15 a.m., Nov. 6 & 15 and Dec. 6; tours of preschool 5-6 p.m., Nov. 13., 9:15-10:15 a.m., Nov. 14, Dec. 5.

Science & Arts Academy Jr. Kindergarten-8th Grade 1825 Miner St., Des Plaines (847) 827-7880 The school educates gifted students from more than 70 Chicagoland communities. Open House: 1 p.m., Nov. 2, Jan. 25

The Ancona School PreK-8th Grade 4770 S. Dorchester Ave., Chicago (773) 924-2356 • In a community of cultural and economic diversity, the Montessoribased progressive, social justice curriculum educates students to become creative problem solvers, confident risk-takers and life-long learners. Open House: 9:30-11:30 a.m., Nov. 13, Dec. 10

The Avery Coonley School PreK-8th Grade 1400 Maple Ave., Downers Grove (630) 969-0800 • The school provides an innovative curriculum, hands-on learning and nurturing environment designed to meet the unique academic, social and emotional needs of gifted children. Admission Tours: Nov. 8, Dec. 13

The Frances Xavier Warde School Preschool (age 3+)-8th Grade West Loop & Downtown (312) 466-0700 • An independent, Catholic school with an engaging, interdisciplinary learning environment that fosters healthy, active minds. FXW families reflect the cultural & religious diversity of the city. Open House: Coffee and Conversation (Grades 1-3), 8:30-10 a.m., Jan. 23, Old St. Patrick’s Campus, 120 S. Desplaines St.; Information Night (Grades 4-8) 6:30-8 p.m., Feb. 4, Holy Name Cathedral Campus (751 N. State St.)

42 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

The Gardner School Preschool

1362 E. 59th St. Chicago (773) 702-9451 • Nursery (3 year olds)-12th Grade The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools ignite scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence. It values learning experientially, exhibiting kindness and honoring diversity. Applications due Nov. 10. Tours available.

Lincolnshire, (847) 415-5420 West Loop, (312) 229-4299 Bucktown, (773) 661-0151 Naperville, (630) 657-5029 Glenview-Northbrook, (847) 770-6260 Oak Brook, (630) 576-4740 Lincoln Park, (773) 661-0232 Schaumburg, (847) 592-2513 An academically-focused preschool that provides a safe, state-of-theart learning environment with highly qualified teachers, enrichment studio, Kids’ Café, indoor/outdoor playscapes and proven curriculum.

Quest Academy Preschool-8th Grade 500 N. Benton St., Palatine (847) 202-8035 • Quest Academy is leading the way in gifted education for children and seeks to inspire and challenge bright learners beyond the typical grade level experience. Open House: 1-3 p.m., Nov. 3

TOP SCHOOLS British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Ages 2-11 (773) 907-5000 • British International School of Chicago, South Loop Ages 3-18 (773) 998-2472 • An international school focused on individualized learning and global perspectives, offering a breadth of experiences while preparing children for an ever-changing world. Open House: Lincoln Park: 10 a.m.noon, Nov. 2, Jan. 12; South Loop: 9 a.m.-noon, 4-8 p.m., Nov. 7, Jan. 9

Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University Age 3-12th Grade 617 Dartmouth Place, Evanston (847) 467-1575 • Provides academic talent assessment, weekend, summer and online programs for academically advanced students at Northwestern University and other Chicago-area sites.

Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center 6 weeks-6 years 1111 N. Wells St., Chicago (312) 573-8900 Provides year-round preschool and childcare for children in the Old Town area of downtown Chicago. Open House: Call for a tour.

Gateway Montessori 15 months-Elementary 4041 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago (773) 539-3025 Gateway’s mission is to nurture the potential within each child. Open House: Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Feb. 3, March 2.

GEMS World Academy Chicago Preschool-12th Grade 350 E. South Water St. Chicago (312) 809-8941 • This independent school in downtown Chicago uses the International Baccalaureate framework to inspire students to learn locally and think globally. Open House: Nov. 7, 13 & 14; Dec. 11 & 12.

German International School Chicago Preschool-8th Grade 1726 W. Berteau, Chicago (773) 857-3000 GISC is an IB World School offering a bilingual, international education in an individualized learning environment. Open House: 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 1 & 15, Dec. 13

Guidepost Montessori Infant-Kindergarten Guidepost Montessori area is among a growing, worldwide network of schools. Spanish Immersion is available at selected campuses. Guidepost Montessori Wicker Park 1530 N. Damen Ave., Chicago (773) 663-4732 Toddler Tuesday, 9-10 a.m., Nov. 12 Guidepost Montessori at Naperville CONTINUED ON PAGE 44



CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 43




5051 Ace Lane, Naperville (630) 884-8866 1st Annual Turkey Trot, 9-11 a.m., Nov. 16 Guidepost Montessori at West Loop 1000 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago (312) 883-4090 Silent Journey, 5-6 p.m., Nov. 19 Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile 226 E. Illinois St. Chicago (312) 796-9400 Parent and Child Yoga Event and open house: 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 16

