Sunday, August 24, 2008

Top Ten Things To Do With Your Kids Before Summer Ends

Endless Summer; Beaches, Books and Bicycles

When people ask "How was your summer" we want to holler that "It ain't over yet!" Now is the time to play cards, make lemonade, ride bikes and stay up late playing mini golf. Here our are Top Ten pix for making the most out of those last summer days.

1. We All Scream for Ice Cream: Our inside scoop for staying cool on hot summer days? We think Milk (Beverly Boulevard at Poinsettia 323-939-6455) serves up the best ice cream in LA -- it's great to pick up and take as a hostess gift, too!(You beg to differ? Please click here to tell us your favorite ice cream shoppe). Our kids are big fans of the Manhattan Beach Creamery. Since those spots are hard to dash out to, we've been making our own ice-cream -- raspberry chocolate chip, anyone? Click here for our favorite Food Network's recipes.

2. From Bugs to Bernini: This summer, the 'staycation' was all the rage, so why not take one more vacation -- in town -- by taking the tram to The Getty Center. Let the kids explore the gardens, and then pop into the Merian show (here's what we said about it in June) and drop in on the new Bernini show, as well. (Our Parents Off the Couch tip is to take a group of adults to see the fabulous August Sander show -- which closes mid-September -- and stay for dinner on the hill.)

3. Walking With Dinosaurs - The Live Experience: Surprise your kids with tickets for this extravagant stage show that comes to Staples Center on September 25 for seven shows. (It starts tomorrow at Anaheim's Honda Center for ten shows, also.) Click here for a KOTC discount on tickets. The Los Angeles Times warns that the show can be frightening for little T-Rex fans, but book now for older kids -- the show has been a sell out!

4. Culture for the Upcoming Year: Now is a good time to purchase tickets for the upcoming year -- save time by scheduling family time in advance and save money by buying a series of dances or concerts. Click here for the schedules for UCLA Live, the LA Philharmonic, the Center for the Arts at Pepperdine, Dance at the Music Center, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center

5. Make 'Em Listen: Reading Shakespeare is something your kids will do in Middle School, but hearing it out loud makes it fun and memorable. A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It and Macbeth are playing at our favorite spot, the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum.

6. Playing Old School: We got into puzzles this summer and spent whole evenings as a family searching for the right piece of the whole. A group of mixed age kids need at least 500 pieces to keep them busy for a few days, and 1000 pieces for a week -- but our favorite puzzles are wooden jigsaws whose pieces are individually cut into special shapes. Check out Elms Puzzles, in Maine from whom we rent puzzles (they provide the return postage).

7. Malibu Bound: We still have to pinch ourselves when we realize what a paradise there is to be found at Zuma Beach. It's a very clean beach, price-friendly ($7 to park all day), great for picnics and safe boogie boarding. Better yet, wait a few weeks until the tourists go home and claim the sand as your own.

8. Mad Libs: Celebrate this classic game's 50th birthday this month and get everyone laughing. We think it's a sneaky way to get your kids vocabulary tuned up for school. Pick up a few booklets in the toy store, or have kids invent their own MadLibs.

9. Delicious Reads: It's hard for us to say goodbye to those lazy summer days without telling you about our favorite summer reads. Our older boys loved The Mysterious Benedict Society books, and our younger boys and girls loved the Ga'hoole series. Our teenage daughters were inseparable from the Twilight series books. We could not put down Jhumpa Lahiri's The Unaccustomed Earth or The Shadow Catcher. Yummy.

10. Share KOTC: If you love what we do, please tell a friend (or two) to sign up for our newsletter. Remember, there are over 100 adventures in our Archives!

Diane and Sarah