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The 10 best things to do with kids in May

The 10 best things to do with kids in May
Photograph: Robin Carlson

Here comes the sun. You know what that means: It’s time to get the little ones outside. With the arrival of spring comes oodles of new reasons to leave the house and have some fun. We rounded up the top kid-friendly events happening in Chicago in May.

1. Kids and Kites Festival

Whether you want to watch or get in on the action, this annual kite festival is sure to impress kids of all ages. Kite kits will be provided at no cost while supplies last, and professionals will be on hand to demonstrate synchronized routines. Hang around for the Big Kite Candy Drop, when treats will fall from the sky. (Montrose Harbor, 4400 N Lake Shore Dr, May 6, 10am–4pm. Free) 

2. Little Lurie Scientists

If you have a curious kiddo between the ages of 3 and 5, this free six-week series is just what the doctor ordered. Each week, the group will explore a new topic surrounding the science behind the Lurie Garden. (Choral Rehearsal Room at Millennium Park; May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 and June 6; 10am. Free with registration)

3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear

The beloved children's book by Eric Carle hits the stage with the help of puppetry and scenic effects. Parents will get a healthy dose of nostalgia, too. (Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N Dearborn St, May 2–28 at various times. $28–$39)

4. The 606 Bike Rally

Get those bikes in tip-top shape for the season with air, brakes and chain safety checks courtesy of youth ambassadors from West Town Bikes and area police officers. (Walsh Park, 1722 N Ashland Ave, and Ridgeway Trailhead, 1800 N Ridgeway Ave; May 13, 10am–1pm. Free) 

5. Toad-ally Tadpoles

Fun is just a hop away! Kids learn all about toads and frogs at this self-guided, hands-on activity that runs on weekends throughout the month of May. (Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle, IL. Saturdays and Sundays through May 28, 11am–4pm. Free with admission)

6. Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival

This magical celebration of Japanese culture includes traditional harp and flute music, folk tales and a tea ceremony. Kids are invited to make special crafts, including a carp kite and an origami samurai helmet. (Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, May 20–21, 10am-2pm)

7. Bike the Drive

The kids will get a kick out of the fact that Lake Shore Drive is closed down for bikes, and parents will get some much-needed fresh air. (Lake Shore Drive between Bryn Mawr Avenue and 57th Street, May 28, 5:30am. $17–$65)

8. Bark in the Park

Looking for an excuse to get the kids and the dog out of the house? The Anti-Cruelty Society has you covered with this day in the sun, which includes an optional 5K along the lakefront, agility courses for pups and swag to take home. (Stadium Green at Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Dr, May 21, 10am-2pm. $20–$45 registration fee)

9. Memorial Day Parade

If the whole family has the day off, why not head downtown to honor the men and women who have served our country at this annual ceremony and parade? (Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn streets, May 27, 11am. Free)

10. Cinco de Mayo Pinata Party

Let the kids in on the Cinco de Mayo festivities with this program that allows them to create edible piñatas and balls for the zoo animals to play with. (Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark Street, May 6–7, 1:30–3:30pm. $5 per person, $4 for zoo members)

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