Mary Meyer School Preschool 2817 N. Pine Grove Ave., Chicago (773) 549-0870 • At Mary Meyer School, students learn through purposeful play. For more than 75 years, it has inspired children to encounter the world with

joy, curiosity and confidence. Open House: Prospective Parent Nights 6-7:30 p.m., Nov. 6, Dec. 11, Jan. 15

North Shore Country Day Junior Kindergarten-12th Grade 310 Green Bay Road, Winnetka (847) 441-3313 At NSCD, students focus on what matters most. Every student is known, valued and empowered to become self-confident, ethical citizens of the world. Open House: Nov. 3 & 20, Jan. 9

Sonnets Academy Six weeks-6 years preschool & infant care Lincoln Park: 1932 N. Clark St., Chicago, (312) 951-1024 River North: 430 W. Erie St., Chicago, (312) 344-1926

44 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

West Loop: 229 S. Peoria St., Chicago (312) 733-7580 • Sonnets Academy is passionate about early childhood education.

St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy 7th-12th Grade 1101 Genesee St., Delafield, Wis. 800-SJ-CADET (800-752-2338) The academy offers a progressive, leadership-focused, collegepreparatory education founded on four principals: Academics, Athletics, Spiritual/Character Development, and Military Traditions Open House: Nov. 8

Resurrection College Prep High School 9th-12th Grade 7500 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago

(773) 775.6616 • Resurrection College Prep is proud to be the largest all-girls Catholic high school on the north side of Chicago, educating young women since 1922. Open House: Nov. 3, entrance exam Dec. 7

Vanguard Gifted Academy Kindergarten-5th Grade 1078 E. Wilson St., Batavia (224) 213-0087 Vanguard embraces the uniqueness of gifted children. Its program unlocks their academic potential through creative problem-solving with developmental and academic peers. Showcase Nights (public events featuring the Vanguard Model in action): 6-7:30 p.m., Dec. 16, March 11 and May 30



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25 family-friendly

events you can’t miss

NOVEMBER Magnificent Mile Light Festival

Earth to Kenzie. Opera aimed for ages 7-12 about a fifth-grader with homework, asthma and a big imagination plays Nov. 9-10 in Chicago.

Rock & Roll for Kids. The Rock and Roll Playhouse celebrates a Purple Party Nov. 10 at Thalia Hall in Chicago.

Chicago's Sweet Candy History. Learn some of the history behind the tasty treats made in Chicago at a free event Nov. 14 at Berwyn Public Library.

Bockgiving. Enjoy turkey, pilgrim games, crafts and Thanksgiving food at a Schaumburg community event on Nov. 15.

Christkindlmarket Chicago. The Jurassic World Live Tour. Jurassic World comes to life in a touring arena show Nov. 1-2 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Baby Shark LIVE

Chicago International Children's Film Festival.

South Side Pie Challenge. For bud-

Nature Puppet Show Series. Enjoy a

Features more than 250 films from 40 different countries at eight venues in the Chicago area from Nov. 1-Nov. 10.

ding bakers, head to Hyde Park to taste the best of the South Side as funds raised on Nov. 2 go to the Hyde Park/Kenwood Hunger Programs.

puppet show exploring leaf piles Nov. 2 at Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland.

Nightmare Before Christmas. For the

Día de los Muertos Celebration.

kid who won’t let go of Halloween, enhanced movie-watching with a concert by the Chicago Philharmonic Nov. 1 at Auditorium Theatre.

Food, family-friendly activities and a showing of "LaOfrenda" on Nov. 2 at Northwestern Settlement in Chicago.

Baby Shark LIVE.

Give the holiday pumpkin a celebratory send-off, with light refreshments and pumpkin smashing on Nov. 2 at Evergreen Park Community Center.

The live show is based on Pinkfong’s viral earworm and global dance phenomenon and plays Nov. 2 at Rosemont Theatre.

48 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Pumpkin Smash.

traditional holiday market in the heart of Chicago begins Nov. 15 in Daley Plaza.

A Christmas Carol. Join Ebenezer Scrooge in his holiday journeys as the Goodman Theatre’s

{ } Nightmare Before Christmas


to preview new toys and games at Navy Pier Nov. 23-24.

Settlers Day.

Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade

Experience costumed living-history demonstrators and crafts on Nov. 24 in South Holland.


Home for the Holidays at the Rialto. Festivities include holiday movies, concerts and plays, and kicks off Nov. 25 with "A Very Rialto Christmas” in Joliet.

production opens Nov. 16.

Model Railroad Madness. Meet local model train enthusiasts and collectors from Chicagoland T-Trak on Nov. 16 as Elmhurst History Museum opens its newest exhibit.

The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent


Mile Lights Festival rings in the holiday season with two days of activities Nov. 22-23.

City of Chicago Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. See the city's holiday tree light up at Millennium Park on Nov. 22.

Chicago Toy and Game Fair.

Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. Features performances, marching bands and balloons traversing the downtown streets on Nov. 28.

Grinchy Green Science. Featuring green fizz, Grinch gunk and tons of decorative tape, learn science in Rockford.

Gingerbread Festival. Includes tree lighting, Gingerbread Man Hunt, visits with Santa and more Nov. 29-30 in Downers Grove.

