If you live in the Midwest like we do, the winter can get a little old. Sure, the snow is gorgeous...until it turns into the slushy gray mess we are so familiar with. Here are my top ten activities to do this winter to keep boredom at bay! 10. If you aren't type A and can handle a mess, packing peanuts make great fake snow! We recently received a package that came with millions of packing peanuts. My son dumped them out on the floor (yay?) and proceeded to make snow angels. He had a lovely time, and when he was done, I taught him how a broom and dustpan work.

9. Is it anyone else's secret dream to attend Monster Truck Jam? Just me? Ok, I guess it is more of a curiosity than anything else. What do they jam to? Music? Or is it just a bunch of trucks crunching cars? I  hear it is insanely loud, so make sure to bring earplugs/noise-reducing earphones for the kiddos. If you go, please get me a t-shirt!! Here is the schedule: http://www.monsterjam.com/Events/

The website even has coloring pages for the kids. They are coming to Rosemont February 5th-8th, so geeeeeeeeet reeeeeeeeeady!

8. I am not built for cold weather, even though I was born and raised in Michigan. I was always outside when I was little- skiing, building snow forts, careening down sled hills, and even opening up my own sno cone stand with my Snoopy Sno Cone Machine (I didn't get many customers...). With my kids, I bring the cold inside by heaping snow on top of art trays and putting them on a vinyl tablecloth. I add in all of our beach toys and the kids are entertained until the snow melts!

7. I am probably the world's worst bowler, I just don't have the natural coordination to make the ball go straight or even stay in my alley. I still have a blast every time I go, and I think my kids would enjoy all the action that this activity has to offer. Pinstripes has Open Tot Bowling Monday-Friday 10am-12pm, designed just for preschoolers. Cost is $5/kid (caregivers are free) with a limit of 4 kids/adult. Check your specific location's calendar to make sure they got it goin' on! http://pinstripes.com/

6. What is so fascinating to kids about a car wash? My son asks to go EVERY day. I have to explain that: A. Our car will freeze and B. I will go broke. Since he has dozens of Matchbox cars at home (that constantly magically appear under my feet), I decided to open up a car wash of our own in the kitchen sink. If your kiddos are small enough, just plop them in a sink full of soapy water and let them go at it! Otherwise, a stool at the sink with sponges, scrubbers and soap is just as fun.

5. Want to expose your child to some "culture" but nervous about taking them to a live show? The whole family is welcome at Storytown, an "interactive and fully improvised adventure." I brought Bryson, my 3 year old, to see the show a few months back. Charlotte was also in tow, so I took a seat by the door just in case. The cast was amazing- they dealt with Bryson's outbursts ("I think Lightning McQueen should be in the show. He's red. You need red shirts. He races. He wins the race"...and on and on) like champs. The kids get to literally help design the set and participate in the acts. Ideal for ages 3-10, fun for the whole fam: http://storytownimprov.com/

4. Remember when I made fun of myself in #8 about having a sno cone stand? Well, I might have failed at turning a profit, but I still think it was fun! How about making an indoor circus complete with sno cones, popcorn and acts of your own? Take whatever talent your kids have and turn into an act worthy of a 3 ring circus by setting the scene. Put up blankets hanging from the mantle for a backdrop, make top hats out of construction paper, and gather your stuffed animals for the main event. We even have an inexpensive tent that we purchased from IKEA- it doubles as a great book reading nook. This is a photo of my son when he was a few years younger putting together a circus, poor kid!

Circus Theme

3. Want to end your day on a (sugar) high? Hit up the Hershey's Store on Michigan Avenue. They have a number of experiences for your hopped up little to enjoy: Factory Worker for a Day, Wrap Happiness where they get their photo on a chocolate bar, and a visit to the Bake Shoppe- an assortment of freshly baked goodies topped with Hershey products. Check out the site for info: http://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/locations/chicago

2. Now that you have fully stocked up on chocolate, how about a little 60's/70's revival with a fondue party? If you are all chocolate-d out, go for cheese instead. Try crazy combinations, like chocolate with bacon (!!!) or cheese with grapes.

1. And my top pick for things to do this winter? Chicago Family Palooza in St. Charles! This event is sure to be a boredom buster and tire those kids out for a long winter nap after. This jam-packed event is coming up on February 28th and March 1st and runs from 10am to 6pm each day. Here is a sample of things for your family to enjoy:

  • Magic Acts
  • Zip Line
  • Rock Climbing
  • Jugglers
  • Train Rides
  • Petting Zoo
  • Face Painters
  • Inflatables

Tickets are $8 for General Admission, and $15 for the Premium Wristband which includes GA activities and rock climbing, moon jumps, obstacles courses and more! You can save $2 off admission by purchasing online before the event. Check out the details here: http://www.chicagofamilypalooza.com/


Chicago Family Palooza- Must-Do Winter Event

Want to attend this event with your family for FREE? We are giving away a family pack to one lucky winner that includes General Admission for each member, PLUS a bonus Premium Ticket for each member as well! The Premium Tickets are valid for activities such as Zip Line, Euro Bungee Jump, Face Painting, Sand Art and Caricature Portraits.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below and don't miss this spectacular way to get the family moving in the middle of winter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given passes to Chicago Family Palooza for review purposes; all opinions are honest and my own!