Los Angeles

How to Pick a Daycare That You Actually Love

Whether it's your first child or your third, finding the best daycare option for your family comes with its share of challenges. Most parents are looking at factors like cost, hours, location, safety, and child-teacher ratio, but of course, another major requirement is an environment that's warm, inviting, and family-friendly. While trying to find the perfect daycare can make any parent anxious, the relationships and beautiful memories you'll create as a family will make all the effort worthwhile.

To help guide your search for the right daycare, we reached out to childcare program directors, Mommy Poppins editors, teachers, and professional moms to collect their stories and consolidate their advice. These daycare veterans have had time to reflect on their choices, and are ready to share their wisdom and lessons learned, which, together with your area's Daycare Listings, can help you pick a daycare that you actually love.

17 Festivals To Catch this Fall around Los Angeles County

Other places have a season called fall; LA has something more like summer with school and a pumpkin aisle at Trader Joe's. Of course, the beauty of an endless summer that fades gently into Halloween or Thanksgiving—usually right up until that guy in the red suit arrives—is that summer festivals keep right on going, all the way through September and October. Check out some of our favorite annual faux fall festivals below.

Catalina Island: 27 Fun Things To Do with Kids

Want to get away from it all—but not too far away—and not in the mood for one of our favorite drives from Los Angeles? Head to Catalina Island. It's about an hour by boat from Long Beach or San Pedro (even faster by helicopter), and there's plenty for kids to do, especially if they're active. From zip lining to hiking to tracking the famous Catalina bison, there's more than enough to keep little ones and grown-ups happy for a day or a weekend trip. 

Animal Birthday Parties for Los Angeles Kids: Parties That Come to You

Looking to hold an animal-themed birthday party? There are lots of places around LA where you can throw great a party, with animals, hosts, and treat bags; or you can just take everyone to the zoo or aquarium. But what if you would rather have a party at home—where you don't need to limit sibling and adult attendance, you won't have to deal with transportation issues, and you can serve your own food? There are several businesses offering a variety of animals and party packages, happy to bring the party to you.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Cardboard Regatta, Fiesta La Ballona, LA Birthday, Avengers

Fair warning: your days are numbered. One by one your minions are being picked off. That's right, Summer, get ready to fade away, because this weekend sees the end of a barrage of favored seasonal activities. Hasta la vista, sandy reads. Sayonara, Sunny Days. The end has come for our our Shakespearean Avengers, and I'm not sure even one will survive past Sunday. 

That doesn't mean the fun is ending. Our beachy streets are ripe for some exploring and possibly some musical numbers. It's a race to the finish in vessels of questionable seaworthiness. No pretending, we've got a birthday party for kids from 9 to 99 and one for a city whose appeal is timeless. We're celebrating bricks, books, and ballonas. The king is dead; long live the king!

Is our calendar full of ridiculously fun things to do? Guilty as charged. Is there a conspiracy to put all the good things on the same day? No comment. So is the hunt over? Which hunt? The hunt for summer fun?  Or the hunt for year-round revelry?  Those questions we will leave to you.

Just know this: Labor Day is coming.

Keep reading for best picks for the weekend to end all weekends.

10+ Preschools with Last Minute Options for Westside Kids—No Waiting Lists!

Before we became parents, we may have thought this business of LA parents asking expectant mothers what preschools they'd applied to was a joke. Then we found out it's only kind of a joke; there really are parents who focus on preschool applications as soon as the contractions stop. Then there are the parents who are reading this post. There really are preschools that feed the frenzy with a waiting list that starts before a child can talk; and then there are the preschools that are in this post. Whether you've procrastinated, just moved to town, didn't get the acceptance letter you wanted, or just woke up one day and realized that your baby isn't a baby anymore, it's possible to figure out preschool at the last minute—even on the Westside of LA. You could try your luck for an opening at one of LA's newest preschools, but more likely you need to know about the great preschool options below that don't have extended waiting lists, and just might rescue your family at the very last minute.

25 Fun Things to do in San Francisco with Kids

With its famously steep hills, iconic sights, and many kid-friendly attractions, San Francisco is chock full of family fun. Unique thrills like a ride on the clanging cable cars, a ferry trip across the bay to visit a fabled island prison, amazing experiential food spots are some of the only-in-San Francisco experiences that kids and adults will love. Hands-on museums, a bayside aquarium, and enormous parks round out the family fun.

Read on to discover our best bets for family fun on a trip to San Francisco. And for more Bay Area fun, check out our list of things to do in Silicon Valley with kids

10 Swimming Lakes You Should Know Near Los Angeles

With our new normal somewhere between hot and hotter, SoCal families are eagerly looking for ways to cool off. Did you know that there are some wonderful lakes within spitting distance of sizzling Los Angeles? And if you're willing to drive a little farther, lake options get even more plentiful. Whether you want to take a dip in a secluded swim hole, or join the masses at a lavish lake resort, here are some of the best spots to take a swim before the entire family melts.

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