Beaches

Local Love: Spring Break in the OC

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Spring Break in Orange County

With Spring Break right around the corner, this post is dedicated to enjoying Spring Break in Orange County…and how fun a “staycation” can be!  Here’s my list of fun things to do, and I would love to hear from you – please comment below, and let me know about your favorite things to do with your kids around town!

Tiny Oranges’ Recommendations

Let’s kick things off with some of Tiny Oranges’ recommendations and favorite things to do with kids in Orange County!

– I wrote a blog all about fun activities to do in warm weather – and how to keep cool!

– Jen wrote a blog about her favorite OC outing ides for kids – check it out!

– Read Jen’s blog about this fabulous Plan a Day Out website – a site ALL OC moms should know about it!  Check it out here – “Whatcha Going to do Today?” This is a great tool to use over Spring Break!

– Interested in being outside in the fresh air?  Read Lisa’s blog all about where to take some beautiful OC nature walks.

– Want to just “keep it simple” this break?  Read my blog about fun, easy activities to do with your littles – “Keeping it Simple with Kid Activities.”

“Beach Therapy”

People come from all over the country to vacation at our beautiful beaches…and they are just a hop, skip and a jump away from us here in OC!  Here are some of my favorite beaches to take the kids to…and I’d love to hear about yours.

Baby Beach (Dana Point)

Aliso Creek Beach (Laguna Beach, has a playground!)

Corona Del Mar Beach (Corona Del Mar)

Balboa Pier Beach (Newport Beach, has a playground!)

Jen also wrote a blog about her best kid beaches in the OC – check it out!

Bouncy Play

Let them bounce out their energy!  I love taking my kids to any place they can be in a safe, enclosed (air conditioned!) kid’s bounce house.  Here are some Orange County bouncing options:

Jump ‘N Jammin (Mission Viejo)

Pump it Up (Lake Forest, Irvine)

Scooter’s Jungle (Aliso Viejo)

Big Air Trampoline Park (Laguna Hills)

Frogg’s Bounce House (Fountain Valley)

Jump Sky High (Costa Mesa)

Museums, Zoos and Parks

Oh my gosh, Orange County has TONS of super fun places to take your little ones!  Here are some of my favorites:

Balboa Fun Zone

Pretend City Children’s Museum

Discovery Science Center 

Irvine Park and Orange County Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Queen Mary

Zoomars

Bowling Fun

Take your kids bowling!  Mine have never been, and I think they would have a blast!  Look up the bowling alley closest to you, and watch for fun theme days or kid-specific hours.

Irvine Lanes

Saddleback Lanes

Tustin Lanes

Theme Parks

This is a no-brainer – we are a mecca of theme parks here in So Cal!  So if you want to take your kiddos for a special treat, take them to one of these awesome theme parks in our area.  Just make sure to do your online research to check out any possible ticket discount and hours of operation.

Disneyland

Disney California Adventure

Legoland

Knotts Berry Farm

Six Flags

Sea World

Universal Studios

Movie Time

With our recent heat wave, a nice cool, air conditioned movie theater sounds amazing!  Look up your local movie times and take your kiddos for a theater treat.  Keep an eye out for those dollar movie theaters, too!

Check out the OC Weekly for a great list of Orange County movie theater options.

And if you have little ones, I also encourage you to read my blog on “Tips for Taking Little Kids to the Movie Theater” – hope they help!

Day Camps

Another idea is to check out local Spring Break day camps – think about your local gymnastics gyms, martial arts studios, swim places, YMCAs, community centers, etc. – many times these organizations will offer half day or full day camps during Spring Break.  It’s worth looking into!

A Pajama Day at Home

Sometimes my kids just want to stay in their jammies, play Legos, and zone out to Disney Junior.  And that’s totally okay with me!  I try to plan at least one day out of their Spring Break vacation to have a pajama day – planned down-time, if you will.  Our schedules are so crazy during the school year, sometimes we all just need a breather.

I let them build good old fashioned “forts” with blankets, have a picnic in the backyard, watch movies with popcorn, and just veg out.  They love it, and so do I!

 

Okay mamas, let’s keep this list going!  Where are your favorite places to go?  Favorite things to do with your kiddos?

All of us at Tiny Oranges wishes you a fabulous, fun Spring Break!!

