What do a cigarette butt, a soda can and a soiled plastic diaper have in common? They're all items you might encounter during a walk on the beach — and probably have. Plopping Junior on the sand to build castles and collect seashells just isn't safe anymore unless an adult is appointed to steer little fingers away from dangerous debris. So why not make an educational playdate with the planet? Pack the kids in the Prius and head to Heal the Bay's Nothin' but Sand Cleanup. Rain or shine, participants will be set loose on a stretch of beach to pick up garbage discarded by fellow beachgoers. And don't fret about germs: Everyone will be provided with bags and gloves, although you may also bring your own. The cleanup provides an opportune time to introduce your offspring to phrases such as “pollutants,” “Pico-Kenter storm drain” and, as they pick up discarded plastic bags, “disposable consumer culture.” It's also an opportunity to socialize with conscientious, like-minded people. Best: It's never too early to educate the little ones about caring for the environment. One meaningful field trip to the beach can leave a lasting impression. Kids must be at least 13 years old or accompanied by an adult. Venice Pier, 3100 Ocean Front Walk (at the end of Washington Boulevard); Sat., March 16, 10 a.m.-noon. healthebay.org.

Sat., March 16, 10 a.m.-noon, 2013

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