That long list of activities you’ve been wanting to tackle as a family but never got around to? The new year is almost here and there are. No. More. Excuses! (Yep, you can count on us at Red Tricycle to give a dose of tough love.) Resolutions are well worth keeping if they involve the kiddos. Here are some every Chicago fam should make — and follow through on — in 2017.

Emerald City Theatre 2photo: Emerald City Theatre

1. Not many cities in the US compare to Chicago when it comes to the theater scene — for both adults and littles. See a charming piece of live theater at one of Chicago’s many stages focused on family performances, like Emerald City Theatre. Or, throw yourself and your kids into the show with interactive performances like Storytown Improv at Stage 773.

green-city-marketphoto: Green City Market

2. Stay healthy this year by being thoughtful about where your food comes from. Shop Green City Market. (Psst … yes, even in winter. It moves indoors to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, November-April.) While you’re at Peggy Notebaert, check out the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where they release butterflies daily and it always feels like summer.

Morton Arboretum Gnomephoto: Morton Arboretum

3. Make this the year you become more outdoorsy. For the second year in their 93-year history, Morton Arboretum hit 1 million visitors in 2016. See what all the buzz is about and explore the grounds any month for an ever-changing view of nature. While you’re there, hunt for gnomes and build them sweet homes or pop in for Thursday Family Nights this summer.


4. Did you know Chicago is home to an international children’s film fest? Yep. Totally is. And, we definitely recommend checking it out. For the 34th year, the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is hitting local theaters October 27-November 5.

wisconsinphoto: Ken Lund via flickr 

5. Be more spontaneous this year! Take a road trip to Wisconsin. Try Sheboygan and Kohler, take the perfect winter vacay, slip away to The Dells or make a breakaway to Brew City.

starved-rockphoto: Starved Rock courtesy of Maria Chambers

6. Packerland and all their stinky cheese too much of a stretch? Okay, scoot on over to the western coast of Michigan or stick even closer to home and opt for a family hike (look at you, sticking to that resolution to be outdoorsy. Two birds. One stone).

Pakdphoto: Pak’d

7. Take something off your mom agenda for once! How ’bout giving yourself a break on lunch packing a few times this year. Luckily Pak’d hit the Chicago market in 2016, making this a guilt-free option since they keep things healthy and fresh.

Four Seasons Chicago Kids Suitephoto: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

8. Make an effort to become more acquainted with our beautiful city. Plan a staycation with help from one of the many hotels that cater to families.

Berry Picking Orianaphoto: Berry picking, courtesy of Oriana Van Someren

9. Walk more, drive less! Put some miles on the baby buggy by taking a stroller tour of one of our many museums. Keeping walking on into spring when the berries are prime for the picking and you can stroll around, filling your bellies with sweet goodness at one of these berry farms.

Four Lakes Lislephoto: Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports courtesy of Maria Chambers

10. Take advantage of the abundance of powder we’ve gotten so far this season and check “learn to shred” off your bucket list at Lisle’s Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports. Bring the kiddos for the fun!

11. Remember the wise, wise words of fellow Chicagoan Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

What is YOUR New Year’s Resolution? Share it and inspire other Chicago parents in the Comments!

— Maria Chambers