The Teen Dating Game

What to love and when to worry


Published:

Bigstock photo

Today’s teens are navigating a social media-infused world where the only sure thing is change. But one thing remains constant: Teens love being in love. Their relationships are often powered by texting, Snapchat, Twitter and selfies, but they still contain all of the pleasures — and risks — of pre-internet dating. Whether or not your child has gone on a date, now is the time to start a conversation about building healthy relationships.


What is Dating?

Ask teens how many kids they know who date and they are quick to respond. “Everyone,” says Durham eighth-grader Wyatt — though he adds, “Not me.” Mason, an 11th-grader in Charlotte, says “more than half” of his friends date.

How do teens define dating? Brooke, a 10th-grader in Raleigh, says the classic definition still applies: A longer-term relationship between two people who are romantically interested in each other.

“If you’re dating someone but don’t think it’s going anywhere, that’s not dating,” Brooke says. “That’s just ‘a thing’ or a hookup.”

Brooke guesses that around 40 percent of the kids at her school date, but adds that only about 10 percent of those relationships are “more serious.”

Lindsey Copeland, a Durham psychologist who owns Copeland Psychological Services and also works as a counselor for Durham Academy’s Upper School, says she does not see evidence of “real” dating until students are in 11th or 12th grade. While middle schoolers might do some group dating on trips to the mall, or might connect with a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” via daily texts, Copeland says “younger students are still sorting out their own identity and are usually not ready to focus on another person in any serious way.” Such relationships, she says, usually end with an abrupt text or, even more awkwardly, by third-person word of mouth (or text).

Strict definitions aside, all teen relationships are learning experiences — from middle school pairings to high school hookups to watching a friend date his or her true love. The earlier you step in to discuss these interactions with your child, the better.


Benefits and Risks

For some kids, dating can be a wonderful learning experience. At its best, dating provides teens with increased confidence, and the chance to learn how to empathize and practice navigating adult relationships.

Brooke, who has had several in-person relationships and is currently involved in a long-distance relationship with a boy she met through social media, credits her success with looking for the right qualities in a potential boyfriend.

“The most important thing is that your boyfriend is not ashamed to show you off,” she says. “That’s a real relationship — where he says, ‘I appreciate you and I care about you.’ Both sides should be proud of each other.”

Parents can use dating as a teaching tool. “Ask your child what they think is important in a relationship,” says Betsy Thompson, coordinator of Mental Health Services at Teen Health Connection in Charlotte. “If they have a girlfriend or boyfriend, ask them how their partner shows them respect. If there’s a breakup, ask them what they learned.” It’s easier to teach kids who have experience, she says, because kids don’t always learn from peers’ mistakes.

Dating, unfortunately, is not always a positive experience. Parents typically worry most about sex, but there are other issues to watch out for — like emotional and physical abuse, which parents often don’t consider until after their child experiences it. Copeland sees “too many” college students who have suffered from relationship violence. She says the teen years provide the best time to be open with your child — when family members and adults are nearby and able to identify warning signs.

Self-confidence can provide excellent protection against abuse, says Reana Johnson, a UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore and president of the university’s chapter of “Queen in You,” a mentoring program for middle school girls that helps them discover who they are instead of seeing themselves through the eyes of potential boyfriends. She advises teens not to be in a rush to start a relationship.

“You’re your own person before and after this other person, and you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people,” she says.

Talk to your child about what it means to be treated well, and about the signs of a potentially harmful situation. If a teen is not being treated appropriately, he or she needs to know what steps to take in order to stay safe.

“It’s important to recognize when boundaries are being crossed. They especially need help learning to communicate when their needs conflict with their partner’s,” Copeland says. She suggests coaching your child in such a way that he or she knows what to say when a dating partner wants something he or she is not comfortable offering.


Teens and Sex

While dating can lead to sex for some teens, it does not for others. Being in a committed relationship can be safer than being a part of a crowd prone to hooking up. Brooke is careful to separate sex-based relationships from love-based dating. “When you’re just in ‘a thing’ with a person, that’s more about sexual attraction than a real attraction,” she says. “A lot of girls are looking for long-term relationships, while guys just want to mess around.”

