Pride Month Activities for Chicago Families

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June is National Gay Pride Month and Chicago is quite possibly the most fun city to celebrate. The list of family-focused events added to the roster over the years has been nothing short of incredible. While some Pride events haven’t historically been kid-centric, there are plenty of festivals, parades, walking tours, pride-themed books and concerts that give kids the chance to celebrate or perhaps an environment to relate. Sprinkle on some glitter, proudly raise those rainbow flags and add these fun activities to your family calendar.

Community Celebrations

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The Highwood Pride Rocks Family Picnic, Jun. 4, celebrates pride with live music, a self-expression runway event for kids, rock painting, storytime, sidewalk chalking, crafts and more. In addition, Downtown Highwood will celebrate all month with pride flags lining the streets, rainbow windows and chalked sidewalks.

As part of Park Forest's pride celebration, Jun. 11, families will be treated to an afternoon of food, games and a meet-n-greet. 

Skokie is hosting a family friendly Skokie Pride, Jun. 26, in Oakton Park with drag story time and performances, a dance party and music, games, crafts, food and more.

Festivals & Parties

Midsommarfest, Jun. 10-12, is one of Chicago's oldest and most beloved festivals and features live music, games, food and family entertainment. While not officially a Pride event, Andersonville’s well-established LGBTQ population is celebrated in a portion of the programming.

WNDR, Jun. 10, turns down the lights and cranks up the music for WNDR After Dark: Pride Edition in partnership with A Queer Pride. Guests will elevate their WNDR experience with music from DJ SKOLI as they walk through the museum during extended hours. 

Home to an eclectic mix of arts & crafts, food and other vendors, Chicago Pride Fest, Jun. 18 & 19, is the Midwest’s largest celebration of pride. Four stages play host to the most fun entertainment acts of summer. While the festivities can get rowdy during evening hours, there’s no shortage of family fun during the day. 

Navy Pier’s annual Navy Pier Pride, Jun. 25, is set to return with a full day of Pride activities along the lakefront. Free and open to the public, this family-friendly event is the largest Pride celebration in Chicago outside of the Lakeview neighborhood.

CONCERTS

Pride in the Park, Jun. 25 & 26, invites families to a massive party featuring The Chainsmokers and Alesso as headliners. A portion of the ticket sales benefits Center on Halsted, a vital lifeline to the LGBTQ people of Chicagoland, and the people who love them.

As part of the Chicago Park District's Pride Month programming, they invite families to an all-ages TRQPITECA Queer Pride, Jun. 26. TRQPITECA Queer Pride unites people across ages and identities to enjoy DJs and artists representing Chicago's queer undergrounds rooted in house and techno music, along with community organizations and small businesses.

Parades

Aurora's Pride Parade, Jun. 12, will be a celebration of the LBGTQI community and their allies with dozens of floats and overwhelming support. Before the parade, New England Congregational Church will host a pay-what-you-can pancake breakfast, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

A fun-filled kid-favorite of the Chicago Pride Fest is the annual Pet Pride Parade, Jun. 19. All members of the animal kingdom are invited to strut their bedazzled stuff in a festive procession. 

Chicago’s Pride Parade, Jun. 26, got its start as a march in 1970 and is now one of the most iconic pride events, attracting people of all gender, color and sexuality. Its bright colors, performance groups, floats and parade entrants—including many Chicago schools—will easily attract and hold a child’s attention.

Movies

Love, Simon Film Screenings

Enjoy popcorn and Love, Simon as a family at McKinley Park, Jun. 4; Edgewater, Jun. 6; Bezazian, Jun. 8; Brighton Park, Jun. 9; Santori Public Library in Aurora, Jun. 8; and Little Village, Jun. 18.

Exhibits

Pride Month Photo Exhibit at Santori Public Library

During the month of June, Santori Public Library in Aurora welcomes families to a Pride Photo Exhibit featuring celebratory faces and places from Aurora's city-wide pride celebration in 2021. 