Disney Junior Holiday Party On Tour. Holiday dance party with favorite characters from Disney Junior TV shows Nov. 29 at Rosemont Theatre.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Lake Katherine. Visit with Santa and enjoy crafts, face painting and stories on Nov. 29 at the south suburban Nature Center in Palos Heights.

Dessert with Santa. Old-fashioned games plus cookie decorating, crafts and a visit with Santa on Nov. 30 in Glenview.

This fair offers families, teachers, kids and toy and game enthusiasts the chance

Christkindlmarket Chicago


Fun with film



ith nearly 250 films from 49 countries, the family-friendly cinema at the 36th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival gives kids a chance to see their own experiences are similar throughout the country and world. Kids of all ages are invited to enjoy movies in different languages, cartoons and live-action films, or even some without dialogue. The festival offers filmmaking workshops for kids, field trip programs for schools and teachers, and combines short films in groupings to attract audiences to a subject, such as family, STEM or movies based on books. Started in 1983 and the oldest surviving children’s film festival in the Western Hemisphere, the festival will also premier Xavier Riddle shorts. Xavier is a character who highlights real-life figures from the Ordinary People Change the World book series. It can be seen nationwide on PBS beginning Nov. 11, or at the festival on Nov. 1 when Xavier, his sister and their friend meet George Washington Carver. Hillary Bird

36th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival When: Nov. 1-10, see website for complete schedule Where: Facets, Music Box Theatre, Davis Theater, Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts, Alliance Francaise de Chicago. Costs: $10, $6 kids, $5 members CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 49


Smashing Pumpkins



Jurassic World Live Tour. Jurassic World comes to life in a touring arena show. $20-$90. 7 p.m. Allstate Arena, Rosemont.

Nightmare Before Christmas. Enhanced movie-watching with a concert by the Chicago Philharmonic. $30+. 7:30 p.m. Auditorium Theatre, Chicago.

Chicago International Tea Festival. Enjoy informative presentations about tea, tea culture and health by local tea merchants as well as national and international experts. $25-$45. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Chicago Mart Plaza, Chicago.

Drop-In Small Wonders Art for Kids. On the first Friday of each month, artists ages 4-12 will take part in a variety of creative visual and performing arts activities. $5 donation. 4:15-6:15 p.m. Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin.

Pottery: Parents’ Night Out. Children ages 7-12 have fun learning basic hand-building techniques at pottery class. $27, $18 residents. 6-8 p.m. Studio One, Naperville.


South Side Pie Challenge. The South Side Pie Challenge, a rollicking, family-friendly, pie-filled good time that raises funds for the Hyde Park/Kenwood Hunger Programs. $4 per slice. 2-5 p.m. Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. (773) 8500676.

Family First Saturdays. Learn about your favorite animals through hands-on activities, games, crafts and time behind the scenes with Shedd’s animal experts. Today’s adventure: Dive into Dolphins. $49.99, $29.99 members. 10 a.m.noon. John G. Shedd Aquarium. Día de los Muertos Celebration. Food, familyfriendly activities and a showing of “LaOfrenda.” Free, $3.50 fee for ticket reservation. 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. performance. Northwestern Settlement.

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

Read For The Record Stories and Craft. Local artist

50 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Madison Borth will help kids create collage art inspired by the book Thank You, Omu! 1-3 p.m. The Painted Penguin at Water Tower Place. (224) 619-6928, facebook. com/N2nLiteracy.

Chicago International Tea Festival. See Nov. 1. SUBURBS

Pumpkin Smash. Enjoy light refreshments and pumpkin smashing. 10-11:30 a.m. Evergreen Park Community Center, Evergreen Park. Nature Puppet Show Series. Enjoy a puppet show exploring leaf piles. 10 a.m. Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland.

Jurassic World Live Tour. See Nov. 1. Today’s times: 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

and celebrate the rich traditions among the diverse cultures found on Devon and in the surrounding communities. 2-6 p.m. Croatian Cultural Center.

Día de los Muertas Celebration. The Day of the Dead celebration will include a mural dedication, art workshops, music, great food and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Maxwell Street Market.

Cold Blooded Weekend. See Nov. 2.

Secret Agent Storytime. Sing, dance, read books and make crafts with Agent Zach and your friends, parents and siblings. 11 a.m.-noon. The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. (646) 239-9625, events/352704895576700.



Chicago International Tea Festival. See Nov. 1. Devon’s Got Talent. Devon’s Got Talent will feature the best and most dynamic talent from a variety of nationalities that honor

Jurassic World Live Tour. See Nov. 1. Today’s times: 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Smashing Pumpkins. Convert your porch décor into a pumpkin projectile. Free with museum admission. 1-4 p.m. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford. (815) 963-6769,

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 51


Toy Trains

6 | WEDNESDAY 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. 8 | FRIDAY Dollhouse Miniature Show. See the largest miniature dollhouse display in the Chicagoland area. 5-9 p.m. Holiday Inn Elk Grove, Elk Grove.


