Thinking about turning an adventure into an educational vacation? The Kidding Around team loves to learn on the road and has compiled a list of ideas for educational trips for families. From our nation’s capital to national parks, there is so much to see, memories to make, and things to learn. Here are some places we’ve traveled to where your family can learn something new!
If being outdoors, chasing waterfalls, learning all about nature, and having a blast with your kids at Lake Jocassee sounds like the perfect day, then this Lake Jocassee Wild Child tour should be on your bucket list. Kristina took her kids on the adventure and tells us all about it.
Thanks to Jocassee Wild Child for the media tickets so we could do this review!
Looking for a summer reading program to keep your children motivated to read? Summer is a great time to get outside and soak up some sun, but it’s also the perfect time to relax with a good book. Whether you’re reading bedtime stories or your child is spending the drive to the beach with their nose in a book, reading is a great summer activity for babies, kids, teens, and parents. Here are a few of the summer reading programs in the Upstate that offer prizes for being a bookworm.
Looking for a unique history lesson at textile mills in South Carolina? The Upstate of South Carolina has a rich history of textile production. Many cities and towns were heavily influenced by the presence of textile mills and the eventual closure of those mills. When the mills were at their prime, Mill Villages boasted homes, schools, baseball teams, and even vacation destinations. You can see evidence of this mill history and mill village life all around the Upstate if you know where to look.
Many previous textile mills in South Carolina are now home to parks where you can explore their history, as well as enjoy some time outdoors. Load up the kids and check out these historic textile mill sites for today’s history lesson and get some sun while you’re at it! It’s so much more fun than learning history in a textbook, right?
Have you been looking for art classes for kids in Greenville, SC? Make art, get messy with paint, learn something new, and take home their creation. What could be better? My four-year-old daughter and I were invited to create some art at one of Yellowbobbypins’ art classes at their Hampton Station location.
It was such a joyful experience that further strengthened her interest in the creative arts. Yellowbobbypins has art playgroups, art classes, party packages, and even art camps for the budding artist in your life. Find out more about Yellowbobbypins below.
Beginning September 5th, 2023, Yellowbobbypins with open its doors in its larger, expanded location at Hampton Station! Stay tuned for more information.
A special thank you to Lauren Runion, owner of Yellowbobbypins, for having us for this review!
Art Classes for Kids: Yellowbobbypins Art Camp at Hampton Station
My daughter loves to create art, but finding art classes for kids that fit her age range hasn’t always been easy. Good thing Yellowbobbypins has art classes for kids ages 2 – 12! From the moment we walked into Yellowbobbypins owner Lauren Runion’s studio space at Hampton Station, I knew we were in the perfect place to create comfortably.
Firstly, Lauren exudes creativity and kindness. It was beautiful watching her interact with the children in a kind, calm, and direct way. Her passion for art is delightful and she is such a talented art educator. Her knowledge stems from many years of experience as an art teacher in the public school system.
Throughout the class, she patiently guided the kids through each step of their project and addressed each child by name. She was helpful and attentive to each child and their project.
My daughter is a little nervous in new situations (as am I), and Lauren made it a point to ask her questions about her art pieces and to include her with the other children who regularly attend classes. This really brought out her creativity and interest in the class, making for a memorable experience for both of us.
Drop-in and Semester Long Art Classes
For the budding artist in your life, Yellowbobbypins offers semester classes, drop-in art classes, and online classes. Classes strengthen creative problem-solving, build confidence, and teach about various art techniques such as painting, drawing, and mixed media art.
The in-person art classes are located at the Hampton Station studio. Kids of all ages are welcome, with classes in groups of different age ranges (4-6 years old; 7-9 years old; 10-12 years old). Parents can opt to have their child in the classes for the full semester, exploring a core theme throughout. Or, drop-in classes are also available, where the child can join the group to explore the theme for that day.
There are class options for morning, afternoon, and evening classes throughout the week. When my daughter went for a drop-in visit, she explored Mexican Hojalata metal and mirror art! These classes are 1 hour long, guided classes with the instructor, Lauren, and the kids constantly learn as they go. Classes are available throughout the school year, but there are no classes during the summertime (but there are summer camps your child can join!). Find out more and register for art classes at Yellowbobbypins on their website.
Art Playgroup: Wee Create at Yellowbobbypins
Have a young kid who loves to make art? Worried about the mess that usually comes along with arts and crafts with small kids? Worry no more! Yellowbobbypins offers Wee Create art playgroups for ages 2-6. Plus, you do not have to worry about cleanup. These classes are currently available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings. Here, parents and children can engage in art play that strengthens creativity through engaging and interactive lessons. Kids will build on their fine motor skills, explore with their hands with art materials, socialize with other kids, and engage their senses through sensory play.
During the art playgroup, the kids will explore different sensory stations with different topics, like oceans and cities. Adult participation is required for the art playgroups, but parents will have just as much fun creating as their kids will. Art playgroups are 1-hour long morning classes, with some parent/child activity classes occasionally offered during evening hours. You can register for classes on the Yellowbobbypins website.
