The Best Way To Chill Out Your Kids This Summer

May 30, 2014

Chi 4 ChildrenMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marian Brandenburg and Chi 4 Children, now offering summer sessions at the Dailey Method in Corte Madera and Fairfax. Learn more at www.chi4children.com.

Chi 4 Children, a new dynamic based on ancient wisdom, is enrolling now for summer sessions conveniently scheduled at the Dailey Method Studios in Corte Madera and Fairfax. Children can enjoy relaxing plus Mom has the option to get in a great workout, all before dinner. Or how about offering this exciting concept for kids at your next party?

Children can have so much energy. But at what point do they learn to constructively and creatively utilize it to benefit their body, mind and spirit? A long-time mom in Marin with decades of experience as a holistic practitioner, Marian Brandenburg wanted to answer that question. Listening to other Marin mothers who longed for more meaningful youth programs, she developed Chi 4 Children to give kids delightful and easy-to-learn tools that provide them with an early awareness of harmony within themselves. Using ancient knowledge backed by scientific study, Chi 4 Children is an hour long, 4 part fusion class aimed for ages 6–12.

Free Summer Outdoor Concerts in Marin 2014

May 27, 2014

One of my favorite things about summer are the free outdoor concerts that take place throughout Marin. There's something about the warm weather and the long days that make events like these really special. From Novato to Sausalito, there's something for every family!

Pack a picnic and your folding chairs and check out a free summer concert near you. Here's our list of events taking place this summer. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know.

Belvedere

  • Belvedere Concerts in the Park Summer Series
    Belvedere Community Park
    Sundays, 4 pm

    June 15, July 13, August 17 & 31
    The Concerts-in-the-Park Committee presents four fabulous and free Sunday afternoon concerts for your enjoyment this summer. Bring a blanket, a picnic, your family and friends, and have a great time. For complete list of entertainment, visit their website.

Corte Madera

  • Summer Music Series
    Corte Madera Town Center
    Sundays, 2–4 pm, June 8–September 28

    Bring the family to the free outdoor summer concerts at the Corte Madera Town Center. Acts include Elvis impersonator Michael Bartel, David Rocha Jazz, and New West Guitar Group. For more information, visit their website.

June Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

May 27, 2014

Parents Place MarinParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This spring, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer in June, including a webinar, "Raising a Spirited Child", on June 25:

Handling Parental Anger (all ages)

We're only human! Parenting young children is a joy. It is also one of the hardest jobs you'll ever do. Frustration and exhaustion are common, and anger cannot be avoided. We all lose our tempers occasionally, but learning to take care of our own feelings first is crucial before dealing with a child's behavior. During this workshop, gather information from the workshop leader and talk to other parents in similar circumstances. Devise a plan to deal with your anger so that it doesn't overtake you or harm your child or family life. Understand how and when your buttons are pushed and find constructive ways to express yourself. With Susan Byrd, LCSW. Monday, June 9, 6:30–8:30 pm. $40. Register here.

Paws to Read this Summer at the Marin County Free Library!

May 26, 2014

Paws to Read Summer Reading Program Marin County Free Library 2014It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of the school year. You can keep the learning—and fun—alive this summer by participating in the Marin County Free Library's 2014 summer reading program, Paws to Read. Paws to Read is packed with exciting free activities designed to inspire creativity, learning, and exploring. And it's not just for kids—the whole family can participate!

This year's program is built around Reader BINGO, with different cards available for children, teens (entering grades 6–12), and adults. Complete squares or rows on your bingo card and win prizes and get entered in raffle drawings. Kids can earn prizes like a Paws to Read T-shirt; teens can enter drawings for prizes like Giants tickets, gift cards, and even an iPad Mini; and adults can enter drawings for food and beverage gift cards from local businesses. Teens and adults can also choose a free gently used book when enrolling in Paws to Read, courtesy of the Book Place, the Library's used bookstore located in downtown Novato. Download your bingo cards and get started.

Join the Southern Marin Mothers' Club at the Community Counts Party

May 25, 2014

Southern Marin Mothers Club Community Counts ProgramIf you ever thought about joining the Southern Marin Mothers' Club, now is the time. The Southern Marin Mothers' Club (SMMC) is a non-profit organization with over 1,500 members from all over Marin. It's a great way to connect with other parents, learn through educational events, and find playgroups for your kids.

