School is in session in one way or another…and I know that you are probably just starting to settle in to a routine. There are so many things to balance - your life, your child’s education, and then there is FUN. I hope you’ll take a moment to BREATHE and LAUGH. These are challenging times - but none of us is alone. And I’m here to help you navigate extra-curricular fun for your kids! There’s no need for their life (or yours) to be all work and no play.

Welcome to my second edition of EXPLORE PICKS, my round-up of the best fun and adventures outside of school! In case you don’t know me, I’m an info-preneur and a mama who LOVES to share what I know. I’ve been doing this for parents since 2004...and this pandemic inspired me to help out in new ways. Doncha worry: I will continue producing my CAMP PICKS round-ups of day camp offerings when school is out of session (you can see past editions here). And now I will give you some great ideas for enriching your child’s online or even in person schooling - once each month this fall (and probably in the spring too, depending on how the world is looking then...). Many after school or extra-curricular programs aren’t happening - or have changed their structure so it might not work for you. Or perhaps you want a place for your child just to do something new and/or different (after all, this is a great time to go for it!). Just because we are in a global crisis, it doesn’t mean we can’t make life better or more interesting for our kiddos. This is a great time to be creative and let your kids have fun in between the school obligations!

Below are some wonderful organizations that I want you to please check out. They are offering a mix of virtual and in person programs - all of them are interesting. Please note that ALL in person programs are following strict safety guidelines.

Also below are two of my Facebook Live videos. I’m now doing WEEKLY chats: on Monday mornings at 10am, I’m doing a “Monday Meditation Chat” and on Wednesday nights at 9pm, I’m doing a “Wednesday Night Live” round-up of arts & culture (I also tell a joke and share about one of my “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily”!). Both are short-and-sweet and you can tune in here. I also had a super fun convo in this video with Deborah Duncan on Monday on her Great Day Houston show about using ordinary objects (ya know, like a dog bowl!) to do sound meditation. Peace and the arts are so important to feed our souls in this crazy time, so I’m creating many videos to help people do that.

One last thing - if you got this from a friend or are seeing it online and aren’t a GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS & ADULTS subscriber, please go to and sign up. Be sure to choose the KIDS list so you’ll get all my family PICKS.

“Monday Meditation Chat”
September 14
“Wednesday Night Live”
(arts & culture chat) September 16



Adventure Learning Program

Whole Health Fitness
Adventure Learning Program
PHONE: 346.404.8856
DATES: ongoing and every day
TIMES: vary and are flexible
AGES: 13-18 years old
COST: varies -- $60/session and subscriptions start at $200 (plus there are group rates!)

Adventure Learning Program aims to be the meeting place for mental, emotional, physical, and social health. It is their belief that health is comprehensive and that these components cannot be achieved and sustained unless they are all maintained. Their core values are connection, freedom, fun, community, and exploration. ALP is here to help individuals and organizations co-create these values through adventure!

Alley Theatre

Alley@Home Help onLine
Alley Theatre
DATES: ongoing
TIMES: ongoing
AGES: all!
COST: free

The Alley Theatre education department hasn’t let the pandemic stop them from helping little artists! They’ve got your back with well-thought-out ideas for online activities and hands-on experiences to support you while you are hunkered down at home. Their resources are for teachers, families, and students - on their robust website, you’ll find useful arts-integrated activities and ideas of all types to engage imaginations or solve educational roadblocks. And be sure to check out their “National Hispanic Heritage Month” online activities - you and your family will enjoy virtual programs featuring local and national Latinx artists and community members with their stories, music, and culture.

Alliance Fencing Academy

Olympic Level Fencing Instruction & Training
Alliance Fencing Academy
PHONE: 713.410.6655
DATES: Mondays through Saturdays
TIMES: vary
AGES: 5 years old and up, including adults
COST: $90-$125

Alliance Fencing Academy is one of the largest and most successful epee clubs in the nation with over 300 fencers who practice daily in their two locations in Houston and The Woodlands. They ensure the coaches and staff promote good sportsmanship on and off the strip - providing a rewarding experience that will build confidence, reinforce teamwork, and inspire the personal growth necessary for your child to take their next steps in life. Alliance is the 2019 USA Fencing Club of Excellence Winner and recipient of the President’s Award for International Success. Alliance is home for two Senior Team World Champions, London Olympics bronze medalists, and Rio Olympians sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley.

Camp Invention

Innovation Exploration Kits
Camp Invention
PHONE: 800.968.4332
DATES: ongoing
TIMES: ongoing
AGES: 5-12 years old
COST: start at $45

Your kids can enjoy hands-on fun at home from the makers of Camp Invention®! Their “I Can Invent®” series of Innovation Exploration Kits™ deliver some of their best hands-on camp activities for at-home fun and learning. The full set includes Bot ANN-E™, Innovation Force®, Optibot™, Robotic Pet Vet™, and DIY Orbot™ kits, a Camp Invention T-shirt, an Inventor Log, and access to exclusive digital content including step-by-step instructional videos.

The Elite Academy Day School

The Elite Academy Day School
Elite U After School and Summer Camps
PHONE: 855.931.2586
DATES: through May 28, 2021
TIMES: 7am-6pm
AGES: Kindergarten through 5th grade
COST: $1,200/month

Elite U After School and Summer Camps is proud to support Houston families with a safe back to school option with The Elite Academy Day School. Students will be separated by grade level and each grade level will have a distance learning classroom. Students will need to have their own laptop or tablet with earphones. Each student will be logged on into their school’s distance learning interface by their instructor. Each instructor will assist their group of up to 8 children with their distance learning. All students who finish early will be invited to supervised outside play or the game room. The size of the program is limited but they are still taking registrations.

