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Thursday
Feb132014

Weekend Spotlight: Science for Valentines, Discovery Days and More

It looks like the weather is going to warm up, and we might get some snow too. So if you're looking for a new place to sled or ice skate, check this guide out. Otherwise, Here are some of the event highlights over the next few days. As always, consult the Go West Calendar for more events that might better fit your family's budget, interests or schedule.

FRIDAY:

ST. CHARLES: Goldfish Swim School in St. Charles (a Go West sponsor) invites you and your family to a special Valentine's Day Swim from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Snacks and crafts are included. For more information and to RSVP, check out the Facebook invite. The cost is $5 per person, up to a $15 max for a family. Families enrolled for swim classes at Goldfish get in free. 

ELGIN: The Elgin Public Museum has a monthly "Science Night" and the theme this Friday is Valentine's Day, with activities, demonstrations and experiments centering on flowers, chocolate and the human heart. No registration is required for this drop-in program, which starts at 6 p.m. and lasts til 8 p.m. The fee is $2 per person. 

BATAVIA: Spotlight Youth Theater's Aurora branch will be performing "Peter Pan" this weekend and next at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre (at Batavia High School). Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-17. The show features special effects, sword fighting and even flying. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Members of the cast of 'Peter Pan' rehearse before this weekend's shows at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre. Photo courtesy of Spotlight Youth Theater.

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Thursday
Feb062014

Weekend Spotlight: Snails, Huskies, Valentines and More

It looks like we have another cold (and potentially snowy on Saturday) weekend ahead, so luckily there is lots of fun to be had indoors. Here are some of the event highlights over the next few days. As always, check out the Go West Calendar for more events that might better fit your family's budget, interests or schedule.

Dogs from the Free Spirit Siberian Rescue are scheduled to be at "Discovery Days" at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles on Saturday. Photo by San Diego Shooter on Flickr.
FRIDAY:

ST. CHARLES: If you need some humidity in your life, Goldfish Swim School in St. Charles has a "Family Open Swim" session on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per person, with a max of $15 per family. Lane markers will be removed and water toys placed in the pool, where the water is kept at 90 degrees! (Goldfish is a valuable Go West sponsor, by the way.)

SATURDAY:

ST. CHARLES: Hickory Knolls Nature Center in St. Charles has special "Discovery Days" scheduled every Saturday in February. They'll be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and don't require registration. This Saturday, animal experts from Big Run Wolf Ranch will explain what life is like for wolves and coyotes, as well as other species of North American wildlife. Plus, dogs from Free Spirit Siberian Rescue will be on site and giving demos, so dress for the weather. Admission is $5 per person, children under 2 are free; check the Go West Calendar or this page for details.

ELGIN: The "Kids Dream Winter Film Series" continues this weekend at Marcus Theatres in Elgin. This weekend, "Turbo" -- an animated movie about a snail who dreams of moving fast -- will be shown at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday with tickets only $2. These movies are also shown at Marcus Theatres in Orland Park and Gurnee.

OSWEGO: The Little White School Museum in Oswego is hosting a free "Victorian Valentines Make It & Take It" craft, in which people of all ages are invited to make a classic Valentine card similar to ones made in the 1890s. Children must attend with an adult. The activity will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pre-registration is appreciated by calling 630-554-2999 -- it helps the museum with planning. But walk-ins are always welcome, too. 

SUNDAY:

BATAVIA: Fermilab is hosting its annual and popular "Family Open House" on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is a party for children who bring an adult with them to learn about the world of physics. Events will include a cryogenics show from "Mr. Freeze," a chance to ask scientists your physics questions and plenty of hands-on activities. The open house is most appropriate for children in grades 3 and up; the event is free. Find more info, directions to the site and a preview of the event here.

ELGIN: The "Kids Dream Winter Film Series" continues this weekend at Marcus Theatres in Elgin. This weekend, "Turbo" -- an animated movie about a snail who dreams of moving fast -- will be shown at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday with tickets only $2. These movies are also shown at Marcus Theatres in Orland Park and Gurnee.

OSWEGO: The Little White School Museum in Oswego is hosting a free "Victorian Valentines Make It & Take It" craft, in which people of all ages are invited to make a classic Valentine card similar to ones made in the 1890s. Children must attend with an adult. The activity will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pre-registration is appreciated by calling 630-554-2999 -- it helps the museum with planning. But walk-ins are always welcome, too. 

ST. CHARLES: If you need some humidity in your life, Goldfish Swim School in St. Charles has a "Family Open Swim" session on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per person, with a max of $15 per family. Lane markers will be removed and water toys placed in the pool, where the water is kept at 90 degrees! (Goldfish is a valuable Go West sponsor, by the way.)

