4 Educational, Fun, and Free Summer Activities in Chicago 

museum of science and industry

Now that we’ve had our first 90+ degree day, it’s officially summer in Chicago. Summer in the city is always filled with lots of fun, but there are plenty of entertainment options that are educational for your child as well! For kiddos working on speech and language goals, practice can be built into many different summer activities, and when your child is happy and engaged, their brains are ready to learn. Here are some fun, free, and educational ideas for exploring Chicago in the summer months!

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo has free admission and is open every day from 10am-5pm. They also offer a variety of youth programs including summer camps, family nature days, and campfire nights. Exploring the zoo can give you the opportunity to introduce your child to new vocabulary and to build upon their language skills. For example, you can describe various animals using verbs and adjectives (“the tall, spotted giraffe is eating!”). For kiddos with articulation goals, you can play games like “I spy” around the zoo to find words that have their target sounds.

Chicago Field Museum

Free Museum Days

Chicago is home to many museums which can make for a great rainy day this summer! Many of these museums have free admission days which are listed at the above link. The city’s museums allow you to dive deep into specific interests like art, history, science, nature, animals, and more. You can target reading comprehension by reading the informational plaques or pamphlets around the museum. These may be especially motivating for your child if they are really interested in learning about the topic! Here are just some of Chicago’s interesting and educational museums:

Adler Planetarium
Art Institute of Chicago 
Chicago History Museum 
DuSable Museum of African American History
Field Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art 
Museum of Science and Industry 
Shedd Aquarium 

Chicago Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach

On a hot summer day, head over to Oak Street Beach to cool off and have some fun with your kiddos. If your child loves playing in the water, use this as an opportunity to encourage language use! For early language learners, you can model action words (jump, dive, swim, splash) and descriptive words (cold, blue, hot, sunny, fun) during water play. 

Chicago Millennium Park

Millennium Park Events

Check out Millennium Park’s calendar for some special summer activities! They host free movies and music in the park throughout the summer. For these events, you can bring a picnic to enjoy with your kiddos while watching or listening. Before heading to the event, have your child help you make a grocery list for picnic supplies! You can read the words aloud to target articulation, organize the list into categories, and work on spelling the grocery items. Get creative and have fun!

Have a blast this summer! Your kiddo won’t even realize they are working on their speech and language goals. For more fun summer activities, check out our the Clubhouse Summer Social Groups page!

Written by Erin Condon, M.S., CF-SLP

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