Free family entertainment every weekday? You’re all ears — especially during story hours at boutiques, bookshops, and libraries across town.
“The Storybook Mom” Nili Yelin packs the house at Little Threads (2033 West Roscoe Street; 773-327-9310) at 11 a.m. In a high-energy half-hour, kids stretch, shake, and read along to picture books, which have a new theme every week. Bonus: Get 10 percent off the store’s books all day. (Yelin is also at Psychobaby at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays.)
You no longer have to register in advance to attend Chicago Public Library Bucktown-Wicker Park (1701 North Milwaukee Avenue; 312-744-6022) for Toddler Preschool Story Time at 10:15 & 11 a.m. Librarians encourage little book worms to act out stories like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt while they’re read aloud.
Grab a tiny wooden stool at Hyde Park gem 57th Street Books (1301 East 57th Street; 773-684-1300) and listen as yarn-spinners share the latest kids’ reads at 10:30 a.m. Don’t be surprised if wee listeners cry out for current faves A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Pete the Cat.
Sure, you’ll seize an excuse to drop by The Land of Nod (900 West North Avenue; 312-475-9903). At 11 a.m., a colorful corner of the store comes alive when books sold in-store are read aloud. Add to your home library by picking up the gift set of Little Golden Books classics.
The best-kept secret in University Village, Barbara’s Bookstore (1218 South Halsted Street; 312-413-2665) story time at 2 p.m. draws an intimate crowd to its comfy, stuffed animal-adorned children’s section. Bookseller Gwyneth Anderson reads touch-and-feel and board books — perfect for babies.
Take time for yourself on Saturday and Sunday, you hear?
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Toddlers’ Playhouse Music Makers
What: Kiddos join a band led by musician Nick Guiterrez at the membership-based winter playgroup.
Why: Toy xylophones, drums, and guitars are theirs to explore.
When: Thru May 13. Every Thurs., 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: 3338 N. Broadway, at Buckingham Pl. Register as a member at 773-529-4740 or e-mail email@example.com. Membership, $350/sixteen weeks (prorated fees apply).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
What: The play based on Roald Dahl’s classic story whirls into town again, and there are plenty of (golden) tickets.
Why: It’s pure, loopy fun.
When: Sat.-June 12.
Where: Emerald City Theatre at Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., at Wrightwood Ave. Tickets at 773-935-6100 or online at ticketmaster.com. Adults, $16; kids, $13.
MCA Chicago Family Day
What: Make art projects and explore the museum’s exhibitions.
Why: You heart art.
When: Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., at Mies van der Rohe Way (312-280-2660). Free for families with children under 12.
Photo: San Jose Library / Flickr