Backyard Wildlife: Mourning Doves

For at least eight summers now, we’ve had a pair mourning dove  visiting our backyard.  Every year, they have a child.  Last year, my son and I were able to watch the parents teach the baby to fly.  So cute!  They showed up just a week ago with their child from this summer.  I’m sad to say one of them (we think it’s the mother) … Continue reading Backyard Wildlife: Mourning Doves

Butterflies, California Academy of Sciences

On Monday, my son and I enjoyed a fun visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  It was our last outing before his first day of school.  I think the highlight of this visit was the baby ostriches!  So many, and so cute!!   My son also wanted to go into the Earthquake Exhibit again (something he said he NEVER wanted to do … Continue reading Butterflies, California Academy of Sciences

Kids ‘n Carousels

What is it with kids and carousels?  I’ve given up trying to figure out what children love about them.  I only know they do. Does your child have a favorite?  Do you have a favorite memory of one from childhood?  Please share! *** Links to carousels in the San Francisco Bay Area Creativity Carousel, San Francisco Golden Gate Park Carousel, San Francisco Eugene Friend Carousel, … Continue reading Kids ‘n Carousels

Outdoor Art: Marble Painting

My five-year-old isn’t much of a craft guy, but he does love to play and experiment with paint.  He’s usually up for art if it’s more process-oriented than result-oriented.  A favorite is painting with marbles. I like to do this activity outside, as the the marble, covered with paint, tends to jump out of the container sometimes.  Better outside than across the carpet! Here’s what … Continue reading Outdoor Art: Marble Painting

Climbing the DNA Structure, Lawrence Hall of Science

No visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science  in Berkeley is complete without reserving some time to climb on the DNA sculpture out front.  We love museums, but after all that indoor time, it’s fun for kids to get outside and move their bodies.  This one is a favorite! Have you been to the Tony Hawk Rad Science exhibit yet?  It closes September 3rd.  Check … Continue reading Climbing the DNA Structure, Lawrence Hall of Science

Make Paper Airplanes!

I found a fun website that offers a bunch of different paper airplane designs available for free download (   The site offers fifteen different designs, rated by difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, novelty).  Each design provides a template (ready for folding, and cutting, if necessary) and directions.  We decided to try out the “Condor”, a design from the beginner category. As stated in the instructions, … Continue reading Make Paper Airplanes!

Wow! Adventure Playground, Berkeley

Bored of the usual playground facilities?  Then check this one out! The Adventure Playground in Berkeley is a special place, unlike any other park we’ve experienced.  The structures are all built by children (with parental and staff supervision), using provided tools (hammers, nails, saws, and paint).  This place encourages serious creativity!  It’s best for kids seven and older, but for younger children who aren’t ready … Continue reading Wow! Adventure Playground, Berkeley

Great Hike: Saddlebag Lake to the Conness Lakes

Now this was a super-fun hike.  How many hikes begin with a ride across a lake on a water taxi??  This was a first for our son… he’s never been on a boat!  The views from the lake were gorgeous. My husband and I love hiking above the 10,000 foot level (the trail starts at Saddlebag Lake, 10,080 ft and only goes up from there), … Continue reading Great Hike: Saddlebag Lake to the Conness Lakes

Hike and Seek! National Wildlife Federation

I just came across these great fundraising events being offered through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  They are not offering an event here in California, but I wanted to let the rest of you know about it, just in case there’s one located near you! Hike and Seek:  This is a 1-2 mile hike and scavenger hunt for kids.  Activity stations will be set up … Continue reading Hike and Seek! National Wildlife Federation

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez

I’ve always loved this quote, and it’s one I experience each and every time I head out into nature.  For anyone who knows me, it should come as no surprise that John Muir, one of the greatest conservationists in history, is one of my heroes.  What is surprising, however, is that I’ve never visited the John Muir National Historic Site, located right here in the … Continue reading John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez

Create With Nature Zone, Blake Garden, Kensington

Take a child out into nature, and what are they naturally drawn to play with?  It’s pretty universal… sticks and rocks.  So this is the perfect playground for a child… an area filled with sticks and rocks, inviting the child to stack, build, and create.  Imaginations went wild this day.  In additional to the simple joys of stacking and weaving, a few of the items … Continue reading Create With Nature Zone, Blake Garden, Kensington

Simple Outdoor Play: Take an Indoor Toy Outside

My son has a new favorite toy… an adorable stuffed animal he has named Foxy. Not only has my son slept with this plush every night since receiving it last week (a first for my child… he’s never shown interest in sleeping with a stuffed animal before), but the little guy has been traveling with us, too, joining us on our daily outdoor adventures.  So … Continue reading Simple Outdoor Play: Take an Indoor Toy Outside