Mind Over Matter: How Mindfulness Benefits Kids


Published:

A  woman stands in front of an elementary school classroom. She tells students she is going to ring a bell. Your job, she says, is to count the rings. In another school, second graders sit at their desks, each focusing on a single marshmallow. They are instructed not to touch it, eat it, or throw it across the room. I want you to remember how it feels, the leader says, to want to put the marshmallow in your mouth and to have to wait.

The above exercises are commonly used in mindfulness training. Counting bell rings develops mindful listening and the marshmallow activity forces participants to feel an emotion before acting on it. Mindfulness is defined as the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. Rooted in Buddhism, it was introduced in the west by Jon Kabat-Zinn through his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. This part art, part science practice that includes breathing techniques and self-calming exercises is now making its way into educational settings, and research shows it’s working.

Are We Born Mindful?
Being mindful isn’t as difficult as it may sound. In fact, some argue we are born with the natural ability to notice, empathize and be in the moment. "Just notice how a baby becomes enthralled by the sensory experience of touching a piece of fruit or a toy, or how a toddler explores a bug in the yard," wrote Stephan Bodian, psychotherapist and teacher of mindfulness and spiritual awakening, on his Mental Workout blog. "Rather than teaching your children something they don’t know, remember that you’re encouraging them to practice and cultivate a skill they already have but can easily lose in the push to live up to the expectations of others."

Jennifer Hawthorne, licensed psychologist and Charlotte mom, uses mindful principals in her private practice and her home life. "The cool thing about mindfulness in kids is they are naturally mindful, you just have to give them permission," Hawthorne says. Children are natural noticers, but of course all this noticing can be frustrating when you need to get out the door and to the next place, she admits. "Mindfulness is intentionally pausing, noticing and allowing. Catch them already being mindful and hold the space for that," she says.

Finding Balance in Schools
The Wellness Works in Schools program was inspired by two Lancaster, Pennsylvania principals who were at a loss about what to do in their troubled schools. Trainers of this innovative health and wellness program go into local schools and lead students and faculty through specific mindfulness curriculum, including exercises for self-quieting, problem-solving, relation and emotional balance. "Sit down and pay attention does not work. What does work is when kids are part of the process and can gain self regulation and self control," says Rick Kinder, co-founder of Wellness Works in Schools.

Hawthorne experienced first-hand how mindful curriculum can work in a classroom after teaching an eight-week mindfulness course to second graders at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools elementary school. After the two-month session, students reported becoming more aware of their surroundings, having an easier time falling asleep and slowing down. "I learned to take deep breaths when I’m angry," one student noted. Half of the students also reported teaching mindfulness techniques to someone else.

Staying in the Moment
Mindfulness techniques are also being used to help children with different learning needs, including those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, parents reported reduced ADHD-behavior in their children after an eight-week mindfulness program. In her private practice, Hawthorne works with children with special learning needs and incorporates mindfulness exercises into therapy. One of her clients with ADHD often moves too quickly, making it difficult for her to focus on a task or relax. "We start the session and set an alarm for every three minutes, then she stops, takes a breath and notices her speed." Hawthorne also uses decorated pebbles to help clients name and focus on feelings while incorporating calming breaths.

Existing in the present moment is tough for anyone, but adolescents and teenagers face particular daunting odds, says Jessica Bloomfield, licensed psychologist at Southeast Psych in Charlotte. "I think teens are pulled in several directions," she says. Between social media, homework, jobs, friends and parents, their attention is constantly being diverted. She utilizes breathing exercises and other mindful practice techniques to help her teenage clients focus on being in the moment. "The idea is you are using mindfulness to create self awareness and be more connected to yourself."

Bloomfield also uses mindfulness exercises to promote nonjudgment and help teens accept their feelings – whether good or bad. "The teen years are such a time of identity formation. Part of how kids know who they are is by connecting to what they feel," she adds.

If you think your teen or adolescent would benefit from mindful practice Bloomfield encourages parents to lead by example. Shut the phones off at the dinner table, take time to be in the moment and really focus on the task whether doing dishes or working out. "Parents can demonstrate without being explicit about it, they can set a good example." There are many useful apps available. She suggests utilizing those created by or endorsed by a professional counseling center to take mindfulness with you on the go.

Megan Cowan, co-founder and program director for Mindful Schools in California, is encouraged by how mindfulness can help children with special educational needs, but warns mindfulness is a practice, not a magic pill. "People read into it it’s a general panacea but it’s an ongoing exploration that needs time," Cowan says. That said, taking the principles of mindfulness and applying them to stressful situations or diagnoses can make a challenging situation easier by removing judgment and moving towards acceptance, she says.

Step One: You
Leading a life focused on mindfulness begins with you – the parent, the teacher, the mentor or the friend. Cowan says beginning a mindful practice can foster
an awareness you might not realize has been lost.

Case in point, Cowan asks: Do you remember how you got to work today, or did your car just get you there? Have you ever been reading a book and when you got to the bottom of the page, you didn’t know what you read? When was the last time your kids started talking and you suddenly realize you have no idea what the conversation is about? "Mindfulness is rebuilding our capacity for attention," she says. "When we are not paying attention, we are not usually aware of when we stopped," she says.

Mindfulness creates a slowing down in a culture constantly asking us to speed up. "Because of the state of our culture and society, there’s not as much natural pause in our day to day life." The missing or elimination of the "pause" can cause havoc on our bodies and concentration, she says. "When mindfulness is given time each day, we are giving our nervous system a break from having to respond to all of the stimulus."

