A Family Friendly Summer in Orange County

Memorial Day has come and gone which technically means it's Summer, right?

Maybe not quite, as most kiddos are still in school. But the weather is warming up (this weekend anyway!) and the Summer bug is hitting us big time. So in celebration of all things surf, sand, and sun, we've compiled some of our favorite family friendly events in Orange County!

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Music Makes The People Come Together

Here in the OC we are blessed to have lots of incredible parks and beaches where each Summer the local cities put on a series of concerts throughout the area. This Summer the OC Concert Park Series has 10 outdoor concerts on Thursdays evenings starting June 21st. Some of our personal favorites will be present including Donovan Frankenreiter, Matt Costa, The Fenians, and The Tijuana Dogs! Pack a picnic or enjoy one of the many food trucks that will be on site. Admission is free for the whole family. 

Looking for Movie Nights in the park?? OC parks has that too

Looking to stay in your neck of the woods? Check out your city's Facebook pages or websites for other local concerts in the park - they're everywhere!

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Nature, Nature Everywhere!

If your kids are anything like mine then they love exploring and getting their hands dirty! Luckily there is no shortage of nature related activities nearby!

The Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine and the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach are two of our favorite local spots to go exploring. They both have incredible kids programs and nature camps or you can go together as a family and do some free-range exploring on your own. 

Go exploring with an actual Zookeeper from the OC zoo in the Wildlife Explorers Program! Events are held regularly throughout the Summer on Fridays at 10am. 

Looking for some awesome hikes? Santiago Oaks in Orange is great as is Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Don't forget to pack lots of sunscreen, water and snacks! 

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Reading Rainbow

Storytime is a huge hit around here and if you're looking for some indoor activities on those HOT summer days, these are a perfect option. We recommend you checking out your local library for one close to home, but we're including the ones we frequent as well. Make sure to check out the recommended age ranges to ensure it's appropriate for your own kiddo!

Ponderosa Library in Anaheim has two story times each week, including one on Saturdays at 11:30am! Score! The City of Orange offers several throughout the week including Bilingual story hour and Lapsit story time for those under two. Lapsit is awesome as it includes nursery rhymes, finger puppets, and more interaction to keep the little ones engaged. Switch it up a little with story time amongst the redwoods or an evening option where everyone wears their pajamas!

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Let's Get Moving

It's no secret that kids have lots of energy to burn and summer time seems to accelerate that energy. With all that Vitamin D to be had, Summer is no time to stay indoors! (Except for nap time. Nap time is sacred.) Get moving with a variety of fitness and play options!

YMCA of Orange County is guaranteed to have some great choices as will your city parks & recreation program. From soccer, to basketball, to swim, putting your kids in a summer sports program not only encourages regular physical activity, it helps them stay social when they aren't in school... not to mention it wears them out so they're ready to crash when the come home!

The Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim has some of the best kid-friendly hikes around as does Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach. On a particularly hot day, a short hike in Crystal Cove followed by a dip in the ocean is incredible!

If you & your child are into zen activities, check out KindKarma, a yoga studio with Family Yoga and Kids yoga classes! This Lake Forest studio even has an awesome summer camp!

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Splish Splash

You didn't think we'd forget the ever so popular water play did you?! NEVER. We are water babies ourselves so beaches, splash parks, and tide pools are the best! 

Hands down the best water play area is in La Mirada at Splash! No, it's not free, but it is well worth the money! As is Moe B's at the Newport Dunes which is now double the size (this one is more for proficient, confident swimmers, just an FYI). Looking for some free or low cost options? Check out Sprayground in Laguna Niguel, Pioneer Road Park in Tustin, or Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach.

If you want to mix exploring and water play, we highly recommend the tide pools at Little Corona on Ocean & Poppy in Corona Del Mar, or Shaw's Cove and Treasure Island, both in Laguna Beach. When exploring the tide pools in Orange County, it's a good idea to wear shoes, and remember that collecting sea animals and rocks are prohibited. Pro tip: check the tide before you go or you might find a beach covered with water and no tide pools in site. 


Of course, there are tons more family-centered events throughout all of Orange County! If you have a favorite that wasn't listed here, please share in the comments as we're always looking for new ways to explore. 

New Parenting Workshops in Irvine!

Up until now most of our focus on classes has been preparing expecting parents for birth, breastfeeding and baby care. And while we truly believe those things are important, we know there's so much more for parents to learn as they adjust and grow with their little ones. 

That is why we're incredibly excited to be collaborating with the best Orange County educators to offer parenting classes and workshops at our education center in Irvine. 

