37 things to do with your little ones this summer

There is so much to do and explore during the summer! Together with the Collaboration for Early Childhood, we’ve put together a collection of activities and free, fun, local community events—especially for families with young children happening all summer long.

Take advantage of this beautiful season and enjoy the sunshine and long days with your little ones!


  1. This summer, we have brand new Social-Emotional Learning kits! Our Disability Identity Kit has books like We Move Together—which focuses on accessibility, pride in your disability, the history of disability justice, and more—with questions and observations for families to discuss. Our Sharing Kit features favorite friends Piggie and Elephant and a delicious (pretend) scoop of ice cream!
  2. Have you seen the new play areas in the Main Library Children’s Services area? We have a baby garden just for our youngest visitors, plus a huge Lite-Brite wall and a new diner space for imaginative play.
  3. Explore this year’s updated recommended reads for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers (plus titles for kindergarteners through rising sixth graders too) and lists that focus on genres and identities
  4. Celebrate Pride Month all June long with your little ones by playing Pride Book Bingo! Pick up a bingo card at the service desk in the Main Library Children’s Services area. Read three of the books during your library visit (you can check them out too) and return to the service desk for a prize.
Kids and pets reading under a blanket
  1. Sign up for this year’s summer reading program, Adventure Begins At Your Library! Kids ages 2 through rising 6th graders keep track of books read and those read to them to earn prizes. Babies and toddlers can pick up an activity sheet with fun early learning activities to try at any library location.
  2. Use your Oak Park library card to check out passes to area museums and attractions, including Brookfield Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry! The Museum Adventure Pass has local suburban options and Explore More Illinois has locations from all over Chicago and Illinois, plus a few in Iowa and Wisconsin.
  3. Miss Shelley and Miss Jenny have a lot of fun ideas for songs, science, and activities perfect for the summer months!
  4. Celebrate Disability Pride Month this July with programs for kids, families, teens, and adults, including our second annual Disability Pride March on July 13. Everyone is welcome, disabled people and allies alike!
  5. Early learning and storytime classes at the library are based on the Very Ready Reading program. Explore this tutorial with tips, activities, and videos to bring early learning fun into your home! 
  6. Watch Shelley’s Guide to Reading Readiness and Early Literacy presentation on YouTube (75 minutes) for advice and recommendations on how to get your child ready for kindergarten learning. (Spoiler alert: You’re already doing it!)
  7. You know you can check out books, but did you know we also have activity kits and early learning kits? Check out our kits and learn through play!
  8. The Main Library Children’s Services area hosts scavenger hunts every month. Visit us to see what we’re searching for, and earn a sticker, too.
Two Garden Growers booklet covers featuring illustrated animals
  1. Explore the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s free garden curriculum: Growing Gardeners Lessons!
  2. Make walks fun by picking a color and pointing out everything you see that matches, like Miss Nora’s yellow scavenger hunt video.
  3. What do you wish there will always be? Watch this community video book created by Jim Gill and children and families and then draw your own picture.
  4. Use sidewalk chalk and leave a message or drawing for your neighbors.
  5. Check out the library’s shelf of new books and borrow a book about someone who looks or lives differently than you.
  6. Be Our Neighbor every month when we watch an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, have a discussion, and do a related craft! This summer, kids ages 3 and up can join us on July 9 and August 6. 


  1. Starting June 11, attend Storytimes in the Park, throughout Oak Park.
  2. On June 26, join us for a special Pride storytime at Scoville Park. 
  3. Beginning June 22, Spanish Storytime With Kathy returns on Saturdays in the Storytime Room! 
  4. Join us for special Disability Pride Storytimes at Lindberg Park on July 9 and at the Main Library on July 13.
  5. On July 23, all cat lovers preschool and up are invited for a Cool Cats Storytime & Craft at Dole Branch.
  6. August 12 and August 20, get ready for an underwater adventure during Under the Sea & Especially Narwhals Storytime & Craft.
  7. Head over to the Oak Park Conservatory any Wednesday at 10 am for a storytime (the first Wednesday of each month is a Bilingual Spanish Storytime).


  1. Planning your first visit to the Main Library? Share this social narrative as a family and get tips for successful visits.
  2. Visit the Monarch Waystations at either the Main Library or Maze Branch.
Two library staff stand next to two library book bikes and give each other a high five
  1. All summer long: The Book Bike will be all over Oak Park, including some storytimes.
  2. Visit the Community Sensory Garden at Maze Branch. Harvest herbs if there are any ready! 
  3. Get out your picnic blanket and watch a family-friendly movie or community concert under the stars in Scoville Park this summer.


  1. June 15: Check out the Juneteenth community cookout and flag raising. And say “Hi” to the Collaboration for Early Childhood who will have coloring crafts, Juneteenth flag-making, and magnet crafts for families!
  2. June 17: Join us for a story, parade, and craft to celebrate Pride month! We’ll read Grandad’s Pride as we parade around Scoville Park, and make a craft at the end to celebrate. (The Collaboration for Early Childhood will provide snacks!)
  3. June 18: Different Thinkers Are Valuable – The 504/IEP Process is a two-part workshop focused on how best to advocate for your child. The workshop will highlight what your child can bring that benefits an entire classroom. (A second workshop will take place on August 13.)
  4. June 28: Let’s go on a seek-and-find stroll around Scoville Park to learn about each color represented in the Pride flag. At the end, every seek-and-find adventurer will get to take home a prize.
  5. July 29-August 4: Toddlin’ Around Town—a family-friendly way to play and explore in different areas of Oak Park—heads to the Pleasant District! Spot Cece the pig with wings in participating Pleasant District businesses and then join the party on August 2!
  6. Every Saturday: visit the Oak Park Farmers’ Market. The Book Bike will be there on July 6!
  7. Every Thursday: Visit a Thursday Night Out for fun and community. Plus, the Book Bike will be there every week!