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Author Archive

37+ Amazing Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids

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Looking for things to do in Atlanta with kids? As someone who grew up in Atlanta, my heartbeat is strong for this Southern city. There’s so much to do for every age and every person. And as a family with kids? You’ll never get bored in Atlanta, GA.

So whether you’re a native Atlantan or someone looking to visit the ATL, we’ve rounded up all the best things you can do in Atlanta with kids. Consider this your ultimate guide to visiting Atlanta with your family.

Things to do with kids in Atlanta GA
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Visit Clemson University! Here is Where to Stay, Things to Do, and Where to Dine

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Are you planning to visit Clemson University? Whether you are visiting your Clemson University student, checking out the campus as a prospective student, or coming into town for an event or Clemson University game, we have a guide to help you and your family enjoy the area. In this guide, you will find suggestions for where to stay, things to do, and where to dine near Clemson, South Carolina

Visiting Clemson University in South Carolina
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Your Guide to Hampton Station in Greenville, SC

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If you haven’t visited Hampton Station in Greenville, SC yet, go ahead and put it on your bucket list. Located just minutes from Main Street and directly on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, it’s in a great location. Before you head there, we’ve got you covered on things to do, places to eat, and things you should do with your kids.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, here are the best restaurants in Greenville!

Complete Restaurant Guide to Greenville, SC
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Get Your Free Trees in Greenville, SC (2024)

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Did you know you can get free trees in Greenville, SC to plant in your yard? Is your yard lacking trees? Or is your energy bill a little higher than you’d like? Did you know that by planting trees, you can help reduce energy costs while improving air and water quality AND reducing air pollution? You can reduce energy consumption by up to 20% per year just by planting the right tree in the right place. And sometimes, purchasing trees may be a little out of your budget.

Learn how you can get your hands on a free tree for your yard!

Free Trees in Greenville, SC
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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Greenville, SC: Travel With KAG!

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Planning a visit to Greenville, SC? Travel to the area is booming, and we’re so glad you’re here! We love our little city (and so does The New York Times, Forbes, and Southern Living!) because there’s so much for everyone to see, do, and eat.

Art connoisseurs, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs will all find something to enjoy while visiting Greenville. And, of course, families have an incredible amount of opportunities to make memories here. So, since you’re planning to visit, we wanted to make your planning a little easier by giving you a list of our top recommendations for places to eat, places to stay, and things to do in Greenville… as well as a guide to parking in downtown Greenville.

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Hunting for Toads on Trade in Greer, SC

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If you’ve never hunted for the Toads on Trade in Greer, SC, add it to your list of things to do. Inspired by Greenville’s Mice on Main, the downtown Greer scavenger hunt features 16 tiny toad statues tucked away on historic buildings. And if you’ve never ventured to find all 16 toads? We’ve got everything you need to know (including a short history lesson) before you go toad hunting.

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9 Places for Rock Climbing Near Greenville, SC

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Interested in trying out rock climbing? Greenville, SC has several places, plus there are a lot of unique rock climbing gyms near the Upstate. With its proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can find plenty of challenging and exciting rock climbing spots near the city, both indoor and outdoor. From experienced climbers to beginners, there are plenty of options for everyone in and around Greenville.

Rock Climbing in Greenville, SC

Our list includes indoor and outdoor climbing options. That means we have all the local climbing gyms, outdoor crags, and everything in between. There is something for everyone in the Greenville area. Read on to find out more about the best places to rock climb near Greenville.

Guide to things to do indoors near Greenville, South Carolina

Check out our Premier Guide to Indoor Fun Near Greenville, SC next time you’re looking for a day of fun!


Places to go Rock Climbing: Greenville, SC and The Upstate

Climb @ Blue Ridge

Climb@Blue Ridge, located in Taylors, has climbing spaces for bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing. There’s something for all climbing skill levels. And no fear of boredom for return visits—the climbing routes are changed regularly to keep you on your toes. This is a great climbing gym Greenville, SC locals seem to enjoy. They also have several events throughout the week and year (Homeschool Program, Ladies’ Nights, Yoga, Tai Chi, and more). 

