Why I decided to embrace PokemonGo!

Pokeman Go Picture
From Houston mom, Juliette:

My husband and I have been pretty tough with video games for our (almost) 9-year-old son. We both believe that there is plenty of time for that when he becomes older.

Of course, Minecraft crept into our household, first with guidebooks and then with the game but neither my husband nor I could really figure it out. So our son would play and build and tell us how cool it was when he mined redstone or killed a zombie and we would just nod back approvingly but it was pretty solitary for him.

So when talk of PokemonGo started popping up everywhere, we thought it was fun but nothing more. Then we went to Hermann Park and noticed all the players walking mostly in pairs and staring at their phones and thought how weird that was.

But yesterday, we downloaded the game and started… walking! I didn’t realize how much walking was involved and my son was so excited to go on a walk that I was all in for PokemonGo! This afternoon, our dog and phone in hand, we went around our block where my son found some Pokestops and other monsters he had to catch.

We quickly had to set up some rules: watching the road and not the phone when crossing for instance and trying to stop in the shade not in full sun! But I enjoyed talking with him about our next stop and how far the Gym was. As we were walking around, we met a fellow player who soon started up a conversation with my son.

He was much more experienced than us and we all walked to a Poke Gym to watch him fight and win as we lost our first combat. He showed us tricks and gave us hints. He told us how he goes to popular parks around town and meet other players. We chatted and walked (by then my dog was exhausted!) and I enjoyed seeing my son talking so comfortably with this person who was on his lunch break from work.

The world is in such a weird phase right now and I felt so happy to see the positive aspect of people starting conversations with strangers. I know that there are problems and issues with this video game (all people playing are maybe not quite as nice as our young man!) but right now, I just want to enjoy a nice walk with my son and maybe meet a few nice people from our neighborhood!

Let me know what your experiences have been with the game and who you’ve run into you somewhere around town!

Regions Bank Kingwood Branch Grand Opening… August 6, 10am-2pm

Regions Bank Kingwood
Remember Regions Bank‘s plan for making kids enjoy adult chores? Well now kids will be asking to go to our sponsor’s Kingwood location for games and family fun!

On August 6, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, enjoy a BBQ lunch from Fireside BBQ and see George Springer, Astros All-Star Outfielder (will be in attendance –11:00am-1:00pm)! You can also play football toss and basketball pop-a-shot games, take photos with the Regions Big Bike and tour the new Kingwood branch!

The new branch, located at 1750 W. Lake Houston Parkway, opened on July 11, 2016, and the hours of operation are:

  • Lobby: Monday -Thursday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Drive Through: Monday – Thursday 9:00 am – 5: 00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday CLOSED

The big family event is August 6, 2016, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Regions Bank Kingwood Inside
Want to find out more about Regions Bank? Check out Facebook // Twitter // Website // #CruisinIntoKingwood

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Regions Bank, an FDIC insured bank.

Your S.E.C.R.E.T. Mission Awaits at the Children’s Museum of Houston

Childrens Museum Secret Mission Laser Box
Address:  1500 Binz, Houston, Texas 77004

At the Children’s Museum of Houston, use critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity to uncover clues and solve puzzles… as a Secret Agent on a mission! The museum hired my secret agents to defeat the evil scientist Vex… and we completed the S.E.C.R.E.T. Mission last week.

The Museum was under siege and R.I.V.A.L. was attempting to steal the power from our crystals.  The kids took on the challenge and uncovered clues, cracked codes and outsmarted the villains!

Childrens Museum Secret Mission Mess Circuit Board
If your kids want to be secret agents, here is what you need to know:

  • You can learn about the museum-wide “exhibit” HERE.
  • S.E.C.R.E.T. is designed for kids 8 and older.  My 9 year old could solve the problems on his own, my 7 year old could do it with some help.  My 4 year old liked tagging along.
  • You need to wear comfortable shoes.  These missions take you all over the museum!  We’ve been on two missions… and on the second one, I was much happier in sneakers!
  • The Children’s Museum is INSANELY busy over the summer.  The cool thing about the Mission is that it’s a good way to visit the museum and to BEAT THE BUSY.  The mission control headquarters is only open to the Secret Agents, so it is not crowded.  Also, as you run around the museum collecting clues, you have very specific tasks and are not trying to compete with the other visitors and field trips in Kidtropolous, the rock wall or the other exhibits.
  • There are several different missions, so even if there are lots of secret agents at the museum, you do not bump into too many of them.
  • The last mission we did was Black Hat… and it was very cool.  There was a laser obstacle at the end!
  • Each mission comes with book, museum map and gear.  The kids really do feel like spies, with a special wrist codex that unlock doors and log the agents into computers… plus other gear depending on the mission.
  • The missions are a good way to get the big kids interested in the museum again.  My 9 year old often complains when the little ones want to go… but the missions make it an exciting trip for him too.
  • Each mission takes about 1 hour to complete.  We stopped for $1 ice cream bars, by the playground, so it took us a little longer!
  • General museum admission is $12 and free for members.  The first time you do a mission, it costs $20 to get the gear and do the mission.  If you go back for more, the new mission is $10 if you reuse your wrist codex.

