Winter Teen Writers Workshop at Northbay Artworks in Novato

November 17, 2013

Summer writingDo you have a middle- or high-schooler who loves to write? In the Teen Writers Workshop this winter at Northbay ArtWorks in Novato, budding authors can indulge their love of storytelling while also learning valuable writing techniques.

Students will focus on creating compelling characters that come to life for readers. In the end, they'll write short stories to be included in a professional-quality class anthology! This workshop is run by Brenda Zahn, a professional writer and journalist with 20 years of experience.

The next session begins December 2 and runs through January 27. Classes are held Monday afternoons from 4 to 5 pm at Northbay ArtWorks, 7049 Redwood Boulevard, Suite 208 in Novato. Each seven-week session costs $110.

For more information or to register, contact Brenda Zahn at or (415) 893-0426 or visit the Young Writer's Workshop Facebook page. To learn more about Northbay ArtWorks, visit

Celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day This Saturday at Five Little Monkeys in Novato

November 8, 2013

Five Little MonkeysThis Saturday, November 9, is the fourth annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day, which supports local shopping, independent retailers, and community fun. To celebrate, Novato's independent toy store, Five Little Monkeys, is offering 20% off everything in the store on Saturday only from 9 am-6 pm. Get a head start on your holiday shopping!

Five Little Monkeys offers a wide variety of toy for kids of all ages, from babies to teens. Their unique selection of toys and children's books includes figures, dolls, dress-up, magic sets, musical instruments, games, and educational and eco-friendly toys, as well as well known brands like the Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Railway, Playmobil, LEGO, Schleich, Breyer, Rainbow Loom, and more. They also have a wide selection of classic novelties and joke gifts. It's our go-to place for fun and unique birthday gifts and special treats.

Not sure what to get? Check out our guides to the hottest toys for babies and toddlers and kids ages 3 to 5, compiled with the help of Five Little Monkeys' staff.

Rolling Hills Club's Free Fall Family Festival

October 23, 2013

Come to the Rolling Hills Club, Novato's family sports and fitness club, this Saturday, October 26 from 10 am to 2 pm, for their free Fall Family Festival! This free family event celebrates the season and the local community with food, fun, and a sampling of what the club has to offer.

Children's activities and fun include a bounce house and face painting on the club's pool deck and arts and crafts in the Kids Club and Entertainment Center. There will also be a "Just Keep Swimming" kids' scavenger hunt—find all the characters from the Rolling Hills Swim School and win a prize!

Moylan's Brewery and Restaurant will be serving up food, Oktoberfest-style, with bratwurst and beer on the club's pool deck from noon to 2 pm. Kids' beverage options will also be available. Live music will be provided by the Sandy Geller Jazz Trio.

Other activiites include samplers from the club's fitness studio, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, cycling, and CoreAlign, lifeguard tests, a tennis clinic and junior playday, personal training fitness assessments, and more. There will be a special one-day-only membership special, too.

All members of the community are welcome, and it should be a lot of fun!

Enter Your Dog in the Woodlands Annual Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest

October 22, 2013

Woodlands Pet Food & Treats pet parade and costume contestHalloween is a fun time for families, so why not get everyone involved, including your dog? If your dog has a Halloween costume, then stop by Woodlands Pet Food & Treats at any of their Marin locations this October for their 2013 pet parade and costume contest.

Prizes that your costumed canine can win include best in show, scariest, coolest, cutest couple, and many more. All proceeds benefit local rescue shelters, including the Milo Foundation, Marin Friends of Ferals, and North Star Animal Rescue.

Of course human kids are welcome to attend as well—there will be a free trick-or-treating event at each Woodlands Pet Food & Treats and other shops near their location.

The pet parade and costume contest takes place at the following days and times:

  • Mill Valley, 701 Strawberry Village: Saturday, October 26, 4–6 pm
  • Greenbrae, 296 Bon Air Center: Saturday, October 26, 3–5 pm

Fall Fine Art Classes for Kids at Studio 4 Art in Novato

October 9, 2013

Studio 4 ArtStudio 4 Art in downtown Novato is a great place in Marin to get creative, and this week celebrated its sixth year of bringing great art classes, drop-in workshops, and birthday parties for kids of all ages. This fall, Studio 4 Art offers a wide variety of great classes for children ages 2 to 17.

