EDUCATION AND SUPPORT
ONGOING C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Northwest Indiana Natural Birth & Parenting Network Monthly Meetings, 7pm, first Wed of Feb, May, Aug & Nov, Hebron Community Center, 611 N Main St, Hebron. 219.996.5188. indianabirthchoices.com. This free community program brings together midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, chiropractors, breastfeeding consultants and new and expecting parents. No need to preregister.
ONGOING Kindermusik, various times and locations. Designed to introduce children ages 7 and younger to music, each Kindermusik unit provides a variety of activities that encourage creativity, exploration, language, movement and social development. With Kindermusik, children can experience the magic of music without the pressure to perform. See individual websites for enrollment information.
Local Kindermusik Locations
Chesterton and Valparaiso: 219.926.5022. duneland.kindermusik.net.
Dyer, Hammond, Highland, Munster and St. John (Ind.); and Lansing (Ill.): 219.765.4363. nancy.kindermusik.net.
For other classes in NWI, visit kindermusik.com.
ONGOING Mother Goose on the Loose, Lake County Public Libraries. lcplin.org. Babies up to 23 months old and their caregivers will enjoy this 30-minute lap-sit program that uses songs, rhymes and finger plays to encourage interaction and foster language development and motor skills.
Mother Goose on the Loose Times and Locations
Cedar Lake Branch: 10am or 11:30am, 1st & 3rd Fri of each month. 10010 E 133rd Ave, Cedar Lake. 219.844.8809.
Dyer-Schererville Branch: 1st Mon & Tue of each month. 1001 W Lincoln Hwy, Schererville. 219.322.4731.
Hobart Branch: 10:15am, 1st Wed of each month. 100 N Main St, Hobart. 219.942.2243.
Merrillville Branch: 10am, 1st Tue of each month. 1919 W 81st Ave, Merrillville. 219.769.3541.
Munster Branch: 2nd & 4th Wed of each month. 8701 Calumet Ave, Munster. 219.836.8450.
St. John Branch: 2nd & 4th Thu of each month. 9450 Wicker Ave, St. John. 219.365.5379.
JUL 13 Conway Observatory Open House, 6:30-9pm Fri, Conway Observatory, Buckley Homestead, 3606 Belshaw Rd, Lowell. 773.639.5491. casonline.org. All are welcome to explore the wonders of the universe at this free event. Volunteers guide visitors in the use of telescopes and astronomical binoculars, plus visitors can learn about star charts, club information and astronomy-related activities. Attendees are advised to dress appropriately for changeable weather and call for updated weather cancellations on short notice.
JUL 17 Safe Sitter Babysitting Course, Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Michigan City Hospital Lobby, 301 W Homer St, Michigan City. 800.931.3322. franciscanalliance.org. Offered to adolescents ages 11 through 14, this course teaches competencies in safe child care—including rescue skills, basic first aid and child nurturing.
JUL 17, 19 It’s a Wild, Wild Woods—Where in the World is Alfredo? ages 9-12: 10am-2pm Wed; ages 6-8: 11am-1pm Fri, Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, 6201 Parrish Ave, Hammond. 219.844.3188. lakecountyparks.com. With the use of a compass, children can learn how to locate areas on a map as well as in the park at this fun and educational event. The students will explore the places they locate and learn about the wildlife—including endangered species—of each area. Registration by phone required. JUL 8: Registration deadline.
JUL 24, 26 Woodland Fairies, ages 9-12: 10am-2pm Wed; ages 6-8: 11am-1pm Fri, Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, 6201 Parrish Ave, Hammond. 219.844.3188. lakecountyparks.com. Children can get to know and experience the natural world by learning about the history and folklore of the fairy, reading fairy stories, exploring the woods for fairies and building a fairy house at this creative and educational event. Registration by phone required. JUL 15: Registration deadline.
JUL 27 Sibling Class, 10-11am, Community Hospital, 901 MacArthur Blvd, Munster. 219.836.3477. comhs.org. For families preparing for the arrival of a new baby, this class is designed for children ages 3 through 10 and their parents. Children view a video on what it means to be a sibling, followed by a short presentation, and children receive a certificate at the completion of the class.
HEALTH, FITNESS AND NUTRITION
ONGOING Ballet, Tap, Jazz, ages 4-5: 3-4pm Sat; ages 4-5: 4:30-5:30pm Thu or 4-5pm Sat. Hammond Branch YMCA, 7322 Southeastern Ave, Hammond. 219. 845.1507. hammondareaymca.org. The earliest preparation for ballet, tap and jazz dance starts with this class. Students are introduced to basic movements to build flexibility, strength and coordination during this monthly class.