10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Rock & Roll for Kids. The Rock and Roll Playhouse uses music to educate children and explore their creativity. Today’s artist: Purple Party for Kids featuring the Music of Prince & More. $15, 11 a.m. Thalia Hall. therockandrollplay


Lycée French Market. Bilingual school opens French market. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Lycée Francais de Chicago, Chicago.

11 | MONDAY Toy Trains. See Nov. 10.


Dollhouse Miniature Show. See Nov. 8. Today’s times:


bers, $7 youth members. 4-5 p.m. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 420-6010,


Chicago’s Sweet Candy History. Learn some of the history

Model Railroad Madness. Meet local model train enthusiasts and collectors from Chicagoland T-Trak. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst. (630) 8331457,

behind the tasty treats made in Chicago and explore what made the town such a powerful location for candymakers. 7-8:30 p.m. Berwyn Public Library, Berwyn.

Pottery: Parents’ Night Out. See Nov. 2.

15 | FRIDAY Bockgiving. Includes turkey


and pilgrim games and crafts and Thanksgiving food. $12, $9 resident. 6-7:30 p.m. Bock Neighborhood Center, Schaumburg.


Low-Sensory Early Exploration. Guests can explore featured exhibits in a less

Toy Trains. Assemble and

About the calendar The deadline for submitting listings for the November issue is Oct. 28. 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 55.

A Peek Into the American Indian Way of Life. Ojibwa presenter will drum, sing and present Native culture past and present. $10 adults, $9 ages 4-12; $8 adult mem-

52 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Lycée French Market. See Nov. 16. Today’s schedule: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.



SUBURBS decorate wooden train cars that fit a child’s magnetic train set at home, then enjoy special train crafts, activities and play for the whole family. $9, free members and children ages 1 and younger. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford.

crowded and more sensory-friendly environment. Free, preregistration required. 8:30-9:30 a.m. Museum of Science and Industry.

Searchable listings updated daily

Light Up The Park. Join Mrs. Claus, Prairie Jr. High Band and Choir and the preschool class in celebration of the holiday season. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Apollo Recreation Center, Alsip. 22 | FRIDAY The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival rings in the holiday season with two days of family-friendly activities. The Kids Zone in Pioneer Court (401 W. Michigan) is loaded with activities. 4-8 p.m. North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, Chicago. lights-festival.

City of Chicago Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Kick off the holiday season at the city’s tree lighting. 6 p.m. Millennium Park, Chicago. dcase.

Winter Lights Holiday Walk. Live music, costumed characters, reindeer and more. 5-9 p.m., parade at 6:30 p.m. Water Street Mall, Aurora. (630) 8966666,



Chicago Toy and Game Fair. This fair offers families, teachers, kids and toy and game enthusiasts the chance to preview new toys and games, meet Toy and Game Inventors, have a picture taken with Star Wars characters and more. $7+. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Navy Pier.

The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. See Nov. 22. Today’s times: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., parade at 5:30 p.m.


Long Grove Holiday Festivities. An old-fashioned celebration comes alive. There will be costumed carolers, strolling musicians and Santa and Mrs. Claus on weekends. Free horsedrawn carriage rides on Sundays

beginning Nov. 23. Long Grove. (847) 634-0888,


Chicago Toy and Game Fair. See Nov. 23. Today’s schedule: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

and make some turkey crafts. $12, $10 members; free parking. 10-11 a.m. Cantigny Park, Wheaton.

28 | THURSDAY Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. Features performances, marching bands and balloons. 8-11 a.m. Chicago.


Thanksgiving Day Play. Bounce

Settlers Day. Experience costumed living-history demonstrators, history hikes, crafts, an imaginary wagon train adventure and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland. (708) 8680606,

around before you get stuffed full of turkey. Cost includes playtime in both Arenas A and B. $14, online reservations recommended. 9:30-noon. Pump It Up Chicago, Chicago. (312) 664 -7867,



Talkin’ Turkey Parent-Child Activity. Kids ages 3-5, with adult, learn about these interesting birds, listen to stories, sing songs

p.m. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford. (815) 963-6769.

Gingerbread Festival. Includes tree lighting, Gingerbread Man Hunt, visits with Santa and more. Check website for schedule. Downtown Downers Grove.

Glen Ellyn Holiday Walk. Enjoy a tree lighting, Santa, Nutcracker dancers and more. 6-8:30 p.m. Downtown Glen Ellyn.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Lake Katherine. Visit with Santa and enjoy crafts, face painting and stories. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, Palos Heights.

Caroling at Cloud Gate.

Grinchy Green Science. Features green fizz, Grinch gunk and tons of decorative tape. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m.-3

Hear choral groups and join them in a holiday sing-along. Santa comes at 5 p.m., caroling starts at 6 p.m. Millennium Park, Chicago.


Family Day/Open House. See the ranch’s wolves, Siberian tiger, black bear, cougar, skunk and porcupines. $7. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch, Lockport. (815) 588-0044.

Grinchy Green Science. See Nov. 29.

Gingerbread Festival. See Nov. 29.

North Pole Express. Take a voyage to the North Pole on the Metra Train from Glenview station. $19, $17 residents, free 1 and under; preregistration required. 9-11:45 a.m.; 1-3:45 p.m. Glenview Metra Station, Glenview. Long Grove Holiday Festivities. See Nov. 29.


