By Rachel Hoeing

Hopefully everyone bookmarked our blog titled “Summer 2018 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

  • strawberry pickingTake 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! Also visit our list of Kid-friendly restaurants here.
  • 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.

Enjoy the Music

  • musicKindermusik – 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

  • keelyFor 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 Pools and Swim Club Directory.
  • 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.


Parks & Playgrounds

  • If you are not familiar with all of the options in our area, use our parks and playgrounds directory! 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?
  • If you are not already a member of our Facebook fan page, like us here! We have been posting videos all spring & summer of fun places to take your family. Click “videos” to see many of our local playgrounds up close and personal!

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!
Lazy-5-Ranch-1.jpgAloha Safari Zoo
All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm
Carolina Raptor Center
Conservators Center
Dan Nicholas Park
Greensboro Science Center
Homeland Creamery
Kaleideum North
Lazy 5 Ranch
North Carolina Zoo
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Western NC Nature Center
Zootastic Park

Day Trips

  • tweetsieA 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.


  • crafts.jpgCheck 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.
  • Visit our craft category here to find more ideas of ways to foster your child’s artistic side!
  • Check out Art Summer Camps here.
  • Check out the toddler classes at Little Blank Canvas.
  • PBS Kids and 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.

5895_a_boy_a_girl_and_a_book (2)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.
Alamance County
Davidson County
Davie County
Forsyth County
Northwestern (Stokes, Alleghany, Surry and Yadkin)
Randolph County

Let’s Go to the Movies

moviesIs 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 or visit our “Summer Movie Programs” Directory here.

Indoor Jump and Play

4SZToddlerThe 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 AroundTen Little MonkeysBumper Jumpers, SkyZoneJump-N-Fun, and Rockin Jump.

 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!

Looking for more lists like this one? Check out our Directory Page here

Related Links:
Summer 2018 Family Bucket List
Fun with Teens and Tweens
Splash Pads & Water Slides
Day Trip Ideas
99 Ways to Reply to I’m Bored
Summer Camps in the Triad
VBS in the Triad
Swim Clubs & Pools
Favorite Parks & Playgrounds
Event Calendar
Favorite Beaches

*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.

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