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Archive for July, 2010

PARENT TALKS: Baby Yoga, Tantrums

Baby Yoga (MCT Direct Photo) Booties Camp
July 21, 10 a.m. to noon at Bananas, Oakland
The third in Bananas’ popular 5-week Booties Camp for new and expecting parents, focuses on yoga with babies.

Childhood Matters: Understanding Kids’ Behavior
July 25 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on
Join Nurse Rona and panelist Julie Kurtz, LMFT and mental health director at Kidango, as they discuss tantrums and other behavior issues.

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Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | 1 Comment »

Backyard Summer Camp: Day 3

20090408 Duck swimmer OK, it may be Friday here, but it’s hump day planning for your backyard summer camp. We’ve already talked about how to host a DIY Backyard Summer Camp, and some great ideas for Days 1 and 2 – Backyard Olympics and Day Tripping – with help from our buddy Peggy Spear. Now it’s on to …

Day 3: Splash Attack
“The host,” says Peggy, “should have access to a backyard or neighborhood swimming pool. With careful supervision, this can be one of the best days of camp.” Make sure you have lifeguards, and enough helpers! Then break out the inner tubes, Nerf balls and fun.

  • Take a cue from your Backyard Olympics, and organize some games, says Peggy, such as inner tube water polo, pool volleyball, sharks and minnows and raft races.
  • We’ve got six more pool game suggestions, ranging from Ping Pong Scramble to Bottle, a sneaky underwater version of “Steal the Bacon,” but the “bacon” is a clear, 2-liter, water-filled plastic bottle that becomes nearly invisible under water.
  • Family Fun magazine suggests playing an aquatic version of “Hide the Balloons.”

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Under: Backyard Summer Camp | No Comments »

RECALL: Pottery Barn Cribs

Recalled Pottery Barn Crib All righty, campers, in today’s baby crib recall news … Pottery Barn Kids just recalled 82,000 drop-side cribs to the usual round-up of ghastly hazards – entrapment, suffocation and falls. In this case, the sides detach when the hardware breaks, or if the crib has been improperly assembled, or if it’s an old, much-used crib. PBK has had 36 reports of drop side malfunction, including 7 minor injuries. One child’s head was caught between the mattress and the drop side, but was not injured. Parents were sure freaked out, though. There are several models implicated in the recall, so follow the link to see if yours is one – then contact PB for a conversion kit to immobilize the drop side.

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | No Comments »

Backyard Summer Camp: Day 2

Zeum We’re continuing to celebrate the glories of DIY summer camp, the economical, fun way to keep kids entertained this summer – right in your own backyard or, better yet, your neighbor’s! As we mentioned, our colleague Peggy Spear wrote this great how-to piece, and we’ve been sharing bits and pieces, starting with how to set it up in the first place , and how to host a Backyard Olympics for the first day. Here’s Peggy’s great idea for day 2, with some variations on the theme…

Day 2: Day Tripping
Round up some helpers – other parents or teen “camp counselors” – and hit the road. Just make sure everyone has a buddy, says Peggy, and don’t forget to count heads every now and then.

  • Take the crew to San Francisco by BART or ferry for a tour around Yerba Buena Gardens or Chinatown.
  • Nearly every museum has a scavenger hunt for kids, so take advantage of free days at the museums and make this a wallet-friendly, cultural foray. The Oakland Museum, for example, is hosting a Pixar exhibit.
  • Visit your local children’s museum – or round up the minivans and venture to a children’s museum in a neighboring town. Us Bay Area-ites have an embarrassment of riches in that respect, including Berkeley’s Habitot, San Francisco’s Zeum (and the cool carousel next door, pictured), the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, and the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose.
  • Play local tourist. Don the ridiculous clothing, wear outsized sunglasses, carry maps, and go hit the tourist destinations you never visit. Oh you know what we mean – Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory!

Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
Under: Backyard Summer Camp | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Pi Clowns at Yerba Buena Gardens (Photo by Charlie Mixson)
Free Fun: Some of San Francisco’s biggest museums have teamed up with Target for a free weekend of family fun July 16-18, which translates into free admission and plenty of hands-on art activities and kid-friendly entertainment – including the Pi Clowns, pictured above – at San Francisco’s Zeum, MoMA, the Asian Art Museum, the de Young, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and Yerba Buena Gardens. Free hours and entertainment vary by museum. Get the lowdown at

Teddies at the Zoo: Grab your teddy bear and head for the San Francisco Zoo this weekend. The annual Teddy Bear Festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 17, includes meet-and-greets with the Berenstain Bears, Corduroy and other ursine heroes, puppet shows and more. Free admission for kids, ages 4-14, who are accompanied by bears; Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

14-Year-Old to the Rescue

Larry Wang (Photo by Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group) Sweet story in the news this week about a 14-year-old trombonist, young Larry Wang, pictured, who was so appalled by his school district’s decision to cut fourth grade music programs, he started his own music program at his alma mater, Sequoia Elementary in Pleasant Hill. He enlisted the help of fellow eighth graders and the principals at both schools – and by spring, had those fourth graders ready to perform in concert.

