Things to Do in Houston, with Kids… Posts on BigKidSmallCity, Published December 9-14, 2017!

There are a lot of things to do in Houston, with kids, each week… and it can be hard to keep track of it all!

To help you find all the Houston resources, weekend events, Houston parks, kid friendly restaurants and things to do… here are all the updates from this week, December 9-14, 2017!

Weekend Events:

And you can always find the “Weekend Events” category HERE.

Holiday Posts:

More Things to Do Around Houston:

Give Aways:

Play on the Bayou Themed Play Area… at Shady Lane Park & Splashpad!

Address: 10220 Shady Ln, Houston, TX 77093

Check out this park!

Shady Lane Park has a large, bayou-themed play area… complete with a concrete “waterway” leading from the sprayground to an outdoor classroom in the shape of a flat-bottomed bayou boat.  This park also has exercise gear, swing sets, slides, and climbing equipment.

Fun2Go Misters sent up these amazing pictures… and if you don’t follow their page, you should.  They find cool things around Houston, nearly every single day.


In addition to the awesome play structures, there is a giant alligator, community center, soccer fields and hiking/biking trail.

Check out the pictures below!









Find more Houston parks:

Give Away: Even More Tickets to the ICE at Discovery Green!

I have EVEN MORE tickets to the ICE… and I will give them away each week through New Years Eve!  (Register to win below!)

The ICE at Discovery Green powered by Green Mountain Energy uses recycled water from Kinder Lake to create the largest outdoor skating rink in the Southwest.

Here you can also find the ICE Box, for kids 4 and under.  Here the little kids can skate while parents hold their hands from the side.

Also, if you are a non-motorized wheelchair user, you are welcome to enjoy the rink in your own wheelchair.

The ice is open every day and you can get all the details HERE.  Of course, Houston winter’s are hot and wet, and the ICE might need to close.  You can also ways see schedule updates on the Discovery Green website.

Regular admission is $14 and includes tax and skate rentals.   AND 1 family will win 4 tickets to the ICE (for Monday through Thursday)!  To win, register below (or HERE).

Contest Closes:  Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Official Rules:

Where in Houston? Art at the George R Brown!

Yesterday I asked where in Houston this picture was taken. It’s from the George R. Brown! Just inside the doors you can see a lot of art along the walls and from the ceiling!

Video: Favorite Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, December 14-20, 2017!

Here are my favorite things to do in Houston, with kids, for December 14-20!  Watch the clip below, or go HERE.

To help you navigate, here are some links mentioned in the video:

Brunch with Santa at Phoenicia Foods Downtown on December 16, 2017, 11am-3pm

Head to Phoenicia Downtown for festive family event where kids and adults alike can enjoy holiday activities and tasty seasonal brunch menu!

At our sponsor’s Brunch with Santa at Phoenicia Foods Downtown, on December 16, 2017, you can take photos with Santa and Ms. Claus, decorate Christmas cookies, enjoy classic holiday cartoons and more.  Entrance is free for all.

The things you need to know are below… and scroll the bottom to enter the contest!

  • Brunch with Santa is December 16, 2017, 9am to 3pm.  Activities start at 11am.
  • The Houston Fire Department will have a truck on site for Operation Stocking Stuffer Toy Drive (new unwrapped toys encouraged)
  • Santa & Ms. Claus will be visiting with families and taking photos with the lil’ one.
  • Purchase of Yule-tide brunch specials including Gingerbread waffles with lemon curd optional
  • Children’s Holiday Cookie decorating included with the purchase of a kid’s meal
  • Enjoy Classic Holiday Cartoons and Festive Balloon Twister on-site

Get all the details about the event HERE!

Where in Houston?

Where in Houston was this picture taken?

STEM gifts for kids (but not just any STEM gifts for kids)

I get asked a lot about good STEM gifts for kids… and my answer is not usually very satisfying for the person asking.

First, I think STEM has become sort of a marketing word and a way to get parents to buy toys.  I mean, we want our kids (especially girls) to get interested in Science Technology, Engineering and Math, so we should feel compelled to buy anything that is labeled as a STEM toy, right?  No!

