Top 10 Last Minute Halloween Costumes For Kids

Did Halloween sneak up on you? Are you now realizing that it is less than a week away and your kids still don’t have a costume? We totally get it. Sometimes life happens and things fall through the cracks. Have no fear. We have pulled together our favorite kid’s costumes and the best part is, they are all available on Amazon Prime.

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1. Wonder Woman

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2. Paw Patrol

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3. A Spooktacular Dragon

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4. A Magical Mermaid

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5. Harry Potter 

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6. Jedi Knight

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7. Baby Jack


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8. Baby Yoda

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9. Baby Hootie the Owl

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10. Super Baby

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*All photos via

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Lynn Johnson is Empowering Girls Through Go Girl! Theater Camps

By Dawn Van Osdell

This summer across the Bay Area, Lynn Johnson will be spreading a compassion revolution. You won’t find her holding up protest signs or rallying for her cause. Instead, you’ll see her on- and backstage with the more than 600 young girls aged 6 to 14 who are enrolled in her two-week Go Girl! theater camps, held everywhere from Palo Alto and Sonoma to the East Bay.

As co-founder and CEO of Glitter & Razz Productions, the company behind Go Girl! Camps, Johnson, along with her life and business partner, Allison Kenny, strives to bolster these girls’ social and emotional skills and embrace their “girl power” through the creation of their own plays—writing them, creating sets and costumes, and ultimately performing them before an audience. Many of these girls have never before set foot on a stage.

“We help girls develop skills they need to love and respect themselves, to keep themselves safe, to be more empathetic of others, and to make bold and brave choices in their lives,” says Johnson. To do this, she aims to help them to understand and embrace their often confusing, sometimes negative feelings; and appreciate their differences—all qualities and skills Johnson believes will address the compassion deficit she sees in the world. By extension, she hopes to help girls avoid disruptive behaviors, like bullying; and ward off anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders that are often the effects of low esteem.

Lynn Johnson, co-founder of Go Girls! Camps

The power of theater to do this may seem anathema to some but it’s always been apparent to Johnson, a self-described drama geek since age 5. She moved around the Northeast with her parents before settling outside of Boston when she was in the eighth grade. One of only a few African-American students in her new town, she quickly learned what it meant to be different. But she was always at home on the stage, having acted in her first play, called “The Dollmaker’s Shop,” when she was in the first grade; and she found that theater was a way to celebrate differences and to build a better sense of belonging.  “Theater gave me a way to fit in and be part of a peaceful community when I felt like an outsider in every other aspect of my life,” she says. Throughout her school years, she continued to embrace the power of theater “to transform lives,” and has been committed to it ever since.

After studying theater and women’s studies at Northwestern University, Johnson founded a multicultural teen ensemble in Chicago— TurnStyle Teen Theatre—and also performed stories and poems written by children as part of a national tour company called StreetSigns. When the director moved the company to North Carolina, Johnson moved, too. For three years she directed community-based educational programs in Chapel Hill while continuing to perform, until she developed an itch to live in a more urban environment; and she headed west in 2002. “A lot of my friends were moving to Los Angeles, and I thought I’d go, too,” she says. But her plan was derailed when, instead, she took a job teaching summer theater camp in Northern California to be near her brother and sister-in-law, who had just become first-time parents—and met Kenny, a fellow teacher and actor. “She and I fell in love, practically at first sight, and I moved to San Francisco to be with her,” says Johnson.

Eager to continue her work with kids, Johnson worked as a trainer for the Bay Area non-profit, Community Network for Youth Development (CNYD), advising on youth programs in San Francisco while continuing to teach theater with Kenny. With little more than shared experience and a passion for improving young lives, the couple decided to venture out on their own and in 2003 created Glitter & Razz Productions LLC, a theater production company aimed at social change. “We wanted to focus on the impact theater can have on kids, to see what would happen if we helped kids create plays and put themselves in them,” Johnson says. They didn’t need much money to get the company started—they ran it out of their home. Johnson relied on non-profit consulting work and organizational coaching workshops to keep the business afloat, while she taught herself how to run and grow a business. In 2007, the couple moved the company to Berkeley, then again to Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, where they settled in and became a community center of sorts. They offered summer camps and programming after-school and during school breaks; and they also hosted birthday parties.  “We were women artists who wanted to give kids a connection to each other,” says Johnson.