Dessert with Santa. Oldfashioned games, songs, a craft, and hear a story, then enjoy cookie decorating, more crafts and a visit with Santa. $23, $18.50 residents. 1-8 p.m. The Grove, Glenview.

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ongoing Drop-in Acorn Express Adventures. Take a family-friendly

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago! A Mo Willems Exhibit. Many

tram-ride adventure through the arboretum. Seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft and explore new topics each week. $5. 11-11:45 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 7192468,

familiar characters are featured including best friend duo Elephant and Piggie, faithful companion Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon and the wily city bird best known for his antics in “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” Activities give visitors the opportunity to make art inspired by Mo Willems and to learn about the rich social and emotional lives of the author’s characters. The exhibit also features prints of illustrations, including sketches and other preliminary materials, by Mo Willems. Free with museum admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago.

Fantastic Bug Encounters. Step into a larger-than-life version of their hidden world. 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. Explore hands-on stations to learn about the unique superpowers of spiders and insects. $6+. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Field Museum, Chicago.

Imagine the Moon Sky Show.



Amazing Pollinators. Featuring a colorful maze, Amazing Pollinators immerses visitors in diverse environments in need of pollination, including gardens, farms, rainforests and deserts. Free with museum admission. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. Animal House. Meet the newest additions to Peggy Notebaert’s Animal House. Free with museum admission. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. (773) 755-5100, Apollo 11 Corn Maze. The Richardson Adventure Farm corn maze celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing with two astronauts, the Columbia, the Eagle, an American flag, Earth and stars. Parking is free. $17 ages 13 and up, $14 for ages 3-12 on weekdays; $19 ages 13 and up and $16 ages 3-12 on weekends. Thursdays-Sundays through Nov. 3. Richardson Adventure Farm, Spring Grove. (815) 675-9729, Art on theMart. Curated digital art installation across 2.5 acres of theMART’s river

façade. About 7-9 p.m. daily. The Merchandise Mart, Chicago.

Bixbee Imagination Station. Rooms inspired by Bixbee product design themes, each providing Instagrammable backdrops with engaging activities that boost creativity while creating moments of awareness and self-expression. $30, $23 ages 3-11, free 2 and under. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. North Avenue Collection, Chicago.

Christkindlmarket Chicago. A traditional holiday market in the heart of Chicago. Special events include appearances by the Christkind and the annual Children’s Lantern Parade, which celebrates St. Martin’s Day. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday beginning Nov. 15. Daley Plaza, Chicago. (312) 494-2175.

Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville. A Wrigleyville edition of the Chicago GermanAmerican Holiday Market. 3-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 22. Gallagher Way, Chicago.

Remembering Dr. King: 19291968. Walk through a gallery of

The planetarium’s sky show takes a closer look at humanity’s relationship with Earth’s nearest neighbor. Adler Planetarium, Chicago. (312) 922STAR (7827),

key moments in Dr. King’s work and Civil Rights Movement. Free with museum admission. Chicago History Museum, Chicago.

Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond. In collaboration with

Stunning Stories in American Indian Jewelry. For thousands of

WTTW, Kohl Children’s Museum features Nature Cat and his friends in an exhibit designed to encourage children to explore the natural world. Free with museum admission. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview.

On the Right Track: By Rail to Chicago & Beyond. Visitors will discover how Chicago area railroads helped create the suburban transportation landscape as we know it. Free with museum admission. 1-5 p.m. TuesdaysFridays & Sundays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays beginning Nov. 14. Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst. (630) 833-1457,

Pier Pumpkin Lights. From jack o’lantern towers to light displays, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination will be decked out for fall. Explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations throughout the Pier and enjoy fabulous fall deals at the first-ever Pier Pumpkin Nights, a month-long seasonal celebration. Pumpkins are best experienced after dusk. Through Nov. 2. Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 595-7437,

years, artisans have expressed their cultural stories in a wide range of jewelry: showing off local and prized trade materials, expressing traditional symbols, and perfecting new techniques and designs adapted from other cultures. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, Noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston. (847) 475-1030,

Troll Hunt. The 15- to 20-foottall trolls invite visitors to interact with them, while elements of the exhibition encourage visitors to consider their personal responsibility as stewards of our environment. Free with arboretum admission. Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Holiday Exhibit. A historic look at the Christmas story written in 1823 that continues to endear itself to contemporary audiences. Free with museum admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 7. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 420-6010,

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ongoing UniverSoul Circus. New acts include a ballerina, trampoline, aerial act and a perch pole. $16 and up. Through Nov. 11. Washington Park, Chicago. Wired to Wear. The first-ever exhibit dedicated to wearable technology—smart clothing and devices designed to extend the human body’s capabilities and make us healthier, stronger and safer. 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, ZooLights. More than two million lights illuminate the zoo and is complete with visits from Santa himself, ice sculptors, holiday crafts and activities, and sweet treats of all kinds. 4:30-9 p.m. Fridays-Sundays beginning Nov. 29. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. OTHER EVENTS DAILY

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,

Pavement. The activity is a variety of group painting activities set to music, so children can dance, wiggle and giggle their way to a collaborative masterpiece. Free with museum admission. 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, Weekend Crafts. Explore the Native American cultures of the Chicago area 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) 4751030, MONDAY Morning Glories. Children and their caregivers can explore different areas of the Children’s Garden. Educators provide story time, imaginative play and sensory activities. Recommended for 5 and younger. Free, donation requested. 10 a.m.-noon. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, Shadow Puppet Story Time. An exciting adventure with Bill, the museum’s story time expert, and his trusty sidekick. Free with museum admission. 11:30 a.m.