Contrary to popular belief, not all boys enter relationships just for sex. Some are looking for a deeper connection. Mason says he can be more relaxed and honest with his girlfriend than he can with his guy friends.

“With my baseball friends, it’s all about competing and playing jokes,” he says. “With my girlfriend, it’s sometimes easier because we can just sort of be nice to each other.”

Whether your teen is in a committed relationship or hanging out with a larger social group, the experts we spoke to advise making your values and preferences on sex clear before it becomes an issue. Educate your child about the dangers of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases — and how to prevent them. If you do not teach your child, he or she will learn from sources you may not agree with or trust. Remind your teen (often) that alcohol and drugs lower a person’s inhibitions to the point where he or she may not have control over his or her decisions. The more your teen hears this, the more likely he or she is to think before acting.


What About Social Media?

Social media apps have become an integral part of teen culture. “Teens use social media to communicate and connect with romantic partners in ways that may be both healthy and normative, as well as in ways that may be more problematic,” says Jacqueline Nesi, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill and lead author of a study on social media’s effect on teens’ long-term relationship skills.

Her research suggests that teens may use text messaging for riskier behaviors like “sexting,” but also to have necessary conversations about things like sexual health decisions with partners. For some kids, the chance to sexually express themselves online might lead to less sex and less physical contact, whereas other kids might be more curious about the actual act of sex after seeing or reading something about it online.

“For some kids, it is a slippery slope,” Thompson says. “For others, seeing nude pictures and sex online may desensitize them to risky behavior.”

Social media usage has changed relationship norms. Copeland hears from a lot of teens who are frustrated by their dating peers’ online showboating.

“Some teens go out of their way to post how much they love each other and how happy they are — lots of heart emojis, happy couple photos and ‘Look, I’ve got a boyfriend,’” she says. “There’s definitely a social leverage component to some of these social media-style PDAs.” Copeland suggests talking with teens about these public displays of affection, and asking them what role online grandstanding might play in nurturing or harming a relationship.

Brooke believes girls’ reputations are more at stake online than boys’. Male and female teens often take a negative view of girls who are involved in hookups or who share nude photos. “Guys — or even other girls — will call them sluts or hoes,” Brooke says. “That can really hurt a girl’s self-esteem, especially when it gets out there on social media. My friends and I would never do nudes, but it’s pretty unfair. Guys can do whatever they want and don’t get any negative feedback.”

Mason agrees. “Girls get it pretty harsh online,” he says. “My friends try to stay out of all that.”

Warn your teen about the consequences of posting compromising photos — even in the see-it-and-it’s-gone world of Snapchat. It’s easy to take a screenshot of any image and post it for a broader audience.


Strategies for Starting a Conversation

The most natural way to teach your child about healthy partnerships is to model mutually respectful relationships at home. Single parents can teach their children by drawing on what they have learned from good and bad experiences.

Organizations like “Queen in You” can offer resources for teens who are shy and might respond more comfortably to mentors closer in age. You might also consider watching a TV show or movie together to jumpstart a conversation about relationships. Ask your child what he or she thought of a character’s actions, and whether there were alternative avenues he or she could have pursued.

Still don’t know where to start? Copeland recommends the website loveisrespect.org as a resource for learning about how to maintain healthy teen relationships.

Experts say keeping the lines of communication open with your child is key.

“Research shows that communicating with kids — even more so than monitoring their online activity — is effective in promoting healthy social media use,” Nesi says.

Know what social media platforms they are using and who they connect with, and make sure they understand how to safely present themselves online.


Preventing Digital Relationship Abuse

The constant availability of social media can lead to possessive and predatory behavior. Teens should be aware that it is not normal for a partner to want to know where they are all the time, or for a partner to demand instant responses to messages.

Reana Johnson, a UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore and president of the university’s chapter of “Queen in You,” a mentoring program for middle school girls, suggests using social media to fight social media. The “mute” option is her favorite feature on Twitter.

