April 6-12, 2024 is Week of the Young Child this year!

This special week is a dedicated time when we celebrate the importance of early childhood and the families, educators, and advocates who support these important years in a child’s life. Each day of the week highlights a different way to play. Make time for play this week and every week! We are super excited that so many of our community partners will be participating this year and hosting all kinds of fun events that connect with the themes for each day of the week. We will keep this page updated as we gather all the details from our partners about what they have planned! 

Check out the daily themes and local family activities for each day:

April 6 – Kick off Saturday:

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Bilingual Adventures with Abuela Storytime and Crafts Virginia Martinez, author of a series of bilingual children’s books called Adventures with Abuela, will read her book Adventures with Abuela, Let’s Go to the Shedd Aquarium. In this story, Abuela and Rio embark on an adventure to the Shedd Aquarium to take Wiggles, Rio’s seahorse companion, to find his seahorse friends. Will they find them before naptime when Rio has to leave? Afterwards, children will be invited to make a seahorse to take home as well as a paper plate model of the upcoming eclipse! This event will take place at the Berwyn Public Library in Berwyn, located at 2701 S Harlem Ave. Registration is encouraged, but not required. Registration form in English | Registration form in Spanish. 

April 8 – Music Monday:

9:00 a.m. – Music Together You and Yours Free Demo Class – This class is perfect for children birth through five with a grown-up. Sing, dance, jam and play from 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. The fun will take place at Unity Church of Oak Park, 405 N Euclid. Please note that we will meet in the basement, which is down one flight of stairs. Strollers, etc. can be brought down or left in the upstairs lobby. To join, email laurenzylstra@hotmail.com and include your name, child/ren’s name/s and ages!

10:30 a.m. – Shake Rattle and Read at Maze – An energetic program designed for children up to age 5 and their caregivers! Get ready to sing, dance, and listen to great stories at the Maze Branch of the Oak Park Public Library located at 845 Gunderson Avenue in Oak Park. Register here and please note any accessibility needs, too!

11:00 a.m. – Bilingual Storytime at the Forest Park Public LibraryJoin the Forest Park Public Library for stories in English and Spanish. All families with children five and under are invited to the Library, located at 7555 Jackson Blvd, Forest Park, IL 60130.

4:45-6:15 p.m. – Animal Moves Dance Party – Learn how rhythm and movement foster development and math skills with Mindful Family Management at Let’s Play Work, 7228 Circle Ave. in Forest Park. Registration is not required! This event is facilitated by Mindful Family Management and Comfy Fitness.

April 9 – Tasty Tuesday:

1:00 p.m. – My Plate. How Do I Rate? (Online Parent/Caregiver Workshop!) – This online presentation will help parents and caregivers understand the importance of all food groups and provide them with relevant information on how to meet their needs and consumption goals. Register here. Click here for the zoom link to join!

4:30-5:30 p.m. – Explore WSSRA’s Imaginarium Sensory Room! – West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA) provides programs for individuals with disabilities in Oak Park and 11 other surrounding communities. Their Imaginarium Sensory Room features interactive sensory items such as: a bubble tube, illuminated cabin, Sparkle Wall, sensory slide, and more! All families with young children of all abilities are welcome to explore and play at the Sensory Room, located at the George A Leoni Complex – 800 N 17th Ave. Melrose Park, IL 60160. Everything is located on the first floor. Space is limited, so when you register, you’ll be asked to choose your timeslot for the sensory room, and participate in an activity set up in the multipurpose room, too! Register in English | Register in Spanish.

4:45 – 6:15 p.m. – Bananas, S’mores, and Sign Language – Make some tasty treats with and for your little ones and learn and practice communicating with baby sign language with Mindful Family Management at Let’s Play Work, 7228 Circle Ave. in Forest Park. Register here! This event is facilitated by Mindful Family Management and Comfy Fitness.

