Ok, there are so many more than 5 great resources for parents in Central Arkansas - after all, we are a pretty child friendly place! But when I happen upon a mom that has recently PCS'd here (permanent change of station for non military readers) or has just found herself the proud new keeper of a newborn in addition to the toddler who now needs SOMETHING TO DO...here are my go-to recommendations!
○ Little Rock Family Magazine: You can pick up a copy of this free resource and information packed magazine just about anywhere around town (or find them online). Little Rock Family (via fb) is my go-to for the last minute "what do we want to do with the kids this weekend" question as well as being a great source of info about local businesses and causes. So you literally have nothing to lose - pick up a copy/follow them today. They are super awesome (and not just because some of my work found it's way into one of their cover stories).
○ Our Local Libraries: The Central Arkansas Library System is huge and diverse, spanning multiple towns. They offer so many wonderful community resources it would be hard to list them all here but think a library JUST for children, story-time from birth to school-ages, crafting, children's cooking classes with ingredients straight from the library community garden, holiday events, equipment and toy rentals, audiobooks for road-trips - honestly it just goes on and on. Do yourself a favor and see what they have to offer.
○ Museum of Discovery: I can't say enough about how much we love our local children's museum. They host weekly science story-time complete with experiments that NEVER get food dye or play-dough on your own kitchen floor, yearly themed festivals, and Science After Dark - the once a month grownup date night complete with grownup drinks and SUPER fun themes. We all know how much it can save our sanity to just have a night out every now and then, right?
○ Our local parks/playgrounds! Central Arkansas has some great outdoor spaces to take advantage of. I frequent my own neighborhood park regularly but also enjoy Allsopp Park when I'm near Hillcrest and War Memorial or Riverfront Park when my kiddos need a splash pad. Burns Park in North Little Rock is huge and pretty awesome with a tank and rail car on display: not to mention the inclusive and accessible One Heart Playground. Check out more popular area parks here or at Little Rock Parks and Recreation.
○ Getting hooked into a community/finding your village: Whether this is a strong neighborhood group, a church, MOPS, your school's PTA, a private FB group for local parents, an in person support group, or your big wild family with 8 sisters, 5 brothers and 35 nieces/nephews - being part of a socially connected community means you are "more likely to thrive" "Research suggests that individuals who feel a sense of security, belonging, and trust in their community have better health." And don't we all want some of that thriving and better health?
Seriously, there are a lot of great resources and tons of fun things to do here in the Central Arkansas area that I didn't mention. These 5 will get you started though if you are new or newly looking for things to do with/for little ones in our best kept secret big-small town of Little Rock <3