Leave No Child Inside

Celebrate Marvelous Mud This May and June!

Chicago Wilderness members will mark June's Leave No Child Inside Month with activities to let you embrace that squishiest, gooeyest, dirtiest of childhood pleasures: mud. "Marvelous Mud" is the theme of this year's celebration, and will be the focus of a wide range of outdoor events across the metro region. Join us at one of the following events, and check our calendar frequently as more are added:

Chicago Botanic Garden

Family Drop In Program: Mud Cupcakes

Come “cook” up some mud cupcakes, tacos, pies, or whatever other “culinary” concoction you can conceive. Children will be provided with mud, flowers, cupcake holders, leaves, rocks, and more. Come create with us at the Fruit & Vegetable Garden Family Drop In Activities. No registration required. Weather permitting.

Daily, June 1 – 30 

10 a.m.  – 4 p.m.

Free

All ages & adult

Family Drop In Program: Frogs & Turtle Hibernation

Frogs and turtles rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. But what happens when their environment gets really cold? How do turtles and frogs survive the long, cold Chicago winter? The answer is MUD! Join us at the Native Plant Garden to see their summer habitats, learn more about brumation, and practice burying toy frogs and turtles in the mud! No registration required. Weather permitting.

Weekends & Wednesdays, June 1 – 30 

10 a.m.  – 4 p.m.

Free

All ages & adult

  

Crabtree Nature Center

Explore The Forest: 100 Years and Growing!
Sunday, May 31 * Noon - 4 pm
Climb a tree! Touch a fish! Check out restoration equipment! Try archery! See the many ways to enjoy the forest preserves. Special Muddy Activities at this Leave No Child Inside Month event.

May 31

Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills, IL

Noon  – 4 p.m.

Free

All ages & adult

 

The Morton Arboretum

Mud Mosaics

Dirty hands…just what we’re looking for.  Join us for some fun with mud.  We will be using mud and other natural items to make mud mosaics.  This self-guided hands-on discovery activity is available daily in June from 11 - 4 p.m. in the Children's Garden.  No registration required. Weather permitting.

Daily, June 1 - 30

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free (with paid admission)

All ages & adult

Soil Dwellers

Who’s living down in the mud?  Discover what types of creatures live underground and all about the special characteristics they possess.  This self-guided hands-on discovery activity is available daily in June from 11 - 4 p.m. in the Children's Garden.  No registration required. Weather permitting.

Daily, June 1 - 30

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free (with paid admission)

All ages & adult

Everything…Mud

Plan to get dirty in this marvelous muddy adventure!   We’ll paint, sculpt, play and plant…all in the messy mud!   June 6th -7th from 11 – 4 in the Children’s Garden.  No registration required. Weather permitting.     

Saturday & Sunday, June 6 & 7

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Free (with paid admission)

All ages & adult

Mudpies and Stone Soup 18-35 months

Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, sensory-based program in the Children’s Garden. Adult must accompany child.  Wear shoes and clothes that can get dirty!  Registration closes 2 days before the section date; course number Y001; includes Arboretum admission. Limit 10.

Wednesday, June 3

9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

$15 member child/$22 nonmember child

Ages 18 to 35 months with adult

Mudpies and Stone Soup 3-5 years

Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, sensory-based program in the Children’s Garden. Adult must accompany child.  Wear shoes and clothes that can get dirty!  Registration closes 2 days before the section date; course number Y002; includes Arboretum admission. Limit 10.

Tuesday, June 2

OR

Wednesday, June 10

9:30 – 11 a.m.

$18 member child/$25 nonmember child

Ages 3 to 5 years with adult

 

Red Oak Nature Center

Come Out and Play!

In honor of Leave no Child Inside Month enjoy a day at Red Oak Nature Center with your family and friends, doing self-led, nature-inspired activities and crafts. Top off your adventure by bringing your zero-waste sack lunch to enjoy in our picnic shelter!

Saturdays, June 6, June 13, June 20, June 27

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free

All ages & adult

Pigpen Adventure

Kids can make big pigs of themselves at this fun party in the mud as they make mud pies and mud creatures and search for those elusive creatures from deep in the depths of mud. Appropriate shoes, 'disposable clothes' and protection for the seat on the ride home are recommended. It's going to be messy, but fun they won't forget! Held at the Lippold Outdoor Recreation Center. Preregistration required; barcode 82172.

Sunday, June 7

1 to 2:30 p.m.

$4 resident/$6 nonresident

Ages 5 to 10

MicroHunt

What tiny things lurk in the woods? Kids can explore the micro side of nature as they take a look at all things tiny under a microscope and on the big screen.  As we explore we’ll record our findings in our Bug Diary. Preregistration required; barcode 82173.

Saturday, June 20

1 to 2:30 p.m.

$5 resident/$7 nonresident

Ages 7 to 10

 

Nature Play Areas Across Chicago Wilderness

You can also encourage children to play with objects found in nature and explore the outdoors at one of a growing number of nature play areas in our region. Environmental educators are available to answer questions and suggest activities at all of the play spaces listed on this regional map:

Follow Chicago Wilderness Leave No Child Inside's board Nature Play Areas on Pinterest.

 

Get Involved!

  • Go outside! Take your family outside and look, listen, touch, and smell! Let your kids take the lead  with their natural curiosity, they will quickly find something for the family to explore, in any season, at any time. Enjoy the simple activity suggestions inspired by our Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights
  • Call your local forest preserve or conservation district, nature center, zoo, or other nature-oriented organization and ask about programs that feature outdoor play, discovery, and exploration.
  • Follow the Leave No Child Inside Twitter and Pinterest feeds, and the Chicago Wilderness Facebook page.