How to Make the Most of Your Kids’ Outdoor Time

The latest 'Growing Up' column


Published:

SHUTTERSTOCK

Want to raise healthier, happier, more successful kids? Send them outdoors to play. Research shows that outdoor play benefits children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development and improves focus, attention, and academic performance. In addition to helping children stay physically fit, outdoor play and exposure to sunlight helps children get enough vitamin D, regulates their sleep cycles, and boosts immune health.

To reap these benefits, experts recommend that kids spend 3 to 6 hours immersed in nature each day. That’s a big leap, considering today’s kids get around 4 to 7 minutes of unstructured outdoor play daily, per the Child Mind Institute. If spending half the day outdoors isn’t possible, don’t worry. Whether your child spends minutes or hours outdoors, there are some ways to make the most of your child’s time in nature. 

 

Early Years // 0-5: Independence Day

Outdoor play facilitates learning in ways indoor environments can’t match, from simple lessons in cause and effect (what will happen if I drop a rock in this stream?) to lessons about physics, kinesiology, and risk-taking. For the littlest children, caregivers can support learning and growth by simply stepping back and intervening less often, says Anna Sharratt, founder and executive director of Free Forest School, a national nonprofit that facilitates outdoor play and nature immersion outings for children and families.

“We recommend choosing ‘yes’ places to play—places, where you can say ‘yes’ to almost everything your child chooses to do,” she says. “It's better to avoid outdoor areas with significant objective hazards such as cliffs, fast-moving water, or roadsides. Kids that are allowed to take ‘reasonable risks,’ or risks with outcomes that parents and caregivers can stomach, will learn valuable lessons related to cause and effect, risk assessment, and decision-making.”

 

Elementary Years // 6-12: Wilderness 101

If your child is interested in more structured outdoor activities like rock climbing, hiking, or fishing, consider enrolling them in a beginner’s wilderness course at your local outdoor gear retailer, the American Red Cross, or through a scouting organization. Investing in basic wilderness training helps kids take a more active role in planning and preparation for outdoor activities, builds safety skills, and helps grow confidence and accountability.  

They’ll also learn how to stay safe while helping to preserve natural environments by using the seven principles of Leave No Trace, a framework that helps minimize negative impacts on outdoor spaces. “Training and planning are incredibly important concepts and tools for maintaining safety and personal responsibility, and for learning basic outdoor ethics,” says Dave Sperry, director of the Venture Outdoor Leadership Program at the UNC Charlotte. “Wilderness first aid courses include not only basic first aid skills, but how to prevent wilderness-related injuries, manage evacuations, and get extra help if needed.”

 

Teen Years // 13-18: Pause and Reflect

Building in time for reflection, either during or after your teenager’s outdoor pursuits, increases the learning value exponentially, Sperry says. “Reflection is the biggest piece of the puzzle if your desire is to move from simply having an adventure to learning from an adventure.” Reflection can begin by simply slowing down and being fully present in an outdoor environment—ask your teen to put down their phone and notice the sights, sounds, and smells they’re experiencing. To take the reflection further, pose questions like “How does what I'm doing right now impact what's around me?," “Am I making others' experience more or less enjoyable?,” and “Am I having a positive or negative impact on the environment?”

“At Venture we use a common question sequence of What? So What? Now What? at the end of almost every experience,” Sperry explains. “‘What’ grabbed your attention today or what are you feeling as you think back through the experience? ‘So What,’ or why is that important? And ‘Now What,’ or what are you going to do with your new knowledge or insight?” Asking teens thoughtful questions can encourage the type on introspection that turns an afternoon hike into a meaningful, memorable learning opportunity.

 

MALIA JACOBSON is a health and family journalist.

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Daily Calendar

June 2020

Join Hemophilia of North Carolina for the Virtual Family Festival and Walk for Bleeding Disorders. There will be fun activities throughout the month of June, culminating with a streaming event...

Cost: $10, children free

Where:
Charlotte, NC


Sponsor: Hemophilia of North Carolina
Website »

More information

Explore the Graham Cabin, home of Billy Graham’s grandfather. Learn about the Graham family history and their participation in the Civil War.

Cost: Free, $6 admission

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


Website »

More information

Come to the ballpark for Faith and Family Night, and kids can also run the bases.

Cost: $13+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Classes for adaptive learning and sensory needs meet at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
Website »

More information

Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy arts, crafts, music and family entertainment at this spring event, which will be held along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a reclaimed natural waterway between East Morehead Street and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
600 S. Kings Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Festival in the Park
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

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

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

Watch the overlapping stories of high-roller Sky Masterson, who falls in love with mission worker Sarah Brown, and lovable rapscallion Nathan Detroit, engaged for 14 years to Miss Adelaide, a...

