Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County

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Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Since we are officially entering beach season, I wanted to do a post on the beach beaches for kids in Orange County. Awhile back I asked my Facebook fans for their favorite kid-friendly OC beaches. Just one more reason to “like” us on Facebook. I have the most amazingly resourceful mamas on there. Here are all the great recommendations…

Sunset Beach

“Parking at Sunset Beach is FREE which is an added plus!” ~ Lisa

Seal Beach

Super cute playground, and lots of lovely shops & food places.” ~ Amber

“Great bathrooms, playground, shops, places to eat and parking all close by.” ~ Andi

Playground at Balboa Pier

“Playgrounds, restrooms & close parking. Just have to go early!” ~ Lisa

Ruby Beach Balboa Island

Great beach for little ones, it’s on the bay, so no waves. Biggest downside is no restrooms, but great for a couple hour beach visit. It’s located at the end of Ruby Avenue at North Bay Front.” ~ Jen (me!)

Corona del Mar

“No playground but not a lot of sand walking needed to get to the bathrooms and a tame crowd.” ~ Jennifer

El Moro Beach (Crystal Cove State Park)

“This is a beach that is accessible from the Moro Canyon Camping entrance by El Moro school. I believe it’s $15 to park for the day. If you go early, you can park very close to the beach at the bottom of the hill and and take path under the freeway. Nice, clean new restrooms, hardly any sand walking.” ~ Jen (me!)

Crystal Cove Beach by Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

“Tidepools are wonderful, and they have The Beachcomber restaurant.” ~ Amber

“We LOVE Crystal Cove but it can be a trek down to the beach with younger kids and parking is expensive.” ~ Katie

“I also love to check out the historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. If you don’t want a sit down restaurant, you can also head up the hill for a hot dog from Ruby’s Shake Shack.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Aliso Beach

“Close parking, good bathrooms and a playground.” ~ Aracely

“Nice and easy to lug stuff to and from the car!” ~ Vanessa

Salt Creek Beach

“Bathrooms are close to beach and there are lots of walking paths and parking is inexpensive.” ~ Katie

Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach by the Montage

“Stunningly gorgeous.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Mother’s Beach at Dana Point

“Nice as they have a barrier so there are no waves close to the shoreline, good for the little kiddos!” ~ Nicola

Capistrano Beach

“Easy Parking and beach access…my son loves it because of the train that passes by often. I am not sure about their bathrooms…” ~ Melissa

Did we miss any? Please comment below on your faves! And have a beachy keen day! xo

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Whiz Kids Summer Program 2011

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Emma took the Zoo-phonics class last summer when she was four at Whiz Kids in Corona del Mar and in six short weeks she learned sooooo much and had a BLAST while doing it!

I did an entire post on our experience here.  In that class she learned every single letter sound and it was truly the foundation for her learning about phonics.  Even today she will still associate the sound with the animal she learned in that class.  I honestly can’t more highly recommend this program.

This summer I enrolled her in the Kindergarten Readiness class because my “baby” is going to be going to kindergarten this Fall!  I can’t believe it.  How did this happen?  It seems like I was just pregnant with her and now she is going off to kindergarten. It’s a whole new chapter in our lives!  Wow.  Another post to come on this topic!

In any case, I can’t rave enough about this program. Offering classes for kids preschool through second grade, their classes are taught by the most amazing, enthusiastic, loving teachers that will make learning interesting and fun.

The Summer Session classes will begin the week of July 4th and meet once a week for 6 consecutive weeks.  Space is limited, so inquire today on availability.

Whiz Kids also offers a school year program so you can keep your own little “whiz kids” learning all year round!

{Disclosure: Emma will receive a discount to attend the summer session because I am lucky my amazingly talented cousin is the co-director of this program!}

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Core Athletica Bootcamp & Raffle for PCRF!

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Mark your calendars and join Erica from Core Athletica and her team on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at Corona del Mar Main Beach for an awesome beach bootcamp benefiting Team Tiny Oranges and 100% donated to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation!

She has assured us that all fitness levels are welcome and when a few of us have asked about the intensity, her response has been, “You will be FINE!” 🙂

So grab some girlfriends or bring your significant other and enjoy a morning on the beach
enjoying a great workout for a great cause!

Here’s how to sign up…

Click HERE to donate $25 to Erica’s personal fundraising page and then click HERE to leave a comment on her post to let her know you made your donation and you will be there!

The workout kicks off at 8am and will last about an hour.  Parking in the main beach lot per the website is $15 per car. There is also a lot of street parking up above the beach and it is a 2 minute walk down the hill.

After the workout she will do the drawings for this AWESOME raffle! Only $2 a ticket! You need not be present to win, so if you can’t make the workout, consider at least buying a few of these tickets to enter to win some of these amazing prizes which include…

A fitbook pink & fitbook junior from fitlosophy (love mine!) ($50 value)
A 3 day Ritual Cleanse (who will also be present at the fundraiser handing out samples!) ($285 value)
2 private ($160 value) or 5 group pilates sessions ($175 value) with Core Athletica
4 HUGGS from Grin and Bear It Designs (never seen these – cute!)
2 private training sessions from Jeff at  Norcross Fit ($150 value)
A $52 gift card from Seasons 52 restaurant in South Coast
A one hour facial AND one hour massage from Body Design in Newport Beach
A $50 gift card from Words to Sweat By to shop on their site
An assortment of high quality candles (valued at $50) from Ted’s Shreds
A new pair of athletic shoes from Mizuno USA (valued at $85 – $115)
A basket full of Larabars
A haircut & highlight from the ever so fabulous Tera Rae Stephens ($180 value)!

