The Ultimate Houston Summer Bucket List 2015

Can you believe – it is FINALLY summer in Houston?  After 9 straight months of packing lunches {why, oh why, is that such a painful task?}, organizing take home folders, checking homework, and having to be out the door at ungodly hours, I am more than ready to get my summer on! Who’s with me? Chillin’ by the pool, grillin’ on the patio, and eatin’ yummy summer treats… Yes, please! That said, sometimes we can all too easily fall into a rut of doing the same things, and then of course, hear the dreaded words, “Mommy, I am SOOOOO BORED!” I’m sure I’m not the only one, so like last year, we have put together the most comprehensive Summer Bucket List, packed full of fun activities in and around Houston. Don’t forget to grab the FREE printable at the bottom! My family loves to post it on our fridge, highlight our “must-dos”, and start checking things off the list.

Before I dive into everything happening this summer in Houston, I have to give a HUGE shout out to our Ultimate Summer Bucket List sponsor The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. We absolutely love this amazing venue located in the heart of our beautiful city. The MFAH is a dynamic cultural complex comprising two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, visitors center, library, café, movie theater, two art schools, two house museums, AND two gift shops. We especially LOVE the Glassell Junior School where kids ages three up to 18 can take classes year-round {including summer sessions, too!} in everything from drawing to acrylic painting, ceramics and more! And absolutely don’t miss out on their newest feature, Shadow Monsters! The MFAH invites families to enjoy this fully immersive digital art experience that brings to life classic shadow-puppet theater, with a 21st-century spin. Venture into the installation and make your own shadow plays, as your silhouette is recast in fantastic forms. Created by New York-based British artist Philip Worthington, this interactive work of art is a unique treat for adults and kids alike—complete with sound effects. And the best part? No reservations needed! Get your summer on at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and enjoy that delightful air conditioner too!

Oh, and be sure to connect with us on social media!  We are pretty much everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, InstagramPinterest, and we even have a weekly newsletter too.  Not only is social media a FANTASTIC ways to stay up to date with family friendly fun all around Houston, it’s also a fun way to meet and get to know other moms in the community as well!

Ready for our 2015 Ultimate Summer Bucket List?  Go enjoy…and cheers to a wonderful summer!!!

Summer Bucket List 2015 - Featured:: Photo Credit – Momma’s Gonna SNAP Photography ::

Summer Fun Out & About

Good Eats ‘n Summer Treats

  • Hit up a snoball stand
  • Break out the grill and a pizza stone and make pizza outside one night
  • On rainy nights, make this pizza recipe perfected by Andrea
  • Enjoy Bahama Bucks – a shaved ice chain new to Houston with a ton of flavors and a drive thru
  • Try your hand at the HMB famous white wine sangria
  • Freeze grapes for a quick, cold snack
  • Fuel up at Fine Arts and Food Trucks after hitting up the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston {conveniently located next to the Cullen Sculpture Garden}
  • Enjoy a lazy Saturday morning doing brunch
  • Take the family out to the Downtown Aquarium for dinner, the boardwalk, and a ferris wheel ride
  • This is Texas, so break out the sweet tea!  {If you’d like an adult version, go for a little Deep Eddy’s Sweet Tea Vodka}
  • Visit Saint Arnold’s Brewery downtown.  It’s Texas’ oldest craft beer!
  • Beat the heat with smoothies
  • Cool off with some ice cream at Cloud 10 or Fat Cat Creamery
  • Let the kids make dinner on their own one night….or at least with minimal supervision
  • Pack sandwiches for a picnic near a pool or splash pad
  • Have breakfast for dinner
  • Make a pasta salad for dinner {Leaving the oven off always makes the house cooler!}
  • Check out No Label Brewing Co.’s Tour & Tasting events every Saturday
  • Find the best BBQ joint in the city
  • Matter of fact, MAKE the best BBQ in the city or give these BBQ Burrito Bowls a whirl!
  • Pack a cooler with water, fruit, and sandwiches and hit the beach
  • Enjoy some fajitas and a margarita
  • Try out new lunch ideas for next school year by hosting a “lunch share party
  • Have dinner delivered right to your doorstep by MangoPan on those busy summer days
  • Did you start a vegetable garden this spring? Try grilling some of the heartier veggies as a nice side for all the BBQ and fajitas suggested above!
  • Head to the closest Whole Foods for their Kids’ Club program that includes free healthy snack and a craft {Check your location for specific details}
  • Cut strawberries, mint, and cucumber for refreshing fruit infused water
  • Make homemade popsicles
  • Have a potluck dinner outside
  • Pick up some Happy Family foods for snacking on the go!
  • Try a totally new restaurant
  • Walk or bike up to Shipley Do-Nuts and grab a sweet breakfast treat {or three!}
  • Don’t forget the watermelon too!

