Time for some fun (on a budget)

If you are anything like me you were raised doing all sorts of fun activities; usually outdoors. We were blessed with a life full of trips, 4 wheeling after school on our property and a deer lease we could escape to on the weekend.

As I’ve gotten older the trips have stopped and the deer lease hasn’t been visited since 2003 when our brother passed away there, but we still do our best to find some fun around town or within a reasonable distance from Houston. I see a lot of parents asking what to do with kids and what is least expensive so I thought I’d put together a list of ideas to help a bit.

PSA: These places are located in and around Houston, TX.

OUTDOOR FUN: 

Houston Children’s Museum, for instance, is FREE on Thursday’s (5pm-8pm) and FREE every day to anyone on WIC. You just walk up and show them a recent grocery list. I love this place because upstairs they have the Infant-Toddler area where young ones can run around and play on all sorts of stuff while interacting with other children and allowing parents to socialize with other parents. I should warn you, though, there are those parents who allow their kids to just go crazy and out of control so be aware and be patient.

Natural Science Museum is also FREE on Thursdays. It’s a bit more “conservative”, but there is enough going on to keep any toddler occupied with all the colors, shapes, people and such and they have a McDonalds inside. The exhibits can be pricey, but upstairs is free and will DEFINITELY keep their attention.

Across the street from the Science Museum is Hermann Park where they can run around and release some of that energy and parents can enjoy the shade. Through the year they have events like the Kite Festival and some other neat stuff. Check the website for ideas.

The Houston Zoo offers FREE ADMISSION to our guests on the FIRST Tuesday of each month, September through May, from noon until closing.  June, July, and August do not have free afternoons, though. Check out the website for more events through the year.

Art Car Museum is FREE Wednesday-Sunday (11am-6pm). They are closed Monday and Tuesday.

The Perfect Playdate  is one of my favorites because kids get to run around and have fun while the adults get to enjoy the indoor cafe. It’s in Webster, but worth the drive. It’s for kids 7 and under and prices range from $5-$8 depending on whether your child is a crawler, sibling or walker. They have “super playdates” which are reserved for groups who want to do some activities together. They also offer classes and birthday parties. Well worth the drive out of the loop.

The Little Gym is another good one. It’s a tumbling sort of play so kids interact with parents as a group with other kids. They offer 3 introductory classes for $40 and then a membership fee after that. Prices vary due to specials. Check it out and do not fret when your child wanders off during some of the activities. Kids will be kids and their attention span is very short.

** My honest and biggest suggestion is to take the time to do some research and plan. Use that smart phone to call and get on the websites. Ask around and never doubt how happy kids can be just going to a park, either. The only thing kids want is to be able to spend time with their parents so they can show off to them and to have fun without boundaries like indoors.

INDOOR FUN:

If  it’s raining that day go outside anyway. I know some of my best memories were in the rain with my siblings catching craw daddies and just doing things we weren’t really “allowed” to.

One of the funnest times Simon and I had was when I took a trip to Wal-Mart and bought some watercolor paperwatercolor paint and let him go crazy! I took him outside in the grass, but if there is tile and you don’t mind a fun clean-up then why not?!  Kids don’t need expensive toys to have fun. Just allow them to be kids once in awhile and they will remember and appreciate it longer than any other moment. Promise.

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