“We help girls develop skills they need to love and respect themselves, to keep themselves safe, to be more empathetic of others, and to make bold and brave choices in their lives.”
— Lynn Johnson

They also wanted to create something that would bring financial security. Glitter and Razz was popular, but not lucrative. To stay afloat, they shifted their focus to the most successful, most passion-centric part of their business: their two-week summer camp for girls. “We needed to prune the roses,” says Johnson. “We had a social mission and when we focused on the part we were most passionate about, our business grew.”

It was clearly the right move. Johnson and Kenny have steadily added locations for Go Girl! Camps, which now totals seven; and they saw their enrollment double in the last year alone. ”There’s a real need for social change,” says Johnson. “We care so much and we see our camps truly changing girls, changing their lives.” This year, they’re partnering with Camp Reel Stories, a popular media camp for teens, to offer a more advanced, behind-the-scenes program aimed at tween and teen girls. This program gives rising fifth and sixth grade girls a chance to produce, direct, edit, and star in their own short films. They also offer a Go Girl! Leadership Team, giving rising seventh, eight and ninth graders an opportunity to mentor younger camp participants, fostering their leadership skills and becoming effective role models for younger girls.

 Go Girl! Campers take the stage in camps across the Bay Area. Photo by glitter & razz Productions, llc.

Last fall, in the midst of planning for their biggest camp season ever, Johnson and Kenny became parents to a 6-year-old girl they are in the process of adopting. Johnson admits that the uncertainty of business ownership can be especially stressful for a parent, but says that parenting has made her a bolder businesswoman and conversely, entrepreneurship has made her a better parent. “The skills and the confidence you develop when you build something help you in all of life, including parenting,” she says. “They give you a sense of worth that is so empowering. “ Turns out, Go Girls! Camp, isn’t just about boosting confidence in young girls, but in its founder, too. “I wish every woman could start a business, build something that belongs to them,” says Johnson. “It’s amazing and truly empowering to do what you believe in.”

Lynn Johnson takes a break in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Park. This summer she’ll welcome more than 600 girls to her Go Girls! Theater Camps.

For more information on Go Girl! Theater Camp, visit

Photographs by Matt Mimiaga/stage photo courtesy of Go Girls! Camps

Profiles of Childhood: Rachel Policar, Opera Singer and Sitter, New York, NY

Policar poses in the trees beside the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center


As told to Lela Nargi

“I grew up in a town called Issaquah, WA, 20 miles east of Seattle. Then I went to Arizona State University for my undergraduate degrees in vocal performance and musical theater before moving to New York five years ago.

Now I am a coloratura soprano, which is a classification of soprano that sings a high and fast repertoire. It’s a little bit challenging because you’re expected to be perfect at all times, so it requires a tremendous amount of dedication and practice and time spent learning and working on your craft. But I love it, and it allows me to play a lot of fun roles.

I just sang my first Gilda in Rigoletto by Verdi this summer. She’s more of a lyric soprano but she has some coloratura elements to her, and that stretched me out as a singer and gave me a whole new bag of tricks to pull from. I’ll be doing my fourth Gretel this January with the Knoxville Opera’s outreach program. I get hired more often than not to play very young girls, because I don’t look super old and I’m on the small side. I love playing children. It helps me relate to the children I babysit for, and they love when I show them pictures of myself in costume as a little girl. They think that’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen.

Upon request, I’ve shown a couple of my kids YouTube videos of me singing. One little girl I babysit for regularly was obsessed with a recording I have of West Side Story and insisted that we sing together. Her mother asked me recently if I teach voice, and that would be the ultimate reward for me—to take a child I’ve babysat for and introduce her to the world I live in most of the time.

Mostly, though, kids have a lot of questions about opera singing. The number one question hands-down is: Can you break a glass with your voice? It’s actually very difficult to do that; you have to sing a really high note very loudly. I can’t do it yet, but maybe someday! Then they ask me how I make so much sound come out of my mouth. They ask me a lot of questions about costumes, and they want to know everything about opera, which is great. I like to think I’m building the next generation of opera lovers.