ONGOING Karate, 6:30-7:30pm Wed, 6-7pm Fri Karate I; 6:30-7:30pm Mon, 7:30-8:30pm Karate II, Griffith Branch YMCA, 201 N Griffith Blvd, Griffith. 219.750.1082. griffithymca.org. Designed for children and teens ages 7 through 17, this program builds self-confidence and self-esteem through the study of martial arts as students learn how to defend themselves in a variety of situations. The eclectic style of martial arts taught during this program draws from many different disciplines.
ONGOING Lil Rug Bugs, 3:15-4pm Tue, Thu, Valparaiso Family YMCA, 1201 Cumberland Crossing Dr, Valparaiso. 219.462.4185. valpoymca.org. This gymnastics-based class for children ages 4 through 6 focuses on body positions, listening skills, balance, coordination and very basic tumbling skills
JUL 8-26 Camp Wanna Play, 9-11:30am Mon-Fri, Innovations in Learning, 8200 Georgia St, Merrillville. 219.791.1400. innovationsinlearning.net. This three-week camp provides social skill training and language building opportunities for children ages 5 through 9 with special needs. The theme of this fourth annual camp is Wide World of Sports. An initial evaluation/screening is required for participation. Scholarships are available for those who qualify.
JUL 10-31 Go Girl Go, 9-10:30am Wed, 1754 S Park Ave, Schererville. activenwi.com. This four-week class encourages a wholesome lifestyle with exercise, healthy cooking, team building, journaling and more fun activities. Intended for girls ages 8 through 12, this program boosts self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence through the Women’s Sports Foundation program curriculum. Each week participants will try a new fitness activity—such as Pilates, yoga or Zumba—and make a healthy snack. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and tennis shoes.
JUL 15-AUG 16, SEPT 3-OCT 4 Mini Boot Camp, 9-10am, Southlake YMCA, 1450 S Court St, Crown Point. 219.663.5810. slymca.org. This group exercise class for children ages 7 through 12 mixes calisthenics and body weight exercises with strength and interval training. This program helps children improve speed, balance and agility, as well as get children into great shape for their favorite sports, all while having fun.
AUG 21 The ABCs of BBQ-ing, 6-7:30pm, Franciscan Medical Specialists, 757 45th St, Munster. 219.934.2483. franciscanalliance.org. Registered Dietician Monica Rojas, MS, RD, CDE discusses grilling and outdoor food safety, as well as food storage tips and what to do with leftovers during this fun class. The class also features new, healthy twists on old-time favorite recipes like potato and macaroni salad.
PERFORMANCES, ARTS AND EXHIBITS
ONGOING Target Free First Sundays, 10am-5pm, 1st Sun of each month, Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, 700 E Grand Ave, Chicago. 312.527.1000. chicagochildrensmuseum.org. Children and caregivers can experience the joy of learning together with hands-on activities and performances for families every Sunday. Admission to the museum is free for children ages 15 and younger.
THROUGH AUG 16 Summer Rhapsody Music Festival, Porter Health Amphitheatre, Central Park Plaza, downtown Valparaiso. 219.464.8332. valparaisoevents.com. From classical to jazz, this musical festival offers a feast for senses of musical lovers of all ages. Attendees are invited to bring a picnic, a blanket and chairs to the event. Jul 17: Middle of the Road Band; Jul 24: Middle School Band; Aug 8: Chicago Rat Pack; Aug 16: Spazmatics.
THROUGH AUG 19 Bird Exhibition, Dunes Learning Center, 700 Howe Rd, Chesterton. 219.395.9555. duneslearningcenter.org. This exhibit by artist Melissa Washburn features a series of mixed media pieces depicting some of the migratory bird species that can be seen in the Dunes area of Northwest Indiana.
THROUGH SEPT 1 Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, Broadway Playhouse, 175 E Chestnut Ave. Chicago. 312.977.1700. broadwayinchicago.com. Based on the book by Dr. Seuss, this exuberant adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classics features the games and mischief of The Cat, who brings all sorts of trouble—including Thing One and Thing Two—for Sally and her brother on a rainy afternoon.
