The Hinsdalean - Community journalism the way it was meant to be

Bored? Check out these options for fun

Get online or get outside to enjoy everything from art classes to hiking and biking


Last updated 3/25/2020 at 4:47pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Jacob and Sophie Setlak keep a safe social distance behind mom Jessica and sister Olivia as the family enjoys a stroll through Fullersburg Woods on Monday.

These days, it's all about social distancing. Thanks to the internet, the great outdoors and some super creative people, Hinsdaleans can find lots of fun things to do while also staying safe.

Local organizations are busy coming up with creative ways to keep kids busy and keep parents happy. Here are a few.

#HinsdaleatHome Fun

With public parks scattered throughout the village, Hinsdale has plenty of places where families can get outside, get some exercise and have some fun.

Heather Bereckis, superintendent of parks and recreation for the village, said parks remain open during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown, but she urges people to abide by the suggested guidelines and to take certain precautions.

"Certainly walks through the parks are a great way to exercise and relieve stress, but maintaining safe social distance of at least 6 feet is vital," she said.

Playgrounds and courts, such as platform tennis courts, are closed.

Outside of the parks, Bereckis said her staff is actively working to create #HinsdaleatHomeFun with ideas shared on the department's Instagram and Facebook pages. The daily Walk/Bike Hunt invites residents all over Hinsdale to decorate their windows with the subject of the day. Walkers and bikers are then encouraged to get out and see what their neighbors have created.

Library is a click away

The doors to the Hinsdale Public Library are closed, but library cardholders still have access to thousands of titles to read, listen to and watch.

Executive Director Karen Keefe said library cardholders can download thousands of books, audio books, music titles, movies and magazines straight from the library website to their own devices. Anyone who needs help with the process or who encounters a glitch can access a library staff member via online chat from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. See the column on Page 20 for more details.

"We'll have someone live who can walk you through anything you need," Keefe said. "Staff also is answering voicemails and emails, so if you have a problem, help is available."

Along with books, music and movies to keep folks entertained, library staff are sharing other fun ideas through social media posts, emails to patrons and additions to the library website at Resources include activities that families can enjoy together and educational resources to help all of those moms-turned-teachers. Keefe said members of the youth services department are busy brainstorming activities that can keep kids reading and learning until the library doors open again.

Patrons who enjoy using the library's services, or those who are thinking of starting the search for their ancestors, can now do so from their own homes.

"Usually you have to come into the library to use it, but that's been lifted," Keefe said. "This would be a great time to dive into that."

All that's required is a library card.

Qualify for a Hinsdale Public Library card but haven't gotten around to getting one? The library is issuing cards remotely, via online chat or email. Just send a message to [email protected] to get started and get reading.

TCH issues challenge

The Community House has always been committed to building a safe, healthy community, and that's no different during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Our goal for a long time has been to connect with families and the community. That won't change just because the building isn't open," Executive Director Dan Janowick said.

While folks are stuck at home, The Community House continues to provide fun activities and healthy resources virtually.

Through its daily "Stay Home, Have Fun Challenge," The Community House offers families the chance to try new things and record their efforts to be shared on social media. Some challenges are competitive. A panel of "expert judges" will choose the best submitted videos. Winners will receive a $10 credit toward a program or class at The Community House or a $5 gift certificate to Dips and Dogs along with the title of Stay Home, Have Fun Challenge Champion.

A new challenge is announced every week day. Homemade slime, pillow forts and basketball were all on the schedule in the past week and more challenges are ahead.

"We are continuing our Stay Home Have Fun challenges as long as school is out," Janowick said.

Instructors from the LyArts Program will share their skills during a live-streamed art class at 4:15 p.m. most days. Janowick said most projects will use simple items that already can be found around the house. The instructor will lead the class on Facebook Live.

And speaking of art, The Community House recently hosted a virtual tour of its second-floor art exhibition space, and Janowick said more live classes and demonstrations are in the works.

