It might seem like your newborn to nine month old is only interested in three things: eating, sleeping and going through a ton of diapers. And while those activities are certainly a big part of the day, there's also plenty of time to go explore the world together. Keep the little one stimulated (and yourself sane) with these 9 activities that will have you singing clapping, connecting, working out and meeting new friends. Pack the stroller and changing bag and head out to see how many ways you can learn and play!
Baby & Me Storytime at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Arboretum Shopping Center is a parenting win-win. You and baby can enjoy classic stories and characters and find new titles to add to the rotation. It's a fun activity no matter the weather and you can get your much needed caffeine fix from the Starbucks located inside the store. Check the website for the current schedule. 3327 Pineville-Matthews Rd, Charlotte, NC 28226
There are a ton of ways to have fun at your local library! View the calendar of events and get ready to hear a great story at Baby and Family Storytime, dive into language and sensory learning during Community Learning time, and jam out like you mean it with babyPUNK! Many libraries also have play centers where babies can safely crawl around and explore. Visit your local library or check out a different branch every month!
Photo courtesy of the charlotte Mecklenburg library
Your little one can jam out at your local library.
Parent and baby exercise groups like Stroller Strides are a wonderful way for caregivers to connect with a supportive parenting village, spend time with their children AND get a much needed workout – all at the same time. You can find these groups around Charlotte with various locations and pricing structures. The first class is typically free so you can determine if it is a good fit for you and the little one. "Throughout the hour long workout our instructors will weave in songs for the kids, blow bubbles and keep the mamas moving," says Stacey Rosenthal, owner of Fit4Mom Lake Norman.
photo courtesy of Sweat Net Charlotte
Connect, sweat and keep baby happy with a stroller-themed exercise class.
Discovery Place offers not 1 but 3 places for you and baby to play! At Discovery Place Huntersville, babies are encouraged to crawl and explore in the I CAN GROW soft play exhibit and follow their curiosity where ever it leads. There's also a splash table for water fun and a daily puppet show. 105 Gilead Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
When baby is ready to head Uptown, he or she will love the World Alive exhibit at Discovery Place that includes an aquarium teeming with colorful underwater life and rainforest sounds. A visit isn't complete with a stop at KidsScience, an early education exhibit for ages newborn through 7, and storytime. 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
photo courtesy of discovery place
Discovery Place Uptown, Discovery Place Nature and Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville offer 3 fantastic museums with different ways for your little one to explore.
One of the best things about living in the Charlotte area are the variety of festivals held throughout the year. From art and food, to music and creative performances, these outdoor adventures are the perfect excuse to get out of the house and let baby take in the sights, sounds and smells. Keep an eye on the weather and be sure to review event information to ensure strollers are welcome. This is the perfect opportunity to show off the city to friends and family when they come to visit the bundle of joy!
When a perfect Carolina day comes calling, take in the fresh air and sunshine and explore the over 3 miles of flat, wide open space in South End's Rail Trail. Park at Archdale Station and take the Lynx to Bland Street Station. Baby will light up at the large colorful murals and you'll love the food and shopping options. April through November, don't miss Front Porch Sundays in South End with live music, shopping, food and lots of dogs ( always a hit with babies)!
You're never too young to be part of the happening art scene. At the Lewis Family Gallery in Mint Museum Uptown, kids of all ages can explore art concepts with colorful pictures, giant doodles and the opportunity to step into a Romare Bearden collage. The gallery is open during regular museum hours. 500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Take your Saturdays to a whole new level at the Mint Museum Randolph with Bilingual Stories & Music. You and baby can learn or sharpen your Spanish language skills while watching performers tell stories in English and Spanish using music, instruments, toys, puppets and games. The next session is September 21. 2730 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207
photo courtesy of the mint museum
Sharpen your Spanish language skills at Bilingual Stories and Music at the Mint Museum Randolph.
Did you know Mecklenburg County is home to 210 parks? Find one close to your neighborhood or venture out and discover a new fave. As baby gets older, you will both appreciate having a go-to list of favorite parks! Sandboxes, swings and interactive exhibits are sure to be a hit with the younger set.
photo courtesy of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
Ready? Set? Slide! Explore the more than 210 parks in Charlotte Mecklenburg.
While the family might be several years from waves and ziplines, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a fun place to soak up some fresh air and explore. Throw down a blanket, set up a few chairs, take a stroll or two around the rushing water and enjoy tummy time under the stars. The fee is $6 per car if you don't have a parking pass, but an afternoon outdoors is well worth it. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214
Head to the Belle Johnston Community Center in Pineville every Wednesday from 9 a.m.-noon for open gym. Kids 5 and under (and their caregivers) and invited to explore, have fun and meet new friends. 1000 Johnston Dr, Pineville, NC 28134
Enjoy this special time with baby by creating special memories!
Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer in Charlotte who fondly remembers many wonderful outings with her now 13-year old daughter.