Second, I do not think dolls and girly toys are the reason why girls do not pursue STEM careers.  So far I’ve had no problem holding a baby in my arms and doing math in my head.  Same goes for my male coworkers.  (Of course, if we were to say that girls can’t play with “boy” toys… our kids might think there are also “boy” careers.  And that would be a problem.)

Third, there is not one toy… or even 100 toys that will make a kid grow up to pursue a STEM career.  That said, there are toys that will get kids building things and problem solving… and they might just enjoy it so much they think building things and problem solving would make a cool career.

So, if you haven’t lost interest, I will tell you my favorite STEM toys… with the disclaimer that I am just one engineer!

My favorite STEM toys:
affiliate links included

1.  Legos – Not all parents like these little blocks that get spread around the house (and no one likes stepping on these in the middle of the night), but I adore these building blocks.  First the kids build with the instructions… and when they fall apart they invent something new.  For these, I would just get the name brand Legos.  They are expensive… but the off brands are not always the right sizes and do not stick together and are very frustrating.


2.  Duplos – These are bigger Legos… and are great when kids are too little for Legos. (And Lego Juniors are for kids inbetween Duplos and Legos.)


3.  Wooden Blocks – Nothing fancy… just blocks to build with!


4.  Magna-Tiles – These are building blocks with magnets on the edges, making them easy to stick together.  These are expensive, but very popular when we see them at playdates.


5.  Snap Circuits – I love this toy.  Kids can build simple circuits and make lights turn on, build burglar alarms and more.  I’ve used it when I talk to preschoolers about electrical engineering and they are always very interested in seeing how things are built.  With my own kids, I usually sit down to guide them on one design (from the booklet) and then they take over for the next one.


6.  Math Dice Jr – This is a fun little dice game that includes addition and subtraction.  (For kids that don’t know the basics yet, I’ve heard that these are also good: Sum Swamp, Pop, and I Sea 10.)


7.  Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit – This is not an engineering toy, but it is a cool science toy.  You purchase the set and then spend an additional $5 to get the caterpillars in the mail. The kids can see the caterpillars form their chrysalises and begin their transformation into butterflies. The butterflies are then released into the garden.


8.  Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire: Summer Set in Motion – This book’s main character is the science girl heroine that my daughter needed.  She is funny, girly and also a curious little scientist.  I just ordered my second copy for a gift.


That’s my short list… and I’m sure there are more things to add.  If you have favorites, let us know!

Things to do in Houston today, and this weekend, with kids! December 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Skate at the ICE at Discovery Green and watch It’s a Wonderful Life while you are there.  Or go on Saturday to Skate with Santa.

Right next door, go to the Brunch with Santa at Phoenicia Foods Downtown.  You can take photos with Santa and Ms. Claus, decorate Christmas cookies, enjoy classic holiday cartoons and more.

For even more to do around Discovery Green, look HERE!

This is also the weekend for Christmas Under the Big Top at Second Baptist Church Woodway.  This big production is not your average Christmas play.  While you are there, go see the Christmas Train Display.

For the full list of things to do, look below.

You can also find all the holiday events and shows HERE!

Things to Do Any Day:
Plan your HOLIDAYS! Here are all the events through January 2!
Discounts to Holiday Shows in Houston, 2017!
Free Photos with Santa
Trains Over Texas at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Stories by the Trains at Second Baptist (Free)
Hello, Trees! A Walking Serenade at Discovery Green
Giant Gingerbread House at Hilton Americas Houston!
Good Places to Take Family Photos in Houston
Explore Houston like an Insider
Visit a new Houston Park
Find Kid Friendly Restaurants in Houston

Thursday, December 14, 2017:
Free Museum Entry
Children’s Museum of Houston FREE 5:00pm-8:00pm
The Health Museum FREE 2:00pm-7:00pm
Houston Museum of Natural Science FREE 3:00pm-5:00pm
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston FREE 10:00am-9:00pm
Find a museum district restaurant HERE.
ICE at Discovery Green – 5:00pm-10:00pm – Discovery Green
Magical Winter Lights – Opens at 5:00pm – Gulf Greyhound Park
Houston Grand Opera: The House without a Christmas Tree – 7:00pm – HGO Resilience Theater (at George R Brown)
Panto Cinderella – 7:00pm – Stages Repertory Theatre
Screen on the Green: It’s a Wonderful Life – 7:00pm – Discovery Green
Nutcracker – 7:30pm – Smart Financial Center
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas – 7:30pm – Alley Theatre
Sleeping Beauty And Her Winter Knight – 7:30pm – Theater Under the Stars
Trains Over Texas – Houston Museum of Natural Science

