Letting Your Child Fail

Find out how making mistakes builds self-confidence and resilience


Published:

Photo courtesy of Fizkes/Shutterstock.com

From President Theodore Roosevelt to technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, successful role models have been telling us for over a century that we can learn from our mistakes. But modern society’s obsession with perfection is stifling this longheld wisdom. Today’s youth often compare themselves to the lives and images they see on their digital screens, which can increase their anxiety and self-doubt. Fortunately, parents can take an active role in normalizing mistakes, and transform failures into strengths. 

 

Perfectionism vs. Resilience

Perfectionism is the opposite of resilience, says Andrew Hill, a professor of sociology at York Saint John University in the U.K., adding that it’s captured in “how unrealistic your standards are and how harshly you evaluate yourself.” 

Hill has done extensive work chronicling the rise of perfectionism, and notes that perfectionists are highly sensitive to mistakes. They “will often avoid scenarios that are challenging due to a fear of failure,” he says. 

Striving for perfectionism can be especially damaging to teens. “Having unrealistic standards and being extremely self-critical is going to make life tough for teenagers,” he says. “It is an important time for social and self-development. Perfectionism will make this time more difficult and stressful.” 

Tara Egan, a psychologist, author and founder of Charlotte Parent Coaching, says perfectionism and resilience can be genetically determined. “You can see it as young as infancy,” she says. “Some babies are more fretful and rarely smile, and are more likely to grow into worriers, while others are more easygoing.” 

At the same time, a child’s experiences also influence her traits as she develops. Stressors that sap resilience can include parent divorce, abuse, neglect and witnessing violence — any of which would have an even worse effect on a biologically sensitive child. 

Nonetheless, Egan adds, kids with a high natural tendency toward perfectionism or worry can learn to be resilient — even those who are exposed to numerous stressors. Normalizing mistakes can go a long way toward helping children develop into confident and independent adults. Here are some tips for how to harness the benefits of making mistakes.


1. Provide Opportunities for Kids to Fail 

“Kids learn best through experience,” says Rebekah Talley, a child therapist and owner of Zola Counseling in Charlotte. Allowing your child to take age-appropriate risks is the first step in strengthening his self-confidence. 

So, is it safe to let your baby fall while he’s learning to walk, to allow your middle-grader to flunk a math assignment or to give your teenager permission go to a party hosted by someone you don’t know? The key is to differentiate between a situation in which your child is physically or emotionally uncomfortable, from one in which he is actually suffering.

Trust your instincts, Egan says. “Parents are naturally aware of that difference. Practice ‘uncomfortable.’ It’s fine to give reassurance and to coach them through a stressful moment,” she says. As long as the experience is age-appropriate and the child isn’t suffering or in physical danger, don’t take the stressor away completely. 


2. Provide Opportunities for Kids to Reflect

The School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill incorporates experiential learning into its master’s degree teacher preparation program via a weeklong Outward Bound wilderness trek, or a week of hard work and projects on the Hub Farm in Durham. Teachers in training are confronted with physical challenges, unfamiliar tasks, projects that require learning new skills, teamwork and innovation — along with plenty of frustration, uncertainty and failure. 

“We want them to be uncomfortable, to take risks and make mistakes and learn,” says Suzanne Gulledge, a professor and program coordinator at the school. She says the experiences aim to make teachers empathetic to students who struggle with new concepts and skill development. Teachers learn ways to support students through struggles — not to remove those struggles. They are reminded of the kinds of anxieties that accompany learning new things and experiencing setbacks — and how good it feels to overcome a challenge. 

Help your child reflect on her mistakes in this way so she can use those experiences as a point of reference. Ask her how she worked through the situation and what would help make it better next time. 

With your toddler, this means allowing a mistake, then addressing her frustrations. “It’s a great opportunity to expand their emotional vocabulary,” Talley says. “By integrating discussion into their play, and by allowing them to grow and make mistakes and be supported and be encouraged, that helps them learn to regulate those emotions.”

With a slightly older child, focus on coping with loss and disappointment. If your child gets upset after losing a game, take the opportunity to help him learn that while disappointment is natural, he needs to find a way to calm himself and try again. 

