By Rachel Hoeing
Hopefully everyone bookmarked our blog on Monday titled “Summer 2017 Family Bucket List.” This is a fabulous list of over 150 adventures you can enjoy with your family this summer. (If you did not bookmark, you can always find it on our Directories page here.)
I thought that it might be helpful for some of you with toddlers and preschoolers to have a separate list especially for you! I have pulled some of the venues from the bucket list and compiled them below, along with quite a few additional ideas that are appropriate for this age. We hope these ideas will help you and your family make amazing memories together this summer!
Food Glorious Food
- Take your kiddos Strawberry and Blueberry Picking! We have terrific lists for both of these on our directories page. Click here for Strawberry farms, and click here for Blueberry farms (picking starts in early July so check back for updates!).
- Explore local Farmer’s Markets. It’s a great way to introduce your child to some heart-healthy foods while also supporting local farmers. Let your child pick out new foods to try and also have discussions of where they come from! Click here for our directory.
- Summer is a tough time to be over a hot stove, so when you need a break, enjoy a family night out on the cheap. Use our Kids Eat Free Directory to find deals!
- We also love Chick-fil-A as an outing with preschool kids. Not only do many have a great play area, but they also host many events for you and your child. Visit their homepage here and find the location closest to you to see their upcoming events. In addition, the CFA inside Hanes Mall is ready to do some parent pampering! Read more here.
Enjoy the Music
- Kindermusik – This is so much fun for children and also a great place for moms to meet new friends as well. Follow the link and type in your zip code to see a list of classes close to you.
- Half-Pint Harmonies is another way you can enjoy music and dance along with your child while also developing many educational goals.
- Many of our Triad cities have outdoor music events all summer long. We add these to our Event Calendar each month. Your little ones will enjoy dancing and you can enjoy relaxing in a lawn chair or a blanket. Be sure to check our calendar for weekday music festivals as well as weekends!
Swimming & Water Fun
- For toddlers, it is great to visit a pool that has a zero-entry area where they can walk into the water themselves and stay in a shallow area. Even if you are a member at a neighborhood club or pool, it is always fun to experience a change of scenery. There are a few local public pools with the zero-entry option including Alex W Spears YMCA, Bur-Mil Family Aquatic Center, Gateway YWCA and Tanglewood. Find these as well as other pool ideas on our directory here.
- Splash parks and spray grounds are popping up everywhere in the Triad! These are so much fun for your little ones. Note that some areas have concrete in the splash areas, so swim shoes or sandals might be a good idea. We have a terrific list of these parks here.
- We’ve got tons of museums in our area, all of which are listed on our 2017 Bucket List, but these are the ones our readers have found to be the most kid-friendly for preschool-aged kids: Children’s Museum of Alamance County, Greensboro Children’s Museum, Kaleideum Downtown (formerly the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem), and Kaleideum North (formerly Sciworks).
- We also recommend Old Salem Museum and Gardens, High Point Museum, and Reynolda House Museum of American Art as great places to have a picnic lunch on the grounds and enjoy the scenery. The museums themselves don’t have as much interactive play as the ones noted above, but as your children get older, definitely check them out!
Parks & Playgrounds
- If you are not familiar with all of the options in our area, use our directory here! It will summarize all of the favorite spots in the Triad for you and will give you tips on which parks have equipment, shade, restrooms, etc. Why not make it a challenge to visit as many new parks as you can this summer?
- Christ United Methodist Church is also hosting “Popsicles on the Playground” for local families this summer. This is a free event where parents and kids can get together and enjoy icy treats, playtime, and fellowship. The church is located on Holden Road in Greensboro and the playground event is scheduled two or three times each week throughout the summer. You can find the dates on their website here.
See the Animals
Kids of all ages love to see animals! North Carolina has a great mix of zoos where you can view the animals from afar, as well as unique habitats where you can get up close and personal with animals. Some of these are right here in the Triad and others would make a fun day trip with a group of moms and their kiddos!
