Tag Archives: children

Free Summer Activity: Kids Bowl Free

Free Summer Activity: Kids Bowl Free

 

Kids Bowl Free is the perfect free summer activity for families across the U.S.  Participating bowling alleys offer two free games per kid per day, from May until August!

I admit I haven’t taken my kids bowling as much as they would like to because otherwise it’s just so expensive.  After paying for a couple of games for the four of us (my husband and I included because why should we miss out?) and paying for shoe rental, I am exhausted thinking of how much I spent.  But through Kids Bowl Free, I can guarantee two free games per day for my kids. 

I highly recommend heading to Walmart for a cheap pair of shoes that can serve as bowling shoes.  Buy something that has a light sole and only wear them for bowling.  You’ll save so much on shoe rental!  At $3 per kid each day we bowl, it adds up.  Instead, I bought $12 shoes for each of them and after 4 games, we would have paid that just for rental.  Now we will also have a spare set of shoes for the school year! 

Now what about the parents?  Kids Bowl Free has special deals for you too.  It’s not quite as awesome as the free two games a day, but you can get some significant discounts.  Take advantage and join in the fun with your kids – you deserve it and they will love it! 

(I also recommend buying a pair of shoes to serve as bowling shoes for you also if you plan on bowling…seriously you’ll be so much more comfortable too!) 

 

Free summer bowling for kids!

Fun places to take your family in northern Illinois

Fun Places to Take Your Family in Northern Illinois

My family recently relocated from central Illinois to northern Illinois so we have had a blast searching down new and fun places to take the kids.  We’ve found an abundance of state parks and museums and I can’t wait to share some of our experiences with you! 

Rockford/Stateline Area 

  • Rock Cut State Park
    • canoeing on Pierce lake
    • Olsen beach swimming in summer
    • hiking trails
    • recreational opportunities
    • great place for fall family photos
  • Discovery Center Museum
    • children’s museum with large outdoor play place
    • water tables, dress up / pretend areas
    • several interactive educational exhibits, events
    • membership available (totally worth it if you ask me!)
  • Burpee Museum
    • award winning exhibits including a young t-rex skeleton
    • 4 floors of exhibits
    • admission varies by age
  • Anderson Japanese Gardens
    • beautiful gardens to visit with the family
    • evening and weekend events
    • closes for winter
    • donation days
  • Nicholas Conservatory
    • third largest conservatory in Illinois
    • sits next to the Rock River
    • 11,000 square foot plant exhibition
    • tickets available online or at the door
  • The Pottery Lounge
    • located in CherryVale Mall
    • paint pottery pieces or canvases in store (paint and cleanup included in price of piece!)
    • in store parties available
  • Carlson Ice Arena
    • skating and hockey
    • public skate
  • Sapora Playworld
    • indoor play structure for ages 5-12
    • smaller structure for ages 4 and under
    • admission fee varies by day/age, discount days
  • Magic Waters Waterpark
    • water slides, wave pool, lazy river, and more
    • area for ages 6 and under
    • cabana rental available
  • Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden
    • year round garden
    • handicap accessible path
    • snow shoeing and cross country skiing in winter
    • butterfly garden in the summer
    • admission fee varies by age
  • Belvidere Parks
    • this smaller town near Rockford has some beautiful parks along the Kishwaukee River that I recommend checking out
  • Byron Forest Preserve
    • hiking, sledding, and star gazing are among the options you have in this quiet forest preserve, just outside of Byron
  • Parks along the Kishwaukee River
    • head south of Rockford and you will find an abundance of parks and nature preserves just off of the Kishwaukee River
  • See more (including event calendars) at Go Rockford

 

Oregon Area

  • Blackhawk Statue
    • located in Lowden State Park, you will find the iconic Blackhawk Statue.  This statue is impressive with its size and serves as a great family trip.  There are nearby hiking areas as it overlooks the river. 
  • Lowden State Park
    • Enjoy scenic views of the Rock River from the Blackhawk Statue or hike the four mile trail!  Campsites are also available. 
  • White Pines Forest State Park
    • Lodge in one of the cute little cabins at White Pines Inn and check out the teepee on the grounds.  Enjoy wildlife watching along one of the park’s two steams, or hike one of the seven hiking trails. 
  • Castle Rock state park
    • A beautiful place to practice photography, Castle Rock State Park is also a fantastic place to take your family on a hike or enjoy the serene scenery.  The views are amazing! 

