As CPS considers how to proceed with dangerous cold weather in the coming days, the YMCA is taking action early. The organization's centers will be closed on Wednesday, and they say families should check their schedule for Tuesday and Thursday.
"We just have to weigh the safety of everyone because not everyone drives, some people take the bus, some of our staff even walk here depending on where they live. So we just have to make sure everyone is safe. That's our number one priority, safety," said Kenne Howell, of Southside YMCA.
The Southside YMCA is preparing for extra young guests with that cold coming our way, especially if CPS closes Tuesday. If that's the case, the YMCA will offer its "Schools Day Out" Program.
"It's an all-day program, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., where we just allow parents to drop off their children. We watch them, we play games, we do different activities, we feed them just so that they have a safe environment to be in," Howell said.
WATCH: What to do with your kids when it's too cold to play outside
On brutally cold winter days, Wilmette mom and Chicago Parent columnist Cheryl Leahy likes to adapt outdoor activities for inside her own home. She'll pack a traditional picnic with the kids' favorites and set up the blanket in a part of their home usually unused to make the experience more exciting.
Leahy will even bring snow inside (you read that right!) for her children to play with on a plastic cloth-though she has plenty of towels at the ready. Other ideas: classic board games (and ones her kids come up with), arts & crafts, and special tape that the kids can stick to tables and walls (without leaving a mark) to make roads and towns for their toys to play in.
Leahy tries to exhaust all of these options before turning on the tube.
"Do your activities during the beginning of the day when you're not as tired, then at the end of the day if you wanna put on a movie go for it," Leahy suggested.
Chicago Parent has more ideas on its website.