Cost: $19-$22

Where:
Matthews Playhouse
100 McDowell Street E.
Matthews, 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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, 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

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Try these summer fun activities at home to keep kids busy during summer. Fee includes one live small group lesson per week with a certfied teacher, daily activities, virtual field trips and more!

Cost: $10 per week per child or $50 for all 6 weeks

Where:
712 Circle Trace Road
Monroe, NC  28110
View map »


Sponsor: Authentic Teaching
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

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

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

Participants of all ages will learn proper Jazz dance technique. No previous dance experience required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-414-2774
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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join the Grizzlies for Night at the Circus!

Cost: $10-$15, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Sims Park
1001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
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

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

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

On the first Sunday of the month from April through December, explore food trucks, mobile shops and live music at Sycamore Brewing. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, 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

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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, 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

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

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

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

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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, 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

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join the Grizzlies for their Independence Day fireworks extravaganza.

Cost: $10-$15, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Come to the ballpark for Friday Fireworks!

Cost: $13+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Run the 5K through the Olde Providence neighborhood or complete the Family Fun Run. Enjoy the post-race party at the Windyrush Country Club pool.

Cost: $15-$45

Where:
Olde Providence Elementary School
3800 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy this community fireworks display at the lake. Viewing locations include Buster Boyd Bridge Boat Landing, Papa Doc's outside deck, Rey Azteca deck at Lake Wylie Plaza, Lake Wylie...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Buster Boyd Bridge Boat Landing
185 Blucher Cir.
Clover, SC
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

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

In addition to pass activities, the festival will feature live music, yoga, Battle Royale SUP Sprint and two days of fireworks. 

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

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


Sponsor: USNWC
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

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

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

Visit Harrisburg or two days of fun, including amusements, food, entertainment and two nights of fireworks!

Cost: Free

Where:
Harrisburg Park
191 Sims Pkwy.
Harrisburg, 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

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host each first Friday for a night of fun and food!

Cost: Free

Where:
Warehouse on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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

Celebrate the 4th of July at the annual fireworks show, which will occur on both July 3 and July 4.

Cost: $45+, children 3-5 receive free admission with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds 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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


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

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

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

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Kick off Independence Day with a 4-mile race and 1-mile kids’ run. There will be no race-day registration. The event starts in Midtown with a family friendly finish line festival at Park...

Cost: $7-$42+

Where:
Metropolitan
1111 Metropolitan Ave.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: New Dominion
Website »

More information

Bring the kids, strollers or dogs to complete 7.4 miles, 7.4 kilometers or 1.7 miles.

Cost: $25+

Where:
The Huntersville Business Park
13420 Reese Blvd. W.
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Before the afternoon and evening festivities, enjoy a morning parade. The parade will travel down Highway 49 beginning at Captain Steve’s Restaurant and ending at Robinson Ave. off...

Cost: Free

Where:
Highway 49
Harrisburg, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Welcome new citizens to the Charlotte community at a U.S. Oath and Naturalization ceremony. Learn more about the meaning of citizenship, democracy, immigration and freedom, and participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parade will feature vehicles, walkers, trucks, military equipment, horses and fire trucks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Indian Trail
Indian Trail, NC


Website »

More information

Decorate your bikes and wagons at the Town Hall Green at 5:15pm for the People's Parade, which will begin at 6:15pm. Decorations will be provided. Picnic in Stumptown Park, beginning at 6pm,...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Stars versus Stripes will feature some of the best collegiate players in the nation with fireworks to follow.

Cost: $19+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy music outdoors with the family. Dates: April 28, May 3, May 17, June 7, June 14, July 4, Aug. 2, Aug. 23, Sept. 6 and Sept. 20.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Watch Kannapolis take on West Virginia!

Cost: TBA

Where:
Atrium Health Ballpark
1 Cannon Baller Way
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The DJ and beverage garden will kick off at 6pm, and featured bands will start at 7pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
Main Street
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Home Depot
4750 South Blvd.
, NC
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

In addition to pass activities, the festival will feature live music, yoga, Battle Royale SUP Sprint and two days of fireworks. 

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

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


Sponsor: USNWC
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

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Harrisburg or two days of fun, including amusements, food, entertainment and two nights of fireworks!

Cost: Free

Where:
Harrisburg Park
191 Sims Pkwy.
Harrisburg, 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

Celebrate the 4th of July at the annual fireworks show, which will occur on both July 3 and July 4.

Cost: $45+, children 3-5 receive free admission with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds 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

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


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

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

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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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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