The Valleys

10 Valentine's Day Activities: Cards, Crafts, and Things To Do

Valentine's Day is always on February 14, and yet somehow it seems to sneak up on our family each year in plain view, taking us by slow motion surprise. For weeks we've known that we need to come up with Valentine's Day cards for every kid in the class (and we all know what's happened to class sizes). Putting two and two together to make 27 construction paper hearts, though, always proves harder than we think. To avoid a late-night glue stick session on February 13, or a last minute defeated run to Target for a package of Dora and Diego cards, we have assembled a list of events to get help and inspiration for Valentine's Day card craft projects—before February 14. And the photo above? It speaks for itself.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Free Museums, Free Dodgerfest, and More Free Stuff, January 30 - 31

Free, free, free. A whole passel of museums and even gardens are freebie free free this Saturday, and  all you have to do is show up and get culturized. Or in some cases get a timed ticket. Or wait til Sunday. (Speaking of free cultures...  if you can wait til Monday there's some free yogurt in it for you.)

Hey, you know what else is free? A free evening of entertainment on the historic Broadway Corridor in Downtown LA. You can dance it up in a silent disco, take a VR ride down the LA river, hear music from Ozomatli, the Spazamatics, and Aloe Blacc, and go S.T.E.A.M. crazy with a giant peg light board, robot games, and exotic rescue wildlife. But you have to pay to ride the Ferris Wheel.

Hey,  you know what else is free? Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park, Beverly Hills, and GlendaleDodger FanFest in Echo Park. Some cool concerts for kids. Mardi Gras at the Farmers Market. Whale Fiesta at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. The best things in life are free, and baby, we've got 'em all!

Keep reading to plan ahead for this full-of-things-you-don't-have-to-pay-for (and some you'll really want to) weekend…

10 Chinese Lunar New Year Festivals for Families around Los Angeles

Time to say Gung Ha Fat Choy to our kids, wish them a happy Year of the Monkey, and bring them to a Chinese New Year festival! LA families have several opportunities to greet the lunar new year, from low-key neighborhood events to Chinatown's century old grand scale festival. One thing they all have in common is beautiful imagery, so bring a camera and get ready for the Year of the Monkey at one of the family-friendly events below.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: STOMP, Snow Day, and LA Lights, January 23 - 24

The stars are aligned this weekend. Kinda literally like. As in Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, bam, bam, bam, all in a line. Except they're planets, not stars, which I would know if I studied my science. And I don't think they're actually in a row or anything—  more that they're all chillin' in the sky at the same time. 

You can study other disciplines this weekend and learn more about dinosaurs, noisy land critters, noisy sea creatures, noisy people, silent people, and waffle-ology to name a few. (You're going to be so smart!)

Hey! What's that in the sky?! Not a bird, not a plane, and not in the sky; it's Supergirl, only now she's a writer of kids' books (talk about a superhero!). More proof positive that this weekend is going to be out of this world.

Keep reading to plan ahead for this celestial weekend…

Fun for LA Kids this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend, Jan 16 - 18

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'" This weekend, families can join together to answer that question, by participating in the MLK Day of Service. (We have some great suggestions for kid-friendly volunteer opportunities to get you started!) A day spent giving back is just one way to honor Dr. King's memory. There are parades, celebrations, and concerts throughout the weekend to bring our families and communities together in honor of his legacy.

Little ones can learn from Dr. King's example as well, with a number of events this weekend particularly geared toward young children. Kids can listen to stories, celebrate the diversity our world has to offer, and share their dreams for a better world.

Inspiration can be found on other fronts as well, with Ben Franklin, Mary Poppins, and Pinocchio all serving as examples of what one can achieve. Whether you're hoping to achieve a cleaner environment, a succulent crepe, or the maddest tea party, it's all good when it means quality time spent with your kids. (Or without them. We don't judge.)

Keep reading for some of our most inspired picks for this weekend.

Kid-friendly Volunteer Opportunities for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Are you hankering for a day off? (Okay, rhetorical question.) How about a day on? That's right, a day on: a day in service to your neighborhood and community. We agree, it's an appealing idea. And the good news is that not only is the third Monday of January a federal holiday with parades (and more parades) honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.; it's also a recognized day of service, a day to honor Dr. King's teachings and good work by volunteering. Opportunities abound, so why not consider joining the effort? The kids are invited, too.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Motocross, Bye Bye Mummies, and Happy Birthday Marion, January 9 - 10

It should come as no surprise that the rains have finally come.  We've been getting warnings for like a decade now, or maybe a year,  but they've said "Hey. It's gonna rain. You should get a raincoat, and maybe an umbrella." Which I'm sure you've totally done because we parents are all about planning ahead.

Like for this weekend, for instance. You can plan ahead for this summer, or, if you didn't plan ahead, you can still catch CHILL and the Mummy exhibit before they close. You know who did some major planning ahead? Mummies. For this life and the next. You know who didn't plan ahead? Those mammoths who got caught in the tar pits.  "Hmm, I think I'll check out that black gooey stuff ..."  What happens in the tar pits, stays in the tar pits... 

As for my weekend, I am planning to 1) stay dry and 2) get wet in the process. I will accomplish this by going to indoor activities, (of which there are many, it being January), but getting wet on the way in because I may or may not have an umbrella yet. All my bases covered, and it's not even baseball season yet!

Keep reading to plan ahead for this wet-or-dry weekend…

Rose Parade Float Viewing, Decorating, Horses, and Bands—without Going to the Parade

If you live in SoCal, you probably know someone who has camped out all night in Pasadena to be on the spot New Year's Day for the Rose Parade. And if you have kids, you're probably not willing to do that yourself. But there are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Rose Parade without pitching a tent on the sidewalk. Some of these ways may even more fun than the parade itself, which many of us feel is best watched in PJs under a blanket on the sofa.

Love watching the horses? Check out Equestfest. Have a soft spot for marching bands? Bandfest is for you. And if you are intrigued by all of these enormous masterpieces made entirely out of flowers, seeds, and leaves, then the Post Parade Showcase of Floats could be a more satisfying experience than the parade itself. One thing is for sure: any of these belongs on a bucket list of things to do before your Angeleno kid grows up.

January GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids This Month

Phew. Is it over? So much planning goes into December that it's a little hard to believe when it turns up in our rear view mirror; but the calendar page has flipped, and it's all eyes on 2016. Luckily we don't have to wait too long until the next holiday weekend (complete with a few parades), and of course January is the perfect time to enjoy a day of skiing or sledding. We've got 10 don't-miss events to recommend in January; so recycle that tree and fasten your seatbelts for another year of fabulous ways to enjoy being a family in LA!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Post Parade, Oshogatsu, American Girl Doll Reveal, January 2 - 3

2015, what's that? Like, the year it used to be or something? I wouldn't know, because I am super immersed in 2016 culture, the fashion trends, the catch phrases, the emojis... I'm so into 2016, I'm practically 2017 or maybe even 2018. (In hindsight, perhaps I should have said 2020.)

With the New Year, comes a brief slowdown in the pace (just until everyone gets a 2016 calendar, so we're all on the same page). This is not to say there isn't plenty to do. Whether you're playing catch up, last hurrah, or hold the phone what is this new joy, you can entertain yourself twenty ways to Monday and still have more to fill your week.

So sit back, relax, and let the 2016 times roll as you get started on this year's Christmas shopping.  (Or is it just at my house that the new list is already forming? Anyone? Anyone?)

Keep reading for more on all the fresh-off-the-presses awesomeness that is this weekend…

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