Just like dining and playing, shopping is shifting outside for the summer. Flea market season is upon us — and the fun is entirely family friendly. Put on your bargain-hunting hat and plow through antiques, vintage jewelry, furniture and other gems. Your little allowance earner will be tempted to burn his savings on toys, baseball cards, plush animals and even old-fashioned treats like popcorn, fudge and ice cream. Read on to hear about four fleas in Chicago or within an hour’s drive.

3-french-hens-flea-marketsphoto: 3 French Hens

3 French Hens French Country Market
Several years ago, three women set out to show their neighbors that they didn’t need a passport to enjoy the beauty and treasures of a traditional French market. They created this charming attraction in the streets of Morris, Illinois, about an hour southwest of Chicago. Now run by two of the original hens, the market has a romantic, Euro feel that echoes that look of the historic town it’s located in.

Why parents love it:
The quaint setting is a welcome escape from city life. Market vendors set up booths near the pretty canals that cut through town. It’s the ideal cadre for browsing fine crafts, antiques, baked goods, fresh produce and flowers. For lunch, step back to the early 1900s at Letty Mae’s Tea Room, where hot soups, salads and deli sandwiches are served on vintage china.

Why kids love it:
Vintage toys and plushes keep the small fry eagerly browsing. Take a break in town at Sweet Tooth, an old-fashioned candy store known for its in-house popcorn, fudge and ice cream.

3 French Hens Market
Held the 2nd Saturday of every month, from May through October, from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Free
123 W. Illinois Ave.
Morris, IL
815-513-5600
Online: www.3frenchhensmarket.blogspot.com

kanecounty2photo: Kane County Flea Market

Kane County Flea Market
In far west suburban St. Charles, hundreds of vendors spread out on cement paths and grassy knolls, and set up shop in covered sheds. The pastoral setting sets the mood for good, old-fashioned bargain shopping (and haggling, if you’re game for that). Helen Robinson, know by many as the “Queen Flea,” started the market almost 50 years ago. Nearly 5 decades later, it’s still considered among the best of the Midwest and was named one of the top 10 places to shop for antiques by USA Today.

Why parents love it:
Talented sellers like Mark Allen, Urban Farmgirl and Whimsy got their start at Kane County Flea Market and have since gained a mega following in Chicagoland and beyond. You’ll find flowers, garden art, vintage glassware, clothing, tapestries, antique furniture, tools, art and more than the average array of oddities (think yard art made from recycled golf clubs and a recycled bowling alley floor turned into a table).

On your way in, skip Dunkin’ Donuts in favor of Dave’s Coffee Cakes — you can’t go wrong no matter which cake you pick.

Why kids love it:
We hate to mention them twice, but kids love cake, too! And, Dave’s Coffee Cakes will certainly keep the littles happy. Otto’s Corn and Lemonade by the N Trades building offers some of the best freshly squeezed lemonade this side of the Mississippi. Thirst quenched, head to Crackin’ Geodes in the arena building. For $1, your little shopper can select a rock and have it cracked open to marvel at the quartz formations inside.

Kane County Flea Market
Held the 1st Sunday of every month from 7 a.m.- 4 p.m., and the preceding Saturday (March through December) from noon-5 p.m. This market is never cancelled, even during inclement weather.
Cost: $5 for adults; children under 12 are free. Parking is free.
Kane County Fair Grounds
525 S. Randall Rd.
St. Charles, IL
630-377-2252
Online: www.kanecountyfleamarket.com

maxwell-street-market-flea-marketsphoto: Maxwell Street Market

Maxwell Street Market
This iconic open-air market is important to Chicago’s ethnic and musical history. Around for more than 100 years, it was once described as “the Ellis Island of the Midwest” because many new immigrants set up push-cart shops to support their families selling anything they could to survive. When blues musicians played this venue they realized in order to be heard over the noise of the market they needed electric instruments and amplifiers, which led to the birth of the electrified Chicago Blues genre of music. Many believe this sound actually evolved into the creation of rock ‘n’ roll and inspired bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin and The Beatles.

Why parents love it:
Maxwell Street Market is not a place where you’re going to easily score precious antiques or vintage collectibles; the discoveries are more on par with those of a massive rummage sale. But you will find fresh produce, purses, perfume, jewelry, clothing, bikes and various household products at deeply discounted prices. Live music is still a prevalent component of this market.

The stars of Maxwell Street Market are the food vendors who sell some of the most authentic ethnic foods available anywhere in Chicago.

Why kids love it:
Swing by the XOCO Churro Truck for Rick Bayless’ famous creme-filled churros. For an inexpensive lunch, grab a queso quesadilla with handmade tortillas from Rubi’s and horchata (a traditional Mexican sweet rice drink) and have an impromptu picnic. The summer kickoff, held May 14, will include live music and loads of activities for the stroller-set.

Maxwell Street Market
Held every Sunday, year ’round, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Free (Be sure to bring cash because most vendors don’t accept anything but the green stuff.)
800 S. Des Plaines
Chicago, IL
312-745-4676
Online: www.maxwellstreetmarket.us

photo: Randolph Street Market

Randolph Street Market
One weekend a month you can soak up 300 eclectic market vendors in what is described as the “Mecca of Cool” by its fans. Clearly, the distinction is because of the urban energy and vibe. A favorite of well-known local designers and decorators, Randolph Street Market harbors art, fashion, jewelry, antiques, food, drinks and live music.

Why parents love it:
When you’re in the mood for city energy, rather than country calm, head here. The selection is boundless and includes ethnic crafts at the Global Goods Bazaar, the Fancy Food Market that features chocolates, cakes, breads, spices, oils and salsa to-go, a Vinyl Depot with thousands of collectable records and accessories from virtually every decade and style. For purchases of more than $200, the market offers free or discounted delivery service to downtown locations, so you can avoid strapping big finds to your baby buggy. Oh, and don’t miss the incredible food vendors.

Why kids love it:
New for the 2017 season, Randolph Street Market is introducing a monthly Kids FunFair and Pirate Arcade. Young shoppers can enjoy a day of pirate-themed carnival games and a petting zoo. While you hunt for finds, they can go looting at the front gate for a treasure map and activity sheet so they can explore and engage in the market right alongside you. At the end, they hand in their completed sheet at the Pirate Arcade and pick a prize from the treasure chest, as well as snag a goody bag filled with bubbles, crayons and more.

Add to the adventure by taking the free Michigan Avenue trolley from Water Tower Pumping Station, which runs, May-September, every hour from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and returns every hour from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Randolph Street Market
Held the last full weekend of each month from May through November, and also December 15 & 16, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Adult general admission is $10 at the gate; $8 purchased online. Valet parking is available for $10. Children under 12 are free.
47 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL
312-666-1200
Online: www.randolphstreetmarket.com

Where’s your favorite place to bargain hunt with the kids?

— Maria Chambers