Chicon 7 logoChicon 7 skyline graphic
Membership rate through the convention.
Young Adult (17-21)US$$100
The 70th World Science Fiction Convention
August 30-September 3, 2012   Hyatt Regency   Chicago

Children's Programming

Lego Daleks
photo: James Shields

Our children's program is called ChiKidz and is for children aged 6 through 12, and also their parents.

We have a program for the full weekend, involving crafts, games, toys, mini-projects, books, comics, and a bit of space for children to enjoy. We want to create a room where there is always something to do, where science and engineering meet fiction, film, books, comics, and the fantastic.

ChiKidz is not a child-minding service - it is programming for kids. The children's program will operate a sign-in facility for children who are Chicon 7 members. Children can be signed in for a maximum of four hours at a time. (Everyone needs a break!)

These activities allow kids to have their own convention time. We will have a ribbon system in place for parents, children who can come and go, and children who must be with a parent in place.

Younger children are welcome in the continual company of their parents. We will have a seating area so parents can have a moment of peace while watching the chaos.

If You have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at:

Day by Day

Nerf Guns
photo: James Shields

Thursday - Welcome Day - Opens at 11:30 a.m.

Our doors open on Thursday, and people can pop by and see what's going to be going on. From midday our schedule begins.

Friday - Make and Take, Craft, and Learn Day - Opens at 9:45 a.m.

Friday is a day where you figure out how to get this stuff home. Assistance will be required with parents for some items.

Saturday - Space Day - Opens at 9:45 a.m.

Sunday - Star Wars and Steampunk - Opens at 9:45 a.m.

Monday - Book - Opens at 9:45 a.m.

All weekend, a place to play, where science and fun meets fantastic fiction.

We will have a number of spaces in which to play over the weekend, as well as older computer game consoles, and maybe some new ones. We will have art and craft tables, a science-and-engineering-meets-fiction theme with Batmobile slot cars and Hogwarts Express electric trains, Lots of Lego, a variety of cut and assemble models, and fantasy and science fiction fashion paper mannequins, and also space to sit and read.

We will also have materials for the younger children with parents, from coloring to clockwork, Thomas to stamp kits to Lego, that parents can use to entertain with.

We will have a number of projects, including paper models, building a Hogwarts castle, making slot cars, creating one's own headed paper, embossing, die-cutting, 3D projects, constructing scenery, and we may try to build a Victorian Paper Theatre.

For the super-industrious, we will even have a slot or two open for participants to come up with their own program items.

Parents Please Note

A place for parents to spend quality time - helping with workshops

Parents can and we understand want and need to spend some quality convention time with their kids. We have made this not only possible but also enjoyable by creating programming with both kids and parents in mind.

Zombie Kid
photo: James Shields

Some workshop items need parents to be present, whether to assist in tougher tasks, help operate machinery or tools, or add occasional assistance. All parents will be asked to volunteer some time to help in the program room, from manning the front desk to getting involved with program items and projects.

Parents are required to stay with children with special needs. Older children will be allowed, with parental consent, to come and go as they please. All children need a contact detail label on the back of their badge. Access to the children's program rooms is controlled, and loitering is not allowed. The organizers have the discretion to tell anyone to leave.

There will be talks that we herd the kids into. We have found that saying "Give it 10 minutes" works in encouraging kids to stay, whether for Guests of Honor talking about their preferred subject or scientists doing demos with inflatables.

Adults are welcome at talks, but must not impede the enjoyment of children and should understand the target audience is children. Adults should sit at the back. Teenagers are welcome at all children's items as they see fit.

Some items need your presence, especially for items such as the "take it apart," where tools are required and active help is needed, or the light saber build, where four hands are needed, or the steampunk Nerf gun, where glue guns will be in used, and so on. These items will be clearly marked on our schedule.

"Satellite and Comets" is our system for identifying children whose parents are willing to have them roam the convention and the children who must only leave our room with a parent. Satellites always orbit a larger body, while Comets come and go.

Closing time: All events end by 5:45 p.m. We have a little leeway, but you must plan to collect your child at this stage, not 6 p.m. Please do not make us bring your child to the convention office due to your tardiness.

Photos may be taken by our amateur photographers. If you do not want your children's photo to be taken, we will have a "no photo" sticker for you to apply to your child's badge. Otherwise, we will have releases for you to sign.

For further information, see ChiKidz Information for Parents.


Feel free to brings things, especially bags, notebooks, phone cases, and the like that need decorating, Star Wars Costumes for Star Wars day, a camera for the photography and so on.


Please note the following "Wants" list if you are doing a clear out!

RPG's, D&D figures, Warhammer 40K figures, old models, slot cars, or construction toys. Giant Tinker Toys, stuffed animals, old machines, old small tools, computers and appliances, model railway bits, screws, bolts, cogs and small mechanisms, Lego, and anything at all fun.


We are looking for people who are good with children, want to do some of the cool stuff we are doing, and especially those who have skills, such as sewing, stitching, electrical engineering, modelling, artists, and people with a sense of humor. Please get in touch before the convention so we can discuss your possible involvement with you.

FAQ & the Team

The Short FAQ

Q. My child is 'something.'
A. Children with special needs are still welcome as long as they are not disruptive, and if you remain to give your child any required special attention. Talk to us, communicate, we are all here to have a good time but are not specialists.

Q. I am too old for this, but it sounds cool
A. That is OK. We welcome teenagers who want to volunteer to help us. You can do whatever sounds cool. We welcome volunteers of all ages.

Q. I have a baby/small child
A. You are welcome to hang out with the other parents while you watch your child in our space.

Q. I am on staff, can I leave my child with you?
A. Sorry, the system with ChiKidz is the same for everyone. We need parental involvement or we won't have enough volunteers for items like "Take It Apart" that need parental help, all we want is some time.

Q. Not much detailed information here.
A. See Information for Parents.

ChiKidz Team
photo: Alissa McKersie

The Team

The ChiKidz team is truly an international and experienced bunch. It is led by James Bacon, who ran the Worldcon children's programs from 2005-2006 and 2010-2011, and martial arts instructor Alissa McKersie. They are joined by educator and mom Divinia Saylor, and the Irish Lego ambassador James Shields. All were involved with the successful children's program last year and want to build on that success.