SUNDAY Family Build Lab. Join experts in the studio for themed stations to introduce you to architecture basics, a design challenge and a take-home project. Family Build is great for families with kids 3 and up. $12, free members. 10 a.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago.

Fiddleheads. Join the conservatory each weekend 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, 56 November 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815,

Baby & Me. A chance for parents of infants to meet others adjusting to parenthood, ask questions and make friends. A nurse representative from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital will answer questions and facilitate discussions about early childhood development. Free with admission. 9:30-11 a.m. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview. (847) 832-6600,


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 develop focusing skills. Free with museum admission. 3:30 p.m. Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815,

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 on the second floor for toddlers and their parents. $10 in advance; $12 at door; free kids 2 and under. 10 a.m.-noon. Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg. Story Time at *play. Story time at the toy store (will be held outside during cooperative weather). 11 a.m. through Nov. 22. *play Logan Square, Chicago.

THURSDAY Slot Car Free Play. Enjoy racing slot cars, hot chocolate, a coloring station, a game room with foosball, ping pong, air hockey and more. 5-9 p.m. ThursdaysFridays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Fieldhouse Jones, Chicago. 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 kid-starring performances and more. The rest of the month on Thursdays, entrance late

Wired to Wear

ongoing 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.

Fantastic Bug Encounters

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

Teen Open Studio. Design professionals and CAC education staff will be on hand to provide project supplies and offer suggestions for teens working on design projects. 5-7 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. Music Jam at *play. Enjoy music with a new theme each week. Music Jam will be held outside during cooperative weather. 11 a.m. through Nov. 22. *play Logan Square, Chicago. Thursday Tea Time with the Princess. Kids ages 1-5 will enjoy a reception with a member of the royal family. Encourage them to don their spiffiest clothes and come meet a princess, who will chat with them as they enjoy juice and snacks. $15, $3 member. 10 a.m.11 a.m. Nelly’s Playground, Wood Dale.

FRIDAY Juicebox. A music and performance series for the stroller set. A music and performance series for the stroller set parents and their prekindergarten children. 11 a.m. first and third Friday. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago. Garden Story Time. Gather for story time and fun in the Children’s Garden amphitheater. Free with arboretum admission. 11 a.m. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,

Shadow Puppet Story Time. See Monday.

Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday.

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 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 Saturdays. Cat & Mouse Games, Chicago.

Little Squirrels Storytime. 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,

S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays. Each week, kids get a chance to learn more through play, mostly focusing on chemistry, geometry and physics. Free with museum admission. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815,

Liter-artly. After story time, enjoy a unique opportunity to explore the artistic styling of an illustrator related to each day’s stories. Free with museum admission. 10:30-11 a.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, Juicebox. See Friday. Saturday location: Garfield Park Conservatory. Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday.

Fiddleheads. See Sunday. Weekend Crafts. See Sunday. Saturday times: 11 a.m.-noon.

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21st Annual National Cuatro Festival. A concert of 70 young emerging musicians performing folk and popular music from Puerto Rico. $25-$75. 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Harris Theater, Chicago. (847) 926-9898,

A Christmas Carol. Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his past, present and future to discover the importance of friendship and love—with plenty of jubilant musical numbers, spectacular costumes and hilarious “Bah Humbugs!” along the way. $35+. Begins Nov. 16. Goodman Theatre, Chicago.

Annie. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. $40$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 22. Citadel Theatre, Lake Forest. (847) 7358554, Baby Shark LIVE. The live show is based on Pinkfong’s viral earworm and global dance phenomenon as well as other young-audience favorites. $27.50.

1 p.m. Nov. 2, Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont.

Beauty and the Beast. One of Disney’s most beloved animated films comes to life for a holiday production. Recommended for ages 5 and older. $34-$75. Begins Nov. 13. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, Aurora.

Chicago Celebrates Sondheim. Singers from across the city bring their voices to selections from Sweeney Todd, Follies, Company, West Side Story and more. $30+. 8 p.m. Nov. 16. Auditorium Theatre, Chicago.

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. Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays through Nov. 27 and Nov. 21 & 25. Stahl Family Theater, Chicago. (773) 205-9600,

Chicago Kids Company Presents Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Kids ages 2-10

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. The

will enjoy the one-hour musical based on the classic tale with an adapted script and original songs. $14. 10:30 a.m. WednesdaysFridays. Beverly Arts Center, Chicago. (773) 205-9600,

festival is the oldest and largest children’s film festival in North America and features more than 250 films from 40 countries, multiple workshops with visiting filmmakers, and fun activities for the whole family. With eight venues in the Chicago-area, it’ll be hard to miss. $10, $6 kids; $75 Family Pass. Nov. 1-Nov. 10. Chicago. (773) 281-9075, festival.

