Sign Up Now for the Thanksgiving Break Camp at Main Street Theater!

Schools are out for a whole week for Thanksgiving… but not all parents are off for the full week!

Main Street Theater is offering camps on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Sign up fo one, two or three days!

In these turbo camps, you will create a play in a day! Starting at 9:00am with their best brainstorming, students will create an original play (plus all their props and costumes) to share with their classmates before carpool.

Ages: 7 – 12
Days: November 19, 20 & 21, 2018
Hours: 9:00am – 3:30pm
Location: MST – Rice Village
Daily Fee: $70/day

Get all the details HERE!


Thanksgiving Break Turbo Camp at Main Street Theater

Schools are out for a whole week for Thanksgiving… but are you off for a full week?

Main Street Theater is offering camps on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Sign up fo one, two or three days!

In these turbo camps, you will create a play in a day! Starting at 9:00am with their best brainstorming, students will create an original play (plus all their props and costumes) to share with their classmates before carpool.

Ages: 7 – 12
Days: November 19, 20 & 21, 2018
Hours: 9:00am – 3:30pm
Location: MST – Rice Village
Daily Fee: $70/day

Get all the details HERE!


Trick, Treat, Win Give Away: $25 McDonald’s gift card, $50 Best Buy gift card, Roku TV stick & Trick, Treat, Win t-shirt

Trick, Treat and Win at McDonald’s Houston!

Just peel game pieces on select McDonald’s packaging and win prizes.  AND to celebrate, we have a BIG give away!

You can win one $25 McDonald’s gift card, $50 Best Buy gift card, Roku TV stick (valued at $50) and a Trick, Treat, Win t-shirt.

Sign up below (or HERE).

Update:  Congratulations to Loni M!

Contest Ends: Monday, October 29, 2018
Official Rules: https://www.bigkidsmallcity.com/official-contest-rules-191/


Tumble & Play at H-Town Elite Gymnastics… for FREE

During the school day, take your little ones to tumble, play and stretch at H-Town Elite Gymnastics.  And next week, do it for FREE and be entered to win a month of free preschool classes.

Preschool programs are available to boys and girls ages 2 plus and are taught by a patient and understanding Coach. Classes range from 30 – 50 minutes long and meet once a week.

Your child will learn important lessons such as how to coexist in a class setting with other children, how to take and wait for their turns and get stronger and more confident at the same time. Students will use scaled down versions of Olympic Gymnastics equipment, and learn basic versions of skills learned by the best gymnasts in the world with the flexibility in curriculum to allow each student to progress at their own pace.

If you have a preschooler, sign up here for a FREE class the week of October 29, 2018. AND, for those that register will also be entered to win a month of free classes!

Sign up for your free class below (or HERE!).


Not far from Houston… but away from it all… Thousand Trails Colorado River in Columbus, Texas!

We were celebrating something BIG in our little Petite Retreat cabin at Thousand Trails Colorado River. We had TWO birthdays last week!

We got to do all the fun camping things… but we got to come home to beds and plumbing.

We’ve now been on several camping (and glamping) trips, and this is what I’ve discovered about campgrounds:

  1.  No one looks at you like you sideways when you say you have four kids.  They are not really surprised and they don’t think you should pay for two hotel rooms.
  2. Campgrounds are generally more reasonably priced than hotels, but with a lot of things to do.
  3. Camping (and glamping) is a great way to connect.  Even with the cabin amenities, everyone is within arms reach and everyone is working together on dinner and campfires and hiking and fun.
  4.  Cabins let us do all the fun outdoor camping activities, but come home to showers and beds.

Thousand Trails invited us out and we found it right on the Colorado River… and with trails, a pool, fishing, mini golf, playground, basketball, volleyball, activity center and more.  Not only this, but there are deer everywhere and armadillos roaming around.

The activity center might have been the kids favorite spot.  It’s old and a lot like the activity centers at state parks or like grandma’s house… it needs an update but is incredibly clean and tidy.

We played a dozen games of pool, table tennis and air hockey.  In the kids room, there are games, toys and dozens of DVDs and VHS tapes.  My 9 year old was fascinated by the VCR (with tracking and rewinding and all things VHS) and watched old Disney movies.

The activity center is also where we found a little library, exercise center and staff.  The staff was very friendly and  helpful and happy to see us when we ran in during the rain storms.

The kids and I also went swimming at the pool, played mini golf went for a hike, played basketball and pickle ball and surveyed the old damage from Harvey.  (The water covered the buildings in the back half of the campground!)

At Thousand Trails, some people stay for the season and some people stay for a few nights.  The cabins are all clustered together with a common firepit and we quickly made friends with the kids next door.

(Also, there was a wood fire burn ban when we visited, but the cabin had a propane grill for our dinner.