Move & Groove

  • Go bowling {Pssst…check out Kids Bowl FREE!}
  • Play a round of miniature golf — or Top Golf!
  • Visit an indoor playground, like our friends at Stomping Grounds or Wonderwild
  • Take a class at The Little Gym {11 locations throughout Houston!}…your littles will love it!
  • Jump on a trampoline or go to an indoor trampoline park {like Sky Zone or Sky High Sports}. Hello, air conditioned facilities!
  • Throw on your comfy shoes and walk the 14 beautiful gardens at Bayou Bend, generously supported by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Have a hula hoop contest
  • Send your child to a low-cost or FREE VBS camp for a change of pace
  • Have a family dance party {Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes have some nice stations for this!}
  • Make music with our friends at crescendo family music and Fundamentally Music
  • Make an obstacle course or run races for you and your neighbors
  • Discover and enjoy Toddler Tuesdays at Discovery Green
  • Brush up on your sporting skills with Legends Sports Complex
  • family bike rideTake a family bike ride at Memorial Park {or just around your neighborhood too!}
  • Enjoy the fresh summer air and go on family walks
  • Go cheer on our local sports teams – Houston DynamoAstros, and Sugar Land Skeeters {Be sure and check out the event schedules – many will have discounted kiddo nights or fun family packages!}
  • Try out a Baby Boot Camp class in your area…your first class is FREE!
  • Participate in a family 5K or fun walk – there are a few to choose from this summer, and many are family-friendly! {Find more info here.}
  • Discover a new park in your area…it’s amazing how excited kids get with new equipment to run and jump on!
  • Hit up Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land to let your children run wild in their immaculately clean and air-conditioned playscape
  • Go camping! There’s Brazos Bend State ParkCamp JellystoneSam Houston National Forest, and Lake Conroe just to name a few. Just don’t forget to make s’mores while you’re at it!
  • Or enjoy rainy days with these creative indoor play activities too!
  • Spend an evening star gazing
  • Feed the ducks at nearby lake or pond
  • Go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood
  • And there’s still room in some summer camps if you get stir crazy, so check out our ultimate guide to summer camps in and around Houston here!

Wet ‘n Wild

  • Pool time, of course!
  • Visit some of Houston’s top splash pads
  • Have a sprinkler party for some easy and cheap entertainment
  • Visit our area lakes and have a picnic lunch
  • Get a baby pool and let them go crazy {with adult supervision, that is}
  • Take swim lessons…safety first! We love WaterworksHouston Swim Club, Texas Swim Academy, and the local YMCAs
  • Travel to our local beaches – and be sure to reference these guides for a weekend getaway and day trip too
  • Head north for a little getaway to our friends at The Woodlands Resort – 3 pools, a lazy river, and more!
  • Hit up Noah’s Ark for a splashing good time
  • Have a water balloon or squirt gut “fight” in the neighborhood
  • Visit the Waterwall Park
  • Use a giant roll of plastic to make your own slip ‘n slide – use baby shampoo and a hose to make it extra slippery!
  • Hit up Bolivar Ferry in the Galveston area
  • Take a day trip to go tubing, like on the Guadalupe!
  • Go on a night swim when 7pm bedtimes aren’t the norm. {Grab some glow sticks for fun!}
  • Skip rocks in a local creek or pond
  • Visit Schlitterbaun Galveston
  • Take a trip to Wet ‘n Wild Splashtown {If you plan ahead, you can print out coupons here!}
  • Play in the rain – we know we will have plenty!