This is trickier with teens, since many of them are caught up in social and extracurricular lives outside of the house. Also, teens can feel self-protective of their shortcomings. Make sure your teen knows you are always available — either to talk, or to ask for a safe ride home if she needs one late at night. 


3. Know the Difference Between Helping vs. Encouraging 

Jennifer Lansford, Ph.D., a research professor at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, advises that a parent’s goal should be to provide tools so his or her child is eventually self-sustaining. “Keep external factors in place until a child has enough resources to keep going on their own,” she suggests. In what she calls our “current hyperparenting climate,” the tendency for parents to provide constant care to older children has increased. 

“Parents are spending more time than in the past in very direct teaching,” she says. “Kids are booked solid with extracurricular activities — from preschool to high school — and cellphones have made it possible for parents to be constantly checking in, even when a child has moved away to college.” 

While this connectedness has positive aspects, Lansford worries that it isn’t conducive to a child’s healthy emotional development. Stepping in to make sure your child is always happy, or to ease your child’s path toward success, can have negative effects. 

The worst case is when a child develops a sense of “learned helplessness,” says Kate Paquin, owner of A Family Coach in Apex. If a parent is always taking over in difficult times, then a child never gets the opportunity to try to solve problems on her own, which can decrease her confidence and put her at a disadvantage when she leaves home and needs to take care of herself. 

Talley advises parents to self-reflect before solving a child’s problem, whether it’s fixing grammatical mistakes on an essay, or navigating a social challenge. 

“Really explore the intent behind your action,” she says. “Ask yourself, am I doing this to make the day easier, is it for me? Do I have fears about letting my child struggle? Am I worried about the external appearance of my child’s failure and how that might reflect on me?” 

If you’re helping your child to satisfy your own needs, take a step back and encourage, instead of help. First, let your child try her best. If she makes a mistake or isn’t successful, praise her effort and point out the connection between hard work and success. 

Egan suggests that after validating your child’s emotions, you can either offer coping strategies, such as a hug and words of support, or problem-solving tactics, such as coming up with a plan for how to approach the issue differently next time. 

For older children and teens, work on moving them from a fixed mindset (believing they are born with certain talents) to a growth mindset (believing they can improve with hard work) by praising effort rather than ability. (Learn more about this in our August 2019 Growing Up column.)


4. Evaluate Your Reaction

Often, a child’s attitude toward a mistake depends on how a parent responds to it. “If you remain calm and regulated, your child can usually get backup and solve the problem,” Talley says. On the other hand, if you are overly critical, your child will associate your judgment with her mistake. 

Paquin offers an example: “If a child is rushing to eat their dinner and they choke and get scared, there will be some parents who will say, ‘See! That’s what happens when you rush!’” Paquin insists that you “cannot shame and expect acknowledgement and growth.” 

Instead, respond with patience and empathy. Say, for example, “‘Oh no, I’m sorry you were choking. Is there a way we can prevent that from happening again?’” Asking your child for the solution teaches and empowers him or her at the same time.


5. Avoid Promoting Perfectionism

While it can be helpful to set high standards for your child, Hill warns that “perfectionism can be modeled and learned from parents, and it can also develop in response to parental expectations.” 

The solution? “More positive relationships with parents based on unconditional acceptance will reduce its development and likely help reduce its negative effects,” Hill says. 


6. Know Your Child

Since some children might be biologically inclined to perfectionism and anxiety, different children need different levels of encouragement and guidance as they learn to deal with mistakes.

Egan advises striving to understand your child, as well as differences among your children, if you have more than one. “You do not have to parent your kids the same,” she says. “Eliminate the word ‘fair’ from your household.” 


7. Model Mistakes

Kids learn not only by doing, but also by watching. If you’re too embarrassed to admit a mistake, or you respond with anger or frustration, your child may absorb this and think mistakes are frightening, shameful acts to be denied or hidden. Instead, own your mistakes and work through them out loud. 

“As soon as you’ve calmed down, you should talk about it,” Talley says. “Show that you’re working on it, and that you’re just as committed to stopping. Apologize and take responsibility.” 


8. Don’t Ignore the Positives

Celebrate the pleasure your child experiences by learning from mistakes. Gulledge emphasizes that letting children work through their mistakes boosts self-satisfaction and confidence. “Having a failure or a frustration and then working through the problem and finding a solution — that just feels good.”

