You’re busy. We totally get it. Summer has your head spinning. We know this. But, please, for the love of fun and all that’s ridiculously giddy, do these five simple things before that school bell rings. One is a circus in an unexpected spot that’s ever-so curious. Another is filled with knights and royals. As for the other three, well … you gotta read on. And get planning!

RV Mural - West Townphoto: courtesy of Second City Mom

1. Get in on the selfie craze
While you’re out hunting rare Pokemon with your squad, take a minute to memorialize the day by snapping a selfie in front of one of Chicago’s super sweet works of street art. We’ve compiled a list of creative hot spots to get you started on your family selfie shoot.

Midnight Circus in the Park 4photo: Midnight Circus in the Parks

2. Midnight Circus in the Parks
No need to run away to join the circus, Midnight Circus in the Parks is setting up in Chicago parks to entertain crowds of all ages. Not only are they an uber-talented group, they have huge hearts, as well.  They’ve donated over $850,000 to improve the very parks they use for their big top show. The circus kicks off at the end of August and pops up at various locations through October 16. Each show lasts 90 minutes, with refreshments and snacks available. Tickets are on sale via midnightcircus.net and are $5-$20, free for ages 2 & under.

bristol-ren-fairephoto: Bristol Renaissance Faire

3. Time travel to the Bristol Renaissance Faire
Knights sparring on horseback, people dressed as pirates, royalty and pheasants and turkey legs as big as your head — these are just a few of the things you’ll see at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Going on now through September 5, they’re entertaining daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is $23.95/adults; $11.50/children; free for ages 4 & younger. Tickets can be pre-purchased at renfair.com/bristol.

Navy Pier New Wheelphoto: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel courtesy of Maria Chambers

4. Take a spin at Navy Pier
Navy Pier celebrated their centennial birthday this year and they’re showing folks how to still be hot at 100. Their new ferris wheel is 196-feet tall (50 feet taller than it’s predecessor) and has 42 climate-controlled gondolas that provide relief on those hot summer days. A ride on the wheel starts at $12 per person and goes up to $50 for the VIP experience. Schedule your day at the Pier on a Wednesday or Saturday between now and August 31 (or Saturday, September 10) and stick around for the fireworks display. Fireworks shoot off at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10:15 p.m. on Saturdays.

starved-rockphoto: Starved Rock courtesy of Maria Chambers

5. Take a hike!
Before you turn in for winter hibernation, soak up as much of the great outdoors as possible. Lace up the hiking boots, pick out a suitable hiking stick and show your kids one of the many local trails suited for their tiny legs (and even tinier attention spans).

What is on your summer hit list? Let us know in the Comments!

— Maria Chambers