My first teacher, Phyllis Peterson, was 80 years old when I met her. She had fire engine red hair, and she was about 5’1”—a tiny powerhouse. Her energy and smarts, especially when she was telling me stories about her amazing life and career, made me feel like I was part of something special. She encouraged me to try things I wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to do on my own and helped me to find myself. Her passion was inspiring. And I’ve come to realize that what I’m able to do really is special.

Being in a creative field, opera singers are by nature emotional beings and very in touch with what we’re thinking and feeling—in much the same way that a child is. Children have this wonderful innocence and generosity; they’re not afraid to share with you everything that’s going on. Singers have so much of that in what we do, too, and I love that kind of interaction with the kids I babysit for. I also love playing games with them. Inevitably, I’ll be shocked by something they’ve thought up, and frustrated and challenged. It opens your imagination to be able to relate to kids on that level and not have that fear of judgment. I’m not afraid to get on the floor and roll around.

You have to be physically fit to have the stamina to make it through an opera. Your vocal chords are two little muscle membranes that sit in your throat, and they require exercise and strengthening and just as much practice as running football sprints does. To sing those amazingly long phrases over an orchestra, opera singers have the same lung capacity as some Olympic swimmers. But it’s really fun to open your mouth and have this enormous sound come out. You get to wear these beautiful clothes, and put on wigs, and have people do your makeup, and take on these characters that sometimes are wildly different from who you are. Yes, it’s a profession but we also get to play for a living.”

Photograph by Roy Beeson

5 Easy, Hearty Dinners for Halloween Night

Halloween is no time to be fussing over dinner. You have costumes to assemble, kids to dress up, parties to attend and trick-or-treating to spearhead at home and on the street. Take the stress of “what’s for dinner?” off your plate. You can ensure that your kids have a warm, healthy meal to fuel them before the big night by planning and preparing a make-ahead meal. These five meals are just right for making in advance and heating and serving before the Halloween festivities begin.

image via Blue Apron

Stuffed Shells with Spinach RicottaNo jarred pasta sauce or processed cheese required, this recipe is just as simple without the shortcuts. The surprising combination of ricotta, lemon, cinnamon and basil makes it extra special, while keeping it kid-friendly. (via Blue Apron)

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Spooky Ghost PizzaKeep the kids busy before it’s time to get ready for trick-or-treating by having them help assemble this ghostly pizza. Keep it simple by asking the deli to slice thick slices of mozzarella and use a cookie cutter to turn the cheese into ghosts. Keep the pizza in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. (via Chef Mom)

image via The Stir

Easy Pumpkin Mac and CheeseJust right for a chilly night and spot on for Halloween. Thanks to the creamy, nutritious pumpkin, this is no ordinary mac and cheese. (via The Stir)

image via Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Slow Cooker Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cabbage SlawNeed a little meat to fuel your fire? Throw a pork tenderloin in the crock pot for a deliciously simple pulled pork sandwich filling and add a fresh apple cabbage slaw for a balanced meal. (via Mom’s Kitchen Handbook)

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Pasta e Fagioli Soup: This hearty soup is just right to have at the ready. Make a batch to keep in the refrigerator and reheat when it’s time to eat. (via Food52)

Pick one of these delicious, make-ahead meals for Halloween night, and you’ll feel good knowing your kids’ bellies are filled with warm, nutritious food before the onslaught of candy begins!

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting holiday and especially fun for kids. If you’re having a trusted sitter celebrate the holiday with your family this year, you’ll want to share these important Halloween safety guidelines before sending her trick-or-treating. They’re also helpful reminders for you, even if you’ve led the candy collecting charge many times before.


