Make Your Own Pink and Red Playdough for Valentine's Day Fun

January 19, 2017

Play doughSculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.

Pull out your Valentine's Day cookie cutters to make heart-shaped cutouts. Just roll out the dough and let the kids go to town with cookies cutters or by hand.

To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 20, 21 & 22

January 18, 2017

Put on your rainboots and take avantage of one of the many family waterfall hikes this weekend.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, January 20

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Fun Days
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Enjoy an afternoon of fun with the family at the South Novato Library. Whether it’s story, art, music or science, this drop-in program promises to be packed with fun! Location: 931 C St., Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents' Night Out: Angry Birds
    Rolling Hills Club, Novato
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    Join us for a viewing of Angry Birds, create a catapult to launch your own Angry Birds, and play some games inspired by the movie. Pizza will be provided. For ages 2.5–12 years. Cost: $22 members and $32 guests. Register online here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley Crab Feed
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Friday, 6:30–9
    pm

    Enjoy all you can eat crab, macaroni and green salads, bread, beer, coffee and dessert. $55 per person; $500 for a table of 10.
    Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Katia & Company presents: Willy Wonka
    The Playhouse, San Anselmo
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday, 2 & 6:30 pm and Sunday, 2 pm

    General Admission: $15 at the door. Show runs approx. 1.5 hrs with a 15-minute intermission. Location: 27 Kensington Road, San Anselmo. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, January 21

  • Waterbird Festival
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Tiburon
    Saturday, 8 am–4 pm

    This fun community and family-friendly event is free and will include naturalist led bird walks, bird scope stations to gain a closer look at the waterbirds visiting our Bay, interactive educational activities, and expert speaker sessions. There will also be exclusive fee-based field trips available. Location: 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Special Exhibit Opening: Rainforest Adventure
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Rainforest Adventure
     is a multisensory expedition that introduces children to tropical rainforests around the world, highlights the challenges facing these unique ecological wonders, and suggests ways that people can make a difference. Learn more here. Cost: museum admission applies. Location: 557 McReynold Road, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. Cost: $7 per person; children under 16 free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays through late March. For more info, visit their website.
  • American Girl Breakfast Party
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Hey, kids—let’s cook breakfast! In this fun American Girl class, we’ll prepare some yummy waffles that are perfect for cooking with your friends the morning after a sleepover. $30 includes a copy of American Girl Parties. Suitable for ages 8-13. Call the store to reserve your spot: (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Open House: Montessori de Terra Linda
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Tour the campus, get an overview of our program, and hear passionate presentations from faculty about the Montessori curriculum. Please call to RSVP at (415) 479-7373 or fill out the form here.  Adults only, please. More information
  • Open House: The Mountain School
    Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Bring the whole family to visit the classrooms, meet the teachers, and chat with Mountain School parents. Refreshments will be served! RSVP here.
  • Open House: Cascade Canyon School
    Fairfax
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm
    Meet the teachers and learn more about Cascade Canyon School this January. RSVP to cascade@cascadecanyon.org. More information
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Pippi Longstocking
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm

    Annika and Tommy's new neighbor Pippi Longstocking has crazy red pigtails, a pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson, and a tendency to get caught up in one outrageous adventure after another! Whether she's fending off burglars, wrestling a circus strongman, or sailing away on a pirate ship, Pippi wins over even the sternest of hearts in this rollicking musical adaptation of Astrid Lindgren's beloved book. Location: 2020 Addison Street Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 524-2941 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Sand Dune Designs
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
    Much of San Francisco used to be covered in sand dunes and dune plants. Come create your own dunescape inspired by the beautiful dune habitats that have been restored at the Presidio. Drop in anytime between 11 am–4 pm. Free. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Storytime:Nanette's Baguette Storytime
    Barnes and Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 11 am

    Mo Willems' hilarious new picture book Nanette's Baguette follows our plucky heroine on her first big solo trip to the bakery. But... will Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette? Or will Nanette soon be beset with regret? Find out at Storytime. Location: 313 Corte Mader Town Center, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sea Lions Anniversary
    PIER 39, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    Celebrate the 27th anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival to PIER 39! Celebrate with free Sea Lion Encounter Walking Tours, departing daily at noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm from the Sea Lion Statue west of the PIER 39 Entrance Plaza. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kid Science with Dr. Bonyfide and the Know Yourself Books
    DIESEL, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Saturday, 11 am–noon
    Dr. Bonyfide the skeleton will be at the store with "bones" of fun and hands-on activities for kids and parents too! Come down and discover what's possible with the award-winning Know Yourself workbook series. Explore the 5 senses through coloring and science experiments. One lucky family will win a 3 month subscription to Know Yourself Adventure Series, and we will also be giving away other prizes and swag! For ages 4–8. Location: Larkspur Landing. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creek Walk to See Spawning Coho Salmon
    Samuel P Taylor Park, San Geronimo
    Saturday, 12:30 am–2:30 pm
    With the first hard rains in the watershed comes the beginning of spawning season for Coho salmon. SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tour will meet at the front Kiosk of Camp Taylor and embark on a journey to multiple creek sites in search of some of these critically endangered salmon. Tours are open to all ages and abilities. Cost: $10 per person donation requested. Register here.
  • Family Nature Walks
    Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 1–4 pm

