Tweens & Teens

50 Free Things to Do in Houston With Kids This Summer

Summer days mean extra sunlight, lots of time with friends and filling our days with as many engaging and entertaining activities as possible. However, thrifty is in my genes - and being primarily a one income family, is a necessity for us - and while I love to plan full days of fun with my kids, I also love to primarily plan days that don't require opening my wallet often, if at all. To help any other families who may want to save a buck without sacrificing any fun, here's a bucket list of 50 FREE activities we'll be taking advantage of this summer - but make sure to check our event calendar every day for more family-friendly fun around Houston.

Cartoon Illustration and Graphic Novel Camps and Classes for NYC Kids

Are your kids obsessed with graphic novels? News flash: They're far from alone. If you're a parent of a child in elementary or middle school, you're probably already aware that we're living in a veritable golden age for graphic novels aimed at children, thanks to talented author-illustrators like Raina Telgemeier (of Drama and Smile fame), Kazu Kibuishi (author of the massively popular Amulet series), Cece Bell (author of the Newbery Award-winning El Deafo), and even graphic novel adaptations of classic tales from A Wrinkle in Time to Greek mythology.

If your young reader is interested in creating a graphic novel or illustrated story of their own, there are plenty of classes and camps in NYC designed to encourage young storytellers. "Comic books and visual arts, in general, have become much more understood as viable paths for young people that have talent in visual art," says A.K. Lovelace, a professional illustrator and instructor at the Harlem School of the Arts. Whether your child is just starting out in cartoon Illustration or you have a child preparing their portfolio for high school or contests, here are a few programs to support your budding artist throughout their creative development.

16 Cool Water Playgrounds and Splash Parks for Chicago Kids

When summer comes, smart Chicago parents make sure they've always got a sprinkler "go bag" packed and ready in the trunk, stroller, or tote: towel, sunscreen, water shoes, swim diaper (if you've got a really little mermaid), and spare clothes. Because in a city with this many awesome water playgrounds, splash parks, and spraygrounds, it pays to be prepared.

Our favorite water play zones in Chicago and the suburbs feature interactive sprinklers, sprayers, cannons, and gushers so everybody can get good and soaked—and some spots offer extra-wet bonuses like waterslides and pools. Chicago Park District water playgrounds turn on in June and keep the fun flowing through Labor Day weekend, although most water parks in the suburbs open Memorial Day weekend, and a few water parks remain open on weekends through the end of September.

Read on for 16 great water playgrounds that are as wet as they can get.

8 Things to Love About Japan Society: Visiting the Japanese Cultural Center With Kids

One of the best things about raising kids in New York City is that a unique cultural experience is usually just a short walk, bus, or train ride away. Most cultural institutions in NYC host special family programming, festivals, workshops and language programs, and NYC's Japan Society, formed in 1907, offers a varied and rich calendar of events for kids, all set against a beautiful backdrop of indoor gardens, including a waterfall.

If you are fascinated by Japanese food, film, and folklore, but short on time or money to travel abroad, the Japan Society is an affordable alternative for the culture-seeking family. During my visit, one Japan Society member and father of two children ages 3 and 4 put it best, “It gets me as close as I can to experiencing Japanese culture without having to go to Japan.”

Los Angeles Summer Day Camps with Availability Now

As the last day of school breathes down our collective necks, there are those among us who—dare I say it—have not yet figured out summer camp. No shame here; you are among friends. In fact, we'd like to help by sharing a few great summer camps that we happen to know still have space available. Open the map at the bottom of the page to search by location. And remember, we have more camps to peruse in our camp guide and directory!

13 Best Science Museums and STEM Spots for NYC Kids

Curious NYC kids never need to feel bored—not when there are so many places in New York that encourage kid-focused scientific exploration and creation. From science museums and maker spaces to brain-boosting playgrounds and STEM-focused camps, there are tons of spots for kids to get scientific in New York City. We've rounded up 13 of the best.

Find more great geeky ideas in our STEM Guide.

Kid-Friendly Waterfront Restaurants in NYC for Dinner with a View

After a day of running around in the hot city sun, we're all craving that cool breeze that comes off the water. What better way to end a day full of parks and playgrounds than with a delicious meal at one of NYC's many waterfront restaurants? Whether you're facing the East River, the Hudson, or one of the many basins and other bodies of water that feed the mighty rivers and ocean that outline our great city, there are plenty of places to get dinner overlooking the water (even if you're not literally on the water). Check out our list of family-friendly restaurants around the city, and see below for some kid-friendly dining destinations across all five boroughs to line up your delicious dinner with a water view for the whole family.

New Inflatable Water Park Opening at NJ Lake This Summer

Looking for a new way to cool off this summer? How about slipping down a blow-up water slide and splashing into a beautiful NJ lake?

That's exactly what Lacey Township had in mind—so it's installing a huge new inflatable water park in Lake Barnegat (2nd Lake) in Forked River, which is slated to open in late June. Intended for swimmers ages 8 and older, the "hydro-playground" will combine slippery waters slides, bouncy inflatable climbers, floating balance beams, monkey bars, and more.

Not heading down the shore this summer? Residents of northern NJ can check out the water park at Lewis Morris County Park's Sunrise Lake Beach Club.

June GoList: Best Things To Do with CT Kids This Month

With school winding down and camps just getting started, June really is the perfect month to devote to family fun. It's Connecticut Trails Day from June 1st to 2nd, so consider kicking off the month with one of these short, easy hikes that are perfectly suited to kids. Highlights this month include lots of festivals, front porch concerts, fireflies and pirates. Of course our Summer Fun Guide and events calendar are chock-full of more ideas, but if we had to choose our very favorite June activities, these picks would make our top 25. Have fun out there!

10 Swimming Lakes You Should Know Near Los Angeles

Los Angeles kids grow up swimming at some of the country's most iconic beaches, not to mention an array of flat-out awesome public swimming pools. But wait—there's more! Did you know that there are some wonderful lakes within spitting distance of LA? And if you're willing to drive a little farther, lake options get even more plentiful. Whether you want to take a dip in a secluded swim hole, or join the masses at a lavish lake resort, here are some of the best spots to take a swim out in nature.

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