Build Your Own Summer Camp

By Michael Berick

Kids can pan for gold at The Autry this summer. PHOTO COURTESY THE AUTRY

Kids can pan for gold at The Autry this summer. PHOTO COURTESY THE AUTRY

Southern California is home to many wonderful camps, and they are a great way to fill up a summer. But your family can construct their own camp schedule using ongoing and summer programs in place at museums, malls, and other places around Los Angeles. Here are a few examples of programs going on this summer and (in some instances) throughout the year.

Weekends are terrific times to let kids explore their artistic side. Lakeshore Learning Stores (, which has locations in Northridge, Carson, West L.A., Pasadena, Fountain Valley, Ventura and Laguna Hills, has a free craft time from 11 a.m-3 p.m. Saturdays with a different project each week.

Sundays, LACMA ( is the place for young artists. The Andell Family Sundays art workshops have a monthly theme. In June it is Egyptian art while July’s projects are inspired by the Treasures from Korea exhibit. You don’t even have to pay an admission fee to participate, although it is smart to sign your child up for the free NextGen membership.

On Mondays, select Pacific Theatres (in Culver City, Northridge, Glendale, Lakewood and The Grove) offer a Mommy Movie series ( where parents can catch a film without worrying about their infants bothering other film-goers. June’s selections range from the PG-13-rated Think Like A Man Too to the PG-rated How To Train Your Dragon 2. OK, this one is more for the grown-ups than the child, but the parents have earned a little fun.

Kids Clubs – some monthly, some weekly – take place at malls all around the city. The Waterside at Marina del Rey ( presents Kids Club entertainment at 11:15 a.m. Tuesdays, while The Shops at The Commons ( has a 6 p.m. twilight Kids Club on Tuesdays.

This summer, West Days return on Wednesdays to Autry National Center ( From June 25 through July 30, The Autry offers a series of themed programs that spotlight different aspects of the West through crafts, games, stories and other activities from 1-3 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Norton Simon Museum ( will once again present its “Thursday Summer Fun” series. For six weeks, beginning June 12, the museum will have a unique workshop at 1 p.m. each Thursday that lets kids explore an art concept and make a related art project.

The Bowers’ Kidseum ( continues Friday Morning Storytelling, Music and Art from 10:30 a.m. to noon through the summer. Miss Bev and Miss Jackie entertain youngsters with an interactive experience featuring stories, music and art, with a new theme every week.

Michael Berick is Calendar Editor of L.A. Parent.

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