If this winter is anything like last year's polar vortex insanity, hours-long trips to the playground may not be in the forecast. But there are plenty of other fun activities for kids going on across the city that are worth bundling up for. We've rounded up everything from drop-in classes to exhibits at the city's best museums, and from ice skating to snowshoeing to help you (and your kids) make it through the dreaded winter months.
RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in Chicago this winter
Winter activities for kids
Each month, the nature museum picks a different theme for family fun. In December, learn about nature observation and participate in experiments, crafts and activities during drop-in hours on Saturday and Sundays. Free with museum admission.Read more
Cooties may be on your kids' minds more than cupid these days, but that doesn't mean they won't adore Valentine's Day. Use it as a great excuse to show your love for one another and do something as a family. Many of the indoor playgrounds and Chicago museums around town are going all out with music, crafts and sweet treats for this holiday of love. RECOMMENDED: More Valentine's Day ideasRead more
Not only does Lincoln Park Zoo have more than 1,000 animals, but it also has a children's zoo catered to the little ones in your life. The highlight? An uber-modern 21st-century jungle gym, dubbed the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure, with 36 curvy wooden platforms for curious explorers.Read more
You can't walk on water, but you and the fam can traipse across the snow's surface with the help of some snowshoes at this 1,700-acre West Suburban arboretum. Rentals are available at the visitors center; once you've got those tennis rackets strapped on, head out on the kid-friendly Conifer Collection trail, where benches, restrooms and warming stations make this an enjoyable, whine-free outing for all.Read more
Lil' Kickers classes
Lil' Kickers classes are a noncompetitive introduction to soccer for young athletes who just want to have 50 minutes of fun, and during the winter that fun happens at indoor locations around the city. Warning: Classes have been known to return a smellier, sweatier version of your little superstar. Check the website for dates, times and prices.
This Lincoln Square salon caters to wee ones who need some spiffing up, but they also offer services for grown-ups, too. Try the Mommy & Me mani/pedi ($65), which gets you both some side-by-side pampering. This is not just for girls: Rock Candy's mani-guy gives little boys a soak in "green slime" before cleaning up their nails.Read more