Letting Your Child Fail

Find out how making mistakes builds self-confidence and resilience


Published:

Photo courtesy of Fizkes/Shutterstock.com

From President Theodore Roosevelt to technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, successful role models have been telling us for over a century that we can learn from our mistakes. But modern society’s obsession with perfection is stifling this longheld wisdom. Today’s youth often compare themselves to the lives and images they see on their digital screens, which can increase their anxiety and self-doubt. Fortunately, parents can take an active role in normalizing mistakes, and transform failures into strengths. 

 

Perfectionism vs. Resilience

Perfectionism is the opposite of resilience, says Andrew Hill, a professor of sociology at York Saint John University in the U.K., adding that it’s captured in “how unrealistic your standards are and how harshly you evaluate yourself.” 

Hill has done extensive work chronicling the rise of perfectionism, and notes that perfectionists are highly sensitive to mistakes. They “will often avoid scenarios that are challenging due to a fear of failure,” he says. 

Striving for perfectionism can be especially damaging to teens. “Having unrealistic standards and being extremely self-critical is going to make life tough for teenagers,” he says. “It is an important time for social and self-development. Perfectionism will make this time more difficult and stressful.” 

Tara Egan, a psychologist, author and founder of Charlotte Parent Coaching, says perfectionism and resilience can be genetically determined. “You can see it as young as infancy,” she says. “Some babies are more fretful and rarely smile, and are more likely to grow into worriers, while others are more easygoing.” 

At the same time, a child’s experiences also influence her traits as she develops. Stressors that sap resilience can include parent divorce, abuse, neglect and witnessing violence — any of which would have an even worse effect on a biologically sensitive child. 

Nonetheless, Egan adds, kids with a high natural tendency toward perfectionism or worry can learn to be resilient — even those who are exposed to numerous stressors. Normalizing mistakes can go a long way toward helping children develop into confident and independent adults. Here are some tips for how to harness the benefits of making mistakes.


1. Provide Opportunities for Kids to Fail 

“Kids learn best through experience,” says Rebekah Talley, a child therapist and owner of Zola Counseling in Charlotte. Allowing your child to take age-appropriate risks is the first step in strengthening his self-confidence. 

So, is it safe to let your baby fall while he’s learning to walk, to allow your middle-grader to flunk a math assignment or to give your teenager permission go to a party hosted by someone you don’t know? The key is to differentiate between a situation in which your child is physically or emotionally uncomfortable, from one in which he is actually suffering.

Trust your instincts, Egan says. “Parents are naturally aware of that difference. Practice ‘uncomfortable.’ It’s fine to give reassurance and to coach them through a stressful moment,” she says. As long as the experience is age-appropriate and the child isn’t suffering or in physical danger, don’t take the stressor away completely. 


2. Provide Opportunities for Kids to Reflect

The School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill incorporates experiential learning into its master’s degree teacher preparation program via a weeklong Outward Bound wilderness trek, or a week of hard work and projects on the Hub Farm in Durham. Teachers in training are confronted with physical challenges, unfamiliar tasks, projects that require learning new skills, teamwork and innovation — along with plenty of frustration, uncertainty and failure. 

“We want them to be uncomfortable, to take risks and make mistakes and learn,” says Suzanne Gulledge, a professor and program coordinator at the school. She says the experiences aim to make teachers empathetic to students who struggle with new concepts and skill development. Teachers learn ways to support students through struggles — not to remove those struggles. They are reminded of the kinds of anxieties that accompany learning new things and experiencing setbacks — and how good it feels to overcome a challenge. 

Help your child reflect on her mistakes in this way so she can use those experiences as a point of reference. Ask her how she worked through the situation and what would help make it better next time. 

With your toddler, this means allowing a mistake, then addressing her frustrations. “It’s a great opportunity to expand their emotional vocabulary,” Talley says. “By integrating discussion into their play, and by allowing them to grow and make mistakes and be supported and be encouraged, that helps them learn to regulate those emotions.”

With a slightly older child, focus on coping with loss and disappointment. If your child gets upset after losing a game, take the opportunity to help him learn that while disappointment is natural, he needs to find a way to calm himself and try again. 

This is trickier with teens, since many of them are caught up in social and extracurricular lives outside of the house. Also, teens can feel self-protective of their shortcomings. Make sure your teen knows you are always available — either to talk, or to ask for a safe ride home if she needs one late at night. 


