Family Fun

Family Fun Forecast: Markets, Concerts & American Girls

Photo by Charles Osgood/Courtesy of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963”

From everyone’s favorite dolls on stage to plenty of cool makers, here’s what is happening for families in Chicago this season.

Photo courtesy of One of a Kind Show

One of a Kind Show
This special bi-annual event at theMart brings together artists and makers from all over the country to display their goods for sale. It’s a fun event to bring kids to, with live music, plenty of food and endless cool stuff to explore!
Details: April 26-April 28; $12 for adults, free 12 and younger

Beat Kitchen Kids’ Concerts
Another week, another fun kids’ concert at Beat Kitchen, which means it’s time to jam out to some of your favorite kiddie artists. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., the shows start at noon, and it is guaranteed to be a great time for all!
Details: April 28 features Tunes With Tim and May 5 is Ben Tatar; $6

Jam Out With the Little Miss Ann Band
It’s always a fun time when Little Miss Ann gets on stage. She’s sure to put on a fun and interactive show that even the smallest set can enjoy! Parents can grab a cocktail in the space and eat, too.
Details: April 28, 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.; $10

Chicago Parent Character Bash
It’s all about superheroes and princesses at this giant Chicago Parent magazine playdate at Northbrook’s Athletico Center, with plenty of visits from your favorite cast of characters. There’s so much to do here, from obstacles and bounce houses to train rides and sports, and your kids will surely tucker out in the car ride back to the city.
Details: April 28, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; $8 for kids 4-14, $4 for kids 2-3 and $2.50 for kids under two 

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden

Japanese Garden Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden
Head north to experience all of the children’s festivals native to Japan, including traditional folk tales and a tea ceremony. Kids can create paper dolls with kimonos, special kites and a hanging scroll while listening to traditional Japanese instruments like the Shakuhachi flute and Koto harp.
Details: April 27 and 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Nichols Hall; free (must pay to park)

See American Girl Doll Live
Sure, you could shop for American Girl dolls until you drop along Michigan Avenue, but now, starting April 30, you can also see them live on stage. This all-new musical chronicles the stories of your favorite dolls, so it’s sure to be a big hit.
Details: April 30-May 12; $39

Join Little Diners Crew for an Early Mother’s Day Celebration
It’s never too early to celebrate mom! Join the Little Diners Crew for an early Mother’s Day celebration at Space 519, where they’ll celebrate with the kids with California cuisine in The Lunchroom. There will be plenty of fun touches, like black and white cupcakes and a discount for mom in the store the whole month-long.
Details: May 4, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; $28 for members, $35 for non-members, $52 for adults

Mini Maker Faire
If your kids love show-and-tell, they’ll love this fun event where young makers showcase everything from 3-D printed creations to upcycling. Over 100 makers are expected to display their skills at this first annual event!
Details: May 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Schurz High School; free

Photo courtesy of Kohl’s Childrens Museum

Go Behind the Scenes at the Shedd
Head to the Shedd Aquarium not only to see the amazing exhibitions: On May 5, it’s hosting a special behind-the-scenes event (ages 3 and up), in which families can explore the amazing patterns and textures found within nature. See animals up close and personal, get guided through a special art project, and participate in plenty of hands-on activities.
Details: May 5, 
10 a.m.–noon; $35 ($30 for members)

Go Ahead and Touch a Truck
This fundraiser for the Kohl Children’s Museum couldn’t be more fun for kids if it tried—more than 30 real-life trucks are open for them to climb, explore, and play in. Monster trucks, police cars, dump trucks, and more! There will also be face painting, balloon animals, and plenty of food trucks.
Details: May 5, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; $45 for a family up to six, or $50 at the door 

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
This Chicago Children’s Theatre production has been getting great reviews, and it has just been extended three additional weeks! The play is about a family from Flint, Michigan, that road-trips down to Birmingham, Alabama, in the midst of the civil rights movement. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
Details: Through May 19; $25–$41

Photo by Christian Libonati/Courtesy of the Filament Theatre

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
This beautiful adaptation of the children’s book of the same name follows the adventures of a bunny made of china who loses his way and goes on a journey where he learns all about love and the differences of people we encounter through life. It’s a truly touching tale!
Details: Through May 26; $16–$19.50

Chicago Kids Company’s Little Red Riding Hood
Who doesn’t adore the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf? We all do, especially kids. Get a chance to see the story live onstage in this fun rendition from the Chicago Kids Company.
Details: Through May 31; $14