Indoor Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & Beyond

January 8, 2017

Indoor play

Looking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activities in Marin County and beyond:

Berkeley

  • Habitot Children's Museum
    2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
    (510) 647-1111

    Discovery Museum for young children, toddlers and infants. Fun activities, hands on exhibits, arts & crafts, fun classes, music and much more. Cost: $10.00 per child (free under 12 mo.) and $10.00 per adult For more info, visit their website.

Make Your Own Easy Homemade Pretzels

January 8, 2017

homemade pretzels

It's almost as fun for kids to make their own snacks as it is for them to eat them! This pretzel recipe is easy, fast, and perfect for children to help with, and the results are delicious, too. My kids love to make these tasty pretzels when friends come over. It's a great activity for rainy days and playgroups, too. Why not bake up a batch this weekend?

The only part of this recipe that's not kid-friendly is boiling the pretzels briefly in a baking soda and water solution—have a grown-up handle this part. This step gives the pretzels their characteristic crunch, brown color, and flavor. You can omit it if you like; the pretzels will still be good, but won't be quite the same.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

January 8, 2017

Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

Winter  to use your slow cooker, since it's perfect for making long-simmered comfort food favorites that hit the spot on a cool evening. Try out this recipe for a Mexican-style tortilla soup. The technique couldn't be easier: you just throw almost everything in the cooker and let it go all day, adding beans and corn at the end.

Everyone likes this because you can personalize your bowl with various garnishes, like avocado, cheese, sour cream, and more. Fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika give this soup a delicious smoky flavor, but of course you can use the normal varieties of these ingredients, too.

The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

January 7, 2017

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesFor many years, I've been on a search for the best-ever chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I think I've found it! These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers and taste and look fantastic. The addition of oatmeal gives these cookies a nutty taste, too.

They're based on the recipe published by King Arthur Flour, who in turn got it from the Cookies for Kids' Cancer non-profit. It's King Arthur's 2015 recipe of the year—make a batch and you'll see why.

This recipes makes approximately 20 large cookies if using a 1/4 cup scoop to measure out the dough. You can use a smaller size to get more cookies, but keep in mind that baking times may vary.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 6, 7 & 8

January 7, 2017

Take a waterfall hike with your family 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 6

  • 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.
  • Last Weekend for Ice Skating: Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday-Sunday, noon–10 pm

    This is the last weekend for Marin on Ice, an outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Bring the kiddos out to for a day of ice skating. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental, and "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners. For more info, call (707) 738-8496 or visit onicemarin.com.
  • Embarcadero Center Ice Rink
    Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–11:30 pm and Sunday, 10 am–9:30 pm
    The Bay Area's largest outdoor ice rink offers 90-minute skating sessions Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 9:30 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 11:30 pm. Admission is $11 for adults and $7 for children ages 7 and under; skate rental is $5. They also offer group rates, as well as birthday parties and private rentals. For more info, call 415) 837-1931 or 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.
  • Kids' PJ Party with Dev Petty!
    Diesel, A Bookstore in Larkspur
    Friday, 6 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Dev Petty will be here to read you a bedtime story from I Don't Want to be Big. Get cozy, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, and get your books signed. Then head home for bed. Free. Location: 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur. For more info, visit their website.
  • de Youngsters Family Art Party 2017
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Join other Bay Area families in putting the "art" in "party" at the de Youngsters third annual benefit bash for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Guests both young and "young at art" will enjoy a fun-filled evening at the de Young exploring color and line fun-filled evening at the de Young exploring art and innovation in the true spirit of San Francisco. Activities will include hands-on art making, live performances, cutting edge technology, and more surprises! For info and tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, January 9

  • Free Access to all Parks
    Marin County Parks
    Saturday, All Day

    Starting this January, Marin County Parks is offering free access to all parks on the first Saturday of the month all year long! Includes Blackpoint Boat Launch, McInnis Park, McNears Beach Park, Miller Boat Launch, Paradise Beach Park, and Stafford Lake Park. For more info, visit their website.
  • Last Weekend: Iceless Skating Rink
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Hit the “ice” this winter with family and friends at the Bay Area Discovery Museum's Iceless Skating Rink. Children can strap on skates and glide around on a synthetic ice rink in the museum's Discovery Hall. The synthetic ice rink provides all the fun of a real ice rink but without the cold and icy falls. Get in the holiday spirit with this classic winter activity. Best of all, it's free with museum admission or membership. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.

Learn a New Adventure Sport this Summer with Avid4 Adventure

January 6, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Avid4 Adventure which offers summer camps for kids K-12th grades in Mill Valley, Oakland, Palo Alto and Saratoga. Learn more at avid4.com.

While you might know about Avid4 Adventure’s popular multi-sport camps, which give kids a chance to try out a variety of fun and exciting outdoor activities, from stand-up paddleboarding and mountain biking to climbing and kayaking, you might not know about their single-sport programs. This summer Avid4 Adventure will offer several fun single-sport camps in Mill Valley: Learn to Bike!, Intro to Skateboarding, Survival Skills, Stand Up Paddleboarding, & Mountain Biking.

Upcoming Marin Private School and Preschool Open Houses

January 5, 2017

San Domenico School

Photo: San Domenico School

This month, several independent schools and preschools in Marin are holding open houses for parents of prospective students. If you're considering a local a preschool or elementary school for your child, you'll definitely want to. The following schools and preschools are holding open houses this January. Most require RSVPs in advance.

  • San Domenico School
    San Anselmo
    Saturday, January 7, 10 am

    The best way to get to know San Domenico is to come for a visit! Their K–8 open house takes place Saturday, January 7. RSVP online. More information
  • Greenwood School
    Mill Valley
    Wednesday, January 11, 6:30–8:30 pm
    Greenwood School offers a sophisticated academic program within a culture that honors creativity, integrity, and striving. Come tour the campus, visit classrooms, and ask questions of our Head of School, faculty, parents, eighth-grade students and alumni. Children grades 5 and above welcome. RSVP required: (415) 388-0495 or admissions@greenwoodschool.org.

The 2017 Marin Summer Camp Guide is Coming Soon!

January 5, 2017

Avid 4 Adventure summer camp

The 2017 edition of our annual Marin Summer Camp Guide is coming soon! Marin Mommies' Marin Summer Camp Guide is a comprehensive directory of summer camps in Marin County, with select camps from elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, including Sonoma County, San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula.

If you run or represent a summer camp and wish to update your camp's information or add a new camp to the guide, submit the new or updated info in a listing here. We welcome listings for camps within Marin County and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, but if you have an awesome summer camp located outside the area that would be of interest to Marin and Bay Area families, feel free to submit the information and we'll consider adding it to the guide. (Note that all summer camp submissions are subject to administrator approval before they go live, and out-of-area camps will be included at the editors' discretion.)

Family Fun at the de Youngsters Art Party this Friday

January 5, 2017

de Youngsters Art Party Photo courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Come help put the "art" in "party" at the fourth annual de Youngsters Art Party, taking place this Friday, January 6, 2017, from 6 to 9 pm at the de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This one-of-a-kind, after-hours festive family outing raises $50,000 annually for the museum's education department, helping to support educational initiatives like free youth programs and summer camp scholarships for children in low-income families.

This year's Art Party theme is inspired by the special exhibition Frank Stella: A Retrospective. Partygoers can explore the exhibition, experience live performances by Velocity Circus, experience an "activation station" created by Adobe, enjoy mocktails in the Tween Glow Lounge, make flipbooks, and much more. We attended the de Youngsters Art Party last year, and had a blast!

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