July

Grab Your Calendar ~ July 2013

IMG_0871Looking for something interesting to do this July?  Here are a few events, field trips, and concerts in the greater Houston area that would be of interest to homeschool/unschool families.  (In date order.  Events that run for the entirety or majority of the month are listed at the bottom.)

2nd ~ Hear Ye! Hear Ye! at Miller Outdoor Theatre.  11am.  Experience the artists of tomorrow as musical prodigies ages 4 – 18 perform.  Produced by Houston Young Artist’s Concert.  All Miller Outdoor Theatre Children’s Performances are free.

3rd & 4th ~ Waller Freedom Fest 2013 is sure to be a fun celebration for the whole family! Co-sponsored by the City of Waller and the Waller Ministerial Alliance, our purpose is to celebrate the freedom we enjoy as citizens of the U.S.A., as well as the freedom that is made possible for all through Christ Jesus. Freedom Fest is a completely family friendly event, and we hope you’ll choose to celebrate the 4th of July with us this year.  Festival is Free, but there are paid activities.

4th ~ The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is proud to host the College Station Noon Lions Club’s Fourth of July “I Love America” Celebration.  9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. with FREE admission for everyone all day; building closes at 8:30 p.m.  Concessions and games for children begin at 5 p.m., and live music entertainment at 6 p.m. including The Docs and Clayton Gardner.  The evening will culminate with a performance by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, presented by HEB and Wells Fargo.

23rd-26th ~ Express Children’s Theatre and Miller Outdoor Theatre present the Children’s Hilltop Festival.  All performances begin at 11am and are free.

23rd ~ Dream of Doors ~ This new production focuses on the struggle of several iconic figures from the Civil Rights era who are engaged in the movement to open doors of human opportunity for everyone.   Four doors on stage symbolize equality, justice, education, and jobs.  The story is the journey to open each door, which will test the endurance and self-determination of those involved.   A musical odyssey written by Thomas Meloncon.

24th ~ Three Billy Goats Gruff ~ All the three billy goats want to do is get across the bridge so they can eat the grass on the other side, but there’s a grumbly, grouchy, bully of a Troll under the bridge who is determined not to let them pass.  They do finally get across, and even make a new friend in the process.   A rollicking musical production by Kevin M. Reese.

25th ~ Legends of Wind & Fire ~ The Quest for Fire, How Winter Was Born, Tring-Tring & Kai-Kai and Why Penguins Can’t Fly are the myths and legends of the native American people from Argentina to Brazil.  Told by a Mapuche Indian and her cousin and brought to life by a cast of animal characters, these tales are rich with music, culture and lore.  A bi-lingual English/Spanish production written by Edith Pross.

26th ~ The Ransom of Red Chief ~ O’Henry’s literary classic comes to life with this hilarious musical adaptation.  This is the story of two crooks who plan a get-rich quick scheme to kidnap the very energetic son of a local banker. But, the kidnappers get much more than they bargained for with the rambunctious Red Chief.  Written by Patricia Barry Rumble.

Through Labor Day, see  “Animals Assembled” at the Houston Zoo.  Constructed by LEGO Certified Master Builders, each animal in this special limited-time exhibit is life-size and made up of thousands of LEGO bricks.  There are more than two dozen LEGO brick animal sculptures, representing more than ten species. Once you’ve seen the LEGO brick animals, make sure to check out their real-life counterparts throughout the Zoo.

Enter the world of CHOMP! where you can stand eye to eye with some of nature’s creepiest, most dangerous creatures. All Summer, Space Center Houston will be hosting live animal shows every day, free with admission! Learn how NASA scientists are mimicking the traits of alligators, poison dart frogs, and other animals on display to help astronauts live in space. Kids can test their survival skills by weaving through spider webs and balancing on platforms as they navigate their way through an obstacle course.  You’ll find Texas Snakes & More out there every weekend doing shows.

Speaking of Texas Snakes & More ~ check out their calendar of public events to find something happening near you.

Want to get out of the heat?  Don’t forget that many movie theaters are offering free and reduced admission all Summer long.

If you have any events you’d like to recommend, please contact us.

Categories: Day Trips, Events, July | Leave a comment

Free Family Movies Summer of 2013

Interior of a Movie Theater

Did you know that many local movie theaters offer Free or discounted movie admission over the Summer?  This is a great opportunity to get out of the Texas heat and enjoy some air conditioned fun time.

While we find learning happens all the time, those families looking for a little more “education” to their films will be pleased to learn that documentaries like Chimpanzee and African Cats are playing.  There are also film versions of the popular books Mr. Popper’s Penguins and The Lorax and the based-on-a-true-story Big Miracle.

Check theater links for exact dates, times, and restrictions.

Free Admission

Alamo Kids Camp at Alamo Drafthouse Houston ~ various weekdays at 11am.  Historically they have shown movies every week, but only post which movie a few weeks in advance, so check their website often.

Santikos Theatres is offering free admission on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am.

Discounted Admission

Summer Movie Clubhouse at Cinemark.  Purchase a 10 film pass for $5 or individual admission is $1.  Coupons are available to print for discount on concessions.

Regal Summer Movie Express ~ Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for nine weeks. Admission is $1 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute.

Studio Movie Grill’s Children’s Summer Series is $1 for children and $2 for adults.  Monday through Friday at 11am.

Package Deals

Carmike Cinemas  ~ Thursdays at 10am.  Package for $4 that includes admission and a kid’s tray with popcorn, drink, & snack.