Create ‘n Craft

  • Cultivate your child’s artistic nature with MFAH’s Summer Art Explorer program! {Every Thursday in June and July from 11am – 2pm}
  • Make a giant bubble wand and create huge bubbles outside
  • Make your own 4th of July themed t-shirt inspired by this tutorial and a little creativity
  • Sign your child up for a Robotics for Kids class at Sylvan Learning Center {Hint :: There will be LEGOs!!!}
  • Paint and glitter or decorate seashells that you have collected from the beach – and if you haven’t made it to the beach yet, buy a bag of shells at the dollar store
  • Create a miniature aquarium by filling a mason jar with gravel or shells at the bottom, small plastic fish, and water.
  • Let your kids color summer-themed placemats out of card stock and then have them laminated
  • Put together a scrapbook from a favorite summer vacation or help older kids make a digital scrapbook online
  • Tie dye a few t-shirts
  • Sign up for a week-long art camp at MFAH through the Glassell Junior School
  • Decorate a pair of flip flops {craft store or dollar store} by tying fabric scraps or ribbon around the straps and turn it into cute summer flip flops!
  • Turn pool noodles into light sabers with duct tape {or get creative with the patterned duct tape instead!}
  • Decorate a picture frame by gluing shells around the outside and putting a picture inside
  • Let your kids paint on canvases outside in swimsuits – so you can hose them off for easy clean up
  • Design an underwater scene out of felt pieces
  • Bake a beach cake…use blue icing for water, crushed graham crackers for sand, stick small drink umbrellas on the top, and use Swedish Fish for added decoration
  • Put together a heat wave pack for a friend or neighbor
  • Make puppets from paper bags
  • Decorate a cardboard box for a lemonade stand
  • Buy foam sun visors from a craft store and decorate with markers…or stickers…or jewels
  • Make your own kinetic sand
  • Have your kids make their own cards for a game of memory {keep it festive with summer themed pics}
  • Use patterned card stock to make paper pinwheels
  • Create wind chimes out of painted empty soup cans
  • Cut a fish shape out of a paper plate and glue on pieces of colored tissue paper for scales
  • Make your own kite!
  • Try your hand at these patriotic crafts just in time for 4th of July and Labor Day
  • Create and design jewelry – let the kids pick out large beads and string them together with ribbon
  • Get your crafts organized with these awesome tips from Jenn
  • Finger paint
  • Paint sweet mugs like this on the cheap
  • Make your own play dough
  • Paint with water and washable paint on the sidewalk

Around the House

  • Have a PJ and movie day
  • Pop a tablecloth on the floor and have a picnic inside
  • Build a fort
  • Host a family game night
  • Make busy bags in advance, and grab them when you need a new activity or toy
  • Create an indoor obstacle course
  • Write a book and illustrate it
  • Set up a mani/pedi salon station and let the kids pamper YOU!
  • Have a tea party
  • Keep those minds active with a family puzzle
  • Make your own cleaning supplies {Surprise – the kids really like helping with this one too!}
  • Write a play and act it out
  • Play dress up all day {Bonus points if you take your kids to the grocery in their dress up outfits!}
  • Write a letter to your favorite Disney characters {Hint :: They will write you back!}
  • Write President Obama and his office will write you back as well {Although it can take up to 6 weeks to get a response, so start early in the summer on this one!}
  • Do some science experiments
  • Let the children be children with independent activities 
  • If you have a little one entering Kinder, take note of this easy and fun prep work they can do from home with you
  • And for mom and dad – pick out a new series to watch on Netflix and binge watch all summer after the kids are in bed

Giving Back

So what do you think? Best.summer.ever? Bring it! We hope you will use all of these ideas as a jumping off point to make special memories for you and yours. Remember that FREE printable I mentioned above? Grab it here, print it out, tape it to your fridge or the inside of your car for when you need a little active inspiration to enjoy this great city of ours. And of course, with ALL that Houston has to offer, sound off in the comments below about what your family will be doing the next few months or what activity you are most looking forward to enjoying too. Happy Summering, y’all!

HMB Summer Bucket List - Updated

>>> Click here for PDF download.<<<

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Meagan Clanahan
Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!


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