The Halloween talk has already begun. Will there be trick-or-treating? If so, will everyone wear Darth Vader masks? Should we buy candy, or will we just end up eating it ourselves? The trick-or-treat debate will doubtless go on right up until Halloween night, but we already have some answers to the haunted house questions that affect bigger kids: Universal's Halloween Horror Nights and Knott's Scary Farm have both canceled their epic annual haunts for the 2020 Halloween season. But out of the ashes of those haunts has risen another—a haunt likely to be THE Halloween ticket to buy this season: the Stranger Things Drive-Into Experience.
Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch in 2011, eventually becoming Mommy Poppins Editor-in-Chief in 2013. Previously she served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom—all of which works out well for her son, who has grown up serving as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
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If ever there was a time that needed an exit off the 110 freeway that leads straight to the Mediterranean, now is that time. Like so many SoCal families, my son and I have been desperate for a local getaway—something that feels a whole lot farther away than it is—and I was thrilled to discover that an exit off the Harbor Freeway could drop me straight into what feels like the South of Spain. Our destination was Terranea, a family-friendly resort on the Palos Verdes peninsula. It's a stone's throw from Long Beach and San Pedro, right here in Los Angeles County, and yet seemingly a continent away.
Our socially-distanced one-night vacation allowed us to escape 2020 reality and enjoy rocky beaches with critter-filled tide pools, a sandy cove with a rock-climbing-friendly sea cave, lush green cliffs hopping with bunnies, ocean breezes over moonlit water, and rolling waves lulling us to sleep through our open balcony. Anyone else need that?
Of course, we found plenty of kid-pleasing activities as well, without leaving the grounds of Terranea; read on for all the details of the relaxing, entertaining, socially distanced getaway that can be reached in less time than a typical Los Angeles morning commute.
Will we be sending our kids back to school in the fall? If so how? And if not, how? The many school districts of Los Angeles have been sharing their plans with anxious families in a series of announcements, proposals, and town hall Zoom calls.
One thing seems certain: most school districts are sticking with their previously announced 2020-21 school calendars. That, however, is where the certainty ends.
Principals, teachers, superintendents, school board members, and Governor Newsom have been wrestling with the question of returning to school since before school finished. In recent days, LAUSD and 12 other local school districts in Los Angeles and Orange County have released or updated a plan for returning to school next month. On July 17, the governer of California weighed in emphatically, establishing strict guidelines for a county's schools to reopen for in-person learning.
Read on for state and county guidelines as well as local school district plans for beginning the 2020-21 school year.
"While the new school year will begin in August, it will not start with students at school facilities," announced Superintendent Austin Buetner today, allowing the families of 735,00 students to stop speculating. "There is a public health imperative to keep schools from becoming a petrie dish."
Citing the recommendations of the WHO and health experts from around the globe, the rising rates of COVID cases in the Los Angeles area, and funding challenges that have yet to be addressed, Buetner said that to avoid compromising the health and safety of the school community and all those connected to it, on-campus learning will simply not be possible in August. San Diego Unified School District made a similar announcement today; whether other regional school districts follow suit remains to be seen.
Buetner's broad strokes for how LAUSD plans to make off-campus learning successful, and for how students could return to LAUSD campuses in the near future, follow.
Yes, Los Angeles, there is summer camp. Not only that, there's free summer camp, cheap summer camp, and summer camp scholarships. And these are all live, in-person camps set up to help working families at 50 different parks around LA County.
Space is available now for these free and reduced cost programs that include mini-camps and full-day camps for kids ages six and up. The Board of Supervisors is offering both 50% and 100% scholarships for the LA County Parks 2020 Summer Camps programs—available on a first-come, first-served basis—to provide support for families that are slowly integrating back into the workforce.
Summer 2020 may not be what most LA families had planned, but once we make our peace with staying close to home, it can be a different kind of fun. It can be staycation, love where we live, totally Southern California kind of fun. It can be old-fashioned, making popsicles and sipping homemade cocktails while the kids play backyard water games kind of fun. And we can take a break from stressing about what school will look like in the fall by picking a few of the wonderful things to do that we can still indulge in this summer around Los Angeles. The photos from summer vacation 2020 may all have masks in them, but we can be making wonderful childhood memories all the same! Here are 50 places open now to get you started.
Apologies, but I am about to blow a well kept secret wide open: Newport Beach has a cove hidden in plain sight that may be the best family beach day in the Southland. Of course the definition of "best family beach day" may not be the same for everyone; only continue reading if your ideal beach day would include kayaks, SUP boards, paddle boats, and an inflatable water park in a warm surf-free lagoon surrounded by clean sand, fire rings for s'mores, easy parking, and clean bathrooms. Only head to Newport Dunes if you're prepared for that level of nirvana.
Like most things this summer, Apple Camp will look a little different in 2020.
Apple Camp takes place entirely online this year, but with live orientation sessions to kick off each project, and drop-in Q & A sessions to get help. Like the in-store version, Apple Camp at Home will focus on a project from start to finish. These projects traditionally have taken two days at in-store sessions, with a third day to showcase campers' work. The virtual camp allows kids to create at their own pace, with support available during the week that the project is live.
If you've got an 8-12-year-old interested in STEM or movie-making, you'll want to act fast; Apple has just opened registration, and space is limited. These special annual camps are 100% free—and they traditionally fill up quickly!