Great! Schools out! Whoo hoo! (Can you hear my “enthusiasm”?)
It is that time of year again. Kids are out and you know they plan to spend ALL summer in front of the TV playing the Xbox or computer. So what can you do?
Here is my list of what we plan to or will try to do this summer with my kids. (Of course there are MORE than 60 days of summer, but this is assuming your giving yourself some time off.)
1. Houston children’s museum
2. Play Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk, etc. Many of these games will last a LONG most of the day and is a great way to get them excited again about games that don’t require batteries.
3. Go swimming at the beach at Galveston State Park. Not only is it super cheap (or free if you are a Texas Park Card holder, like we are) but you can also bring your own chairs, umbrellas or shade covers. I’ve even see people use small little bbq on the beach. The restrooms are even farely nice (for a state park) and flushable with a sink. They also have beach view campsites. (Another thing you can do!)
4. San Jacinto Monument – again is free with that Texas Park Card.
5. battleship Texas – Free with Texas Park Card. (seeing a trend?)
6. NASA Space Center – perfect for super hot days or super rainy days. (free for us as we are passholders)
7. Houston Zoo
8. Musuem of Natural Science
9. Holocaust Museum of Houston – a bit morbid, I know. However, I believe, as Jews, that my children should never forget the Holocaust. Again, another good alternative if it’s a overly hot or overly rainy day.
10. Kemah Boardwalk – an all day pass will work for all the carnival rides. If you plan to do the Space Center, Zoo, or the other museums I strongly encourage you to invest into the Houston City Pass as it will give you huge savings if you are not members of those locations.
11. Have a movie Marathon AT HOME!!! Get movies with lots of sequels like Star Wars, Indian Jones, Matrix, etc. LOL. To this day my kids cringe when they hear the Indian Jones theme song but always with a smile. Or do one of your favorite shows. During the winter break we did a Dr Who Marathon starting with the 9th Doctor. Follow up with theme based meals. For our Indian Jones marathon I made the kids spaghetti and called it Monkey Brains. They still call spaghetti that.
12. DIY Slip and Slide. Get a tarp and the hose and SLIDE!
13. Sylvan Beach, La Porte- last year it was really clean. The nearest bathrooms are at the bait shop and you can not use umbrellas or shade tents on the beach. Only on the grassy picnic areas. So there are some restrictions. Since its farley open, be mindful at all time of you surroundings both in and out of the water. Later in July the can really get overrun by jellyfish. So be warned.
14. Armand Bayou Nature Center
15. 1940s Air Terminal Musuem – they are closed on Mondays. This one totally appeals to me. We have done the museum in Seattle, and from being an airline family for so long this should be cool for all of us.
16. Jumping World
17. Main Event
18. Free Bowling at AMF Lanes – check to see if your neighborhood is participating as the one near us was not. 🙁
19. Library- many library will have events and classes during the summer for free. Check them out.
20. Join a book program! (Since you’re heading to the library anyways.) Check out Barnes & Noble, Pizza Hut’s Book It Program, and Half Price Books. Each will give your kids different rewards.
21. Or Reward for good deeds with Chuck E. Cheese.
22. FunCity Sk8 & Play
23. Buc-ees – Don’t laugh. Serious! Have lunch or pick up some jerky for dad. My kids love the MANY MANY choices for the jerky and fountain drinks. They just built a new one near us so we are planning to check it out.
24. Bay Area Park for a picnic and playground.
25. Moody Gardens – a bit expensive so this might be at the bottom of our list.
26. Schliterbahn either in Galveston or New Braunfels.
27. Space City Ice Skating– just check the times for public skating
28. Build a sofa tent.
29. Fight zombies (offline) with squirt guns.
30. Go to the movies. I don’t recommend the summer movie program only because you end up paying more from movies you probably already own or can’t already watch for free on Netflix/Hulu/amazon.
31. Play card games. We play a clean version of “Bulls-t” and the kids have fun.
32. Play hide-and-seek. Playing with your kids is such a great way to reconnect with them. Especially if they are older.
33. Make a video with kids using your iPad or iPhone (or something similar) and pretend you are on a cooking show. If you have multiple kids you can have one be the “camera man”. Make chef hats for the chiefs.
34. Don’t want to do video? Ask the kids to create a play to perform for mom and dad. Help them with themes, like for the 4th of July or act out a scene from their favorite movie.
35. Go to IKEA. Younger kids can go in the play center while older ones can play pretend “house” in the displays with you. When I was a kid, my dad and I would stand very still and pretend we were manuiqins. Freaked people out when we moved. lol.
36. Make ice cream in a ziplock bag.
37. Go Camping at Brazo Park, Lake Livingston, Galveston park. Lots of parks in the area. Plus, there is FREE fishing at all Texas Parks with entrance fees.
39. Do a “spa” day and go get your nails done (feet and/or toes). I find that even the boys like this. Just make sure they don’t get spotted by friends.
40. Go to the Mall and window shop (or regular shop). Make sure you stop at the LEGO store for some “play” time. Plus, by window shopping it will help the kids understand delayed gratification. Something I feel many kids in this generation are lacking.
41. Start a Children’s Book Club using simple books like “Green Eggs and Ham” or “Horton Hears a Who”. Make it fun by catering it with Starbucks and tiny cookies. “Try” to act grown up while you do it and try not to giggle too much.
42. Make suncatchers for the patio or kitchen window. Check Pinterest or Google for some ideas.
43. Pleasure Pier– another big expense so might keep at the bottom of our list.
44. Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus will be in town 7/10 – 7/27 2014
45. Play in the sprinklers.
46. Check out the free youth programs at Apple.
47. Have a garage sale and have the kids sell something (ie. their old toys, waters, sodas)
48. Camp in your backyard. Its FREE!
49. Celebrate an Obscure Holiday! Here is a great website showing the list for each days. There is Flag Day, Ice Tea Day, etc.
50. Unplug for the day. Live one day without electricity.
51. Blow bubbles outside. Make it even more creative by making your own bubble juice and bubble wands.
52. Play miniature golf in the backyard. Make your own course.
53. Create sidewalk art with sidewalk chalk.
54. Decorate rocks or shells that you have collected from your trips out.
55. Do a backyard tug of war.
56. Check out Home Depot or Lowe’s for their kids creative workshops. Typically on the weekends.
57. Visit the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory. (YUM!)
58. Color some pictures. You can use printables from online or have them create their own.
59. Movies under the stars (or at the pool). Are HOA does this at the community pool. You can also check out Miller Outdoor Theater for more live events.
60. Go swimming at the community pool.
….and more as I go along.
Would love to hear your tips in the comments below on what you are doing this summer.