Busy Not Bored. A guide to school vacation activities   


Over the course of winter vacation, kids often travel the bumpy road from excitement to boredom. Staying in your pajamas all day gets old fast. What’s there to on cold winter days? Here are a few family-friendly ideas.  

“Threads of Imagination,” an exhibit exploring fashion as an art form through the creative work of five Beverly/Morgan Park artists continues at Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley until mid-January. The exhibit is a combination of the fascinating history of noted fashion designer Alla Ripley, classic fashion drawings from the 1960s, and displays of contemporary clothing that combines art, fashion and social justice as well as vintage sewing machines and accessoriesCall for open hours. Info: 773-881-1675 or ridgehistory@hotmail.com. 

Introduce the kids to one of the finest art collections in Chicago at the Vanderpoel Art Association Gallery, Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Founded in 1913 in memory of Dutch artist John H. Vanderpoel, a resident of Beverly/Morgan Park and beloved art instructor at the School of the Art Institute, the collection of more than 600 works features pieces donated by the artists – many of them Vanderpoel’s students who went on to earn national and international reputations — and collectors. The gallery is open Tues. and Thurs., 1 to 4 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Info:   773-294-8311 orinfo@vanderpoelartmuseum.org. 

Whether your family likes the action of skating, the challenge of gymnastics or the de-stressing benefits of yoga, there are a variety of drop-in options at Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. WesternSeveral yoga and fitness classes are open for youth and adults; open gym has spots for parents with babies and tots, and for kids age 7 and up; and open skating is scheduled for all ages on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (rent skates for just $3). Check the schedule online at morganparksportscenter.com for days, times and registration, or register in advance on site.  Info: 773-840-4622.  

A fast-and-fun tradition, the annual Holiday Dodge Ball Tournament for 19th Ward elementary school students takes place Dec. 26 and 27, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St. Registration is required by Thurs., Dec. 19 at www.the19thward.com. Players will be grouped by age randomly, and team rosters will be available in advance. Info: Tristan@the19thward.com or 773-238-8766. Sponsored by County Fair, Illinois State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley and the 19th Ward Youth Foundation. 

Winners and finalists in the Beverly Arts Center Art Competition will be on exhibit through Dec. 29 in the Jack Simmerling Gallery at the Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Admission is free. After viewing works by talented Chicago area artists, check out the BAC’s School of the Arts winter schedule and see if there’s a class to inspire a young artist in your family. BAC classes cover a wide range of visual and performance arts for all ages. Info: 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org.   

Yes kids, there’s a way to see movies that does not entail streaming on Netflix. On Mon., Dec. 30, 12th Annual 19th Ward Children’s Film Festival will screen “Toy Story 4 at 10 a.m., and the live action version of “Aladdin” at 2 p.m., on the big screen in the theater at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Admission is $1 per person, per film and is only available on the day of the event. Tickets are issued on first come, first served basis and seating is limited.  Parent chaperones appreciated. Sponsors: 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, Illinois State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, Beverly Arts Center and 19th Ward Youth Foundation.  

Families are invited to take the Winter Break Out Adventure in Dan Ryan Woods, Thurs, Jan 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet at the visitor center 87th and Western, for sledding and snowshoeing (if there’s enough snow) as well as hiking and other activities. Free! Info: 708-386-4042 or experience.nature@cookcountyil.gov 

Winter is a great time to lose yourself in a good book. Plan a visit to the Beverly Branch Library, 1962 W. 95th St., or the Walker Branch Library, 11071 S. Hoyne, to browse the stacks for books that will capture your imagination.  While there, check out upcoming programs that include story time, crafts and discussion 

Looking ahead to 2020, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., is offering Winter Days Off School Arts Camps on days when CPS schools are closed: Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 20; End of Quarter 2 day, Jan. 31; and President’s Day, Feb. 17. Camps are open to children age 5 through 12, and activities include workshops in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Each camp is $42 per child ($38 for BAC members), with pre-camp and after care offered for additional fees. Info: 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org 


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