Cypress

Pick Your Own Fun: Houston Farms for Fruit and Berry Picking

The intoxicating smell of freshly picked berries can only mean one thing: sweet spring (and summertime) is upon us! And what better way to take advantage of the season's freshest fruit than by picking it yourself? Instead of purchasing pre-packaged strawberries, blueberries and blackberries at the grocery store, take a trip out to one of these "you-pick-it" farms and gather them yourself by the bucketful. Not only will you be getting berries straight from the source, you'll also be supporting small farmers and creating memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.

Free and Cheap Summer Camps Around Houston

It's hard to believe it, but it is already time to start making summer plans for your little ones, and one thing every kid looks forward to in the summer is going to camp! Summer camp is a chance for kids to have fun while learning new skills and making memories with new friends. From overnight campsoutdoor campsscience campsdance camps, arts camps, and music and theater camps, Houston has so many different types of summer camps, including the following camps that won't break the budget.

To find a summer camp that your little one and your wallet will love, check out this list of inexpensive or cheaper camps that we've rounded up, all of which cost around $100 - $150. Also, keep in mind that many camps offer early bird (get on it now!), multi-week, and sibling discounts, as well as discounts for members, and some even offer scholarships. And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.

Best Houston Neighborhoods and Homes for Viewing Holiday Lights

During the most magical time of the year, there are many ways to get your holiday light fix. Houston has beautiful public lighting displays, but nothing beats driving the family around a neighborhood in your Christmas pajamas. For those evenings when you want to enjoy the beauty of the holiday season at your own pace, it's helpful to know which Houston neighborhoods go above and beyond in the decoration department.

We've rounded up the neighborhoods with must-see lighting displays, so all you have to do is gather the family into the car, turn on some holiday tunes, and explore the Bayou City on your own time. However, many neighborhoods prefer visitors between 6-10 p.m. Lights are typically up from Thanksgiving through New Years. Also, for all things holiday in Houston - from free events to shows - check out our ultimate holiday guide for families.

Holiday Craft Fairs and Markets In and Around Houston

Ready to get a jump on all of your holiday shopping, but don't want to frequent the same tired stores you always visit? A holiday craft market and fair is the perfect answer. You'll find an assortment of handmade treasures crafted by local artisans that will make unique gifts for everyone on your list. Check out these markets around town.

16 Kid-Friendly Restaurants With Room to Play in Houston

Relaxing on the patio with good food and drinks is something that, prior to kids, we used to love to do... and then we had kids and going out to eat became nothing short of a nightmare that quickly got nixed from our weekend plans. Where we once sat back and talked uninterrupted about our respective weeks, we now went through constant rounds of "don't touch that!" and, "honey, leave those nice people alone." All seemed lost, and we resigned ourselves to spending our evenings out at Chick-fil-A... until we found restaurants with play spaces for kids (we also spent an exhaustive amount of time eating near the green area at CityCentre).

Talk about a game changer - it's like these restaurants knew that us parents needed a space to unwind a bit with the kids in tow, and they delivered with patios that opened up to enclosed playgrounds, sand pits (ok, this one is a catch-22 because of sand everywhere), and toys.

24 Spring & Crawfish Festivals for Houston Families

Spring in Houston is all about going to the Rodeo, eating crawfish, listening to music, and spending time outside enjoying the weather before the temperatures start to rise. There are many beautiful parks in the Bayou City to enjoy in the Spring, and it's also the perfect time of year to explore Houston's bountiful farmers' markets. For even more fun, check out one (or more - or all!) of these family-friendly festivals.

And for things to do every day of the year, take a look at our event calendar.

Tumble into Gymnastics Classes for Preschoolers

If your kids are anything like mine, they tumble, roll, and try to balance on curbs just as often - if not more - than they walk in a straight line. The inherent need for my toddler to constantly tumble and move is one reason we love trampoline parks and play spaces so much! We've also begun to dabble in the world of preschool sports this year, and our focus has been on finding activities that are both fun and functional for our son. It's why we love taking him to gymnastics classes. This powerhouse sport focuses on conditioning movements like balance, flexibility, stamina and overall strength - which all transfer well into basically every other sport out there - while still being just plain fun, making it an ideal sport for preschoolers like my son.

And for more ideas on classes for kids of all ages, check out our classes and enrichment guide for Houston kids.

Baby & Me Swim Classes in Houston

When my toddler turned 1 year old, summer was fast approaching and we were anticipating spending a lot of time at the pool. We wanted him to be comfortable in the water before summer arrived, so we decided to enroll him in mommy & me swim lessons at our local YMCA. While he didn't come out of it an Olympic swimmer, he did gain a lot of confidence in the water, going from not wanting to get in the water at all to not wanting to ever get out in one short month. And, as a first-time mom, I was able to ease my anxiety of sending him into the water by being in the pool with him as he learned the foundations of swimming and water safety.

For all the parents and caregivers out there who want to try out infant and toddler swim lessons and be involved in the process, read on for seven different places you can enroll your kiddos in baby and me swim lessons. Ready to have your little one tackle the water solo? Head over to our swim lessons and camps post instead!

Free and Cheap Summer Concerts for Houston Families

Summer wouldn't be summer without popsicles, splashpads and FREE concerts! Many of these concerts aren't aimed directly at kids but don't be afraid to bring your children, as it's a great opportunity to expose them to all different kinds of music. Whether you bring the whole family or make it a date night, grab your dancing shoes or just grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and enjoy some blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock 'n roll, or pop music! (But if movies are more your speed, check out our roundup of free and cheap summer movies.)

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras Around Houston

The celebrations of Carnival that lead into Mardi Gras have a rich history dating all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries in medieval Europe, and have long been a time for festivities and revelry that culminate the day before Lent begins on what is known as Fat Tuesday. Throughout the years it has gained a reputation as an adults-only party; however, there is a multitude of kid-friendly events that can be enjoyed right here in Houston as the Mardi Gras celebrations begin. From boat parades at the Kemah Boardwalk to cook-offs, live music, performances and much more, these Carnival celebrations are fit for the family.

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