Photo credit: FlickrCopyright All rights reserved by Talo66

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My Top 10 Beach Tips for Kids

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My Top 10 Beach Tips for Kids

Today, I want to share my top beach tips for kids.  Summertime for our family means lots of beach time – kid play time, water time, sandcastle time (and most of the time) bliss.

My husband and I LOVE to take our kids to the beach to play, and we feel so lucky to live fairly close.  It doesn’t matter how many times we go…playing in the sand, chasing waves and collecting shells never gets old.

Beach Tip #1

Sunscreen them up before you get there.

Once you get to the beach, you will be juggling towels, toys, bags, umbrellas, coolers, and excited kids.  It will take you a little while to lug all of your stuff to the sand…and this is with your kiddos  jumping up and down excited.  Believe me, it is much easier to take the time to do the sunscreen before you arrive.

Beach Tip #2

Bring a laundry basket or a wagon for all of your beach gear.

This will be your rolling (or handheld) locker.  Whatever toys and towels fits in our laundry basket, we can bring.  I like laundry baskets because they typically have the grates where sand can easily shake and fall out.   But, I’d like to upgrade to the wagon since I can pull it!

Beach Tip #3

Follow-up to tip #2 – my rule is…we can bring what we can carry in one trip from the car to the sand.

It is hard enough to make one trip, while corralling kids.  Don’t make it harder on yourself by going back and forth to the car!  And as my kids have gotten older, they each have a “job” when helping with gear.  For example, I have them carry their own little kid beach chairs to the sand.

Beach Tip #4

Shade is key.

If you plan to be at the beach more than an hour or two, bring an umbrella, a pop-up tent (even if you have to borrow it!)…whatever will provide a little reprieve from the sun.  It makes it much more enjoyable for you and the kids on longer beach days.

Beach Tip #5

Scout out the potty situation beforehand…this is especially important if you have smaller children.

Some beaches have typical beach bathrooms with doors that close, some have port-a-potties, some do not have bathrooms readily available. Better to know before you go!  You can look this up online.  I also always stash some hand sanitizer in my beach bag.

Beach Tip #6

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Make sure to pack LOTS of water.  I pack refillable water bottles for everyone so that I can fill up at the beach water foundations.  It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re playing, so I usually make the kids take some sips every so often.

Beach Tip #7

Bring two towels per kid.

Sounds silly, right?  Well, in the past I’ve brought one towel per kid.  And at the first snack opportunity (mid beach play), they sit their cute muddy/sandy/icky tushes down on their towels to eat.  Then at the end of the day when they’re tired and ready to go, they want a clean towel.  If you have the room, I find that having two towels per kid has worked better for us.

Beach Tip #8

Pack some baby powder!

Yep, if you didn’t know this little secret, now you do.  Baby powder repels sand.  A super easy way to clean sandy little hands, feet and legs.  Oh, and I always stick in baby wipes, too.

Beach Tip #9

Bring some small baggies to give to your kids for their beach “treasures.”

Both of my kids collect shells.  And I am always being asked to hold them or put them in my nonexistent pockets (hello kiddos, mama is in a bathing suit!).  A few Ziplock sandwich baggies takes care of this!

Beach Tip #10

Playing in the sand is most fun with…yep…TOYS!

Here’s my tip.  Pack them in full sized trash bags.  Easy to carry to the sand.  Easy to dump out.  Super easy (and less messy!) to grab all of your sand toys at the end of the day and throw them in the garbage bags.  Less sand rolling around in your trunk!

What are your beach tips?  If you have a great one, please share below in the comments below!

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Meet 4 Boys

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4 Boys bag by SCOUT

This mom walks into swim lessons for the lesson after us last month and puts down a pool bag unlike any I have seen before.  It’s huge.

It stands upright.

It can fit all her multiple kids’ pool gear.

I had to have it.

The bag is the 4 Boys bag from SCOUT.

I am already a huge fan of SCOUT bags. I own both the Weekender and the Duffy, which I have used a ton. Now I am in love with my latest SCOUT addition, the 4 Boys bag.

I don’t have to dig and dig to find stuff at the bottom and don’t have to dump stuff out to find what I am looking for.

It fits both of my girls’ gear with room to spare…towels, sunscreen, coverups, change of clothes, picnic lunch, etc.