Art Summer Camp with Yellowbobbypins
Summer camp at Yellowbobbypins is a fun way to keep your child engaged during summer break! They have several themed art camps available to choose from, with camps like Dollhouse Camp and Harry Potter Camp! Each camp is 1 week long from Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 12 pm. Check out the current availability for summer camps on the Yellowbobbypins website!
Yellowbobbypins also hosts parties for ages 2 and up! The space is perfect for an intimate birthday party centered around art and learning new things. Parents can choose from three party packages, including painting parties for ages 6 and older, Little Parties for ages 2-6 years old, or a custom event of your choosing! Party packages start at $200 and can be offsite or at the Yellowbobbypins studio at Hampton Station in Greenville, SC.
The SC State Museum is not only huge but so entertaining, educational, and fun. Here’s why you should consider a trip to Columbia, SC to explore it.
The South Carolina State Museum has been on my list as a homeschooling parent (actually, before that since my daughter was supposed to go as a third-grader and then the pandemic hit). I had heard it was cool but did not know the extent of exactly how amazing it would be. So I hauled my kids out there for a truly fun day trip. And if you’re a homeschooling parent, read all the way through for a special admission tip.
Where can you bring the kids for an educational adventure close to home in Upstate, SC? From historic mill sites and battlefield hikes to nature observations and scientific discoveries, Greenville offers so many opportunities to learn while having fun. So, get out of the books and out for a family learning adventure! Even better, many of these adventures are free or very low cost.
Did you know that you can visit Table Rock Tea Company to learn about tea right in Upstate, SC? This authentic tea farm is only a 45-minute drive from Greenville, SC, grows, processes, and sells tea. We went for a tour to learn about all that’s brewing at Table Rock Tea.
Within the first five minutes of our awesome tour at Table Rock Tea Company, my mind was blown. I can’t tell you what it was exactly that did it because it’s a fun fact that Jennifer, the owner, loves to tell guests, but it’s only the beginning of learning all about how tea is grown and processed right here in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Have you visited EdVenture? Columbia, SC has a wonderful children’s museum that is the perfect combination of hands-on play and educational fun for your family! Keep reading as we will share all the tips and info you’ll need to make your trip to Edventure: Columbia, SC perfect!
From babies to pre-teens, EdVenture Children’s Museum is sure to have something for all! Several exhibits make up the two floors of wonder and include activities ranging from science and engineering to pretend play and everything in between. Before we discuss the exhibits, let’s start with some helpful tips to get you prepared for your “edventure.” This children’s museum is closed on Tuesday’s, but is open every other day of the week.
Admissions and Fees to Columbia’s EdVenture
Tickets can be purchased at the museum or online before you go for $13.00/person (children under 2 are free). Yearly memberships can also be purchased with various price ranges and package deals. EdVenture has a strong belief that EVERY child should have the opportunity to engage in educational fun within the museum. Because of this, they have discounted admissions options for families who receive SNAP, WIC, or Medicaid for $3 entry per person.
Once tickets are purchased, you can leave and re-enter the museum throughout the same day for no extra fees.
Camps, Classes, and Regular Events at EdVenture
EdVenture offers several extra programs throughout the week and during different seasons including:
Spring Break & Summer Camp
$198 weekly per child, $30 membership discount for Spring Break
$249 weekly per child, 15% discount for members for Summer Break
I was very impressed by all of the thoughtful features throughout the museum for even the littlest of littles! For starters, the museum is well-planned out making it easy to maneuver strollers to and from the exhibits. There is also an elevator located in the middle of the museum that is large enough for the whole family – strollers and all!
On the second floor, in “My Backyard” (the area for those under 3 years old), there is a cozy nursing room complete with a rocking chair, bookshelf, and dark, retractable curtains.
On the first floor, to the right of the main entrance, you can enjoy a fresh lunch or quick snacks. The cafe has a decent-sized menu and serves things such as pizza, sub sandwiches, salads, and a variety of grilled items as well as beverages. No outside food is allowed within the museum.
EdVenture Children’s Museum Exhibits
More than nine different areas with endless amounts of learning and exploration can be found at EdVenture. We will walk you through each level of the museum and let you know what to expect as you wander around with your kids!
On the main level of EdVenture you’ll find the majority of the museum’s exhibits.
World of Work
What do you want to be when you grow up? A firefighter? How about a farmer? Or maybe even a chef? You can try it all throughout this exhibit! “World of Work” takes up the majority of the main level of EdVenture.
Your children can climb into a 24 foot life-size fire truck, flash the lights and even create their own fire escape plan. Across from the firetruck, you will find a dairy and produce farm. Here, your children can “milk” a cow, harvest vegetables, climb onto a tractor and collect fruits from the fruit trees to send to the grocery store.
Next, make a “grocery list” and send your littles out on an errand – the Neighborhood Market is always a popular place to be! With small shopping carts, 2 check-out lanes, and realistic foods and goods, your family is sure to have a fun time playing pretend.
