Are you planning a trip to the LA County Fair? This is #72 on our LA Kids' Bucket List! If you have been before, you know there is so much to see and do, and so much fun to be had. There are rides and midway games, cow milking and sheep shearing shows, bacon donuts and deep fried everything, school project exhibits, arts and crafts exhibits (kids and adults), farm animal competitions and displays, kids' indoor play areas, and so many possibilities for shopping. Of course, you also know it's big, it's crowded, it's hot, and it can get expensive quickly! But it doesn't have to (OK, the heat can be hard to avoid—though many of the shopping buildings have a/c if you want a quick cool down). And there are some free, kid-friendly hidden gems within the fairgrounds that you do not want to miss.
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All parents talk about their kids "climbing the walls"—but are yours truly climbing the walls, the trees, and random objects not meant to be climbed? Do they take the game of hot lava so seriously that they have broken furniture? Or perhaps they just can't stop talking about the rock wall at summer camp? Maybe it is time for you to consider signing them up for a rock climbing class. Rock climbing is a full-body sport that builds strength, endurance, and stamina. It also challenges the mind as climbers make decisions, work out routes, and challenge themselves physically. And, as any kid who has been on a climbing wall at the park can tell you—it can be just plain fun! Due to proliferation of rock climbing gyms, this is now both an indoor and outdoor sport, and you no longer have to go far to find some challenging terrain.
Nearly every climbing gym in the LA/OC area offers birthday parties for kids, and most permit children to climb with an adult present. If your child really enjoys climbing, a youth team (many gyms offer non-competitive and competition teams) is the best way to get lots of practice and instruction. If your kids have not found a sport they like (amongst the many on our classes guide), maybe this is the one!
You may have seen our post on language immersion preschools in Los Angeles and wondered how to find options like these in Orange County. Well, don't worry! The OC has plenty of choices for bilingual education as well. Whether or not a bilingual immersion elementary school is in your child's future, a second language is within reach.
Does a day of living history, local history, architectural history, dance, traditional craft demos, kids' crafts, storytelling, art, and live music sound good to you? While several LA-area museums offer free admission the first Tuesday of each month (and one offers the first Wednesday), the annual Museum of the Arroyos Day offers free Sunday admission to and special activities at five different historical museums along the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena and Los Angeles each May.
There's a new hike in town! OK, maybe it's not completely new—but, for the first time since the winter storms of 2005, the entire Lake Hollywood perimeter trail is open. And, with the exception of the northern section (which is partly packed dirt sidewalk and partly concrete sidewalk along a fairly quiet road), the trail is paved and so wide it's more a street than a trail. That means more than three miles of car-free walking, running, or biking—with a touch of Los Angeles history and amazing views of the Hollywood sign thrown in.
(For more hike ideas, check out our family hiking guide!)
Sometimes there is nothing better than a nice family-friendly canyon hike, whether it is a hot summer day or a chilly December weekend. Topanga State Park's Santa Ynez Canyon offers a shady, easy-to-follow, and relatively flat trail along Santa Ynez Creek, with the option to go all the way to the park's main parking lot and activity center at Trippet Ranch. This is a great hike for kids, though a baby must be in a carrier, as much of the trail is single track—but LA is full of stroller-friendly hikes if that's what you need.
(For more hike ideas, check out our family hiking guide!)
Every time I find that we are out of milk, I find myself wishing for an old-fashioned milkman who would simply deliver while I slept—rather than me making unexpected trips to the grocery store to finish the mashed potatoes, or listening to the kids whine because they can't have the breakfast they wanted. I know this happens to a lot of people, and guess what? There actually are milkmen in LA!
Milk and other dairy delivery is available from several companies, and among those companies you are sure to find what you are looking for. Best of all, home delivered milk is fresher than what you find at the grocery store. Typically, it has been out of the cow for no more than 48 hours, and often less. It's a little like that great feeling you get bringing home fresh produce from a pick-your-own farm - only without having to touch an udder.
If your kids haven't started back to school yet, they will soon. You already have their supplies and clothes. What's next? The before-school craziness. In the morning rush of packing lunches, getting dressed and locating shoes, finding homework and clean gym clothes, and meeting the carpool on time, breakfast often comes last. But we all know that kids (and adults) should start the day with a healthy breakfast—with a full stomach, kids can concentrate better in school be ready to learn, and be in an overall better mood.
Breakfasts can be elaborate or easy, hot or cold, sit-down or portable. They don't need to consist of pre-made items that get pricey quickly with kids' appetites. And if you keep just a few basic items ready to go, your kids can never tell you there is nothing to eat or that they are out of time! With the addition of some fruit and a glass of milk, even the simplest bowl of cereal becomes a complete meal. Need even more ideas, or maybe you're dealing with a special diet? Check out these recipes.