Need Cheap/free Summer Activities for My 4 Children or I'll Go Crazy!!

Updated on June 19, 2008
R.G. asks from Manassas, VA
10 answers

My 4 children are driving me bonkers and it's just the beginning of summer. I was wondering if there was anything in the Cypress area that wouldn't break the bank and had something for every age group as well. I don't want them to sit in front of the tv all summer. They need to be productive and give me some alone time. Does anyone have any suggestions? My 2 oldest play select soccer but are on a break for a few months so they need to be kept busy. My 2 youngest just need to get out and hang w/ children thier age instead of bothering the oldest kids. Help ME !!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who helpd me out with all their great ideas and website links. I'm already planning days for getting out. You're all so sweet! Have a GREAT WEEKEND!

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answers from Houston on

going to the pool is nice.
places like Jumping Party at Louetta and Eldridge have open play for about $5 per kid.
we like to go bowling
there's $1 kids movies At Cinemark Cypress at 10 a.m.

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answers from Houston on

Hello! Lots of times a little creativity and "setting expectations" goes a long way! I have 3 sons, 15, 8 and 6 - and work from home!!

At times, I will tell the kids to play independently for a while and let me work, and when I am done, we can do something fun. Having lots of craft things around really helps - kids can color, cut and glue without much help. The ideas below are ones we've done on a long lunch break, or in the evening when mom is through working.

We love breakfast picnics, when its not so hot, but picnics at the park - or even just play time at the park - is fun. There is a great new park on Cypresswood just west of 249 that is nice, and there are trails you can walk on if you go under the bridge and cross to the other side. Another great area is the nature trail at Telge park, just north of Cypress N. Houston. Lots of times we go to find certain things, not just to play. For example, collect different leaves and make a collage when you get home, or take a digital camera and photograph all the bugs you can find, and print them on the way home.

We also like going to Half Price Books on 1960 and just sitting and reading, then taking home new books to read. If a special day or holiday is coming up, look for books about that topic. (Right now we are learning all about America and Independence Day.)

Another thing my kids like is going to the pet store! They love to look at the animals and just walk around.

For a little bit of $$, there is a great ceramics place at Louetta and Grant called Arts of Glaze. Check that out.

Local libraries are good - - but my kids are too old for the story times. You could check for activities at a library near you and see what things they have.

Select a special theme, like Independence Day, or dinosaurs, or whatever - and find craft ideas or snack ideas that deal with that theme. For instance, yesterday we drew flags and fireworks with chalk all over the driveway, and painted cheap T-shirts like fireworks (with pipecleaners . .. check out Family and read a story about Independence Day at bed time. For dinner we cut bread into star shapes with cookie cutters.

Another idea: A progressive splash day! Get several moms together to host a portion of the day . . . water balloons at one, slip and slide at another, sprinklers or just the water hose, etc. Doesn't have to be a big pool! My kids love to wash the car late in the day, then take their "Bath" outside. I just take the shampoo and body wash to the drive way, wash them off, (still in swimsuits) and then strip them in the laundry room and put their jammies on. Dump all car wash towels, bath towels, and wet suits in washer and everything is already cleaned up!

We also do lots of coloring and cutting and painting . .. having a theme helps. Once we made a "zoo gallery" ... using all kinds of things to make animals out of construction paper. My son hung up lots of his animals, then ran upstairs and got all his stuffed or plastic animals to put on the floor around the room. He made a big sign that said "Zoo Gallery" and we left it up for a month. He was so proud when people came over.

Bike rides and walks are always appealing to kids. Visit a friend or get ice cream or donuts, but scooter or walk instead of driving. We have an elderly friend who doesn't get much company, and sometimes we draw pictures then just go visit. Setting the expectation and having enthusiasm for what you plan to do helps set the tone and get the kids excited.

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answers from Houston on

Jersey Village Baptist Church has some fun things to do! Also, check out some activities they can do through the YMCA.



answers from Houston on if you sign up for there newsletter. It sent out every Monday. It is free and it will let you know of everything in the houston area to do each day alot of stuff in expensive or free. I am in Spring and I love it.



answers from Houston on

Have you heard of this website? It was created by a mom right in your area for your exact needs. It's AWESOME!



answers from Houston on

It may be hard to find something they can all go to together, but you have two good age ranges to send two here and two there. I go to and work at Jersey Village Baptist Church. We have a ton of summer camps that are going on all through June and July that are free and great for different age ranges. We are finishing up VBS this week that is for age 4-5th grade. We have middleschool camps and preschool camps. A lot of stay at home mom's that I know hit all the different church camps because they are FREE!! Check out for our camps! Good Luck. I would also suggest the Foundry the Methodist church that is around the corner from JVBC. They have very successful camps.



answers from Houston on

Kids college at LoneStar College is fun, but it may be what your calling breaking the bank but they have lots of cool classes my son loves it he's 12.



answers from Houston on

Okay this may sound old fashioned but about once or twice a month we have a water balloon war. It takes them an hour or two to fill all of them - I buy the 450 balloon packs as we have 5 kids usually. They have fun filling them and then even more during the battle. They get the other kids in the neighborhood involved and on Memorial Day we had one with all the kids and adults - it was a lot of fun. Good luck, and I hope more people post as we live up North and have a gaggle of kids also.



answers from Houston on

I am so glad you wrote this! Even with one child and a full-time job I'm always looking for stuff to do. Bless Alane for her thoughtful and thorough response also.

My daughter likes to make up stories. We'll go to the mall or the park and make up stories about people and things we see. Then she'll go home and sometimes write songs about them, complete with illustrations, which she then choreographs and practices, and finally she'll put on a show for me.



answers from Houston on

Go to & look in the calendar for free stuff to do. Several other ideas:
*For the 2 & 3 yr olds: Barnes & Noble, Borders Books and some independent bookstores have free music time, activities, and story time for their age. You accompany them, but they are with kids their own age.
*Local libraries have free summer reading programs for all ages (older kids get prizes for however many books they complete) and free young child activities too.
*Michael's and Hobby Lobby have inexpensive craft activities at their stores in summer or for you to ake home for them to do. Summer journal with scrapbooking stuff; a disposable camera for each of them to put pics in their book;
*Call local churches, swim centers, parks and rec programs to see what they have for kids in your neighborhood.
*Play dates exchanges with other Cypress kids (school friends of older kids---maybe even an occasional overnight---and possible mom and me groups in Cypress for younger children).
*Thursday is free day for families at the Children's Museum.
*The Mercer Arboretum is not far from you and inexpensive.
*Local movie theaters may have matinees for the 11, 12 yr olds this summer.
Have any relatives or close friends that would take the kids for a couple of days?

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