3. Know the Difference Between Helping vs. Encouraging 

Jennifer Lansford, Ph.D., a research professor at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, advises that a parent’s goal should be to provide tools so his or her child is eventually self-sustaining. “Keep external factors in place until a child has enough resources to keep going on their own,” she suggests. In what she calls our “current hyperparenting climate,” the tendency for parents to provide constant care to older children has increased. 

“Parents are spending more time than in the past in very direct teaching,” she says. “Kids are booked solid with extracurricular activities — from preschool to high school — and cellphones have made it possible for parents to be constantly checking in, even when a child has moved away to college.” 

While this connectedness has positive aspects, Lansford worries that it isn’t conducive to a child’s healthy emotional development. Stepping in to make sure your child is always happy, or to ease your child’s path toward success, can have negative effects. 

The worst case is when a child develops a sense of “learned helplessness,” says Kate Paquin, owner of A Family Coach in Apex. If a parent is always taking over in difficult times, then a child never gets the opportunity to try to solve problems on her own, which can decrease her confidence and put her at a disadvantage when she leaves home and needs to take care of herself. 

Talley advises parents to self-reflect before solving a child’s problem, whether it’s fixing grammatical mistakes on an essay, or navigating a social challenge. 

“Really explore the intent behind your action,” she says. “Ask yourself, am I doing this to make the day easier, is it for me? Do I have fears about letting my child struggle? Am I worried about the external appearance of my child’s failure and how that might reflect on me?” 

If you’re helping your child to satisfy your own needs, take a step back and encourage, instead of help. First, let your child try her best. If she makes a mistake or isn’t successful, praise her effort and point out the connection between hard work and success. 

Egan suggests that after validating your child’s emotions, you can either offer coping strategies, such as a hug and words of support, or problem-solving tactics, such as coming up with a plan for how to approach the issue differently next time. 

For older children and teens, work on moving them from a fixed mindset (believing they are born with certain talents) to a growth mindset (believing they can improve with hard work) by praising effort rather than ability. (Learn more about this in our August 2019 Growing Up column.)


4. Evaluate Your Reaction

Often, a child’s attitude toward a mistake depends on how a parent responds to it. “If you remain calm and regulated, your child can usually get backup and solve the problem,” Talley says. On the other hand, if you are overly critical, your child will associate your judgment with her mistake. 

Paquin offers an example: “If a child is rushing to eat their dinner and they choke and get scared, there will be some parents who will say, ‘See! That’s what happens when you rush!’” Paquin insists that you “cannot shame and expect acknowledgement and growth.” 

Instead, respond with patience and empathy. Say, for example, “‘Oh no, I’m sorry you were choking. Is there a way we can prevent that from happening again?’” Asking your child for the solution teaches and empowers him or her at the same time.


5. Avoid Promoting Perfectionism

While it can be helpful to set high standards for your child, Hill warns that “perfectionism can be modeled and learned from parents, and it can also develop in response to parental expectations.” 

The solution? “More positive relationships with parents based on unconditional acceptance will reduce its development and likely help reduce its negative effects,” Hill says. 


6. Know Your Child

Since some children might be biologically inclined to perfectionism and anxiety, different children need different levels of encouragement and guidance as they learn to deal with mistakes.

Egan advises striving to understand your child, as well as differences among your children, if you have more than one. “You do not have to parent your kids the same,” she says. “Eliminate the word ‘fair’ from your household.” 


7. Model Mistakes

Kids learn not only by doing, but also by watching. If you’re too embarrassed to admit a mistake, or you respond with anger or frustration, your child may absorb this and think mistakes are frightening, shameful acts to be denied or hidden. Instead, own your mistakes and work through them out loud. 

“As soon as you’ve calmed down, you should talk about it,” Talley says. “Show that you’re working on it, and that you’re just as committed to stopping. Apologize and take responsibility.” 


8. Don’t Ignore the Positives

Celebrate the pleasure your child experiences by learning from mistakes. Gulledge emphasizes that letting children work through their mistakes boosts self-satisfaction and confidence. “Having a failure or a frustration and then working through the problem and finding a solution — that just feels good.”

 

Caitlin Wheeler is a Parenting Media Association award-winning freelance writer who lives in Durham.

