We've already stocked up on back-to-school supplies from new backpacks to jeans, but now comes the fun part: books!
If you have voracious summer readers, it's likely your kids are already complaining that they’ve read everything. Or maybe you want to inspire a less than enthusiastic reader to kick off the 2015-2016 academic year on a wordy note.
Either way, Mommy Poppins has put together a list of more than a dozen books for kids of all ages, from preschool to high school, that were published within the last year, and, based on the awards they've already won, seem destined to become future classics. So pull up a comfy chair, whip out that library card and read on. You might just find a new family favorite.
September is bitter-sweet. The relief of having back all those hours in the day is tinged with the loss of long, balmy summer evenings without homework or lunches to prepare. And who among us is ready to hear the word "Halloween"? No, better to look to the September weekends as an opportunity to pretend that summer is still with us. Luckily the weather and the SoCal fun generally cooperate! Read on for the best of September in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, but here's your chance to plan ahead for these September favorites.
Click through to the full listings, and you can automatically add them to your personal calendar.
Summer is definitely ending on a hot note. It’s hard to send the kids off to school when the beach beckons, but for those of us whose summer ends before Labor Day, that’s the way the popsicle drips. I’m trying to ease the transition with lots of after school ice cream and fro-yo, and sometimes we even get to the pool or the beach. Speaking of which, I am seriously contemplating a round of hooky on Monday, because it’s the very last dollar splash day at the Annenberg Beach House. If you don’t get there for that, be aware that the pool is closed from October to May, though if this weather keeps up, they may have to reconsider that schedule.
One place you can always find AC is the movie theater. It’s Disney Princess week in Huntington Beach, where one admission gets you four movies plus four short subjects. And Friday night is for fairs: Malibu, Orange, and Santa Ana all have something planned for Labor Day weekend, and the fairest of them all (it is princess week after all), LA County Fair in Pomona, also opens this weekend.
Don’t forget it’s the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month this week; brick builders know that means free LEGO. Also, be sure to check our daily event calendar. There is much to do this week.
School has only been in session a week, and already I am learning so much. I am learning about the many ways to see aquatic life in Southern California. I am learning about the many ways to experience Little Tokyo. I am learning what it's like to drink a cup of coffee uninterrupted.
And after all that learning, I think we'll both have earned a little treat. Perhaps some vegan soft serve (free). Perhaps a concert (free). Perhaps a movie (free. Or maybe free). Because if I've learned anything in my week of school, it's that nothing beats free.
Feel free to keep reading to learn our favorite picks for this weekend....
I’m on my third kid to be obsessed with all things pertaining to the Land of the Rising Sun. For some reason (it may well begin with Pokemon and Hello Kitty) the Japanese experience is a source of endless fascination for the youth of the 21st century. Teenagers, my son among them, can’t get enough of Nipponese culture. And there is a lot of culture: from anime to Gundam, from the exquisite animation of Studio Ghibli to the nutritionally questionable Popin Cookin candy craft kits. For my kids and their friends, Japan is an enchanting island filled with giant robots and animated dust bunnies.
And then, of course there is the food: ramen, tempura, sushi, and –our favorite snack from the Japanese market – a uniquely salty, crunchy cracker called “Soft Salad.” For those who indulge in Fro-Yo, mochi (a sweet Japanese rice dough) has become a staple topping.
LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood is more than one hundred years old, dating back to the late 1880s. One of only three "Japantowns" in the United States, it continues to flourish today as a major cultural center for Japanese Americans. Geographically, it is bordered approximately by the Los Angeles River on the east, Downtown LA to the west, City Hall on the north, and the Arts District to the south. Though the heart of this unique neighborhood encompasses just a few blocks, it is packed with things to do and see, including an annual Nisei Week in August, museums, shops, bowling, and some pretty amazing restaurants. It is a place to enjoy with the whole family, including those pesky, difficult-to-please teenagers (who can now get themselves there on the metro). We've collected 25 kid-friendly ways to explore and enjoy Little Tokyo.
I loved our recent bowling post because it was generated by a child’s passion and his mother’s quick response. My daughter is crazy for sea life. She never tires of a trip to the aquarium, and aquariums around these parts certainly are plentiful. While many aquariums offer hands-on opportunities for our young marine biologists, there are other ways to experience sea life in Southern California as well: the sea lions molt in Cambria; tide pools abound; the California Science Center is screening an IMAX movie about humpback whales, and–no surprise to Mommy Poppins readers–the grunion run in San Pedro. Southern California has a plethora of sea animals. This summer, I've been indulging my daughter’s fascination with the life aquatic.
If school hasn’t started yet and your family has time for one last summer hurrah, take a midweek camping trip – from LA it's easy to head for forest, woods, desert, or sea. Tuesday is a day of free admission to national parks, and eleven of our parks in California are participating. For my family, school started last week, but a trip to visit to the world's first national park – Yellowstone – helped us to end our summer on a high note.
With school looming, you probably don’t want to head out of state now, but if you have the time and inclination to venture north, Tuesday's free day could be an opportunity to experience the giant redwoods of Muir Woods, the majesty of Yosemite, or the Gold Rush history of Whiskeytown Lake. Closer to LA, Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park offer two extremes of our state’s natural beauty.
Mommy Poppins is LA's favorite free online resource for parents and kids where you'll discover the inside skinny on where and what todo, see, learn, play, make, read, splash, eat, run amok, party and envy in the Los Angeles area with kids. We hope you like the site. Feel free to email us if you have any questions.