This much-needed break could lead to living a more meaningful and effective life. "Being in the moment, living this moment right now. It’s not judgment. It’s wisdom and compassion, the connection of mind and body," Kinder says.
"At a practical level its kind of stress management, at a deeper level it’s a step-by-step instruction in being human," Hawthorne says.

Courtney McLaughlin is a Charlotte native, freelance writer, mother of a terrific 9-year-old daughter, and is remembering how to breathe.


mindfulness.pngIf you are looking for a good way to begin integrating mindfulness into your home, there are many books and websites that offer activities and tips on how to ease mindfulness into your family routine.

"Sitting Still Like a Frog" by Eline Snel
The book contains helpful practices that focus on helping children sleep better, deal with worry and manage anxiety with short examples and anecdotes throughout. The publication also comes with an audio CD with guided meditations.

"Planting Seeds" by Thich Nhat Hanh
Based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching of mindfulness and compassion, this book provides activities, songs and exercises to build a foundation of mindfulness. Lessons include mindful breathing and walking, inviting the bell, pebble meditation, eating meditation, dealing with conflict and strong emotions.

Left Brain Buddha creator Sarah Rudell Beach is a teacher, writer, mother and mindfulness enthusiast. She describes her website leftbrainbuddha.com as a place to learn about living and parenting mindfully, joyfully, and thoughtfully, especially in left-brain, analytical lives. The site includes blog posts, a resource library and monthly newsletter.


Beginning Mindfulness
Experts on mindful practices recommend these tips and tricks to begin mindfulness with your family.

• Keep mindfulness opportunities light and inviting, and let children step in.
• Notice natural moments together.
• Focus and be aware of your breathing.
• Read books about mindfulness to your children, and ask for feedback.
• Take a few breaths with your family before heading out the door to start the day.
• Teach by example.

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May 2020

Race 5 or 8 miles through the Whitewater Center’s trail system. Afterwards, cool off with rafting, cold beverages, food, live music and fireworks at the Memorial Day Celebration.

Cost: $6 for parking, activities and food available for purchase

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Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
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Superior Play Systems
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Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
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View map »


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More information

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Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $22-$26, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

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Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
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Website »

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123 East McDowell St.
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Website »

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Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families can jump for free Mondays through Saturdays at Springree Trampoline in Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Springfree Trampoline
9848-E Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Website »

More information

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304 S. Main St.
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More information

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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Clayworks for a hands on pottery making workshop. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Register for home school visual arts classes with ceramics, pottery, glaze and design.

Cost: $10-$80

Where:
McDowell Arts Center
123 East McDowell St.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Arts Delivered
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families can jump for free Mondays through Saturdays at Springree Trampoline in Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Springfree Trampoline
9848-E Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Learn chess basics and play chess.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 704-416-5200 to register.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Bring your family out to enjoy stories coupled with fun and easy yoga moves.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Bold Music Lessons for a free music enrichment class from the comfort and safety of your own home! 

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Bold Music Lessons
Website »

More information

Enjoy books, songs, movement, sensory experiences and playtime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library Rock Hill
138 E. Black St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs, and movement activities that support early literacy skill development and help foster a love of books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Register for home school visual arts classes with ceramics, pottery, glaze and design.

Cost: $10-$80

Where:
McDowell Arts Center
123 East McDowell St.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Arts Delivered
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families can jump for free Mondays through Saturdays at Springree Trampoline in Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Springfree Trampoline
9848-E Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

After a brief introduction to the month’s topic in the SEED Wildlife Garden’s Story Time area, program participants will complete activities stationed throughout the SEED Wildlife...

Cost: $5 per student

Where:
Wing Haven
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Afrobics is a full body, fun experience—a dance fitness class combining Afrofusion movement to an African beat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will make different kinds of slime before playing with it. Dress for a mess!

Cost: $25

Where:
Kidcreate Studio
636 Crown Pointe Lane
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Fresh Works exhibition before strolling downtown Concord to shop and view works of art.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries of the Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump with other little ones. Parents and caregivers jump free! W8less socks required.

Cost: $10 per hour

Where:
W8Less LKN
10442-A Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families can jump for free Mondays through Saturdays at Springree Trampoline in Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Springfree Trampoline
9848-E Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Enjoy the SingPlayMove experience in the comfort of your own home. This 30-minute class is presented through Zoom.  Each week's class will have a unique Zoom Meeting ID and...

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Online
345 N. College St.
, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing along to Motown hits of the 60s and the solid gold artists of the 70s. Jam out to the grunge of the 90s and hits of today. Fri., 9:30pm; Sat., 7:30pm.

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Voices
Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Cover the different types of fish and the different methods used to catch them. Ages 16 and older must have a SC fishing license, and parents helping children younger than 16 do not need a...

Cost: $15

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
288 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about bugs from entomologists, and enjoy crafts and games. Meet a Bug Whisperer, and don’t miss the bug-eating contests for ages 18 and older!

Cost: $3 in addition to museum admission of $6-$7, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families can explore the Bechtler collection through special hands-on art activities and family-focused museum tours. Complimentary guided tours of the galleries will be available at 1 p.m. and 3...

Cost: $9 adults; Free for children younger than 18

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Come explore stories and facts about ocean life. Dig in dirt to find ocean life fossils!

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come learn chess basics and test your skills.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy., Pineville
7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate on Saturday mornings, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Register for home school visual arts classes with ceramics, pottery, glaze and design.

Cost: $10-$80

Where:
McDowell Arts Center
123 East McDowell St.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Arts Delivered
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket in the water. Ages 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 704-416-5200 to register.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Sing along to Motown hits of the 60s and the solid gold artists of the 70s. Jam out to the grunge of the 90s and hits of today. Fri., 9:30pm; Sat., 7:30pm.

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Voices
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See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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