Friday, December 15, 2017:
Trains Over Texas – Houston Museum of Natural Science
Children’s Story Hour – 10:00am – Hermann Park
ICE at Discovery Green – 5:00pm-11:00pm – Discovery Green
Magical Winter Lights – Opens at 5:00pm – Gulf Greyhound Park
CROC-ING Around The Christmas Tree! – Opens at 5:00pm – Crocodile Encounter
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend – 5:30pm – 10:00pm – Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Zoo Lights – Opens at 6:00pm – Houston Zoo
Christmas Under the Big Top – 7:00pm – Second Baptist Church Woodway
Panto Cinderella – 7:00pm – Stages Repertory Theatre
Sleeping Beauty And Her Winter Knight – 7:30pm – Theater Under the Stars
Nutcracker – 7:30pm – Smart Financial Center
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas – 7:30pm – Alley Theatre
Handel’s Messiah – 8:00pm – Jones Hall
The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas – 8:00pm – The Grand Galveston
Rockets vs Spurs – 8:30pm – Toyota Center

Saturday, December 16, 2017:
[Click HERE… for things to do Saturday through Wednesday]

Discounts to Holiday Shows & Activities in Houston, 2017 (and Beyond)!

It is time for the holiday shows around Houston… but with lots of kids, the ticket prices add up quickly! Below are the discounted shows and activities we’ve found so far… and will keep updating it as we find more. Just know that some of these deals and dates sell out quick!

Affiliate links included.

Admission for Two, Four, or Six to Festival of Lights and the DaVinci Exhibit at Moody Gardens (Up to 44% Off)

Choice of:

Admission for Two to Festival of Lights and the DaVinci Exhibit
Admission for Four to Festival of Lights and the DaVinci Exhibit
Admission for Six to Festival of Lights and the DaVinci Exhibit


Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine – Grapevine, TX

Daily water park passes for each registered guest, up to the standard room occupancy, are included in all options. (Additional guests up to the maximum occupancy may be added for $50 per person per night.)


Best Christmas Pageant Ever: Delinquent Kids Put On a Chaotic Christmas Show – A.D. Players Theater (Houston, TX) – November 30, 2017-December 23, 2017

Christmas is a time to be good and spread holiday cheer — unless you’re a part of the Herdman clan, in which case your goal is to partake in enough delinquent behavior to end up on a permanent naughty list. When the rowdy and rambunctious Herdman children show up at a local Sunday school in search of free snacks, they wind up getting cast in the annual snooze-fest of a Christmas pageant. The kids wreak havoc on the show, scaring off other cast members, offending the congregants and even setting fire to the church. But one way or another, the Herdman herd is determined to put on “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”.


Frosty the Snowman: A Family Musical – Salem Lutheran (Houston, Texas) – December 2, 2017-December 23, 2017

Frosty and his young friends learn valuable lessons about the true meaning of friendship when family musical “Frosty the Snowman” comes to Salem Lutheran in Houston. You and your family can watch the magical hat in action this holiday season.


Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight: Modern Take on Fairy Tale With Pop Music, Magic & More – The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts – Sarofim Hall (Houston, TX) – December 12, 2017-December 23, 2017

A storybook kingdom of beautiful princesses, evil fairies and infectious pop tunes — the whole family will be delighted by this updated version of the classic European fairy tale. “Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight” follows the princess Aurora, who has been cursed into a 100-year sleep by a dark fairy named Carabosse. Under the protection of her beloved companions Silly Billy and Nanny Tickle, Aurora waits in slumber until she is awakened by true love’s kiss. This interactive show features plenty of magic, humor and contemporary pop music — including songs by Blondie, Bruno Mars, Jessie J, Katy Perry and more — that’ll have audiences of all ages cheering and singing along


Lone Star Flight Museum – Lone Star Flight Museum (Houston, TX) – Any Available Date Through Dec 31, 2018