If you have a secret agent that wants to uncover clues, crack codes and outsmart the villains, check out S.E.C.R.E.T.!

 Childrens Museum Secret Mission USB Stick

Childrens Museum Secret Mission Phone

Childrens Museum Secret Mission Headquarters Computers

Find more to do in Houston, with kids:

Cool Off at Cullen Park and Splashpad in West Houston

Cullen Park Splashpad Carwash and Truck
Address: 19008 Saums Rd, Houston, TX 77084

We were in west Houston exploring parks and found Cullen Park!  This big park has a whole bunch of ball fields, picnic areas, trails, splashpads, playground and lots of trees.

When we visited on a weekend morning, there was field after field of soccer games.  We had seen a review that there was a splashpad in this big park, so we kept on driving and soon found it next to the restrooms and picnic area.

Cullen Park Splashpad
Even with all the games going on, we found parking easily and headed to the fountains.  The equipment was a little old, and except for 1 million broken water balloons (hopefully biodegradable), the splashpad was clean.  We like the tubes that looked like a car was the best.

Cullen Park Splashpad and Toy Truck
After cooling off, we kept on driving past the baseball fields and velodrome.  We saw some trails but did not venture down them… but now online I see a cool playground that we missed!  (If you’ve been to the playground, tell us how it is!)

Cullen Park Picnic Area
If you are in West Houston and need to cool off, check out Cullen Park.  Right next door is Bear Creek Pioneers Park!

Cullen Park Ball Fields

Velodrome at Cullen Park

Find more Houston parks:

Kemah Boardwalk: Kid Krazy Mondays for Summer 2016!

View of Water from Landrys Seafood Kemah
This summer, the Aquarium has Two for Tuesdays… and now Kemah Boardwalk has Kid Krazy Mondays!

Go HERE to get coupons for 1/2 Price All Day Ride Tickets (usually $18.99 (under 48″) or $24.99 (48″ and up)), $5 Kid’s Beast Boat Ride Tickets (usually $15 for kids) and $1.99 Kid’s Meal Coupons!  These are valid on July 25, August 1, 8 and 15, 2016!

(Bad) Mom’s Night Out at Alamo Drafthouse, Thursday, July 28, 2016!

Bad Moms Alamo Draft House
Have you heard about a little movie called Bad Moms?  Join me for a mom’s night out on Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 8:00pm at Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park.  AND if you get your tickets by this Sunday, they are only $5!

At the event, there will be a minivan photo booth, movie props and food/beverage specials.  If you can find a babysitter, come see me at Vintage Park.  AND if you don’t want to come alone… don’t worry.  I’ll be there and am looking for company.  (Seriously, come say hello and we’ll be Bad Moms together.)

So make plans know for a (bad) mom’s night out at Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park.  Get your tickets HERE!


Regions Bank: Forcing Kids to Complain About Other Adult Chores

“Not the baaaaaaank!”

This is what I hear from the car seats when I need to deposit a check… or do just about any adult chore.

Apparently playing tour guide and doing kid activities all day would be better for my 3 children. (Surprise, surprise.)

Well, often they must tag along for adult chores… and risk getting the mom-look (or worse) if they complain too much.

Lucky for my kids, our sponsor Regions Bank is helping them to complain less about trips to the “baaaaaaank.”

Brooke on Car Trip
Online, through Regions’ mobile channels, or face-to-face in the new Kingwood branch, Regions helps its customers save time and reduces the number of complaints from my impatient children.

Instead of the usual teller line, customers are welcomed by Regions’ Universal Bankers who can help with all of their branch-banking needs (from cashing checks and accepting deposits to opening savings and checking accounts, to helping develop plans to reach long-term financial goals).

Regions Bank Kingwood Inside1
Also, instead of the usual teller machines, there are Regions’ Video Teller Machines (with live two-way video), 24 hour ATMs and, for those using safe deposit boxes, facial recognition and fingerprint technology (for security and impressing your kids).

The new Regions branch in Kingwood will have all of these amenities, plus Wi-Fi and charging stations.

Adults will save time with banking… and my kids will be forced to complain about other adult chores.

Regions Bank Kingwood
The new branch, located at 1750 W. Lake Houston Parkway, opened on July 11, 2016, and the hours of operation are:

  • Lobby: Monday -Thursday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Drive Through: Monday – Thursday 9:00 am – 5: 00 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Saturday CLOSED

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Regions Bank, an FDIC insured bank.

Sawmill Park, Splashpad & Pool in The Woodlands

Sawmill Park The Woodlands Pavilion
Address:  2200 Millpark Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380

The Woodlands is really good at designing parks… and Sawmill Park and Pool is no exception!

Shady playground, a play structure with ramps for all, modern-day merry-go-round, splashpad and a pool with a climbing wall, dragon slide, big slide and diving boards!

Sawmill Park The Woodlands Playground
When we visited, bicyclist of all ages were riding down the shady trails. The littlest ones would chain up their bikes, play at the playground, splash in the water and visit the pool.