Aloha Safari Zoo
All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm
Carolina Raptor Center
Dan Nicholas Park
Greensboro Science Center
Kaleideum North (formerly Sciworks)
Lazy 5 Ranch
North Carolina Zoo
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Western NC Nature Center
- A few of the animal exhibits mentioned above are great for quick day trips where you can stop for lunch and make a day out of it!
- Another idea for preschoolers who might love trains is the NC Transportation Museum in Spencer. In that same area (Salisbury) is Dan Nicholas Park, which was mentioned above. If you’ve got kids who don’t need naps, you could try to hit both in the same day. Dan Nicholas Park is a great place for a picnic lunch and playground area, but also hosts a train ride, splash pad, animals, gem mine, carousel, and gem mine.
- Take a trip to the mountains and visit Tweetsie Railroad. In addition to the amusement park, they also have plenty of special events, so be sure to check out their calendar page on the website.
- Three Bears Acres in Raleigh can be another fun idea where kids can run and play. They have a sprayground, slides, tree houses, obstacle courses, and more. Check out our guest blog here with some tips!
- Two more destinations as you head toward the Raleigh/Durham area are Marbles Kids Museum and The Museum of Life and Science. Both are great for preschool kids!
- For other ideas, check our Day Trip category here.
- Check out Hands On As We Grow for some great ideas for arts & crafts with little ones. You can find everything from activities to increase vocabulary, to art ideas, to science experiments.
- Michaels stores are hosting Camp Creativity this summer, which is for kids ages 3 and up to do along with their parents. It is offered three times a week for just two hours. Get details through the link.
- Visit our craft category here to find more ideas of ways to foster your child’s artistic side!
- Check out the toddler classes at Little Blank Canvas.
- PBS Kids and Parents.com are two more places to find fun craft activities.
- Don’t forget about Pinterest! You can always find fun activities, art ideas, and crafts that will let your child’s imagination run wild!
For the Love of Books
All of our local Barnes & Noble stores have amazing story times and family events each month. We include these on our TMoM events calendar, and you can also see the events for each specific store on their website here. The Greensboro location donates a free book to our readers each time we do a Book Nook blog giveaway. Be sure to read our Book Nook blogs here to find great recommendations for children of all ages and adults, too.
Not only can you do the obvious and stock up on some reading materials for the whole family at our local libraries, but most branches have storytimes throughout the summer. You will find some of these library activities on our TMoM events calendar. You can also visit each county’s website below to see a full calendar of events for the branch that is closest to you.
Northwestern (Stokes, Alleghany, Surry and Yadkin)
Let’s Go to the Movies
Is your child ready to sit through a flick at the theater? Now is a great time to find out because many of our local theaters host free and discounted movies during the day throughout summer! Give it a try! You don’t have much to lose!
You can find dates, times and shows by using our event calendar. (Most are on T, W, or Th mornings at 10am.) We will also be publishing a complete list of all discounted movie theater showtimes and days the last week of May. Watch on our blog roll for this list, or click “Summer Movie Programs” on our Directory page here.
Indoor Jump and Play
The Triad has a multitude of indoor trampoline parks and play areas. Some can be tough for preschoolers because the “big kids” can take over, BUT these specific venues seem to be friendlier for the little ones: Air Fun, Bouncin Around, Ten Little Monkeys, Bumper Jumpers, SkyZone, and Jump-N-Fun.
Air Fun hosts a Mommy & Me jump time on Thursdays mornings from 10:30 – noon, and Sky Zone has Toddler Time on Saturdays from 9 – 10am. **Please call ahead, as these jump times could change at any point during the summer.
VBS and Camps
So far, everything we listed was a way for you and your preschool child to enjoy summer together. But we all know that moms need a break. For this reason, don’t forget to check out our Summer Camp Directory and Vacation Bible School Directory!
Splash Pads & Water Slides
99 Ways to Reply to I’m Bored
Summer Camps in the Triad
VBS in the Triad
Swim Clubs & Pools
Favorite Parks & Playgrounds
Summer 2017 Family Bucket List
*This list was compiled through research and/or reader referrals, but please note that Triad Moms on Main does not necessarily endorse the persons or businesses represented in our directory.