It's the most wonderful time of the year! This is especially true for preschoolers, who may be just now starting to really understand what is happening during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Breakfasts with Santa, holiday light displays, parades, and craft fairs top the list of things to do with kids this season, but sometimes it's hard to navigate what might be age-appropriate to attend with a preschooler. This handy list not only includes area events that are the most kid-friendly, but also gives you some tips for activities to do at home with preschoolers during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For even more ideas on how to have fun with your preschooler this holiday season (and the rest of the year, too!) check out our ultimate bucket list of 100 things to do in Houston with kids.
1. Let your little ones help in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. What kid doesn't love cracking a few eggs and taking turns stirring? Take a look at these easy-to-make mug cakes as a great option for beginner chefs.
2. Visit one of our favorite 34 free places to play this fall. Whether it's indoors or out, these spots are sure to get your kids moving.
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3. Remember making handprint turkeys out of paint as a kid? Help your preschooler make their own festive crafts this holiday season. Check out this list of great crafts to try at home.
4. Attend story time at a local library. While you're there, you may even check out a holiday book or two to read at home.
5. Make Thanksgiving cards with your preschooler that can brighten the day of nursing home residents this holiday season. Find more information about where to mail or drop off your cards here.
6. Attend the Tree Lighting at Market Street on Thursday, November 16 to kick off the holiday season.
7. Run, run as fast as you can at the Turkey Trot in Conroe, or attend another holiday fun run as a family.
8. Catch the last few days of the Texas Renaissance Festival. While you're there, check out these kid-friendly shows and acts.
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9. Attend the Via Colori Street Painting Festival on November 18 and 19 to see beautiful works of art while your kids enjoy carnival games, balloon animals, face painting, and more.
10. See real snow at the Winter Wonderland Kids Festival in Kingwood. Preschoolers can visit the petting zoo, make crafts, and take pictures with Santa all in one place.
11. Watch a Thanksgiving Day parade on TV, or watch in person at the annual City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Part of the stunning Christmas village display at The Christmas Train in Alvin.
1. Take a ride on a real horse and carriage at Market Street in The Woodlands.
2. Visit the Elves on the Shelf at the Fort Bend Children's Museum to take photos and sing Christmas Carols.
3. Go for a sleigh ride in Deer Park while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies.
4. Ride the Christmas Train in Alvin. While you're there, take photos with Santa and see one of the area's largest Christmas village displays.
5. Bake up a batch of holiday treats to share with friends and family. Need a recipe? Try this one!
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6. Help your preschooler write or draw a wish list to send to Santa at the North Pole. You can even drop it off in a special mailbox if you attend Breakfast with Santa at Palava.
7. Take advantage of weekdays off of school and visit some of Houston's best museums for FREE.
8. Wear your pajamas, crank up the Christmas music, and take the kids for a ride to look at some of Houston's most spectacular neighborhood light displays.
9. Walk through one of the Houston area's many gorgeous public light displays. Many have more than just lights to look at and also include activities like picture with Santa and ice skating.
10. Have breakfast, brunch, or even cookies with Santa. With so many opportunities to visit the big guy around town, you may even want to go more than once!
11. Take photos with Santa. Whether you take your own or have them professionally taken, sitting on Santa's lap can create a priceless memory for you and your preschooler.
12. Make salt dough handprint ornaments, string some popcorn, and trim your Christmas tree.
All photos by Ashley Jones