Los Angeles

Fun & Free Events This Weekend for LA Kids: Puppets & Spiderman Mar 31 - Apr 1

Wow.  This has never happened before. We are sorry to report that there are no events this weekend. Not a one.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, the random intersection of timing and chance and …

APRIL FOOL’S!!!  Of course there are events this weekend. There are events up the wazoo (can we say that on a family-friendly site?). April is the month of Easter and Passover and Spring Break and Earth Day, and by gosh your basket will be full with fun, fascinating, and frequently free festivities. It’s time to emerge from our winter hibernation (hello, it rained last week!) and start enjoying all that Los Angeles has to offer.

For starters, how about a little camping?  Southern California offers a wealth of family campgrounds, and naturally we’ve got the list.

His big day may not be until next week, but the Easter Bunny is already in town, meeting his fans and posing for pictures. Mommy Poppins has peered into his datebook and marked down the best Easter Bunny appearances.

Is your holiday less about  jelly beans and more about matzoh? For those looking for Passover-approved bakery goods, we have the unleavened lowdown. (As a bonus, did you know that many Passover treats are gluten-free?)

Still looking for something to do? Can we recommend: Chris Burden's Metropolis II at LACMA? Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport?  Or any of our top picks for the coming weekend…

The Not Inappropriate Show: Sketch Comedy for the Whole Family

If you love great sketch comedy, there comes a point at which it feels  almost like a compulsion to pass it along to your children. I remember sitting in the basement of my childhood home as my parents introduced me to Monty Python's Flying Circus, the content of which I only vaguely understood, but which nevertheless infected me with a lifelong love of smart, absurdist humor. The dead parrot sketch, the ministry of funny walks ... Monty Python feels like a part of my very context for life.

Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport: Plane Old Fun

At the risk of being accused of gender-based stereotypes, I believe I have located the exact street address of Daddy Heaven. Don't get me wrong - I thoroughly enjoyed taking my son to the Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport the other day, and my son had a great time, too. But the people giving off the true glow of aerial ecstasy at this newly re-opened Santa Monica landmark are definitely the dads. It is, hands-down, the ultimate daddy outing.

Fun & Free Events This Weekend for LA Kids: Railfest, Teaching Zoo & Grunion, Mar 24 - 25

Ah, Spring has sprung in the City of Angels. This season always fills me with a sense of anticipation: for the flowers that will bloom, the longer days and sweeter weather, and the hours that will need to be filled while school is on break.

Luckily, Mommy Poppins has you covered, whether you're looking for some awesome spring break camps, or for fun activities you can do as a family. 

What's that ...at the Discovery Science Center? I sense something; a presence I've not felt since... well, since we visited the Jedi Academy at Disneyland. I'm talking of course about the Star Wars exhibit that runs through April 15. The fun and educational exhibit offers great family bonding opportunities over spring break.

Do your vacation plans involve leaving on a jet plane? Boy, do we have a game changer for you. Mommy Poppins has found a service that can match you with nannies or babysitters who are taking the same flights you are. It's worth it just to have someone to answer the 500th iteration of "when are we going to get there?"

For those planning farther ahead we have the latest installment in our LA school series: a primer explaining all the what-when-where-whys of Charter Schools.

And finally, if all this planning is making you hungry, may we suggest a shopping trip to Santa Monica Whole Foods? 5% of all purchases made on Thursday, March 22 will be donated to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, (which is an awesome place to take your kids, and worth every penny of our support).

Read on for our favorite picks for this weekend.

Co-Op Preschools and Nursery Schools in The Valley

I spent many moments marveling at our coop preschool teacher's magical (and at times herculean) way of negotiating a conflict between a cluster of adamant four-year-olds who, say, all wanted the same sandbox shovel (or the same wagon, dress-up hat, easel...the list went on). She alighted into their space, fully present, intent upon listening to each desire, confident there was a way through to a peaceful settlement. And there always was.

Cooperative preschools require lots of hard work from both teachers and parents. But oh the rewards! If you're curious about coops, have a look at the lists we've compiled previously - Co-op Preschools and Nursery Schools on the Westside  and in Hollywood & Los Feliz - and if you live in or near the Valleys, read on!

Co-op Preschools and Nursery Schools in Hollywood & Los Feliz

Oh, to be three again. You run; you climb; you pretend; you sing; you snack; you dance; you nap (if your parents are lucky), then you climb some more. Play is your work (imagine that!), and you wake up tomorrow and do it all again.

If you're the parent of a three- (or four-) year-old we wonder: have you ever considered a coop? Coops are typically play-based, and they invite your kids to do just that. And even better (perhaps), you're invited, too. In addition to our listing of Co-Op Nursery Preschools and Nursery Schools on the Westside, we offer you below a round-up of coops in the Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Eagle Rock areas.

Star Wars at Discovery Science Center: These Are the Droids You're Looking For

Oh, these are the droids you're looking for alright; it's clear from the moment you pull into the parking lot. The back seat time from the Westside to Orange County was (apparently) nothing compared to the unreasonable wait between spotting the storm troopers outside the museum's front door and getting to jump out of the car and see them up close. Those guys with the inter-galactic battle blasters make sure that everyone arrives in the spirit of things.

Fun & Free Events This Weekend for LA Kids: Woofstock, Kites & Give-away! Mar 10 - 11

This edition of our weekly best is chock full of savvy scoops. We pride ourselves on being in the know with the best and coolest activities out there, but even our seasoned editor was surprised by the awesomeness that is the Toyota Symphony for Youth - and you can still catch it this weekend!

No doubt you've been waiting with bated breath as we've been adding installments in our summer camp/ break camp series. Now, for the first time, you can view all the articles in one place, our Los Angeles Camps Guide. It's like having the boxed set - and we add episodes every week!

Having launched our expedition into the world of camps, we next turn our eye toward education. This week begins our series on Co-op Preschools with a look at the best that the Westside has to offer.

And, having established ourselves as your number one resource for fun activities with kids on land, we're now declaring the seas to be our domain as well, as we reel in the best local whale watching.

Finally, in case you've forgotten, we've still got a giveaway running - and Friday is the last day to enter! Keep reading for our favorite picks for the weekend, and to be reminded about our sparkling giveaway!

Co-op Preschools and Nursery Schools on the Westside

I'll be honest: when my kids were preschool age, I didn't think they needed school yet. I was full-time with them. So, hrmph. What could a nursery school give them that I couldn't? But I now know that whether or not they needed preschool, the truth is I​ needed preschool. Or, more specifically, I needed to be a parent at a coop nursery school. 

Whether or not you think you might, too, we bring you our series of greater Los Angeles cooperative preschools. We start here with the Westside, but we have similar shout outs to coop preschools in the Valleys and Hollywood/Los Feliz.

Toyota Symphony for Youth Review: Holst’s The Planets

You know what's funny? I thought I had already been to one of the Toyota Symphonies for Youth. Perhaps what I remembered was a World City, or a Drum Downtown, or one of the other wonderful programs the Music Centers offers for families. But the moment we arrived at the Disney Concert Hall on Saturday morning for Holst's The Planets, I realized that this was an experience I had not had.

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