Parents: Put Down the Digital Device

How is the time you spend on your phone affecting your children?


Published:

The harsh truth is that our incessant phone usage — be it texting, scrolling through Instagram, or reading the news — is having a negative effect on our children in many ways.

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“I don’t like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day,” wrote a Louisiana second grader in response to an assignment in which her class was tasked with describing something they wished was never invented. You may have seen the story that went viral earlier this year as a cutesy interlude on the evening news that the anchors laughed off as “something parents should think about.”

The time adults spend on their phones, and the effects it has on our children is no laughing matter. The Louisiana second grader gets it. She went on to write “A phone is sometimes a really bad habit. I hate my mom’s phone, and I wish she never had one.” Even more damning? Three other students in this elementary classroom agreed with similar responses. 

The harsh truth is that our incessant phone usage — be it texting, scrolling through Instagram, or reading the news — is having a negative effect on our children in many ways.

 

Lack of Social Attachment

Have you ever noticed that when you smile at a baby, she smiles back, and when you frown at her, she frowns? This is something Melanie Hempe, registered nurse and founder of Families Managing Media, describes as mirror neurons, and it’s crucial to a baby’s attachment to their parents and later social interaction with others.

“The only way babies can attach is to see our face,” Hempe says. “When you’re staring at your phone and talking to them, it means nothing.”

This lack of attachment, however, isn’t just relegated to babies. It’s relevant to children of all ages.

“It’s about checking in with your children,” says Amanda Zaidman, licensed clinical social worker and owner of Constructive Parenting. “‘What are you excited about today? What are you nervous about?’ You can’t talk about these things when you’re consumed by your phone.”

Lisa Pennington, a licensed psychologist and founder of Lisa Pennington and Associates agrees.

“The more a parent is on the phone, the less attentive they are. It’s in those moments that kids will act out to get attention,” Pennington says.

What starts out as minor temper tantrums can lead to much more serious developmental issues like falling grades and withdrawal from social activities like little league and gymnastics.

What can you do? For infants, refrain from using your phone during feeding times. While that may seem like boring down time to you, your baby is looking up at you and craving your attention.

For older children, dedicate a time each day to interact one-on-one with your child. Avoid multitasking during this time. Spending time together while your distracted with errands doesn’t count. Also, make sure your phone is off during this time.

 

Stunted Vocabulary Development

“Studies are overwhelming that kids who hear the right amount of words do so much better when it comes to literacy and vocabulary development,” Hempe says. It’s what experts often refer to as the 30 million word gap. The gap previously was more common in impoverished communities and schools. Today, the 30-million word gap is threatening homes where too much phone time by parents is prevalent.

“Our phone in our digital words is not all bad — it helps us keep in touch with grandparents via video chats — but it’s stealing words from our kids,” Hempe says.

When you’re lost in a heated Facebook conversation about whether or not kids should sleep in their parents’ beds, are you really engaged with the question your son is asking you? Conversation is more than passive listening and distracted responses. It’s tone, annunciation and inflection. It’s the 30 million words our kids need to see and hear before they turn 4.

What can you do? Be present with your children. Set the phone down and kneel to their level when they have a question for you. Spend a half-hour each day technology free reading with books. If too much “Goodnight Moon” becomes maddening (guilty as charged), read to them from one of your magazines. Inspire awe with a travel or sports magazine.

 

Negative Mirroring

The old phrase “do as I say, not as I do” didn’t work when our parents said it to us. Why, then, do we think it will work when we say it to our children?

“We’re worried about kids and too much time on screens, but we expose them to a lot from our own behavior,” Pennington says. 

Seeing us constantly checking our phone only tells our kids it’s OK for them to do the same. The dangers of kids being in front of screens too much has been the topic of entire books, yet, two perils stick out. The first is that our screen time directly leads to our children’s inability to cognitively process in the real world. The danger here is that children don’t have to be brave when screens make things easy. Why breakup with your girlfriend in person when it’s easier to do it over text? Think of the ramifications that this default could have on marriages and interactions with co-workers.

Our constant use of phones also teaches children that it is not OK to be bored. “Boredom is really important for kids as it lets their brains re-boot,” Zaidman says. “When we’re bored, that’s when creativity flourishes. If our brain is always working, it isn’t being creative.”

