30 Things To Do with Houston Kids Over Christmas Break

Photo courtesy of the Houston Space Center
Photo courtesy of the Houston Space Center

We may have the best intentions of organizing creative, Pinterest-worthy crafts and activities for our kids during Christmas break, but bringing those activities to fruition isn't always so easy. 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 in-person or virtually, and lean on us to show you where you can take in the sights and sounds of the holidays. Below, you'll find 30 things to do that kids will love and, more importantly, that can get you out of the house!

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.

Ice skating in Houston? You bet! Try it over Christmas break. Photo courtesy of discoverygreen.com

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, or try one of our other favorite indoor play spaces.

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.

If Christmas break turns out cold and rainy, burn off energy at Altitude Trampoline Park. Photo by Rachael Cherry

9. Altitude Trampoline Park

Reach new heights as you bounce your way through Altitude Trampoline Park at three locations in Houston.

10. Santa Visits

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

Use Christmas break to finally see some gators at Brazos Bend State Park, photo courtesy of Mommy Poppins

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. Visit a Local Museum

And don't forget to check our list for Free Admission Times and Days at Houston's Museums, Zoos, and Gardens.

Visit Santa and check out some airplanes at Lone Star Flight Museum. Photo courtesy of the Lone Star Flight Museum

14. Stearman Santa

Fly in for some seasonal fun activities while Stearman Santa visits the museum or enjoy a leisurely afternoon 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. 

The Light Park, at Hurricane Harbor SplashTown. Photo courtesy of the park

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 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. Stageworks Theater Holiday Follies

Laughter, dancing, and holiday cheer in this family-friendly theater performance.

22. Momentum Indoor Climbing

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

Do one last Christmas break trip to Jingle on the Boardwalk. Photo courtesy of the Kemah Boardwalk

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.

December usually means great hiking weather in Houston. Photo courtesy of the Houston Arboretum

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. Before you go, check out the museum's Holly Jolly calendar, which includes Santa photo ops, arts and crafts, holiday movies, and more.

27. Storytime with Santa at La Centerra

Listen to Santa read aloud holiday stories at this fun storytime at Heritage Square in La Centerra. 

28. City Place Gingerbread Village

Experience City Place's second annual Gingerbread Village with giant candy canes, gumdrops, a 16-foot house, and a 12-foot windmill!

 Enjoy those holiday lights while they're still up. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston

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

Count down to 2022 during The Woodlands Children's Museum annual High Noon Countdown parties for little ones.

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.

Mini Masterminds at Woodlands Children's Museum
The Woodlands Children's Museum - 10:00 AM
Waller County Fair and Rodeo
Waller County Fair - various times
Detective Days at Bayou Bend
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens - various times
Fort Bend County Fair
Fort Bend County Fair - various times
Kids Online Python Coding Class
Young Gates-KIds Online Personalized Classes - various times
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides