Fun Things to do with Kids in OC this Spring Break!

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Hello friends – how was your holiday weekend?  I hope it was eggstra special! My daughter has this week off from school and I wanted to do a quick post in case anyone is looking for ideas on fun things to do with kids in OC this Spring Break!

1. 29 Fun Things to Do with Kids in OC: List of my favorites places to visit and things to do with my kids.

2. My 5 Favorite OC Outings with Kids: This is a list of my absolute favorite of 5 fun outings / OC day trips.

3. Our Top 5 Orange County Parks: These are (in my opinion) the best parks for kids in Orange County!

4. Plan a Day Out: Holy Moly, I posted about this one on Friday. In love with this site. AWESOME place to plug in your preferences and get tons of outing ideas and activities for kids!

5. Orange County Splash Parks (If the weather is nice!): Such a great list by my friends over at Just Spotted.

6. Parks and Playgrounds: All the parks and playgrounds I have posted on if you would like more ideas!

7. Fun Orange County Parks: Most complete resource guide on parks and playgrounds in Orange County!

8. Daytripping Mom: So Cal day trips for families.

9. Just Spotted OC Calendar: List of activities/events by day.

10. And here are all the Outing Ideas I have ever posted on!

Have a GREAT day everyone! What do you have planned?

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29 Fun Things to do with Kids in OC

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Happy February 29th! I couldn’t let the day pass without some sort of mention! I mean, days like this only come around, like what, every 4 years?! Hee hee…I was going to do a post on where leap day came from, but it actually isn’t that interesting, so I thought, hmmm…how about a post on 29 fun things to do with kids in OC? Got to get my 29 in there somehow!

So I got out a notebook and scribbled out 29 ideas off the top of my head in less than 5 minutes. Goes to show you there truly is no better place to live with kids than Orange County!

There are many more – would love your opinions – comment below!

Here are mine (in no particular order):

1. Disneyland – Given.

2. SoCo Farmers’ Market – Saturdays 9am – 2pm in Costa Mesa

3. Discovery Science Center – Hands on interactive children’s museum in Santa Ana

4. OC Great Park and Balloon Ride –  Irvine

5. Bluebird Park – Our favorite park in OC in Laguna Beach

6. Bowers Kidseum – Children’s cultural museum in Santa Ana

7. Irvine Park Railroad / Irvine Regional Park – Beautiful expansive park and train rides in the foothills of Orange

8. Balboa Island Fun Zone / Ferry – Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island

9. Pretend City – Amazing children’s museum in Irvine

10. Frogg’s Bounce House – Open jump times every day in Fountain Valley

11. Bowlmor – Bowling at The District Tustin

12. Irvine Terrace Park – Second OC favorite in Corona del Mar

13. Zoomars Petting Zoo – San Juan Capistrano

14. Irvine Spectrum – Great shopping and fabulous carousel, train rides and ferris wheel rides for kids in Irvine

15. Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center – Amazing (FREE) nature center in Newport Back Bay

16. Duffy Boat Ride – Newport Beach

17. Strand Vista Park – Dana Point

18. Dana Point Ocean Institute

19. Centennial Farm – Costa Mesa Fairgrounds

20. Tanaka FarmsStrawberry tours start this weekend!!!

21. Old Towne Orange

22. Scooter’s Jungle – Aliso Viejo. Toddler Time Open Jump times for those 6 and under and other Open Jump times for all ages. Click here for schedule.

23. Santa Ana Zoo – Small + cute!

24. Crystal Cove Beach Cottages / Tide Pools – Crystal Cove State Park

25. Atlantis Play Center – Garden Grove

26. Kellogg House at Heritage Museum of Orange County – Santa Ana

27. Jump Sky High – Trampoline place in Costa Mesa

28. Huntington Beach Public Library  – Fabulous kids’ section + story times

29. Environmental Nature Center (ENC) – Newport Beach

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OC Great Park Outing & Balloon Ride

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Last Thursday I found myself with an open morning with my girls so I went on over to Daytripping Mom for ideas on something fun to do.  Her first post that day was on the OC Great Park, and since riding the OC Great Park Balloon has been on my list to do for quite some time now I thought it would be the perfect outing.

My girls loved it.  And, it was all free! Gotta love a fun free OC outing for kids!

Something to note!  The Great Park is open just Thursday – Sunday. For hours and times the park is open click HERE.

We got there right around 10am on a Thursday.  You can park close (it’s convenient) and the parking lot was nearly empty.  First thing you will want to do is go into this visitor center building (pictured below) and get your balloon pager and hand stamp for the carousel.  Again, both rides are FREE.

