Summer Activities for the Kiddos!

Keep your kids active and occupied this summer by visiting one of many local parks.
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Keeping toddlers and young children occupied once school lets out for the summer can be a daunting task.

Children as young as two or three may have become accustomed to structured time away from home at preschool, but often the opportunities available to them in the summer can seem few and far between. Summer camp offerings and even summer session classes for preschool-aged children can be sparse, and potty training is often a requirement for attendance. Moreover, many families may not be able to commit to the expense or time required for week-long camps or recurring lessons. What’s a parent to do?

Visit a Local Park

Mint Hill and the surrounding areas are rich in public parks that are great places for young kids to burn off energy this summer! Veterans Memorial Park on Fairview Road has a separate play area geared toward young children. The toddler play area is covered with a large sun shade in the summer months to keep your little ones cool. Veterans Memorial Park also features a .5 mile walking track that winds around its two soccer fields and a .75 mile, shaded nature trail through the woods.

The Park on Wilgrove, located off Wilgrove-Mint Hill Road, is another great choice close to town. The shade provided by its naturally wooded location makes it convenient for a hot summer day. The large playground area has sections appropriate for even very young children and is surrounded by a short nature trail.

The Park on Wilgrove has many kid-friendly play sets.

Visit Your Local Library

The Mint Hill Branch of Charlotte Mecklenburg’s library offers several different storytime programs geared toward young children. Family Storytime for newborns through age two is held every Monday at 9:30 am. Baby Storytime for infants through 18 months old is held every Monday at 10:15 am and followed at 11:15 am by Tiny Tots Storytime for children ages 18-23 months. On Wednesdays, you can visit Two-Time Storytime for children ages 24-35 months at 10:15 am or Preschool Storytime at 11:15 am. On Thursdays at 11:15 am and Saturdays at 9:30 am, the library hosts a Family Storytime appropriate for children of all ages.

The Mint Hill Library offers many different storytime programs for kids of all ages.

The library also hosts a Family Storytime Puppet Show once a month that features puppets in addition to stories and songs. The next Family Storytime Puppet Show will be March 15 at 6:30 pm. Additionally, once a month there is a Pajama Storytime in the evening. The next Family Pajama Storytime will be March 23 at 6:30 pm. You can find a full schedule of upcoming library activities, including all upcoming storytimes, on the Mint Hill Library’s web site.

Get Wet!

Stallings Municipal Park off Stallings Road offers a free splash pad during the summer months. The Splash Pad is scheduled to open on weekends beginning May 19 and daily beginning June 10. The Splash Pad runs from 9:00 am – 11:00 am, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Children who are not potty trained must wear swim diapers in the fountain, and adults must be clothed.

Stallings Park’s interactive fountain is a great way to beat the heat this summer.

The park itself features several playgrounds, including a fenced in play set geared toward young children. Stallings Park is open from 8:00 am – Dusk through April and from 8:00 am – 8:30 pm from May to August. The park is closed Thursday mornings from 7:00 am – 10:00 am for mowing.

It’s a bit of a trek from Mint Hill, but Ray’s Splash Planet, located on Sycamore Street near uptown Charlotte, is a great way to splash while also avoiding the sun. Ray’s Splash Planet features an indoor waterpark with slides, fountains and a lazy river. Admission for Mecklenburg County Residents is $8.00 per adult (ages 18-54) and $6.00 per youth or senior (ages 1-17 or over 54). Children under 1 are free.

Ray’s Splash Planet also offers discounted “Parent & Tot” days on select Mondays throughout the school year. From 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, toddlers ages 0-5 swim for only $3.00, and moms and dads are free! Parent & Tot days are not offered during the summer months (June – August), but with the unseasonably hot weather we’ve been enjoying this spring, you may want to catch one of the remaining spring dates: March 27, April 17, May 1, May 15 and June 5.

Ray’s Splash Planet offers discounted Parent & Tot Days on select Mondays through the beginning of June.

If you’re interested in hitting the pool more frequently, the Siskey YMCA located off Weddington Road in Matthews is a great option for families. The Siskey Y features two outdoor pools: a larger pool with lanes for laps, a large slide, and a small, roped-off gradual entry area for children and a 1.5 foot deep pool and waterpark for younger children. The outdoor pools are scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend from 10:00 am – 5:45 pm and will open officially for the summer beginning June 9. The pool hours are Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 5:45 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:45 pm.

The YMCA offers a limited guest pass program: $20 for adults (16+) and $10 for children (15 and under), but only three guest passes can be purchased in a calendar year. If you plan to visit the pool frequently with your family, you’d be better off joining the Y for a few months. There are no joining fees or contracts, so it is possible to join for only the summer months. Rates are customized to the number of people in your household, and adjusted for those with lower household incomes.

Jump Around!

ISC Gymnastics and Cheerleading located off Monroe Rd. in Matthews offers year round open gym time for toddlers ages 18 months – 5 years. “Lil Bit Fit Time” is held Monday through Friday from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. Toddlers have access to all the gym’s equipment like trampolines, rope swings, bars, and a giant foam pit. Lil Bit Fit Time is $3.00 per child or $5.00 per family. They also offer unlimited family visits for $20.00 per month.

Matthews International Sports Center opens its doors to toddlers for Lil’ Bit Fit Time every weekday from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Romp ‘n Roll Kids Gym in Harrisburg offers tumbling, music and art classes for babies as young as three months old up to the age of six as well as frequent open gym time. Currently, open gym is offered from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm Friday and 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Sunday.

Drop in at Romp ‘n Roll Harrisburg’s open gym for $7.00.

You can drop in to Romp ‘n Roll’s open gym for $7.00 or save by purchasing a 5- or 10-visit punch card for $30 or $50. Punch cards never expire. Membership at Romp ‘n Roll begins at $60.00 per month for a single child and includes unlimited classes, unlimited open gym and discounts on special events. You can also purchase a 10-class pass good for 6 months for $149.00.

Ray’s Playhouse at the Hickory Grove Recreation Center is one more way to beat the heat! The play room features a small wooden play structure, foam blocks, and a variety of toys including blocks and a train table. Kids play for $2.00. Currently, Ray’s Playhouse is open Monday 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am – 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Fridays from 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm and Saturdays depending on availability. Hours are subject to change, so it’s always best to call first: (980) 314-1122.

Ray’s Playhouse at Hickory Grove Recreation Center offers a safe, indoor space for kids to play.
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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: