School's almost out, and I'm already doing a happy dance. That's because this marks the first summer in six years of NO NAPS... which means we can be gone from home for longer than three or four hours at a time - woooohooo!
In the coming days, we'll fall into the rhythm of chores and activities that we established last summer, featured in my post Mapping Out Summer. I'm pretty type-A (shocking, I know) so naturally I like some summer structure. We use a daily chore chart that looks a little something like this...
And a weekly activity chart that looks a little something like this...
For our field trip days, I'm looking forward to some longer outings. I recently got tons of great ideas from friends at Masterpiece Moms, a Chapelstreet Church group I'm blessed to co-facilitiate with dear friend Hillary Jarvis. So without further delay, here are three things on our 2018 Summer Bucket List:
MAGIC WATERS WATERPARK
Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Magic Waters Waterpark, 7820 Cherryvale N. Blvd., in Cherry Valley, Ill. I'm glad it's finally on my radar! Magic Waters has made serving guests with disabilities a central part of its experience. We will most certainly be making our way northwest this summer to check it out.
We took our family to the Wisconsin Dells this past winter and found the water park we visited a bit lacking in accessibility. Not so with Magic Waters. This water park has zero-depth entry to both its wave pool (Tsunami Bay) and lazy river (Splash Magic River). I can't tell you how incredibly hard it is to safely negotiate wet staircases when carrying a slippery 40 pound girl!
Magic Waters also has water wheelchairs available at Guest Services (how cool is this?!), and guests with disabilities can request a Quick Pass enabling the individual and his/her companion to move to the front of the line of an attraction. Can't wait to visit!
Like Magic Waters Waterpark, Deicke Park (11419 IL-47, Huntley, Ill.) also came highly recommended by a Masterpiece Mom friend. While the park has lots of great amenities, it's most well known for its Deicke Discovery Zone.
The Discovery Zone's greatest claim to fame? It's completely fenced in, with two gates. (I can think of a certain someone with twins who will be excited to hear about this...) Fencing is such a huge help for families with multiple children, or children prone to wander, or both! Knowing that my two younger girls will be contained, while I help Elsa access all that the park has to offer, is priceless.
Elsa, my eldest, uses a wheelchair and is able to take facilitated steps. Deicke Park's smooth rubber surface is great for both wheeling and walking. Plus, the layout is open and the design is cheery with lots of features at Elsa's height for exploration. Folks planning a trip: Park visitors recommend bringing along chalk for the park's "painted chalk wall" and sand toys for the sand pit.
Last year we made a trip to nearby Naperville, Ill., and this year we're sure to be back once or twice. There is just so much to explore in the downtown area, which is super accessible and family friendly. Our 2017 trip included a stop at Anderson's Bookshop (123 W. Jefferson Ave.), and we'll be sure to do that again this year. We're eyeing the June 10 event with picture book authors Kathleen Doherty (DON'T FEED THE BEAR) and Jacob Grant (BEAR'S SCARE).
A new stop this year will be Centennial Beach (500 W. Jackson Ave.), which hosts Special Needs Nights throughout the summer. For $3/person, the beach is made available to special needs families from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the following Sundays: June 24, July 1, 15 and 29. Thanks for the head's up on these evenings, Masterpiece Moms!
On days when the weather is rainy or too hot to be bearable, the DuPage Children's Museum will also be a stop. Accessibility is a commitment of this venue, too. Their offerings in this regard can be found HERE. A highlight is their Third Thursday series for special needs families, which features comfort dogs and sensory art projects. This summer's Third Thursday dates: June 20 and July 19.
We'll be sure to share photos and tales from our adventures. All of these activities are family friendly, regardless of your child's abilities. (Chicagoland friends, if you'd like to meet up at one of these places, let's coordinate!!)