33 things to do with little ones this winter

There may be a chill in the air, but there are plenty of festive activities to attend and community fun to be had this season! Your public library and the Collaboration for Early Childhood have curated activities, events, and resources for you and your little ones to make the most of the upcoming winter months.


  1. Oak Park Public Library staff celebrate Holidays Around the World and want to share their holiday traditions with you! Enjoy videos, recipes, books, and activity suggestions.
  2. Special winter beads? Yes, please! Kids ages 2+ can join us this winter break (December 22-January 7) for Kids Winter Reading and earn a bead for every five hours read.
  3. Looking for engaging and beneficial apps for your preschooler (ages 2-6) this winter break? See this short list from Miss Eileen »
  4. Need a last-minute gift? Each year Oak Park librarians’s gift guide features title suggestions for everyone—of all ages—on your list!
  5. The nights get longer the closer we get to the Winter Solstice. In this video with Miss Shelley, we’ll talk about light in darkness!
  6. Looking for new books to share? Check out 2023 favorites from your Oak Park Public Library staff!
  7. Caregivers, this is your reminder to be kind to yourself. Take time to model breaks and work on your own self-regulation during this very busy season!
  8. You also can watch this video on handling hard days with your children.
  9. We know it’s tough to keep play and learning exciting during the coldest months! But play is an essential part of childhood, no matter the weather, so the Collaboration for Early Childhood compiled a list of winter play ideas to help!
  10. Are kids struggling with all the necessary cold-weather gear? Watch this video about getting dressed for the outside, set to song! Music makes everything easier.
  11. Get ready for winter with fun Early Bird Learning videos that cover seasonal songs, nature, and science exploration, mindfulness and calming breathing, and other activities.


  1. Get ready to sing, dance, and read books about SNOW at the Dole Branch on December 29.
  2. Snuggle up for cozy winter stories with a craft at the Main Library on January 2. 
  3. Have you ever wondered what your stuffed animal would do at the library overnight? Join us for a PJ storytime on January 4, then leave your stuffed friend at the library for a one-night adventure and pick it up on January 5—along with some photos of their library sleepover.
  4. Weekly storytimes return on January 8, after a brief winter break.
  5. Cuenta Cuentos Con Kathy, an immersive Spanish language storytime, has a new day and time: Fridays at 4 pm, starting January 12.
  6. Staff from Brookfield Zoo are coming to the Main Library on February 3 with stories and play stations to explore winter animals near us. 
  7. Call the Oak Park Public Library’s Dial-a-Story service to hear stories read by your favorite librarians, day or night! Dial 708.816.2800 to start listening.


  1. Send letters to Santa express to the North Pole, no postage needed! Stop by any of these participating businesses to pick up a letter template and then mail your completed letter in the big red mailbox outside of the Collaboration for Early Childhood offices. You also can mail your letters at the Oak Park Conservatory!
  2. Brookfield Zoo hosts fun events like Holiday Magic (through December 31). Bring your Oak Park library card to Main, Maze, or Dole and see if a zoo pass to admit 2 is available. 
  3. Attend Bilingual Storytime at the Conservatory on the first Thursday of each month.
  4. Attend English language Storytime at the Conservatory the last three Thursdays of each month
  5. The Collaboration for Early Childhood and Wonder Works offer free parent and caregiver workshops along with play sessions for their little ones at Wonder Works Children’s Museum. Save the date for the next workshop on February 4


  1. Explore Light Up the Night—an annual event designed to spread joy and a bring a sense of community and warmth with luminaries lighting up Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Galewood, and beyond on December 16.
  2. Celebrate Kwanzaa at the library on December 28 with poetry, dance, musical performances, and an Ujamaa Market.
  3. Bring your preschooler to Be Our Neighbor at the Oak Park Public Library to share episodes, discussions, and activities together on December 29.
  4. Celebrate the end of 2023 with El Mago’s bilingual magic show at the Main Library on December 30. 
  5. Laugh, cry, and sing along with Disney’s new live-action remake of the animated classic The Little Mermaid at the Main Library on January 3.
  6. Be your best, achieve your parenting goals, and promote healthy development in your child(ren) through the free Chicago Parent Program Caregiver Workshop Series. Hosted by the Collaboration for Early Childhood, this online workshop series meets on Wednesdays starting January 10.
  7. Join us for monthly Supported Developmental Playgroups at the Oak Park Public Library, co-facilitated by a local therapist and librarian, for children who receive or are considering therapy services. In partnership with C.I.T.Y. of Support. Mark your calendar for the next playgroup on January 10.
  8. The Collaboration for Early Childhood’s Parent Leadership Training is for parents and caregivers to organize, prioritize, and create an action plan to identify and then accomplish their goals. The next cohort will begin January 27. 
  9. On January 28, parents and caregivers are invited to discover local early learning programs and get questions answered at the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s Early Learning Provider Meet & Greet.
  10. The Park District will host Winterfest at Austin Gardens, with inside and outside activities for families. 2024 date coming soon!