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FAB Five for the Weekend

Ramona Quimby (Active Arts Theatre)Oh, Ramona: The East Bay production of Active Arts Theatre’s “Ramona Quimby” moves to San Francisco’s Zeum this week. Check out Ramona, Beezus and the gang at matinee and evening performances from Feb. 13 to 21. Tickets $14-18. Details: www.activeartstheatre.org.

House of Floyd: Got a teen or Pink Floyd devotee? Livermore’s Bankhead Theater is hosting a “House of Floyd” tribute, 8 p.m. Feb. 12. It’s an evening of Pink Floyd music, complete with video, fog and laser show — and it benefits the Livermore Valley’s school music programs. $28. Details: www.bankheadtheater.org
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Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Lucky Ju Ju Pinball arcade (Photo by D. Ross Cameron/The Oakland Tribune)
PINBALL ART: If you’ve got pinball-loving teens, you’ll want to check out the opening of the “Pinball Art” exhibit at Alameda’s Pacific Pinball Museum — and yes, that’s the new wing of the Lucky Ju Ju Pinball parlor — on Feb. 5 from 2 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy finger food, punch (and a no-host bar for the grown-ups) and unlimited free play on the antique pinball machines, which date back to the 1930s. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids.

LIONS AND TIGERS: And dancers, oh my! San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum celebrates the Year of the Tiger with lion dances and art workshops Feb. 7. The lion dancing begins at noon, but the arts and crafts, storytelling — featuring Bay Area author Oliver Chin and the latest book in his Chinese Zodiac series — and fun run all afternoon. And it’s all free, thanks to the Target First Free Sunday series.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
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CADMIUM in Kids’ Trinkets

Recalled bracelet And to think we worried about lead in our children’s toys. Now federal watchdogs, the Associated Press and Walmart officials are blowing the whistle on Chinese imports – specifically, toys and jewelry for children – that contain cadmium, a metal that is considerably more dangerous than lead. The soft metal is a potent carcinogen, and doctors say exposure can delay brain development in young children, cause their kidneys to leak protein and weaken their bones enough to snap.

So how much of the toxic stuff was in the toys? The Associated Press commission laboratory tests on 103 inexpensive charm bracelets, necklaces and other pieces of children’s jewelry, nearly all of which had been imported from China and were being sold at Walmart, Claire’s and a Dollar ‘N’ More store: 89 items were cadmium-free, but 12 contained enough cadmium that the metal constituted 10% of the toy’s weight. In one case, the trinket was 91% cadmium, in another 80%.

Get the rest of the story here.

Posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
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BARNEY Teaches Etiquette?

Barney: Please & Thank You Happy new year! By now, your household is probably getting back to normal. The gift wrap has been flung and the thank you notes … er, written?

So in keeping with that theme, this week we’re giving away the newest Barney DVD dubbed “Please & Thank You.” Yep, the purple dinosaur is teaching “magical lessons on manners.” And that vid can be yours! Click “comments” and tell us, how do you teach your kids about manners? Do they write their own thank you notes? Tweet their thx? (We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday.)

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010
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Nanook…

Just a quick note to say congrats to Cindi, who won last week’s Nanook giveaway! We’ll resume the giveaways in the new year. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!!

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
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TOY RECALL: Action Team Toy Darts

Recalled darts It sounds kind of silly to recall darts – the things are pointy projectiles by definition. But the latest CPSC recall involves  soft, pliable, plastic darts, that are part of a cops-and-robbers type toy – and an 8-year-old boy died while chewing on one. He inadvertently swallowed it and it became lodged in his throat. Now the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling 22,000 “Action Team” sets, which include a S.W.A.T. watch, a badge, handcuffs and a toy gun with three soft rubber darts.

I have mixed feelings about this. My heart goes out to that Texas family for their, of course, tragic loss. But I can’t tell if this product was being marketed to tots, who have a tendency to mouth things, or if the recall is based solely on the terrible accident that befell a child who was certainly old enough to know better than to stick a squashy rubber thing in his mouth.  Because if it’s the latter, the CPSC should also be recalling wadded-up socks, rocks, toy cars and everything else on the planet that shouldn’t go in anyone’s mouth but might possibly… somehow … fit in there anyway. Is it just me?

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009
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PARENT TALKS: Play, Hollering & More

Volunteers (Gary Meader Illustration) The Importance of Play and Creativity Dec. 20 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Nurse Rona and guests, Karen Payne and David Hawkins, co-founders of the Wild Zones, discuss the importance of play.

Setting Limits and Yelling Less in the New Year Dec. 20 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Nurse Rona and Iris Bradford, education manager for Marin Head Start, discuss how to create loving boundaries and a calmer home for your family. Something to add to the list? E-mail us the details or click “comments” and add it right here.

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009
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PBS Kids’ Miss Rosa at Fairyland

PBS Kids' Miss Rosa (Courtesy PBS)Well, this is fun — PBS Kids’ Miss Rosa (Jennifer Pena) is making a surprise appearance at Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland this Saturday, Dec. 5, at 10:45 a.m. to launch a special interactive storytelling activity.

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
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PARENT TALKS: Video Games, Siblings & More

Video game controller Don’t Lose Your Child to Video Games, the Internet and Texting
Dec. 3 from 6:45 to 8 p.m. Seven Hills School, Walnut Creek
Lecture and Q&A by Richard Freed, a Bay Area psychologist who specializes in children’s media issues, including internet addiction. This is the second of three parent education workshops at Seven Hills. Admission is $15 per person (educators are free). Register at Educators are admitted free of charge. Click here to register.

Sibling Harmony
Dec. 6 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org.
Whether you’re having your second or fourth child, helping siblings develop harmonious relationships is a goal parents strive for. Nurse Rona and guests, Meg Zweibeck, author of Keys to Preparing and Caring for Your Second Child, and Dianne Danzig, author of Babies Don’t Eat Pizza, discuss sibling harmony.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
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HANNAH Montana, Jonas Brothers CD Giveaway

Disney Channel Playlist Got a tween at home? The new Disney Channel Playlist CD is like some tween dream with tunes by Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, et al. Yeah, yeah, we know. We can hear the screaming from here! We’re giving away this little disc of happiness and it can be yours – all you have to do is click “comments” and tell us, who is your kids’ (or your) favorite musical star? Are Jonas Brothers posters plastered all over your kid’s room? Or are you an all-Hannah all the time fam? We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday.

P.S. Congrats to Abby, who won last week’s DVD giveaway!

NOTE: This contest is now closed – congrats to Kimberly, who won the CD!

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009
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