Briarforest/Westchase

Shop Local & Fresh Goods at These Houston-Area Farmers Markets

Family trips to the local farmers' market are the best. There's just nothing that quite compares to walking past stands stocked with colorful produce and local treasures and knowing that whatever you bring home is going to be fresh, seasonal, and bursting with flavor. It's also a great way to encourage healthy eating with your kids; I know mine loves to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables to bring home each week!

No matter where you live in the greater Houston area, there's a farmers' market nearby. The city is also home to several farms where you can pick your own produce! Now, what are you waiting for - check out these local gems.

Retro Fun: Roller Rinks Around Houston

Being a child of the late 80s and early 90s meant I partook in a lot of awesome and awesomely horrible trends. Feathered bangs: check. Acid-wash jeans: check. Walkman: check. Roller skates and afternoons spent at the roller rink: check, check, check. While some of these things are now rightfully obsolete (feathered bangs and Walkman, I'm looking at you), some of them are making a resurgence in popularity. Acid-wash jeans: suddenly and questionably - cool again. Roller rinks: ALL OVER IT. 

Disco music, retro carpet, strobe lights, a smell that is entirely unique to roller rinks everywhere, and hours spent rolling in circles around the skate floor are making a BIG comeback, and there are a ton of roller rinks around Houston. Want to double down on your skating skills? Be sure to check out our list of Houston area ice rinks!

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!

20 Ways to Beat the Houston Heat For Cheap This Summer

We don't have to tell you that during a Houston summer, the heat and humidity come at you at full force. Staying cool with the kids is top priority these days, and while the area has plenty of splash pads and pools, sometimes it's nice to just be out of the sun. And enjoying someone else's air conditioning. We know it can get expensive at indoor playgrounds and gyms, so to help you beat the heat without breaking the bank, we've rounded up 20 activities that are affordable (some are free, all are under $15!).

Find yourself in need of even more ideas? Be sure to check out our guide to free summer fun and full guide of things to do with Houston kids in the summer.

Splash and Play at Noah's Ark Pool

The Noah's Ark Pool in the Quillian Center (a facility operated by First Methodist Houston) is the perfect combination of a pool and splash pad with shallow water for toddlers to easily stand in, as well as several slides and many water features. You see, my son loves the water. He will let waves crash over him with reckless abandon at the beach, he lives for days spent in the backyard at his water table and he's out the door and running to the splash pad before the car is even fully in park. What he does not love, however, is swimming in pools where he can't touch the bottom.  All of this means we spend a lot of time at splash pads, because he's able to experience a healthy dose of water play without worrying about if he can touch the bottom or not, and it's why we love going to Noah's Ark.

Swim Lessons and Camps for Houston Kids

When you think of summer in Houston, what's the first word that comes to mind? My guess: "HOT." No one can deny that the Bayou City is known for its scorching summer weather, and that summer lasts for basically 3/4 of the year. As a result, we end up spending a lot of time in the water, whether it's at the pool, a splash pad, water park or the ocean. All this time in and around water means knowing how to swim and executing proper water safety are of the utmost importance, especially for our kids.

There are plenty of places that offer year-round swim lessons so your kids are comfortable and confident in the water. Here are some places that offer lessons and camps for competitive swimmers and those interested in pursuing specialty water sports. And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.

10 Dual-Language and Immersion Preschools in Houston

It is a known fact that the brains of young children are primed to learn languages and the earlier they are exposed to a language, the easier it is for them to learn it. Research has shown that there are many benefits to learning a second language, including higher self-esteem, better test scores, enhanced creativity, a higher level of complex problem solving, and an appreciation of other cultures. And that's not to mention increased employability as an adult in our increasingly globalized and diverse society.

The natural ability of young children to learn a second, or third, language makes a dual-language or language immersion preschool a great option for childcare and may even save you money in the long run when your kids test out of college language credits! Consider giving your child the gift of a second language and check out these 10 language immersion and dual language preschools located in and around Houston. 

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