Theaters for babies. Hand-sewn storyboards. Purple “Gak.” Those are just a few of the things you missed if you couldn’t attend Saturday’s 10th annual East Bay Moms Preschool & Childhood Resource Fair in Oakland. Here are five participants who grabbed our attention. (For a complete list of participants and to order a copy of East Bay Moms’ Preschool & Child Care Program Directory, visit their Web site or call 510-653-7867.)
1. Pacific Kid in Walnut Creek — This educational toy company is appealing when you consider the fears about lead-based toys. The gorgeous cloth storyboards and play walls (pictured right) come with hand-sewn felt animals featuring Velcro for easy movability. The animals are made by women in Thailand, which helps their economic situation, says co-owner Karen McHugh.
2. Small World of Lamorinda and My Early Start in San Francisco — Small World offers Mandarin immersion and music programs for kids ages 1-6. My Early Start sells DVDs that teach Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin has become popular among programs teaching young children foreign languages.
3. Baby Brigade at Speakeasy Theaters — Parents with infants 1 year and under are invited to dinner and a movie (where crying babies won’t be asked to leave, promises Cerrito general manager Jenny Martens). Baby Brigade is at the Oakland location on Mondays and El Cerrito on Tuesdays.
4. Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley — At the fair, children could play with purple “Gak,” (pictured left) an interesting clay-like substance that looked a little like slime. (Is it any wonder kids were loving this stuff? You can buy the recipe at the museum and make your own.) Thursday evenings the museum offers free admission from 5-7 p.m. See its Web site for a list of activities.
5. Tumble & Tea Cafe in Oakland — The cafe for parents and tots has expanded to include a New Parent Resource Center. Workshops range from support groups to feeding instruction and an effective parenting series (the latter taught by MarRem Remington, LMFT).