Los Angeles

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.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Natsumatsuri, Wings over Camarillo, Tacos, & Rocket Fever

You hear that? Of course you don't, because that sound is the peaceful nothingness of the children being back in school. Weekdays are for reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, plus momma chillin' with her tasty drink while she finally gets something done around here. But don't fret; there's still lots of time for fun. That's why the calendar invented weekends, so we could have Saturdays and Sundays (and occasionally holiday Mondays) filled with concerts, festivals, and movies. There may even be a chance to learn something as well, but we will call it entertainment.

What are your options for fun this weekend, you ask? You can go full Little Tokyo at the closing weekend of the Nisei Week and at JANM's annual Natsumatsuri Festival (it celebrates summer, which in this case means back to school). You can chow down on BBQ and tacos. You can take flight, soaring through the skies, or reaching for the space just beyond that. (I'm told there are stars there.)

There's lots of music making and moving pictures (as well as some pictures that are moving). Plus things get smashed to bits. Just a typical weekend round these parts. Now that school has started.

Keep reading for our not going quietly back to school weekend picks.

Free and Cheap After-school Classes and Programs for LA Kids

Back-to-school season is also back-to-after-school season, when families look for enriching and fun programs for their children. Options for arts, sports, and other recreational classes for kids in the LA area are numerous and varied—lucky us!—but many are tough to manage on a budget. The good news is there are also several free and cheap ways to engage students’ minds and bodies in the hours after school lets out.

LA's Best Gyms and Tumbling Classes for Kids Who Love To Bounce

Every kid loves to jump around. While some kids channel that energy into competitive gymnastics programs at LA's gymnastics schools, others (toddlers particularly) really just want a place to bounce, tumble, climb, and swing. If you are looking for tumbling classes that are completely child-centered, fully non-competitive, and possibly closer to home (not to mention great options for birthday parties and summer camp), one of these kids' gyms may be just your speed.

Vancouver With Kids: 30 Great Things To Do as a Family

One of Canada’s most ethnically diverse and densely populated cities, Vancouver, British Columbia is the crown jewel of the country's West Coast.

Less than an hour by car from the border with the United States, Vancouver is the gateway to the Pacific Rim and draws visitors from all over the world. It’s not just the city’s location that makes people flock there, but also the stunning backdrop of mountains, temperate weather, and world-class parks and amenities.

With the ocean and mountains within a short drive, Vancouver is a veritable outdoor playground. This cosmopolitan city is waiting for your next adventure. With a favorable exchange rate in Canadian dollars, free public parks, and an easy-to-navigate public transportation system, Vancouver offers great value and seemingly endless and unforgettable experiences.

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

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