“It can be great to just block someone out sometimes, especially if you’re going through a breakup,” she says. “You can always un-mute them later on.”

If muting one person is not enough, Johnson encourages teens to “mute” social media altogether. “On social media, the pressures are constant,” Johnson says. “You have to realize there are other things to do with your time. Paint. Keep a journal. Go outside. Otherwise, you’ll get trapped in this virtual reality. Just remember it is not real life.”


Teen Texting Acronyms and Phrases

Keeping up with your teen’s social life means understanding his or her language. Here’s a cheat sheet for some of the more popular terms or phrases you might discover — and some you hope you won’t — when you scroll through one of your teen’s text threads.

Bae: Baby or sweetie

Catfishing: Fabricating an online persona in order to lure a potential partner

Ghosting: Cutting off all communication as a means to end a relationship

IRL: “In real life” — a relationship that moves from online to face-to-face

Netflix and chill: Code for going to each other’s house in order to make out

Swerve: To avoid

Talking: Casual dating

A Thing: Not quite dating, but almost

Thirsty: Need lots of attention (sometimes sexual); desperate

GNOC: “Get naked on camera”

Smash: To have casual sex

NIFOC: “Naked in front of computer”

CU46: “See you for sex”

 

Source: Urban Dictionary, a crowd-sourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases


Caitlin Wheeler is a freelance writer in Durham.

* Names of teens were changed for privacy.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Deciphering Teen Text Messages

New slang is often harmless, but parents should monitor texts that fall into these areas.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

August 2018

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
Website »

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

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
Website »

More information

Celebrate the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle with vendors, food trucks, free food samples and live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Armory
220 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

This back-to-school celebration features indoor and outdoor eating areas, kids' activities, music and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn at Southpoint
7007 Fayetteville Rd.
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a back-to-school event featuring a food truck rodeo, inside and outside eating areas, kids' activities and more. Take a non-perishable food item for Back Pack Buddies, an Inter-Faith...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn at Southpoint
7007 Fayetteville Rd.
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Sponsor: Spectacular Magazine
Telephone: 919-916-1640
Contact Name: Phyllis Coley
Website »

More information

The Arc of the Triangle, Allegiant Air and The Arc of the North Carolina will co-host a Wings for Autism® event at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in partnership with the Transportation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-5119 x117
Website »

More information

The Arc of the Triangle, Allegiant Air and The Arc of the North Carolina will co-host a Wings for Autism® event at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in partnership with the Transportation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-5119 x117
Website »

More information

The Arc of the Triangle, Allegiant Air and The Arc of the North Carolina will co-host a Wings for Autism event at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in partnership with the Transportation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-5119 x117
Website »

More information

Discover how farmers preserved their food in the days before refrigeration. Learn about drying, pickling, canning and other techniques. All ages.  ages. Registration not...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Tour the farm, spend time with farmers who care about the environment and meet friendly animals. Tickets must be purchased online; the farm is not open for drop-ins.

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Hux Family Farm
1923 Shaw Rd.
Durham, NC  27704
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the importance of trees through games and hands-on activities. Make paper and  discover the goods that we get from trees. All ages with adult. Registration required...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Sunday, August 19, 2:00–3:00 p.m. Want to do more to help out your community park? Do you like history, the environment, agriculture and/or the arts? Consider volunteering at Yates Mill! Join us...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Study the vital role that wetland ecosystems play. Net macroinvertebrates, learn how to identify them and discuss their value in the aquatic environment. Wander through some of Lake...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Enjoy activities inspired by the boo, "Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf," by Judy Sierra. Ages 4-9. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Hillsborough Library
137 West Margaret Ln.
Inside McDougle Middle School
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-924-52525
Contact Name: Beth Hawkins
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Read the story by Eric Carle, and practice counting and observing similarities and differences.  A short walk to look for crickets and other insects. Ages 18 months-3 years with adult....

Cost: $2/child

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


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Low-cost microcontrollers, such as the Arduino, have revolutionized the way we connect the real and virtual worlds. Learn Arduino programming and create projects using sensors...