It only took about 5 minutes until we were paged, which meant it was time for us to go on the balloon.  My girls were very excited and very intrigued.

It is a standing only ride and I was able to take Morgan in her stroller on the balloon.  The guy helped me lift it on.

It goes up VERY slowly = not scary. I was expecting that loud fire sound of a hot air balloon, but it was totally quiet because they told me it is HELIUM!  So cool – and I learned it is one of the largest and first of it’s kind in the US. Plus, it is environmentally safe, non-polluting and virtually silent.  Who knew?!

Neither girl was scared and in fact, I thought I might be, but I wasn’t!  It was SO cool!

We could see the ocean, Catalina, and the guy standing next to me said he could even see the Hollywood sign. I looked and looked but couldn’t make it out myself – but the guy was certainly excited about it!

Here was the view from up top to the ocean…

After the balloon ride the girls ran around on the huge grassy area for awhile and then we headed over to Kids Rock, which is a grouping of climbing rocks, tunnels, slides and structures.   Above there are also sphere-shaped shade structures and even misters.  I can imagine it gets pretty hot out there, so this would be key.

And then there was the carousel.

Again, it is FREE!  You can imagine how many times the girls wanted to keep riding. I had to put a stop to it after two rides.  Mommy was getting dizzy, but baby didn’t leave without putting up a good fight. So, just a warning, you might have to fib to the kids and tell them there is a two ride maximum!

All in all, the outing cost me a bag of chips I picked up at the gas station on the way into the park.

So, I can honestly say, this outing is ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS!

Click HERE to visit the OC Great Park visitor information page.  I have their Sunday Farmers’ Market on my list next! For more posts about this GREAT park, visit Fun Orange County Parks!

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Spring Break

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So, my daughter is out of preschool this week so we have a busy week planned doing lots of fun stuff to keep her entertained (=and me sane!)

For those of you with kids off school this week too, three of my favorite blogs have written posts recently on great ideas to keep you busy. Even if your kids are not off, these blogs have some great ideas for local fun stuff. They are…

Daytripping Mom – Spring Break Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
Fun Orange County Parks – 10 Ideas for Spring Break Family Fun Away From the Crowds
Just Spotted – April 2010 Calendar

And, of course, my “Outings” <- Click on Outings! Category has 46 Outing Ideas to peruse as well!

I might take a few days off blogging this week to hang with my daughter and take a little Spring Break myself too.  Or as much of a “break” as possible given the life of a stay at home mom of an almost 4 year old and 9 month old moving & grooving baby! Be back on my “regular” blogging schedule next week!

Congratulations! The winner of the Bag the Habit giveaway is….Teddi!

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Guest Blog – Top Ten Snack Ideas

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Guest blog by: Michele, a freelance writer and the mom responsible for Fun Orange County Parks. She’s loves outings with her 7 year old boy and 3 year old girl.

Top Ten Snack Ideas for Park Playdates or All-Day Excursions

I’m not a health or nutrition expert, but I am an expert on trips to the playground and park with hungry kids. Snacks are a necessity and here are some easy ideas for pack-up and go:

1. Frozen Yogurt: Freeze squeezable yogurt for a cool, refreshing treat. They turn out like yogurt Otter Pops.

2. Cheese & Whole Grain: String cheese and whole grain crackers.

3. International Orange: Baby carrots dipped in your favorite hummus.

4. Fruit and Flakes: Toss raisins (or currants or blueberries) together with your favorite healthy cereal.

5. Mix It Up: Make your own trail mix or pick your favorite from the bins at Henry’s or TJ’s nut aisle.

6. Crazy Fruit and Veggies: I buy bags of shredded carrots and call it “Bunny Hay” or there’s even crinkle-cut carrots in some produce sections. Sometimes it just takes cutting something in an odd shape to get kids to eat it. My kids would never eat oranges until I cut them in eighths (instead of peeling them – they didn’t like the white fibers leftover from the peel).

7. Snail Sandwiches: Cut the crust off whole wheat bread. Squish the bread flat with the palm of your hand. Spread on some cream cheese. Chop fruit, veggies, and/or lunch meat very finely and roll. Now cut into slices for snail-shaped sandwiches.

8. Create with Grahams: Make graham cracker sandwiches out of peanut butter, or cream cheese, or even dip them in those to-go applesauce cups.

9. Sweet Treats: Get fruit cups packed in their own juice. Slice apples and pour in a couple tablespoons of Sprite or Fresca to keep them from turning brown (works with lemon or lime juice, too – but some kids don’t like the taste).

10. On-the-Go Lunch: Lunchables (get a pack of 4 for $6.99 at Costco), add a piece of fruit to make a complete meal.

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