What every 8-year-old wants to do this summer

pottery class for kids

Spring has finally sprung and the last few days of school are upon us!

Kids and parents alike are planning for summer fun, but I wonder if they’re on the same page?

Getting into the mind of an 8-year-old, I’ve compiled a list of awesome (local and inexpensive) activities for kids and families.

It wouldn’t be summer to an 8-year-old (or anyone) without…

kids in swimming pool

Wave Pool

The new and improved Wave Pool at East Marion Veteran’s Memorial Park. Ride the waves, play in the inner tubes and have a snack at the new concession stand. To dry off, hit the playgrounds!

Dairy Creme Corner has all things kid-friendly from Cinnamon Toast Crunch Avalanches to birthday cake ice cream. No matter what kind of picky eater an 8-year-old can be, there is something here for everyone!

Coal Country Miniature Golf is a vital component to a successful childhood summer. Mini golf in itself is essential, but Coal Country offers something more: a glimpse underground. Once you’ve learned the tricks of the coal trade, swing a few at the batting cages.

splash pad

Splash Park @ Palatine Park

Money is no concern to an 8-year-old, but parents are a different story. For this, there’s Palatine Park. This is a fun (and free) family space to enjoy the summer days! After playing around in the park, hit the splash pad to cool off and run amuck. Kids can enjoy the riverfront and put their imaginations to good use at Arts For Kids Day. That’s not all! Palatine Park movie nights are the perfect summertime treat. The air is clean and cool; the sun has just gone; the aroma of fresh popcorn permeates the park. (This summer, Palatine Park is playing The Mighty Ducks, Coco, Jumanji and A Dog’s Purpose.)

Another must: Consider the undeniably true fact that summer would not be complete without a picnic of pepperoni rolls, fresh veggies and some cupcakes. The best place for this would have to be at Valley Falls. Great food, beautiful views and incredible trails!

colonial kids games

Colonial Kids Day at Pricketts Fort

Pricketts Fort might just be the most fun anyone could have while learning. Let your little ones learn from the living history interpreters as they live their 18th century lives there at the fort. Take a tour and take home a souvenir. Plus, every other Wednesday in the summer, the fort hosts colonial kids days – get outside and play!

You can’t end a summer without having been to a couple of the county’s coolest fairs and festivals. Rides, cotton candy, games and big stuffed animals! An 8-year-old is sure to love the Paw Paw District Fair and the Mannington District Fair (complete with a demolition derby).

West Virginia is notorious for its summers – what I like to call ‘the rainy season.’ Every other day is beautiful with sunshine and blue skies (pesky, rainy days in between). What to do about it? Make a plan … make a couple of plans.

The Rain Plan:

rides at Valley Worlds of Fun

Valley Worlds of Fun

Valley Worlds of Fun is really a perfect location to go during clear skies or rain clouds. So if it’s good weather, climb the rock wall and compete in the water bumper cars. But if it’s not so nice outside, spin in the teacups, bowl a few games and win as much as you can in the arcade. Don’t forget laser tag – the perfect escape from rainy days!

Regardless of the raindrops, it’s still summertime and ice cream is a must! The Poky Dot has summer fare favorites like banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, and so many milkshake flavors (all of which are perfectly family-size). Don’t forget a quintessential summertime meal: burgers, french fries, onion rings and soft pretzels.

If you’re not in Fairmont city limits, head to Our Back Porch for that oh-so-essential ice cream treat. The inside is adorable and perfect for kids – watch as they make cotton candy marshmallow sundaes, ice cream pies and brownie volcanoes.

pottery painting class

Mountain Creative class

Mountain Creative is for a place for the whole family, but definitely for the 8-year-olds. Paint dinosaurs, fairy houses, gnomes and other cool figures.

You wouldn’t be prepared for those random rainy days unless you take a trip to Kerri’s Korner Bookstore and Comic Paradise. Get some good reads to help your 8-year-old’s education and imagination.

Snacks and meals are very important to keep up the energy during a jam-packed summer. Woody’s Hot Dogs has some great slaw, pepperoni buns and of course, delicious dogs.

SkateAway is a necessary hideout from the rain where your 8-year-old can work off some of that summertime energy.

The beauty of summer, despite the rain, infiltrates the creative minds of anyone and everyone – including the children. Nativibes is where they can let this creativity run wild (without getting sopping wet)! 

What’s a rainy day without crafts? Head to the Joe n Throw (where mom and dad can get their caffeine fix) and the kids can learn a trade. Create and paint birdhouses, windchimes and  Hogwarts Sorting Hat.

Escape the rain or the heat at Tygart Valley Cinemas. There’s always something good playing for a great price with even better popcorn. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

With all these Marion exclusive activities, your 8-year-old’s summer is sure to be one for the books. Regardless of the weather, take time to enjoy your family, your community, and your summer!


What’s your fondest summer memory?


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