 

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Calendar

November 2019

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

A full, half marathon and 5k with convenient parking and fast course right off I-40. The RDC 5k takes place on Nov. 9 and Marathon/half marathon will take place on Nov. 10. ...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Southpoint Mall and American Tobacco Trail
6910 Fayeteville Rd
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Website »

More information

Comic book pop culture goes into overdrive at this festival that features new exhibits, panel discussions, workshops, cosplay and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Take part in a walk to deal with grief and honor those lost to suicide while raising money for local suicide prevention groups across the Triangle. Register online. 

Cost: $35

Where:
Halifax Mall, downtown Raleigh
, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Friends of Lower Haw is offering this free family outing in the Lower Haw River State Natural Area in Chatham County.  Join Board of Directors member Megan Lynch as we wander along the Haw...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Bynum, NC  27228


Sponsor: Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Website »

More information

Leave your GPS at home and learn how to find your way using only a compass and a map. We will cover the basics of orienteering, including reading bearings, calculating your stride and more. Use...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 spend the afternoon with activities to learn all about trees. Discover the parts of a tree and their functions, how trees are used in everyday life, create a craft...

Cost: $15 per girl scout; no charge for troop leaders or other accompanying adults

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

The Triangle Youth Jazz Fall Concert presents an afternoon of big band jazz selections. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join us Monday Nov 11th for a Full Day Rock Band Camp! This camp is best for ages 7+. NO experience necessary!! Drop off starts at 8:45am Pickup is 5:00pm Students will learn two songs and...

Cost: $70

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
958 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
View map »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
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...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Nature Peekers: Owl Babies Tuesday, November 12, 10:30-11 a.m. Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is. What adventures will they...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Turkeys have very colorful feathers! Celebrate this Thanksgiving season with crafts all about this important bird! We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

The science of weather is called meteorology. This program investigates the basics of meteorology: what causes the weather, how meteorologists study it, and why it is important that they do!...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Ages 11-17 create old-fashioned taffy and hard candy using ingredients like caramel, marshmallow and chocolate. Register online. Choose course #127043.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Please join Admissions, Division Directors and our Head of School as they talk about Duke School’s unique program, specifically for Preschoolers (3-4 year olds) for the 2020-21 school year. A...

Cost: $0

Where:
Duke School
3716 Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Duke School
Telephone: 919-416-9420
Contact Name: Logan Blaylock

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hillsborough Main Library
137 West Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-245-2525
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

Don’t miss one of the Triangle’s most popular fundraisers, benefiting Urban Ministries of Wake County. Stone Soup Supper, presented by Bank of America, that features 15 local...

Cost: $25-$45/person

Where:
McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman St.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn the basics of Stop Motion Animation then make your own movie.  Call to register, 919-245-2532. Space is limited. Best for kids ages 8 and up. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

When Possum sees the full harvest moon, he decides to throw one last party before the long winter. But everyone is too busy preparing for winter and it looks as if nobody will come to Possum's...

Cost: FREE. Registration is required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Discover all things sweet potato at the State Farmers Market. 

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

At Read and Feed's Novel Night Gala, attendees will enjoy premier cocktails and fanciful food all while supporting Read and Feed’s efforts to give kids an appetite for reading. Tickets...

Cost: $125

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Read and Feed
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Yates Mill Associates invites you to their annual holiday sale. Browse an array of gifts including crafts handmade by talented volunteers; Yates Mill souvenir mugs, T-shirts and hats; and cookbooks...

Cost: Registration is not required.

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Search for turkey cutouts that will be hidden throughout the park’s various trails and greenway. Each turkey “caught” can be redeemed for a special award (limit one award per...

Cost: $5/child

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


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 4-12 enjoy free arts and crafts. Registration not required. Children must have adult accompaniment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Branch Library
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
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Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call our park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resources Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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During harvest time, farmers often helped their neighbors to get hard work done during communal gatherings such as corn shucking. Learn about this fall tradition and make a corn husk doll to take...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Carolers, a visit from Santa, a dance scene from the Nutcracker, special performances from local schools, and dozens of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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All evening and into the night, 3000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, scratch...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #127674.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
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Join the Studio School of Durham team to sip, tinker, and create on Saturday, November 16th at 7:00pm for this FREE event!  We will provide the food, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Studio School of Durham
1201 W Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: The Studio School of Durham
Telephone: 984-377-4502
Contact Name: Danielle Sunde
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The EWFL carries a unique experience in youth football to play in a “big game” atmosphere.  Our games begin in the afternoons on Saturday and play into the evening “under the...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Durham County Stadium
750 Stadium Dr
Durham, NC  27704
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See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.