FREE Summer Activities in Northwest Suburban Chicago

The sun is shining! The kids are out of school! What are we going to do?!

This is our 2nd summer living in suburban Chicago and we are still searching for great activities to do during the summer with our kiddos. Although we’ve come up with a pretty extensive Summer To-Do List (link your family’s to-do list with us!), there are times this family of 5 wants to leave the house and explore, without breaking the bank!

Chicago offers so many great things to do with the family, but what about the suburbs? I’ve been looking high and low for free or relatively inexpensive activities. Here is a smattering of FREE things you can do in and around the northwest ‘burbs of Chicago! This is by no means everything there is to do and I would LOVE to hear from YOU and add to our list! Please, leave a comment if you know of a place that is free, or relatively inexpensive and will be a hit with the family this summer!

FREE Things to do With Your Kiddos:

  • Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg – Pack a picnic and step back in time at this 1880s German working farm! Discover what living on the farm was like, wash clothes, explore the barnyard animals and MORE! My kiddos loved  getting hands on with some of the exhibits!Volkening Heritage Farm, meeting a cow
  • Crabtree Nature CenterCook County Forest Preserve: Tie up your walking shoes and head over to one of the many trails at Crabtree, spend time at the kids play area – explore, search, climb! Don’t forget to stop in the nature center to see the indoor critters, or ask to borrow binoculars and a Kid’s Adventure Kit!

Crabtree Nature Center

  • Take a playground tour! There are some pretty amazing playgrounds around the area. Head to a different one every week or every couple of days! New playgrounds = new fun, for you AND your kiddos!
  • Cruise Night, Farmer’s Markets – Most towns and villages have special nights that you can enjoy old cars and people watching.
  • Your local library is sure to have a summer reading program with incentives to get your kiddo reading all summer long! Over the summer, children lose valuable reading and comprehension skills – encouraging them (with incentives from your library) is a win – win for all of you!
  • John Deere Pavilion – If you are up for a drive, head to Moline and enjoy the John Deere Pavilion. I hear it is small – but well worth the visit – and it’s FREE! I know my farm loving kiddos and I are heading there this summer and will enjoy the Mississippi River too!


  • Kids Bowl Free – but there’s a catch! Yes, kids bowl free all summer, but you need to register and parents have the option to purchase a Family Pass (so adults can bowl too), Pass prices start at $24.95 and includes 2 games per day for the entire summer. It’s still a great deal, especially if your family loves to bowl!
  • The Home Depot – Kids Workshops: Did you know that The Home Depot offers free workshops for kids on the first Saturday of the month? Check out your local HD for events and be sure to register!

Home Depot Kids Club


  • Pottery Barn Kids has several events over the summer – reading challenges, Super Hero Celebrations and story time, just to name a few! Be sure to check with your local PBK for dates and times.
  • Apple Camp – Do you have a movie maker at home? Kids ages 8 – 12 can take part in iMovie making over a 3 day period. Be sure to sign up with your email address to be notified of when sign up for this class begins!

**Find even MORE ideas and activities on our Facebook page! Like us! **


Do you know of activities for the family that are free? Please share! I’ll include them in our list too! Thank you!!

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One Response to FREE Summer Activities in Northwest Suburban Chicago

  1. Pingback: Northwest Suburban Chicago Activities to do this Summer with Your Kids! | My 3 Tartlets

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