The Color Purple. A Pulitzer Prize-winning story with a Tony Award-winning restaging, ‘The Color Purple’ is a heroine’s tale of hope and love against the odds. The play’s music is a heart-soaring blend of jazz, gospel and the blues. $30 and up. 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays & Thursdays, 8 p.m. ThursdaysSaturdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 3. Drury Lane Theater, Oakbrook

Terrace. (630) 530-0111,

ComedySportz. Chicago’s longest-running, game-based, short form improv comedy show is recommended for ages 7 and older. $25. 8 p.m. ThursdaysSaturdays, plus 6 p.m. Saturdays. ComedySportz Theatre, Chicago. (773) 549-8080, Corduroy. Based on “Corduroy” and “A Pocket for Corduroy,” books by Don Freeman, the play is recommended for ages 3 and older. $17.50-$25. 10 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays beginning Nov. 9. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago.

Disney Junior Holiday Party On Tour. Holiday dance party with favorite characters from Disney Junior TV shows. Appropriate for ages 3-8. $29.50+. 6 p.m. Nov. 29. Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont.

Earth to Kenzie. Opera for ages 7-12 about a fifth-grader with homework, asthma and a big imagination. Featuring a cast of four singers with piano accompaniment, this family offering is specifically programmed to expose young audiences to storytelling through song, introducing them to opera. $20, $10 kids. 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Nov. 9, 3 p.m. Nov. 10. Vittum Theater, Chicago.

Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish - The Musical. The story of a rag doll who lives at the North Pole and wishes for a best friend. Recommended for ages 3 and older. $29.50, $100 family four-pack. 10 a.m. Wednesdays & Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 19-Dec. 29. Greenhouse Theater Center, Chicago.

The Fox Valley Nutcracker.

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker


Showcases students and families from local dance studios alongside professional dancers, in the beloved holiday classic. $20+. 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 30. Batavia Fine Arts Center, Batavia. (630) 2320683,

CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 59



The Nutcracker Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. For tickets: or (847) 895-3600

Salt Creek Ballet’s The Nutcracker North Shore Center for the Performing Arts 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie Saturday Dec. 21, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, 2 p.m. For tickets: event/the-nutcracker or (847) 673-6300

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Ballet Legere’s 35th Anniversary Production of The Nutcracker Dominican University Performing Arts Center 7900 W. Division St., River Forest Dec. 5-9 (daytime performances) Dec. 7, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 2 p.m. For tickets:, Dominican box office or (708) 488-5000

performances Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert. This concert features the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on a giant screen while members of the CSO perform Patrick Doyle’s score. $79. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, 3 p.m. Nov. 30. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago.

Home for the Holidays at the Rialto. Festivities include holiday movies, concerts and plays, including a Teddy Bear Tea on Nov. 29 and a showing of the movie “The Polar Express” at 2 p.m. on Nov. 30. The season kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25 with “A Very Rialto Christmas,” a family concert for the family. Cost varies by event. Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet. (815) 7267171,

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Journey to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair for the telling of the holiday story. $35+. Begins Nov. 30. The Auditorium


Theatre, Chicago.

Luchadora. The life of a secret female warrior emerges as the play’s heroine learns about family, honor and friendship. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

$4-$14. Through Nov. 9. Merle Reskin Theatre, Chicago. theatre.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. While the Primm family is moving into their new home on East 88th Street, they are shocked to discover a


crocodile in their bathtub. Based on the children’s book by Bernard Waber, discover the meaning of family in this musical recommended for children ages 5 and up. $15+. 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays through Nov. 24; sensory-friendly performance 3 p.m.


CHICAGOPARENT.COM November 2019 61

performances Very Hungry Caterpillar Show PHOTO CREDIT ARI CRAVEN

duo, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. $36+. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, 6 p.m. Sundays & 8 p.m. Saturdays beginning Nov. 19. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago.

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” An enchanting holiday tradition, this production of “The Nutcracker” features the 48-piece Chicago West Chamber Orchestra. $22-$43. 1 and 5 p.m. Nov. 30. Hinsdale Central Auditorium, Hinsdale. (630) 7691199,

Storytown. From superheroes to undersea adventures, princesses to dinosaurs, Storytown takes you on an interactive, fully improvised adventure. 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.

The Sound of Music Sing-ALong. Enjoy a costume contest and interactions with the film. $13, $9 kids. 1 and 7 p.m. Nov. 29-30. Music Box Theatre, Chicago.

That’s Weird, Grandma: Goes Trick-or-Treating. Watch Nov. 3. Lifeline Theatre, Chicago. (773) 761-4477,

Theater, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111,

Arena, Hoffman Estates.