Climb@Blue Ridge
301 Bulls Road, Taylors
864.895.1416

Climb@Blue Ridge in Taylors, SC

Blochaven

Blochaven is another great local rock climbing gym in Greenville, SC. Located in Judson Mill, Blochaven is a family-run business with the goal to make Greenville a bouldering community. You can purchase a day pass, or for the more committed climbers, you can purchase a membership. 

Blochaven
701 Easley Bridge Road – Suite 6020, Greenville
864.405.3003

projectROCK

Looking for a rock climbing gym in Easley? projectROCK is your answer. The gym and climbing routes are all inspired by places the owners have traveled. Fun Fact: projectROCK Easley is home to the highest climbing wall in the country… at 84 feet tall. They offer classes for beginners and also have a competitive league and a recreation league. And like other climbing gyms, you can purchase a day pass or a membership.

projectROCK
2121 Farrs Bridge Road, Easley
864.307.9152

Indoor climbing rock at projectROCK in Easley, South Carolina

Trailhead Climbing & Outdoor Center

Trailhead Climbing & Outdoor Center in Anderson, SC has 50’ rock climbing walls. Climbers of all skill levels are welcome, and they offer classes for beginners. You can purchase a day pass or a membership. They also have party packages for your rock climbing-loving kids (or big kids!).

Trailhead Climbing & Outdoor Center
505 Camson Road, Anderson
864.940.5600


Rock Climbing Gyms in Western North Carolina

Pisgah Climbing School

Looking for an outdoor rock-climbing adventure near Greenville? Pisgah Climbing School has several locations in Western North Carolina that aren’t too far away. The school wants to give climbing opportunities for both beginners and advanced climbers.

Their beginner climbing consists of top roping, fundamental knots, and belaying instruction. Sometimes with the right weather, you can even participate in ice climbing…just be sure to call ahead to see if weather conditions are allowing for it.

Pisgah Climbing School
Multiple locations
828.222.ROPE

Riveter

Located in Mills River, NC, Riveter has an indoor rock climbing gym that boasts over 16,000 square feet of climbing terrain. The bouldering area has 60 routes, and there’s even a kid’s area for your youngest climber. Day passes and memberships are both available for purchase.

Riveter
701 Old Fanning Bridge Road, Mills River
828.676.2566

Brevard Rock Gym

Brevard Rock Gym is just over an hour away from the Upstate in Brevard, NC. The climbing gym also has an indoor rock climbing and bouldering. They also offer several classes for all skill levels and ages. They even have youth climbing programs. You can purchase a day pass or a punch pass.

Brevard Rock Gym
240-B South Broad Street, Brevard
828.884.7625

Cultivate Climbing

Cultivate Climbing has one location in Asheville, NC. They offer top roping, bouldering, gear rental, and instruction. They also offer indoor climbing, as well as an outdoor climbing wall.

Cultivate Climbing
173 Amboy Road, Asheville NC 28806


Outdoor Climbing Spots in the Carolinas

You’ll find an extensive list of outdoor climbing spaces, routes, and details about what to expect at each spot at Carolina Climbers. Routes are listed for North and South Carolina, as well as Tennessee and Georgia.


Places to Buy Climbing Gear

Having the right climbing gear is critical to rock climbing. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rock climbing veteran, there are a few great stores near Greenville, SC to choose from. Whether you’re looking for climbing shoes, ropes, harnesses, or other accessories, here are a few places to buy climbing gear near Greenville.

Sunrift Adventures
1 Center Street, Travelers Rest
864.834.3019

Sunrift is a great local option for climbing gear, as well as lots of other outdoor sports.

REI
1140 Woodruff Rd. Ste 400
864.297.0588

Note: If you’re new to climbing, REI is a great place to get gear. With their generous return policy for members, you can be sure to get the right shoes and harness for you! They also offer lightly used items online at REI Garage. This is only for REI co-op members but is a great option because you’ll find equipment in good shape at a steep discount.

Dick’s Sporting Goods
1125 Woodruff Road, Greenville
864.284.6199

With so many great locations to rock climb near Greenville, you’re sure to find your gear and take your climbing adventures to new heights!

Are we missing any of your favorite climbing gyms or locations?