 

Chicago Area

  • Shedd Aquarium
    • indoor aquarium with 32,000 aquatic animals
    • changing special exhibit (your visit will always have something new!)
    • ticket prices vary, membership available, EBT cardholders receive free admission
  • The Field Museum of Natural History
    • one of the largest natural history museums in the world
    • 65,000 exhibits including temporary traveling exhibits
    • tickets available online and at the door, $3 admission via Museums for All (EBT) program
  • Museum of Science and Industry
    • over 2,000 exhibits in 75 major halls
    • 3,500 foot fall model railroad
    • domed space theater
    • relics from the Titanic
    • tickets available online and at the door, limited tickets for free via Museums for All (EBT/WIC cards)
  • Adler Planetarium
    • three full size theaters
    • space and science exhibitions
    • antique collections
    • Doane observatory
    • tickets available online and at the door, basic pass available for those with EBT or WIC cards through Museums for All Program
  • Navy Pier
    • landmark with 50 acres of attractions including outdoor Ferris wheel, restaurants, cruises, IMAX theater, park, and more
  • Millennium Park
    • outdoor ice rink (winter)
    • outdoor art and theater
    • famous “Bean” sculpture
  • The Skydeck
    • located in the Willis tower (formerly known as the Sears tower)
    • glass viewing area on the 103rd floor with glass floor
    • open all days of the year
    • tickets available

 

Schaumberg

  • Woodfield Mall
    • LEGO store
    • fun eateries including Dave & Busters and the Rainforest Café
  • FireZone
    • anything and everything firefighters…just for kids!
    • check the activity calendar for “drop in” times as some times are reserved for events
    • admission for children (1 adult free per child)
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center
    • play zones
    • 4D cinema
    • rides
    • tickets available online and at door, discounts for homeschool weeks
  • Pirates Cove Children’s Theme Park
    • open June – August
    • 18th century pirate ship you can climb aboard
    • children’s paddle boats
    • Castle playground
    • rock climbing
    • admission fee for ages 1-9, adults are always free

 

Bloomington-Normal

While this is more “central” than northern Illinois, I wanted to include Bloomington-Normal because there are some fantastic places to visit here.  Maybe you’ll pass through the area on your way to or from northern IL, or maybe you will just want to take a day trip to check out these places.  Regardless, I couldn’t leave them off the list. 

  • Discovery Museum
    • three floors of hands on exhibits for toddlers through preteens
    • paint wall (just washes away when you are done!)
    • Ag area, water table, and more
    • admission for ages 7 and up, works together with membership of some other museums
  • Grady’s Family Fun Park
    • 18 hole mini golf, go karts, kiddie rides, batting cages, adult/big kid rides and more
    • price varies depending on activity, wristbands available
  • Pepsi Ice Center
    • hockey and ice skating classes, free skate
  • Miller Park Zoo
    • wide variety of animals including wolves, reindeer, Sumatran tiger, and river otters
  • Upper Limits Rock Climbing Facility
    • 20,000 feet of climbing space indoor and outdoor
    • 110 feet tall routes
    • Classes, parties, membership, and day passes available

 

Other activities and places to visit in northern Illinois

 

Gymboree #MadeYouSmile – New styles in time for school!

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Gymboree Sale On Now!

Gymboree always takes strides to create new and fun clothing for kids, and just recently has re-branded with a new trendy product line for kids, just in time for school!  We have about a month here until school officially starts, so back to school shopping is definitely on the list.  Even as a homeschool mom, I enjoy refreshing my boys’ wardrobe fall as stores bring out fun new fall styles. 

Gymboree Smile Shirt - so adorable

The new line includes fun new graphic t-shirts and accessories, as well as multi-seasonal basics.  Pieces are designed to work together well, being mixed and matched as your kids please.  I just love these cute girl’s shoes!  There is a lot of 80s influence in the new styles, and I just love it!  My boys will love it as well as they are interested lately in 80s music (thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy!)  It’s so fun seeing them interested in something that takes me back to my own childhood. 

And this cardigan and skirt are absolutely adorable!  If I had a little girl, these would definitely be on our Back To School shopping list.  Honestly, I would take one of those sweaters as a staple fall piece for myself if it came in my size! 

One of my favorite features of the new line is how easily the pieces can be mixed and matched together.  If you take a look through the different tops, skirts, jeans, and other pieces, you’ll see that there is so much versatility. This is a great opportunity to let your kids pick their own clothes while not having to worry they’ll be totally mismatched.  My boys love picking out their own clothes – it gives them a sense of independence and makes them smile! 

Soon to be released is also a new “Made You Smile” mobile app with fun features, as well as weekly drawings into the Surprize Surprize Sweepstakes, which has some pretty awesome prizes!  You should be able to either download the app from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store, depending on what kind of phone you use. 

If you are a frequent Gymboree shopper, you will definitely want to make sure you are signed up for Gymboree Rewards!  For every dollar you spend, you’ll earn a point!  Once you accumulate 200 points, you will get a $10 reward.  You will also have exclusive access to offers and shopping events.  Head on over to sign up for Gymboree Rewards!

Gymboree also has an awesome GymBucks program – during earning periods, you can get $25 GymBucks for every $50 spent.  That’s an awesome deal! 

When you sign up for emails, you will get 20% off your next purchase as well.  This is also a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on future sales. 

I can’t wait to head into the store and check out the new line in person and see what my boys pick out!  What are some of your favorite pieces? 

gymboree kid's clothing logo

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