The magical minds of little kids can teach us a lot about living well. They wonder, they explore, they live in awe – and taking them on an adventure that sparks their curiosity can facilitate the kind of bonding that brings out the best in both of you.

We’re inspired by Dôen founders, Margaret and Katherine Kleveland, both mothers who have captured the essence of a California gone by with their 60’s and 70’s inspired gauze dresses, printed caftans and frayed raw silk tops. Each piece feels brandless and authentic in the best possible sense – and there are a few pieces for children to match.

These are just the kind of pieces so many of us are looking for. Somehow wearing natural materials in these vintage-feeling cuts make us feel so much more at home in the gorgeous California landscape we’re bless to call home. 

From beach picnics along the Central Coast, to farmers market treasure hunts, we asked the Dôen ladies’ to share this list of mother-child date ideas fused with the same dreamy spirit as their brand. Get inspired below…

Visiting The Farmers Market: Farmers markets are a great family outing in California year-round. We grew up going to the local farmers market in Santa Barbara and, as a kid, it was always something I looked forward to. There is something special and enriching about the community/social element and sharing  the importance of understanding healthy, locally farmed ingredients with your children. My older son, Wilder, goes to a preschool where the kids cook their own snacks and every week they shop for a main ingredient that’s used in all dishes. They learn so much about different foods, ingredients and preparations. We all love the sheep’s milk yogurt from Moon of Paris at the Studio City Farmer’s Market.

Exploring the Central California Coast: Our boys are at an age where they make up games and fantasy with almost any material, and the beach has plenty – seashells, rocks, sticks. There is lots of experimenting with throwing and collecting, and both are easily permitted on a beach. We spend a lot of time on the beach in Carpinteria, and the kids love eating and playing at Padaro Beach Grill. There are picnic tables on a large grassy lawn and a sand pit area for kids to play and make new friends. We also love the burger shack at Jalama State Beach for a fun family outing (also the beach location for our Spring ’16 photo shoot). Cabin camping at El Capitan Canyon is also great with kids.

Lunch at the Annenberg Beach House: The Annenberg is a great example of a fun, local, Los Angeles community space. Some of our favorite in-town weekends are spent having lunch at the cafe (feet in sand). There is a beautiful pool and they host a lot of family-centered activities and athletic classes. Being at the Annenberg brings back memories of being a kid and hopping from beach to pool and back to beach, only pausing for an amazing summer-y lunch.

Going to the nursery: In the springtime, we love to work in our garden as a family. We have a small vegetable garden and fruit trees and flower beds. The boys love picking out something special at the nursery and then taking slight responsibility/ownership for it. They like planting it, forgetting about it and then later being surprised and delighted at the fruit. This season it was strawberries. We spend most weekend days that we are in town doing some sort of yard work. Planning, planting and upkeep. The kids have fun with the hose, mud, walking amidst the new plants, playing make believe. For us there is such value and enjoyment and we hope our children pick up on the joy of working on your environment and improving it.

Riding the Surfliner: Occasionally I will take boys on the train up the coast to Santa Barbara to visit their grandparents. They are little boys who love trains so the real thing is cause for major excitement. We bring lunch and sit on the coastal side of the train and look out the windows – we are together, really enjoying each other and the transportation. We often go with my Aunt CeCe to the Coral Casino for a day while we are up visiting, and that is heaven for all. It feels like complete escape, retreat, and indulgence. There is an incredible kiddie pool with lounge chairs facing the ocean. The boys spend hours playing, swimming and eating special treats and shakes like they are on vacation.

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