Think of your own mental exhaustion from the dopamine hit you receive from each task you complete, email you reply to or social media interaction you respond to.

What can you do? Create phone free times and zones in the house. For example, don’t allow the use of phones by you or your children at the family table or after the work day is done. Also, create phone charging stations outside of the bedroom to avoid getting lost in email or social media before you go to bed or first thing in the morning when you wake up.

 

Unnecessary Stress and Anxiety

“There are parents that don’t think twice about having the news on in the background all the time,” Pennington says. “Kids are fearful of things they wouldn’t typically be exposed to. I had kids come into my office that were tearful and afraid after the election because there was so much backlash in the media. In a child’s day-to-day life, they shouldn’t have this much fear.”

These messages don’t just come from TV, they also come from the news feed on your phone. Take out your smartphone right now and swipe right. What headlines do you read? Are any of them positive? When you read these articles, how do they made you feel? Like in the modeling example above, what are your children learning from your reaction? 

“Even something as simple as notifications from a weather app causes anxiety in kids,” Pennington says, as she relates taking a beach vacation with her family while Hurricane Chris flirted with the coast of North Carolina. Those notifications lead to turning on the TV, which only instills more worry.

What can you do? Reduce your news intake around your family. Turn off the morning or evening news when the family sits down to eat. Silence news notifications on your phone. Remove news topics that can serve as trigger points from your phone’s news feed. 

“Time that we spend with our kids is precious,” Zaidman says. “It’s that shortest-longest time conundrum. That hour may feel boring with our long list of “do’s,” but time is short, and it’s easy to look back with regret. Spend time cuddling instead of looking at your phone to find out what’s next on your schedule.”

Bryan M. Richards is a beer, food and travel writer who has happily added parenting to his family credentials. His work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Beer Advocate and just about anything with the word Charlotte in it. He’s still struggling to balance his own phone usage with parenting a toddler.

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More information

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for singing, dancing and Imagination Playground creativity!

Cost: Free

Where:
David W Phillips Activity Center
946 Burrage Road
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play through  poses, songs and calming time.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Discover the world of science through books and hands on activities. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout provides up-and-coming drivers with valuable experience in Legend Cars and Bandoleros on Charlotte’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval. Gates open at 5...

Cost: $8; free for children 13 and younger

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, 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

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

The ballpark is turned into a water park for the day. Festivities start at 10am with water slide, water balloons, water guns, water games, inflatables and more. Game begins at noon.

Cost: $8-$10, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Sims Park
1001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Museum’s historic houses will be open to tour, and crafts and historic games will be outside.

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The puppet show will include literacy, hilarity and hijinks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about insects and explore creepy crawlies with this program by Parks and Rec. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The peformance is part science, part magic, part math and part entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore photography with photographer, Todd Youngblood. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The whole family can play beach ball volleyball,  capture the flag, relay races and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
HC Nesbit Park
1304 H C Nesbit Park Road
Waxhaw, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Try out a new project every Wednesday night in June. This Wednesday learn how to paint a gem.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install car seats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spend time with your child learning about God and having fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
8335 Browne Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet at The Museum of York County on Wednesday mornings to explore and investigate natural history topics with new exhibits, guest speakers and staff led activities. The museum will host two...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

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

Drop off the kids for an evening with The Jolly Lollies. There will be creative play, sing-alongs, dance parties, pizza and a movie.

Cost: $45, $20 for additional sibling

Where:
Suffolk Punch
2911 Griffith St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Party in Romare Bearden Park! May 15: Steve Owens and Summertime May 29: Gary Lowder and Smokin' Hot June 12: Hip Pocket June 26: The Entertainers July 10: Randy Clay Band...

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte Ballet's Cultural Dance Program presents African Dance classes. Classes are drop-in format, open to all ages and free of charge for participants. There is also child supervision...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Recreation Center
943 West Sugar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, 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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

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


Website »

More information

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children will engage their brains by learning about various important aspects of the garden landscape. Parent or guardian attendance and preregistration are required. June 12: Herbs June...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pike Nurseries
Ballantyne, Lake Norman and Matthews Locations
12630 N. Community House Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Celebrate summer with a bilingual storytime, face painting, programs for teens and adults, refreshments, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Listen to a dinosaur story and frost a cupcake.