THROUGH SEPT 2 Animal Inside Out, Museum of Science and Industry, 57th St and Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 773.947.3133. msichicago.org. This exhibit explores the intricate biology and physiology of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures—from goats and giraffes to octopuses and ostriches. From creator of the trailblazing BODY WORLDS exhibitions, anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, this exhibit showcases more than 100 animal specimens that have been preserved through the process of plastination, which replaces the body's fluids with plastics to incredibly detailed effect.
THROUGH SEPT 2 Cirque Shanghai Dragon’s Thunder, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago. 800.745.3000. navypier.com/cirqueshanghai. The largest Cirque Shanghai cast to ever visit the U.S. performs an incredible line-up of awe-inspiring acts during this can’t-miss performance featuring tumbling, juggling, balancing and more.
THROUGH JAN 5, 2014 Creatures of Light—Nature’s Bioluminescence, The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 312.922.9410. fieldmuseum.org. From glowworms to deep-sea fishes, this exhibit features the mysterious and magical world of bioluminescence. Visitors can discover the thousands of living organisms that blink, glow, flash and flicker. Also, through Jun 9: Images of Afterlife; through Jun 16: Fashion and The Field Museum Collection—Maria Pinto; through Sept 8: Scenes from the Stone Age—The Cave Paintings of Lascaux.
JUL 8-AUG 5 Little Diggers, Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center, Three Rivers County Park, 2800 Colorado St, Lake Station. 219.963.2070. mybellaboos.com. Singing, acting and dancing take center stage at this creative and active workshop. Kids can discover theater basics through fun-focused, collaborative and explorative play. The workshop concludes with a grand finale performance on the final day.
JUL 13-SEPT 1 Shrek the Musical, Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago. navypier.com. Based on the Academy Award-winning film, this 75-minute musical adventure recounts the story of Shrek, the swap-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing journey. On this not-so-traditional fairytale journey, Shrek learns about true friendship and love as he travels with a wise-cracking donkey, fights a fearsome dragon and tries to rescue Princess Fiona. The show is recommended for children ages 5 and up and audience members are invited to meet the cast after the show.
JUL 19-21 Revenge of the Space Pandas, Dunes Summer Theatre, 288 Shady Oak Dr, Michigan City. 219.879.7509. dunessummertheatre.com. Fun for the entire family, this production follows the story of Binky, a precious 12-year-old, and his two friends must find their way home after being accidentally sent across the cosmos to a planet in an alternate universe populated by space pandas.
AUG 5-9 All Things Theater Camp, 9am-noon, Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave, Hammond. 219.937.8780. towletheater.org. Children ages 10 and up can explore singing, dancing and acting during this theater camp. The camp also features theater games and lots of fun with instructor Elizabeth Tuazon. JUL 29: Registration deadline.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
JUL 15-19 Skyhawks Min-Hawks Camp, 9am-noon Mon-Fri, Stephen Park, 7600 Lincolnwood Ave, Schererville. activenwi.com. Designed for children ages 4 through 7, this summer camp introduces children to baseball, basketball and soccer and gives them a fun and positive first step into athletics. Campers explore balance, hand-eye coordination and skill development through games and activities. All campers receive a t-shirt and merit award. Students will need two snacks, a water bottle, running shoes and sunscreen for each day.
AUG 10-SEPT 28 Co-Ed T-Ball, Griffith Branch YMCA, 201 N Griffith Blvd, Griffith. 219.750.1082. griffithymca.org. Children can learn the basics of T-Ball, such as throwing, hitting and base running during this program. There are three divisions: 2 through 3 years old, 4 through 5 years old and kindergarten through 1st grade. Games will be played at the softball fields just north of the Griffith YMCA.
JUL 24-31 First Tee Golf Camp, 1-3pm, Southlake YMCA, 1450 S Court St, Crown Point; Youche Country Club, 2301 W 129th Pl, Crown Point. 219.663.5810. slymca.org. This program is designed to help children ages 6 through 12 years understand and develop the nine core values of the First Tee curriculum—honest, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment—while learning the game of golf. Camp meets the first three days at the YMCA and the last three days at Youche Country Club. Transportation is not provided to Youche.
BEGINS SEPT 9 Flag Football League, 5:30pm Mon or Tue, Valparaiso Family YMCA, 1201 Cumberland Crossing Dr, Valparaiso. 219.462.4185. valpoymca.org. This fast-paced and action-packed flag football league helps children develop their throwing, catching, and football skills. This program is for children in grades 1st through 5th who want to learn how to play the sport; brush up on the rules, tactics and skills; improve their game and have fun.
