The Kids Off the Couch Guide for Families in LA

07/07/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

May is for Mother's
Day, organizing teacher gifts, and finalizing everyone's summer schedule.
But take that extra beat on Sunday to put your feet up: you're going
to want a breather before the schedule-jangling, camp-trunk-packing
and medical-form-filling out days of summer arrive. 

Our favorite Mother's Day gift is to have a tree planted in
our honor by
TreePeople. It's a good, green way to
express your enduring love - any time of year. The Hammer has a
free screening of Little
Sunday morning (May 9, 11:00), and Wolfgang Puck's Hammer Cafe is an
excellent spot for brunch. If you want the more traditional fete,
click here for a list of brunch specials
around town, or go to tea at a fancy Beverly Hills Hotel (Hotel Bel
Air is still closed for renovation so try Tea at the
Montage or Afternoon Tea at Bazaar
by Jose Andres)
For a truly memorable afternoon, get some fresh air at
The Descanso Gardens where Mother's Day will be
celebrated all weekend.
Kidspace also has a Mother's Day Spa
and activities for youngsters. 

Weekend Highlights - May 8-9: The Santa Monica Festival takes place this Saturday,
from 11:00am to 6:00pm at Clover Park. Come listen to music, eat local
food and relax. If you bike to the event, you can be entered to win
a new set of (two) wheels - and there is a free bike valet to help you
keep your day green. Families with younger children will prefer motoring
over to the
Train Day
celebrated this Saturday at Union Station. Free, all day long. 

If you are a Farmers' Market groupie, you know it's strawberry
season, and time to celebrate all things berry at the
California Strawberry Festival. Festivities take place over
the weekend of May 15-16 in Oxnard and Strawberry Shortcake is the Official
BerryFest Princess of Strawberryland for Kids (the theme park portion
of this foodie-fest). 

One Better than Baywatch: A national
arts project called
of Hope

is working with local schools to transform the lifeguard stations along
our CA coastline. Starting May 10, you'll find cheerful, flowery guard
stations sprinkled along the beaches.
information about this public art project.

What's Up, Chuck?
The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has a fun new exhibit
about the prolific genius who created Bugs Bunny and his friends.
Chuck Jones: An Animator's
Life from A to Z-Z-Z-Z
free, and opens May 14. Worth a browse with your animaniacs.

The new
and Miracles

show at the Skirball Cultural Center presents classic illustrations
by beloved artists such as William Stieg and Maurice Sendak, with iTouch
stations where children can hear celebs reading books aloud -- this
is a gorgeously presented show for anyone who loves to read. If photography
is your thing, check out the Annenberg's
Our Thirsty Planet
and work up an appetite at

at The Getty Center - scrumptious images of food, glorious food!

KOTC Reader Suggestion: A KOTC
subscriber, Laura Sympson, came up with this clever idea for a Popcorn
Adventure. Take in the new animated film,
Secret of Kells

and embark on a weekend at
Renaissance Faire.

The Renaissance Faire takes place each weekend in the spring (until
May 23); here's
take on bringing kids to these fairs
We've had our eye on this film for some time (the film's website is
worth a visit) and will alert you when it's on DVD. 

Fair at the Natural History Museum

is a leggy extravaganza with special programming throughout the weekend
of May 15-16.
Pavilion of Wings

will be open as well (it's a rite-of-spring in our home) so while you're
looking at the spiders, don't miss the chance to have thousands of butterflies
land on your shoulder and head - a blissful experience. And, before
it gets too hot to hang out in the deep valley, check out the
Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar.

For Parents
With a Moment to Spare:
Venice Art Walk and Auction

takes place over the weekend of May 22-23 and offers wonderful Art and
Architecture tours of Rustic Canyon and areas of Venice and Santa Monica.
Ticket prices apply; event benefits the Venice Family Clinic.

Concert Watch:
Lots of great music coming our way in the next few months, especially
for tweens and teens. There's
- Live In Concert
Universal Amphitheater, May 20-22.

opens on May 27 and runs through mid-July. And
Rent comes to the Hollywood Bowl
for three nights, August 6-8. It's a good time to look over the
whole summer schedule for the Bowl. Kids will love
Bunny at the Symphony

and a sing along Sound of Music (September 25).

Please Give:
Nicole Holofcener's new film,
, captures
the mood of mothering a teenage girl better than anything we've read
or seen. You'll never be able to purchase a pair of blue jeans for your
daughter without thinking of Catherine Keener's struggles with parenthood
and... liberal guilt. Presuming that some of you worry about these things,
check out Women for Women International, a phenomenal organization that
pairs women like us with women in war-ravaged countries; our financial
and emotional support can help another woman change her own destiny.
Click here for more information about
a Mother's Day gift that really counts.