 

Caitlin Wheeler is a Parenting Media Association award-winning freelance writer who lives in Durham.

 

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August 2019

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
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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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
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Get ready for self-guided adventure for the whole family. Drop in at the Nature Center between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for hunt details and prizes.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Celebrate the history of Tweetsie Railroad, the ET&WNC Railroad, and mountain culture! 

Cost: $32-$50, free for children younger than 2

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Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Matthews UMC offers opportunities for Christian education, discipleship, fellowship and care for persons of all ages with disabilities and their families. Experience age-level appropriate Sunday...

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Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Cost: $6-$12, children younger than 6 free with paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Cost: Free

Where:
Midwood Smokehouse
16710 Birkdale Commons Pkwy.
#103
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Midwood Smokehouse Birkdale
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Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Cost: $10 per family

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Hemby Program Center
9760 Happy Valley Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: Brace Family Y
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Cost: $28-$32

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Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: MUMC
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Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
, NC
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Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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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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Cost: $18-$22

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Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free

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The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
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Cost: $10+

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Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Sale is conveniently located just 9 miles from Mooresville, 10 from Concord, 4 from Kannapolis and 12 from Salisbury! Presale ($5 charity donation) on Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat, 9...

Cost: Free

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Turning House Mill Works
501 S. Main St.
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551 S. Tryon St.
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Show More...
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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.
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View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Cost: Free

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Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
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Come for National Dog Day with Bark in the Ballpark, presented by Williams Subaru and $1 hot dogs.

Cost: $12+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
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The Kannapolis Intimidators take on the Hagerstown Suns on National Dog Day. Enjoy $1 hot dogs!

Cost: $7+

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Intimidators Stadium
2888 Moose Road
Kannpolis, NC
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Telephone: 704-932-3267
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In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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More information

Enjoy stories coupled with fun and easy yoga poses.

Cost: Free

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Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
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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

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

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

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

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

Try a 45-minute class filled with singing, dancing and playing! Cost can be applied to fall tuition.

Cost: $10

Where:
Plaza-Midwood
Open Door Studios
1318 Central Ave Studio B
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Music Together of Charlotte
Website »

More information

Learn how to read a cookbook and follow a recipe to become a successful cook!

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Arboretum
3327 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
View map »


Website »

More information

Come paint pottery with your toddler for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, 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
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, 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

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, 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

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

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

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

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon 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

Pop in for 45 minutes of singing, dancing and playing! Cost of class can be applied toward tuition.

Cost: $10

Where:
Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Camp Mindy Cabin #1
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Music Together of Charlotte
Website »

More information

Try a 45-minute class filled with singing, dancing and playing! Cost can be applied to fall tuition.

Cost: $10

Where:
Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Camp Mindy Cabin #1
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Music Together of Charlotte
Website »

More information

Listen to interesting stories while improving literacy and critical thinking skills. A reading incentive or snack provided.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

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

Enjoy free admission on Wednesdays this summer from 5 to 9 p.m. beginning July 3 through August 28.

Cost: Free

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

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

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

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

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon 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

Enjoy a music class, and explore instruments and musical concepts.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Two teams will make different sweets. Bring your creativity! Register by Aug. 27.

Cost: $10-$15

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


Website »

More information

Come play on the library's PlayStation 4.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your imagination. Blocks are provided. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities in your pajamas!

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Kannapolis Intimidators take on the Hagerstown Suns, followed by a post-game fireworks show. See the final home game of the season!

Cost: $7+

Where:
Intimidators Stadium
2888 Moose Road
Kannpolis, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-932-3267
Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come explore the SEED Wildlife Garden with other homeschool students, and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Cost: $5

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, 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

Bring awareness to the mind, body and breath through yoga poses. All are welcome, from beginners to seasoned yogis!

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 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

"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

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

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In this heart-warming story about the joys of friendship, Amos McGee knows friends can come in all sorts of species, too. Lively and engaging puppets...

Cost: $10+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
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

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon 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 a delicious looking art project. Pack a nut-free snack and drink; this project is not for eating!

Cost: $18-$35

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

Come decorate cupcakes, and hear a story. Payment is required to reserve your spot. Call  704-295-1777 to reserve.

