Winter break tips 

CPS rounds up a list of activities parents can do with their kids during the holiday break.

December 21, 2009

Photo courtesy Daniel Dancer


The majority of Chicago Public Schools students will be on winter break from December 21- January 3. There are a variety of offerings for students this winter break designed to keep them busy, active, and safe. View our list of activities below.


CPS officials encourage parents to know where their children are at all times during the winter vacation. Chicago maintains a curfew for children under the age of 17 which requires that they be at home or with a parent and/or guardian during the following curfew hours:


  • 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights
  • 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights

Safety first

Preparing children for potentially dangerous situations can help parents ensure the safety of their children. More information about how to keep your child safe can be found at the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) Community Policing  website. Parents can sign up for community alerts sent directly to their cell phones via text message or email. ClearPath, another useful tool from the CPD, also allows citizens to map the location of registered sex offenders living in their communities. This tool can assist in identifying potential threats to children within their neighborhoods.

Things to do during winter break

 Holiday safe havens for high school students

CPS is partnering with Family and Support Services and local churches to provide safe havens for high school students during the holidays. This six-day program runs from Dec. 21- Dec. 23, and Dec. 28- 30.


The program allows for students to go to community churches (20 to 25 youth per church) and participate in activities to keep them safe and off the street during winter break. Activities will include a project based on performing arts, as well as an anger management/conflict resolution project. Each host church will be providing lunches, security assistance, T-shirts, and bus transportation with support from the City and CPS.


View the  complete list of holiday safe havens or call 3-1-1 for more information.

Academic ideas for elementary students 

If you don’t want to venture out of the house during winter break, there are still several activities you can do at home to keep your elementary school child’s mind active and busy. Learn more about the educational games you can play with your child at home to help keep their mind stimulated and prepared for school.

Activities for students of all ages 

Sports Fest 2009 

Mayor Daley’s Chicago Sports Festival takes place this month from Sunday, December 27, to Monday, December 28, at McCormick Place in Halls A & B, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Dr. Learn more about the two-day sports event that features tournaments, fitness, and special performances.

Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District offers hundreds of both indoor and outdoor activities for children of all ages. During winter break, the Park District is offering several activities including Kwanzaa celebrations, theatre performances, and nine ice skating rinks.

Chicago Public Library

With over 79 locations across the city, the Chicago Public Library offers events for children and teenagers. Visit your local library for more details.

Chicago Museums

Take a trip through history, see the world’s most exotic plants and animals, and journey through time, all without ever leaving the city. Students can enjoy learning about history, technology, astronomy and science. Several museums have free days or reduced entrance fees for Chicago residents.


Visit the City of Chicago to view other winter break activities.



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