This year SMMC launched the newest part of the club, the Community Counts Program. This program partners with local businesses to help suport the community and offers exclusive discounts to SMMC members. SMMC is having their first annual Community Counts Partner Party on Tuesday May 27, from 6–9 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center. Over 40 local businesses will be in attendance and will treat members to free food, drinks, and dessert—including appetizers from Tamalpie, wine from Charles Krug and Mondavi, and treats from Nothing Bundt Cakes—along with generous gifts from each supporting business.

Riding the Rails at Sonoma TrainTown

May 24, 2014

Sonoma TrainTown RailroadWhen we're in the Wine Country, we always make sure we visit TrainTown, the fun and fantastic miniature railroad located in the town of Sonoma. It's a place that I used to visit back when I was a kid, and it's the kind of destination that takes you and your family back to a simpler, less hectic time.

Sonoma TrainTown offers train-related activities that are fun for everyone, from toddlers to grade school kids (and adults, too), as well as a selection of carnival-style rides. It's also a short drive from pretty much anywhere in Marin, which makes TrainTown a must-visit attraction for North Bay families.

A Sonoma Valley landmark since the early 1950s, TrainTown has that old-fashioned roadside-attraction kind of charm associated with a bygone era. It's right on Broadway as you head into town, so it's impossible to miss. Park your car, buy your tickets at the admission booth, and hop on when the train arrives at the station. Train rides last approximately 20 minutes, and are drawn by a variety of engines, both diesel and steam.

Marin Memorial Day Weekend Family Events 2014

May 22, 2014
American Crown Circus comes to Marin on Memorial Day Weekend
American Crown Circus/Circus Osorio brings its big top to Marinwood this Memorial Day weekend.

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

Friday, May 23

  • American Crown Circus/Circus Osorio
    St. Vincent's, Marinwood
    Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, various times

    This family run bilingual circus, presented by Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, is centered around acrobats, performers, and clowns, with no exotic animals. Performances are on Friday, May 23 at 6:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 at 1:30, 4, and 6:30 pm; and Monday, May 26 at 1:30 and 4 pm. Advance tickets are $12 and are good for any performance; two children under 12 admitted free per paid advance adult ticket. Tickets at the gate $18. Advance tickets available until 6:30 pm on Sunday, May 25. Parking fee $5. For more info or to order tickets, vist their website.
  • Kiddo Family Carnival
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Friday, 4–10 pm, Saturday & Sunday, noon–10 pm & Monday, noon–5 pm

    Bring the family for a four-day real old-fashioned carnival. There will be rides for all ages, plus food and games. The littlest ones in your family will love the Berry-Go-Round and the Tune Train, while your teenagers will be thrilled with the Sizzler, Zipper, Century Wheel, and the Typhoon. Advance discounted ticket books will be available in the Kiddo! office and Mill Valley Community Center while they last. Books are $20 advance, $30 once the carnival begins. Books may be turned in for a one-day wrist band for unlimited rides. Food and games extra. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, May 24

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • New Exhibit: Broken? Fix It!
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm
    Broken? Fix it! invites visitors to embrace the broken as they discover the joy and satisfaction in making things whole or usable again. The exhibit encourages children and adults to learn together to diagnose problems, then roll up their sleeves and get inside the repair process. Visitors try their hand at a variety of fix-it activities, including figuring out why the car thumps and clangs, getting a bike rolling again, repairing a shoe, and fixing a toy train track. General admission $11; free for infants under 6 months and members. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Forever Family Spring Walk at Muir Woods
    Muir Woods, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9:30 am–12:30 pm