We had arrived by car (not bike), but we found easy and free parking in the lot and played at the playground. The big structure has ramps so it is accessible for all. There are lots of slides, bridges and ladders.

Sawmill Park Toddler Playground The Woodlands
The park also has a toddler play structure for little kids… and something I have not seen before… a modern day merry-go-round! It spins like the one from my elementary school… but looks a lot safer than the one from my childhood.

Sawmill Park The Woodlands Merry Go Round
The playground also has swings, ball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, restrooms, splashpad and pool.

Sawmill Park The Woodlands Teeter Totter
The splashpad is connected to the pool… but has it’s own entrance. When we visited the park, the splashpad was open to the park for free. (But it looks like sometimes it is open through the pool and requires an admission fee.)

Sawmill Park The Woodlands Splashpad
The pool was only open for swim lessons when we visited (because we were too early), but it looks very very cool. I mean, it has a climbing wall on the water!

Sawmill Pool The Woodlands Dragon Slide
This pool also has a shallow baby pool with a dragon slide, a big water slide, diving board and lots of room to swim.

Admission is $6/person and is open to non-residents and residents.

Sawmill Pool The Woodlands Slides and Diving Boards
If you are in The Woodlands, be sure to check out Sawmill Park and Pool… or one of these other great Parks in The Woodlands!

Sawmill Pool The Woodlands Climbing Wall

Find more parks:

Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston… One of the top flying museums in the United States

Lone Star Flight Museum Galveston Building
Address: 2002 Terminal Drive, Galveston, TX 77554

As we drove down to Galveston, I asked, “Where to today?”. Let’s try one new place before hitting the beach. We’ve been to the Oil Rig Museum, Railroad Museum and Ropes Course… so we picked the Lone Star Flight Museum!

Located right next to Moody Gardens is the airplane hanger full of beautifully restored planes!

Lone Star Flight Museum Galveston Gift Store
We are a fan of all things-that-go and all things military history… but let me tell you, there are some serious flight lovers at the Lone Star Flight Museum.  Volunteers are maintaining the planes, visitors are taking selfies like they are at a rock concert and the conversations are nothing I recognize.  It was cool to see the super fans enjoying the museum.

The displays over 40 historically significant aircraft and over 1500 artifacts and apparently it is one of the top flying museums in the United States.  Some of the planes are even available for flights.  (Get the details HERE.)


Lone Star Flight Museum Thunder Bird
We walked through the airplanes, picked our favorite (the army helicopter!) and people watched.  We did not spend as much time there as some groups, but it was cool to see all the planes and helicopters.

When we visited, the admission fee was $10 for adults and $8 for kids over 5.  (Check HERE for the latest.)

Lone Star Flight Museum Army Helicopter
We went to West Beach afterwards… but if you want white sand and a waterpark, Palm Beach is right next door (as well as Moody GardensSchlitterbahn and Flagship Park).

Lone Star Flight Museum Galveston Plane

Find event more do do around Houston and Galveston:

NOW FULL: Reserve Your Spot for a Party at Gallery Furniture! July 29, 2016 (Grand Parkway) and August 1, 2016 (North Freeway)!

Join BigKidSmallCity and KatyMomsBlog for TWO More Summer Parties as Unique as Houston!  Mattress Mack has invited us back out to Gallery Furniture!  

One party will be on Friday, July 29, 2016 at 7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX 77407  and Monday, August 1, 2016 at the 6006 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77076!  Both are 11:00am-1:00pm.

Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway
GRAND PARKWAY IS NOW FULL!  At Grand Parkway on July 29, kids will get to see the serval and birds, make crafts, watch sharks swim, jump on mattresses and eat as much pizza and ice cream as their parents allow!  Kids can also learn about science from SheLovesScience and about doing-good with CheekyDays!

NOW FULL! At North Freeway on August 1, kids will get to see the monkeys and exotic birds, make crafts, race down the giant slides, jump on mattresses and eat as much lunch as their parents allow!

And it’s all FREE to those that get a spot!

If you want to join us on July 29 and/or August 1, you must:
1. Fill out the form below.  (Monday, August 1 at North Freeway has space available.)
2. Be one of the first 100 to respond at each location. Spaces are limited! (Emails are sent within 24 hours and come directly from Jill.)
3. Understand that the animals will only come out to meet the kids if they are in good moods. If they are too overwhelmed, they will stay in their cages/rooms!  (At the last event, they did NOT come out.) Kids will be able to see them no matter what.
4.  Understand that food is prepared onsite and cooked as fast as possible for all the guest.  (At Grand Parkway, this is gourmet pizza from Brick and Mortar!)  Please do not complain about the free lunches… it reflects badly on me as your host.
5. If you get a spot, bring your kids to Gallery Furniture!  (Friday, July 29, 2016 at 7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX 77407. Monday, August 1, 2016 at the 6006 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77076.) The events are FREE.
6. Make every effort to attend. Since spaces are limited and we want as many kids to get a chance as possible. If you need to cancel, email me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com.

A "Houston Parents Magazine" Resource - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - For Things to Do for Fall 2016: CLICK HERE
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