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 2018.

Emerald City Theatre 2photo: Emerald City Theatre

1. Introduce more culture. 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.

photo: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2. Eat healthier. 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.

photo: Morton Arboretum

3. Be more outdoorsy. Morton Arboretum welcomes as many as 1 million visitors a year. See what all the buzz is about and explore the grounds any month for an ever-changing view of nature. While you’re there, let the Husky Heroes impress you in January, hunt for trolls starting in April, or pop in for Thursday Family Nights this summer.

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS TO GORTON COMMUNITY CENTER THIS NOVEMBERphoto: Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

4. Watch more quality programming. 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 35th year, the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival will be hitting local theaters at the end of October. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2018 dates.

5. Be more spontaneous! Make time for last-minute road tripping with your family with the perfect winter vacay or slip away any time of year to The Dells. Quick and easy memory-makers.

starved-rockphoto: Starved Rock courtesy of Maria Chambers

6. Get to know a neighboring state. Packerland and all their stinky cheese too much of a stretch? Okay, scoot on over to the western coast of Michigan, where low-key beaches reign supreme.

photo: Wise Apple

7. Simplify meal planning. Take something off your mom agenda for once! How ’bout giving yourself a break on lunch packing a few times this year. Luckily Wise Apple’s around, making this a guilt-free option since they keep things healthy and fresh.

Four Seasons Chicago Kids Suitephoto: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

8. Get to know your own city. Make an effort to become more acquainted with our beautiful city by planning 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.  You could also opt for a family hike (look at you, sticking to that resolution to be outdoorsy. Two birds. One stone).

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

10. Learn a new skill. Hopefully the powder will be plentiful this season so you can check “learn to shred” off your bucket list at Lisle’s Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports. Bring the kiddos for the fun!

11. Listen to the wise ones. 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