EZ Tutors

Tutoring for PreK-5th grade
EZ Tutors
PHONE: 346.291.7281
DATES: Mondays-Fridays until May 28
TIMES: 9am-9pm
AGES: PreK-5th grade
COST: free but donations are welcome

EZ Tutors is an HISD Student Congress Initiative and HISD-sponsored nonprofit created to help our community during these extremely challenging times. The teens know that finding tutors can be difficult on top of navigating online school and dealing with a pandemic, so they came together to form this organization with the passionate idea of helping kids for free and showing them how to overcome challenges and succeed in spite of the obstacles during this time. Their organization has over 30 tutors who will assist elementary kids with their education, all of whom are trusted high school volunteers. You can sign your child up for help in math, reading, writing, science, or social studies; they also have many multilingual tutors who can tutor in other languages. Virtual tutoring is available from 9am-9pm Mondays through Fridays. Please check out their website to register and book your first session - it's that EZ! And if you have a teenager, their program also offers volunteer opportunities for high school students.

Holocaust Museum

Virtual Tours for Classrooms & Community Groups
Holocaust Museum Houston
PHONE: 713.527.1646
DATES: ongoing
TIMES: by appointment 2 weeks prior
AGES: 10-18 years old
COST: free

In response to the need for distance learning options, Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) has created three virtual tours in English and Spanish for classrooms and community groups. Participants can tour the Museum’s galleries virtually and interact live with a trained HMH Docent. Tour options include the Holocaust Gallery, Human Rights Gallery, and the Samuel Bak Gallery, or a combination of the three. Virtual tours must be scheduled a minimum of two weeks in advance. Additional free online resources can be found here.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Virtual After School Nature Club
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
PHONE: 713.681.8433
DATES: October 6, 13, and 20; November 3, 10, and 17; December 1, 8, and 15
TIMES: 3:30-4:30pm
AGES: Kindergarten-5th grade
COST: $45/Member and $60/Nonmember per month

Awaken your child’s curiosity and love of nature through the Arboretum’s Virtual After School Nature Club. Guided by Naturalist educators, students will gain a sense of place and community as they experience the natural world through play, projects, hikes, stories, experiments, and more! Weekly nature challenges and discovery packets will keep students excited and engaged between weekly sessions.

Longevity Total Fitness

LGV’s Youth Training Camp
Longevity Total Fitness
PHONE: 713.291.8924
DATES: ongoing on week days
TIMES: varies (see description)
AGES: varies
COST: $30/class

LGV is a state of the art fitness center in Bellaire that delivers a wide range of innovative and functional ways to help clients get into shape while having fun. Their Youth Camps are designed to help increase aerobic and muscular endurance, improve balance and coordination, and help young ones stay active. Currently, the Boy’s Camp is Mondays at 4:30pm, Tuesdays at 4pm, Wednesdays at 4:30pm, and Fridays at 4pm. The Girl’s Camp is Tuesdays at 3pm, Thursdays at 4pm, and Fridays at 3pm. More camps will be added and personalized, one-on-one training is available.

Main Street Theater

Classes at the Theater
Main Street Theater
PHONE: 713.524.7998
DATES: starts September 11 (dates vary by program)
TIMES: vary
AGES: 4-18 years old
COST: varies

In response to the needs of our community due to COVID-19, Main Street Theater is offering additional education programs this fall that provide children with a safe, fun, and creative in person learning environment. They are offering personalized Pod Classes in which a MST professional actor/teaching artist will come to your house to facilitate a theater experience for your child and 4-9 other children. The group will meet for 10 classes, 90 minutes to two hours per class, in a large indoor space or backyard. They will work towards a final showcase based on the needs of the particular group. The cost per child is $490; financial aid based on need is possible. They are also offering Drama Day Fridays from 4:15pm-6:15pm for kids 6-11 years old which feature fun afternoons of improv, skits, movement, stagecraft, and theater skill-building! Those are $30/session.

Gish Creative

Meditation with Ms. Sarah
Gish Creative
PHONE: 713.492.1173
DATES: whenever you book her
TIMES: vary
AGES: 5-18 years old
COST: varies

Sarah Gish is the publisher of GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS & ADULTS and is also a longtime meditator. She will meet with kids via Zoom for 30 minutes to help them focus and center their days in these uncertain times. Lessons learned will be about types of meditation, how meditation can calm you down in any situation, the benefits of meditation for memory and concentration, and how meditation leads to love of self. You can book Sarah for your pod, for your family, or for your child(ren) by calling her at 713.492.1173 or replying to this email.

Young Audiences of Houston

Arts for Learning Creativity Pops!
Young Audiences of Houston
PHONE: 713.520.9264
DATES: ongoing
TIMES: ongoing
AGES: all!
COST: free

Your children can enjoy Young Audiences of Houston's new online series, Arts for Learning Creativity Pops!, created by Young Audiences of Houston's Teaching Artists. Each online video is created to inspire learning at home. Young Audiences of Houston Teaching Artists are invaluable contributors to Houston's arts ecosystem and each commissioned creativity pops video provides financial support to our teaching artists. Stay tuned as they post new videos each week, and enjoy a pop of creativity each day.

For more about my personal, family, and business enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here.
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Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2020 Sarah Gish

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