More Indoor and Outdoor Fun Near Greenville, SC

If you’re looking for indoor things to do, don’t miss our huge Indoor Guide to Greenville, SC. It has everything from bowling, to arcades, to trampoline parks, and so much more.

If outdoor adventure is what you crave, check out our Outdoor Guide full of things to do in Greenville, SC.

Where to Go Ice Skating Near Greenville, SC

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Searching for ‘where to go ice skating near me’? While I’m far from being the next Olympic ice skater, I like to try my hand at it every year and luckily there are plenty of places to go ice skating near Greenville, SC! So lace up your skates, grab your coat, and have fun sliding around at one of these top ice rinks near the Upstate.

Ice on Main Skating
Winter Guide to Greenville, SC

Looking for more winter fun? Here’s your ultimate guide to experiencing winter in Greenville, SC.

The Pavilion Recreation Ice Skating, Greenville, SC

Year-Round
The Pavilion Recreation Complex’s ice rink is open year-round! You can free skate during public skate times or take lessons.

The Pavilion Recreation Complex Ice Skating Pricing (pricing does not include tax):

  • Kid (12 & under) – $7.50
  • Adults (13+) – $9.50
  • Seniors (55+) – $7.50
  • Skate or Walker Rental – $4.25

Read Kidding Around’s review of the Pavilion Recreation Complex.

Ice Skating at Whitewater Center — Charlotte, NC

Mid-November through mid-February (check website for dates)
The Whitewater Center opens their 24,000+ square foot ice rink every year. There are four distinct skating areas with two ice trails and two free skate zones.

Find out all about Whitewater Center Ice Skating in our Kidding Around Charlotte review!

Whitewater Center Ice Skating Pricing:

  • Included with All-Access Pass
  • $25 Single Activity Day Pass

The Ultimate Guide to Fun with Kids in Charlotte, North Carolina

Want more ice skating options? Plan a day trip! These ice skating rinks near Atlanta are still open for winter 2024!

Ice on Main, Greenville, SC

November 15th, 2023 – January 15th, 2024 (CLOSED 2024)
United Community’s Ice on Main opens every year mid-November and is open 7 days a week through mid-January. Located at Village Green next to the Courtyard Marriott, kids (and grown-ups) of all ages ice skate in the heart of downtown Greenville.

Ice on Main 2023 Pricing:

  • Adults – $10
  • Children – $8
  • Under 2 – Free

Read Kidding Around’s review of Ice on Main to get more information.

Founders Holiday Ice Rink – Rock Hill, SC

November 18th, 2023 – January 15th, 2024 (CLOSED 2024)
Founders Holiday Ice Rink is located in the heart of Old Town across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill, SC. It’s a popular place to lace up your skates this holiday season.

Founders Holiday Ice Rink Pricing:

  • $15 | 90-minute session 

Guide to Visiting York County, South Carolina

Where’s your favorite place to go ice skating near Greenville, SC?

Roller skating rinks near Greenville, South Carolina

Rolling skating more your thing?

Roller skating rinks: Greenville, SC

31+ Educational Gifts for Kids: Put a New Skill Under the Christmas Tree

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Do you want to give educational Christmas gifts this year, giving something more than just amusement? Kids can learn loads when they are having fun, which makes educational gifts a double whammy, powerhouse, gift-giving option.



Give them the gift of fine motor skills, colors and shapes, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, creativity, imagination, an inquisitive mind, and a break from screen time. Puzzles, science kits, games, learning toys, books, and building toys can do all that and more.

Ok. You’ve decided to give an educational gift, but now you need some ideas? No problem. We polled our readers and asked about their favorite gifts that encouraged learning something new. Then, we added a few of our own ideas.

The result?

This list of top-notch educational gift ideas.

Educational Gifts for kids, and educational gifts for Christmas

This list contains Amazon affiliate links.

Our Readers’ Top Educational Gift Ideas

When it comes to gift-giving, you’re going to see your kids receive a ton of toys. Some of the best gifts, though, are educational. These gifts and toys engage your child for longer periods of time, encourage imaginative play and critical thinking, and may even inspire a lifelong passion.

My favorite educational gifts for kids are ones that store easily, encourage independent play, and can be enjoyed for a long period of time (bonus points: they don’t require batteries, haha).

