Los Angeles

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Planes, D23, and Dino Days, Aug 10 - 11

Remember last week when I said summer was only half-over?1 Well, turns out I could not have been wronger.2 Truth is, a whole bunch of you are going to be sending your kids back to school next week.3 Wondering if you’re one of the lucky ones?4 Check out our handy dandy guide to school start dates, (otherwise known as Academic Calendar Years.)5 Find out if your kid will be boarding the school bus on August what-were-they-thinking 136, or if you have until September that’s-more-like-it 6 7 to panic when you realize that your kid has grown two sizes since June8.

In the meantime, you’re going to want to make this weekend a memorable one. What a coincidence, we have some totally memory-making events to tell you about. The ultimate Disney fan event. The opening weekend of Disney’s Planes. A superduper Tea Party you can take your teddy bear to.  (Or your stuffed Mickey Mouse, just to continue on a theme.)

Keep reading for some of our favorite picks for this it's-still-summer-til-the-fat-lady-sings9 weekend...

2013-14 Academic Year Calendars for LA Area Schools

The first day of school has been creeping farther and farther back in recent years, cutting deeper and deeper into summer. For many schools, August is part of the school year now, while other districts still cling to the time-honored "never before Labor Day" approach. All of this can make summer camp complicated to maneuver for some families, while others are knee-deep in homework.

From Glendale's August 12 start date to Torrance’s September 6, don't just assume you know when school starts based on last year! Check our list of start and finish dates for the 2013-2014 school year (and all days off in between) in and around LA County...

Batting Cages for LA and Orange County's Baseball Families

Take me out to the ball game! Or at least take me to a batting cage. Pre-kids, my husband and I frequented batting cages for fun (romantic, I know). But now that we have kids who can swing a bat, it's even more rewarding to hit up (pun intended) the area cages. We suggest you give it a try, too. Choose from slow to fast pitch, softball or baseball. Smack your troubles away, and watch the kids jump with delight when they make contact. From the Valley to the OC, it's a great place for beginners to figure it all out, and for the more advanced to finesse their swinging skills. Batter up!

School Lunches and Snacks Made Easy, Healthy, and Delicious

Do you find yourself drawing a complete blank as a new year of school lunches and snacks is upon us?  If you’re like me, the quest is two-fold – sending food to school my son will enjoy AND preparing something that’s good for his growing body.

Here are some tips on planning and preparing healthy school snacks and lunches that are crowd pleasers at my house:

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Ocean Appreciation, Shakespearean Superheroes and Ventura County Fair, Aug 3

Oh, summer! I like having you around. Your weather is inviting, and our dance cards are filled with one fun activity after another. But I’m a little unsettled: with the arrival of August, does that mean our time together is half over? Or is it really half just-begun?

Perhaps I shouldn't worry. Some of the best activities of the season don't even start until August. This weekend we have the premiere of an all-new Shakespeare production that's free, outdoors, geared for kids and has -- wait for it I can't wait any longer -- superheroes!  The Getty's Garden Concerts for Kids start this weekend as well, and they're free, outdoors,  geared for kids (this is starting to sound familiar) and -- alas - no superheroes -- but who needs superheroes when you have those awesome views at the Getty that you get to by riding a train up from the parking lot!

And if you like superheroes and vehicles, boy are you going to love this next thing. It's actually many things, over 15,000 of them across the country in fact. Next Tuesday's National Night Out celebrates our communities, and gives families a chance to say hi to their neighbors, their police officers, and their fire fighters. And if your kid gets to pet a police horse or climb into a helicopter, all the better. We have a few local celebrations listed (Beverly Hills, Burbank, Santa Monica, and Studio City), but if those aren't near you, poke around a bit and odds are good you could find one closer to you. (We'd list them all but, you know, 15,000).

Keep reading for some of our favorite picks for this summer-in-full-swing weekend...

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Family Sandcastles, National Dance Day and Free Smoothies, July 27- 28

This week we celebrate the birth of a great son of England. His arrival was most definitely magical, and celebrated across the wizarding world. Harry Potter is one year older, and the folks at Whimsic Alley are throwing him a shindig befitting a prince.

But perhaps you were thinking of another Brit who’s been getting a lot of attention: the Bard of Avon is as fresh as ever 449 years after his birth. The renowned wordsmith has productions going all around town: you can see free Shakespeare in Griffith Park or A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the VA’s Japanese Gardens, there’s even a superhero version of Twelfth Night coming up in Culver City.

But of course I jest. The big news across the pond is the birth of HRH George Alexander Louis, the 8 pound, 6 ounce bundle of royalty. Congrats to the happy family, and welcome to the parenting club. If you ever make it out this way, be sure to check out our events calendar for the inside scoop on what to see and do with your little one in La La Land. (But for now, just try to get some sleep!)

Keep reading for some of our favorite picks for this weekend...

Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream at the VA's Japanese Garden

If your family harbors a Shakespeare aficionado, then summer just isn't summer without a dose of Midsummer. For families who approach classical theater more hesitantly, A Midsummer Night's Dream performed among the trees and the owls may be the perfect introduction, and Shakespeare Center LA's annual summer stint in the VA's Japanese Gardens delivers all that Shakespeare in the park should . 

Great (and Cheap!) Ways To Beat the Heat Indoors Around Hollywood This Summer

It's 10am, and it's already insufferably hot outside. The kids have abandoned the back yard and are now climbing the walls, bored stiff by their "rainy day" (or should we say "indoor day") toys. What's a parent to do? If you live much east of the 405 like I do, then you have a love/hate relationship with the beach. I'm a lover at heart, but after a few continuous days of schlepping cross-town, my family and I have had it with the coast. We need other ways to get out of the home in our own sweltering neck of the woods - ways that aren't compromised by a random Sig Alert. Is our only option the nearest overly-crowded, overly-chlorinated public pool? No!

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Wee Rock! Mandela Day and Free Lollipops July 20 - 21

We will, we will rock you, singing, we will we will… oh, I’m sorry.  Was I supposed to be writing about this weekend’s events? There are quite a few I promise you: the circus, the OC Fair, events celebrating underwater explorers and Nelson Mandela - even Comic Con is going on this weekend. It’s just that dang earworm I got going; the Wee Rock festival is this Saturday at the Americana at Brand, and every time I think of it I get that song going in my head: we will, wee will, rock you (at the Americana)

They say the best way to knock out one of those pesky fellows is to replace it with another song. So what else do we have here? Free Lollipops at See's this weekend (on the good ship lollipop, it’s a sweet trip to my See's shop…) and  Baby Loves Disco in Long Beach (I’m hearing some Saturday Night Fever action - you should be dancing, yeah!).

We have some big names performing in free concerts this weekend: A Flock of Seagulls (and I ran, I ran so far away),  Billy Ocean  (get outta my dreams, get into my car… Hey, you, get into my car!)... The movie Big is showing at Oscars Outdoors (totally seeing that scene where they play Heart & Soul by jumping on the giant keyboard…).

Awesome, that did the trick. Earworm gone. Keep reading for some of our favorite picks for this weekend, because we will, we will rock you!

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