Los Angeles

Big Sunday Volunteer Opportunities for Los Angeles Families

Big Sunday Weekend (May 1-3, 2015) is a time for residents all over Southern California to come together to serve the community; more than 50,000 volunteers are expected to participate. The weekend offers a fabulous opportunity to introduce children to volunteering; even toddlers and preschoolers can help weed, pick up trash, draw cards for troops, and feel the joy of helping others. And you could check off #61 on our list of 100 Things to Do in LA With Kids Before They Grow Up by helping out on a beach clean-up as a family! The weekend is special—spirits are high; people are excited; a huge variety of projects is available for all age groups (see a small sample below), and work is done. And if you've ever noticed people wearing Big Sunday t-shirts in past years, that's because everyone who volunteers gets a free tee.

Kids’ Party Planning: 6 Expert Tips for Throwing a Fun, Stress-Free Birthday Bash

Much like telephones and VW Beetles, birthday parties look a whole lot different than they used to. Here in LA, I've seen kids' parties that looked like they had wedding planners, guest lists that go higher than the child can count, and party favors with bigger price tags than the gifts. I've also seen parents say, "Oh, stuff it," and run away to Disneyland. Whether you're on the birthday party fast lane or have no qualms about keeping it sweet and simple, a few tips from party experts can only make things better, so we asked some party professionals to share their insider tips.

Parties with a Purpose: Kids' Volunteering Birthday Bash To Help Those in Need

Kids' birthday parties should be a blast, but they don't necessarily need to be two hours of lavish expense resulting in a mountain of under-appreciated gifts. Just as you can organize an at-home volunteering project during a playdate, it's easy to throw a party with a purpose. This goes beyond encouraging guests to donate to charity in lieu of presents (which is great, too). We've rounded up fun and easy things kids can do to help those in need that can be incorporated into many themes, and all of our ideas can be done at home. Make sure you have a brief discussion with the kids before you get started about why you've chosen to host a party with a purpose, and who will benefit from their generosity. That way the children not only understand the concept, they can feel good about giving to others. Isn't that the greatest birthday gift of all?

Fun & Free Activities with LA Kids this Weekend: Poppies, Beach House, and REDCAT Film Fest: April 26 - 27

It’s spring, and you know what that means: spring cleaning! Out with the old, in with the new. You can get started with a classic clean, and join in the Earth Day tie-in beach cleanup on Santa Monica Beach. Get those sands sparkling (and what perfect timing: the Annenberg Community Beach House is holding its Anniversary shingdig this weekend as well).

That was inspiring!  Now it's time to clean up our own little neck of the woods and… oh dear. We have quite a lot of trash around here. No worries. Earth Day also marks the start of Sanitation Open House season. Kids can tour sanitation yards, attend recycling fairs, visit landfills, and perhaps commandeer a garbage truck to help Momma haul away a ton or two of refuse.

You know what's not going to end up in a landfill? Cloth diapers. You know who's going to end up in the Guinness Book of Records? Cloth diaperers (assuming enough of them get together this weekend). You know what else is going to end up in the record books? This weekend, because seriously,  there's so much amazing stuff going on that it will definitely be going down in history.

Don't believe me?  Keep reading for a taste of the awesomeness headed your way...

Bears: Parent Movie Review of the Disney Film at El Capitan

Every Earth Day for the last few years, Disneynature has given families a movie event to look forward to, and this year's treat is an all-ages celebration of the most kid-centric of mammals: Bears. In the tradition of other Disney Earth Day releases, which have included Chimpanzee, African Cats, and Oceans, the film Bears offers a breathtaking cinematic journey - and a peek into the world of Alaskan brown bears that seems almost impossible in its close-up detail. Not to mention, it is almost unbearably adorable. Read on to see just how adorable - and to find out if it's your little bear-lover's cup of tea.

Overnight Summer Camps for Kids with Food Allergies in CA, OR, & WA

With summer right around the corner, parents have a lot of planning on their plates to ensure a fun-filled time away from school. There are many overnight camp choices for kids without dietary restrictions, but let's face it: for those who do have dietary concerns - gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, or other needs - the list is not as long. For those moms and dads who want overnight camps as a potential activity for their kids this summer, here's a list to consider, especially if diet is a concern.

The following camps are located throughout the west of the US and have a focus on special diets and accommodating food allergies.

Fun & Free Activities with LA Kids this Weekend: Book Festival, Getty Festival, & Puppet Festival: April 12 - 13

We're sorry. We're really, really sorry. We don't mean to keep doing this to you, honest. But here we go again: There are just Too Many Things to Do. Good things. Excellent Things. More Things than One Family can possibly do in One Weekend. And you are going to have to choose.

The LA Times Festival of BooksThe Puppet Festival at the Skirball. One of the Getty Center's priceless Family Festivals. (This one's about Queen Victoria and Photography). There's the opening day of the Butterfly Pavilion. There's the opening day of the Snowy Day exhibit at the Skirball. There's the opening day of the Wyland Gallery at Sweet! (Whales! And chocolate!)

But that is not all; oh, no, that is not all. Easter is hopping into town with bunnies, bunnies, and bunnies. (Peter, Cottontail, and Easter). There are kites in the sky, singing in the rain, and talking drums. There are infinitely many choices, and all of them are must-see.

Keep reading for way too many things to do this weekend...

Fun & Free Activities with LA Kids this Weekend: CicLAvia, Puppet March, & Baseball Swing: April 5 - 6

It’s all about the kids, isn’t it? The Aquarium of the Pacific celebrates International Children’s Day all weekend long. Museum of Latin American Art does the same on Sunday. It's Earth Day at STAR Eco Station... Children's Earth Day, that is. Concerts on Santa Monica Pier are back - but sorry, they're for kids. Kids, kids, kids!

Well hip hip Huzzah for the kids, but what about the parents? Huh? When do we get our day? Children’s Day - how about Mothers' Day? Or, wonder of wonders, Fathers' Day? When do we get ours??? 

Really? As soon as that? Cool, I can wait til May. (No word on whether the Dads will make it to June, though). In the meantime, bring on the kid stuffBunny photo ops! Bubbles, baseball, and Cat in the Hat!  Because really, we know, the best way to make Momma happy is to make her kids happy. And our calendar is filled with ways to make your children happy.

Keep reading for the most delightfully child-centric activities for this weekend...


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