Story Hours

Chicago Public Library invites kids for a Drag Story Time held at West Lawn Branch (Jun. 1, 6 p.m.), Sulzer Regional (Jun. 3, 11 a.m.), Bezazian (Jun. 8, 1 p.m.) and Commercial Club Park (Jun. 13, 10:30 a.m.).

Ms. Katie from Chicago Public Libary's McKinley Park Branch will lead kids through a virtual Pride Story Time, Jun. 3, with books, songs and rhymes geared toward kids ages 0-5.

Kids ages 2-7 can celebrate Pride month at Albany Park Branch with a Rainbow Story Time, Jun. 11, featuring stories, songs and rhymes, followed by an extra special rainbow craft.

Children's Librarian Mary Gen from the Kelly Branch will lead kids through a fun-filled virtual LGBTQ+ pride and self-love story time, Jun. 13. Stop by the branch for a free grab-and-go kit.

Celebrate Pride with Andy from the Merlo Branch for virtual LGBTQ+ pride and self-love story time, Jun. 15.

Craft Projects

Aurora Public Library will supply kids in grades 6-12 with small pride flags to decorate at the West Branch, Jun. 2, and the Santori Branch, Jun. 3.

Join Mx. Christian from the Portage-Cragin Branch and Mx. Alex from Sulzer Regional Library for a virtual LGBTQ+ Pride Month craft, Jun. 4. After you register, pick up supplies for a rainbow string art craft from either location.

Ms. Kristin at the Independence Branch of the Chicago Public Library will help kids ages 8-12 make a Pride Rainbow Pom Pom Headband or Necklace, Jun. 9. 

WNDR Museum is hosting a Pride Month art class, Jun. 12. Kids will create their own drag masks using markers, sequins, pipe-cleaners, decorative paper and more. 

Teens can use the vinyl cutter and button maker at Brighton Park Library, Jun. 17, to design fun and festive accessories for Pride. 

Chicago Public Library has premade patterns and various pride flag color combos for kids to make a DIY Pride Month sticker at the Northtown Branch, Jun. 22.

Walking Tours

If you've visited the area commonly referred to as Boystown, you've likely seen the iconic rainbow pylons that line N. Halsted St. What you may not know is they are part of the world's only outdoor museum walk and youth education program dedicated to combating anti-gay bullying by celebrating contributions made by LGBTQ persons in history. The Legacy Project was inspired by the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, a 54-ton quilt that celebrates the lives of people who died from AIDS-related causes when it was displayed at the National March on Washington in 1987. Take your family on a self-guided Legacy Walk tour and read plaques that give history on important LGBTQ contributors to our nation's history or schedule an educational guided tour.

Rainbow crosswalks have been popping up in LGBTQ+ neighborhoods around the world as a symbol of the strength of community and pride. Along The Legacy Walk in Northalsted, you'll find 14 visually stunning rainbow crosswalks running parallel to Halsted St., from Melrose to Bradley.  

The Forest Therapy Walk, Jun. 18, for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies at Morton Arboretum will include a mindful, three-hour walk with a certified Forest Therapy guide on the Arboretum's beautiful grounds. A tea ceremony will conclude the walk with tea made from edible plants foraged along the trail.

Special Treats

Stan's Donuts & Coffee

Pride Month-Themed Breakfast at Stan's Donuts

Celebrate Pride Month with a deliciously colorful Stan's Pride Donut, Jun. 20-26. The vanilla-rainbow glazed cake donut will be available at all locations.

The Rainbow Pride Shake at JoJo's Shake Bar

JoJo's Shake Bar's Pride Shake includes a passion fruit shake topped with a rainbow cake slice, a rainbow lollipop and a candy heart ribbon. You can taste the rainbow at all three locations, Jun. 1-Jun. 26. Proceeds from each shake will be donated to Center on Halsted and Naper Pride. 