Cost: Free

Where:
Parata Systems
106 Roche Dr.
Durham, NC  27703
View map »


Sponsor: TechGirlz
Contact Name: Jenna May
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Read a story about cows, compare cow breeds, and learn about life on a dairy farm. Explore how milk is made into butter, cheese and other yummy products. Wrap up with an ice cream social and taste...

Cost: $7/child

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


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the exciting process that changes caterpillars into butterflies. Visit the butterfly garden while searching for butterflies and caterpillars!. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $4/child

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $20-$34

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


Website »

More information

Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. Little Miss...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
View map »


Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #117241

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Take the family for a night of jigs, reels and anything Celtic. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the end of the "dog days of summer" by joining a park naturalist for an evening hike around the millpond. Learn tips for observing wildlife and find out ways to identify the...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-400-3288
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Take a moonlit stroll down the Trail to the Beaver Creek bridge and back, listening and looking for nocturnal animals. Linger on the bridge to enjoy the wonderful sounds of nature and play some fun...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Morehead Planetarium presents a night of West African storytelling and stargazing at Historic Stagville. Learn about the oral tradition that might have been preserved by enslaved families. After...

Cost: Free. Donations welcome.

Where:
Stagville State Historic Site
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Telephone: 191-962-00120
Contact Name: Vera Cecelski
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Camp Gladiator takes over the Durham Bulls Athletic Park featuring fun workouts designed for all fitness levels. Enjoy local vendors, music, food, gear and tons of giveaways....

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
409 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Camp Gladiator
Telephone: 919-538-7606
Contact Name: Marisa Park
Website »

More information

Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $20-$34

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a unique weekend celebrating the history of Tweetsie Railroad, the ET&WNC Railroad and mountain culture.

Cost: $0-$45

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln.
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
View map »


Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
Telephone: 180-052-65740
Website »

More information

Hundreds of artisans from across the Southeast, festival foods, demonstrations, a kids' play area and live music highlight the town's signature arts and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Campus
316 N. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

Stretch your way into creative and silly poses. Share fun memories from the summer, like building sand castles, spitting watermelon seeds, and diving into the swimming pool with our friends,...

Cost: $20 -$25

Where:
Funny Girl Farm
504 Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 984-377-3113
Website »

More information

The Salvation Army of Wake County’s 7th annual Most Amazing Race Raleigh will take place Saturday, August 25 at popular locations throughout downtown Raleigh. The scavenger-hunt-like race is...

Cost: Teams must raise $300 to participate

Where:
The Salvation Army of Wake County Corps Community Center
902 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate North Carolina farming culture and history at Duke Homestead. Don't miss the looping contest and Hornworm Race. This event features live music, local arts and crafts vendors, hands-on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy backpacks and school supplies while they last. Sponsored by Word of Truth St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church and Carolina Pines Community Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carolina Pines Community Center
2305 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Word of Truth St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church & Carolina Pines Comm Center
Telephone: (919) 831-6435
Contact Name: Tonya Henderson

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. Little Miss...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
View map »


Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

The first Holly Springs Children's Business Fair allows children in Holly Springs and surrounding communities to showcase their entrepreneurial skills by launching their own business. Children...

Cost: Free

Where:
Holly Springs Towne Center
NC55 & New Hill Rd.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Infinity Educators, LLC
Telephone: 919-694-1908
Contact Name: Charlene Y. Dunn
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

View the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history and aspects of its preservation. All ages. Registration encouraged online; tickets available inside...

Cost: $5/adult, $3/ ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger.

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


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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

Join staff for a morning in the gardens. Take a peek at a mini pond, composting area, pollinator garden and children’s garden. Ages 5 and older with family. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy giveaways, live entertainment, food, inflatables and more. Dog-friendly event.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Pine Plaza
US 64
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Pine Plaza
Telephone: 919-446-5386
Contact Name: Kelly Foster

More information

Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chairs. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Nature Park Amphitheatre
2600 Evans Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module

Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 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. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.