What to Do on a Day Off of School

No school? No problem! There are so many fun (and mostly FREE) ways to spend a day off of school. Now, I can’t guarantee that you won’t need an extra cup of coffee to keep up with your kiddos, but I promise that you will have just as much fun as them as long as you choose something from this list of fun things to do on a day off of school.

This list is appropriate for both big and little kids, and I have purposely avoided places such as play spaces and museums because they tend to be MAD HOUSES on days when kids don’t have school. Take it from me and scope out an off-the-radar spot to enjoy the day off of school.

Get Moving

A sure way to make the day fly by? Lace up your shoes and GET MOVING. Whether you go on a park crawl to find the best Ninja Warrior Park or the tallest slide or test your bladder at a trampoline park, exercising is a great way to get the endorphins going. 

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can still work up a sweat roller skating, rock wall climbing…or even spending the day racing up at and down waterslides at Great Wolf Lodge or some of these other fun indoor waterparks.

Make Something

I know it can be stressful when kids want to “help,” but trust me, that’s when the fun (and messy) memories are made. DIY Kindness Rocks are insanely easy to make and don’t make too much of a mess, or you can try your hand at a family favorite recipe.

Want to create OUTSIDE of the house? Then be sure to check out our favorite crafting classes.

Get Outside

I am a firm believer in taking kids outside EVERY SINGLE DAY—it’s like a natural “reset button” for kids who are inundated with screens. And luckily for us Chicagoans, there are TONS of cool places to explore no matter the season. You can hunt for Trolls at the Morton Arboretum, roll up and down hills at the Chicago Botanic Garden, visit your furry (or scaly) friends at the zoo, or simply go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt in your neighborhood.

Explore a New Neighborhood

Chicago is known as the city of neighborhoods, so come together as a team to pick an entirely new neighborhood to explore. Play, eat, and explore your way through a new town and learn about the world around you. Some of our favorite areas to explore? La Grange, Mellody Farm in Vernon Hills, Logan Square, and the West Loop.

Learn Something

Just because school is out of session doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. Head to one of the many free nature centers across Chicagoland, visit unique museums such as the Chicago History Museum or Blocks to Bricks, or even visit small businesses like Dave’s Rock Shop in Evanston to learn a thing or to.

Be sure to check out my top picks in the city and suburbs for some more family play date inspiration!

Enjoy your day of play!


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