    Get the kids outside and let them explore Spring Lake Regional Park with a naturalist from the park’s Environmental Discovery Center. One-hour hikes start at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Discovery Center. Families can return to the Center after each hike for nature-themed crafts and to explore the touchable tide pool and other exhibits. The Discovery Center is at the park’s Violetti Road entrance. Parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and bring a bottle of water. Heavy rain cancels. For more info, visit their website.
  • Harlem Globetrotters 2017 World Tour
    Oracle Arena, Oakland
    Saturday, 2 & 7 pm

    The Original Harlem Globetrotters are preparing for their action-packed 2016–2017 tour! A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages. Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability). Tickets: $21.25–$213.50. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Chamber Orchestra: Meet the Composers
    Noe Valley Ministry, San Francisco
    Saturday, 2 pm

    Travel back in time with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra to say hello to Mr. Bach and Mr. Mozart, two famous composers from our music history books. Then, head back to 2017 and meet a soon-to-be-famous composer of today—UC Davis professor of composition Laurie San Martin! Actor/clown Slater Penney brings Bach and Mozart to life in this Family Concert, which also features our three young Debut Artists. Location: 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Maker Saturdays! Gak Factory
    Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley

    Saturday, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
    Encourage the do-it-yourself mindset and come build, invent, design and create something! Projects are designed for 4-7 year olds, younger children with adult assistance. Supports STEM learning. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Isabel Cook Community Center, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 5:30-9:30 pm

    Come spend your Saturday night in the tumbling room with our teachers while your parents have the night off. Tumbling, a movie and snacks will be provided. Bring special diet snacks. For ages 4–12 years. Cost: $20 per night/per child. Please register in advance to ensure there is space for your child! Online registration guarantees a space! Register at www.sananselmorecreation.org.
  • Campfire Program
    Sonoma State Historic Park
    Saturday, 5–6 pm

    Bring the family for a talk with a park interpretive specialist, songs, stories and a marshmallow roast. Fun for all ages. Free. Heavy rain cancels. Location: Barracks Courtyard, Sonoma Historic Park. For more info, visit their website.
  • Indoor Power Play
    Cal Star Gymnastics, Novato

    Saturday, 6–9 pm
    Drop the kiddos ( K-8 th grade) for some indoor fun. They can run, jump and play in an open gymnastics environment. Bring the kids in on a rainy day or any day to burn some energy. Cost: $24/ per child. Location: 70 Digital Drive, Suite #3 in Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • 3rd Annual Animal Film Festival
    Marin Humane Society, Novato
    Saturday, 7–8:30 pm

    Continuing its commitment to support projects and programs that promote animal welfare, reduce suffering, and save lives, the Marin Humane Society is bringing The Animal Film Festival on Tour to Novato
    Taking place at the Marin Humane Society auditorium, the event features award-winning films from the 2016 Animal Film Festival. Cost: $10–$15. Purchase tickets here. Location: 171 Bel Marin Keys, Novato. For more info, visit their website.

Montessori de Terra Linda Open House, Saturday, January 21

January 18, 2017

Montessori de Terra Linda

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Montessori de Terra Linda.

Montessori de Terra Linda is an exceptional school serving families in the heart of Marin County from preschool through sixth grade. Join us on Saturday, January 21 from 10 am until noon for our prospective parent Open House. Connect with our teachers and learn how the Montessori curriculum meets a child’s developmental needs at each program level and fosters a lifelong love of learning. Explore our campus, hear about our specialty art, language and music programs, and meet current parents from our warm community. Please RSVP by calling (415) 479-7373 or email admissions@mdtl.org.

Marin Fitness Classes with Childcare

January 17, 2017

working out at pomegranate in san anselmo Pomegranate Prenatal Yoga & Parent Center, San Anselmo; photo by Fluid Frame

Getting a good workout in can sometimes be difficult with little ones around, so we've put together this list of Marin County drop-in fitness classes that offer childcare at the same time. Some of these fitness centers require memberships, but those that do often offer day passes so you can give it a try; check their websites or give them a call for complete details and class schedules.