Madagascar - A Musical Adventure. Join Alex the Lion,

The Nutcracker. A ballet-free

Professor Wow’s FunBelievable Science Show. Kids

Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo and the hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound onto the stage in this musical adventure. All performances are followed by a Question & Answer session with the cast. $18.23. Most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences. Lincolnshire. (847) 6340200,

Mary Poppins. An enchanting show containing unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stagecraft that will appeal to theater fans of all ages. $30 and up. Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. beginning Nov. 15. Drury Lane

version of the holiday classic. $15$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 8. Chopin Theatre, Chicago.

Oliver! The streets of Victorian England come to life for the story of Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, in the musical version of Charles Dickens’ tale. $55+ Wednesdays-Sundays, see website for complete schedule. Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire. Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure. The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first. $29+. 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. Nov. 16-17, 6 p.m. Nov. 16. Sears Centre

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in K-8 learn how to obey the laws of science in a wacky stage show. Visit the Rialto Theatre website in advance to download a show study guide. $7. 10 a.m. Nov. 19. Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet.

ROMEO AND JULIET: A Spectacular Retelling of The World’s Greatest Love Story. Somewhere between a rock concert and a classic Shakespearean play, Romeo & Juliet finds new life through enigmatic staging, engaging choreography and an emotionally expressive soundtrack. $33. 10 p.m. Nov. 7. The Den Theatre, Chicago.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story. The immersive concert-style theater show chronicles the amazing journey shared by the folk-rock

actors play in spooky scenarios imagined by Chicago elementary school students. $5-$20. 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 3. NeoFuturist Theater, Chicago.

Twas the Night Before. A new spin on the beloved Christmas poem, as only Cirque du Soleil can imagine. $30+. Begins Nov. 29. Chicago Theatre, Chicago. Very Hungry Caterpillar The Show. Based on author/ illustrator Eric Carle’s beloved book, this is the story of an insatiable herbivore munching its way towards becoming a full-fledged butterfly. This production features 75 lovable puppets and includes four Eric Carle stories. After the performance, audience members can experience the puppets and take pictures with the cast. Recommended for all ages. $27. 1030 a.m. & 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago. chicagochildren



Pediatric Ophthalmologists Medical and Surgical Eye Care for Infants, Children and Teens


Deena F. Leonard, M.D. Dana L. Kolton, M.D. Kathy Anderson, M.D. PEDIATRIC EYE CARE

Pediatric Ophthalmologists Medical and Surgical Eye Care for •Infants, and Teens PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGISTS Muscle Imbalance (Lazy Eye) • Blocked Tear Ducts PrematureChildren Infants • Routine Eye Exams

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L ast word




y brothers and I lost our parents at a very young age. As the only girl, I took on mom’s role of trying to keep the family together. Now that we have our own families, I feel that I’m always pushing everybody to be together and I think, in reality, nobody really cares. I want our kids to grow up together, but everything is one sided. Should I let it go and just worry about my own kids?

Let all the controversy go. Simply stop. Seek a way to let any bad feelings go. Be together because you are family. Donna M. ■ You can only control your own actions. Just always leave the door open and don’t write them off. The ball will be in their court. What they do with it is their choice. Kathleen S. ■ Keep it open. Make it simple. Family will always find their way home. Lisa B. ■ I would still continue to invite them, but also, not become discouraged if they don’t. Plan some things to do with ONLY your family as well instead of focusing on EVERYONE’S family. It’s hard, but with regular conversations, sleepovers with cousins and other things during off seasons, you’ll still have quite the closeness that you want. Natasha N. ■ The most important thing is that you don’t let it interfere with the memories your children are building of the holidays. If you are distracted by all of that, they’ll sense it. Lisa H.

Keeping the siblings and their families together after the parents have passed is important. Your kids need to know something about their grandparents and it is helpful if they get to experience the memories of their aunts and uncles. On the other hand, your siblings are hurting in their own way and they may want to move past those memories. All in all, worth the effort, but not if it stresses everyone out. Walter B. ■ My husband lost his mom at a young age, 15. With his family we make sure to all get together at least twice a year. Anything above that is not expected from everybody. Once it was said aloud to us how important it was to the oldest sister that everyone come at least twice it was much better. Beckie K.

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Keep the invites open! Plan some things with your family exclusively and some with the entire family. It will work itself out eventually. Wanda T. ■ Have you ever talked to them about your feelings? Maybe they don’t even realize that they are acting a certain way and don’t know you feel like that. Once it’s out there and if they still don’t want to try, then I probably wouldn’t try so hard either. Jenny M. ■ Lower expectations make things so much easier. Put the offer out there and if they come, they come. You might be surprised. No one likes to be guilted and it just makes relationships a struggle. Once it is on their terms you might be surprised. Katie D.

My family has split up since my parents died. I have been much happier since I quit having expectations of my siblings and focused on my own family. I don’t believe in trying to force a relationship. Anne G. ■ Keep fighting the good fight! Family is worth it. Have you let them know how important they are to you? Kari H. ■ Whatever the source of contention, it is a dilemma that is perpetuating a new silent tragedy of our socially networked but all too often interpersonally awkward society that affects even the best of us today. … My best advice is to find actionable ways of showing love. But do it without compromising your own ideas of strong family values. Brad K.