We SoCal-dwellers don’t do well with the rain. First of all, we’re atrocious drivers even when it’s just sprinkling. But we also get severe cabin fever, having been spoiled by the spectacular weather we have most days of the year. Inevitably, more rain’s a-coming. And while usually I chant “rain, rain, go away…”, sometimes the rain allows you to get some quality time in with the kiddos. Here are a few things to do that don’t require Rihanna’s umbrella, but do require you to do stuff together.
It’s not just for bedtime, folks, though it’s a great snuggling opportunity – which is especially useful when it’s raining outside. If you choose your books wisely it can be laugh-a-minute fun. (Try “Runny Babbit” by Shel Silverstein.)
Children’s Book World
10580 1/2 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, Calif., 90064
Children’s Book World is known for a number of reasons, one of which is the friendly customer service. Need some help choosing a book? The staff is there to help. They offer great variety for kids of all ages, and have regular author events and story time, as well.
14975 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
This place is part bookstore, toy store and art exhibit. The bottom line is that they strive to inspire and make you imagine. Come here for great kids’ books, weekday readings or weekend events. You and the kiddos will enjoy.
A Whale of a Tale
4199 Campus Drive, Suite A
Irvine, CA 92612
Kids’ books? Check. For kids of all ages? Check. Author appearances? Check. Okay but not just any author appearances. This Orange County bookstore has been graced with the presence of popular authors ranging from Jamie Lee Curtis and Jerry Seinfeld to Laura and Jenna Bush. Great OC spot for kids’ books and much more!
Write, color, paint, make up stories, take pictures and anything else your child can think of. It’s amazing the things you learn about your kids when you let them – and yourself – just be creative. You can set yourself up to create art projects at home, or go somewhere else to be creative.
Top’s Art Supplies
3447 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA, 90005
Imagine walls and walls of paints, pencils and markers, and paper in every imaginable color. Add in science project supplies, art easels and other utensils and much, much more. All of that adds up to the perfect place for artists, ranging from tots to art teachers to truly-making-a-living-at it artists, to shop for their supplies. Come here and nothing can stop the creative juices from flowing.
12372 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843
This place is where many teachers go to get supplies for their classrooms. But they’re not ordinary supplies –- you can find things like toys, books, costumes, science and nature supplies and more. You know how your kids make up stories and then want to play them out? THIS is the place to go to make it all come together and turn their ideas into reality.
Color Me Mine
More than 30 locations across Southern California
When I was a kid growing up in Costa Rica my mom used to take us to a little ceramics shop to paint ceramic figurines. So when I found this place years later I was hooked. I still have the first thing my kid created at Color Me Mine when he was like 3 years old and mine too. (His looks almost as good as mine). More importantly, I really enjoy sitting and talking while we paint. You can choose from all kinds of things ranging from fun kid-like figurines to plates and wall plaques and more.
Busy Bee Hobby Shop
461 W Highland Ave,
San Bernardino, CA 92405
It’s like a scene from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, sort of. Come to this place for all kinds of art supplies, model vehicles and a whole lot more. This mom and pop shop has been here for decades, and is well-loved by the San Bernardino community.
Can’t go play sports outdoors? Go bowling! Chances are your child will beat you in the kid-adapted lanes! Here’s a list of the best bowling alleys in LA; keep reading for points beyond.
1091 Irvine Boulevard
Tustin, CA 92780
This popular Orange County alley offers open bowling and leagues for all ages, and affordable bowling prices for kids and adults pretty much daily ($3.50 – $4.50, depending on the day and time). The exception is during Rock-N-Bowl times on Friday and Saturday nights, when the atmosphere is fun, complete with music and glowing pins. One very cool thing, Rock-N-Bowl kid-style is available on Fridays from 3-5 p.m. when you can treat the kids to an adult-like experience without the adult-like, experience. And for only $8/person including shoe rental.
AMF Bowling Centers
299 W. Orange Show Rd.
San Bernardino, CA 92408
10781 Indiana Ave.
Riverside, CA 92503
The emphasis at this bowling alley chain is good all-American fun. With a wide range of kid-friendly food options served lane-side, this is a great place to spend a few hours having some fun. And if you join their e-club you get discounts, event information and more.
Feed Your Belly
Meal preparation can be a bonding event, and an activity that’s ideal for indoor fun. But you can also take any number of cooking classes together, which means you’ll be getting breakfast in bed in no time flat. Here are great kids’ cooking schools in LA, and some more in OC and IE:
PREP School for Cooking
12207 Seal Beach Blvd,
Seal Beach CA 90740
This Orange County cooking school strives to instill in kids a love for cooking, while instilling confidence, teamwork and other important social skills. You can choose from a variety of cooking class options that include parent-and-child classes, as well as classes for kids only.
Young Chefs Academy
514 West First Street
Claremont, CA 91711
Billed as a “cooking school for budding chefs aged 3 to 103”, Young Chefs Academy teaches a variety of cooking techniques while taking the opportunity to teach math (measurement), science (ingredients) and more. Fortunately, the food they learn to cook tastes delicious – and not like a science experiment!