You don’t need to stop learning because it’s summer.  This weekend has a whole bunch of activities for kids that get their brains whirling in the most amazing ways: from Mermaid school to a print making workshop to learning the tale of Odysseus. For brains in summer mode, we’ve also found a book and toy swap to get them new goodies, a free retro arcade and music that gets everyone dancing and singing (to the Sound of Music).

Go on a fantasy adventure in your own local city! You and/or your child can to learn to be a mermaid (or merman) this summer by coming to LA Mermaid School in LA this July! Our LA Mermaid School is taught by the very same mermaids who grace the silver screen in Hollywood with their incredible tricks, techniques, and mesmerizing personalities. In this fun-filled fin-tasy guests will have the opportunity to learn what it takes to be a real Hollywood mermaid and master some of the basic techniques that our professional mermaids use in TV commercials while making new friends! All LA Mermaid School classes are lead by our professionally trained swimming mermaid school finstructors and one of our certified American Red Cross lifeguards. Class Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes Ages: 6+ Class Size: 12 participants maximum per class Pre-registration is required and several time options are available each day. Please visit to choose your class time.


The Great American Backyard Campout
Turn off the televisions, computers and cell phones, and connect with nature, family and friends. The Campout is a national overnight event that encourages families to campout overnight in backyards or local parks and discover the fun of being in the great outdoors. Sat. Your backyard. Event details.


Chinatown Summer Nights
This is the first Chinatown Summer Night of summer and there’s a fresh lineup of great food, art and music. Non-stop noshing from foodtrucks and restaurants, music, interactive art, dancing, and loads of activities for kids make it a one of the first & best fests of summer. Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight. Chinatown. Free. All ages. Event details.


Summer Book and Toy Swap
This book and toy swap will get your kids some new (to them) books and toys to occupy them for summer. Save some money and teach your kids about recycling/re-purposing at the same time. Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Silverlake. Gently used books and toys. All ages. Event details.

Mid-City & Hollywood

A Sing Along Sound of Music
This screening of The Sound of Music where you’re encouraged to dress up and sing along has to be one of our favorite things. There’s a costume parade and special Bavarian snacks, lyrics are projected on the screen and this year packs in some surprises for the 50th anniversary extravaganza. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Hollywood. $15 & up. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

The Voyage of Odysseus
Get a classical education this summer in a one-man, interactive, family show that is a little Iliad, a lot of Odyssey and a boat load of fun. While kids laugh and learn, parents will enjoy some of the more mature humor, slyly tucked in. Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m. Hollywood. $15. Ages 5 & up. Event details.

A Printmaking Workshop for Kids
Experiment with the art of calligraphy and practice a form that uses traditional Chinese calligraphy technique with English letters. Kids develop a writing style and design prints to take home. Sat., 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Miracle Mile. Free. All ages. Event details.

San Gabriel Valley

Hip Hop Meets Classical with Black Violin
Black Violin is a genre-busting act with high-energy, classically trained musicians who layer jazz, R&B, and hip-hop beats. Picnic on the grassy lawn and enjoy a show at this natural amphitheater where kids can run and play as you all listen to the music. (Also playing Friday night at the Levitt Pavilion in MacArthur Park.) Sat., 8 p.m. Pasadena. Free. All ages. Event details.


Everly Snodgrass, An Awesome Jugband
This is foot-stompin’ bluegrass played on an eclectic mix of instruments, including jug, mandolin, dobro, banjo, washtub bass, fiddle, washboard, spoons and a musical saw. Sun., noon & 2 p.m. West LA. $5-$10. All ages. Event details.

Learn to Be A Mermaid
Kids can to learn to be a mermaid or merman at classes taught by mermaids who will pass along their tricks and techniques. Kids can wear real mermaid costumes, and you can even take the class with them. Sat. Various class times. Venice. $30 & up. Ages 6 & up. Event details.

Stories and Songs of the Elfin Forest
Join a Topanga Ranch naturalist in this hike for kids and families. Sun., 10 a.m.-noon. Topanga. Free. All ages. Event details.

San Fernando Valley

A Free Retro Arcade
Pac Man. Frogger. Donkey Kong. No quarters, no cover charge: parents can just come get reacquainted with classic games they haven’t seen in years, and introduce them to their kids. Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Chatsworth. Free. All ages. Event details.

Long Beach

Pirate Invasion at Belmont Shores
Sword fights, treasure hunts, pirate ships, a kid’s costume contest, mermaids, live music and even a pirate food court: this pirate-themed weekend festival is perfect for your baby buccaneer. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Long Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.

Pirates or mermaids, Sound of Music singing, Chinatown Nights dancing or backyard campouts… what are you doing this weekend?

—Meghan Rose

photo credits: mermaids by Joe Hill and pirate girl by Mike L. Baird