What to do with your kids when it seems like the summer days will never end? So, we’ve all been there as parents: the school year, full of structure and expectations, suddenly ends and you’re wondering what to do with your kids to keep their hands (and their minds) busy.
Hey, I’m the first mom to admit I’m not into keeping my kids entertained 27/7; after all, they’re kids and can afford to use their imagination once in a while. But it is also nice to have some activities to look forward to during the summer, if anything, to hold over your kids heads when you’re pulling the ol’, “You better clean up your laundry, or else we won’t go to the water park!”
(C’mon. We’ve ALL done it.)
So here’s a sure-fire list, guaranteed to keep your kids mildly entertained for a little bit. And BONUS! Most of these things are cheap or free.
1. Free Live Music
Ok so this may only keep your kids excited for a small amount of time (unless their tiny. The tiny ones love it!) But the upside is that there are a TON of places that offer free live music shows in a family-friendly environment. Bring a picnic dinner and make a night of it!
List of areas that feature live music (check websites for times and bands):
Charlotte Symphony Pops, Summer Pops, Charlotte Alive after Five, Ballantyne Rock Music Series, Blakeney’s Summer Concert Series, Music on the Green, Stonecrest Summer Concert Series, Sunset at Metropolitan, USNWC River Jam (cost to park), Romare Bearden’s Party in the Park.
2. Cheap Movie Dates
Yes, even your kids can be cheap dates. Here are a list of movie theaters that show $1 matinee movies during the week. (Please check websites for movies and times.)
List of theaters:
Ayrsley Grand Cinemas, Regal Entertainment Group’s Summer Movie Express, Gem Theatre’s Summer Movie Camp, Cinemark’s Summer Movie Clubhouse
3. Splash Pads
Kids love water. It’s so easy. If you don’t have access to a pool or are just looking for something different to do (that’s FREE!), then look no further than water squirting out of a giant stone fish. (No, I am not joking.)
Splash Pads in and around Charlotte:
The Green, 400 South Tryon St. Charlotte (Offers fountains that come out of large-scale fish sculptures.)
Blakeney Spray Ground, 9870 Rae Rd, Charlotte
Cornelia Splash Park, 2100 North Davidson St, Charlotte
Latta Splash Park, 601 E. Park Ave, Charlotte
Nevin Park Splash Park, 6000 Statesville Rd, Statesville
This attraction deserves a category all on its own. In Salisbury, it’s a bit of a drive from CLT; but with all the attractions $3 or less, it’s worth the ride. Settled on a beautiful lake, the park has enough to keep the busy for hours (and your wallet in check.)
Attractions: THESE ARE ONLY OPEN ON THE WEEKENDS. The park has an aquarium, barnyard, carousel, gem mine, mini golf, nature center, paddle boats, train station, water plaza and wildlife adventures.
5. Museums, Libraries and Parks
No, it’s not as boring as it sounds. The museums in Charlotte are top notch and very entertaining for wee ones. The libraries (even your local one) has lots of fun, free things for kids to do, and the parks always have something hoppin’. There are exhibits ranging from a giant library, wildlife, art and music.
List of museums:
Charlotte Nature Museum, 1658 Sterling Rd, Charlotte
ImaginOn Uptown Library (which also houses the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte), 300 E. Seventh St., Charlotte
NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Charlotte
Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd, Gastonia
Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St, Charlotte
Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte