Family Fun

Chicago’s Best Family Events for November

Double Dare Live; Credit: Scott Everett White/Nickelodeon

Jam Out at the Mr. Singer and The Sharp Cookies Concert
Kid rockstar Mr. Singer takes his act from the Lincoln Park Zoo to the Chop Shop stage for a Sunday funday concert. There’s plenty of room for dancing, and families can book brunch at the kid-friendly restaurant after the show. A portion of the proceeds benefit Movember, which raises money for men’s health issues by growing snazzy mustaches. $15 per family of four.
Date: November 11, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. 

Dive Into a Beloved Children’s Tale with Leo Lionni’s Frederick
Leo Lionni’s beloved children’s book about a daydreaming mouse takes the stage in a musical rendition perfect for the whole family. Like most Chicago Children’s Theatre shows, expect colorful costumes, catchy tunes and a little bit of humor that will keep kids of all ages entertained. Tickets are $35-40.
Date: Shows run weekends through December 1, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Mr. Singer and the Sharp Cookies

Bring Your Favorite Characters Dora and Diego to Life at Let’s Explore! 
Little kids will love this special exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to explore with their favorite Spanish-speaking cartoon characters. Slide down the purple planet slide, blast off in a rocket ship, crawl through the rainforest and rescue animals. Afterwards, head to our favorite respite from the cold: the always humid, always beautiful Judy Istok butterfly haven in the museum.
Date: The exhibit runs through January 27

Relive Your Childhood at Double Dare Live!
I’m not sure who’s more excited for this one, my kids or me, but regardless of age, it’s time to relive the game show that’s been delighting kids since the 1980s in a live version at the Rosemont Theatre. Yes, that means all of the trivia questions, crazy dares and the grand finale obstacle course where kids in the audience might get a chance to pick the giant nose, climb Mount Saint Double Dare or roll through the ringer. And it’s hosted by Marc Summers, the original host.
Date: November 10, 7 p.m.

Embrace Your Inner Film Scholar at the 35th Annual International Chicago Children’s Film Festival
Attention movie buffs! Film festivals aren’t just for adults. This week-long festival showcases children’s films from around the world. It’s the oldest and largest kids film festival in North America and the first one to be considered Oscar-qualifying. Theaters across the city show various movies for different age groups, with something for everyone. This year’s theme is “BUILD,” focusing on empowering children and teens to build bridges across divides through empathy. Check the schedule and find a flick that works for your family.
Date: November 1-9

Look at Leaves While They’re Still on the Trees
Sometimes walking around Chicago in the fall is just enough. While the leaves are still on the trees and the sun still shines, it’s the perfect time for a family stroll. We love grabbing coffee at a local cafe and heading to a park. Stroll through Lincoln Park or Wicker Park and take in the hustle and bustle and changing leaves before the city turns cold and bare. If you can handle a short drive, it’s also a great time of year to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Leo Lionni’s Frederick; Credit: Charles Osgood

Bring Out Your Pastry Skills at Sweet Mandy B’s Thanksgiving Cookie Decorating Class
If only we could make desserts like they do at Sweet Mandy B’s! The adorable Lincoln Park bakery is giving your kids a chance to do so with their Thanksgiving cookie decorating class. Although we can guarantee they won’t look quite as beautiful, they’ll still taste like the freshly baked cookies with fluffy frosting few can resist. The class costs $20 and is designed for ages 2-5.
Date: November 12, 10-10:40 a.m. and
11:30 a.m.–12:10 p.m. 

Watch Imagination Come to Life at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Pixar Exhibit
How does Buzz Lightyear soar through the air? How is the animation filmed? How do these characters develop personalities? You can learn all this and a whole lot more at the “Science Behind Pixar” exhibit running through January at the Museum of Science and Industry. With plenty of hands-on STEM learning opportunities, this makes for both a fun and educational way to engage with some of the most beloved movie characters of this generation. This is a special exhibit not included in the entry fee. Tickets cost $14 for adults and seniors, $11 for children 3-11 and $7 for museum members.

Hunt for Trolls at the Morton Arboretum
If you didn’t make it to the Morton Arboretum this summer, fall is as good a time as any to venture through the forest in search of trolls. You’ll know when you spot them because Danish artist Thomas Dambo created these creatures to be 15- to 30-feet tall (one is even 60-feet long). Cost is included in admission to the arboretum.