Great Five-and-Under Family Hikes in Marin

January 17, 2017

Toddler preschooler hiking Marin

Taking the kiddos along for a hike on one of Marin's many fantastic trails is fun and rewarding. It can be a bit of a challenge though when they want to tackle the trail on their own but can't really go that far. Then there's the fact that toddlers and preschoolers don't always have the greatest of attention spans, which means that it's great to have something to see and do along the way.

We've put together a list of our favorite hiking spots in Marin County for families with kids in preschool or younger. They're all relatively short and easy to hike—and you can take along the off-road stroller for backup, just in case. (If you're looking for hikes that are perfect for strollers but maybe a little longer than these, check out our guide to stroller hikes in Marin County.)

Marin County Swim Team Signups 2017

January 16, 2017

Marin Swim League

One of our favorite sports activities is swimming, and there's no better way to get involved and have a blast than to compete with your local swim team. It's fun, and really builds swimming skills and great sportsmanship.

Now's the time to sign up for swim teams for this spring and summer. Listed below are the 10 Marin Swim League swim teams located throughout the county and their registration dates. Click on the team name to go to their website. The swim team season begins with practices in March and wraps up in mid-July with the Championship meet, usually held at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus pool in Novato.

For more information on the Marin Swim League, including a full schedule of 2017 spring and summer swim meets, visit www.marinswimleague.org.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 13-16

January 16, 2017

Get healthy at the 5th Annual Family Fun Run and Health Fair this Saturday from 9 am2 pm.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this MLK weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, January 13

  • Last Weekend: Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House
    Marin Headlands, Sausalito
    Friday & Saturday, 12:30–3:30 pm

    Unique in the National Park Service, this restored Cold War anti-aircraft missile site has intriguing stories to tell. Take a ranger-guided tour of this restored facility, and learn about its history from volunteers, many of whom served at sites like. Free. Read about our visit here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Visit with a Beekeeper!
    Sonoma County Children's Museum, Santa Rosa
    Friday, 1–3 pm
    We all know how crucial bees are to our food supply, gardens, and beyond. Shouldn’t we learn more about the importance of these fantastic creatures? Come chat with a real Sonoma County beekeeper on the second Friday of the month from 1 to 3 pm. Museum admission applies. Location: 1835 West Steele Lane Santa Rosa. For more info, call (707) 546-4069 or visit their website.
  • Parents' Night Out: Mad Science
    Rolling Hills Club, Novato
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    Science is a BLAST! Come enjoy a dry ice performance where bubbles are filled with smoke, create elephants toothpaste, and make a balloon scream! We will watch Jimmy Neutron. A pizza dinner will be served. Must be potty trained. For ages 2.5–12 years. Cost: $22 members and $32 guests. Register online here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spaghetti Bingo
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Friday, 6:15 pm

    Bring the family for a night of bingo and dinner too. Cost: $8 per person for 9 bingo cards and dinner.
    Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 14

  • 5th Annual Health Fair & Family Fun Run
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 8:30 am–2 pm
    Get out your running shoes, walking shoes, and friends and family! This fun family event has options for everyone, from competitive runners to parents with little ones in strollers or those who just want to stroll among friends! Runs include a 3-mile race friendly competitive race, a 1.5 mile friendly competitive race, a 1.5-mile family jog/walk, a 1-mile family walk, and even Toddler Dashes for those little ones ages 2 – 5 years. Toddler runs are guided by Coach Tony from Amazing Athletes. Pre-registration is suggested. Register Online at www.millvalleyfamilyfunrun.org

Dutch-Style Split Pea Soup Warms on a Winter Evening

January 15, 2017

Dutch split-pea soup or snert

Nothing beats a hot and hearty bowl of soup on a chilly winter evening. In the Netherlands, a favorite winter dish is split pea soup, known in Dutch as erwtensoep or snert. It's similar to its American counterpart, but differs a bit in that it uses a variety of vegetables as well as smoked pork like bacon and ham. The Dutch also prefer to use yellow split peas over the green ones we usually associate with the dish.

We like to make this if we have a hambone left over from a holiday dinner. If you don't have a hambone use a smoked hamhock instead. In the Netherlands they often add slices of rookworst, a smoked sausage, so feel free to add some to the pot; kielbasa or smoked bratwurst are good substitutes.

Among the veggies that go into the pot is celery root, also known as celeriac. It's that ugly knobby thing that you may have run across in the produce section, and if you're not familiar with it it can look a little scary. It's delicious, though, and adds a distinctive flavor to the soup, so don't leave it out! It's probably easiest to peel with a sharp paring knife rather than a vegetable peeler.

Family Hike at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

January 15, 2017

Jack London State Historic Park

This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing.

The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in winter and early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

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