Punxsutawney Phil predicted that we're in for an early spring! (Click here for a silly video of the official Groundhog Day proceedings). As the worst storm in decades hits the US, that's good news for snow-weary Midwestern and Northeastern states. Meanwhile, back in sunny CA, the Superbowl, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day are stacking up like airplanes at LAX. We'll give you the rundown on how to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit later this week and are dreaming up some Valentine's Day ideas, but we have to ask you this: do you have your President's Day weekend plans yet?!
PICK OF THE WEEK: TRACES is a gravity-defying theatrical experience that combines the acrobatics of a great circus with a street-wise hipness that will please everyone in the family. Kids Off the Couch subscribers can purchase seats for the show at a reduced rate (enter 4PACK when ordering online and receive four seats for $99). Click here for the event website. TRACES is playing at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Hollywood until February 13.
PRE-SCHOOL AND EARLY ELEMENTARY: If you haven't already fallen in love with the magical arbors of The Descanso Gardens, this weekend is the best possible time to be introduced. The annual Camellia Festival is Saturday, February 5 with plenty of fun activities, including Faery Tours of the Magical Lawns that run all morning starting at 9:30. Or foray indoors at The Geffen Playhouse on Saturday, February 5 for the ever popular Story Pirates at 11:00 AM. Click here to buy tickets.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Come to a free World City at the Music Center event on Saturday, February 12. New Orleans' own Hot 8 Brass Band has epitomized New Orleans street music for over a decade. Known for playing the traditional Second Line parades, the band infuses its performances with the funk and energy that make New Orleans music loved around the world. All tickets are free and are distributed on Grand Avenue at 2nd Street. Tickets for the 11:00 AM performance distributed beginning at 10:00 AM. Tickets for the 12:30 PM performance distributed beginning at 11:00 AM. All performances subject to change. Click here for details or call (213) 972-4396.
MIDDLE SCHOOL: Are your kids fascinated by mummies? The art of mixing pigment and wax on a warm surface, known as encaustic painting, will be taught in a one-day workshop at the Getty Villa. Encaustic: How to Paint in Molten Wax is offered Friday, February 11 and repeats Saturday, February 12, and Sunday, February 13. All classes are 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM; course fee is $95, and includes materials. If fashion is more their thing, swing by LACMA on any Sunday this month for Andell Family Sundays, a family-oriented art celebration that will help families deepen their appreciation of the show Fashioning Fashion - a show that our kids thought was really cool. February 6, 13, 20, 27 from 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM. If your kids like being spooked, check out the California Science Center's Goosebumps: Science of Fear exhibit, open through April. It's the same show that was in town a few years ago, so click here for our review of it from 2007. Finally, bring a portrait of your dog or paint one of the live puppies provided as a muse at the Skirball's Sit. Stay. Paint. Good Dog. project on Sunday, February 13 at 1:00 PM. Tickets required at this special event on the last day of the Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)
HIGH SCHOOL: Parents and kids should block out a few hours this Sunday, February 6 (before the big game, that is) to explore the Summer Opportunities Fair (11:00 AM - 2:00 PM) at Marymount High School where representatives from many camps and teen programs will be on hand to talk about summer sleep away experiences for kids ages 8-18. Here is a recommendation from a subscriber: "We have found some truly outstanding summer trips/language camps/community service/sports camps at this event. It's an awesome one-stop-shop. For personalized, free assistance, contact: Jill Levin 310-202-8448 or write to her at Jill@TipsonTripsandCamps.com -- tell her what you are looking for, where, what age group, what price level, and she'll find it." Also, if you worry whether texting could be taking over your kids' lives, check out That's Not Cool, a site about textual harassment designed to help kids take back their personal space.
PARENTS: Need a date idea for this weekend? Check out All of This And Nothing, the Hammer's biennial invitational of LA-based artists. On view through late April.
Bard Worthy: This month offers two excellent chances to introduce kids, young and old, to Shakespeare. The Geffen Playhouse has a Romeo and Juliet performance on February 12, with a fun pre-show exploration of the Bard's language, and there's a great new version of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the South Coast Repertory, playing through February 20th. The show is getting rave reviews, so book fast.
A Mammoth Year for Snow: Need a President's Day weekend solution? With record amounts of snowfall this year, there's no better time to teach your kids to ski or snowboard. Click here for good day trips to the snow, or call 1-800-Mammoth to book a vacation at our favorite mountain. Our tip? Book ski school classes now, because they'll fill up quickly for the big get-away weekends.
Just for Fun: British chef Jamie Oliver has opened a kitchen in Westwood that's open to the public, and he staged a stunt to call attention to our children's unhealthy diets: he filled a school bus with sand to represent the amount of sugar in our kids' diets.
Follow Sarah Bowman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thefamilysavvy