Read our list of story times in Chicago and surrounding suburbs! Most beloved by toddlers and young children, this list promotes the love of literacy through fun, interactive readings, and could also perhaps include a bit of arts and crafts or singing on the side.

Aside from your local library, we've collected some noteworthy experiences worth travelling for. Best of all, many story times are FREE.

    The Lucky Trikes - Story Time

     (727.7 mi)

    Verify dates & times with host venue before attending.

    Typically free or by donation
    Ages: Ideal for infant-preschool & entertaining for all

    Lisa R:  This story telling trio and jazz chamber ensemble delivers one of the most unique and engaging story times in Chicago that will have both parents and toddlers at the edge of their seats. Each themed story times consists of original works and favorite books rhythmically recited with musical accompaniment. This "storytelling chamber band" performs at locations throughout Chicagoland.

    American Writers Museum - Little Squirrels Story Time

     (728.7 mi)

    Saturdays, 10:30 am

    Included with admission,$12 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

    Ages: Preschool

    Lisa R:  Where better to instill a love of reading than at one of the first museums in the country entirely devoted to books and their authors? Each month, preschool aged visitors gather in the Children's Literature Gallery to socialize and hear a story read by a museum volunteer. Afterwards, cuddle up with another book or explore the many interactive displays devoted to 300 years of American children's literature.

    Poetry Foundation - Poemtime

     (729.3 mi)

    Wednesdays, 10 am

    Free admission

    Ages: 2-5

    Shila:   Dedicated to the art of poetry, the Poetry Foundation houses a 30,000-volume poetry library, an exhibition gallery, hosts public events, supports field trips, and more! Poemtime is an event for young children that promotes literacy through fun, interactive readings and themed crafts.

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Story Time

     (730.1 mi)

    Daily 11 am -11:30 am

    Included in admission, $6 - $9 per person, kids under 4 are free. Thursdays are suggested donation days for IL residents.

    Ages: Preschool

    Lisa R:  Get a little more out of your visit to the Nature museum with this daily half hour program in the Hands-On Habitat exhibit. Each session mixes story time with a bit of socialization. Museum staff first read a nature-themed story and then guide children through games and activities. Kids can continue to enjoy the rest of the museum to see numerous exhibits, butterfly haven, indoor playground, and water play stations.

    Cat & Mouse Games, Books and Toys - Storytime

     (730.7 mi)

    Mondays at 10:30 am

    Free admission

    6 months - 5

    Kristy Pepping:  Big City Readers will share a story each week. Please note there will be no stroller parking inside. If you have a small one that folds up, those will be allowed. Otherwise, strollers can be left on the side of the building or in the staff parking lot.

    The Paintbrush - Story Time Art

     (731.2 mi)

    Fridays, 3:30 pm - 4:15 pm

    Cost: $16 per child

    Ages: 1-5 years old with caregiver

    Molly Weber:  Drop in for story time at The Paintbrush followed by an art project themed off of that day's story! This is a great chance to help you children draw connections to the actual story and relate their art project to what they heard. The Paintbrush is a popular art studio for kids that offers drop-in art classes, workshops, birthday parties and more. Reregistration required.

    Pottery Barn Kids - Story Time

     (731.8 mi)

    Tuesdays, 11 am

    Free admission

    Ages: 2 - 8

    Lisa R:  If you're an avid Pottery Barn browser, then this story time is a great way to entertain both you and the kids. Stop in during their weekly story time to treat your kids to free readings, crafts, and activities. Drop in five times, and you'll get a special surprise present from the store.

    Mothership Launchpad - Story Time

     (732.1 mi)

    Multiple times, see website for details

    Standard story times are free

    Story times with art are $15

    Ages: 0 - 4

    Phillip Gross:  Fun interactive story times. They host a few combined with art classes.

    Volumes Bookcafe - Story Time

     (732.5 mi)

    Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 am

    $1 suggested donation

    Ages: 6 weeks - 6 years

    Kristy Pepping:  Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park is an independent bookstore cafe. They offer books, baked goods, espresso drinks and wine. It was started by two Chicago sisters for their love of reading. Join them every Wednesday and Saturday for story time with one of the co-owners, Miss Kimberly. Two to three books will be read by Miss Kimberly followed by a singalong and a craft.

    Story Time in English & Italian with Maestra Francesca

     (732.8 mi)

    Little Adventures: one Tuesday/month

    The Red Balloon Co: one Thursday/month

    10:30 am - 11 am

    Admission is typically free or included with admission to the host organization.

    Ages: Preschool & under

    Lisa R:  Scuola Italiana Enrico Fermi, Chicago's first Italian American International School, hosts special dual language story times throughout the year. Classes are taught by the animated Maestro Francesca and held at various locations in Chicago like The Red Balloon (Bucktown flagship location) and Little Adventures Play Place. See Facebook page for details.

    The Red Balloon - Story Time

     (732.8 mi)

    Ages: 0 - 3

    Lisa R:  If you've been meaning to check out this unique kid's clothing boutique, be sure to stop in on the first Thursday of the month when they host story time with Bubbles Academy. Check out their Facebook to stay up to date with all their events.

    Women and Children First - Story Time

     (733.3 mi)

    Wednesdays, 10:30 am - 11 am

    $1 suggested donation

    Ages: 2 - 5

    Kristy Pepping:  Women and Children First is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country with more than 30,000 books by and about women, children's books and more. One of the events they hold is a storytime. They suggest kids aged from 2 to 5 because they are generally ready "to sit, listen, and participate," but they do welcome children of any age who are willing to do so as well. Five or more stories are read by former co-owner Linda Bubon.

