Stir-Crazy Siblings: Keeping your Toddler/Preschooler Entertained While the Big Kids are Back in School

The big kids are back in school.  Whether it was a boo hoo or a yahoo experience for you,  some of you are now home with a toddler or preschooler who has grown accustomed to having their older siblings around.  At one time you looked forward to having this one-on-one time with your younger child; but, if you’re like a lot of parents I know, you’re already asking,

OMG, what am I going to do with this child??

entertaining toddlers and preschoolers

So, I’m officially christening this week as “Stir-Crazy Sibling Week.”  It’s that limbo period when your big kids have gone back to Big Kid School but your little one is waiting for preschool to start.  And they’re bored…. they are really, REALLY bored.  Listen, I feel ya.  Here’s a quick rundown of low-cost/no-cost preschooler-friendly activities around town to help you survive “Stir-Crazy Sibling Week.”

Entertaining Preschoolers in Lake County

Keeping your Toddler entertained
Betty Russell Community Park {Gurnee}

Playgrounds for Preschoolers in Lake County

Maybe it will stop raining long enough for you to enjoy some tot-friendly playgrounds.  With school in session, most all of your favorite spots will be far less crowded.  Check out Betty Russell Community Park in Gurnee or Holly’s favorite tot lot, Clifford Park in Antioch.

Keeping your Toddler entertained
Mundelein Spray Park

Water Play for Preschoolers in Lake County

Many of our area’s outdoor pools have already closed for the summer, but there are still splash pads and spray parks open to help you keep cool.  They are also perfect for little ones, and you don’t have to get wet!  Here is what is still open:

dunn mueum libertyville

Museums for Preschoolers

For a child who likes reptiles, nothing beats the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm.  Plus it’s FREE! Read my review to learn why my family loves it so much.

The Round Lake Area Park District has two great museums on their campus perfect for little ones!  The Children’s Neighborhood Museum is a tot-sized replica of a real neighborhood and has been a Little Lake County favorite for many years.  The Prairie Grass Nature Museum is always FREE and its small classroom size is perfect for young children.  Small live animals and always changing activities are a perfect way to keep littles entertained, especially following a trip to the nearby splash pad.

The Bess Bower Dunn Museum in Libertyville is a local gem offering hands-on activities and exhibits that give kids a look at the history of Lake County and more. The museum is FREE for kids on Tuesdays (half price for adults). Read our review of the opening.

The Raupp Museum in Buffalo Grove showcases the history of Buffalo Grove through its local artifacts and special exhibits. Always FREE, they have a changing calendar of walk-in activities and are open Mon-Thurs from 11am-4:30 p.m.

The Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview has long been an area favorite.  Melissa reviewed their literacy exhibit last year.  You can still snag this deal from Goldstar for discounted afternoon admission. If you are there in the afternoon don’t miss their storytimes on Wednesdays.

Keeping your Toddler entertained
Artist @ Heart {Libertyville}

Drop-in Arts & Crafts for Preschoolers

Artsy Tots at Artist @ Heart in Libertyville is a favorite of Melissa and her toddlers. Kids 1-4 will discover ways to create art using watercolor, finger painting, clay, gel sticks, paint, collage and more! Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. and only $5/class.

And More!

Don’t forget to check our website calendar, the most comprehensive event listing of family-friendly activities in Lake County!  You can filter by category to find exactly what you’re looking for. We highly recommend checking out a library storytime near you.

Keeping your Toddler entertained
© L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2014

Head over to Mom & Tot Bowl at Pinstripes in South Barrington or Northbrook every Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. -12 noon. Kids Bowl for $5 and Mom is FREE (limit 4 children per adult.)  Melissa has enjoyed it for years while I just adore the food!

You can also see all our past reviews from the drop-down menu on our home page under “Where to Go”  We’ve got reviews on indoor play places, farms, and everything in between that will win over young hearts and minds while saving yours.

Is there anything I missed?  Probably, I’m exhausted. Help a mom out and share your suggestions below.  Sharing is caring.


Disclosure: Some links in this story are affiliate links. Little Lake County will earn a portion of sales made through these links and use it to cover the cost of running the site. Thank you for clicking!

Dance academy of Libertyville
About Melissa Haak 870 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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