Enjoy End-of-Summer Fun With Your Special Needs Child

A practical list of ideas to keep your special child busy until school starts.


Published:

Photo courtesy of Zaikina/Shutterstock.com

Walk into any retail or grocery store and most likely you will find a variety of school supplies and “must have’s” for the first day of school  a sure sign that summer is almost over.  

I don’t know about your family, but we are not ready to give in to the first day of school — at least not yet. We still plan day trips and try to take advantage of every break. I recognize this is difficult for some parents who need resources and school support, but with only about three weeks left of summer, there might be some items on this list that would be a favorable break for your child.

If you are tired of the heat and not sure where to go or what to do with your exceptional child, here are some entertaining options. 

  • Prepare for the winter holidays and make hand prints, thumb prints or foot prints now to use as Thanksgiving placemats or Christmas ornaments later. Parents can take their children outside to play in the sprinkler while the finger paint is washed off their hands and feet; taking care of the messy part now will save time during the holiday rush
     
  • Invite some classmates over for a “water picnic.” It is never too soon to visit with your child’s friends and families from school. Hot afternoons with a sprinkler or hose are a fun and interactive way for our children to become familiar with his or her friends again.
     
  • If you have a teen who is able but needs practice learning life skills, drop him or her off at the grocery store with a small list of items and enough money to buy what’s on the list. This may seem unusual, but teenagers love to feel independent and valued. Going alone to shop helps them feel confident. Most likely they will be encouraged by the independence, but don’t be surprised if your child comes home with something not on the list. Have fun with this idea. Parents will find comfort knowing their child can handle it.
     
  • Explore E. Carroll Joyner Park at 701 Harris Road, Wake Forest. I love this park for exceptional children because it has an amazing variety of activities for the entire family. Accessible paved trails, amphitheaters, flower gardens, fishing, charcoal grills and plenty of space to have a good old-fashioned picnic. Parents will find an opportunity for a historical learning experience while touring and reading about the restored farm buildings on the property. Watch a great family movie under the stars on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. for free.

Photo of E. Carroll Joyner Park courtesy of Town of Wake Forest

  • Check out Richard Childress Racing Museum at 236 Industrial Drive in Welcome North Carolina. NASCAR fans who don’t mind a bit of a day trip, will find this racing museum incredible. About two hours from downtown Raleigh, this museum has more than 50 race cars and trucks on display in its 47,000 square feet of race car history. It offers elevator access to the observation area. Tours are self-guided. It is recommended that guests call for availability and admission fees. Call 800-476-3389 for details. 
  • Visit the Clayton River Walk in Clayton, North Carolina. If your family loves the outdoors, check out the footbridge over the Neuse River. A 4-mile accessible trail runs along the Neuse River and connects to the Neuse River Trail. Enjoy a magnificent day of clean air and beautiful scenery.  Adventurous families might want to visit other accessible trails in North Carolina. For a complete list, visit Trail Link.

C.C. Malloy lives in Greensboro and is a steadfast supporter of children with a disability. Any information here should not be considered legal advice and counsel should be sought for personal educational guidance. For additional support, please visit her website, Bizigal’s Exceptional Blooms.

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Calendar

May 2018

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot air...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
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Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot air...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Website »

More information

Warrior Tech, the Triangle’s only elite Ninja obstacle training facility, celebrates its one-year anniversary with a “Techiversary” party. Enjoy food trucks, live music and...

Cost: $20 individual ticket, with group discounts available. Children 4 and under free

Where:
Warrior Tech OCR Training Facility
220 Dominion Drive
Suite G
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Warrior Tech Obstacle Course Readiness
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Weekly basic skills cooking class offered for children ages 5-10 at Whole Foods North Raleigh.  This free class meets at the cafe each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and is offered by registering...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods Market (North Raleigh)
8710 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Join us at Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro every Thursday at 10 a.m. for a casual storytime on the porch or even out in the yard. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chatham Marketplace
480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
View map »


Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Explore the gardens to find the perfect spot to spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center. Dress for the weather. Ages 3-5 with...

Cost: Free for Arboretum Family members, $5.00 per child for nonmembers.

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Campus Box 7212
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Enjoy goat hayrides, live music, food and drink, gemstone mining, petting farm animals and more. Limited parking; $10 donation for the Kids Farms Foundation. 

Cost: $10 parking donation

Where:
Old Mill Farm
8913 Hwy. 751
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Sponsor: Kids Farm Foundation
Telephone: 191-926-09440
Contact Name: Marci
Website »

More information

Learn about the life cycle of the firefly and discover what makes a firefly glow, as well as what species are found in the Raleigh area and how to identify fireflies by their flashes. Weather...

Cost: $1.00 per person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Learn about the environment at interactive education stations and get an up-close look at some of the living things found along a trail. Visit owls, bees and butterflies; learn how to identify...

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Tour D’ Coop is the largest backyard chicken coop tour on the east coast, encompassing more than 20 coops from Raleigh and surrounding cities. The Tour features coops from DIY to designer,...

Cost: $10-$25

Where:
Wake County Backyards
, NC


Website »

More information

Go on a pirate adventure with the Paw Patrol as Mayor Goodway prepares for a big celebration. Meet the newest pup, Tracker. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $22-$33/person

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Professionals from Capital Area Disc League “CADL” provide the basics of disc golf for beginners. Register for an instructional session at either 9 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. Take your own...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Celebrate the inaugural season of the Raleigh Firebirds, a professional men's basketball team. Enjoy sports-specific clinics, interactive games, inflatables and more. Register on event day....

Cost: Free

Where:
Spring Forest Road Park
4203 Spring Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27616
View map »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Go on a pirate adventure with the Paw Patrol as Mayor Goodway prepares for a big celebration. Meet the newest pup, Tracker. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $22-$33/person

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate Latino arts and culture with a culinary event, children’s arts and crafts workshops, traditional piñata-breaking ceremonies, Latin American dance and music...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Apex
, NC  27502


Website »

More information

The Beaver Queen Pageant is Durham’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their fashion,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Park
106 W. Knox St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

More information

Go on a pirate adventure with the Paw Patrol as Mayor Goodway prepares for a big celebration. Meet the newest pup, Tracker. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $22-$33/person

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Join City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources and staff and volunteers from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the big field at Dorothea Dix Park to view the stars and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park Big Field
101 Blair Drive
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Website »

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