    Little Threads - Story Time

     (733.4 mi)

    Mondays 11 am - 11:30 am


    Alexandra F.:  Join Oak Park native, Miss Rachel, for weekly story time at your neighborhood kids' store in Roscoe Village, and stay to browse their thoughtfully curated collection of baby and children's clothing, books and toys afterward!

    The Block Museum - Tales of Art

     (735.1 mi)

    10:30 am

    Ages: 3-8 years

    Lisa R:  This teaching museum at Northwestern University is full of thought provoking pieces that are full of stories. Story times here encourage to look more deeply at pieces housed in the museum by introducing new concepts through stories and interactive family activities. Registration required.

    Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens - Story Time

     (736.9 mi)

    First Thursday of every month 4 pm - 5 pm

    Free admission

    Brigitte Nohra Miller:  Spend an afternoon with your child out in nature and listening to stories at Lake Katherine Nature Center's story time! Be sure to come early so you can explore the nature center with your little one.

    Exploritorium - Storybook Corner

     (739.4 mi)

    Tuesdays, 10:30 am

    included with admission, $3 - $6 for everyone over 12 months

    Lisa R:  This large indoor play area hosted by the Skokie Parks district has everything you need to entertain little ones for a whole day, including a giant climbing structure, water table, large light bright wall, toddler/crawler friendly area, and pretend play section with a giant book wall. Drop by on Tuesdays of the month to catch story time in the giant book corner.

    Barnes and Noble - Pre-Yom Kippur Storytime and Craft with Mrs. Posner

     (740.2 mi)


    SkokieChabad:  Preschoolers can enjoy and celebrate the upcoming High Holiday season! Mrs. Zeesy Posner (of Junior Gan Israel Day Camp and Skokie Chabad's preschool) has been a beloved educator for over 25 years. Young children love her inimitable and engaging style! Join her at Barnes and Noble for a fun and age-appropriate introduction to YomKippur, with story, songs, and activity geared for children (up till 5 years old).

    Kohl Children’s Museum - Story Time

     (746.0 mi)

    Wednesdays or Mondays, 3:30 pm

    Included with admission, $14 per person and free for infants under 12 months

    Geared towards kindergarten - 3rd grade, but all ages welcome

    Chrissy OGorman:  Treat your child to an extra special trip to the Kohl Children’s Museum by taking them to story time! Stories are read by museum professionals and book selection rotates every month. After the story, be sure to stay for the many interactive exhibits offered at the museum, including a fabulous water play station, mini grocery store, and the always-popular baby nursery.

    Barnes & Noble Deerfield Square - Story Time

     (748.8 mi)

    Select Wednesdays & Saturdays, 10:30 am

    Free admission

    Ages: 2- 8

    Chrissy OGorman:  Head over to the Hundred Acre Wood stage in the children's area at the Deerfield Square Barnes & Noble for a fun story time! Story times are held every Friday and Saturday, with the Saturday story times often also featuring a special event or guest, and activities after the story. Check out their store locator to see the story time schedule for the B&N closest to you.

    M & M Acres - Story Time on the Farm

     (749.0 mi)

    Mondays & Wednesdays, May - October, 10 am - 11 am

    Free, donations are appreciated

    Erin P.:  M & M Acres is a farm whose mission is provide second chances to animals through rescue and rehabilitation. They aspire to inspire compassion toward animals and educate the community. Bring your kiddos to the farm on Monday mornings to read a story, enjoy a snack and juice and say hello to the animals. They can even brush a pony, donkey, or cow.

    River Trail Nature Center - Small Serendipity

     (749.7 mi)

    Select Wednesdays, 10 am

    Free admission

    Ages: 3 - 6

    Lisa R:  Ongoing programs at the River Trail Nature Center teach kids about the native plants and animals found inside this urban oasis as well as the American Indians and fur traders that once frequented the area. Drop in to the exhibit building with your little one on select Wednesdays for nature themed stories, crafts and activities. Once story time is over, kids can visit with a few native animals housed in the center, climb around in recreations of an eagle's nest and fox den, or put on a puppet show in the Discovery Area.

    Garden Story Time - Morton Arboretum

     (758.4 mi)

    Fridays at 11 am, June through October

    Included with admission, $15 for adults, $10 for kids and free for babies 1 and under

    Molly Weber:  My daughter loves story time but not as much as she loves being outside. This event combines those two things, allowing children to soak up the beautiful summer weather while enjoying an entertaining story! This event is weather permitting.

    DuPage Children's Museum - Daily Story Time

     (761.8 mi)

    Monday - Thursday, 9:30 am & 11:30 am
    Friday , 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 2:30 pm & 5:30 pm

    Saturday, 9:30 am, 11:30 am, & 2:30 pm
    Sunday, 2:30 pm

    Included with admission, $13 for everyone over 12 months

    Geared towards preschoolers

    Lisa R:  If you're planning a visit to the DuPage Children's Museum, be sure to check the daily drop-in schedule, which has a story, music, or block building session almost every hour. Drop-in story time happens three times a day, and is the perfect way to take a little breather after checking out all of the museums other exciting offerings.

    Creek Bend Nature Center - Story Time

     (778.2 mi)

    10:30-11 am on the select Wednesdays noted above

    Free admission

    Ages: 5 & under

    Erin P.:  In this popular story time event at the Creek Bend Nature Center, librarians from the St. Charles Public Library will read books, share finger plays, engage in songs and more! Everyone can enjoy the interactive exhibits in the nature center after the program. Exhibits include a Prairie Ecology exhibit, a wetlands exhibit, and an exhibit about the state tree - the White Oak.

Primary photo:   Monika Kozub on Unsplash

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