Free things to do with your kids over break
Posted on December 23, 2013 at 5:58 AM
Monday, Dec 23 at 5:58 AM
Your kids probably have two weeks off school right now, but you might be a little short of cash after assisting Santa with his purchases. Here are 20 free things to do with kids in the Charlotte area. Make sure to click the links to get all the details, because some of the activities are for a limited time and you’ll want to schedule them during the first couple days of break. I’ve put those near the top of the list so you don’t miss them.
- Get free Santa pictures at Bass Pro Shops. There are also free crafts and activities for kids. The last day for this is Christmas Eve.
- Magical Snowfall at Epicentre. Every day through Christmas Eve, weather permitting, there will be a "snowfall" at 5:15 p.m. around the Snowflake Tree.
- Gingerbread Lane. Check out the incredible gingerbread creations at Ballantyne Hotel. If you’d like to vote for your favorite it costs a $1 donation to Levine Children’s Hospital. Through December 29th.
- Leonard Bearstein’s Symphony Orchestra. This band of animatronic musicians performs in Founders Hall through December 27th.
- Christmas at the Library. The Christmas activities at Billy Graham Library take place through Christmas Eve. Please note that although most of the activities are free, parking is not.
- Kannapolis Christmas. Kannapolis’ Village Park has a great light display that you can walk through. Or you can right the Winterland Express train for $2. This goes on through December 30th.
- Belk Bowl Fanfest. This free family-friendly event prior to the Belk Bowl (UNC Tarheels vs. Cincinnati Bearcats) features a performance by recording star Blake Shelton. December 28.
- Free guitar lessons. Did you or your child get a guitar for a holiday gift? Both locations of Guitar Center are offering free group guitar lessons December 27, 28 and 29. After that there will be weekly free guitar lessons, as ukulele and recording lessons.
- Movies at the library. Various branches of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library are showing free movies during break for kids and teens. The films include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Cars, Monsters University and more.
- Musical Petting Zoo. On January 4th, bring the kids to ImaginOn to look at, listen to, and try out orchestra instruments.
- Activities at Nature Centers. Both Reedy Creek Nature Center and McDowell Nature Center have scheduled a number of themed hikes and scavenger hunts throughout the holiday break.
- “Back in the Day.” Reedy Creek Nature Center has a series of events planned to teach how a family would have lived 200 years ago. The one on December 29th focuses on baked goods.
- View neighborhood Christmas lights. Use this list to find the most impressive Christmas light displays in the Charlotte area. Many of these families have synchronized blinking lights to holiday music. The above link contains a list with addresses.
- Reedy Creek Park’s natural play area. If you haven’t brought your child to the natural play area outside the Reedy Creek Nature Center, this is a perfect time to visit. The play area was designed to stimulate kids’ creativity and help them interact with nature. You can read about it here.
- ImaginOn. Another family favorite that’s always free is ImaginOn. From preschoolers putting on impromptu plays on the stage in the lobby to teenagers creating music videos in Studio I, kids of all ages can find something fun to do. Check the website for holiday hours.
- Kwanzaa celebration. The Main Library hosts a free Kwanzaa celebration on December 29th. It features music, history, culture, storytelling and more.
- Free craft at Lakeshore Learning. Lakeshore Learning offers a free craft session for kids every Saturday. On December 28th, the project is a New Year’s party hat and on January 4th, it’s a mask.
- Early New Year’s Eve countdown. On December 28th, kids can go to Chick-fil-A Cotswold and get their picture taken with Santa Cow. Then there will be an early New Year’s Eve countdown, with confetti and a balloon drop.
- First Night Kids. Charlotte’s First Night celebration on December 31st starts with a kids’ party at Romare Bearden Park at noon.
- First Footin’ Historic Rural Hill celebrates the Scottish tradition of First Footin’ on New Year’s Day. Guests walk the border of the property, stopping together to hear stories. Then they share a potluck meal. Makes sure to follow the above link to get all the details.