The start of the school year welcomes community celebrations and family events to soak up the last of summer break. A family yoga class in Naples uses play to encourage movement for yogis of all ages; back-to-school festivals with face painting, food vendors and art activities dot the Gulf Coast; and the popular puppy characters from Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol head to Estero so littles can see their favorite heroic working dogs up close.
Weekends in August
Springtime Farms Adventure Park, North Fort Myers
The 5-acre park hosts family activities for kids to burn their endless energy, including a track-bound human hamster wheel and a 70-foot long jumping pillow where they can leap and flip through the air. For smaller children, playground swings and slides offer a more traditional playtime, while the petting zoo with more than 300 animals, including eight 2-month-old baby goats, offers critter encounters for everyone.
2023 Neapolitan Family Back to School Expo at North Collier Regional Park, Naples
Families should come hungry to enjoy a variety of food trucks before taking children to see the face painting and balloon animal artists. Dozens of 8-foot booths dot the grounds offering after-school activity sign-ups for clubs such as dance and sports.
Summer Luau Back-to-School Bash at Gulf Coast Town Center, Fort Myers
The event features a luau-themed photo booth, a DJ and chances to meet your favorite Island princess characters. Attendees can donate new school supplies, including backpacks and children’s sneakers, to benefit Eva’s Closet Foundation, a Fort Myers-based nonprofit that serves local children and families in need.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday through Sep. 6
Kids Movies for $2 at Regal Summer Movie Express, locations across Southwest Florida
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer, relive the animated films you and your littles love on the big screen. Some of this month’s single showings across the region include Kung Fu Panda 3, Dolittle and Curious George. Check your specific theater for exact showings.
Make-and-Take at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum
Catch one of six workshops this season at the Naples museum, where everyone is an artist. Bring your kiddos to the mixed-media printmaking class, where creatives are given ink, paint pens and oil pastels to make their own botanical artworks based on a work on display in the Naples Collects exhibition, a show featuring pieces provided from the community’s personal possessions.
GiGi’s Language Music N’ Our Peeps (LMNOP) at Gigi’s Playhouse, Fort Myers
The national Down Syndrome nonprofit’s Southwest Florida branch welcomes moms-to-be, children from birth to 36 months, their siblings and their parents to this interactive development class. A speech-language therapist leads the program, guiding parents through teaching their baby sign language while everyone works together to encourage vocalization through songs and movement.
Starting Aug. 5
LIVE! Science Shows at STEMLAB, Estero
Little scientists can stop by every day to witness experiments taking place at the Miromar Outlets suite. Staff, all of whom have or are pursuing science degrees, use Alka-Seltzer and other elements to mimic volcanic eruptions and rocket launches to teach the kiddos about chemical reactions and aerodynamics. The lab is also open every day for children to pop by the coloring studio (where they’ll color an animal, scan it and see it come to life on the TV), play in the sandbox or try out the virtual reality system.
Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s Fun in the Sun Family Campfire Circle at Estero Recreation Center
Gather with your little girls who always wondered about the badge-covered vests. Campers and their families sit around a crackling campfire where they’ll make s’mores, sing, listen to—and participate in—captivating stories, songs and skits. A water slide ramps up the fun, s’mores leave bellies satiated, and interactive games foster a sense of connection and appreciation for the great outdoors. Each girl earns a fun patch to add to their current—or future—sash.
PAW Patrol LIVE! Heroes Unite at Hertz Arena, Estero
Fans of the popular Nickelodeon show can catch the tour and meet their favorite puppy pals, like Chase, the German shepherd cop; Everest, the snow rescue husky; and the unit’s kid leader, Ryder, in this song-and-dance performance that teaches the importance of being a good helper when someone is in need.
Aug. 12 & 26
Baby & Me at Family Initiative’s Autism Support Center, Cape Coral
Held on second and fourth Saturdays, these new classes aim to prepare children for daycare or preschool, providing assistance for parents seeking an environment where their little ones engage with peers and learn essential skills, like mobility, in their occupational therapy room with swings and slides. Hosted by an occupational therapist, the program’s varied activities include exploration, singing and dancing, all designed to foster language acquisition, social aptitude and sensory development.
Aug. 13 at C’MON Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
Mini Buddhas Kids Yoga
On second Sundays, bring a yoga mat and your minis ages 2 and up to this 30-minute session, where they’re encouraged to dance, stretch and play. The founder, Elaina Vasta, of Mini Buddhas and Just Play by E.Co (a Naples-based brand with a goal of including kids and families in mindful yoga practices) uses devices to help kids recall each pose like saying “moo” in cow pose and “meow” in cat’s pose. Music and toys are used in every class to help everyone be engaged—and to make it fun.
The Super Scaly Slimy Family Day at Collier Museum at Government Center, Naples
Discover Southwest Florida’s reptiles, amphibians and fish in this monthly family event. This gathering offers interactive games, arts and crafts, and touch-based activities that get the little explorers’ hands slimy with touch-based activities, all to teach them about native wildlife in our own backyard.