Chicago

Baby Shark Live! Tour Hits the Stage This Fall

Baby Shark Live!, a stage show based on that viral earworm of a song, is gearing up for a U.S. tour, hitting a city near your family this fall. Just in time for shark week, tickets for this fully-immersive concert are now on sale. We suspect seats will be going fast in cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, and NYC.

So what are you and your kiddos doo doo doo doo doo doo-ing this fall? The very first Baby Shark Live! tour will initially stop in over 30 cities and eventually 100. It's presented by the geniuses behind the sensational song, South Korean educational brand Pinkfong, and Round Room Live, the company behind Yo Gabba Gabba Live and PJ Masks Live. As if we all didn’t already have the insanely catchy song permanently stuck in our heads, there's definitely no hope for us now!

Weekend Fun for Chicago Kids: Neighborhood Fests, Bears Family Day, Kidzapalooza

No matter where you live in Chicagoland, there's probably a family-friendly street fair in your neighborhood (or nearby) this weekend. Uptown, there's EdgeFest with a pet parade Sunday and kids' activities all weekend, plus Jeff Fest music and art fair in Jefferson Park, and downtown there's Kidzapalooza, the kid-friendly answer to Grant Park's Lollapalooza.

In the western suburbs you'll find the LaGrange Endless Summer Fest with quarry tours, carnival, and car show, and the big block party that is Taste of Roselle. To the southwest, there's Naperville's Festa Italiana with music, a circus, and tons of Italian food, and Taste of Orland Park, where Kid's Day events on Saturday feature a family water balloon toss, a petting zoo, and an obstacle course. Meanwhile, in the northern suburbs the annual Northbrook Days festival means games and rides, with a special needs day on Saturday.

Chicago kids can gear up for football season and meet da Bears at Saturday's Chicago Bears Family Fest at Soldier Field. Also on Saturday, Oak Park Code Ninjas host a Family STEM Event where kids can combat the "summer slide" with free robot racing and video game building.

And this weekend Morton Arboretum holds the Destination Asia Festival at the Morton Arboretum with a water lantern display, Bollywood dance, and sumo wrestling, plus a wide array of Asian food trucks serving everything from sushi to mochi—and don't forget that this August is your last month to hunt for the famous trolls on the lovely grounds.

Looking for more summer fun? Our Chicago family events calendar is chock-full of ideas for fun things to do with kids. 

Virginia Beach with Kids: 25 Things to do on a Family Vacation

Virginia Beach is a perennial favorite getaway for East Coast families and travelers, beloved for its sandy oceanfront and 3-mile-long boardwalk. The beach and Atlantic surf have kept kids entertained for ages.

The length of the beach translates into always being able to find a spot for your towel and beach umbrella, even at the height of summer, and the decidedly G-rated atmosphere in Virginia's largest city, including a ‘no cursing on the beach’ rule, means there's plenty of family-friendly activities and spirit. Take the kids bike riding, for a round of mini golf, or to the aquarium. 

With hotels that accommodate a range of budgets, no-frills eateries, and free entertainment, Virginia Beach is a top pick for families craving a beach vacation. Colonial Williamsburg is also nearby, or you can add-on a visit to Washington, DC with the kids or another Virginia city, such as Richmond. Here’s what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Virginia Beach.

Weekend Fun for Chicago Kids: Free Shows, Summer Festivals, Touch a Truck, Harry Potter's Birthday

July hits the finish line at top speed with a full roster of culture and food festivals, free outdoor performances, and splashy water fun.

On Saturday, celebrate Harry Potter's birthday at The Party That Shall Not Be Named, a FREE bash for young witches and wizards in Naperville, or climb aboard a big rig at the DuPage Children's Museum Transportation Celebration and Touch-a-Truck. Families with older kids can pack up the picnic blankets for FREE alfresco family-friendly performances this weekend: Monty Python's Spamalot at the Wallace Bowl in Wilmette, and a lightning-round highlight reel of the Bard's greatest hits at Shakespeare in the Park, also in Wilmette. 

This weekend's street fairs and cultural festivals include the DuPage County Fair at the fairgrounds in Wheaton, the Fiesta Del Sol in support of the Pilsen community, Wicker Park Fest with a special Kids Fest both days, the Prairie Fest with carnival rides and concerts in west suburban Wood Dale, Family Fun Fest in Lombard, Chicago Ridge Fest in the south suburbs with a Family Fun Day (plus fireworks) on Sunday, all the pizza and pasta you can eat at Little Italy Fest West in Addison, and bites of just about every tasty food Chicagoland has to offer at the 36th annual Taste of Lincoln Avenue. Plus, two special cultural fairs this weekend honor Chicago's African diaspora communities: the Bantu Fest in Hyde Park with concerts, delicious food, and a children's village, and Ghana Fest in Washington Park with spectacular parades, dancing, art, and food.