If you want to rent the cabins, more tips are below:

  • There are two sizes.  One sleeps 4 and another sleeps 6.  Ours was the small cabin and we were cozy… but the point of the trip was to be outside anyway!
  • The mattresses and pillows are covered in a slick cleanable cover and linens are provided.
  • The cabins are air conditioned and heated with a kitchenette, bathroom and satellite TV.  A propane grill is outside.
  • Thousand Trails also has spaces for tents and RVs.
  • Soap and shampoo is provided.
  • Towels are provided.
  • The kitchen is fully stocked with pots and plates and silverware… but you need to wash and return everything you use!
  • The campgrounds have a lot of things to do!  Hiking, fishing, playgrounds, games in the activity center, basketball, volleyball, pickleball, mini golf and more!
  • If you have room in your car, bring bikes and balls so you have even more to do!
  • The really cool campers seem to bring rope lights to decorate their cabins, RVs, golf carts and bikes… and one of these days we’ll be the cool campers!
  • The campgrounds are pretty close to I10, so you can get groceries/gear if you forget anything.
  • See the video of the cabin:

If you need a list of things to bring, here’s what we packed:

[Read more…]


Sign Up Now… Fall Classes at Main Street Theater!

Calling all good team players, movie fans, avid readers, sports fans, brainiacs, shy kids, pirates, princesses and born performers… anyone and everyone who has ever imagined their own adventure!

Bring your body, your voice, and your imagination to our partner, Main Street Theater, fall classes!

These classes draw on students’ strengths and abilities for every aspect of the final production. Students will focus on bringing characters to life through creative movement, improvisation and text.

They will explore dramatic structure as they write their own play to perform for families and friends on the last day of class. They will also create most costumes, props or set pieces they might need.

Get all the details HERE!

 


Eat at the Fresh Café at the Children’s Museum of Houston

Address: 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004

Here’s the truth… we haven’t spent much time at the Fresh Café at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  We are at the museum all the time, but despite the cafe’s name, I did not realize you could get anything fresh or healthy.

The Children’s Museum of Houston invited us out to prove us wrong… and they did.

Located right in the main hallway, the cafe is open almost all day.  You order at the counter, take your seat and the food comes to you.

There are hamburgers, veggie burgers, chicken tenders and fries… but there are also items like salads, sandwiches and wraps.

I had the red quinoa spinach salad and the kids had a little of everything… including some ice cream.

The food was all very good, the service was fast and the restaurant was clean.  The restaurant was very busy but service was quick and the guests all seemed happy.  And, this was probably the easiest museum district lunch we’ve had.

It turns out that the Fresh Café does have fresh and healthy (and vegetarian and kid friendly and…) options!

 

 

Find more Houston area restaurants:


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

Address:  1500 Binz, Houston, Texas 77004

Can you spot the S.E.C.R.E.T. Agent?

We were saving the Children’s Museum of Houston by picking  up codes and restoring order to the Children’s Museum!

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!

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.
  • You need to wear comfortable shoes.  These missions take you all over the museum!
  • We’ve now done three missions… and they seem to change a little each year.  There were new problems to solve this summer.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Each mission takes about one 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.!

 

Find more things to do around Houston, with kids:


Big but not TOO big… Take the family to our favorite Splashway Waterpark & Campground!

Address: 5211 Main Street, Sheridan, Texas 77475 (For the winter post, go HERE!)
Use code BigKidSmallCity to save $5 on full price waterpark tickets!

Splashway Waterpark & Campground is our very favorite Houston-area waterpark.  It’s a big park, but it’s not TOO big.   There is plenty to do for my 11, 9, 6 and 1 year olds… but it is not too big for mom to supervise.

Not only this, but Splashway is perfect for families.  Which other waterpark has frequent calls over the intercom asking kids to check in with their parents?  Where else does someone accidentally bump into you and actually stop to apologize and make sure everything is okay?  And who else stops everything at 1:00pm, every day, for the national anthem?

AND, the only thing we like better than visiting this waterpark is staying in the cabins while we are there.  We swim all day and build campfires, play horseshoes, mini golf and laser tag all evening!

Splashway Waterpark & Campground invited us out again this summer, and we had the very best time.  We’ve now been for a one night waterpark trip, for a winter camping trip… and now we have spent four days at the waterpark and campgrounds.  All the trips have been great, but the long summer trip was AMAZING.

We could wake up, casually eat breakfast, walk over to the waterpark, go down all our favorites before the crowds arrived… head back to the cabin for breaks… and back to the swim in the afternoon.  The evenings were filled with campfires, outdoor movies, golf, laser tag, corn hole, playgrounds, horseshoes and more.

The kids got to do all the fun camp activities and play at the waterpark… and I got to have everyone together and away from the distractions at home.