Cost: $6 per child

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Special guest, Donna Pruett will perform with music, magic and balloons.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This 45-minute puppet show is based on stories from children's picture books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrison Regional Library
7015 Morrison Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The performance is part science, part math, part magic and part entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the library for a special showing of a popular movie.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Jolly Lollies will present a fun, interactive musical performance.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to protect yourself from aliens through games of skill and strength. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fort Mill Public Library
1818 2nd Baxter Crossing
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Al Bigley as he showcases his art for firms like Marvel Comics and Disney. Explore cartooning and graphic design. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Register to create fun hands-on science experiments.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come for a kids’ zone, food trucks and live music from Coming up Brass and DJ, Brian Wilson.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mount Holly
400 E. Central Ave.
Mount Holly, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dance the night away with Best Buddies North Carolina, The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte and The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte. Enjoy an evening of music, refreshments and...

Where:
The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte
501 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Witness Latta's nightlife take flight while searching for fire flies. Fire-fly safe headlamps will be provided for the hike. Meet at the Horse Trailer Parking Lot.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

During a 30-minute time slot you and your child will explore art materials and processes with our early childhood educators in the enclosed picnic area. Wear clothes that can get messy or stained....

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the world through stories, crafts and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Preparatory School
212 Boyce Road
, NC
View map »

More information

This summer series offers music, children's activities, local craft vendors and a farmers market. Market opens at 5 p.m., live music starts at 6p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Historic White Home
258 E. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear music at the greenway every Thursday in June, July and August. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for the food truck and band lineup, as well...

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and cozy up for some outside entertainment. Drinks, popcorn, candy available for purchase. Movies start 5-15 minutes after sunset. April 18: “Spiderman: Into...

Cost: Free

Where:
Veterans Park
Main Street and Maxwell Street
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday evenings, starting June 6 through August 29, listen to live music at Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, 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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

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


Website »

More information

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drop kids off to create red, white and blue hats and star-spangled wavers.

Cost: $18-$35

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


Website »

More information

Discover the nature of Charlotte's greenways and their importance to the environment. Please bring water and closed toed shoes, and be prepared to walk up to three miles.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Homeschooling families are invited to bring history to life through hands-on activities.

Cost: $6 per student, adults free

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and a blanket to watch a movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Library
119 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and a blanket to watch a movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra entertain you with two concerts in Uptown. June 8: “The Music of Queen” June 28: “Video Games Live”

Cost: $19-$99

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Music from the greatest video games of all time will be performed live.

Cost: $19+

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Charlotte Symphony
Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a round of mini golf for $5 per person until 5pm.

Cost: $5, free for children 4 and younger

Where:
Mr. Putty's Fun Park
2333 Dam Road
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

During this interactive playtime for toddlers, wiggle to music and giggle with friends.

Cost: Free

Where:
David W Phillips Activity Center
946 Burrage Road
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will learn some basic yoga positions that go along with the story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble - Birkdale Village
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore Black Contemporary Art in these family-friendly daytime workshops. Morning workshop for ages 6 to 18 will begin at 11 a.m. Afternoon Workshop for all ages will begin at 2 p.m. June...

Cost: $5

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make a unique project out of clay that will last a lifetime. Projects will be taken back to Clayworks to be fired and glazed before being returned to Grier Heights Community Center for pickup.

Cost: Free

Where:
Greer Heights Community Center
3100 Leroy St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-498-1487
Website »

More information

Starting in May and running through October, come out to Camp North End in the Boileryard on Friday nights for food and music. Children and leashed pets welcome!

Cost: Free

Where:
Boileryard at Camp North End
1824 Statesville Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Matthews presents food trucks, kids' activities, craft beer and wine, and weekly bands.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View the website for band schedule. DJ spins at 6 p.m. Bands play at 7 p.m. May 17 and 31, June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26, and August 10.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rotary Pavilion
107 N. South St.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Grab a blanket or chair for the water ski show! Parking at Windjammer Park is free for the show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Windjammer Park
89999 Windjammer Drive
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring a chair or a blanket, and enjoy food trucks or a picnic. "Rec in a Box," which brings  activities such as sports equipment, art and education supplies, bicycles and more to the...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Fountain Park, Old Town Rock Hill
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, 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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

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


Website »

More information

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


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

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Come for reenactment groups, military vehicles and weapons of war. Once night falls, enjoy music, food vendors, trackless train rides and a fireworks show! Fireworks show is free and open to the...

