Los Angeles

35 Ways To Keep Summer Going after School Begins

Whether you're relieved by the quiet or disturbed by the abrupt ending, most LA families are using those three little words (back to school) a whole lot earlier these days. Of course, dropping our kids off at school doesn't change the weather; there might be no child left behind at the beach, but it's still summer until close to Halloween. So if your family is not yet ready for summer to end, pick a few items off our Endless Summer List and go have some fun while the sun still shines!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Elephants, Empire Strikes Back, and Pat Benatar

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. No, not the start of the school year: I mean the weekend festivities in Griffith Park. The LA Zoo is celebrating the pachyderm, and shedding light on the majestic beast's situation in the wild. It's the once a year chance to go behind the scenes and see how the "Ele" half lives.

They say an elephant never forgets. But you know who does forget? A kid who's been out of school too long. Luckily, the 2018/19 academic year is upon us, with many kids returning to school as early as next week. Time to get a move on if you have any unrealized summer plans, like perhaps attending a county fair. (Both the OC and Ventura County fairs end this weekend.)

We all know that parenting, like love, is a battlefield. But parents and kids, we belong together, perhaps at an open air concert. Several of the ongoing summer series come to an end this weekend. You wouldn't want to miss some of the big names you can see this weekend; that would be a heartbreaker

Keep reading for our most elephantine list of picks for this pre-school weekend.

Got Library Fines? A New Program Lets Kids Read Them Away

Any parent who has fished an overdue library book out from underneath the sofa knows the pain of late fees. When library fines add up, they can even take the allure out of reading, which is the last thing any of us wants. So here's the good news: Los Angeles County Library, Santa Monica Public Library, and even LAPL are changing the game with awesome new programs to make late fees vanish.

RELATED: 10 Free Perks that Come with an LA Public Library Card

How to Get the Most Out of a Caregiver Interview

Whether you’ve found them through personal recommendations, a nanny agency, a local parenting website, or even a chance encounter at the playground, you’ve narrowed your potential-Mary-Poppins list down to a few great choices. Now it’s time to conduct the in-person interviews. But can you really figure out, in one meeting, which caregiver will be the best fit for your kids—and for you? With preparation and some self-reflection, you can use a caregiver interview to help decide whether this is someone you feel not just comfortable with, but excited about. Read on for the top eight interview questions to ask in a caregiver interview. 

Free Play at Giggles 'n' Hugs!

Mommy Poppins and Giggles 'n' Hugs are teaming up again! On Tuesday, August 21st, it's time for a Mommy Poppins Playdate at Giggles 'n' Hugs. We invite you to enjoy free admission at either Giggles 'n' Hugs location (Topanga Canyon or Glendale), from 6pm-8pm.

Never been to Giggles 'n' Hugs? It's a great spot, whether you're looking to plan the perfect no-stress birthday party, enjoy a healthy family meal, or just chill out for an afternoon in the action-packed, 2000-square-foot playspace. The best part is it's as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids, because while little ones play, grown-ups can enjoy a coffee, glass of wine, or locally-sourced, organic meal.

Space is limited, so you must register in advance.

Harry Potter Heaven: Warner Brothers Studio Tour Is a London Must

Most American Potter fans know that Universal Studios has created a little piece of Hogwarts heaven in two locations—The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood and at Universal Studios Orlando—but it should come as no surprise that the true center of the Potter universe is in London, England, where all of Harry’s adventures began. Apart from all of the real life British places a muggle might want to snap a photo (e.g. Kings Cross Station for platform 9 3/4, which British Rail good naturedly erected a few years back), the true wizard Mecca is Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, housed at the film studio that was Harry's world for the decade or so that the films were in production. Fans of wizardry and magic can walk in the very footsteps of their heroes at the Warner Bros Tour.

Revitalized Balboa Fun Zone Blends Education with Boardwalk Fun in Newport Beach

Looking for a kid-approved way to spend an afternoon in the OC? The iconic Balboa Fun Zone has been serving up family fun SoCal-style for more than 80 years—and now with an educational twist. In addition to the delicious food, eclectic shopping, and famous Balboa Ferris Wheel that have made this destination a Newport Beach favorite for ages, Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest Museum is now bringing exciting learning opportunities to the revitalized boardwalk.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Garden Concerts, Superhero Shakespeare, and Surf Fest

Can you believe it's August already? The summer's almost over. Last call for school break fun, cause we'll be back in school before you know it!

Oh, hey, look at that: the Actors' Gang free summer Shakespeare for kids is starting up this weekend. The Gang is doing an Avengers tinged Much Ado About Nothing, quite a Marvel if you ask me. Nothing like your kids quoting Shakespeare when they go back to school, which they will be doing shortly because the summer is practically over...

Oh, hey, look at that: The Getty Garden Concerts for Kids are starting up this weekend. It isn't summer until the Garden Concerts have started, I'll tell you that. Jazzy Ash gets things going with her fun, New Orleans inspired jazz. You can dance or chill on the Getty Center Lawn to this family favorite. And then after that you can turn in your swim fins and sunscreen, because the summer is just about over...

Oh, hey, look at that: the Ventura County Fair is starting up this weekend. Nothing says summer like funnel cakes, carnival rides, and pig races. And then the summer is over for most intents and purposes, so maybe we should all be buying ski garb and looking into Christmas trees. 

Oh, hey, look at that: There's a new Disney movie coming out this weekend. I say "summer"; you say "blockbuster"!  I say "Winnie", you say "Pooh"! And we both say that maybe there's a little bit of summer left after all.

Keep reading for our best picks for what is clearly another awesome summer weekend.

Free in August: 21 Free Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

It’s the waning days of summer, and the pocket book may be feeling a little light. Thankfully, you live in Los Angeles, a city never short of fun things to do for free. Whether you want to hit the beachdance under the stars, or catch a show, there's nothing to stop you, short of heatstroke. So why not gather up the fam and squeeze those last drops out of your summer fun, because if you do what we tell you to, you won't need to spend a dime. 

School Start & End Dates: 2018-19 Academic Year Calendars for LA County Schools

Summer vacation ain't what it used to be. The majority of SoCal school districts now opt for an August start date, with only a few South Bay stragglers sticking with the old-school, post-Labor Day start. And beware assuming that school starts and finishes roughly when it did last year, because schedules seem to change all the time. This year Alhambra is first out of the gate, leading the back-to-school race with a pool-party-pooper start date of August 10; Torrance kids still get the most out of summer with their September 6 first day.

Wondering where your district fits in, and how much time you have left for these 50 Free Things To Do in Summer? Bookmark our list below with start and finish dates for the 2018-2019 school year all over LA County. And if what you read makes you wonder about what other school options are available to you, maybe our school guide can help.

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