The Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Houston
Houston is a kid-friendly city. Yes, we can even accommodate your feistiest “three-nager.” Everywhere you go in H-Town there are families enjoying numerous fun, free and fascinating activities. Moms and dads, if you’re trying to come up with a game plan for your little one, we’ve got a full list below. From museums to restaurants that cater to kids, take a look and breathe a sigh of relief.
Houston makes taking the kids to the park, a walk in the park. We’ve got our favorite parks below and parents please take note that a few of them double as splash pads, so bring your suits in the summer!
Something is always happening inDowntown'sDiscovery Green. Complete with both a playground, splash pad and special events, you don’t want to miss wearing your toddler out at this spacious and beautiful park. The Medez Playground, located at Discovery Green, includes nearly 15 pieces of equipment to encourage fitness and creativity, a play hill, as well as a concrete bench that serves as containment and seating for caregivers. For children ages five to 12, a section near the park’s popular interactive Gateway Fountain features a ropes course with innovative and age-appropriate equipment to improve strength and agility.
Courtesy of@levyparkhouston on Instagram
Cool doesn’t even begin to describe the amazing Levy Park inUpper Kirby. This park is truly a sensory experience with interactive activities throughout its six acres. Levy Park’s thoughtful design features activity areas including a putting green and ping pong tables, dog park, community garden, the Children’s Park with splash pad, and beautiful landscaping. Kids love climbing in and out of the hills and tunnels, figuring out the spider-web-like jungle gym and jumping on piano keys to make their own music. If you have bigger kids in tow they’ll love to play on the giant connect four games, visit the library corner or just embrace their kid on the playground.
Courtesy of@kasiatossi on Instagram
From the uber-urban Levy Park to the classic wooden kid’s castle that is Donovan Park, you can’t go wrong. We love Donovan Park inThe Heights because of its massive wooden structure and the nostalgia it creates. From the wooden choo-choo train to the seemingly endless spires, this park is always a favorite for kids. One of the best parts of this park is that it is fully enclosed, so sneaky toddlers stay contained. Imagination reigns supreme with kids embracing their inner prince or princess. Plus,Cloud 10 Creamery is right across the street in case good behavior deserves a reward.
Houston is hot, we know! That’s why parents always need an indoor option for playtime. Below are some spots perfect for toddlers and big kids, alike! Have all of the fun while keeping cool.
Courtesy of@gowonderwild on Instagram
WonderWild, also in The Heights, is an awesome indoor play place for those days when Houston is a little too hot or rainy. With two play sections, this family favorite accommodates the smallest of children up to 11-year-olds. The section for small children includes incredible playscapes, soft play sculptures, jumping pillows and a colossal crocodile slide. For bigger kids who want to get in on the fun, there’s the Wonderwild(er) side which allows kids ages five to 11 to go nuts on indoor ropes courses, a go-kart pedal track and other exciting equipment.
Courtesy of@shamrockelvis on Instagram
When people think of Houston, they often think ofThe Galleria, but giveMemorial City Mall a try! Memorial City Mall has Frolic’s Castle. Frolic’s Castle is the world’s largest indoor soft play area in a shopping center and fully ADA-accessible with a three-level, medieval castle complete with drawbridge and catapult surrounded by an Enchanted Forest. Kids can climb all of the wizards, knights and fire-breathing dragons scattered across the playscape. Plus, while you’re at the mall you can shop ‘til you drop, ride the mall’s choo choo train, ice skate and grab some lunch, all in the same location.
Courtesy of@colorfactoryco on Instagram
So technically our next play place isn’t an indoor playground, it’s a museum, but your kids will never know the difference! For families who love sensory play and experiences, we suggest you head to Color Factory. There are only two Color Factory locations in the U.S., New York City and Houston, making this a truly special spot. Color Factory is over 20,000 sq. ft. and features unique participatory installations of colors inspired by Houston. Each experiential room includes hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play, engaging all of your senses in unexpected ways. Tickets are required, so be sure to book ahead of time.
Did you know that Houston has 19 museums? There is truly something for everyone in H-Town, even toddlers! We’ve listed a few spots you should visit, but definitely check out ourfull list of cultural institutions.
Courtesy of@houstonzoo on Instagram
It's impossible to list off fun things for kids without including the Houston Zoo. Everyone loves the zoo, especially your mobile toddler. With over 6,000 animals on site, there is plenty to see, explore and do. As you move through the 55-acre zoo withinHermann Park, you can have discussions with zookeepers, feed giraffes, ride the carousel, play in the Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park, grab lunch or a snack at the Cypress Circle Café or play at the petting zoo. For family-friendly savings, bring your own stroller, wagon, meals and drinks. What a way to pass the day!