Take a tour of man’s greatest aerial feats at the state-of-the-art Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston, boasting a 130,000 square-foot facility with a renowned flying collection of historic aircraft, a high-tech Aviation Learning Center and dynamic hands-on exhibits. The museum is all about preserving and honoring the history of Texas aviation, featuring everything from a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and North American T-6 Texan to an anti-tank attack helicopter. The museum displays over 40 historically significant aircraft and over 1,500 artifacts that demonstrate the quantum leap in technology over the past century. The museum’s collection of award-winning aircraft annually logs more than 40,000 cross-country air miles to participate in flying displays and air shows. The museum’s P-47 Thunderbolt participates in the United States Air Force “Heritage Flight” program.


Harlem Globetrotters: Insane Hoops & High Comedy – NRG Arena (Houston, TX) – January 27, 2017

With their amazing athletic, acrobatic and clowning skills, the team of insanely talented men and women known as the Harlem Globetrotters is sort of like the greatest circus troupe you’ve ever seen — but with way more slam dunks. And Hi-Lite, Too Tall, El Gato and the others know how to do more than just shoot hoops — they’ll wow you with ball-handling wizardry, rim-rattling jams and four-pointers shot from 30 feet away, not to mention their clever comedy bits.


The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas – The Grand (Galveston Island, TX) – Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

With their Emmy Award-winning PBS special now airing across the country, and Billboard chart-topping albums, it’s easy to see why The Texas Tenors are America’s favorite tenors. Since their whirlwind debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”, The Texas Tenors have accumulated a long list of awards, accolades and excited fans. They have performed more than 1000 concerts around the world, including a 24-city tour in the United Kingdom, Shanghai, China and collaborations with some of the most prestigious symphonies in the US. Now they make their way to The Grand in Galveston Island.


The Sound of Music – Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (Houston, TX) – Friday, June 1, 2018 – Sunday, June 3, 2018

The hills are alive in this brand-new production of “The Sound of Music”. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony-, Grammy- and Academy Award-winning score, including unforgettable songs like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and more. Enjoy “The Sound of Music” at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in Houston.


TAO: Drum Heart – Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (Houston, TX) – Saturday, April 14, 2018

Direct from Japan, the performance group TAO will get your heart pumping with their intense choreography and extreme athletic prowess. A massive international sensation, the group’s toured all over the globe, combining thousands of years of traditional Japanese drumming with high-energy martial arts movements. Their all-new spectacular, “TAO: Drum Heart”, is the perfect display of their otherworldly precision, energy and stamina. Find out why they’ve performed hundreds of sold-out shows in front of millions of people when “TAO: Drum Heart” comes to Houston’s Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (Houston, TX) – Friday, March 16, 2018

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s most beloved dance companies and a favorite with Houston audiences, returns for another exciting performance. The company is celebrated not just for their exquisite performance of beloved classics, but also for their commitment to bold, new dance styles, offering something for every taste. Artistic director Robert Battle has created a program that spans pulse-racing contemporary favorites to spirit-lifting beloved classics, serving as America’s cultural ambassador to the world. Don’t miss these dynamic and artistic dancers hailed by “The New York Times” as “sleek, athletic masters of the universe” in this special pre-sale opportunity.


Cirque du Soleil: CORTEO – Toyota Center (Houston, TX) – March 8, 2018-March 11, 2018

Clowns have gotten a bad rap in the last few years, but they aren’t all bad! Some are just lovable humans looking for hope — like the main character of “Cirque du Soleil: CORTEO”. In the company of flying angels, a beloved entertainer imagines his own funeral procession in the form of a festive and lavish parade. They say write what you know, so as he passes from this life, the comedian imagines what he already knows and adds a little heaven to it. His dreaming creates a spellbinding world brought to life under the bigtop by dazzling costumes and sets. The drama of the real lives of traveling performers merges with the surreal to create “Cirque du Soleil’s” trademark visuals and a mysterious journey you can’t forget. This amazing show is packed with “Cirque”‘s seemingly impossible acrobatics, “for a display of human physicality that defies the laws of physics” (“LA Weekly”), as well as lyrical and playful music that will fill the Grand Chapiteau, bringing you into the mystical borderlands where illusion teases reality at the Toyota Center in Houston.


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