Practice Mindful Trick-or-Treating

  • Use a flashlight to see where you’re going and take advantage of reflective tape or glow sticks to make kids visible in the dark. This protects them from cars and also makes it easier for you to keep an eye on them in the dark.
  • Choose well-lighted neighborhoods with sidewalks and easy accessibility or opt for an organized trick-or-treating event at a local school, park or shopping center.
  • Use crosswalks or cross at corners and remind kids to always look both ways before crossing the street. They should know never to dart out into the street.
  • Have a Do Not Enter rule for houses and cars.
  • Always stay in a group.
  • Keep a cell phone on hand for emergencies, but make sure you aren’t glued to it instead of keeping an eye on the kids.
  • Remind kids to stay away from candles and jack-o-lanterns with open flames.
  • If no one is home at your own house while you’re out trick-or-treating, opt for a jack-o-lantern with a battery-powered candle.

Choose Smart Costumes

  • Test make-up before Halloween night to make sure your child is not allergic to it.
  • Make sure costumes are safe and easy to walk in. Have kids wear comfortable shoes instead of unprotective slippers or dress- up shoes that can cause blisters and pinched toes.
  • Avoid masks or costumes that block or hamper vision. Make sure hats don’t slip over their eyes.
  • Check to make sure store-bought costumes are flame-resistant.
  • If kids’s costumes include swords, wands or other hand-held props, make sure they are short and not sharp.

Be Selective with Treats

  • Feed kids a healthy, satisfying meals before they go trick-or-treating to discourage them from filling up on candy.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
  • Limit kids from eating too many sugary sweets.
  • Avoid homemade treats.
  • Don’t allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.
  • Devise a plan for dealing with the loads of candy your child will bring home. Many families have kids choose a certain number of pieces, and trade the rest in for a toy or special activity.

You can make sure your family has a safe and fun-filled Halloween by taking a few minutes to remind yourself of these safety guidelines and to share them with your sitter. 

10 DIY Family Costumes for Halloween

Put your DIY skills to good use by copying one of these outstanding Halloween costumes for the whole family. These get-ups are so great, your childless friends will be wishing they had kids, too!

Burglars via Instagram
Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and Pascal via Cara Loren Via Cara Loren
Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and Pascal via Cara Loren via Cara Loren
Skeletons Via
Skeletons via
Chefs and Lobster in a Pot via Buzzfeed
Chefs and Lobster in a Pot via Buzzfeed
Milk and Cookies Via Costume Works
Milk and Cookies via Costume Works
Cat in the Hat via Costume Works
Cat in the Hat with Thing 1 and Thing 2 via Costume Works
Flintstones a Life Full of Whimsy
Flintstones via A Life Full of Whimsy
Wizard of Oz Buzzworks
The Wizard of Oz via Costume Works

For more awesome costumes for babies, kids, families and even pets, check out our Halloween Pinterest board!

5 Printables for Celebrating Mardi Gras with Kids

Mardi Gras may not be a holiday you think to celebrate with your kids, but why pass up an opportunity to have some fun together? These free printables make it simple for you or the sitter to enjoy the festive holiday with your kids.  After all, it’s a day that’s all about letting loose and having some fun!

5 Printables for Celebrating Mardi Gras with Kids

1. Paper Jester Hat

Get in the spirit of the holiday by getting crafty with your kids. You can make this fun jester hat with some colorful construction paper and the free printable template provided by Mardi Gras Outlet. It’s a simple DIY project that will make for a cute photo prop.

via Mardi Gras Outlet
via Mardi Gras Outlet

2. Masquerade Masks

Oh la la, who wouldn’t squeal with delight at the sight of these beauties!? Believe it or not, you can create them pretty easily, thanks to the handy templates. Decorate them according to your child’s age and ability. It is Fat Tuesday, so pile on the sequins, the glitter and festive feathers! More is more!

via First Palette
via First Palette

3. Mardi Gras Tic Tac Toe

Print these Tic Tac Toe boards for a fun after-school family game that’s even more festive when it follows a traditional, New Orleans-style treat.

