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Baby-on-Board Review: Art of Play

By Elizabeth Shapiro in Miscellaneous on Aug 1, 2007 2:30PM

AOP_logo_l.jpgWhile the other families we know hightail it out to the greener grassed suburbs, we here at the Chicagoist have found more and more to love about the city. Our most recent crush is on the Art of Play.

We initially thought the Art of Play was a tourism gimmick, as it is sponsored by the city and state Tourism bureau, as well as the Mayor's Office of Special Events and other Chicago cultural organizations. But their colorful signs seem to pop up every where something fun happens in the city; they're the ones that brought us Niki in the Garden and the Rubix Cube Championship.

This weekend, we found ourselves at the XXL games in Millennium Park. We initially thought this event was a combination of Chicago's recent bid for the 2016 Games and our dubious honor as one of the top fattest cities. 2007_07_LordL.jpgInstead, the park’s Family Fun tent was host to oversized games of all kinds: chess, checkers, Jenga, Connect Four and even a huge crossword puzzle. The centerpiece of this event was a massive version of Candy Land where costumed figures like Lord Licorice (pictured) helped kids around a life-sized game board. The event was well done, and a huge success with both our kid and our adult out-of-town guests.

As Art of Play enters its second half, it wants to go out with a bang. Highlights include a Clown Retro-spective on Roscoe, a chance for pre-teens to design their own games while being mentored by professionals, and Dancing in the Park, where you can stroll through dance performances taking place throughout Millennium Park. Check our their website for hundreds of other activities like treasure hunts, world gaming demonstrations and more held daily around the city.

The suburbs draw many with their stellar public schools and reasonable housing. For now, we’ll pass that up to live in a city that is this invested in fun.

More information is available on their website or at the Come In and Play Center located at 72 E. Randolph. Art of Play programming ends September 30.