The Los Angeles area has many child-oriented activities in the summer but the whole family can the enjoy outdoor concerts, theater performances, cultural activities with children's performers, and festivals such as the weekend Sea Festivals in Long Beach.
Family Activities at Theatricum Botanicum
Theatrum Botanicum is a rustic open-air theater founded by Will Geer, American actor and social activist, in Topanga Canyon, near The Getty Villa in 1973. For over 45 years, the organization has been presenting and promoting the performing arts in their outdoor venue under the California oak trees. Part of the organization's mission is education so there are youth drama and music camps where children learn and perform on stage.
The Theatricum Botanicum offers family activities from community festivals to concerts and events for audiences of all ages. Peter Alsop's Kids Koncerts, at 10:30 a.m on selected Sundays, present a range of engaging musical styles and entertainers, with sing-along songs, drumming, and fun for the entire family.
June through October on selected dates at 11 a.m., Creative PlayGround Family Fundays feature storytelling with professional actors where children from 1–11 years of age sit on stage around them and are drawn into the words and action of the play.
Saturday Mornings at the Ford
The Ford Amphitheatre presents Big! World! Fun! family shows in an outdoor amphitheater. One-hour music and dance events that represent the area's diverse communities are presented on Saturday mornings in July and August each year. The performances are ideal for children ages 4 to 12 and their families. While it's free for children, adults pay $5.
Go early and take part in the nature activities offered by the Parks and Recreation Department and craft activities offered by the community organization Go As If.
Food and beverages are available for purchase.
Children's Performance Series
The Valley Cultural Foundation offers fun and education performances that will engage kids and expose them to the performing arts. Children in kindergarten through sixth grade enjoy the summer series of one-hour “edutainment” concerts on Monday mornings featuring music, puppetry, poetry reading, and other variety acts. The venues are located in the West Valley.
All Valley Cultural Foundation Concerts including Concerts on the Green, NoHo Summer Nights, and the foundation's huge Fourth of July concert and fireworks are free to the public. There may be charges for parking or for VIP seating.
Levitt Pavilion Pasadena
The Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena offers 50 free concerts, many of them family-friendly, from June 1 through September 1, 2019.
On Wednesday nights during summer, the Melissa & Doug children's series (hosted by the Melissa and Doug Toy Company) shows start at 7 p.m. You'll see performances by award-winners as well as entertainers looking to break into the business. At the Melissa & Doug Hospitality Tents, kids can have complimentary face-painting (while supplies last) and engage in activities (beginning an hour before the show). You can bring your own picnic dinner or purchase something from the vendors.
Garden Concerts for Kids at the Getty Center
The Getty Center in Brentwood brings top children's performers from around the country to their Central Garden on selected weekends in August. You can bring a picnic and a blanket to sit on while you listen to music. While it's geared for the little ones, adults will enjoy these quality free performances.
In 2019, such artists as Elena Moon Park, the leader of Rabbit Days and Dumplings, a band that performs folk and children's music from all over East Asia, will perform. On another weekend, the Okee Dokee Brothers, children's songwriters, will perform original folk music.
Long Beach Sea Festivals
Most of the events are held at the shoreline, three beaches, Belmont Memorial Pier, and several city parks.
Each year, dozens of activities are scheduled in July and August at beach areas throughout Long Beach, including the Chinese Dragon Boat Race and the Great Sand Sculpture event. There are 20 concerts, movies at the beach, and aquatics-oriented events for the entire family. Most of these weekend events are held at the shoreline, three beaches, Belmont Memorial Pier, and several city parks.
A fun event is the Kids' Fishing Rodeo on the Belmont Pier where kids can get free bait and fishing lessons (bring your own pole and tackle) and win trophies and prizes for their catches.
A major event during this time is the Belmont Shore Sand Sculpture Festival at Granada Beach. This August festival attracts over 10,000 visitors and is a fundraiser for local charities. You'll see sand sculpture demonstrations and displays as well as enjoy live music.