15 Things to do with Kids During Winter at Lake County Forest Preserves

Winter in Lake County

Disclosure: Lake Country Foreset Preserves is a paid advertising partner of Little Lake County. This story was written by the staff of LCFPD. If you are interested in having your business featured please contact us.

As the temperatures grow colder and holiday time off from school approaches, the Lake County Forest Preserves has a variety of activities planned. Here are a few options for winter. 

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves

Things to do with Kids this Winter

1. Unite kids with nature through outdoor exploration and learn the benefits of nature play during “Connecting Kids with Nature” from 10:30­–11:45 a.m. Thursday, December 12, at Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. No registration is required for the free event. As kids explore and play in nature, they gain confidence, build skills, and use their imagination.

2. There’s something unique about a walk in the winter moonlight. Experience the sounds, smells, and moonlit shadows in Greenbelt Forest Preserve in North Chicago. “Moonlit Meander” runs from 6–7:30 p.m., Thursday, December 12. Use the Dugdale entrance and meet at the trailhead. For families with children ages 8 and up. The program is entirely outdoors. Registration is required. $5 resident, $7 nonresidents. 

3. Visit “A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico,” a special exhibit at the Dunn Museum in Libertyville, open through January 5. Each year, families in villages across Mexico gather to welcome home the visiting spirits of departed relatives on the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Explore the complex and rich histories of honoring the dead in ancient Mesoamerica, the labor of love involved in these diverse rituals and the spiritual importance of this holiday. Free with Museum admission: $6 adults; $3 youth. 

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves
Photo provided by LCFPD

4. Two events are taking place for “Scout Saturday” on Saturday, December 14, at Ryerson Woods—Welcome Center in Riverwoods. Join the Lake County Forest Preserves and work toward earning your Earth Rocks badge from 2–3 p.m. Badge requirements 1–6 will be covered. $6 residents, $8 nonresidents. Come out for some nighttime fun and fulfill requirements 1–4 of the Night Owl badge from 6–7 p.m. $6 residents, $8 nonresidents. Badges are not provided. Registration is required.

5. “The Science Behind Snowflakes” runs from 1–3 p.m., Sunday, December 15, at Ryerson Woods—Welcome Center. Drop-in anytime to learn more about how these amazingly unique snow crystals are formed. Free for families with children ages 12 and under. Adult supervision required.  No registration required.

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves
Photo provided by LCFPD

6. Solstice Glow Walk” takes place at 4:30 p.m, Saturday, December 21, at Ryerson Woods—Welcome Center. The amount of daylight starts increasing today. Let’s celebrate by taking a late afternoon hike. Lake County Forest Preserves will provide the glow and the trail to explore. Adult supervision is required for the free event. No registration required. 

7. Discover the unique adaptations shared by the owls of Lake County through hands-on activities and a guided walk. “Owls of Lake County” takes place from 10:00­–11:00 a.m., Monday, December 23, at Ryerson Woods —Welcome Center. Geared for families with children 10 and under. Adult supervision required. A limited supply of binoculars will be available. Bring your own if you have them. $2 residents, $3 nonresidents. Dress for the weather, much of the program will be held outdoors, weather permitting. No registration required.

8.Nature Story Time: The Mitten” runs from 10:00–11:00 a.m., Thursday, December 26, at Ryerson Woods —Welcome Center. Join us for an enchanting story of animals and a magical mitten. After the story, we’ll hike a trail to search for woodland animals. No registration required for the program designed for families with children ages 8 and younger. Adult supervision required. Dress for the weather as portions of the program will be held outdoors. $2 residents, $3 nonresidents.

9. A “New Year’s Celebration” takes place from 10:30–11:30 am, Tuesday, December 31, at the Dunn Museum. Through crafts and activities, learn how people around the world celebrate the start of the new year. For families with children ages 12 and under. Free with Museum admission: $6 adults; $3 youth.  No registration required.

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves
Photo provided by LCFPD

10. Spend part of your winter break creating winter-themed crafts. “Museum Family Crafts” takes place from 10:00 a.m. ­–12:00 p.m., Thursday, January 2, at the Dunn Museum. No registration required. For families with children ages 12 and under. Free with Museum admission: $6 adults; $3 youth. 

11.Ice Age Encounters” is a free program that takes place 6–7 pm, Thursday, January 2, at the Dunn Museum. Investigate the Ice Age through hands-on demonstrations, looking at fossil casts, and comparing and contrasting to animals today. Sponsored by USG. No registration required.

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves
Photo provided by LCFPD

12. Wander through exhibition galleries to experience a variety of hands-on activities. “Museum Curiosity Stations” takes place 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Friday, January 3 and Monday, January 20, at the Dunn Museum. For families with children 12 and under. No registration required. Free with Museum admission: $6 adults; $3 youth. 

13.Howl at the Moon Stroll” takes place from 6:00–7:00 p.m. Friday, January 10, at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Lake Forest. Enjoy the full moon over Lake Michigan and take a stroll in the moonlight. We’ll learn about animals and their relationship with the moon as we meander. The program is free. Meet at Gilgare Lane parking lot. No registration required.

things to do in winter with kids, lake county forest preserves
Photo provided by LCFPD

14. Learn about the winter survival strategies of local animals through hands-on discovery and a guided walk in the winter woods during “Animals in Winter” from 10:00–11:00 a.m., Friday, January 20, at Ryerson Woods —Welcome Center. $2 per person; $3 nonresidents. No registration required.  

15.Hikin’ Tykes: Snow” takes place from 9:30–10:45 a.m., Tuesday, January 21, at Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. Preschoolers and their adult caregivers will learn about snow and how winter impacts animals and plants. A nature-based story, craft, and outdoor exploration round out this hands-on experience. For children ages 2–4, with an adult. $6 adult, $3 child. Registration is required. Includes a take-home list of resources, coloring page and nature activity suggestions.

Find more programs throughout the preserves and for all ages on the Lake County Forest Preserves’ online calendar

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Disclosure: Lake County Forest Preserves a paid advertising partner of Little Lake County. Interested in having your business featured? Contact us today.

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