AND I like that big families can stay comfortably and for not a ton of money.  At hotels, a family of six is supposed to pay extra for two of the kids or get two rooms or just quietly cram everyone in. At Splashway you can bring the family plus grandma plus some friends and all stay together.

This trip was definitely a highlight of our summer so far.  Our week happened to be a very very busy week at the waterpark, but with our cabin, cabana and multiple day tickets, we did not mind.  We had plenty of time for everything… and when things go too busy, we found something different to do.

I have been asking the kids their favorite part of the vacation… and all they can tell me is EVERYTHING!  And they want to know when we will go back!

If you plan to go to Splashway Waterpark & Campground, here is what we learned:

  • Use code BigKidSmallCity for $5 off your full priced ticket!
  • You can now load up your Splash Cash wristband, lock away your wallet and buy food, drinks, activities and merchandise from all over the waterpark and campgrounds.  This is very convenient and a good way to stay on budget!
  • All the big slides, except 2, are for kids 42″ and above.  (The others are for 48″ and above.)
  • There are 2 toddler slide areas and lots of slides for kids between toddler and 42″.
  • Parking is FREE!
  • Life Jackets and Tubes are free to use.
  • You can bring in COOLERS!  Food is also for sale and you can use any payment form… including your wristband.  (Bring one on wheels to get it across the park.)
  • There are free grills to cook your own lunch. (First come first served.)
  • Lockers are available to rent.  If you rent a cabana instead, there are locked boxes you can use.
  • Arrive by 9:30am.  You cannot go in the water until opening, but you might get in early, be able to find a table/cabana and be at your favorite slide at opening.  Do your favorite rides first.  Ray’s Riptide and Loco Mono had the biggest line… so do it early if you can.
  • We went on a weekday with a promotion going on.  There were crowds… but still no worse than other Houston waterparks on an average day.
  • There a picnic tables all over the park and people just claim tables with their coolers… and come back when they are hungry.
  • Consider wearing water shoes.  The sidewalks are hot!
  • Lifeguards are everywhere.  But, of course, you have to watch your kids!
  • Have a meet up spot planned in advance… just in case you get separated!
  • This is a lot of walking and climbing!  The stairs and ramps to the top of the slides can take you several stories in the air.
  • Life vests are available for free, all over the park.  You can also bring in your own devices.
  • Strollers are allowed in the park.

If you want to rent the cabins, more tips are below:

  • The cabins come with 3 queen beds and 2 full beds.  The mattresses and pillows are covered in a slick cleanable cover and they NOW rent linens.  (This is great because you don’t have to haul as much or do extra laundry when you get home!)
  • The cabins are air conditioned with a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, loft, screened in porch and satellite TV.
  • Splashway also has spaces for tents and RVs.  They have cabins that sleep 12 and smaller cottages.
  • You need to bring soap and shampoo.  (Linens are now available to rent!)
  • The kitchen is fully stocked with pots and plates and silverware… but you need to wash and return everything you use!
  • The campgrounds have a new putt putt golf course, a high tech laser tag course, pedal cars and pedal boats to rent.
  • The campgrounds also have lots of free things to do including hikes, fishing, playgrounds, games in the family center, basketball, sand volleyball and more.
  • If you have room in your car, bring bikes and balls so you have even more to do!
  • The really cool campers seem to bring rope lights to decorate their cabins, RVs, golf carts and bikes… and one of these days we’ll be the cool campers!
  • This campground is nothing like Lake Houston Wilderness Park.  If you want wilderness, this is not it.  If you want fun, we found it here!
  • Do not expect to get lots of groceries in Sheridan.  There is a convenience store, but the closes real grocery store is probably 20 minutes away.  Also, if you need just a couple items, likely the camp store has what you need.
  • If you plan to go in the winter, read THIS post!
  • Take a look at more pictures below… and decide if Splashway Waterpark & Campground is right for you!

[Read more…]


Basketball, Tricks and Shenanigans… The Harlem Globetrotters!

Have you seen the Harlem Globetrotters? They were in the Houston area last week… and the show was great!

Check out the Facebook Live:

I took my kids (11, 9, 6 and 21 months) and my parents… and everyone was very entertained. Even the toddler was excited to watch the basketball and the funny interactions with the crowd.

The game is 4 quarters… but while time is running down, the players stop to pull in the crowd. There is one break at halftime and after the game, the players stay on the court for autographs.

In the past, I’ve heard people say that their kids liked it, the parents liked it but the grandparents, who had seen the Globetrotters years ago, thought it was not like it used to be. They thought the showmanship used to be better.

Well, we’ve now seen the Harlem Globetrotters twice in Houston and have been entertained each time. We liked the basketball, the tricks and the shenanigans. And when they come back to Houston, we’ll be happy to go see them again!

Check out the pictures and the video… and if you went to the show, tell us what you thought!