THROUGH MID SEPT Little Diggers, 11am Mon-Sat, Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center, Three Rivers County Park, 2800 Colorado St, Lake Station. 219.963.2070. mybellaboos.com. Bellaboo’s flower and vegetable garden is open for children to plant and shower the plants with love. Activities include garden songs, worm digs in the kid-friendly compost pile, eco-friendly information and more.
THROUGH SEPT 26 Hobart Summer Market on the Lake, 3-8pm Thu, Festival Park, 111 E Old Ridge Rd, Hobart. 219.942.4511. cityofhobart.org. This summer market offers fresh produce and handcrafted products, as well as sweet treats and live entertainment all evening.
THROUGH SEPT 28 2013 Farmers Market, 8am-1pm Sats, S Main St, Crown Point. 219.662.3290. crownpoint.in.gov/farmers. Produce, cheese, baked goods, flowers, home goods and accessories are available at this weekly farmers market.
JUL 3-7 Cedar Lake Summerfest, 5-11:30pm Wed, Fri, 10am-11pm Thu, noon-11:30pm Sat, 7am-9pm Sun, Cedar Lake Town Complex, 7408 Constitution Ave, Cedar Lake. 219.374.4444. cedarlakesummerfest.com. There is fun for all ages at this annual festival with live entertainment, food, fireworks, amusement rides, car shows, a beer garden and more.
JUL 13 16th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest, 9am-1pm, Indiana Dunes State Park, 1600 N 25 E, Chesterton. 219.926.1952. indianadunes.com. This competition is open to all ages. Viewers can vote for their favorite for the “People’s Choice Award.”
JUL 14 Railcats Family Day, 2:10pm, U.S. Steel Yard, One Stadium Plz, Gary. 219.882.2255. railcatsbaseball.com. Children can run the bases after the RailCats play the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and meet with the players who will be signing autographs.
JUL 17-21 Festival of the Lakes, Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2324 Calumet Ave, Hammond. 219.853.6378. festival.gohammond.com. There’s fun for the whole family with rides, live entertainment, a polka party, a fishing derby, vendors, games and more at this annual event.
JUL 18-27 Porter County Fair, Porter County Expo Center, 217 E Division, Valparaiso. 219.462.0321. portercountyfair.com. The 163rd Porter County Fair features a combination of fun rides, delicious food, 4-H exhibits and activities, and a variety of entertainment—including a Willie Robertson, Justin Moore, a demolition derby and bull riding.
JUL 25 A Round for the Kids, 11 am lunch & registration; noon shotgun start, Valparaiso Country Club, 2501 Country Club Rd, Valparaiso. 219.462.4185 ext 235. valpoymca.org. The community is invited to play a round for the kids at this 23rd annual event to raise funds to provide affordable sports programs for all kids to learn, grow and thrive at the Valparaiso Family YMCA.
JUL 26-28 Pierogi Fest, 119th St, Whiting. 219.659.0292. pierogifest.net. Drawing almost 200,000 visitors each year, this festival celebrates all things pierogi. The weekend’s festivities include the Pierogi Parade, games, a beer garden, musical entertainment, food of all sorts, and, of course, pierogi.
AUG 2-11 Lake County Fair, Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S Court St, Crown Point. 219.663.3617. lake-county-fair.com. This family-oriented annual county fair boasts more than 30 rides, hundreds of concessions, horse shows, contests, live entertainment and motorsports, as well as thousands of exhibits and all types of food.
AUG 17 Party in the Park, 5-10pm, Thomas Centennial Park, 220 Broadway, Chesterton. 219.926.5513. dunelandchamber.org. Duneland’s back-to-school celebration features culinary delights from local restaurants and a wide variety of games for both adults and kids.
AUG 24 Valpo Night Ride, call for times, Butterfield Family Pavilion, Evans & Calumet Aves, Valparaiso. This 15-mile organized bicycle ride takes place at night under the stars. A mid-ride snack will be provided at Central Park Plaza. Police support and volunteers will be available along the route to ensure everyone’s safety.
AUG 31 Taste of Duneland, 11am-11pm, Thomas Park, Calumet & Broadway, downtown Chesterton. 219.617.1742. dunebig.com. Duneland celebrates the last official weekend of summer with tasty food from local eateries and non-profit groups, a beer and wine garden, live music from local and regional acts and a bounce house for kids.