Los Angeles

Museums of the Arroyo Day: One Sunday, Five Free LA Museums

Does a day of living history, local history, architectural history, dance, traditional craft demos, kids' crafts, storytelling, art, and live music sound good to you? While several LA-area museums offer free admission the first Tuesday of each month (and one offers the first Wednesday), the annual Museum of the Arroyos Day offers free Sunday admission to and special activities at five different historical museums along the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena and Los Angeles each May.

LA Bike Rides and Paths for Biking with Kids

They take up precious garage (or balcony) space, and they inevitably sag with neglect. But once their tires are pumped and chains are greased (and you remember the lock combination, or find the key - good luck!), bicycles provide hours of entertainment, and a simple means of glorious escape. If your kids have mastered the familiar route to the neighbor's tree and back, consider expanding your horizons. Throw the bikes and training wheels in the car and stretch your legs on one of the many family-friendly bike trails around town. May is National Bike Month. May 8 is Bike to School Day. And the 14th Annual LA RIver Ride is happening Sunday, June 22, 2014. You're just in time.

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Kid's Film Fest, Doo Dah & Puppet March, April 27 - 28

It doesn't start until Monday and I’m already stressing. I speak of course of Screen Free Week, in which parents are encouraged to turn off (TVs, Blackberries, iPads) and tune in (to the great big world out there).  Surviving a week without screens, is that even possible?

Here’s my suggestion: get as much screen time in as you can this weekend. To get you started, may I suggest the Los Angeles Children's Film Festival?  We caught a few of the films last weekend and there is much to amuse and inspire young film-goers.  To give you an idea of what you’re in for, check out the reviews from our kid critics, (they say it much better than we ever could!)  And be sure to buy your festival tickets through our links - a hefty chunk of change will be donated to the school of your choice!

There’s one screen usage even the most avowed Luddite couldn’t begrudge, and that’s logging onto Mommy Poppins. (How else are you going to find the ultimate scoop on fun activities for your family?) So friend us on Facebook, sign up for emails and tweets, or go old school and type in our URL; Mommy Poppins is here to help you through. To get you started, keep reading for our favorite picks for this weekend…

Hikes with Kids: Lake Hollywood Perimeter Trail

There's a new hike in town! OK, maybe it's not completely new—but, for the first time since the winter storms of 2005, the entire Lake Hollywood perimeter trail is open. And, with the exception of the northern section (which is partly packed dirt sidewalk and partly concrete sidewalk along a fairly quiet road), the trail is paved and so wide it's more a street than a trail. That means more than three miles of car-free walking, running, or biking—with a touch of Los Angeles history and amazing views of the Hollywood sign thrown in.

(For more hike ideas, check out our family hiking guide!)

Screen Free Week: Can TV Turn-off Week Be Screen-Reasonable?

When asked to come up with a list of ten fun things to do during "Screen-Free Week," my first instinct was to come up with suggestions of fun, eclectic outdoor activities (which already abound on Mommy Poppins) that would act as fresh-air substitutes. Then I paused. In our house, screen time doesn't preclude physical, outdoor, or hands-on activities. As computer-savvy parents who take the time to use wonderful resources like this parenting website, we are highly aware of both the dangers and advantages of including some screen time for children. We've read the reports about the effects of too much television on brain development, and we're cognizant of the negative impact of substituting screen time for real human interaction. Sometimes in a two-parent family, there are even discrepancies between what we deem appropriate. It's a quest for balance.

Fun & Free Things to Do Earth Day Weekend with LA Kids: Books, CicLAvia, and Mother Earth: April 20- 21

We here at Mommy Poppins are all about mothers, and this weekend, we’re celebrating the biggest mother of them all: Mother Earth. We are blessed to live in a region full of outdoor destinations, many of which host Earth Day festivities. Naturally, we’ve compiled a guide to the best Earth Day celebrations.

What’s more natural than kids and garbage? Earth Day ushers in the season of Sanitation Open Houses. Kids can tour sanitation yards, attend recycling fairs, visit landfills, and even ride in a garbage truck.

