Picking Age-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

A guide for different stages


Published:

On Halloween night, children of all ages dress up in costumes ranging from cute characters to scary monsters of all sorts. How do you know what kind of costume is right for your child? Considering your child’s age and how dependent he is upon you to help him feel safe may help you make that decision — or set a limit — that has your child’s best interest at heart. 

Dressing up is a form of imaginative play. In play, children explore various roles, including “good guys” and “bad guys.” In moments of true play, these roles may feel real to young children as they attempt to conquer the good and bad that exists both in the real world and in their internal world (e.g., their moments of behaving versus misbehaving). Thinking about how much your child invests in this type of play, as well as how much she depends on you for feelings of safety (or reality checks), can help you determine what type of costume is appropriate for her.

 

Ages 2 and Younger

Most children under age 2 have not developed a capacity to fully engage in pretend play, so dressing up likely has little meaning to them. Their play consists primarily of exploring their surroundings through senses. Children in this age group depend on parents and caregivers for feelings of safety. Keep Halloween short and sweet for them — there is already a lot for their senses to process during this busy night.

 

Ages 3-5

Children in this age group have moved beyond solely exploring and are beginning to make sense of their world. They are developing an understanding of why and how things work. This age group relies on caregivers to help them organize this kind of data, and they often take what they are learning and explore it in their imaginative play. 

The boundaries between play and reality can sometimes become blurred for children in this age group. Think, for example, of a child who becomes frightened or overstimulated when the “bad guys” are chasing him. Dressing up on Halloween is a similar experience, so helping your child choose a costume that feels good and safe will help ensure that he has a positive experience throughout the evening. Appropriate costumes for this age group include community helpers, fairytale characters or good-natured superheroes. 

 

Ages 6 and Older

Children in this age group have developed a clearer sense of what is real and what is pretend. Once a child reaches age 6, you can begin to allow her to choose her costume — within reason, of course. Designing and making creative costumes together becomes a fun and engaging pre-Halloween activity. 

As children grow into their early teen years, wearing costumes on Halloween moves beyond the simple fun of dressing up and turns into an outlet for individual expression. The balance between healthy expression of individuality and what is appropriate for your family will be rooted in ongoing discussions about your values, and may involve compromises on both parts.

Overall, be available to your young children during this exciting night of the year, repeating throughout the evening that costumes are just costumes. Talk ahead of time about whose houses they will be visiting and explain that the people answering the doors are neighbors they already know. Scary surprises may be fun for older children, but they can quickly become frightening for a young child who still has fuzzy boundaries between reality and fantasy.

Remember: You are your child’s main interpreter of the world, so talk to him about what is going on, and keep your evening simple, safe and predictable.

Jennifer Reid, who has a master’s degree in early childhood education from New York University, is director of the early school at Lucy Daniels Center. She began teaching in 2001 and has worked at the Lucy Daniels School since 2005. The Lucy Daniels Center is a nonprofit agency in Cary that promotes the emotional health and well-being of children and families. Visit lucydanielscenter.org to learn more.

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Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

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Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
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More information

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Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
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Cost: $200

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The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
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Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
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View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
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Contact Name: Kelly
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More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
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2080 E Williams St
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Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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More information

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Cost: 0

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View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
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Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
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More information

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Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
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Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: 0

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
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Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
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, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
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Website »

More information

Class Description One day event, July 1st, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm If you've never knit before or need a quick review of how to cast on, knit and cast off, this is the perfect class. We'll knit a...

Cost: $18

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Class Description Prior registration/payment required. One day workshop. In this class, we will learn one of the basic rhythms that defines flamenco dance: bulerias, a twelve-count beat. We will...

Cost: $12

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Drop in on a Wednesday evening between May 13 and July 1 (8-9:30 p.m.) for a supportive, inclusive, empowering virtual session for parents from prenatal through about 12 months. We'll facilitate a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zoom
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Area Parenting Support
Telephone: 984-464-1601
Contact Name: Leigh Greene
Website »

More information

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HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Sign your children up for a WILD adventure! North Carolina Zoo is excited to offer Online Summer Camps as a way for kids to learn about animals and their natural environment while staying socially...

Cost: $30 - $80

Where:
VIRTUAL
, NC


Sponsor: North Carolina Zoo
Telephone: 336-879-7700
Contact Name: North Carolina Zoo
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Have a child that misses seeing peers? Hard to keep him/her motivated and learning at home? If your child likes art, join our LIVE art class. Use any supplies available at home, and follow our...

Cost: 12/class

Where:
Zoom Online
RALEIGH, NC


Sponsor: KidzArt North Raleigh
Telephone: 919-271-0710
Contact Name: Chen Jiang
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Thursday evenings are for music and outdoor adventure at the USNWC, and the River Jam Run is a great way to enjoy both. Kick off the evening with 1.5 mile, 3 mile, or 6 mile group run through our...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Race Director
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

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HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

●      Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” ●      Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Avanti! Inspired by American dreams and legends, Dvořák created some of his greatest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Boone, NC  28608


Sponsor: An Appalachian Summer Festival
Telephone: 828-262-4046
Contact Name: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

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Show Less...
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