Children’s Museum Houston
According to the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Houston region has one of the largest child populations in the U.S. and the museum serves an audience of more than one million children and families each year. We definitely encourage you to be a part of the one million families as this museum is perfect for all ages. With over 20 exhibits at the museum, toddlers to teens will certainly find something that aligns with their interests, like the Toddler Trail or Inventor’s Workshop. Experience why this museum is the #1 children’s museum in the U.S.
Courtesy of@hmns on Instagram
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Have you met a toddler that knows more about dinosaurs than their parents? Of course you have! Toddlers can be mini paleontologists. For the dinosaur lover in your life, you have to experience theMorian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This hall is anything but ordinary, as it’s packed with prehistoric beasts that are chasing, eating and escaping as they struggle to stay alive. Embark on a “prehistoric safari” that also includes the grand saga of human evolution – from tree-climbing australopithecines to courageous mammoth-hunters. Plus, The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology are always a crowd pleaser with a living butterfly habitat that has preserved specimens like the world’s largest and weirdest arthropods!
Bites for Babes
You’ve had a full day and now mom and dad want to relax and have a meal or drink at a kid-friendly restaurant. We get it! You’ve worked hard, now reward yourselves and your kids.
Courtesy of@littlematt_westu on Instagram
Located inRice Village, Little Matt’s is a great spot for parents and kids to unwind while giving back! Little Matt’s donates its restaurant proceeds to Texas Children’s Hospital in an effort to support pediatric medical research, which is enough of a reason to visit. However, Little Matt’s also has a full arcade, Icees and iPad station. Your kids will not want to leave! Oh, there’s also delicious food too. Families can chow down on burgers, salads, sandwiches, onion rings and more.
Courtesy of@walkingstickbrewing on Instagram
Walking Stick Brewery
If you are looking for more of a brews and small bites situation, head to Walking Stick Brewery in the Garden Oaks area. We love Walking Stick Brewery because it’s great for parents and kids alike. This cozy and intimate craft brewery always has lots of live music, rotating food vendors, an old-school merry-go-round and a wooden train. There is also plenty of shade for a hot day with fans to boot. Grab a pint, let the kids play and enjoy your day.
Courtesy of@alisonsings2016 on Instagram
There are lots of Lupe Tortilla restaurants in Houston. However, among kids only one location reigns supreme and it’s the Highway 6 location. This Lupe Tortilla boasts an outdoor playground that’s full of sand, backyard-style roller coasters, playhouse and sand toys. Parents can sit back, relax and drink a margarita while watching their kids play until the food arrives.
1-2 years old:
Answering: Answers simple “what” questions like “what's that?” while pointing at common objects. Answers simple “where” questions by pointing to objects or pictures in a book, such as “where are your shoes?” Responds to yes/no questions with a nod or word.
- Offer choices. You'll be tired of it before this phase is over – but offering a limited choice is absolutely the best way of avoiding a showdown with your toddler. ...
- Offer the appearance of options. ...
- Teach your toddler other responses. ...
- Use "no" sparingly. ...
- Stand your ground.
- 1) Begin with Nodding + Shaking Head. Some children may not be ready to verbalize the words “yes” or “no”, and may feel more comfortable using representational gestures. ...
- 2) Make it a fun and silly game. Ask concrete questions using real objects, making it fun and silly! ...
- 3) Use Visual Symbols.
This can happen for many reasons including: your child may not have heard you, he may not have understood the question, he may be processing your question and needs more wait time, he may not be able to access the words to answer your question, or he may even feel overwhelmed and not want to answer your question.What are open ended questions for toddlers? ›
An open-ended question such as, “Tell me about the blocks you are using,” encourages children to use their language to describe the blocks or what they are doing. There is no right or wrong answer to an open-ended question so all children can be successful in answer- ing them.Should I entertain my toddler all day? ›
You don't have to play with your toddler every minute of the day. In fact, it is helpful if you don't. Yes, you want to soak up your time with your little cutie patooties, but you also don't want to micromanage their time and activities.Is it OK to let toddler play alone? ›
Rest assured, it's perfectly okay to let your child play alone, even at a young age, as long as you're nearby and he's safe. So if your little one is looking at a book in his crib or sitting on the floor stacking cups (within ear- and eyeshot, of course), leave him be.What to do with busy toddlers? ›
- Indoor Pouring Station – Create an indoor pouring station.
- Dinosaur Toy Bath – Give those dinosaur toys a bath.
- Oobleck Party – Have you made oobleck? ...
- Bubble Foam Trucks – Play with bubble foam – just three ingredients that you have!
- Ice Bin Scoop & Transfer – Scooping and transferring ice is so fun.
The “No” Phase is a child's first rebellious phase and starts when children start recognizing their desires and try to make sure they are fulfilled. The beginning and end of the phase depends on the child but is usually from around 1.5 years old until around 2 years old.How do you discipline a toddler without yelling? ›
- Show and tell. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. ...
