Our newest mission for Chicago Parent?
Playing with nature!
For a big city, Chicago and its surrounding suburbs offer an incredible amount of open space, trails and forest preserves. The latest trend is nature play places where kids are encouraged to play and explore nature. The motto: "No child left inside" is perfect.
Johnny and I had a blast exploring all the awesome nature play places around Chicago. My little guy is always up for an adventure, and he loves getting dirty--which is usually encouraged at the nature play places. One of our favorites so far is Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington Hills, which isn't too far from our home.
We visited Crabtree in early spring, so many of the trees and plants weren't blooming and the trails were muddy. But, this did not lessen our fun. Along the trails are rescued birds in cages. The owl was our favorite.
When we found the children's section, Johnny was ecstatic to build a "Batman" fort and climb a spider web like Spider Man. We climbed a huge pile of woodchips, then followed a little trail with a wooden bridge.
Playing at Crabtree is a magical adventure--I'm sure it's different for every kid. It's a place to play, imagine and create your own storyline.