Ready to hit the water? Two fun riffs on your standard day at the beach or the neighborhood pool are happening this weekend: Swim with Santa and his reindeer at Christmas in July in the East End Pool in Elmhurst, or blow bedtime for the light-up party that is the Bensenville Water Park Glow Crazy Night

See our Chicago family event calendar for more ideas, or our list of 50+ FREE Things to Do With Kids This Summer.

Outdoor Kids' Birthday Party Ideas for Summer Babies

Throw an amazing kids' birthday party right in your own backyard or local park with these outdoor party ideas.

Take all the fun (and the mess) of party games for kids outside and add a little summertime twist for inspired themes, such as camping, sprinklers, outdoor movies, and lawn games. We put together a list of seven sizzling kids' birthday party themes for outdoor parties below, including activity suggestions, decoration ideas, and some memorable munchies that will make your kid's party the event of the summer season.

Disney Cruise to Alaska? 12 Things To Know Before You Go

A Disney Cruise is a memorable experience for any kid (or, really, any grown-up) whether the ship stops in the Bahamas, EuropeJamaica, or some other exotic port—like Alaska. My family recently cruised Alaska Disney style, and if you're considering this particular Disney Cruise, I have a few tips that should make your vacation even more magical. 

Best Chicago Beaches for Families

Who says you need an ocean to go to the beach? Chicago families can get their swimming fix at a good old-fashioned beach by taking advantage of the “Midwest Coast” of Lake Michigan, or the many smaller lakes and even repurposed former quarries dotted throughout the suburbs.

The best beaches for families include easy parking, bathrooms with changing facilities, concession stands for little snackers, and maybe a playground or other attraction for when kids get tired of the water. Many of the Chicago Park District beaches are accessible by bus for families who prefer public transit.

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Chicago and the suburbs.

Weekend Fun for Chicago Kids: Tacos, Moon Landing, Art Fests, Disability Pride

Artists, astronauts, Disability Pride, and tacos: There's a lot to celebrate in Chicago this weekend. For the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, the Adler Planetarium is hosting a Moon Bash packed with lunar-themed activities, as is the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Meanwhile, on Saturday the Disability Pride Parade takes to the streets to honor the pride, power, and unity of people with disabilities, with an after-party at Daley Plaza.

Chicago is home to a vibrant artistic community, which shows its colors at three kid-friendly art fests this weekend: On Saturday, the Art Institute hosts its annual block party with performances and art workshops. Also on Saturday, Skokie hosts the eye-popping (and FREE) Chalk Howard Street festival, with chalk-based street artists creating a gallery of 2D and 3D works. And in Elmhurst, the YESFest presents a full weekend's worth of performances, showings, and screenings in support of Chicago artists.

If it's the weekend, that means there's a street fair happening somewhere, and this weekend brings some of our favorites: The humble/magnificent taco gets its due at this weekend's Tacos y Tamales Festival in Pilsen, while brats and beers rule at the Germanfest at Lombard, and Colombian music, arts, and food are center stage at Hermosa's Colombian Fest. Chinatown hosts its Summer Fair complete with a Dragon and Lion dance procession, and BenFest is just your basic good old-fashioned awesome Chicago street fair on the North Side.

Don't miss your chance to participate in the magic of the Chicago Water Lantern Festival in Humboldt Park, where hundreds of floating lanterns will light up the waters of the lagoon. Looking for more water-soaked summer fun? Our favorite free public pools, spraygrounds and splash parks, and water games you can play in the backyard will keep you and the kids good and drenched.

See our ever-expanding event calendar for more ideas. Happy weekend!

7 Smart Summer Screen Time and Tech Tips for Families

Summertime often means screen time, amirite? School's out, the days are long, and even moms and dads are feeling a little more laid back. With the relaxed phone, tablet, and TV rules, a media overdose starts to become inevitable without some thoughtful boundaries.

So, how do you make tech work for your family over the summer instead of against it? With a little help from our sponsor, Verizon, we've put together 7 smart tech tips to help your crew make the most of screen time for kids without going over the top.

Bonus tip: Get an extra $200 off a premium device when you sign up to Fios* — not to mention crazy fast internet speeds, custom TV plans for kids and teens, and reliable cell service to keep everyone safe and connected.

Nantucket with Kids: 35 Fun Things to Do as a Family

What's so special about Nantucket? This charming Massachusetts island 30 miles off of Cape Cod is more than just a prepster paradise: It's just about as family-friendly as can be. In fact, there are so many things for kids to do in Nantucket, the trick is packing it all into a single family vacation. Perhaps that's why we always come back! Luckily, with just 48 square miles to cover, it is possible to fit in a number of Nantucket highlights, including a surf lesson, aquarium trip, critter cruise, and lobster dinner.

So catch the Nantucket ferry over to the island (or fly in), and try these kid-friendly activities. We're sure you'll have a family getaway that's one for the photo books.

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