Mar Vista

Free in May: 24 Things To Do that Don't Cost a Thing

Summer is just around the corner, and so are the camp fees, vacation expenses, and hefty ice cream budgets that come with it. So why not be responsible for once and make May your month to get frugal? Whether you’re looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo free of charge, or just check out a movie without breaking the bank, here are a few free things to do this month with the whole family.

Free Cinco de Mayo Celebrations that Are Great for Families

First let's set the record straight: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. What the day actually celebrates is an underdog Mexican victory over a French military attack on Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday is mostly observed in Puebla and in Southern California, where there's little mention of the French, but much swinging at piñatas and dancing to mariachis. After all, by the first weekend of May, who needs more excuse than that to revel in the sunshine? Many of the Cinco de Mayo events you'll see advertised are pub crawls, but we've hunted down celebrations the whole family can enjoy.

There are free Cinco de Mayo fests throughout LA and the OC, starting as early as a week before, so get in the spirit to dance, watch parades, and (of course) eat.

Free in February: 24 Things To Do that Don't Cost a Thing

Yes, it's the month with Valentine's Day smack in the middle, but that doesn't mean every day has to be strictly focused on hearts and flowers (unless you and your little ones want it to be). In a month full of eclectic holidays, it isn't hard to find some free fun for the whole family. From Chinese New Year to Black History Month, President’s Day to Groundhog Day and Mardi Gras, LA is hopping in February, and joining in doesn't have to cost a thing. So put down the box of chocolates (momentarily) and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Free in January: 15 Free Things To Do with Kids In Los Angeles

The holidays are over, and we all deserve a long winter's nap. But just because the decorations are getting packed up doesn't mean the fun has to stop. There are still plenty of free things to do this January, when all those Christmas & Hanukkah gifts start to lose their luster. From moon gazing to dance parties, if you're looking to keep busy without breaking the bank, we've got you covered. So grab the winter coat, and put away the checkbook, because who says you can't have fun on a budget? 

10+ Preschools with Last Minute Options for Westside Kids—No Waiting Lists!

Before we became parents, we may have thought this business of LA parents asking expectant mothers what preschools they'd applied to was a joke. Then we found out it's only kind of a joke; there really are parents who focus on preschool applications as soon as the contractions stop. Then there are the parents who are reading this post. There really are preschools that feed the frenzy with a waiting list that starts before a child can talk; and then there are the preschools that are in this post. Whether you've procrastinated, just moved to town, didn't get the acceptance letter you wanted, or just woke up one day and realized that your baby isn't a baby anymore, it's possible to figure out preschool at the last minute—even on the Westside of LA. You could try your luck for an opening at one of LA's newest preschools, but more likely you need to know about the great preschool options below that don't have extended waiting lists, and just might rescue your family at the very last minute.

15 Parent and Me Swim Classes To Keep LA & OC Babies and Toddlers Afloat

Kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. We know some Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids, but the classes below are all about taking the plunge alongside your wee one. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

8 Free Cinco de Mayo Celebrations that Are Great for Families

First let's set the record straight: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and—while the festivals might look similar—confusing the two holidays is as gringo as, say, putting pastrami in a taco. (Actually, scratch that—LA is pretty darned proud of its pastrami tacos.) Let's simply agree that just because the US named its independence holiday 4th of July doesn't mean that Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is Mexico's independence day. What the day actually celebrates is an underdog Mexican victory over a French military attack on Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday is mostly observed in Puebla and in Southern California, where there's little mention of the French, but much swinging at piñatas and dancing to mariachis. After all, by the first weekend of May, who needs more excuse than that to revel in the sunshine?

7 Awesome Summer Day Camps and Programs for Los Angeles Tots Through Teens

If you would give just about anything to dodge the dreaded "what are we doing today?" question from bored kiddos this summer, you've come to the right place. And lucky for you, the Los Angeles area offers so many different day camp options that there's sure to be a program that'll keep your tots and teens blissfully occupied until school starts back up again.

There are performing arts camps for LA's youngest aspiring actors, where kids can make their own music videos or create an original comedy show. There are swim programs for water lovers, and coding classes for future female engineers. You'll even find STEAM camps jam-packed with hands-on projects and experiments, and more traditional camp options offering water play, crafts, sports, and field trips.

LA's Newest Preschools: 9 Schools To Check Out Before Everyone Else Finds Them

Choosing a preschool is no small feat, especially in LA where there are so many options. From Montessori to Reggio and from nature-based to play-based, each preschool offers educational methods as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Of course, another thing most schools offer is waiting lists, so it's great to get in ahead of the curve on new preschools, before everyone else in town figures out how great they are. The nine schools below are all new to the scene, and all worth checking out!

Flying Under the Big Top: Circus Classes for LA Kids

Acrobatic Angelenos no longer have to run away to join the circus. Classes offering big fun under the big top are available for all ages and abilities in many neighborhoods in and around town. The lithe and limber and even the physically challenged have multiple options for learning and practicing the circus arts. Classes in clowning, contortion, tight rope walking, high wire flying, and Wushu, can be found in multiple locations.

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