Oh, mama, wait til you read what our kid critics have come up with! Check out their reviews of some of the films in the upcoming Los Angeles Children's Film Festival. Be sure to leave comments on your favorites: the critics with the most comments win exciting prizes. (Plus, if you use the links in their reviews to purchase your festival tickets the school of your choice gets a donation!)

And, of course, our thoughts are with the people of Boston and now Waco. We are inspired by the resilience of these communities, and by the courage and strength of those who run towards the disasters to assist others.

Keep reading for our favorite picks for the weekend…

The Painting - Anna Thompson's Review

Reviewer Anna Thompson is 11 years old and a student at El Segundo Middle School.

The Painting is a fairly fast-paced, hand-drawn, animated film from France. It has an artistic style, made to look as though the characters were inside paintings. The characters jump into paintings of a castle, a war scene, a Venetian celebration, and a self-portrait.

In the main setting, an unfinished painting of a castle, there are three social levels of characters. Named for how completed they were by the painter, the Allduns, who are all-done, are at the top of the hierarchy. The Halfies who are partially colored, follow them, and the Sketchies, who are not at all colored, and are only sketched, are at the bottom. The Halfies and the Sketchies are treated unfairly by the selfish Allduns, who are convinced they are the only ones the painter cares about. This social leveling serves as the conflict of the film.

In every good story, there are compelling characters who want to resolve the conflict. From the unfinished castle painting, three characters from varying social levels join together to seek out the painter to ask him to finish their painting. There’s Ramo, an Alldun who is in love with Halfie Claire; Lola, Claire’s curious, self-confident friend; and Quill, a Sketchie who wants to help his best friend, Gum. Along their journey, they enter a painting of a war and meet Magenta, a brave and compassionate drum boy who joins them on their quest. They also get help from the painter’s grumpy self-portrait, and a semi-nude painting of the painter’s love interest.

The Painting’s director, Jean-François Laguionie, uses music and color to move along the story. During a scene before danger, the orchestra warns the audience by playing ominous music, and during a scene that is happy, wind instruments play lighter music. The director also uses varying colors to illustrate the settings of the different paintings. The castle has cool colors, because most scenes occur at night. The War has red soldiers fighting against green soldiers. And Venice is bright and happy, with the exception of a few shadowy scenes where death is chasing a Sketchie.

The Painting is a film best recommended for kids ages 7 and up. Adults will also appreciate the artistic style and sophistication of the film. Anyone who likes art, Greek Mythology, or the book Katie Meets the Impressionists - or doesn’t know their own destiny - would enjoy seeing this film. The moral of the film is to know that there is always an opportunity to change, though it is your decision whether or not to do so. You have the ability to complete yourself, and to always wonder, “Who painted you?”

The Painting plays May 5, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. Buy tickets in advance through this link to make a donation to the school of your choice.

Was this review helpful? Please scroll down to leave a comment below! And check out our other Kid Critic reviews.

Kids Flix Mix 2 - Paige A's Review

Reviewer Paige A is 7 years old.

Kids Flix Mix 2 is a collection of shorts, of which Paige has reviewed several:

At the Opera
All the people at the opera are crying their eyes out and tears are everywhere, I mean everywhere; everyone is crying. At the end there is an uncommon surprise!

Paper Touch
Paper Touch
is about an animated paper ball that goes through a pinball machine and makes one thing turn into another thing. For example, paper cones bloom into flowers when touched by the paper ball. The pinball machine is really big. This movie made me feel happy because it is fun and colorful.

I’m Going to Mum’s
This live action film is about a boy that goes back and forth between his mom and dad’s houses, and he wears a bunch of clothes. When he gets to the last place, he has 20 layers of clothes on. On one trip he wore a “Bank of Dad” t-shirt to his mom’s. And when he went to his dad’s, he wore a shirt that says “I Heart Mom.” There is a funny part where his dad says he cannot have breakfast until he takes his shower. So, Jacob turns on the shower, but does not go in the shower. He comes into the kitchen and tiptoes to the refrigerator to get breakfast. Then he sneaks back to his mom’s without a shower. Jacob is unhappy because his parents are fighting and they are divorced. He wears a lot of clothes because his dad puts him in clothes that his dad likes and his mom puts him in clothes that she likes.