Mardi Gras Tic Tac Toe Bnute
via B. Nute Productions

4. Mardi Gras Coloring Pages

Mardi Gras is all about colorful fun and noisy celebration. Activity Village provides printable coloring pages that showcase some of the best of the best the holiday has to offer – beads, masks, dancing and traditional costumes. The pages will keep your kids busy for hours!

via Activity Village
via Activity Village

5. Printable Stationery (for love notes!)

Why not surprise your child with a note in his lunchbox that lets him know you are thinking of him? This free, printable stationery marks the occasion in true Mardi Gras style. You can use the note to hint at the fun after-school game and snack awaiting his return home.

via Family Shopping Bag
via Family Shopping Bag

How are you celebrating Mardi Gras this year? Let us know in the comments! Find a babysitter who can get down and crafty on

Super Simple DIY Costumes for Kids

Photo Credit: ecstaticist via Compfight cc
Photo: ecstaticist via Compfight cc

Need an easy-to-assemble costume for your child to wear to her school’s Book Character Day or a last-minute Halloween costume (that doesn’t look like you threw it together in the eleventh hour)? Check out these adorable costume ideas that work for kids, little and big. Most can be assembled from an inexpensive shopping list if not with what you already have on hand. You’ll get big props from your kids, and you won’t spend a fortune or sprout any new gray hairs pulling it together!

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Deck your little lady turned old lady in a straw hat, borrowed plaid shirt for a dress, and black glasses. Pin a large drawing of a fly or spider (“that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!”) to her chest, and voila! There’s no mistaking her for anyone other than the hungry, old woman in “There Once Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.”

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly via Google Shopping
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly via Google Shopping


Max from Where the Wild Things Are

Create little boy Max’s white suit with white leggings or sweat pants and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Cut a yellow crown from heavy card stock or cardboard – create a fancy version with these crown craft instructions. Use a sock for a tail.


Max from Where the Wild Things Are via Total Film
Max from Where the Wild Things Are via Total Film

Viola Swamp

Remember Miss Viola Swamp, the meanest, most horrible substitute teacher for Miss Nelson’s class in Harry Allard’s, “Miss Nelson Is Missing?” Recreate her with a long black dress (or graduation robe), striped socks, and a black, messy wig. Then go to town with some really poorly applied make-up!

Miss Viola Swamp, the Meanest Substitute Teacher Ever via Time Magazine
Miss Viola Swamp, the Meanest Substitute Teacher Ever via Time Magazine

Clifford the Big Red Dog

A fan of the frisky, Big Red Dog will love turning into this favorite character. Create a red suit with red sweats or leggings. You can use a red stocking hat with felt ears attached and collar borrowed from the dog. A sibling or buddy could dress as Clifford’s loyal companion, Emily Elizabeth.

Clifford the Big Red Dog via Amazon
Clifford the Big Red Dog via Amazon

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold is one to remember for a last-minute costume crisis. All it takes is a pair of jeans, an over-sized white t-shirt or a blue or white baby sleeper (depending on which Harold book you reference) and a big purple crayon. You can use a jumbo Crayola or go bolder by drawing a crayon on cardboard.

Harold and the Purple Crayon via La Vita Petite
Harold and the Purple Crayon via La Vita Petite


Harry Potter

There are lots of ways to pull this together. For the simplest version, start with a pair of glasses, a cape (even a bathrobe) and a broom. Use eyeliner to sprinkle a few freckles across your little guy or girl’s cheeks and add a lightning bolt scar across the forehead. To take it a little further for a real-deal look, check out Fiskar’s instructions for making everything from a necktie to the wand.

Harry Potter via Fiskars
Harry Potter via Fiskars


If you can talk your princess into foregoing her regal garb, Cinderella before the ball would be a great, unexpected character costume. Dress her in ragged, old clothes, smudge her face with “soot,” and have her carry a cleaning bucket.


Cinderella (before the ball!) via Fan Pop
Cinderella (before the ball!) via Fan Pop

Search for babysitters and nannies online at

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween usually means one thing to children — candy! Of course it also means costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky fun. But candy ranks up there as most kids’ favorite treat when October rolls around. Here are a few healthy indulgences that most little ones will enjoy — mummy and daddy, too.



1. Pumpkin bread. Mmmmm…baking a loaf of pumpkin bread makes your whole house smell like Fall. The cinnamon and cloves, the canned pumpkin — which is super high in Vitamins A and C, as well as beta carotenes — come together in a delectable way. Most supermarkets sell an easy mix, or if you’re inspired, make it from scratch. Throw in some chocolate chips to seriously up the yum factor.

