When I was a kid, Disneyland and other theme parks, dress-up parties and magic shows were the extent of my 'cool' activities with friends and family.
These days, kids' activities in Los Angeles are as engaging and fascinating as grown-up activities. Today's LA kids are clearly a smart and sophisticated bunch--not to mention eclectic. Below are just a few unusual, offbeat but always fascinating activities for kids in Los Angeles.
Cooking Classes For Kids
With all the great cooking shows on TV--from Cake Boss to Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares--it's no wonder cooking is of interest to everyone--children included.
Kitchen Kid in Santa Monica offers a range of classes--like 'Global Eats' and 'Farmers Market Cooking' for kindergarten children and all the way up to eighth graders. They also do parties and offer a mobile cooking class. Their classes take place in different locations such as Crossroads School, Le Lycée Français, Jefferson Elementary and the Neptunian Women's Club.
Whole Foods in Redondo Beach and Genji Sushi have also been known to collaborate and host sushi classes for kids at the market. Check with Whole Foods Redondo Beach for updates and potential new course offerings.
Pop Star Kids
Could your kid, niece, nephew or godchild be a singing superstar? Maybe. Or maybe he or she would simply have a lot of fun trying to find out. If personal and musical expression are important to you and your child, why not look into a songwriting or performing class geared towards kids?
Sessions in Santa Monica hosts such classes as 'Guitar' and 'Recording.' That's right, it's not just about singing one's heart out. Children actually get the chance to lay down tracks! There's even a 'Parent and Me' class, for kids three and under, that focuses on ukeleles, drums and more.
If there's a bit of the rock n' roller in your kid (hey, this is LA, where even kids wear ironic band t-shirts), consider enrolling them in School of Rock. The nationwide rock music school for kids of all ages and levels has a local branch on Wilshire Blvd. in West LA. There's a 'Rock 101' class that goes over the basics, a more intermediate 'Performance' class and a 'Studio Recording' class, as well as a 'Metal Camp.'
The Spiritual Life of Kids
Whether a kid is a 'sensitive soul,' a full-blown Indigo child or just a city kid in need of a bit of balance and breath-work, there is a spiritually oriented activity out there to suit his/her needs.
Yoga for children is becoming increasingly accepted and popular as parents open up to new ways to promote centerdness and relaxation in their next of kin.
Since 1993, Y.O.G.A. For Youth has been offering yogic programs that address stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and obesity in children. They host community classes (for adults and kids) as well as a summer camp for youth aged eight through 17.
Loews Hotel in Santa Monica has started a family wellness program called 'Fit For Fun.' The whole family can engage in yoga on Muscle Beach, guided hikes through the Santa Monica Mountains, Pilates and more. Check with Santa Monica Loews Hotel for more details on this and other potential family relaxation and health programs.
In the crossover culinary category, kids can enjoy foodie takes on their favorites (and adults can enjoy re-living their kiddie days) at LA restaurants offering kid-style specials.
The Hollywood Roosevelt's Public Kitchen & Bar offers a special peanut butter and jelly sandwich inspired dessert made with peanut butter cremeux, chocolate cake, grape jelly, banana ice cream and, every kid's favorite: Pop Rocks.
Lexington Social House serves up macaroni with Gruyère cheese, Serrano ham, melted leeks, and bread crumbs. Warning: if you ween your kid on such culinary specialties, they'll grow up to be one serious foodie/gourmand!
The Kid Stays in the Picture: Movie-Making For Kids
You didn't think you could raise a child in LA without having Hollywood affect his/her outlook on life, did you? Beyond the 'fast track,' the positive side of growing up around the film industry is an interest in such creative arts.
Festivals like the REDCAT International Children's Film Festival and Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival showcase films geared towards young audiences.
Other organizations that have been known to sponsor children's film events include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission which even has a free workshop in the art of silent filmmaking for kids at William S. Hart Park. It is taught by instructors from the CalArts Community Arts Partnership.