Cost: $6 per child

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


Website »

More information

Try a 45-minute class filled with singing, dancing and playing! Cost can be applied to fall tuition.

Cost: $10

Where:
Plaza-Midwood
Open Door Studios
1318 Central Ave Studio B
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Music Together of Charlotte
Website »

More information

Try a 45-minute class filled with singing, dancing and playing! Cost can be applied to fall tuition.

Cost: $10

Where:
Plaza-Midwood
Open Door Studios
1318 Central Ave Studio B
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Music Together of Charlotte
Website »

More information

Enjoy food trucks, NC Beer, cider, seltzer and wine, hayrides and live music from 7 String Theory Rock Orchestra. Bring a school supply donation to receive a $2-off coupon for a ticket to opening...

Cost: $5 for parking (cash only)

Where:
Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Second Annual Belk College Kickoff Tailgate Concert will feature country music star, Chase Rice, along with Tyler Farr, Filmore and Gyth Rigdon. Gates will open at 6 p.m....

Cost: $25

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


Sponsor: Full House Productions
Website »

More information

Enjoy a free evening of fantastic entertainment featuring the fan favorites from this year’s Open Mic shows.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


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

Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! Before the kings and after all the deliverers were at rest, there was a time of judges when every man did what was right in his own eyes....

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
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

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

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

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

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

This four-day family event will feature arts and crafts vendors, food, a quilt show, the Kids Connection interactive area, games and rides for all ages, and four stages of free entertainment. Do...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Downtown Matthews
211 N. Trade St.
Matthews, 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

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In this heart-warming story about the joys of friendship, Amos McGee knows friends can come in all sorts of species, too. Lively and engaging puppets...

Cost: $10+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
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

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ride! Ballantyne accommodates to a range of cyclists and triathletes by offering routes ranging from 30 to 80 miles. A Labor Day Cookout for participants will begin after 10 a.m. at the...

Cost: $35

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Pork vendors at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market will offer free bacon recipes. Several vendors will offer bacon samples as well.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
1801 Yorkmont Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
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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
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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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
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Take an adventure on Mountain Island Lake! Learn the basics to paddle your canoe across the serene waters, and splash around with some competitive games. All equipment is provided. Meet at the...

Cost: $20/canoe

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Morning radio personality and filmmaker, Tim Greene will host a film workshop. Learn how to turn your ideas into feature films, how to market yourself as an actor and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Public Library
1555 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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The University of South Carolina will face off against the University of North Carolina in the annual Belk College Kickoff.

Cost: $46+

Where:
Bank of America Stadium
800 S. Mint St.
, NC
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This special night includes pizza, movies, games, yoga and fun!

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
Charlotte Family Yoga
8230 Poplar Tent
Concord, NC  28027
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Sponsor: Charlotte Family Yoga
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Learn the fundamentals of SUP in a fun, safe environment. Coaches discuss waterway safety, laws and etiquette, and basic paddling technique. Participants need to be able to swim.

Cost: $45

Where:
Tega Cay Beach and Swim Club
4088 Beach Club Lane
Tega Cay, SC
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Sponsor: The Goat Boater, Lake Wylie Paddleboarding
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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
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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
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Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
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In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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Experience the Battle of Charlotte with historic encampments and a battle each day at 2pm.

Cost: $9-$10, ages 5 and younger free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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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
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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
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Be amazed by the show put on by these native and exotic flight birds and their trainers at this annual sensation.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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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
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Meet one of the animal ambassadors for a photo opportunity, and take a behind the scenes tour of the Raptor Hospital. Get an up close look at an Eagle. Children younger than 16 must be...

Cost: $28-$32

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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
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Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! Before the kings and after all the deliverers were at rest, there was a time of judges when every man did what was right in his own eyes....

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
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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
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Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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"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
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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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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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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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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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This four-day family event will feature arts and crafts vendors, food, a quilt show, the Kids Connection interactive area, games and rides for all ages, and four stages of free entertainment. Do...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Downtown Matthews
211 N. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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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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Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In this heart-warming story about the joys of friendship, Amos McGee knows friends can come in all sorts of species, too. Lively and engaging puppets...

Cost: $10+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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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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Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Annual Guides

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

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

Education Guide

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