"This is all free for the community," Janowick said. "We know sheltering in place can be challenging and we are hoping to offer a glimmer of connectedness and hopefully a little fun."

The Community House staff has compiled a long list of ideas and websites to keep everyone in the family entertained. Check out links to free yoga classes, virtual museum tours and more at

Find your inner star

BAMtheatre is taking its programs online for actors and theater fans of every age to enjoy.

The Hinsdale-based youth theater program has created online programming called BAM @ a Distance. Theater activities, virtual classes, live streams and more are all available throughout each week as the COVID-19 lockdown continues.

Chicago artists are among the many who are facing financial difficulties in this time. To help, BAM is hosting a virtual choir event. All are invited to sign up to sing "Any Dream Will Do" from the theater's anticipated summer production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

There is no cost to participate, and any donations will go to the Chicago Artists Relief Fund. Participants should register at by Friday, March 27. Details about when and how the virtual performance will take place will follow.

Additional BAM @ a Distance activities are announced weekly via at

Mondays will feature a spotlight class offering insights from someone in the world of theater. From 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 30, actress Jessie Fisher will lead a virtual Broadway Q&A session to answer burning questions about the life of a Broadway artist. During the last 15 minutes of class, Fisher will select three people at random to sing and she will give them feedback. The cost to participate is $12.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays young actors are invited to participate in virtual read-throughs of musical theater scripts. Each read-through is followed by a discussion. Grades three to eight are invited to participate from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. High school and college students can participate from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The cost is $10 per session.

In celebration of BAMtheatre's 20-year anniversary, a summer main stage production will be streamed via the theater's Facebook page every Thursday evening.

Find all the information you need at

Retreat to nature

DuPage County's forest preserves, with their 26,000 acres of land and 145 miles of trails, remain open to hikers, bikers and explorers.

Jennifer Rydzewski, a naturalist at the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, said while buildings are closed, the public is free to enjoy spring's arrival at any area preserve.

Most trails are suitable for both hiking and biking.

"It's also just a great time to pick a spot, sit there and use your senses," Rydzewski said.

Visitors will see all sorts of birds and might just spot a fox, beaver, rabbit, squirrel or other woodland creature.

As birds make their way back for the warmer months, this is a great time to take up bird watching. Rydzewski said the forest preserve district website at is a great reference for identifying creatures, winged and otherwise.

She also recommends a couple of apps that identify all sorts of woodland treasures. Just download inaturalist or Seek to your phone. With the app open, point the phone at the object you wish to identify, and the app will give you an answer.

Technology is playing a big part in making the forest preserves fun during this time of social isolation. Rydzewski said the district Facebook page, as well as the pages of individual education centers, are filled with ideas for turning the forest into a playground with games, scavenger hunts and tips for other activities.

Rydzewski reminds visitors that there's never been a better time to revisit simple, old-fashioned pastimes like skipping rocks and cloud watching.

Nature puts on a real show this time of year, and as the weeks wear on, flowers are bound to start popping up on the forest floor.

"Knowing that flowers are coming soon, that's pretty hopeful and inspiring," Rydzewski said.

Explore the Arboretum

Like the forest preserves, the grounds of the Morton Arboretum remain open for hikers, bikers and even those who want to take a drive through the 1,700-acre property.

Visitors can hike their way through scenic vistas, deep woods, prairies and wetlands on the arboretum's 16 miles of pedestrian-only trails. Trail maps are available at

Bikers are welcome on the arboretum's 9 miles of paved road.

Regular admission applies. Save time and limit the need for human contact by purchasing your admission online prior to your visit.

Peak in on the zoo

The residents of Brookfield Zoo are on lockdown, too, but animal lovers can take a peak during the zoo's #BringTheZooToYou livestreams at 11 a.m. every weekday. Each livestream broadcast features an up-close look at a different animal, as well as a chance to ask questions of an Animal Care Specialist.

Live streams take place on the zoo's Facebook page at Videos are archived on the Facebook page as well as the zoo's You Tube Channel.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]


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