We polled our readers and asked for their favorite unique educational gifts for kids, and we rounded up their answers for you below.

Tonies

I’ve seen these everywhere, and to be honest, the most I see them, the more interested I am in getting one for our daughter. These are essentially audio players for kids 3+ that play stories, music, and other educational things.

The biggest draw to them is that they are screen-free and easy for little ones to play with. You buy the starter kit, and then you can buy as many extra “Tonies” as you’d like. Each Tonie character plays different things. Kidding Around readers highly recommended this.

Osmo

I had never heard of this before a couple of our readers recommended it. But after learning more about it, I’m now wanting to tell all my mama friends about it. You buy a starter kit that includes the Osmo Base that attaches to an iPad or Fire Tablet. There are various puzzle pieces, drawing pads, and games you can buy to accompany each kit. And everything is educational and fun for kids.

Hot Dots

Hot Dots is another great interactive and educational toy for kids. Kids simply take the “pen” and tap the dots throughout the books to help learn to read and get ready for school. Hot Dots come with different subjects, themes, and ages.

Magna Tiles

Time to work those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination! Magna Tiles are an ever-popular toy for kids. The translucent tiles are magnetic, allowing you to build 2D or 3D shapes. They come in a variety of shapes and spark hours of imaginative play for children. I’ve also known a dad or two to play with these to see how big a structure they can build.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Picasso Tiles are also very popular.

Coding Robot like the Elenco Teach Tech

One of our readers highly recommends a coding robot like the Elenco Teach Tech. These toys help teach kids how to program, code, problem-solve, and use critical thinking skills. This particular robot is recommended for ages 3+.

Learning Wrap-Ups

When one of our readers recommended Learning Wrap-Ups, I was immediately swept back to my childhood. I would consider these a classic toy and definitely an educational one. You simply wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right and self-check yourself on the back. Learning Wrap-Ups come with different topics, including math, pre-algebra, science, and vocabulary.

Kiwi Box Subscription

A Kiwi Box Subscription is an educational gift that keeps giving. Each month, your child receives a box in the mail with a new project appropriate to their age and interest. When you fill out the subscription form online, you’ll answer a few questions so the perfect box is delivered each time. There are subscription boxes for ages 0-12+

More Educational Gift Ideas We Love: Books

Books

Magazine Subscriptions: The gift that keeps on giving

Once a month or every other month, another installment of your educational gift arrives bringing fun and learning long after the holiday decor has been boxed up and put away.

Strategic Board Games

Work out your strategy and think ahead to win these games. Really get that brain working, growing, and thinking hard, and of course, have fun, too! Our readers suggest these strategic board games:

More Educational Games

Family board games

Love board games? See our HUGE list of family favorite board games for all ages. Here are a couple of our favorite educational games from that list.

Zingo

Zingo is one of ThinkFun’s most popular and bestselling games, and is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award, among others. It’s a fun pre-reading game for ages 4 and up. There are versions for learning sight words, numbers, and using letters to make words. Like all of ThinkFun’s games, Zingo is built to develop critical thinking skills. Playing will improve language skills through fun and fast-paced play.

Zingo Sight Words
Zingo Numbers

Zingo numbers bingo

Gravity Maze

We played this with kids ages 8, 9, and 11 years old and they all loved it. I tried it also as an adult and it’s fantastic because it’s one of those games where you have to focus on the puzzle and nothing else. Gravity Maze is especially great for kids who like to play by themselves, for kids who love problem-solving, and for kids who are probably future engineers.

Gravity Maze 

Gravity Maze game

Puzzles

Puzzles are great for any age. Pick puzzles with bright colors and simple shapes for younger kids, and consider more intricate 3-dimensional kits and puzzles for older kids. Puzzles will encourage your child to problem-solve. They also make a great gift that develops fine motor skills.

Gifts that Teach Science

If you have a science-loving kid, we have some tried and true classic ideas to share from personal experience! These teach things about real world, the natural world, physics, and lots more learning fun!

