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Earth Day with LA Kids: Green Festivals, Events, and Fun for Families

You say it's your Earth Day; well it's my Earth Day, too, yeah! And yes, we're gonna have a good time. Earth Day is one of those holidays that just screams kids. And when we say scream, we mean outdoor voices. Oh sure, Halloween has its ghosts and goblins; Christmas has its presents, and Easter has its chocolate bunnies (melting in the SoCal sun if not found quickly). But Earth Day is a holiday when families of all backgrounds can come together to appreciate our planet and keep our outdoors great for generations to come. And since loving the environment is something Californians take particular pride in, it's not surprising that we're spoiled for choice for celebrating Earth Day around LA.

Spring Break Camps: 14 Kinds of Vacation Fun for LA Kids

Spring Break around Los Angeles is a moving feast; some districts have one week, and some have two. Some take vacation in March, and some in April. Add to the mix the complications of Easter, Passover, and parent work schedules, and Spring Break camp can be a tough knot to untie. Whether your family needs two weeks full time or a day here and there, we've chosen a few of our favorites that run the gamut. From the Valley to the sea, surfing to soccer, we think you'll find something worthy of a few days away from school among the camps below.

And if you're so on the ball that spring is already covered and you've moved on to summer, check out some of our favorite art, cooking, horse, and classic outdoorsy camps in our Summer and Vacation Camp Guide!

St. Patrick's Day for SoCal Kids: Parades, Parties, and Irish Events

Here comes Saint Patrick's Day; time to brush up the Irish brogue for the one time per year (unless you're really Irish) that you use it. The holiday falls on a Friday this year, which has resulted in a celebration spread over two weekends of paradesfestivals, and corned beef. So top o' the marnin' to ye; Erin Go Bragh; that shade of green looks bonny on you, and let's go find that pot o' gold!

Purim Festivals and Carnivals around LA

Not too sure what Purim is? Imagine something between Hebrew Halloween and Middle Eastern Mardi Gras, and you'll more or less have it. Jewish families know Purim as a time of uncharacteristically raucous rabbinical revelry, marked by costumes, noisemakers, interactive storytelling, triangular pastries, and enough drink (for the grown-ups) to muddy the lines between good and evil. Gentile families generally don't know it at all. But Purim is worth knowing. Its story has all the best elements: a party-hearty king, a beautiful and courageous queen, a resourceful good guy, and a bad guy so hateful that everyone drowns out his name with noisemakers at carnivals all over town. Check out one of the events below for classic Purim carnival activities, costume parades, and boisterous retellings of the Purim story.

And if you know of a celebration we've missed, please let us know!

Summer Camp Open Houses and Tours at LA Day Camps

The approach of spring, for many parents, is also the beginning of the season of worrying about how to survive summer vacation. Picking the right summer camp can be overwhelming, especially if your little ones will spend a big chunk of their summer there. Our Camp Guide is a great place to start gathering ideas, and we recommend searching the listings in our camp directory, too. But what can really help narrow down the field is checking out camps in person. That's where open houses come in. They offer a fun way to get information about activities, see how your kids take to the environment, and talk in person with camp directors to see whether you've found a good fit.  

Below is a list of open houses offered over the next several weeks; these are great opportunities to talk to the people who might be spending the day with your kids. Click on a camp name to get more information about the camp's programs.

Kid-friendly Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations around LA

In New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras. In Venice, Italy, it's Carnevale. In Austria they call it Fasching, and in England Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, or just plain old Fat Tuesday. Whatever the name, it's a party; and with its traditions of masks, music, and bling, this party deserves to be shared with kids. We've collected LA's most family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations below, and they're all FREE. Let the good times roll!

Mostly Free 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.

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Mommy and Me Classes

Sometimes the hardest thing about parenting can be getting out of the house. Especially in the early years, that Mommy or Daddy and Me class might be the only outing you manage all day—even all week. It had better be good. If you're in search of a better reward for your packing and planning than another verse of The Wheels on the Bus, try bringing your SoCal babe to one of these oh-so-LA activities! From sensory conditioning to social justice, cellular rejuvenation to baby drum circle, you might just find your funky tribe amongst these diverse offerings.

Preparing for Passover: LA's Bakeries for Unleavened Passover Desserts

What makes this holiday different from all other holidays? The cookies! Or rather, the lack of cookies. As the people "chosen" to eat unleavened bread know, Passover is a holiday about, above all, complicated recipes. The holiday of, "Don't let them eat cake." The holiday of, "Mom! Why is there matzo in my lunch box again??" Grandma handed down her miraculous recipe for a honey cake that rises by sheer force of will, but failed to hand down the time required to pull it off. So, for the reality check mom, we offer a list of some of our favorite local bakeries that leave out the leavening in all sorts of yummy treats at this time of year. 

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