Here are some highlights of Studio 4 Art's fun and educational offerings for fall. Most classes are ongoing, so you can sign up at any time, and a 10% sibling discount is offered for many programs.

Toddler Program: Toddlers (and a parent or helper) can explore, get a little messy, and learn to love art and creativity at four different stations. Meets once a week for 4 consecutive weeks, Monday–Friday (you choose the day), 10–10:40 am. $49.50 including materials.

Preschool Program: Kids will learn art fundamentals through instructor-led projects in media like clay, painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, sewing, and more. Meets once a week for 6 consecutive weeks, Monday, Thursday, or Friday (you choose the day), 11 am–noon. $120 including materials.

Calling All Young Actors! Audition for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Novato This Saturday

September 2, 2013

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCalling all talented kids ages 7 to 13! This Saturday, September 7, is your chance to try out for Katia & Company's fall production of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Come take part in this sweet journey of discovery and wonder through Willy Wonka's fabulous world of chocolate!

Auditions take place from 9:30 to 11 am at the West Wing Auditorium at the Hamilton Community Center, 503B South Palm Drive, in Novato. A mandatory 20-minute parent meeting will take place after auditions. Everyone registered will receive a role in the production. Children wishing to be considered for a lead role will need to prepare a short monologue and a song (30 seconds or less). You can download the audition packet with monologues here. Full audition details can be found here.

Rehearsals for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will take place on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Performances are scheduled for Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7. This production is produced by Katia & Company in association with Novato Parks and Recreation.

Preschool Profile: Hamilton Preschool Programs in Novato

August 14, 2013

Novato State Preschool ProgramThe Hamilton preschool programs are run by Novato Parks and Recreation and include Pre-K (ages 4–5), Tiny Tots (ages 3–4), and Teeny Tots (ages 2–3). Programs take place at the Hamilton Community Center. They offer a healthy balance of play and academics to stimulate social, emotional, and educational growth.

There will be an open house this weekend, August 17 from 10-11:30 am.

The Hamilton programs are taught by two California credentialed teachers who have preschool and elementary school experience, and are knowledgeable in Novato Unified School District curriculum and standards and will offer necessary preparation for Kindergarten as well as important social skill building. We asked the staff to tell us more about the school and its programs and why it might be a great choice for your child.

Please describe your school’s educational philosophy. What’s it all about?

We are a quality program that focuses on social, emotional, and academic development. We provide a safe, loving, warm environment for children to play, learn, laugh, and grow. We believe children learn through their play as well as a small amount of direct instruction. We are credentialed teachers and moms that have worked in and have/had children in the Novato preschool and elementary school system and have taken that knowledge into our program so that they are well-rounded and

Rock Out with the Wonderbread 5 at the Novato Theater's Free Summer Benefit Concert

August 13, 2013

Wonderbread 5This Sunday, August 18, dance in the streets to the sounds of the Wonderbread 5 and the Uphill Both Ways Band as they perform in the Novato Theater's third annual free summer concert. The concert takes place from 1 to 5 pm, and takes place in front of Trek Winery on Machin Street between Sweetser and Vallejo.

Food and beverages will be for sale by sponsors Anchor Brewing, Trek Winery, Muscio's restaurant, Mi Pueblo, Red Boy Pizza, and Powell's Sweet Shoppe. Bring your blankets and low-backed lawn chairs.

If you've seen the Wonderbread 5 perform, then you know how awesome they are, and why they've earned their reputation as one of the Bay Area's best party bands. If not, then you'll just have to come experience them for yourself.

Family Dining in Marin: Moylan's in Novato

March 12, 2013

Moylans NovatoMoylan's Brewery and Restaurant has the distinction of being Novato's first (and to my knowledge only) brewpub. Operated by the same people who run Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, Moylan's offers pub grub fare with some traditional Irish favorites thrown in, and a nice selection of good house-brewed beers to go along with it. Couple that with a reasonably priced kids' menu, and it's no wonder this is a destination for north Marin families.

Located in a distinctive building across from the Rowland Plaza Cinemas, Moylan's is an ideal place to grab a bite before or after the movies. The main dining room is a cavernous affair that can get noisy when it's busy, but that's not a big issue when you've got kids in tow, right? There's a long bar overlooking the brewing area, with several TV screens showing various sports games.

The kids were given the usual coloring menus and crayons. An added twist is that they could turn in their coloring sheets after dinner in exchange for a prize from the basket by the front entrance.

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