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Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

For a few years now, I’ve been wanting to see the cherry blossom trees while they are in bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.  I walked by the gardens a couple weeks ago on our way to the California Academy of Sciences, and poked my head in to see if the trees…

Climbing Wall at Kolb Park

Outdoor Climbing Walls

Climbing has become a new passion for my son in recent weeks. I signed him up for some classes at a local climbing gym this month, and, with only three lessons so far, I’m surprised at how much his climbing has improved. He would be ecstatic if we could go to the gym every day,…

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Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

We all know that it’s not OK to approach a wild animal out in nature, so how can we provide opportunities to nurture our children’s curiosity about these animals and provide the hands-on learning our children love? We’re fortunate to have many programs in the San Francisco East Bay which allow our children to experience…

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Water Drops

We’re on day four of much-needed rain here in the Bay Area.  My son didn’t feel like going outside today at all, preferring instead to remain inside, constructing Lego farm buildings. I was able to coax him out for a few minutes between rain showers to look for water drops on the plants.   Now…

Sidewalk Chalk Drawing

Outdoor Art: Sidewalk Chalk Drawing

For a quick, easy outdoor activity, I keep a bag of sidewalk chalk on our front porch.  We were home sick yesterday, and drawing on the front walkway with chalk was about the only outside activity my son felt up for. I like this kind of art for its simplicity.  Give child chalk, send outside,…

San Francisco Zoo

Favorite Bay Area Petting Zoos

Touching animals, whether farm animals or ocean creatures, is an experience all children should have the opportunity to enjoy.  Watch the faces of the children around you at a petting zoo, and you’ll see joy, amazement, intense focus, or wonder.   A child may giggle when an animal licks their hands, or may jump back…

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Our Neighborhood Walk

My boy wasn’t feeling well yesterday and didn’t have much energy. After playing inside the house all morning, by the early afternoon, he was ready for some fresh air. He asked to go on one of our favorite outings… a walk around the neighborhood. We’ve put together several walks from our home over the past…

The Japanese Pool

Newts in the Botanical Garden

We’re lucky to live in California newt country. These magical little creatures can be found throughout the hills in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We’ve had luck finding them in Jewel Lake at Tilden and crossing the trails in Las Trampas. Our favorite place for newt viewing, however, is in the Japanese Pool at the…

Emerald Glen Park, Dublin

Rock Climbing: At the Park

When we feel the need for a touch of Yosemite, but can’t get away for the weekend, we head, believe it or not, to our local park.  Emerald Glen Park in Dublin has a great faux granite rock climbing area.  Check out this picture.  Doesn’t it look like the Sierras? Kids seem to especially enjoy…

Take Reading Time Outside

Today is Read Across America Day, and the forecast is for sunshine throughout the Bay Area.  We’re going to celebrate by taking reading time outside today.  Join us!  Pick a favorite book or two, find a sunny, warm location, and, well, simply read to your child.  Not sure where to go?  Here are a few…

Outdoor Art: Splatter Painting

Allow your child to channel their inner Jackson Pollock with this fun, messy painting activity.  This art is made to be done outside, as no sane parent would allow it to take place in the house! Materials: Tempera paint Containers for paint (plastic cups, recycled jars, etc) Large paint brushes Masking tape Large plastic sheet,…