- Set limits. ...
- Give consequences. ...
- Hear them out. ...
- Give them your attention. ...
- Catch them being good. ...
- Know when not to respond. ...
- Be prepared for trouble.
Although the "no" stage of your childs speech development is often frustrating, it is also an important milestone for children and often a way for them to celebrate their newly found independence. Saying "no" is a healthy, normal, and important part of a childs budding autonomy.Is it normal for toddlers to not respond? ›
Speech-language pathologists working in early intervention often consider a young child's lack of response to their name as a potential sign of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It can also be an indicator of issues with receptive language skills.What to do when kids don t respond? ›
- Eliminate Distractions. Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images. ...
- Request Repetition. Ensure that your child understands what you said by asking them to repeat back your instructions. ...
- Give One Warning. ...
- Follow Through. ...
- Create a Plan. ...
- Avoid Traps.
3-Year-Old: A 3-year-old should be able to answer more complex questions and should be starting to ask basic “who”, “what”, “where” and “why” questions. 4-Year-Old: A 4-year-old should be able to ask and answer many questions, if not all question types.Is it normal for 3 year old to ignore questions? ›
Ignoring is almost always a normal part of a child's development, rather than a sign that something's wrong. But in rare cases it could be a sign of a learning or hearing problem. Ask your GP or health visitor for advice if your preschooler: Ignores you more often than she listens to you.Why does my toddler repeat questions instead of answering? ›
When the Child Repeats your Question Instead of Answering. Echolalia when responding to questions is extremely common. This usually stems from the child not knowing how to answer the question appropriately but it can be very difficult to teach the child to answer the question if all he does is repeat the last word.What are good questions to ask a 3 year old? ›
- What are you really good at?
- What makes you proud?
- What is something you really like to do?
- What is something you really don't like to do?
- What makes you feel happy?
- How do you make other people feel happy?
- What makes you feel loved?
- How do you show other people you love them?
- Why did you apply for this position?
- Explain how you manage tight deadlines at work.
- What are your biggest strengths and why?
- Why do you think you're the right candidate for this position?
- Why did you leave your previous position?
- Where do you see yourself in the future?
They get bored and start to become fussy and squirmy; they might entertain themselves by blowing milk through a straw or dropping a fork on the ground, crying, and hitting anyone who tries to restrain them.Do toddlers get bored at home? ›
Simply, you can't always keep them from getting bored. Despite the latest toys and plenty of outdoor time, kids still get bored.
At 12 months, they can handle about 15 minutes of solo play. At 18 months, they might play alone for 15 to 20 minutes. At 2 years, they should last around 30 minutes.How many hours should you play with your toddler? ›
Toddlers should have opportunities to play every day, the AAP says. Many experts recommend giving toddlers at least an hour per day of free, unstructured (but still supervised) play where children can explore what interests them, along with at least 30 minutes of active, adult-led, structured play.How often should I play with my toddler? ›
Try to spend at least 5-10 minutes each day playing with your child. Begin with at least five minutes of special playtime. When parents first start using praise, description, imitation, and active listening, they find that it takes a lot of energy and focus.Should toddlers play in their room? ›
But it turns out, letting toddlers play independently in a safe environment for a while is actually a good thing, said Rachel Busman, Psy. D., ABPP at the Child Mind Institute,. "Think of alone time as time for practicing being independent," she said.How do you stimulate a bored toddler? ›
- Create a DIY sensory bin: Toddlers love to explore via their senses. ...
- Host a tea party. Turn lunchtime into a royal event. ...
- Make an Indoor obstacle course. ...
- Throw a dance party. ...
- Get some exercise. ...
- Cook a meal. ...
- Build a fort. ...
- Have some snow day fun:
The thing to do is to gently, calmly move their arm away from the person they are hitting, so they can't hit again. You can let them try. Just keep their arm from landing on you or anyone else. Mild words like, “No, that doesn't feel good,” or, “I can't let you do that,” might be helpful.At what age do toddlers start listening? ›
In the toddler years, between ages 1-3, kids are learning to do a lot of new things. One of them is learning how to listen and follow instructions.How many tantrums a day is normal for a 2 year old? ›
Tantrums happen most frequently between ages 1 and 4, averaging up to one a day. They typically decrease when a child starts school. At this age, they're talking more, so they can express their needs verbally. Tantrums usually last between two and 15 minutes.What is abnormal behavior in a 2 year old? ›
Signs to look for include: tantrums that consistently (more than half the time) include hitting, kicking, biting, or other forms of physical violence toward the parent or caretaker. tantrums in which the child tries to injure themselves. frequent tantrums, defined as tantrums that occur 10 to 20 times a day.Does a 2 year old understand no? ›
Sunshine Cowan: According to KidsHealth, a research-based site courtesy of The Nemours Foundation, babies understand “no” between eight and 12 months of age . When we say no to a baby this age, chances are they will stop what they are doing to look at us.
