Houston

Overnight Summer Camps for Houston Kids

If there's one thing I remember distinctly about my childhood summers, it's summer camp. When I first started going to camp, I was around 7-years-old and dreaded the thought of spending an entire week away from my parents. However, after my first summer at camp something changed; I spent a week waking up to music, befriending my cabin-mates, learning how to (somewhat) perfect my (otherwise non-existent) archery skills, and painting, including a ceramic raccoon I was VERY proud of (Mom, I hope you still have that!).

Here are 13 overnight summer camps that are all about two hours or less from the Houston area. Most of the camps offer week-long stays for campers, with a couple offering shorter or longer stints as well. All of them promise to give your kids a hefty dose of fun and memories to last a lifetime. And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.

Free STEM Summer Camp from Girls Who Code Opens Registration

Looking for more than mindless hanging out and screentime for your teenage daughter this summer? Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of women in computer science fields, is once again offering its FREE summer immersion program for girls entering their junior or senior year of high school. The 7-week STEM summer camp offering FREE coding lessons and more crucial skills will take place in select cities across the country, including the NYC metro area, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago.

Keep reading to find out who is eligible, how to apply, and when and where the program is happening in summer 2019. Hurry, because the early application period for this FREE summer program is already open!

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Lunar New Year Celebrations, P.A.W.S. Reading Program, Feb. 2-3

This time of year can be a little tricky. We're in the long stretch of school, the days are still short on light, and it's a constant toss up what the weather is going to be like; will it be a balmy 70-degree day today or somewhere below freezing? No one knows!

Which is why we like to have a handy little arsenal of indoor activities packed away, ready to bust out at a moment's notice. Some of our very favorites include:

And did you see that Texas' largest indoor playground opened up in Houston? Now that is definitely worth making a little day trip down to Webster to visit. 

We also highly recommend printing out a copy of our 100 Things To Do With Houston Kids Before They Grow Up so you can start checking these Houston favorites off your bucket list. Don't forget: our event calendar is always serving up daily inspiration, and our February GoList is your go-to place for the hottest happenings throughout the month. Staying in the loop with all the events and activities in our city has never been easier (especially when you sign up for our weekly newsletter!).

With so many fun places to go and see, the hardest part is picking what's going to make the cut this weekend! 

Best Spots Around Houston for Hosting a Birthday Party on a Budget

Planning a fantastically fun birthday party that your child and their friends will remember for years to come can seem like a daunting task, especially when you start counting out invitations and pricing venues. Making the most of a birthday party budget means getting the best deal possible on space, food, decor, and entertainment. Luckily for Houstonians, there are several great options for planning birthday parties on a budget all over town. 

Whether you prefer a more traditional party with streamers, balloons, and a bounce house, or want to go for a more unique experience like a museum tour, we've got you covered. Read on for our suggestions on where to go and what to do when you want to make the most of a birthday party budget, and consult our Birthday Party Guide for more ideas.

February GoList: Best Things to do with Houston Kids This Month

It seems Houston's few days of winter have passed, and that's the way we like it, but in case you need ideas for indoor activities on the random chilly days we will likely face - trampoline parks, rock climbing gyms, or a fun indoor playground are always good options. We've also come up with a list of eight museums you've probably never heard of to take the kids to. 

And if you're the planning type, you may have started thinking about summer plans, like what in the world you're going to do to keep your kids busy all day. Check out our summer and vacation camp guide for ideas on things they can do out of the house. Read on for the best things to do with the kids this month.

Stay on a Houseboat in Amsterdam for a Total Family Vacation Win

Amsterdam is a wonderful city to visit on a European family vacation. The city is kid friendly with lots of fun things to do for families, including wonderful parks, engaging museums, and many delicious restaurants to try. It's also relatively easy to navigate with children in tow.

The city is full of canals, which is another plus for kids as they often love to watch the boats or even take a ride. One of the most special (and affordable) ways to visit Amsterdam is to stay on an actual houseboat instead of in a hotel. 

When you visit Amsterdam, you can’t help but notice these charming houseboats lining the canals and Amstel River. They look so cozy, and many even have gardens growing around them. Our family stayed on a houseboat in Amsterdam for a long weekend and found it to be a comfortable and fun way to visit the city with children.

Ready, Set, Glow at Glowzone Houston: Indoor Fun for Kids of All Ages

There is no shortage of great indoor play spaces around the greater Houston area, that's for sure. And unique additions like Glowzone are what make that play scene so great - this indoor spot is lit by black lights and glowing colored lights and full of fun. From the go-karts to geometric climbing walls, there is so much to do it's impossible to feel bored. It's a great indoor playground for families with preschool-age children through teenagers. (And even just adults!)

Tidying Up Kids' Stuff: 2 Easy Takeaways from Marie Kondo

While the world binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and my social media feeds filled up with photos of freshly organized sock drawers, I didn't bother tuning in. After all, I'm already a Very Organized Person—the kind of mom who sorts her kids' toys according to category, and who may have an addiction to The Container Store. What could I possibly have to learn?

Then an image sprang to mind of me, huffily sorting papers on the kitchen counter while a hundred other urgent matters vie for my attention. When things get hectic, the piles of mail, magazines, kids' artwork, school forms, and other random papers crowding our countertops suddenly seem like a five-alarm fire. My husband calls it "angry organizing."

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Clifford Exhibit, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Jan.26-27

Y'all, we aren't just closing out January this weekend... we're closing out January with a bang! There are so many cool events happening that the biggest problem we're facing is how to narrow down what to go to, and that's a really good problem to have. Let's just take a moment to reflect on how awesome our city is for always hosting so many family-friendly events. <Insert moment of silence here.>

So where do we even begin? If it's educational fun you're after, we recommend Spanish lessons at LaCenterra, the STEAM & International Festival in Sugar Land, the Texas Children's Art Festival, or Nature Discovery Center's Walk on the Wild Side. For preschoolers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is coming to Cullen Theater and an entire exhibit dedicated to Clifford The Big Red Dog is taking over The Woodlands Children's Museum. And that's not all! The 2019 Houston Astros FanFest is happening, Monster Jam is coming back to town, and HMNS is partnering with Arhcaeology Now for a family-friendly Ancient Games Tournament

This is just a sneak peek at what this weekend has to offer, too. Crazy, right? You can also check out our event calendar for even more daily activities and events and our January GoList for an overview of the month's biggest and best. If you have an event you want to share, we'd love to know! Just submit your event to our event calendar for publication.

Happy weekend planning, friends! It's going to be a good one, we just know it.

Texas' Largest Indoor Playground Opens in Houston and It Lives Up to the Hype

When we got wind of that the largest indoor playground in Texas was opening just south of Houston in Webster, we knew a visit needed to be at the top of our to-do list for the new year. The Play Space is part playground, part imaginative play area, part arcade, and exactly everything we love about our favorite local indoor play spaces all rolled into one 16,000-square-foot space. Located in the middle of a shopping center, the exterior is completely unassuming, but as soon as you step inside, you're in for Texas-sized fun!

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