Out of School Activities
Look here for lots of ways to discover and learn all around you.
Quicklinks: Recommended Reads | CPL Online Resources | CPL Popular Topics | Chicago Museum Resources | Chicago Area Resources | Tutoring | Activities, Puzzles and Games | Readers Challenge! Game Cards
Sometimes we worry...
The staff of the Chicago Public Library are very committed to the well-being and safety of Chicago’s children. We want your child’s visit to the library to be fun and enriching. Please know that library facilities are free and open to the public and cannot offer child care services such as the monitoring of a child’s whereabouts, physical exercise, meals or emergency care if a child becomes ill or upset. Any public place may be unsafe for a child who is left unattended for long hours or who is left after the library closes. The Chicago Public Library welcomes all children, though we ask that children under 7 years old not be left unattended.
Please consult with your local library staff for details on our Unattended Child and Disruptive Behavior Policy.
Find stories to reassure kids coping with anxiety and uncertainty.
- Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Ages 6-10
- Be the Boss of Your Stress: Self-Care for Kids by Timothy Culbert and Rebecca Kajander, Ages 9-13
- Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now by Lauren Child, Ages 8-12
- Felix and the Worrier by Rosemary Wells, Ages 4-8
- Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, Ages 4-8
- Melvin Might? by Jon Scieszka,illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and David Gordon; Ages 4-7
- Ready for Anything! by Keiko Kasza, Ages 4-8
- Scaredy Squirrel series by Mélanie Watt, Ages 5-8
- Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt, Ages 12 and up
- Something Might Happen by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Ages 4-8
- What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Bonnie Matthews, Ages 8-12
- The Worry Web Site by Jacqueline Wilson, Ages 9-13
CPL Online Resources
Find information about places around the world and close to home. CultureGrams: Kids Edition includes information about countries and territories and the people that live there. States Edition includes information about the 50 states. Provinces Edition covers the 13 Canadian provinces and territories.
Little Pim »
Learn a new language with Little Pim!
NoveList K-8 »
People of all ages can find picture books, easy readers, chapter books or books for teens by picking what types of people should be in the story, what happens in the story, and where and when the story takes place. Users can look up a book they’ve enjoyed in the past and find others similar to it. NoveList K-8 also includes lists of award-winning titles or titles of a particular type (for example, mysteries).
CPL Popular Topics
Use these resources to sharpen your math skills.
Author of the Month »
Great for author studies projects or just finding a great book to read.
Chicago Museum Resources
Check out a Kids Museum Passport to visit one of 15 local cultural institutions for free! Use the CPL’s museum passport book lists to support your visit.
The following museums have discount days in September, offering free admission for Illinois residents:
- Adler Planetarium: September 11-12, 18-19, 25-26
- Art Institute of Chicago: September 4, 11
- Chicago History Museum: September 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27
- DuSable Museum of African American History: All Sundays and school days for CPS students only
- Field Museum: September 4-5, 9, 11, 20, 25-26 (Please confirm with museum.)
- Museum of Contemporary Art: All Tuesdays
- Museum of Science and Industry: September 4-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: All Thursdays
- Shedd Aquarium: September 10-11, 17-18, 24-25
Entrance to the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Lincoln Park Zoo, National Museum of Mexican Art and Chicago Botanic Garden is always free.
Can't get to the museum? Try these virtual museum experiences:
- Explore Science Online at the Adler Planetarium
- Curious Corner at the Art Institute of Chicago
- Exhibit and Animal Guide at the Brookfield Zoo
- Bring It Home Activities from the Chicago Children’s Museum
- Great Chicago Stories at the Chicago History Museum
- My Chicago from the Chicago Historical Society
- Lesson Plans from the DuSable Museum of African American History
- Crown Family Playlab at the Field Museum
- Online Science at the Museum of Science and Industry
- Explore by Animal and Exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium
Chicago Area Resources
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago »
Located throughout 15 Chicago neighborhoods, the Boys & Girls Club offers a safe place for learning for children ages 6 to 18.
Chicago Center for Early Education »
Housed at Malcolm X College, the center provides library and computer resources, as well as workspace for parents and teachers to enhance the early educational experience.
Gary Comer Youth Center »
Located on Chicago’s South Side, the center provides support and extracurricular education opportunities to assist students in preparing for their future.
Girls in the Game »
Find programs in sports, health, leadership and life for girls ages 7 to 18 across the city.
Illinois Early Learning Project »
Locate resources and activities to assist with the care and early education of young children.
YMCA of Metro Chicago »
With locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs, the YMCA has programs for all ages and interests.
The Tutor/Mentor Connection »
Check out this site for a tutor and mentoring program in the city of Chicago for children in educationally and economically disadvantaged areas.
Activities, Puzzles and Games
Brain Quest Kids! »
Downloadable activity kits for preschoolers through fourth-graders.
Comic Art Showcase »
Create your own graphic art inspired by your love of reading and your library using these templates. Give your completed art to your librarian to be part of a local showcase.
Harry Potter Activities »
Test your knowledge of everyone's beloved wizard with these spellbinding puzzles.
Leap Frog Parents »
Printable worksheets, family activities and school readiness advice for babies to grade schoolers.
Read Write Think Parent Resources »
This site, sponsored by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, offers online games, printable activity sheets, book lists and more for children from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Sudoku Online »
With more than a thousand sudoku puzzles, you will be sure to find one to challenge your mind.
Readers Challenge! Game Cards
Choose a board and complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of activities to be entered into a raffle at your neighborhood library.