At-Home Activities

Chicago Public Library invites kids to print an LGBTQIA+ Pride month coloring sheet by Chicago artist Julia White.

Suggested Book Titles

A Little Something for the Book Worms

In addition to pride parades and street fests there are other ways to open the age-appropriate lines of communication with your children about the LGBTQ+ community—and acceptance of all people, regardless of gender, race, religion and sexuality. We recommend browsing Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark St.) and Unabridged (3251 N. Broadway St.) for books dedicated to diversity and acceptance. These reads are a great place to start.

"PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag" by Rob Sanders
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Rainbow Pride Flag comes a picture book that tells the empowering true story about how the flag came to be. From its start in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its role spanning the globe today, you'll hear a story of love, hope, equality and, of course, pride.

"A Tale of Two Mommies" and "A Tale of Two Daddies" by Vanita Oelschlager
Both of these stories are great reads for ages 4-8 and allow us a peek inside the conversation between kids who are curious about one friend's two mommies and another's two daddies. They're both perfect for introducing kids to same-sex families that are becoming increasingly more common to see in society.

"This Day in June" by Gayle E. Pitman
Show your kids the beauty of the pride parade without ever leaving your house. This picture book perfectly captures the diversity, exuberance and, well, pride on display and provides a solid springboard into a meaningful conversation. As a bonus, this book includes a reading guide chock full of facts about LGBTQ history and culture.

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Based on a true story of two male chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, who shared a nest in New York’s Central Park Zoo. After trying to care for and hatch an egg-shaped rock, the pair was given a fertilized egg in need of nurturing that became the beautiful penguin known as Tango.

“The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman
Showcases many different types of families with 2-page spreads depicting facets of home life - from homes and holiday celebrations, to schools and pets, to emotions and family trees.

“Welcome to the Family” by Mary Hoffman
Explores one element of its prequel, “The Great Big Book of Families”, which is the arrival of new members into a family. Written with a humorous tone, you’ll have an opportunity to light-heartedly explore all different ways a baby or child can become a member of a family — natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering and same-sex families—while sending the message that all families are special and equal.

“The Family Book” by Todd Parr
Children are introduced to an array of families through whimsical, colorful illustrations.  Pages are full of silly examples of differences (i.e.: some families like to be messy, some like to be clean), plus serious topics like adoption, same-sex relationships and single parenting.

“It’s Okay to Be Different” by Todd Parr
Similar to the “The Family Book,” Parr reinforces the need for acceptance of individuality through repetition and fun and colorful drawings. He mixes big ideas (“It’s okay to have different dads”) with random silliness (“It’s okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub”).

“King and King” by Linda de Haan
In this fairytale, a prince must find a mate to help rule the kingdom so the Queen can retire. While being introduced to a series of princesses, the prince meets a suitor’s brother and it’s love at first sight. Collage-style illustrations are bright, colorful and altogether engaging.

"10,000 Dresses" by Marcus Ewert
Bailey loves dresses in all the colors of the rainbow. Dresses that sparkle, that shine, that twirl. His parents, however, are in his ear to remind him that he's a boy and boys don't wear dresses. In comes Laurel, a friend that shows him that it's okay to be whoever he wants to be. This is an inspiring friendship story that any kid can relate to — but especially those who refuse to conform.

"This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids" by Dannielle Owens-Redi and Kristin Russo
Have a child who recently came out or is early-on in the stages of questioning their sexuality? First off, congratulations that you've created an environment where your child feels open enough to talk about those feelings. Next up? This book. Written in Q&A format, it's a go-to resource for parents committed to understanding and being the best support possible for their child. The authors share insight on everything from the emotional to the practical topics, peppered with real-life experiences from gay kids and their parents.

If you have more events you’d like added to our list, contact our Chicago Editor at maria.chambers@tinybeans.com. We’d love to hear about them!

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