Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Notes on Camp.

My apologies for the delay in blogging; my life sometimes interferes with my ability to write about my life.

For example, this past weekend I was reading brochures and websites about summer school and summer camp. This felt especially incongruous, since this coincided with rain and cold enough weather so there was a possibility of snow in the Hollywood Hills. It is now winter and I’m planning for summer; why didn’t I just get college brochures while I was at it?

But the fact remains, there are many children in this city, there are finite spots in camps, and there are many parents who are driven to white-faced terror at the thought of children, even ones they happen to like and gave birth to, hanging around their house for three months, spiriting the good silver into the dryer and tinting the dog green with Jell-o.

I don’t feel that way, mind you.

So, while I was dithering over Daughter’s summer choices, it occurred to me that while not many people reading this live in Los Angeles (Waving “Hi!” to my readers in Dubai, Turkmenistan, and New Zealand), some do. And some readers might not be local, but might be coming here this summer on holiday. Or, they might have friends and relatives here. In any case, here are some things to do with kids in Los Angeles in the summer.

For the person who wrote in and said my child-oriented blogs kind of bored the hell of them…sorry. Tomorrow, I plan to drop something heavy on my foot, so we’ll be on to a new topic.)

Summersounds is huge fun. It’s a world music and dance program for kids ages 3-8 (I’ve seen younger and older there, but that seems to be the age of maximum enjoyment), with a new country every week for six weeks. Each country has some form of the regional or national dance, music, and instruments. It’s funny, lively and very lightly educational (Daughter and I still refer to an eel as a “Puhi”, because, two years ago, we learned that’s the Hawaiian word for them). For a small additional fee, there is an art program afterwards which ties in to the country of the week. If you’ve got kids coming into town for a week, and want something they can do one morning with a grandparent, I cannot think of better fun. It sells out quickly, so keep an eye on the website.

Camp at the Natural History Museum or the George C. Page Museum, with classes all the way down to three year-olds (They attend with an adult). Each class runs a half day for one week and, at least with the littler ones, involves a story, a craft, and a themed snack which somehow is always goldfish crackers. The older kids come out carrying fairly complicated projects and fairly satisfied expressions, so I think everyone is getting their needs met. The kids in the morning classes get taken by their teacher around the museum before it even opens, to look at exhibits tied in to their class. George C. Page works especially well as a base point to drop off a child for half-day camp as the LA County Art Museum is right next door, the Peterson Auto Museum is across the street, and The Grove (Where, gossips columnists tell me, every single celebrity under the age of 25 goes) is a mere two blocks away. The Natural History Museum shares Exposition Park with the California Science Center, which is also having half-day camps this summer, but I have no experience with those camps, so I can’t comment on them.

Speaking of LACMA, they should be having an art camp this summer. They still have the spring break camp information up, but if you have an artsy kid, you’ll be wanting to watch this space; Art Camp [LACMA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art].

The Aquarium of the Pacific has camp for the seven and up crowd. I can’t speak of this camp personally, but the aquarium is absolutely lovely and every program Daughter and I have done down there has been well thought-out and well-received.

The Huntington Gardens in San Marino doesn’t have their summer schedule up yet, but if it’s anything like last year, it will be week-long classes geared towards using the jaw-dropping prettiness of the gardens. Even if you can’t end up doing a camp session, I suggest strongly that anyone coming through town with a child under the age of eight plans to visit the Huntington; there is a Children’s Garden which is a guaranteed hit. Start there, head over to the Japanese Garden to stare at the ducks, and the child might be so wiped out that you get to go to the museum and look at Pinky and Blue Boy in something resembling peace. One note of warning; bring a change of clothes and waterproof shoes, as the water elements in the Children’s Garden are pervasive and catnip to small children.

The Ford Amphitheater, located in the Hollywood Hills, has a summer Saturday world music program. Not as crowded as Summersounds at the Hollywood Bowl, and geared to a slightly older audience. Their schedule isn’t up yet, but it should be up within the next two weeks.

The Will Geer Theater has summer live music programs in the evening for families. Since this is an outside theater, in the canyons above Malibu, it’s a gorgeous way to spend a summer night. The summer program isn’t up yet, but should be there momentarily.

Looking back on what I’ve written, I realize my camp information is overly weighted towards the Life of the Mind. There are loads of good athletic camps, but I can’t speak of them intelligently. While that doesn’t usually stop me, tonight it’s going to have to, as I have applications to fill out and emergency contacts to choose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, our Daughter is only six months old, but trust me, I'll forward all this on to bunches of folks.

Your child-oriented blog bored someone, huh. Wy did they bother writing you, is my question. It isn't like there aren't blogs for every interest or anything...

Please keep writing about the life of a young girl in LA, I for one am endlessly fascinated by the roads you have traveled before me. And do trust that every woman in my new mothers group has now read the posts about birthday parties---just as some of them are approaching the first one and wondering how to celebrate.

And lastly, happy round head day to you. May every furute day be a happy round head day.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Penny L. Richards said...

My daughter (six this month) has enjoyed the summer camps run by the LA Conservation Corps at the SEALab in Redondo Beach (www.lacorps.org). We'll definitely be checking out their schedule again this year.

9:55 AM  

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