We hope to see you at one or more of these workshops soon! For any questions about these classes, please contact the individual instructors. 


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Montessori 101: Setting up the Home Environment - May 3rd, 4-5pm

Discuss how to incorporate Montessori at home with your baby, starting from birth. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. We’ll explore how to set up your play space to promote learning and how to help your baby develop their concentration, perseverance and independence through play. You will leave with a better understanding of how to meet your child’s developmental needs throughout infancy.

Berenice Saint-Saens of Monti Kids received her International Montessori teacher certification and has helped guide children 0-3 years old and their families. She has now transitioned out of the classroom and is working for a wonderful company, Monti Kids, that empowers families to bring education to their homes starting at birth. Workshop is $15/person.


Parenting for a Peaceful Community: Introduction to Nonviolent Parenting, June 24th 10:15am-12:45pm

Peace begins at home. As parents, cultivating and maintaining authentic connection with our children throughout their childhoods will support the development of emotionally healthy and self-aware children, peaceful families, and ultimately a peaceful society. However maintaining this connection through the daily demands of family life in our fast past culture can be quite a challenge. Nonviolent Parenting shows us how to keep those doors of connection open no matter what, even through the challenges of setting limits and power struggles.

In this 2.5 hour Introductory session, taught by Leslie Hillenbrand of Comadre Wellness, participants will be exposed to key concepts that include:

  • Setting limits & boundaries with your children while creating an environment of empathy and connection
     
  • Supporting your child's growing self-awareness and awareness of others
  • Ways to assist your child in expressing their own feelings and needs verbally as well as listening to the feelings and needs of others
  • Tools that encourage your child to make their own positive choices and develop solutions to problems where everyone’s needs matter
  • Developing self-empathy and releasing parental guilt and shame
     
  • How to cultivate emotional intelligence and problem solving in our children using the latest research in brain development

Leslie Arreola-Hillenbrand is a Chicana mother to two biracial girls. She holds a B.A. in Child Development & Family Studies, a B.A. in Family Life Education and is currently working towards her Masters in Social Work with an Emphasis in Community Mental Health at CSU Fullerton. She believes that strengths-based, community-based, culturally competent, & trauma-informed parent education and mothering networks rooted in Nonviolent Communication for Latino/a communities is a living social justice movement towards opportunity and equality for Latinx families. 

The cost of this workshop is $30 per individual or $45 per couple. 


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New Parent's Workshop: Improving Partner Communication - June 30th, 10am-1pm

– Do you feel like your partner doesn’t listen to you?
– Do you find yourself nagging, or feel like you are being nagged more than you used to?
– Does it feel like there is more conflict since baby arrived?
– Do your partner’s words or actions sometimes make you feel unappreciated?

This workshop will address these issues and more.

Having a baby adds many stressors to a relationship, and poor communication can exacerbate the problem. Additionally, even the most connected couples may feel like their relationship is being neglected in the first months (or even years!) of parenthood.

Erin Harris of Healthy Communicator designed this seminar to help both prenatal and postpartum couples learn how to more effectively talk to each other by looking at each other’s personal communication styles. This seminar is $95/couple.

Sleep Coach or Sleep Consultant... which one is right for me?

Sleep Coaching, Sleep Training, Sleep Consulting... so many terms that essentially all mean the same thing, right? 

Not always.

After extensive research and trainings to learn about the science of infant sleep, I've come to realize that while the terms may be intermixed, they don't always describe the same service. And because I believe in full transparency, I want to share a bit more about the differences in approach and what makes our in-home program so unique. 

A Match Made in Heaven: Doulas & Montessori

We are excited to be partnering with Bérénice Saint-Saëns of Monti Kids to offer a new class to help parents prepare their homes based on Montessori principles. Dr. Montessori described child development as the continuous gaining of independence and Montessori 101 will provide a comprehensive introduction as well as insight on raising your child to be self-confident, capable, and self-sufficient. A child who is raised with independence lives with dignity and has the confidence to take on challenges throughout life. 

In the Spotlight: Heather Ayala

Happy Spring everyone! Our April is off to a great start with some new and exciting classes on the horizon, including some nutrition workshops led by Registered Dietitian and all-around awesome human, Heather Ayala.

Heather's adorable, cozy office here at Doulas of OC is where she counsels clients on balanced nutrition and helps them set and meet any particular health goals they may have. Her compassionate nature and wealth of knowledge keep you focused as you make gradual, gentle changes that will impact your health for a lifetime! 

We had a chance to sit down with Heather to learn more about her passion for nutrition, wellness, and what makes her unique!