Summer Fun for Kids Five and Under



As a mother with three kids who are all 5 or younger, I’m always on the lookout for outings and events perfect for little ones. Knoxville certainly isn’t lacking in fun places for its youngest residents. If you are looking for exciting, enriching summer outings that are age appropriate for babies, toddlers, or preschoolers, here’s a great guide to get you started on your quest…

Art and Music

The Knoxville Museum of Art has summer programs and exciting exhibits just for kids!  /  Ages: All ages (Admission); 3-12 (Camps)

Does your little ones love music? Knoxville has an award-winning Kindermusik program that ties together both music and movement. My kids have always enjoyed this program!  /  Ages: All ages (Newborn and up)

Get Active

Is your child ready to tap, twirl, and leap across the dance floor? Dance Worx is just one of the many studios in Knoxville that offers dance lessons to small children.  /  Ages: Toddlers (Wee Dance) and up

Yes, Gym Bugs offers camps and classes for the little ones, but they also offer an Open Gym opportunity every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The cost is just $5 per child. (Sibling discount: $1 off per child.)  /  Ages: 3-10 (Summer Camps); 22 months-6 years old (Classes); No age specification (Open Gym)

Tennis anyone? The Smoky Mountain Tennis Academy has a Rising Stars Program at 9:00 a.m. each Saturday. The kids enjoy a hour-long lesson with professional instructors for only $5 per lesson.  /  Ages: 10 and under

The Little Gym of Knoxville and The Little Gym of Farragut both have exceptional classes that sharpen physical, cognitive, and social skills. We’ve been members for years, and they are FANTASTIC!  /  Ages: 4 months-12 years old

Get Cooking

Here’s one that not many people know about. Williams-Sonoma in West Towne Mall offers FREE Junior Chef classes on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m.  /  Ages: 5 (younger at the parent’s discretion) and up

Indoor Play

Kids can bounce the day away on the inflatables at Bounce USA in Knoxville. Don’t forget to bring socks!  /  Ages: Children who are crawling and older can use the inflatables

The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is an interactive learning experience that the little ones will love!  /  Ages: All ages (Children under 3 are FREE)

Mornings with  Mommy are educational play dates. There’s art, music, stories, and so much more! This is a must-try activity!  /  Ages: Infants-preschoolers

Pump it Up is another great place for your little one to bounce and slide on giant inflatables! You’ll have a blast too!  /  Ages: No age specification

What an amazing place! The Muse has exhibits, play spaces, camps, and events for children of all ages! Their goal is to foster a love of learning and exploration!  /  Ages: All ages (Exhibits); 3-14 (Camps)

Nature and Wildlife

The Knoxville Botanical Garden hosts Story Thyme in the Garden with nature crafts and activities.  /  Ages: Preschoolers

The Knoxville Zoo is always a winner for mommies with little ones. Grab the stroller and browse the animals with your child. The kids can even cool off during these hot summer months at the zoo’s splash pad located right next to the giraffes. Be sure to also check out Zoo Camp for children as young as 2.  /  Ages: All ages (Children under 2 are FREE)

Another great zoo to stroll through is the Little Ponderosa Zoo with its exotic animal rescue program.  /  Ages: All ages (Children 2 and under are FREE)

Visit over 600 Rainforest animals at the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo located near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  /  Ages: All ages (Children under 3 are FREE)

Books & Blooms is a FREE program held at the UT Gardens on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. It features stories, music, bubbles, crafts, and more! Be sure to also check out their Lil’ Gardeners Camps for children 4-5 years old.  /  Ages: All ages

Outdoor Fun

Cool off at one of Knoxville’s Splash Pad Parks. You’ll find a list of locations here.

Pay a visit to one of Knoxville’s Pick-Your-Own Farms or Farmer’s Markets.

Keep things easy with just a simple visit to one of the many beautiful parks in our area.

Ages: All ages can enjoy the places in this category


The Knox County Public Libraries are always offering exceptional community events and storytimes. You can check your local branch for more information about Crafts Days, Baby Bookworms, Toddler and Preschool Storytimes, and so much more!  /  Ages: Infants (Baby Bookworms) and older

Local bookstores are another great place to find bookish events and storytimes…

The Books-A-Million at 8513 Kingston Pike hosts a storytime at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Saturday. They are also doing a Summer Camp for July with themed activities from 2-4 p.m. each Saturday. The Undersea Adventure on July 12 and the Superhero Saturday on July 19 are especially perfect for the little ones!  /  Ages: All ages

Barnes & Nobel Booksellers (also on Kingston Pike) hold their weekly storytime at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. They also host several other events which can all be found on the events calendar on their website.  /  Ages: All ages

Toy Stores

Imagination Forest is a new toy store located in Powell that hosts a wide range of classes and events for children.  /  Ages: Age recommendations vary depending on the event

From Thomas the Train play dates to art classes, storytimes, and community events, Smart Toys and Books has it all! This has been one of our favorite places for years!  /  Ages: Most events are for 2 and up

Have you and your little ones tried any of these? Which were your favorites? Is there one you’d like to include? I’d love to hear from you!

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10 Responses to Summer Fun for Kids Five and Under

  1. Katie July 2, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    I’ll have to check these out!!!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer July 2, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      Great! The kids and I can personally attest to how much fun these places, classes, and events are!

  2. christie elkins July 2, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Great list! I had no idea about WIlliams Sonoma; Eden would LOVE that!!

    • Janie July 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

      Us too! My almost-six year-old has already been asking to learn to cook!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer July 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm #


      My daughter loved the cooking class. You do need to call or go in person to sign-up beforehand. There’s no purchase required for the class, but there is a 10% off discount given on anything you buy while you are there.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer July 19, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      My daughter loves it! If you go to the class on shakes the last week of July, we’ll see you there!

  3. Amber Kiger July 5, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Great! Hope to meet some other toddlers and we can have play dates.

    We are always looking for other kids to play with!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer July 19, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      We are too! It’s so important for kids to have those opportunities to socialize with other kids, but it’s also beneficial for moms to have that time with each other. 🙂

    • Heather May 1, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      Amber, what zip code are you in? We’d love to have you join MOMS Club! We meet weekly for age-based playgroups and also have several whole group (all ages welcome) events each week. 🙂


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