If you know of any other Summer movie offers, we’d love to add them.  Feel free to submit a comment below or via our Contact Page.

Categories: $5.00 or less, Announcements, August, By Age, Elementary, Free, High School, July, June, May, Middle School, Toddlers / Preschool | 2 Comments

Apple Camp ~ Day 3

For more on our experiences with Apple Camp, please see Day 1 and Day 2.

Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.comProbably the most exciting thing about Day 3 for Boy & Girl was the fact that Dad was able to join us.  We could smell the popcorn before we even entered the store.  Staff had set up a projector and there was a giant screen covering the Genius Bar.

After everyone settled in with their popcorn, we sat down to watch some incredibly creative productions.  The staff had strung them together into a single showing that included their names introducing their films.  Boy and Girl were delighted to see their names across the screen.  Dad & Mom were impressed by the wide variety of topics and effects used by all the kids. Some of them had an excellent sense of humor.Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.com

After the showing, each child was called up and handed a certificate showing they completed the class.  Dad & Mom were blown away by what Boy & Girl received ~ not only in “goodies”, but in experience, knowledge, and encouragement.  We could not have been more impressed with the staff.  We would strongly encourage anyone with children aged 8-12 to consider Apple Camp.

Categories: August, Elementary, Field Trips, Free, July, June, Middle School | 1 Comment

Apple Camp ~ Day 2

Check out the 1st post in this series explaining signing up for Apple Camp as well as our experiences on the first day.Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.com

We arrived on Day 2, iPads in hand with footage of monsters & Minecraft.  Our leader gave an overview to the students of iMovie.  We then headed to the Macs to upload our footage.  The store had increased the staff ratio to assist with this, but it did take a little additional time for those with non-Apple products to move their footage onto the Macs.

Girl basically left her footage intact and just created an opening & closing scene.  Boy enjoyed the opportunity to add the music he created utilizing Garage Band as well as editing the footage with special effects.  Mom was impressed with how well the staff worked with the kids and encouraged them throughout the process.  They also gave the kids plenty of time to be creative and work through all their options.

Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.comWhile they were editing, another staff member gave the parents a demonstration on the “Parental Controls” for the Macs.  Mom was quite impressed with all the options available: restrictions can be placed on length of time, time of day, websites, activities, etc.

The day closed with every child being given their finished iMovie on a flash drive wristband.  Boy & Girl thought this was a fabulous bonus.  We were invited to return on Saturday for a showing of all the movies.

Click here to see Day 3 where Boy & Girl show off their creations.

Categories: August, Elementary, Field Trips, Free, July, June, Middle School | 2 Comments

Apple Camp ~ Day 1

Through the homeschool grapevine ~ we learned of Apple’s “Youth Camps” offered during the Summer.  While it’s entirely possible employees told us when we purchased our iPads a year ago ~ it seemed like “news” when we heard it at the beginning of the Summer.

Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.comNot only are these camps free, but Apple does everything it can to ensure that you don’t have to spend a penny during the entire adventure.  Granted, you leave needing wanting  all of the technology you haven’t already acquired in previous visits to the store ~ but you don’t have to own anything except for some type of recording device (digital camera, smart phone, etc.)

Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience and we would highly recommend it to anyone.  Especially someone trying to determine if an Apple product will meet their expectations.  The registration process online was smooth & simple.  Someone from the store calls a week ahead of time to confirm that you’ll still be attending.  The store opens early to accommodate camp with minimal distractions and full access to the various products used throughout the week.

We were the first to arrive at 8:30 Monday morning (it’s a bit of a drive & unsure of traffic at that time of day, Mom opted to allow plenty of time for travel).  The store was open and the employees were ready for us.  Boy & Girl each received a bag containing a T-shirt, ear buds, and a lanyard with their name tag on it.  They were free to play on store iPads or Macs while waiting for the rest of the participants.  The class began with an introduction to the employees leading and a basic overview of what would be covered each day.  They then passed out a blank storyboard and encouraged the kids to think about what they wanted their films to be about.  Mom was impressed with how encouraging the employees were and that the kids were given plenty of time to develop their stories.  Each participant was then handed an iPad with Garage Band loaded onto it.  After a short overview of the basic features, the kids were let loose to play, compose, record, & create to their hearts content.  Once finished, an employee helped them save their compositions to the store’s computer.  Boy & Girl were given homework to shoot their footage and told that the final film length would be approximately 2 minutes.Apple Camp ~ HoustonFieldTrips.com

While Boy & Girl were crafting in Garage Band ~ Mom and the other parents were treated to an introduction of iMovie on the Mac.  This program comes as an included feature on Macs.  We were told that a simple version can be purchased as an iPad app ~ though we haven’t perused that option yet.

That afternoon, Girl came up with the wild idea that she wanted to finally finish the Cuddle Monster kit her Grandparents gave her to create the star of her film.  So, Mom & Girl spent 3 hours designing & sewing.  (who says technology doesn’t spur on other interests?)   Boy was absolutely thrilled to have Dad record him playing around in one of his Minecraft worlds.  Though, he took the “2 minute” time limit to heart as his limit of video.  Due to editing options and features on iMovie, Mom would strongly encourage a few extra minutes of footage to play around with.

Learn more about Apple Camp adventures from our Day 2 post.

Categories: August, Elementary, Field Trips, Free, July, June, Middle School | 2 Comments

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