2. Oranges with a celery stem. Easy as (pumpkin) pie. Peel oranges (or clementines) and stick a celery stalk on top. Voila! Mini pumpkins with an edible stem.

3. Pumpkin seeds. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a classic tradition for many families. Kids can help scoop out the mucky insides of a pumpkin and spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a little olive oil, toss with salt and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Crunchy and filled with vitamins to boot, these little guys are sure to be gobbled up quickly. Change up your recipe by adding cinnamon sugar or garlic salt for a different taste altogether.

Image via Rachel Tayse
Image via Rachel Tayse

4. Hard boiled ghost eggs. These make a perfect breakfast for little ghouls and boys. Just boil a few eggs, let them cool, then make a jagged cut across and bottom and add eyes and mouth with black food coloring. Frightfully easy!

5. Spider web pizza. This one is a great take on a popular kid-friendly dinner. Take standard pizza crust, add tomato sauce, and then thinly peeled string cheese in the shape of a web. Other toppings can be added, too. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes and dig in.

Whatever you choose to indulge in this Halloween, do it with gusto! Your little monsters are sure to enjoy the process as well as the result.

Search for babysitter and nannies online at

Fun Activities and Attractions to Entertain Your Kids After-School

Are you looking for a way to pull your kids away from the screen and entertain them after school? We’ve talked to parents in San Francisco, NYC, LA, Chicago and Boston for the inside scoop on some of the coolest after-school picks to register for and some to simply visit with your kids. If you’re working and hate for your kids to miss out on these fun activities, book a babysitter to cover the afternoons and have her take the kids.  These are sure-fire wins!


Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Photo by Steve Took It

How about renting a paddle boat in Golden Gate Park on a sunny afternoon? You and the kids can explore Stow Lake, and likely catch a glimpse of the ducks and turtles that make it their home. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and a bit of exercise, and the perfect excuse to pack a picnic to enjoy lakeside.  You can rent paddleboats and rowboats at Stow Lake Bike & Boat Rentals, located at the northwestern side of the lake. 

Build It! Lego Club

Photo by by eilonwy77

Organized by the San Francisco Public Library, these drop-in sessions provide all the Lego pieces needed to build vehicles, castles and pretty much anything you can dream up. There are numerous drop-in Build It! club sessions throughout the year so be sure to check the library events calendar for upcoming classes.

The Little Art Studio

The Little Art Studio

This Mill Valley studio offers classes for ages 1.5-12. Each class is focused around a specific art medium or technique, and children are encouraged to create in their own way and to freely move about the studio. The Little Art Studio understands how busy life is for parents, and is committed to making it all a bit easier by offering flexible scheduling. You can enroll for complete sessions, drop-ins, can pick and choose classes that accommodate your schedule and travel plans, and try out a class anytime there’s an open spot.


Los Angeles County Museum of Art  Boone’s Children’s Gallery

Arts for NexGen LACMA is a free youth membership program (the only free one in the country, in fact). It gives members free general admission to the LACMA and free admission for one accompanying adult.  Join and check out the multitude of offerings, including The Boone Children’s Gallery where you and your little one can create your own masterpiece; see live performances, tours, and self- guided activities; and participate in after-school workshops .To join, visit the LACMA box office or print the form and mail it in to the address provided.

Dawn Barnes Karate Kids

Photo by Edson Hong

This karate studio bills itself as a Life Skill School. It now offers a Karate Kitties class for the 2 and 3-year old set, and has a progressive series of classes through to the Invitation-Only Black Belt class. Parents love the kids-only, “love-based” approach to martial arts, and the flexible scheduling and Universal Membership make it really easy to fit classes into your weekly schedule. The Universal Membership allows you to take a class at any of their 8 locations, so you can make it to a class (no call required) no matter where you are in town that day.

Pretend City Children’s Museum

Pretend City Map

This place is “in the OC, but worth the drive,” according to more than one LA parent. It’s an incredibly unique place, essentially a microcosm for the real world, using 17 exhibits and activities to compose a small, interconnected city.  The focus is on play, hands-on learning experiences, role playing, and educational programming. They offer a full schedule of workshops and classes, including Lil M Mornings, a program for preschoolers and kindergartners, and programming and assistance to kids with special needs. Sessions are included in the price of admission.  Admission: $12.50 per person. Located in Irvine.