Cost: $4-$12, children 2 and younger free

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Develop and improve physical and mental health through bike riding and socializing with peers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dress to get messy while creating nature-inspired art. Programs from 9:30am-noon and 1-3:30pm.

Cost: $6

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for carnival games, dog show, pony rides, fishing contest and 20 charities with booths and activities.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Why Not An American Ark
3224 Medlin Road
Monroe, NC
View map »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Historic interpreters representing the Rowan County militia will display military camp life and musket firing demonstrations.

Cost: Free, $2 suggested donation

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for family activities, games, giveaways and live music on hte patio. Ten percent of sales will benefit Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity.

Cost: Free

Where:
City Barbeque Matthews
1514 Galleria Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Expo presents vendors of things weird, creepy and unusual.

Cost: $10, children 12 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Debunk common myths about native and exotic animals. Learn all about strange and creepy creatures and meet some of them in person.

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

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


Website »

More information

Fans of all ages can see a demo of new interactive Toy Story toys, enjoy giveaways and more while supplies last.

Cost: Free

Where:
Target Stores (all Charlotte area locations)
900 Metropolitan Ave.
Suite 2
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Get your feet wet learning about animals who call the creek home.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a guided kayak tour to learn about the early civilizations on the river, moonlit moonshine runs and the train at the bottom of the water. Tours are free if you bring your own kayak.

Cost: $25

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Some of pop music’s most enduring legends are the great vocal bands, great singers with irresistible harmonies. Hear this a cappella collaboration perform. Shows at 3 and 8 p.m.

Cost: $20

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


Website »

More information

Main Street will be alive with shopping, music, food and beverages and Fort Mill fun! Food trucks include Cibi Cibi, Mysausagebuddy, The Improper Pig's Oinker and Kona Ice Fort Mill.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Fort Mill
Main Street
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parmalee will perform prior to the largest fireworks display in the event’s history. Music starts at 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Lincoln High School
6471 NC-73
Denver, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

At 5pm, the Freedom Float Group Paddle begins, and at 6pm, enjoy live music, food trucks, vendors, lawn games and a kids’ craft area. Fireworks light the sky at approximately 9:15pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cramerton Centennial Center
Cramerton, NC


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy live music, trivia, face painting, balloon art and more at North Carolina’s premier outlet shopping center! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will begin at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Premium Outlets
5404 New Fashion Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, 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, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with certified instructors while enjoying nature. Children ages five to nine are required to be in a tandem with an adult. Registration is required.

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
Website »

More information

Beginners and seasoned yogis are invited to practice. Please bring a mat and water bottle.

Cost: $5, additional $5 for parking

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


Website »

More information

Meet some of Charlotte’s very own canine heroes while celebrating opening day of Discovery Place's new IMAX movie, "Superpower Dogs." See Southeastern Guide Dogs, the...

Cost: $15-$19, children younger than 2 free, included in admission

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


Website »

More information

Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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

The professional 3-on-3 basketball league founded by producer, actor, and music legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz is coming to Charlotte.

Cost: $34+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about birds of prey, and watch them showcase their natural behaviors. Witness the silent flight of owls, walk with a seriema, recycle with a raven or even stroll with a vulture! Price...

Cost: $28-$32

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Sit, stand or lay atop of the water, and enjoy the sights of nature. All equipment is provided; registration is required.

Cost: $25

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Each month will have different giveaways and themes. Furry pals are invited to relax on the patio area. Event will benefit Humane Society of Charlotte. Pet friendly stores in Rea Farms will have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
9805 Sandy Rock Pl.
Unit 8
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Listen to live music, and after some of the concerts, stick around for fireworks! Check website for fireworks schedule.     June 1: Sawyer Brown     June 15: Too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, 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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
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Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
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This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
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Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
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The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

Where:
SEA LIFE Concord-Charlotte
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant 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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