Making a custody schedule for a toddler
Your custody schedule should give your toddler frequent contact with both parents and provide both parents opportunities to feed, bathe, play with, read to, arrange playdates for, and put the toddler to sleep. Toddlers can be away from either parent for 2 or 3 days.
Research. There is a bunch of research that is done on the effects of parenting and disciplining on kids of every age, but let me just save you the trouble, and let you know that NO. You are most likely not scarring your child for life when you yell at them or lose your cool every once in a while.Is it OK to ignore a screaming toddler? ›
Don't ignore your child if a tantrum ever turns violent, or if there's a risk of harm to the child, another person, or property. In these situations, it's critical to actively intervene. Safety always comes first.What happens if you yell at a toddler too much? ›
Research shows that yelling and harsh verbal discipline can have similar negative effects as corporal punishment. Children who are constantly yelled at are more likely to have behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, stress, and other emotional issues, similar to children who are hit or spanked frequently.What age do kids start answering questions? ›
By 30 months of age, most toddlers with typically developing language skills are consistently answering yes/no questions, choosing between 2 options (“Do you want your Dora shirt or flower shirt?”) and answering simple “What” and “Where” questions (“What do you want to eat?” or “Where did Daddy go?”).What knowledge should a 2 year old know? ›
Language and communication milestones at 2 years
Points to things when they are named. Knows familiar body parts. Recognizes familiar people. Repeats words she has overheard and follows simple instructions.
Children under the age of three do not understand "no" in the way most parents think they do. (And, a full understanding of "no" doesn't occur magically when the child turns three. It is a developmental process.)How high should 2 year old count? ›
Most 2 year old children are capable of counting to 10 although they may mix up the order of the numbers. Begin practicing numbers and counting with your toddler to help build a strong foundation for number fluency. Daily number practice with colorful flash cards and counting games can make learning fun for your child.Should a 2 year old know the alphabet? ›
Typically, by the age of three, children should be able to recite the alphabet. However, every child is different. Some toddlers may learn in their twos, and others might not pick it up until the late threes. Children generally learn how to recite the alphabet through repetition.Should a 2 year old know colors? ›
Should a 2 Year Old Learn Colors? A two-year-old may not be able to understand the concept of colors completely but they should be able to identify at least one color at this age. By this time, the child should learn how to name colors and identify basic shapes and numbers.
18 to 23 months
Understands and answers simple “yes-no” questions (such as, “Are you hungry?”)
Most kids say 1–2 words by 15 months and 3 or more words by 18 months. By 2 years old, most toddlers are saying even more words and can put together 2-word sentences. No matter when they say their first words, it's a sure bet they already understand much of what you say.Why do toddlers want you to repeat what they say? ›
Toddlers love repetition because it helps them to learn, and because it's familiar and comforting. From around the age of two, you will notice your toddler repeating the same words and phrases constantly. By the time she's three, she will also demand her favourite stories and nursery rhymes over and over again.What are signs of intelligence in 2 year olds? ›
- 94% were very alert as infants.
- 94% had a long attention span as an infant or toddler.
- 91% showed early language development.
- 60% showed early motor skill development.
- 48.9% were ambidextrous at some period of their development.
- 37% had imaginary playmates.
While most children at age 2 are experimenting with onomatopoeia (words that describe noises, like “beep beep!”) and starting to ask questions (“Where's Dada?”), a more advanced child might already be speaking in longer sentences with many verbs, such as, “I played and I jumped and I sang!” says Fujimoto.Are 2 year olds potty trained? ›
Potty training success hinges on physical, developmental and behavioral milestones, not age. Many children show signs of being ready for potty training between ages 18 and 24 months. However, others might not be ready until they're 3 years old. There's no rush.What are power words for toddlers? ›
Here are some examples of power words: “ball, book, eat, jump, cookie, banana, juice box, fruit snacks, no, mine, stop it” and so on. Power words are representative of the child's unique interests and preferences and typically involve favorite foods, toys, and activities.Why does my toddler not answer questions just repeats? ›
When the Child Repeats your Question Instead of Answering. Echolalia when responding to questions is extremely common. This usually stems from the child not knowing how to answer the question appropriately but it can be very difficult to teach the child to answer the question if all he does is repeat the last word.Is it OK to tell my toddler no? ›
Saying no to all of your child's requests can be harmful. Kids need the opportunity to explore different places and try new things. So it's important that you grant your child permission to do the things that are good for his development. When you catch yourself saying no a lot, ask yourself why.