I think if I had 4 boys, it would fit their stuff too.  Maybe not my two girls plus 4 boys, but you get the idea.

It’s made of a waterproof material so you can wipe out sand and sunscreen easily.

Now I have one beach or pool bag and not multiple smaller bags stuffed to the brim with stuff.

Plus, it ZIPS.

Oh, and you can select from a variety of totally darling patterns.

That’s all. Just had to share.

Sign up for Plum District daily deal emails, (affiliate link). I see SCOUT deals on there a lot. It’s actually where I found them in the first place.

Now bring on summer (armed with your 4 Boys bag)!!!

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Crystal Cove Tide Pools

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A couple months back we experienced amazing Orange County tide pools down at Crystal Cove. It is a fabulous place to take your kids tidepooling (is that a word?!) in OC.

During our tidepooling adventure we spotted THIRTEEN starfish! My 6-year-old daughter was so fired up she exclaimed, “The is the best day of my life!” No joke.

Gotta love the enthusiasm something as simple as a visit to tide pools can evoke.

I highly recommend taking your kids down to visit the Crystal Cove tide pools and here are some tidepooling tips if you go!

Getting There

Crystal Cove State Park can be reached by parking in the public lot off Los Trancos and Pacific Coast Highway.  Be prepared, it is pricey, like $15 to park for the day when attendants are present.  If you happen to eat at the Beachcomber restaurant while visiting, they will validate your parking with a purchase of $15 or more.

Here are great directions on how to get to Crystal Cove Beach.

Check the Tides Before You Go

Most important thing to do when taking your kids to Orange County tide pools is to check the time of low tide.

This is a great Orange County tide chart I searched for Crystal Cove high and low tides.

Remember Your Shoes

The best places we found to spot starfish were out towards the water where there were large rocks, which entailed walking over bumpy surfaces to get there.  They were mostly tucked on the underside of  large rocks. Not good for barefeet!  I suggest a good shoe that can get wet. Flip flops are OK for adults, just be careful, but for kids, shoes like a Crocs would be ideal.

Check Out What You Can See First

When we were there volunteers were passing out brochures on the type of sealife we could spot in the tide pools.  It might be fun to check out this gallery on what you can see at the Crystal Cove tide pools before you go so you know what to keep your eye out for.

Have fun and happy tide pooling! Do you have any tips to share?

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Beach Day Essentials For Moms

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The calendar still says May, but we’ve had some beautiful, beach-worthy days here in Southern California. It’s got me thinking of restocking my beach day essentials and heading to the ocean with my kids. So, today I’m highlighting just a few of my favorite things to pack for a (stress free!) beach day with kids.

Beach Day Essentials for Moms

Brush on Block
I love this sunscreen for both my kids and myself. It’s easy to apply and not greasy and doesn’t get in anyone’s eyes. I usually do apply SPF before we leave the house and then take the brush on sunscreen for an easy, no hassle reapply when we’re out.

Melissa and Doug Sand Toys
We received this cupcake sand toy set a few years ago and it is such a hit with kids of all ages. The hardest thing is remembering to pick up all the pieces when I leave.

Baggu
Are you guys familiar with this great line of bags? They’re perfect to have in the car for running errands, and I always take some to the beach to wrap up our wet, sandy items. The bags are machine washable too so they’re easy to clean!

Turkish Towels
My dear friend was born and raised in Turkey and introduced me to these amazing, lightweight Turkish towels. They absorb water surprising fast and dry quickly, while taking up MUCH less space than traditional beach towels. I found these on Etsy, but Bed Bath and Beyond carry a similar style.

Cozy Kids’ Cover-up
J.Crew carries great beach cover-ups for kids and this one happens to be on sale right now. No matter how hot it seems when we leave the house I’m always disappointed if I forget to bring something cozy to wrap around my kids at the end of the day.

Folding Utility Wagon
My husband purchased this wagon two summers ago and we always get asked where we got it when we’re out on the beach. It’s very sturdy and we can put both kids and supplies in it for easy transportation on and off the beach. PS. Pulling it with two kids and supplies is also a great workout!

What are your favorite items for a day at the beach with your kids? Do you have any tips on how to make a beach outing stress free? I’d also love to hear your favorite local beach for kids, I’m always on the hunt for new places.

 

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