“Of course, they have more to learn,” he says. “We all have more to learn. But it gives them a foundation.”

That’s a kid who deserves a standing ovation.

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Under: Schools | No Comments »

Backyard Summer Camp: Day 1

20080513 China games As we mentioned on Friday, our colleague – and awesome mom buddy – Peggy Spear wrote a great story the other day about hosting your own DIY Summer Camp. Such a great idea – and some of these themes would be great for a birthday party too!) So here’s Peggy’s great idea for Day 1, followed by some variations on the theme.

Day 1: Neighborhood Olympics

  • Pick a house with a big backyard or proximity to a park.
  • Design a poster or mascot. Assemble or create flags from many nations — or they can represent neighborhood streets or local cities.
  • Design score cards for judges and have the kids design the medals
  • Have a bucket of water bottles and easy-to-grab snacks handy.
  • Then let the games begin! Peggy suggests wheelbarrow races, limbo, tug-of-war, basketball free-throws, water balloon toss, whiffle ball, ping-pong, or relay races.
  • We’d like to argue for the inclusion of Statues, Shark and Sardines as Backyard Olympic Sports.
  • suggests including a torch run through the neighborhood – love that! And Family Fun Magazine has instructions for making the perfect torch.
  • And finally, don’t forget closing ceremonies – a little procession, some glorious awards, perhaps a kazoo concert, and a hot dog cookout.

We’ll share Peggy’s day-tripping day 2 idea on Wednesday, but meanwhile, have you ever done a backyard olympics party? Or backyard summer camp? Share your tips here!

Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010
Under: Backyard Summer Camp | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Baby brains, modern dads

Brainy toddler (Rick Nease illustration/Detroit Free Press) Booties Camp
July 14, 10 a.m. to noon at Bananas, Oakland
The second in Bananas’ popular 5-week Booties Camp for new and expecting parents, focuses on baby language and brain development.

Nurse Rona’s Book Club: The Modern Dad’s Dilemma
July 18 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on
Join Nurse Rona and and author John Badalament as they discuss the dilemma of modern dads and how to stay connected with your kids in a rapidly changing world.
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Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

Backyard Summer Camp

Summer camp (courtesy of MCT Direct) My colleague Peggy Spear wrote the most charming story this week about doing a DIY summer camp – a rollicking, good time in your own backyard. She had such great ideas, that we’re excerpting some of our favorites over the coming weeks.

“It’s less than a month into summer vacation,” says Peggy, “and already the natives are getting restless. And while the weather’s hot, the economy is anything but, so for many families pricey summer camps and vacations are not an option. Yet help is as close as your own backyard. Literally. With a little imagination, parents can create summer fun for their kids by hosting Backyard Camps — loosely organized activities that will amuse parents and kids.”

But make sure you don’t end up hosting the whole neighborhood. “The key to success,” says Peggy, “is finding other families in the same boat. Church groups, swim teams, even the school roster are great places to start.Backyard Camps run on the assumption that everyone shares in the planning, and different families take responsibility for different days.”

Tune in Monday, when Peggy dishes on Day 1 ideas – Neighborhood Olympics! – and we add our two cents.

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010
Under: Backyard Summer Camp | 4 Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Little Engine That Could (Bay Area Childrens Theater) I Think I Can: “The Little Engine That Could” choo-choos onto Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland stage this weekend in a musical Bay Area Children’s Theatre production directed by circus performer Doyle Ott, from Lunatique Fantastique. Show time is 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. every weekend, now through August 8. $14, including Fairyland admission;

Can’t Stop the Beat: Woodminster’s summer season is off in a pouf of glorious “Hairspray” at Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park Amphitheater. The Tony award winning musical, with such irresistible songs as “Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Good Morning Baltimore,” runs July 9-18. Tickets $23-$40, or $10 for preview night on July 8. Visit for ticket information and details on the “kids come free” program. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »