Photo courtesy of Jurassic Quest
Photo courtesy of Jurassic Quest

30 Things To Do with Houston Kids over Christmas Break

We may have the best intentions of organizing creative, Pinterest-worthy crafts and activities for our kids during school vacation, but bringing those activities to fruition isn't always so easy—especially after all of the socially distanced, safe activities we've already been coming up with throughout 2020. This winter break, instead of setting lofty goals that never get met, fall back on our holiday activities guide for things to do during the season, visit Santa safely both virtually and in person, and lean on us to show you where you can take in the sights and sounds of the holidays while still social distancing. Below, you'll find 30 things to do that kids will love and, more importantly, that can get you safely out of the house!

We highly recommend social distancing and wearing a mask when you visit any of these seasonal activities that take place outside of your home and urge you to check each event beforehand to ensure they are still happening, as so many things are apt to change at the last minute this year.

1. Christmas lights

Look at the best Houstonians have to offer, like Prestonwood Forest's Nite of Lights where you can judge the best displays.

2. Public light displays

If neighborhood lights are too low-key for your taste, check out one of these, where you'll find millions of dazzling scenes to walk around and under, or even interact with.

3. Holiday volunteering opportunities

Spend some time giving back to the community.

4. Santa's Wonderland

Take a hayride through this famous College Station holiday event.

5. Alvin Christmas Train

Take a train to see 300,000 lights and hundreds of holiday decorations! Hot chocolate and other refreshments are available for purchase.

6. The ICE at Discovery Green

Spend the afternoon ice skating at Discovery Green's outdoor ice skating rink. You can also head to The Ice Rink at The Woodlands for more ice skating fun.

7. Giggles & Fun

Stay toasty and burn off some extra energy at Giggles & Fun indoor play space.

8. Old MacDonald's Farm

Spend the day at an area farm or ranch (many have holiday-related events and activities), like Old MacDonald's Farm - where you can take part in all the holiday fun the farm has to offer; kids can also ride the train, play in the hay barn, and enjoy the petting zoo.

Altitude Trampoline Park. Photo by Rachael Cherry

9. Altitude Trampoline Park

Reach new heights as you bounce your way through Altitude Trampoline Park.

10. Safe Santa Visits

See everyone's favorite man in the red suit at one of the many safe Santa events around town.

11. Day trips

Get out of Houston for the day without all the fuss of traveling far with an easy day trip to a neighboring town, like heading to Brenham for a visit to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Creamery or Brazos Bend State Park to marvel at the gators.

12. Kayak or Canoe

Check out the sights and sounds of Houston from the water for a different perspective of our beloved city. 

13. Area Farmers Market

Enjoy a morning or afternoon at an area farmers market where you can buy fresh produce and other handmade goods while supporting local small businesses.

14. Stearman Santa

Fly in for a some seasonal fun activities while Stearman Santa visits the museum or enjoy a leisurely afternoong checking out all of the aircraft that call Lone Star Flight Museum home.

15. Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt 

Head to Rob Fleming Park where your kids can enjoy the park's Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt, cookies, hot cocoa, and a visit with the Santa himself. 

Enjoy Moody's Festival of Lights. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens

16. The Holidays at Moody Gardens

Enjoy a plethora of activities during The Holidays at Moody Gardens, including a giant ice slide, 4D movies, ice sculptures, the Festival of Lights, and more. 

17. Christmas Movies for Kids

Cuddle up on the couch with plenty of blankets and hot cocoa and turn one (or more!) of the best Christmas movies for kids.

18. Top Holiday and Christmas Events

In a pinch, turn to our Top Holiday and Christmas Events in Houston list for a wealth of holiday activities that will bring joy to the entire family. 

19. The Light Park at Hurricane Harbor SplashTown

Put a unique, social distancing spin on looking at Christmas lights by driving through Hurricane Harbor SplashTown's newest drive-thru light installation The Light Park.

20. Home for the Holidays at Old Town Spring

Stroll through the quaint shops in Old Town Spring to shop for holiday gifts and view the twinkling lights and festive storefronts.

21. Twas the Night Before Christmas at Stageworks Theater

Watch the classic tale Twas the Night Before Christmas unfold on the stage during this family-friendly holiday performance.

22. Momentum Indoor Climbing

Make a reservation and take the family to go indoor rock climbing

23. Jingle on the Boardwalk

Head down to Kemah for the day to visit Santa's Workshop, drink hot chocolate, and watch festive performances at the Boardwalk.

24. Reindeer Toothpaste

Combine a festive craft with science as you create your own reindeer toothpaste during this holiday twist on the classic elephant toothpaste experiment.

25. Kid-Friendly Hikes

Hit the trails for a kid-friendly hike to enjoy the outdoors as a family. 

26. Trains Over Texas at HMNS

Visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science during the holiday season to check out the annual Trains Over Texas exhibit. While you're there, be sure to check out the White Christmas exhibit at the Cockrell Butterfly Center. 

27. Storytime with Santa at La Centerra

Listen to Santa read aloud holiday stories at this socially distanced storytime at Heritage Square in La Centerra. Your ticket even gets you a Nestle Toll House cookie pack!

28. Jurassic Quest at Katy Mills Mall

See over 70 larger-than-life dinosaurs and learn all about them at this drive-thru prehistoric adventure in Katy. Live on the other side of town? Dinosaur Adventure Drive-Thru Houston is also touring in Pasadena!

29. Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston

Take in an out-of-this-world holiday experience when you visit Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston. You can watch two high-kinetic light shows, visit the twinkling tree, and more. 

30. High Noon Countdown at The Woodlands Children's Museum

Create your own family time capsule for 2020, make party hats, and count down to 2021 during The Woodlands Children's Museum annual High Noon Countdown.

If all else fails, you can always refer back to our trusty calendar for things to do every day. It's jam-packed with activities that are sure to brighten up your week. 


This post originally published in 2017.

Mars by Luke Jerram
Houston Museum of Natural Science - various times Pick
Garden Railroad Run Days at Rosenberg Railroad Museum
Rosenberg Railroad Museum - 1:00 PM
HMNS at Levy Park
Levy Park Conservancy - 2:00 PM
Sunday Stroll at CityPlace
CityPlace - 3:00 PM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides