Editor Judy Sutton shares some of her top picks.
1. September 24 (Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville) September 27 (Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire)
- John Grisham's Theodore Boone & the Thrill of Rights Bus
- A bus tour rolls into town with children's theatre group the Story Pirates (founded by two Northwestern grads). They'll perform a show inspired by Grisham's young adult series and characters.
- Geared to ages 8-12, the show is interactive, with 6 audience members serving as a jury, one as a lawyer and one as a witness. During each performance, audiences learn basics of the American justice system through the Theodore Boone books, which follow the adventures of a 13-yr-old amateur lawyer in a Southern town. Expect prizes and fun sound effects.
2. October 21-30
- Chicago International Children's Film Festival at Facets in Lincoln Park
and other theaters in the city and suburbs
- Only Oscar-qualifying kids film fest in the world, and the largest in the US.
- More than 250 films from 40 countries; a mix of animated films, documentaries, live-action films, TV series and films made by kids. Highlights this year: I am Kalam, from India, about a poor boy who wants to be like the Indian president that received great reviews at Cannes; My Girlhood, a Chinese film about a disabled girl who becomes an acupuncturist -- dubbed "Chinese Helen Keller;" three animated French films, one in 3D (French animation is apparently very hot right now; big one is called A Cat in Paris.
- Fest is geared to kids ages 2-16. "My First Movies" short screenings especially for kids ages 2-5. For foreign films geared to kids 8 and under, professional actors read the subtitles aloud.
- "Take One" workshops for kids 7-14 during the fest cover topics such as special effects make-up, acting basics and other filmmaking subjects.
- Kids are encouraged to vote on films; jury prizes are awarded the final night of the fest.
- Tickets cost $6 for kids, $9 for adults.
3. October 13, 2011 - January 07, 20
- "There's Fun to be Done! Dr. Seuss & the Art of Invention" at the Museum of Science and Industry
- Traveling exhibit chronicles the author's career and unique way of looking at the world
- Features some of his early work, including advertisements, paintings and sculptures.
- Internative activities for kids include the chance to interact with Oobleck, the gooey substance that was made famous falling from the sky in Dr. Seuss's 1949 Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
- Guests can also become creative problem-solvers and invent their own contraption by mixing images of Seussian wheels, horns and tubes.
4. October 15
- Dan Zanes at Old Town School of Folk Music
- The Brooklyn-based kids' singer and former Del Fuegos frontman plays two daytime shows
- His shows are always interactive and lots of fun.
- Combine musical styles form around the world: West Indian folk, traditional Mexican music, classic rock and roll.
- Uses lots of fun and quirky instruments during his shows: mandolin, electric guitar, fiddles, spoons!!
5. October 27-December 3
- Goodnight Moon at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater
- A "technicolor" look at Margaret Wise Brown's classic bedtime story gets a fresh twist with Lookinglass Theatre's David Kersnar directing, and all new musical arrangements -- promises not to put anyone to sleep.
- The entire story takes place in a single green-themed room, but the careful fan will notice numerous details, notably the book's signature red balloon that disappears and reappears from page to page.
- Two "pajama party" performances opening week – audience encouraged to come in pj's.
- Tickets are $25-$35
6. November 19-20
- Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier
- Only toy fair in North America that is open to the public.
- Toy and game manufacturers preview new products, toy inventors
- "Young inventor challenge" where kids 6-18 can present their own ideas for toys and games
- Star Wars breakfast, with photo ops w/ costumed characters, giveaways.
- Seminars for educators on involving play in classrooms
- Tournaments: chess, monopoly and other games.
- Celeb appearances: last year, Darryl Hannah and John Ratzenberger from Cheers -- both game inventors themselves -- were at the fest.
For More Information on these events and others, visit timeoutchicagokids.com