So, just to clarify, tickets are $2 per ticket, so first decide how many you want and then click HERE to make your donation.  Then after you have made your donation, click HERE to go to her raffle post and leave a comment on how many tickets you want put in for each raffle prize for the tickets you purchased.

For just a little (tax deductible donation) you could win some BIG prizes!  I mean what if you spent $10 on tickets and ended up with a prize MUCH bigger than that?  All the while knowing you are helping find a cure for pediatric cancer. Now that’s what I call WINNING!

Hope to see you on 3/26 for this awesome fundraiser!


For more information on how to join Team Tiny Oranges click here

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Whiz Kids REALLY Does Make Learning Fun!

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My 4-year-old daughter Emma is in a Whiz Kids summer Zoo-phonics class in Corona del Mar and when she showed me what she was learning, I was so amazed, I thought I have GOT to do another post on this awesome program!  One day at home she started doing the letter sounds and actions and when I saw her galloping around the kitchen island (like a horse!) making a perfect “haa” sound like the letter “H” and being SO excited about it, I thought, WOW, not only was she learning the phonics of the letters, but she was having the BEST time doing it!

I always knew Whiz Kids was a very successful & popular program, but I didn’t really get what it was all about until Emma went to class.  One of the Whiz Kids Directors is my cousin, so I have known about Whiz Kids for years now. BUT my cousin is humble and I guess forgot to BRAG at Thanksgiving dinner about how seriously AMAZING their program is!    So I feel it is my obligation to share it with YOU!

Whiz Kids just started open enrollment now for the 2010-2011 school year, so if you are looking for a fun, and also extremely educational class to send your kiddos next year, you definitely have to check out this program.  They have classes for preschoolers through first grade… all small classes with personalized instruction in a very fun, enthusiastic, loving environment.

SO, what IS Zoo-phonics??

I didn’t know much about it other than it SOUNDED fun!  But now that I see how kids learn through Zoo-phonics, it is simply brilliant.  Simply, it is a way to teach kids to learn the SOUNDS the letters make by connecting them to letters via a symbol (an animal with a cute name), sound and action.  For example, B is for Bubba Bear, and the action is a bear reaching up grabbing honey, and tasting it.  So the kids see a “b” for Bubba and say “Buh, Buh, Buh” doing the action for Bubba reaching up for honey and tasting it.  So, anytime Emma sees a B, she will think of the sound.  Such a phenomenal foundation for remembering the letter sounds and starting the beginning stages of learning to read. Plus, I think by doing the action with the sound it activates different areas of the brain to reinforce the learning. It is really amazing.

Here are the kiddos practicing their alligator arms saying “ah!” for Allie Alligator…

Stress-free fine motor practice!

They also have fun activities for beginning writing and fine motor skills.  What I loved most is that it is TOTALLY stress-free, the teachers make it very relaxed and offer a lot of positive reinforcement.  So, after practicing the letters and sounds in a “circle time” sort of setting, they moved to the table to practice writing letters.

They had great little white boards with dry erase pens and erasers.  Miss Misty the teacher (LOVE HER!!) was so helpful and encouraging. She would go to each student and help direct them on how to write the letters.  They practice lower case, which is great, because I have been working with Emma at home on the upper case, but not lower case yet.  In fact, I didn’t even know the correct way to explain lower case, so as a parent I have also learned a lot of stuff we are practicing at home.  Here is one of the class cuties practicing her lower case “n”.

In addition to writing, they also use scissors to strengthen their fine motor skills. They cut little pieces of paper with letters, then match the letters on the paper with glue and practice writing the letter.  I didn’t realize until watching her 4-year-old tiny hands just how tricky learning to hold and work scissors can be!  This is great practice, and I have seen a bunch of improvement in just 4 classes.

Here are the kids practicing…

Each week, they get sent home with cute “homework” assignments of fun things to practice at home, in their own personalized little Whiz Kids bag.  It is just the cutest.  We have had fun doing the activities together.

This is the beginning!

What has impressed me the most is that this program really introduces kids to reading & writing in a fun, positive, interactive way.   I think if you can teach kids to LOVE learning now, and to associate learning to read and write with a FUN experience, it helps set the stage for their outlook on learning as they embark on their years of education.  I feel so blessed Emma has had the opportunity to experience this program.  Just seeing the twinkle in her eye as she practices the letter sounds to me is PRICELESS!

Whiz Kids Early Literacy Program Orange County

{Disclosure:  Emma received a family discount to attend the summer program.}

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Whiz Kids Summer Program

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If you are looking for a fun AND educational class for your kiddos this summer you should definitely check out Whiz Kids in Corona del Mar!   They are currently enrolling for their summer program which starts the week of July 5th and meets once a week for 6 weeks.

I just enrolled Emma in their Zoo-phonics summer class! I am super excited as this is the first year I have been able to enroll her (kids have to be 4 by 12/2010) and it is even more exciting because my cousin, who is more like a sister to me, is one of their Directors.  I have been hearing about Whiz Kids for a long time now and now my own little Whiz Kid can finally attend!

Established in 2001, Whiz Kids is an educational-based enrichment program with an active and fun approach to learning. Small groups learn together in exciting and innovative ways to enhance their skills and confidence in phonics, reading and writing. With a team of highly qualified and credentialed teachers, Whiz Kids places great importance on small class size and getting to really know the students to help them succeed.

Summer classes include Zoo-phonics Workshops for preschoolers, Kindergarten Readiness and First Grade Readiness.

Click HERE to download the summer registration materials and view the class times.

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