Wednesday
Feb052014

Giveaway: Tickets to See Spotlight Youth Theater's 'Peter Pan' in Batavia

Updated on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 9:49PM by Registered CommenterTara Burghart

Do you believe in fairies? Are you ready to clap to show you believe in fairies? 

Well, then I have a show for your family!

I have two sets of four tickets to give away to a production of "Peter Pan" performed by Spotlight Youth Theater's Aurora Branch. "Peter Pan" will be performed on the weekends of Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 22-23 at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m on Saturdays and 3 p.m on Sundays. There are also school-day performance on Thursday, Feb. 20 and Friday, Feb. 21.

"Peter Pan" is a musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie's 1904 play about a boy who won't grow up, the children in the Darling family he befriends, and his nemesis Captain Hook. Spotlight's performance of "Peter Pan" will feature a cast of about 100 area kids, cool special effects, authentic sword fighting and of course flying!

Spotlight Youth Theater is an after-school theater arts education program for children ages 4 through 18. Spotlight offers classes in the Aurora area, Chicago, DuPage County, Kane County, Northwest Cook County, Oak Park, Orland Park, McHenry County, Lake County and Rockford, as well as Milwaukee and Kenosha in Wisconsin.

Tickets for "Peter Pan" will be for reserved seating, and they can purchased up to three hours before the show online. If tickets are still available, you can purchase tickets the door up to an hour before a performance.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 2 through 17, as well as seniors. Here's the link to follow for ordering tickets, which are e-tickets you print at home to avoid will-call lines. If you would prefer to handle your order over the phone, you can call 847-516-2298 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Monday
Feb032014

Giveaway: Four Tickets to See the Peking Acrobats at Aurora's Paramount Theatre

Updated on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:01PM by Registered CommenterTara Burghart

Is your family ready to "flip out" over this tough winter we're having? Well, then you won't want to miss a chance for a fun, family-friendly evening inside the comfort of the gorgeous Paramount Theatre in Aurora!

OK. That's a silly play on words, but it's all for a great opportunity: I have four tickets to give away to see the Peking Acrobats perform on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. at the Paramount.

The Peking Acrobats are a troupe of China's most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists, and gymnasts complemented by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments. Many of this troupe have been studying the ancient art of acrobatics since they were children, and they are renowned for their grace, artistry and feats of seemingly impossible physical daring.

The Peking Acrobats put on a family-friendly show, and they will only be performing once in Aurora -- on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for children ages 12 and under. The winner of this giveaway will receive a "family four-pack" -- two adult tickets and two children's tickets. 

Photo courtesy of the Paramount Theatre.

This giveaway starts now and ends Friday, Feb. 7, at  noon Central time. To enter, you just have to answer the following question in the comment section below: What makes your kid(s) jump for joy?

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Sunday
Feb022014

Early Literacy Activities Calendar for February 2014

Thanks to the wonderful folks in the Youth Services Department of the West Chicago Public Library for sharing their Early Literacy Activities Calendar with us each month. Here's a bunch of easy, creative ideas for how you can encourage an early love of reading in your child during February.

Feb. 1: Use a flashlight or lamp to create hand shadows on the wall.
Feb. 2: Talk about the weather: Was the groundhog's prediction right?
Feb. 3: Visit your library today.
Feb. 4: See how many rectangles you can spot together today.
Feb. 5: Count the houses on your block - what colors are they?
Feb. 6: Have a "TV Turnoff" Day -- read or play games instead.
Feb. 7: Read a wordless book together and make up a story about the pictures.
Feb. 8: Come to the "Super Science Saturday" at 10 a.m. at the West Chicago Public Library.
Photo by Enokson on Flickr.
Feb. 9: Let your child help you make a grocery list today.
Feb. 10: How many "V's" can you find today?
Feb. 11: Draw some hears and let your child color them.
Feb. 12: How many red things can you spot today?
Feb. 13: Read a Valentine book together.
Feb. 14: Make a paper Valentine together; let your child dictate a message.
Feb. 15: Come to Wiggle Worms Music and Playtime today at the West Chicago Public Library at 10:45 a.m.
Feb. 16: Sing a favorite song, clapping the rhythm together.
Feb. 17: Read a book about presidents today.
Feb. 18: Count how many steps you take around the house.
Feb. 19: Give your child a pad and pencil and layout a "restaurant" together.
Feb. 20: Find a picture of George Washington and talk about him.
Feb. 21: Read a nursery rhyme together.
Feb. 22: Read a rhyming book together.
Feb. 23: See how many circles you can spot together.
Feb. 24: Sit quietly by the window and talk about what you see.
Feb. 25: Visit your library today.
Feb. 26: Play dress up with your child while talking about who or what she is.
Feb. 27: Read a favorite book together; can your child tell you the story?
Feb. 28: Look at a calendar and count how many Thursdays are in a year.