  • Marble runs: Try this simple wooden set called Blocks and Marbles for older elementary children. It’s a long-time favorite with wooden blocks that have holes and grooves for marbles to roll and pass through.
  • Magnifying glass, or pocket microscope
  • Backyard explorer set
  • Chemistry sets with test tubes and stoppers for an older kid
  • Rock and fossil sets
  • Science kits and science experiment kits
  • Telescope
  • Binoculars
Binoculars

More Gifts With Educational Value

  • Crafts
  • Construction sets
  • Building toys: these vary by developmental stage, from things like intricate modeling kits to building blocks, wood blocks, interlocking building toys, stacking towers, and more.
  • Legos
  • Play Kits from Lovevery
  • Letter sets
  • Stationery sets
  • Shape blocks
  • Model kits

Experience Educational Gifts

Children’s Museum Membership

A membership to The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is a WONDERFUL gift idea! I’m a big supporter of gifting experiential gifts to loved ones, and an even bigger supporter if it’s providing educational value. And TCMU is one of the best local places that offers constant and steadfast education and fun to kids of all ages in the Upstate.

If you’re looking for experiential gifts you can give to loved ones this year, be sure to read our list of experience gifts.

Don’t live in Upstate, SC? Educational experience gifts are everywhere and they make a perfect gift. Look for local options like these for educational experiences you can give as a gift near you.

  • Local museums
  • Zoos
  • Nature Parks
  • Aquariums
  • Theaters
  • Science centers
  • Sports venues

What other educational gifts do you love giving kids?

Where to Play Laser Tag in the Upstate

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Wanting to get competitive and play some laser tag? Greenville, SC has a couple of awesome laser tag arenas! Spend an hour or two on a random weekend or book a laser tag experience for an exhilarating birthday party. Most of the following establishments are priced reasonably and include everything you need for an unforgettable time playing laser tag in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Where to play laser tag near Greenville, South Carolina

Laser tag at Main Event
Laser tag room at Main Event
Laser tag at Main Event

Where to Play Laser Tag Near Greenville, SC, and Spartanburg, SC

Main Event

225 Entertainment Boulevard, Greenville
If you haven’t been to Main Event yet, then we think you may want to visit this entertainment facility in the near future with your kids. You can enjoy much more than just laser tag at Main Event in Greenville, SC. They also have a bowling alley, arcade games, bar area, billiards, and dining.

Frankie’s Fun Park

45 Park Woodruff Drive, Greenville
Frankie’s Fun Park has laser tag for 6-year-olds and up. For only $9 per player, you can enjoy an intense battle of laser tag, surrounded by fog, in a two-level arena. Frankie’s also has arcade games, bumper boats, mini golf, and more for you to enjoy for an entire afternoon.

Spare Time

822 Congaree Road, Greenville
Spare Time has laser tag arenas where fog and music pump through the room while you enjoy a 15-minute adventure. During your visit, you can also enjoy their bowling alley, arcade games, pool tables, escape rooms, dining areas, and more.

Sweet Retreat

510 State Road S-37-341, Walhalla
Sweet Retreat is a family-friendly establishment in Walhalla. Their multi-level laser tag arena is over 3600 square feet of entertainment and exhilaration. Sweet Retreat also has an arcade, go-karts, mini golf, and more.

The Big E Gaffney

1100 Factory Shops Boulevard, Gaffney
This guide on where to play laser tag in the Upstate wouldn’t be complete without a mention of The Big E in Gaffney, a fully equipped entertainment facility for the whole family. Their laser tag features innovative technology in a multi-level arena with black lights, fog, and music. Each game lasts 12 minutes. You’ll also find arcade games, bowling, mini golf, and more at The Big E Gaffney.

Mobile Laser Tag in the Upstate

SC Outdoor Laser Tag

If you’re looking for a mobile laser tag experience that will come to you, look no further than SC Outdoor Laser Tag. They will provide all equipment and staff for your private event. They’ll set everything up and run all of the laser tag-related activities.

Upstate Laser Tag

Upstate Laser Tag is another option for your mobile laser tag needs. They’ll bring the equipment and convert your backyard, front yard, or local park into an energizing laser tag experience. 

Which laser tag arena is your favorite? Are we missing any?


Main Event, Greenville, SC

Learn why Main Event is the perfect place for fun in our KA review!

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