Free and Cheap Afterschool Programs in Houston

Houston has a variety of affordable afterschool programs. Photo courtesy of GirlStart
Houston has a variety of affordable afterschool programs. Photo courtesy of GirlStart
8/20/23 - By Carrie Taylor

Busy schedules mean the kids need care in the awkward hour(s) after school, but finding an affordable afterschool program in Houston can be difficult. Luckily, we've done the work for you and found this list of safe, fun, and cheap afterschool programs in Houston. Some of them are even free! 

If you're looking for specialty classes, like swimming, STEM, cooking, or more, we have a great collection in our Guide to Classes for Houston Kids.


Free or Cheap Afterschool Programs in Houston

1. City of Houston - Various locations

Cost: Free

The city has many before and afterschool resources for families, including free afterschool programs for kids of all ages. Opportunities vary by school campus, so talk to your school or the Houston After School Programs Office

RELATED: Cooking classes for Houston kids

2. Houston Public Library - Various locations

Cost: Free

For older kids who would like or need some place to be for an hour or so immediately after school, many branches of the Houston Public Library system offer free activities, crafts, and more under the After School Zone program. Activities and subjects range from STEM-centered learning to homework help to computer lab time. Check your local branch to see what programs it offers.

Affordable afterschool programs in Houston 
The YMCA has affordable afterschool options in various locations around Houston. Photo courtesy of the Houston YMCA

3. YMCA - Various locations

Cost: Varies; $15

Select YMCAs offer afterschool programs to both facility and impact members. If you aren't familiar with the impact membership, it's a great low-cost option because it's about $25 a month and you still get access to many of the facility's programs and offerings. Programs are broken into age groups and include age-appropriate sports, training, and team-building activities. After becoming a program member, most of the after-school classes are around $15 per day. Visit the YMCA's registration page to enter your child’s school or district to find out if the YMCA program is offered at your child’s school site.

Affordable afterschool programs in Houston 
STEM afterschool programs in Houston. Photo courtesy of the After School Program at Mad Science in Houston

4. Mad Science - Various locations

Cost: Varies; $15 per session average

Mad Science is a top-notch pick for hosting unique birthday parties, finding an educational summer camp, and it even provides afterschool activities. Check its site for participating schools around Houston. Programs are typically 13-15 weeks and costs average $15 per session.

RELATED: Swimming Lessons for Kids in Houston: The Best Swimming Classes in Town

5. Zenith Learning - Various locations

Cost: Varies per location

Zenith offers a snack and homework help as well as theme-based curriculum rotated each month in its programs. Topics covered include Leadership and Team Building, Math and Science, Arts and Cultural Activities, Literacy, Celebrations, and Recreational Games.


6. Kidventure - Various locations

Cost: Varies

Kidventure afterschool programs emphasize academic excellence through active and hands-on learning in the arts, science, and more. Daily schedules and pricing options vary depending on participating campuses throughout Houston. 

7. MECA - Various locations

Cost: Varies based on family income sliding scale. Families who are unable to pay can also provide volunteer hours in lieu of pay. 
After school

The Multicultural Education and Counseling Through The Arts (MECA) Out of School Time Program provides youth with a safe environment and constructive activities outside of regular school hours.  Students in this program can participate in a variety of fine arts classes and attend workshops with master artists. This program takes place at MECA campuses, Houston-area schools, churches, apartment complexes, and other community centers. Students in this program will also be eligible to receive free academic support and counseling services. 

Affordable afterschool programs in Houston 
STEM for girls in Houston. Photo courtesy of GirlStart

8. GIrlStart - Various locations

Cost: Free

This FREE weekly program is offered at multiple elementary schools throughout Houston in the Houston, Spring, and Alief ISDs for 4th and 5th grade girls. The program focuses on STEM education for girls and helps to teach skills needed to help girls gain confidence and excel in academics. 

9. Wesley Community Center - Various locations

Cost: Sliding scale, income-based

From 3-6 p.m. each day, children at Sherman, Crockett, and Ketelson schools K-5th grade can have a fun, safe place to enjoy being after school at the Wesley Community Center. Their afterschool program encourages hands-on learning about healthy living, emotional wellness, technology, and various other subjects. 


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