Winter Break Camps for Kids Looking to Paint, Play, and Learn This Holiday

Looking for somewhere to drop the kids off this holiday break? Check out our list of winter camps in Houston.

By Claire Anderson

Students can paint watercolor holiday cards at Houston School of Art & Design's Winter Mini-Camps.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS (TOO) BUSY, between meal prep, last-minute gift shopping, family trips in or out of Houston, and of course, finding things for kids home from school to do—aside from adding to their wish lists to Santa and snacking on Christmas cookies.

This holiday season, we’ve got you covered (well, we’re always here for that, but still). Keep scrolling to check out seven of our picks for winter break camps perfect for the kids staying in Houston this year—and their cousins visiting from out of town. Whether your kids are interested in animals, art, outer space, or some good old playtime with others their age, you can choose from camps offering a range of activities and times to fit your holiday schedule, regardless of where in Houston you happen to be this year.

Connect with Kids in Your Community with YMCA Holiday Camps 

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS | December 19–January 6 | $120 | Ages 5–11

Taking place at dozens of YMCA locations across Greater Houston, these holiday camps are offered for ages 5–11, beginning December 19 and running until January 6. You can check out the YMCA website for the exact dates and hours for the location of your choice, but most run throughout the week (Monday through Thursday or Friday) from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Kids can make friends in their neighborhood (consider your after-school playdate schedule for 2023 booked already) while learning about nature and trying out a number of activities led by YMCA staff.

Have Some Summer Camp Fun—in the Wintertime—with Kidventure Camp 

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS | December 19–January 6 | $250–$295 | Ages 3–11

At Kidventure, your child can have an authentic summer camp experience in winter-day-camp form at one of four locations across Heights, West University, and Westchase. Kidventure offers a mix of athletic, educational, and artistic activities (with holiday themes changing daily) for kids in pre-K to 5th grade, and splits campers up between the Discoverer group for ages three to five, and the Explorer group for elementary age. Visit Kidventure Camp’s registration page for info on exact dates, times, and activities for your location.

Let Your Little Artist Out at Houston School of Art and Design’s Winter Mini-Camp 

MEMORIAL, CYPRESS | December 19–30 | $185–$360 | Ages 6–18

These winter break art camps, perfect for amateur artists ages six to 12 or teens looking to enhance their painting, drawing, or clay skills through a personalized classroom experience, offer a flexible holiday schedule throughout the weeks of December 19–23 and 26–30 at Houston School of Art and Design’s Cypress or Memorial locations. Students can choose to attend the five-day camps for a full day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a morning session from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., or an afternoon sesh from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuition does increase if you choose the full day options, but your future Picasso will get more time to work on their clay Christmas ornaments and watercolor holiday cards—or, a project of their choice. 

Become a Zoologist for a Day (or Two) at the Houston Zoo’s Camp Zoofari 

MUSEUM DISTRICT | December 22–January 6 | $90 | Ages 6–12

Allow your little zoologist to enjoy a unique day camp experience at the Houston Zoo’s Camp Zoofari this holiday season. With a different animal-centric theme every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (and a chance to catch the one you missed every Thursday and Friday) between December 22 and January 6, your kids will get to tour the Zoo, enjoy activities, games, and a ride on the carousel, and best of all: safely interact with the zoo animals. Camps run from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., and kids are divided by age group (6–7, 8–9, and 10–12).

Begin Your Takeover of the Houston Theater Scene at Main Street Theater’s Winter Break Turbo Camp

RICE VILLAGE | December 19–30 | $75 | Ages 6–12

Main Street Theater’s Rice Village location offers a fast-paced (turbo speed, actually) kids drama camp for ages six to 12, offered daily between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. throughout the end of December. Local theater professionals will lead kids in the creation of their very own stageplays, from the brainstorming and writing process to all other on- and off-stage aspects of a theatrical production: acting, directing, costumes, props, and theater games—which are just as important for teaching kids acting techniques as boosting their confidence. As a private alternative for this turbo drama camp—and one which kids 13 and up can join in on, too—you can hire an MST theater artist to lead an in-home theatrical experience for a group of four to nine children over the holiday break with a Winter Break Pod Camp.

Travel Through Outer Space (While Staying Safely on Earth) at Space Center Houston’s Explorer Camps

NASSAU BAY | December 19–30 | $300 | Ages 4–11

Calling all aspiring astronauts (ages four to 11). Space Center Houston offers an array of space-themed winter break camps during the weeks of December 19–23 and 26–30. The five-day camps run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages four to seven, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for ages eight to 11, and cover moon and space exploration, robotics, programming, and coding in age-appropriate (and fun!) educational sessions. 

Become a DIY Fashionista with Holiday Sewing Camps at Thimble Fingers Sewing Studio

ENERGY CORRIDOR | December 19–30 | $65 | Ages 6–18

You can begin your fashion designing journey with these intimate group sewing camps at local small business Thimble Fingers Sewing Studio in the Energy Corridor—and then keep your sewing skills going year-round with after school and Saturday classes. Kids ages six and up will be trained in operating a sewing machine, and get to make a few simple projects to take home before graduating to projects of their choice, whether that’s clothes, toys, or home decor. You can choose between morning (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and afternoon sessions (1:30 to 4:30 p.m.) throughout the week, making this an ideal opportunity for fitting kids activities into your holiday plans.

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