    Bring your family on this slow and moderate walk through the redwood forest on the Fern Creek Trail to Camp Alice Eastwood and back. Discover wild and endangered coho salmon, banana slug trails, the Native American uses of plants, ghost redwoods, and more. Appropriate for ages 6 and above. Stroller and wheelchairs not advised. Backpack baby carriers ok. Dress in layers, bring water and a light snack, wear sturdy shoes with good treads. Reservations required; please phone (415) 388-2596. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 36th Annual San Francisco Carnaval
    Harrison Street, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    As one of the Bay Area’s most beloved events, the free family-friendly San Francisco Carnaval Festival is a 2-day event that showcases a diverse array of food, live music and activities for all. Enjoy a variety of dancing: Salsa, Samba, Reggae, Tango, Hip- Hop, Merengue, Calypso, Cha Cha Cha, Cumbia, and Mambo into the evening. The Grand Parade takes place on Sunday and starts at 9:30 am at the corner of 24th and Bryant Streets, where it will proceed west to Mission Street. From there, the parade heads north on Mission down to 17th Street, where it will turn East and flow into the Festival area. For more info, visit their website.
  • Washed Ashore
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 10 am–4 pm
    Through spectacular, giant sea life sculptures made with debris that has “washed ashore,” this new exhibit creates awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution and gives new meaning to the common man-made items we throw in the garbage every day. These amazing works of art have been created from thousands of pounds of debris removed from local beaches. A sea lion pup, a whale bones rib cage, and an ocean gyre—all made from ocean and beach garbage—are a few of the gigantic sculptures that will be on display throughout the summer. Tickets: $17 adults, $14 seniors 65+, $11 children 4–14, free for children 3 and under. Parking $8 weekdays, $10 weekends. For more information, visit their website.
  • Marin Greek Festival
    Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, Novato
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–10 pm
    Come celebrate the culture of Greece with fabulous authentic Greek cuisine, live Greek music and dance, children's activities, cooking demonstrations, and more. Adults $6, seniors 55+ $4, children 16 and under free. The Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church is at 1110 Dickson Drive in Novato. For more info, call (415) 883-1998 or visit their website.
  • Kids Patchwork Series: Octopretzel
    Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley
    Saturday, 11 am

    In a show as exuberant as their whimsical name, Octopretzel returns to the Freight stage to share exciting new material! The band creates engaging music, inspiring curiosity, wonder, and appreciation for the world we live in. Their skilled musicianship and magical way with children guarantees a dance-able, sing-able and fun experience for the whole family. For all ages. Doors open at 10:Cost: $8 advance, $10 at the door. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 644-2020 or visit their website.

U-Pick Season at Bloomfield Organics Begins This Sunday, May 25!

May 22, 2014

Bloomfield Organics U-PickU-pick time is almost here! Starting Sunday, May 25, Bloomfield Organics family farm (formerly known as Bloomfield Farms) will be open on the last Sunday of every month for you and your kids to not only see where your food comes from, but to pick your own seasonal organic produce, too! This certified organic family farm is located in the rolling hills west of Petaluma, and it's a short scenic drive from anywhere in Marin. It's a lot of fun, and at $40 for a large box of vegetables, it's a great deal, too.

The Collins Family and the staff at the farm are warm and welcoming and happy to help and explain about the different crops growing at the farm. Head out into the fields and pick exactly what you and your family want. Crops include, depending on the time of year, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, beans, squash, celery, fresh herbs, beets, and more.

You'll also be able to buy other goods like eggs, strawberries, plant starts, and farm-made products at the farm stand. On most u-pick weekends, Chef Matt Elias will be on hand for a delicious "pay what you can" brunch made with fresh produce and eggs from the farm and other local producers. The brunch will not be offered on May 25, so bring a picnic to enjoy on the farm instead.

Cool Off at Marin Community Pools 2014

May 20, 2014

Looking for a pool in Marin to keep cool on a warm summer day? Here's our list of swimming pools throughout the county that are open to the public and offer drop-in recreational swim hours for families.

All schedules and drop-in fees are accurate at the time of publishing, but are subject to change and cancellation without notice. It always helps to give them a call to confirm hours and prices before you go. If you know of another local drop-in swim facility that you don't see in our roster here, please let us know and we'll add it to the list.

Kentfield

  • College of Marin Kentfield Campus Pool
    Physical Education Facility
    835 College Avenue, Kentfield
    (415) 485-9578

    Schedule:
    June 16–August 17 (closed July 4)
    Monday–Sunday 1–6 pm

    Extended fall public swim hours (August 23–31): Saturdays and Sundays only 1–6 pm

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