Creation Station

Image by Creation Station

Creation Station in Culver City is a wildly creative dance school concept, providing movement based programs for children starting at 18 months of age through teen.  Focus is on fun, and all classes include costumes and props that are provided to help kids let loose and have a good time. Check out the class schedule, which now includes classes 7 days per week, and take advantage of a free trial class if you aren’t sure which class to choose.


Wishcraft Workshop


Here you will find arts and crafts that go beyond basic. This very hands-on, planet-friendly school has a full after-school program, 8-week sessions, mini camps and workshops. Some of the coolest offerings are sewing, doll making and sculpture.

Hubbard Street Dance

Photo by thejbird

School offers a “Dance After-School” program in partnership with area schools for children aged 4 to 12. Children can take ballet, modern jazz and hip-hop. Younger kids, starting at 18-months, can participate in a Creative Movement classes.

McFeteridge Sports Center (MSC)

Photo by by miskan

This complex, located within California Park, is the Chicago Park District’s only indoor ice rink and indoor tennis courts. The center is open 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and offers lessons and clinics, as well as open skate.  When the weather warms up, it’s worth a visit to check out the outdoor pool, tennis courts and baseball field, as well as a nice playground. Until then, it’s all about ice skating. Open Skate Hours: All ages – Wed. & Fri., 3:30 – 5pm., Sat. & Sun. 4:30 – 6pm.


Urbanity Kids


Urbanity Kids’ classes are an award-winning blend of hip hop, contemporary dance, jazz, modern, music, and yoga. You can find dance and movement classes for infants as young as 6 months old – Baby Movers Open Play Space for ages 6 months to 2 years and a parent – and there are adults classes, too. Many of the younger kids classes require a parent accompany the child.

New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is always a fun visit, after school or on a rainy day. While you may be no stranger to the wonders of the aquarium, you might not know about Blue Discoveries Family Days. The drop-in programs for the entire family are held on select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, between 11 am and 3 pm, and are often free. The programs focus on learning about our planet through art, science and storytelling.

Little Groove Baby Music Classes

Here’s a live musical experience for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and their parents. It’s all about singing, dancing and making music with drums, shakers, and tambourines. Children also interact with puppets, bubbles, balls, pom poms, building blocks and one large parachute. Check out the schedule  for a class near you. Cost is $160 for an 8-week session. Locations throughout Boston and Newburyport.


Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center

It’s hot with tourists for good reason. The indoor and outdoor observation decks at the top of Rockefeller Center provide awe-inspiring views of the city. There’s an extra reason to go this winter: Until April 14th, take advantage of Sky Skate, a combination ticket that gives you admission to two magical winter traditions — The Rockefeller Center Skating Rink and Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Cost is $38, which includes skate rentals and admission to Top of the Rock. You can buy tickets at the Ice Rink Skate House or the Top of the Rock Box Office.

A “warm” winter day is a fantastic time to visit one of the NY Zoos – the Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo or the Prospect Park Zoo. Each of them offers child and caregiver classes, such as the popular Toddler Time series for 2-3 year olds and Kinder Kritters for 4-5 year olds. You’ll have a chance to touch live animals, engage in movement and song activities, make a craft, and do an activity at a zoo exhibit. There are also Family Days at the Zoo with private exhibit viewings, themed activities, up-close animal encounters, and special celebrations on holidays. You might even sign up for a family overnight adventure, and explore the Zoo after dark!

You know how much Chelsea Piers has to offer, but now is the perfect time to hit the Sky Rink for a fun, wintertime activity for the whole family. Admission is $10 per person (including kids) and for $5 you can rent skates and $4.25 will get you a helmut so you’re fully prepared for a spin on the ice. Check the web site for a schedule, which includes after-school drop-ins. If your kids aren’t so sure on the ice, no worry. You can sign up for Skating School – a once a week 30 minute group – and from there move on to Hockey Prep or Figure Skating Prep programs.
Photo Care of Sky Rink

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