When to go to the Alameda County Fair

Things to do with kids at the Alameda County Fair

The Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton is a traditional state fair format: carnival rides and games, award-winning quilts and pigs, and booths offering treats like funnel cakes and deep-fried pickles. I took my children on opening day which was the smartest move I could have made, because admission for all three of us was three […]

Dolphin Discovery in Vallejo is a special splurge

Dolphin Discovery in Vallejo is amazing but not cheap

The staff photographers captured this photo and I LOVE how the roller coasters rise up. Did you know that you and your family can ride and kiss a real Atlantic bottlenose dolphin about 20 minutes from Berkeley? I did not. My older children and I were treated to a hands-on learning session with dolphins and trainers […]

Tips for raising a reader

library

Two of my children are pretty avid readers so I want to share a few of the things we are doing (right, wrong, and otherwise) along with some professional tips. We do allow video games but we make time for reading books and magazines, too. Here’s some stuff we do that seems to work: Read every […]

Summertime reading games reward library visits

readertip

Does your child need incentive to pick up a book? If so, the various public libraries offer stickers, charts, bookmarks, and some cool kid-sized prizes for reading and stopping by the library. Berkeley Public Library Summer Reading Games offers a sticker and small prize (pencil, bookmark) at each library visit and a tracking chart to […]

East Bay Summer Outdoor Movie Round-Up

free-summer-east-bay-outdoor-movies

Though we rarely see short-sleeves-in-the-evening temperatures in the Bay Area, summer is the best chance we’ve got for outdoor movies that aren’t at the Concord drive-in. (Which is totally worth doing, by the way.) If your kids can stay up past 9 pm, there are a few opportunities to set up camp and watch a […]

Alameda’s Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest is this weekend

Sand raccoons at the Alameda Sculpture Contest

This Saturday June 7th, grab your shovels, pails, and your children and head over to Crown Memorial Beach for fun in the sand. Register at the Crab Cove visitor’s center at 9am for this FREE program with viewing and judging at noon. Award presentation: 1pm. There are some serious sand castle builders there and some […]

Summer fun @ Lawrence Hall of Science

Eat ice cream you make at LHS

Summer Fun Days at Lawrence Hall of Science combine play with learning.

Cheap summer movies in Alameda

cheap-summer-movies-alameda

For $10 per person, you can go to every movie in the Kids Movie Series this summer hosted by The Alameda Theatre & Cineplex on Central Ave in Alameda. That’s about a dollar per movie, when you buy the movie “sheets” of tickets online. Showings are 10 am on both Tuesday and Wednesdays, and the […]

Sunny day destination: Antioch Water Park

Antioch Water Park

There are splashy activities for babies and every age on up: super shallow tadpool, toddler and preschooler waterslide, and big kid body slides.

Summer fairs and festivals for East Bay families

East Bay street festival and fair schedule - Summer 2014

Here is a list of outdoor street fairs and festivals to pencil into your summer plans, following on the heels of the Family Fun Festival in Downtown Berkeley and Chocolate and Chalk in North Berkeley, both on May 31: June Saturday, June 7 Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest 9 am to 1 pm Kidcentric […]

Taking the San Francisco Bay Ferry

Ferry from Jack London Square to San Francisco

This weekend, my family rode the ferry from Jack London Square to San Francisco, just for the thrill of it. My kids did not have much interest in our destination, San Francisco’s epicurean Ferry Building and adjacent farmer’s market, because it was terribly crowded. They couldn’t see anything, and they’re not inclined toward gourmet food. […]

Ticket Alert: Shrek the Musical

Shrek the Musical at Berkeley Playhouse this Summer

Don’t miss the Berkeley Playhouse production of Shrek the Musical at Julia Morgan Theatre this summer. This silly modern-day fairytale is the now-familiar story of a charming ogre who goes on a big adventure with his wise-cracking donkey BFF. Together, they fight a dragon and rescue a feisty princess (while making fart jokes). NEED LUNCH […]

Fat Shafts Archery in Benicia: Fun for nearly an hour

Fat Shafts Archery in Benicia, fun for girls or boys older than 8

If you’re an archery novice, like most of us, then about 30 – 45 minutes is all you’ll be able to handle of the bow and arrows before your arms get tired and you start to feel too whiny to persevere. My seven- and nine-year-old kids and I started wilting right around that point on […]

What to expect at the Lake Merritt Boating Center

Canoe on Lake Merritt

I lived next to Lake Merritt for two years and have lived in the East Bay for 16 since then, but this weekend was my first time taking in Oakland from the vantage point of being on the lake. We rented two canoes for my family of four and paddled against the wind for a […]

99 Days of Summer for Bay Area kids {2014}

A day-by-day guide to summer fun for kids in Oakland, Berkeley and other 510 cities

Never run out of family fun ideas with our 99 destinations for summer fun! We have one for each day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Each day, choose another adventure! Whether you like to add them to your calendar right now (go on, we fact-checked*), bookmark this page for inspiration, or print it out and stick it […]

Maker Faire 2014 is this weekend in San Mateo

San Mateo Maker Faire

If you like to get your tools out and invent in a crafty, constructy, tinkery kind of way then you should head south for the 2014 Maker Faire. There are several excellent exhibits for curious kids (but to be completely honest, I usually wish I left them at home so I could enjoy my own playtime). […]

Half-day trip to Marin for woodsy hike + pancakes

Hike to West Point Inn for pancakes

Take a lazy hike in the woods and reward yourself for the (mild) exertion with a huge plate of pancakes. You’ve just discovered the secret recipe for the Marin’s West Point Inn.