Summer has officially begun and we want to share some ideas for fun, hands-on learning that will keep your kids engaged all season long. Luckily, Chicago has some of the most enriching attractions in the world, allowing this city to become our classroom. Kids learn by doing, and what better way to learn than by exploring the different neighborhoods that make up this vibrant city. Below are some fun activities you can do in Bronzeville, a neighborhood located in the Douglas community area on Chicago's South Side.
Bronzeville Children’s Museum
The Bronzeville Children’s Museum is the first and only African-American children’s museum in the U.S. Exhibits are designed for children ages 3 to 9 and integrate both hands-on play with history. Through guided tours, visitors learn about African-American inventors, science, technology, and the history of Bronzeville.
- Ask your student to pick one African-American figure they want to learn more about, then visit a public library to find a book about them or encourage them to do more research at home.
- After learning about various African-American inventors, ask your student to describe or draw an invention they'd like to create, then go home and try to build it if possible!
Monument to the Great Northern Migration
Sculpted by artist Alison Saar in 1924, the "Monument to the Great Northern Migration" honors the thousands of African-Americans who traveled from the South to Chicago in the early 20th century in search of freedom and opportunity. The bronze sculpture depicts a man waving with one hand and holding a suitcase in the other. The monument is located at the entrance into Bronzeville.
Activity: Ask your student to sketch the sculpture (i.e. color, shape, height) and/or verbally describe its features. This is a great way to strengthen both visual and literacy skills.
31st Street Beach
Summer isn’t complete without a visit to the beach. At 31st Street Beach, you can soak up the sun while also soaking in gorgeous views of the city’s skyline. Kids will enjoy the Dr. Seuss-like playground with colorful and curvy equipment. The beach and surrounding play area underwent a massive renovation a few years ago to create a more family-friendly space.
Activity: Have your younger students take photos of different shapes and colors they find, or ask them to describe or draw their dream playground to improve the way they identify and organize visual information. For older students, encourage them to take abstract photographs using the interesting contours of the grounds.
Yassa African Restaurant
Savor the taste of Senegal at Yassa African Restaurant, which serves fresh, authentic Senegalese cuisine. One of their most popular dishes includes mafé, a common West African stew made with lamb, ground peanuts, tomatoes and delicious seasonings.
Activity: Test your kid’s geography by having them point out Senegal on a map. Ask them to describe the taste, color, and smell of the food. This will not only enhance their literacy skills but will help the development of the sensory system for younger students.
When you are looking for something to do with your kids this summer in Chicago, you don’t need to venture far. Some of the most fascinating destinations are right in your own backyard. Bronzeville, especially, has some of the best attractions this city has to offer.
Check out this blog for more fun summer activities from the Early Childhood Educators at Bennett Day School.