Drop-in Activities

Hands-on Museums for Kids and Families in Marin and the Bay Area

February 17, 2015

Exploratorium hands-on fun museumMuseum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Storyland), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.

Create, Code and Play during Microsoft’s free YouthSpark Camps at your Local Store

February 9, 2015

Microsoft Store YouthSpark CampsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from the Microsoft Store at The Village in Corte Madera.

While you likely know that the Microsoft at The Village at Corte Madera is your one-stop-shop for best-in-class products like Surface Pro 3, Xbox One, Windows Phones, and the new Microsoft Band, did you also know that it offers free coding camps for kids? Thanks to the YouthSpark initiative, a Microsoft-wide commitment to empowering 300 million young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurships, these engaging and entertaining after school and weekend camps are now offered year-round! Today's youth face an opportunity divide—a gap between those who have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not—and these camps seek to close that gap.

12 Family Fun Chinese New Year Events

February 5, 2015

Lion dance at Bay Area Discovery Museum Chinese New Year MarinThis month, the Year of the Horse comes to an end and the Year of the Ram begins! Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year takes starts on Thursday, February 19. (This year is also known as Year of the Sheep or Year of the Goat, by the way.)

As with many major holidays, there's plenty of family fun to be found in Marin County and all over the San Francisco Bay Area, ranging from a Chinese New Year Festival at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito on February 16 to the big blowout Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on Saturday, March 7.

Here are 12 fun family Chinese New Year events not to miss in the Bay Area:

Nature for Kids Hikes with Marin County Parks Are Fun and Fascinating

January 15, 2015

Nature for Kids hike with Marin County ParksIt's a New Year, so why not resolve to spend more time outdoors as a family? Get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.

The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.

Led by experienced and knowledgeable naturalists like David Herlocker, these hikes allow everyone in the family to get up-close-and-personal with insects, reptiles, spiders, birds, and other flora and fauna that call Marin home. The programs are really fascinating and will make you look at our open spaces in a completely different way.

Ten Fun Family Things to Do on Thanksgiving Break

November 22, 2014

It's Thanksgiving week, and since most Marin County schools give kids the entire week off, you'll probably be looking for ways to keep them occupied before and after Turkey Day. Here are our top 10 activities for families for Thanksgiving break:

New Storytelling Series at Marin Waldorf School

November 11, 2014

Marin Waldorf School Storytelling SeriesDo you and your kids love a great story? Come to Marin Waldorf School on Tuesday afternoons for their new Storytelling Series!

Stories are presented by Marin Waldorf's preschool and kindergarten faculty, and take place in the school's warm and welcoming classrooms. Stories are appropriate for children ages 3 to 6. Best of all, this program is open to the public and free of charge!

Storytelling Series programs take place from 3:30 to 4 pm on the following Tuesdays: November 11 and December 16, 2014 and January 16, February 3, and March 24, 2015. Please arrive early, as stories begin promptly at 3:30 pm. The first story, on November 11, is A Caterpillar's Voice.

Marin Waldorf School is located at 755 Idylberry Road in the Lucas Valley–Marinwood area of San Rafael. To get there, take Highway 101 to the Lucas Valley Road exit and head west on Lucas Valley Road. Turn right onto Miller Creek Road, then left onto Idylberry Road. Marin Waldorf School will be on your left.

Kids Can Learn Programming with MV Code Club

October 28, 2014

MV Code ClubIf you have a technology-minded kid who wants to explore the world of computers beyond just playing Minecraft and surfing the web, then check out the offerings from the MV Code Club, which just opened its second Marin location in Greebrae's Bon Air Center. Founded last year by Mill Valley software designer Douglas Tarr, MV Code Club offers boys and girls in 1st through 10th grade coding instruction in a fun and engaging environment.

The club made the decision to expand to Greenbrae when it realized that many families were travelling to Mill Valley from as far away as Fairfax and Novato to attend classes. At the club students can explore Scratch, Minecraft mods, HTML, javascript, 3D design, arduino, LEGO Mindstorm, Unity scripting, and more. MV Code Club locations feature 4:1 teacher-student ratios, Mac workstations, Makerbot 3D Printers, Oculus Rift VR, and the latest software and hardware.

Touch a Truck at Oak View Nursery School in San Rafael this Saturday

April 22, 2014

Touch a TruckThis Saturday, April 26, put your imagination in gear and come to Oak View Nursery School for their second annual Touch a Truck event! At Touch a Truck, kids (and grownups, too) will get a chance to get behind the wheel of some amazing vehicles and rub elbows with their hometown heroes.
 
Come and explore and get behind the wheel of your favorite vehicles including a fire truck, dump truck, police car, school bus, tow truck, and even an Army Humvee. This year, they plan on having even more trucks than before! It will definitely be a day to remember.

Touch a Truck takes place from 9:30 am to noon. Admission is $5 per person, and kids under 1 are free. Baked goods and beverages will be available for sale. All proceeds from this event will fund special programing for Oak View Nursery School students.

Explore the Natural Wonders of Marin County with Nature for Kids Hikes

January 6, 2014

David Herlocker at Nature for Kids Marin County ParksThis year we've resolved to spend more time outdoors as a family—to get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks open space areas, and learn about the natural wonders all around us. A fantastic way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.

The Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's open space preserves, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. We recently took part in the Nature for Kids program at Novato's Deer Island Open Space Preserve led by Marin County Parks naturalists David Herlocker and Shannon Burke.

We all met at the Deer Island trailhead at 10 am, where David and Shannon explained a bit about the outing and gave each of the kids a small gift in the form of a neat little folding magnifying lens, something that would become useful later on in the hike. The Nature for Kids hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages. Our group of kids and parents hiked along the Deer Island Loop Trail, stopping to look when someone noticed something interesting along the way.

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