Be sure to also check out the Little Spot Diner (situated right outside of the grocery store) and let your kids make you a delicious meal. My favorite thing about “World of Work” is watching my kid’s creativity and imagination come to life in these real-world settings sized just right for them!
You can’t miss him, he’s the world’s largest child measuring in at over 40 feet tall with a heart weighing over 500 pounds! Eddie is his name and he will help teach your children all about body organs and their functions!
You can climb up a set of stairs that will take you into his stomach, intestines, heart, and brain. Eddie is the perfect combination of fun and education as his insides are set up like a jungle gym, but with realistic organs – You can hear his beating heart, the electricity inside of his brain as well as his stomach growling when you listen carefully.
As you make your way up, take a tunnel slide back down to his large shoes (which are each about the size of a car, might I add), and start your exploration again! I love that Eddie opens up a door for parents and caregivers to talk to and teach their children about the wonderful things our bodies can do at such an age-appropriate level.
The News Room
Has your child ever wanted to be on TV? If so, head on over to the “News Room.” Here, your child can pretend to be a news anchor or even a producer. With realistic equipment and large TV screens to look up at, this exhibit is sure to be a treat. Be mindful that to get here, you will have to go up a small flight of stairs!
Wags & Whiskers
Get ready to put your children’s pet care abilities to the test! In this area, they will be able to care for a variety of different animals with x-rays, grooming and veterinary tools, and basic pet care needs. Wags & Whiskers teaches your child how to care for the health of their pets through interactive play.
Biolab at EdVenture
Let your child explore their inner scientist in the Biolab, designed to teach kids about biomedical science in a fun way! With teaching laboratories, this exhibit and programming is geared toward kids ages 5 – 14 to spark a lifelong interest in the biomedical field.
Cooking Lab at EdVenture
Enjoy cooking and preparing real food in the Cooking Lab, all while learning about the body, how nutrition is important, and tie all the information together with what is taught in the Biolab.
Outdoor Fun at EdVenture
The outdoor area at EdVenture is made up primarily of water play which is great in the warmer months, but be mindful that your kids may get pretty wet so an extra shirt or full change of clothes isn’t a bad idea! There are also several tricycles and a small, model airplane in this area that kids can climb into and “fly.”
The seasonal exhibit changes frequently to match whatever is going on during…well, each season! EdVenture often has holiday characters such as Santa and the Easter Bunny set up here. You will also find holiday-specific activities, education on different cultural and traditional beliefs, and goodies throughout the year!
Fly an Airplane on the Second Floor of EdVenture
The second level of the museum is home to all things science, engineering, and technology, but with a closed-off room dedicated to the tiniest explorers.
This part of the museum is full of flight simulators and educational, hands-on displays that teach children about gravity, the solar system, and how/why some things can take flight while others can’t.
My son’s favorite part of this exhibit is the Boeing 757 cockpit where you can sit in the pilot’s seat, explore the gears, and look out of the windshield at a view of the city.
In this area, you can also create and launch your own paper airplane, climb and play in a rocket ship, read interesting facts about aeronautics, and learn to fly in the Boeing 777 flight simulators.
In this area, your children will be able to create and build. In the “Open Make” center, there are several recycled materials where your kids can cut, glue, fold and color their own creations. There are also several different styles of blocks that can be found – magnetic, large Legos, KAPLA blocks, waffle blocks, etc. that will put your child’s problem-solving and engineering skills to the test!
This part of the museum is best suited for children 5-10 years old, however, with extra assistance, younger children might also be able to engage in some of the play (especially with the building blocks).
Strictly reserved for children 3 years old and younger, here you will find tons of toddler and baby-safe play! There is a treehouse-styled jungle gym, a boat where kiddos can dress up in rain boots and large yellow jackets, puzzles, soft play mats, a ball pit, and several ways to meet the sensory needs of your tots!
As mentioned before, there is also a nursing area and large, family-style restroom within.
Party Room at EdVenture
Looking for the perfect place to host a birthday party? You might want to check out the EdVenture party room! Parties are $300 for non-members and $260 for members. The birthday packages come with several incentives including all-day admission for 35 guests, discounts in the gift shop, downloadable party invitations, 90-minute private party, and more! You can visit the EdVenture Birthday page to check for dates and find out more.
There was an audible gasp from most of the crowd as they stepped into the new T.C. Hopper Planetarium at Roper Mountain Science Center for the 6:00 pm showing of Starry Nights in Greenville, SC. After going through a nearly year-long $1 million-plus renovation in 2017, the Roper Mountain planetarium is one of Greenville’s most amazing gems, and it is truly stunning.
The RMSC is part of the Greenville County School System and they strive to engage kids of all ages in the sciences in ways that are imaginative, fun, and memorable. RMSC is truly one of the coolest things you can do here and Starry Nights at the only planetarium in Greenville, SC is a favorite activity of not only us here at Kidding Around but lots of Greenville families.