Lola
Lola
is about two dolls that are in a store, and one doll gets purchased, and the other doll tries to find the doll. The one doll goes around the world to find his friend. He goes to Grand Canyon, Paris, San Francisco, London, the Arctic Ocean, and many other places. As long as you try, you will always find your friend. This film made me feel sad if I ever lost my best friend. This film is not animated.

Fresh Guacamole
This is one of my favorite short films. It is about a person making fresh guacamole, and he gets a bunch of objects and turns them into other objects. For example, he turns a pincushion that looks like a tomato into red dice. When he is done making guacamole, he gets poker chips as chips. And he eats it. When he puts the poker chip in the guacamole, the poker chip breaks. It almost feels like it is real ingredients.

Extinction of the Saber-toothed Housecat
This film is a combination of animation and live action. This film is very funny. It is about a cat that is sleeping at first. Then he wakes up in the field, sits in the field and just stares there. He is licking his paws and “boom” something happens.

Kids Flix Mix 2 plays on May 4, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. Buy tickets in advance through this link to make a donation to the school of your choice.

Was this review helpful? Please scroll down to leave a comment below! And check out our other Kid Critic reviews.

Kids Flix Mix 2 & The Painting - Nicolas Ladreyt's Review

Reviewer Nicolas Ladreyt is 9 years old and a student at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Kids Flix Mix 2 is a collection of shorts, of which Christopher has reviewed several:

Snack Attack
You have to see this short, great movie. I would give it five stars. This movie appealed to me because it had very interesting characters. It was funny because an old woman and a teenage kid both acted differently than you would think. It had a surprising ending that you won’t forget.

Subway Train
A little crazy with music-making animals, but has great animation with hand drawn pictures. It was very creative, and good for anybody that likes animals and music. See this movie to believe me.

Fresh Guacamole
A man makes Guacamole with normal stuff. This makes it hilarious! Short but great!

The Painting
This unique movie is my favorite. It is an emotional and touching story about pictures coming to life with a lot of character drama. You need to see this -- a 5-star movie.

Kids Flix Mix 2 plays on May 4, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. The Painting plays May 5, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. Buy tickets in advance through this link to make a donation to the school of your choice.

Was this review helpful? Please scroll down to leave a comment below! And check out our other Kid Critic reviews.

Kids Flix Mix 2 & The Painting - Christopher Ladreyt's Review

Reviewer Christopher Ladreyt is 9 years old and a student at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Kids Flix Mix 2 is a collection of shorts, of which Christopher has reviewed several:

Snack Attack
This short film was my favorite. It made me nervous because I felt for an old grandma who got scared. The story also had prominent animation that made you feel like you were in the movie. It also had a surprising end. It is a whirlwind of nervousness for the character and not knowing what will happen next.

The Extinction of the Sabre-toothed Housecat
This is a very fun film. They used the music well. Then, basing the story on a clever idea that connected two seemingly different events made it hilarious. It had great cartoon-like animation. The ending had a great twist. This is good because it amazes the watcher.

Subway Train
Turn up the music add some awesome pictures and voilà! Subway Train!
This short has the best animation of all! This is because everything was hand drawn. NO CAMERA !!!
Let’s be honest, no one uses hand drawn pictures anymore. That is what makes it special.

The Painting
This is a great, colorful film, and I for one have never seen anything like it. The idea of having "all-dones," "halvies," and sketches represent artwork at different stages of completion is just outstanding.
 

Kids Flix Mix 2 plays on May 4, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. The Painting plays May 5, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. Buy tickets in advance through this link to make a donation to the school of your choice.

Was this review helpful? Please scroll down to leave a comment below! And check out our other Kid Critic reviews.

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