SOLD OUT! 5:30 p.m. – Make Your Own Focaccia Dough at Wonder Works Children’s MuseumYoung chefs six and under are invited to learn how yeast works as they make their own individual focaccia dough at the Wonder Works Children’s Museum, located at 6445 W. North Avenue in Oak Park. They will then explore fresh veggies as they decorate their own focaccia to be baked at home. Supplies are limited, so be sure to register to attend

April 10 – Work Together Wednesday:

9:15 a.m. Bilingual Story Strides around Scoville Park with Fit4Mom – Looking to get your body moving with your little ones in tow? Story Strides is based on FIT4MOM’s flagship Stroller Strides workout but centered around building a love of reading in your kids! This particular class will be offered in Spanish and in English. Moms will get moving with strength, cardio, and core training while kids enjoy listening to their favorite stories, playing games, and singing songs. Perfect for moms 6-weeks postpartum (with doctor clearance) and beyond. All participants will need to sign a FIT4MOM waiver in advance of participation or e-mail oakpark@fit4mom.com with their name/phone/e-mail. Meet in front of the main entrance to the Main Branch of the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park. If the weather is bad, gather at the Lobby Community Space within the library. A special story time for more learning and bonding will follow if you are interested in staying from 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; please note separate registration for story time is needed through the Oak Park Main Library.  

9:30 a.m. Bilingual Storytime and Crafts at Let’s Play Work for $8.40 per Child (adults free!) – For Work Together Wednesday, Let’s Play Work is offering 40% off their day price admission ($8.40 per child; adults free). Be sure to mention “Collab” when you arrive to receive the discount! Families are invited to a bilingual storytime followed by a crafting activity starting at 9:30. Then families are welcome to stay and play, or come and go freely with their day pass until 4:30 p.m. Let’s Play Work is located at 7228 Circle Avenue in Forest Park. Registration and a signed waiver is required for this event!

4:00 p.m. Supported Developmental Playgroup at the Oak Park Public Library – An inclusive drop-in playgroup for children who receive or are considering therapy services, ages 0-5. Children play while families meet and find support. Siblings are welcome, too! Each class is facilitated by a local volunteer therapist and a librarian. Presented in partnership with C.I.T.Y. of Support. This month, the facilitators are Haviva Siegal, Developmental/Physical Therapist, and Brandi Carson, Developmental and Music Therapist. The playgroup will take place at the Main Branch of the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak Park. No registration is required. 

April 11 – Artsy Thursday:

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Paint and Sip for Kids: The Importance of Process Art – This is a kid-friendly version of the “Paint and Sip” and it is an exercise in how process art can support children’s development in a variety of content areas and developmental domains. Children are invited to paint and create their own masterpieces while discussing the importance of what they are creating instead of being directed to paint a certain thing (process vs product). This will take place at the main branch of the Oak Park Public Library in the Veteran’s Room, located at 834 Lake Street. Register to attend.

April 12 – Family Friday:

9:00-10:00 – Supporting Development Through Play for 0-18 months – This is a workshop to help families better understand the importance of play in overall development. We will inform and demonstrate ways to support your child during early years through a multisensory and child-led approach. This workshop will be given through the lens of a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist and Mental Health Counselor. Bring the kids to play, while caregivers learn! Childcare provided for 5 and under. This event will take place at Pop Pediatric Therapy at 7421 Madison St, in Forest Park. Register to attend.

10:00-11:30 a.m. Perennial Play Day – Families with children ages 0-5 are invited to Perennial Play Day to discover the transformative power of child-led play in fostering communication development. Perennial SLP is located at 7612 W. North Avenue, 2nd Floor (free parking, entrance in rear, stair access). Resources will be available in English and Spanish and there will be a Spanish-speaking clinician there to support Spanish-speaking families. Register to attend.

5:30 p.m. Parent/caregiver Workshop “Navigating Conflict at Home – Bring your children to this after-work parent/caregiver workshop to play while you learn! Learn healthy, direct ways to handling conflict and practice new skills. Bring your young children to the Museum located at 6445 W. North Avenue to play for free starting at 5:30 p.m.; the workshop begins at 6:00 p.m. 

Each of these themes can be interpreted in whatever way is best for you and the children in your care. Whether you want to incorporate them into your daily schedule at home or head to a local event, we encourage you to be a part of WOYC in whatever way is right for you and your family. For inspiration, you can find a million wonderful resources on the NAEYC resource page.

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