Los Angeles

Summer Sounds: Daytime Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl

Summer Sounds concerts offer younger kids an introduction to music at the Hollywood Bowl in a lively and engaging format without the logistical challenges of evening shows. The concerts have an international flare, introducing little ears to sounds from around the world.

The Hollywood Bowl has always been one of my favorite venues in LA: the finest music offered in an open air, festive environment.  But as a parent, I began to see the scope of the Bowl in a different way. The size of the crowds could be overwhelming, the hour past little ones’ bedtimes, the length of the show beyond little ones’ attention spans. How then to instill in my child the same excitement I feel for this most beloved institution?

Fun & Free Things to Do with LA Kids this Weekend: Chalk Art, Robotics by the Sea, and Water Day, Aug 17 - 18

I don't know how it happened. Once we were united, a single people.  But the divide between us has started to grow. We are now two factions staring each other down through the hole in the schoolyard fence. On the outside chewing gum and wearing flip flops we have Still Loving the Summer.  Sitting at their desks with hands folded neatly in their laps are the Back in School bunch. Still Loving the Summer stays out past sundown, catching movies and concerts under the stars. Back in School is trying to learn a trade and wondering if Superhero Shakespeare counts for extra credit.

But there's hope. We can still find common ground. Everyone can agree on some things, like, no one likes jury duty, right?  And on a more positive note, everyone loves birthday cake. Right?  See, despite our differences, underneath we're really the same! We're one big happy family again, even if some of us can still sleep in.

Keep reading for some of our favorite picks for this weekend, whether you're back to school or not...

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 . 

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