School will be out and summer will be here before you know it. To keep kids engaged and make life a bit easier for parents, the Defender has compiled a list of things to do to keep your youngsters occupied.
Children’s Museum of Houston
Featuring 90,000 square feet of interactive and bilingual exhibitions in the areas of science and technology, history and culture, health and human development, and the arts, this museum is a perfect pick specifically designed for kids. Kids can run their own city and compile their own TV news reports at Kidtropolis, make their own gadgets in the Invention Convention exhibit, and check out the forces of hydropower at FlowWorks. For children 3 years and younger, Tot Spot provides a fun-filled wonderland of invigorating activities for infants and toddlers.
Cost: FREE Family night every Thursday between 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Regular days $12.
Where: 1500 Binz St.
Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS)
This extremely kid-friendly museum consistently ranks as one of the most visited museums in the country for a reason. HMNS features a Paleontology Hall towering with prehistoric critters, an enjoyable planetarium, a 3D IMAX Theater, a magnificent butterfly exhibit, plus more than a dozen permanent exhibit areas.
Cost: Children ages 2 and under: FREE; Ages 3-11: $15; Ages 12 and up: $25
Where: 5555 Hermann Park Drive
Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH)
Families can discover a world of art at MFAH with exciting weekly family programs – including Creation Station, Family Packs, Target Free First Sundays, Story Time and Family Tours – designed especially for children and adults to explore art together.
Cost: Children 5 and under FREE; General admission $9
Where: 1001 Bissonnet St.
Kids can get their animal groove on exploring animal habitats, giraffe feedings, Naturally Wild Swap Shop (where you can bring in your found treasures), and Meet the Keeper talks/encounters/feedings every half hour. The Houston Zoo also has a Water Play Park, Sneak Peek tours, Zoo Crew experiences, and Vet for a Day programs that provide fun for toddlers to teens.
Cost: Children 1 and Under FREE; Kids ages 2 and up vary, $11-$18
Where: 6200 Hermann Park Drive
Each neighborhood library has special summer programs for kids of all ages that are free or very low cost. General activities include arts and crafts, exhibits, book clubs, computer classes and story times. A library card offers access to more than 6 million books, e-books, songs, movies, audiobooks and more.
Trader’s Village – Dance to the music of the free concerts at Traders Village. Houston’s largest flea market has 100 acres of booths. They host music and festivals each weekend and have rides, food, and a fun atmosphere. Parking is $4 and admission is free.
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays
Where: 7979 North Eldridge Parkway
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK)
SEEK is a three-week program designed to expose Black children to STEM fields as early as the third grade and through 12th grade. Students participate from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, so each student is given 105 contact hours per summer. The program utilizes NSBE collegiate members, most of whom are Black and majoring in STEM fields, as student mentors. All student participants must be available for entire three-week program.
Cost: FREE; nonrefundable $50 application fee per student
When: June 12-June 30
Where: To be announced (TBA)
Contact: [email protected]
Summer Enrichment Program
S.E.P. is a 10-week day-camp style program for youth ages 6 – 13. Registration is required for this fun-filled program. Available at 49 Houston Parks and Recreation Department community centers, program activities include: crafts, nutrition, fun fitness, track and field, soccer, swimming, junior golf, nature exploration, computer literacy programs, recycling awareness, kayaking, bird watching, fishing and hiking excursions and youth entrepreneur experiences.
Cost: $30 per child per week
When: Registration underway; program dates TBA
Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP)
An eight-week full day program for school-age children (5-15), hosted by SHAPE community center, SYEP will be offer classes and activities that include: cultural arts (African dance and culture, music, visual arts, drama, etc.), computer literacy, sports and recreational activities, foreign languages, academic challenges, games and field trips. The program will also feature Black history classes and swimming. In addition to, this program culminates with a weekend camping trip for participants and their families. This also program operates annually from June through August, Mondays through Fridays.
When: June 8- Aug. 7
Where: 3815 Live Oak
Contact: Hamdiya Ali via [email protected] or call 713-521-0641
Teen Adventure Caravan
This program offers a variety of fun programs, mentoring opportunities, and peer group special events for teens (ages 14 – 18) at community centers during the summer. Year-round programs are coordinated through the Teen Program Section. Activities include motivational speakers, essay competitions, talent exhibitions, teen camp experiences, nature activities, cultural programs, special events and college tours.
When: Year round
Where: Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive
Blue Triangle Summer Camp
Children enrolled in the summer day camp at Blue Triangle will have a chance to participate in the Learn to Swim program. The swimming techniques taught are 21st century methods and certified instructors and life guards are on hand to ensure students learn faster within a safe, professional atmosphere.
Cost: $25 registration fee; $30 a day or $80 a week
When: June 5- July 28
Where: 3005 McGowen St.
Houston Youth Tennis Program
Houston Youth Tennis Program is a year-round program that offers basic tennis instruction to registered participants ages 4-18. The program and instruction is offered at parks across the city.
When: Summer session Jun 5 – July 27
Splashway Water Park
Spend the day at Splashway where the whole family will experience a variety of attractions and activities including zip lines, wave pools, kiddie areas, speed slides, mat racers, slides, and a lazy river.
Cost: Children under 2 FREE; Guests under 42’ and over 42’ respectively: $24-$35
Where: 5211 Main St, Sheridan, TX 77475
Summer Break Camp
At the Zone, kids could learn how to play basketball, touch football, kick ball, baseball, soccer, dodge Ball and many other exciting activities and games. All the Zone’s sports and activities are offered under one roof, inside their air-conditioned facility.
Cost: Rates vary
Daily Rates: Half-day 9a.m-noon, $35; full day 9 a.m.-3p.m, $65
Weekly Rates: Half-day, $130; full day, $230
When: May 29-Aug. 25
Where: 10371 Stella Link Rd.
Contact: 281-317-PLAY (7529) or [email protected]