School is almost out for summer, which means we’re soon to be searching for ways to avoid the dreaded “Mom, I’m bored” complaints from our kids. Luckily, there’s no shortage of parks, beaches, art studios, and more just begging to be explored with our intrepid little ones. We’ve rounded up 10 activities that highlight some of our favorite kid-friendly things to do around Southern California (and even a few that you won’t even need to leave home for).

1. Go for a beach hike where you can wander through tide pools, walk through a tunnel painted with colorful sea creatures, and top off your adventure with a frosty milkshake. Plus, you’ll love parking right at the entrance of the trail head and convenient bathrooms along the way.

tunnel2

2. When the sun is shining, it’s pretty hard to top a few hours of jumping, climbing, sliding, and running around the park. If you’re lucky, your kids might just tucker themselves out enough for a post-park nap on the car ride home.

3. Calling all San Diego families! This weekend play tourist in your own city and spend the day exploring all your favorite places (and maybe find some new ones too). If you’re near Balboa Park this weekend, check out the family-favorite and highly interactive Fleet Science Center.

4. If it were up to our train obsessed kids, they would travel exclusively by steam-powered trains. While they might not get to their destination very fast, they’ll be having far too much fun to mind. Climb aboard one of these Southern California trains and give your kids their choo-choo fix.

irvine spectrum

5. Concentrate some of your kiddo’s extra energy into making your very own toys. Using a few building materials that you probably have lying around the house (construction paper, markers, buttons, yarn) you can make DIY toys that offer up an hour or two of crafting entertainment.

6. Gardening may not come to mind when you think of kid-friendly activities, but your little seedling will love getting to dig through the dirt with their little fingers and point out all the bugs that wander across their path. Luckily, there are several fantastic gardening centers throughout SoCal that specialize in programs just for budding green thumbs.

7. Encourage your little Monet to get creative and create beautiful works of art worthy of any refrigerator gallery at these awesome art studios geared especially for kids.

art soup

8. Channel some inner quiet while still giving your kids their fill of outdoor fun at the Japanese Friendship Garden, where koi fish feedings, exploration through the traditional rock garden, and flavorful cups of tea await curious kids.

9. Maybe it’s just too darn hot outside and a few hours of indoor play is the answer to beating the heat. Let the kids burn off some extra energy while you enjoy some well deserved free time.

10. Head out to the backyard or your favorite local park for a rousing game of Red Rover or Crack the Whip. Not only will they love running around outside, but it’s a great excuse to get the neighborhood kids together and play.

What are your family’s favorite activities for summer? Let us know below!

— Scott Wardell

photo courtesy of Lars Plougmann & biolfriendly