Tag Archives: Berkeley kids

Top tips for family Halloween activities in Berkeley

Trick or treat. Photo: Thomas Hawke
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Local Halloween events for children have been curated for us by our friends at 510Families.com. Face paint optional!

Pre-Halloween events

  • Halloween Playdate at Habitot: For special needs children, 0-5, this event is a special celebration that is fun for the whole family. These after-hours playdates are open to the public and great times for children and families to play with hands-on exhibits, explore the art studio and enjoy family bonding time in a safe, accessible and fun environment. Register here. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2065 Kittredge St., 1:30-4:30 p.m. More.
  • Halloween House Workshops at Habitot: Grandparents and grandchildren will build and decorate a Hansel & Gretel-style Halloween house. Costumes welcome! This event is FREE to Grandparent Circle Charter Members, and $29 per child for everyone else. Registration required at habitotreservations@lmi.net or call 510-647-1111, ext. 14. 2065 Kittredge St., Friday, Oct. 23, from noon to 1 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. More.
  • Scary Stories and Magic Tricks at South Berkeley Library: Spooky stories and magic tricks for ages 5 and up. “These stories are slightly spooky and told in traditional storytelling style.” Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1901 Russell St., 7 p.m. More.
  • Solano Avenue Parade: Cal’s marching band, police escorts and 400 elementary school children in costume makes a fun show for toddlers who can sit on the curb in front of Wells Fargo or Starbucks on Solano to watch it go by. Friday, Oct. 30, begins at 10 a.m. on upper Solano Avenue. 
  • Halloween Community Parade: Described as “creative, cute, creepy and festive,” this parade makes its way through the neighborhood around San Pablo Park. Festivities include a costume contest, freeze dance, food and goodie bags. San Pablo Park, 2800 Park St., 3-6 p.m. More.
  • Solano Avenue Costume Contest: Cash grand prizes for the adult and kid categories, and great second place prizes are promised. Albany YMCA, 921 Kains, 5-6 p.m. More.
  • Harvest Festival at James Kenney Community Center: Families are invited to a FREE mini-Halloween carnival. Friday, Oct. 30. 1720 Eighth St., 3:30-5:30 p.m. More.
  • House of Screams: The event is free and suitable for kids 5-15. Friday, Oct. 30 at Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Services Center at Grove Park, 6-9:30 p.m. More.

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10 super fun kid-friendly outings for Berkeley families

Kid’s club at BAM/PFA. Photo: BAM/PFA
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1. Admire the chalk art as you chomp on chocolate! Even if your children are too young to participate, there’s so much to see (and eat!) at the Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival, an annual North Berkeley annual street fair, happening on Saturday May 31.

2. Children who are motivated by goals and lists should sign up for the East Bay Regional Parks Kids Challenge; this popular self-guided program includes activities, tips, maps, and more for getting the most from our area’s parks. Berkeley parks’ challenges include: swimming at Lake Anza and finding frogs at Jewel Lake. Preschoolers can join Tilden Tots for age-appropriate adventures. … Continue reading »

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Let in snow: Kids, adults come out to play in Berkeley

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Never let it be said it doesn’t snow in Berkeley. Kids turned out in their warm fleeces and mittens on Sunday to enjoy a winter wonderland on Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. The Snow Queen paid a visit to the transformed parking lot near Virginia Street, there were holiday crafts, and warm cider and cookies courtesy of Andronico’s Community Market. The event was organized by the North Shattuck AssociationWilliam Newton dropped by and took these photos.  … Continue reading »

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A guide to Halloween celebrations for kids in Berkeley

Kid at Monterey Market
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Halloween is just over a week away and our friends at 510 Families have compiled a hugely useful guide to Halloween activities for kids in the broader East Bay. They kindly let us cherry pick those happening in Berkeley for your delectation.

MLK Middle School Pumpkin Patch Dash: Track races for all grades K-8th, plus carnival with games, prizes, and face painting. Sunday, October 28, 9.30 – 12.30. $5 per child who participates. See City of Berkeley website for race times for each age group.

James Kenney Harvest Festival: Wednesday, Halloween Day 3:30–5:30pm. Free carnival games, costume contest, costume parade, arts and crafts, and light refreshments.

Live Oak Park Rec Center Halloween Party: Wednesday, Halloween Day at 3 pm. Free event includes costume contest with prizes, Halloween parade and games. Refreshments will be served. … Continue reading »

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Five kid-friendly Easter activities in and near Berkeley

Easter eggs
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Our friends at 510 Families have researched fun Easter activities you may want to do over the next few days in and around Berkeley:

Eggster Egghunt and Learning Festival  On the Cal campus, this free event put on by student volunteers will be from 10-3 pm on Saturday and features 40 learning activity booths in addition to an egghunt. Find the Eggster event in front of the Campanile.

Egg week at Habitot  For toddlers and preschoolers, the activities in Habitot’s art studio for the remainder of the week will be spring-themed. Habitot is best for kids 2-3 and admission is $9.75.

Spring Egg Hunt Extravaganza  On Saturday, Willard Park will host a bunny petting zoo and a mini-carnival for kids, along with an age-segmented egg hunt. … Continue reading »

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Young chess masters head to Brazil for championships

Josiah Stearman, 8, and Ben Rood, 7, will be representing the US in the World Youth Chess Championships in Brazil next week. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Most second and third graders probably have fairly modest plans for next week. Josiah Stearman and Ben Rood, however, will be getting on a plane for Brazil to compete in the World Junior Chess Championships in Caldas Novas. The boys are the latest students of the Berkeley Chess School to represent the United States at the world championships.

From modest beginnings nearly 30 years ago, the Berkeley Chess School now runs 120 different classes throughout the Bay Area. Stearman and Rood attend classes in Orinda and work under John Griefe, an international master who was US chess champion in 1973. Both boys started playing chess when they were four years old.

“It was fun to play,” said Rood. “Now I like it because it’s strategic.”

“I think it’s challenging and I like to study and practice,” said Stearman. … Continue reading »

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How toxic is Halloween face paint on your child’s face?

Published under creative commons license
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By Belinda Lyons-Newman

With Halloween approaching, I set out last week to find make-up to decorate my three-year old daughter Ella’s face to go with her ladybug Halloween costume. I saw a variety of brands of face paints at the drug stores and toy stores near my north Berkeley home. Before choosing one to buy, like many Berkeley moms wanting to find the most natural products for their kids, I decided to first research online for the most natural brands available. I was amazed at what I found.

Two minutes into my online research, I pulled up a report published in 2009 by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a national coalition of non-profit groups working to eliminate harmful chemicals from personal care products. After testing ten major kids face paints sold in the US, the study found that all ten of the face paints tested contained lead. Six out of the ten face paints tested contained the known skin allergens, nickel, cobalt and/or chromium, at levels far exceeding the recommendations of industry studies. … Continue reading »

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Camp Galileo opens new branch in Berkeley

Galileo 1
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Camp Galileo, the Oakland-based learning camp whose programs cover subjects including science, art, outdoors and technology, has moved into Berkeley with a branch located at Cragmont Elementary School.

The campsite used to be in El Cerrito, but many of the children who attended lived in Berkeley, and so when the site at Cragmont became available, it made sense for Camp Galileo to make the move.

“We’ve always wanted to have a campsite in Berkeley, as the community values the things we have to teach,” said Chris Goetz, Galileo Camp Director for the East Bay. “Every one of our camps takes on the personality of its community. Each camp has different traditions, but they all have the same curriculum and quality,” he said.

There will be six weeks of Camp Galileo in Berkeley this summer, each of which has an intricately designed theme and related activities. The week of July 4th through 8th was called “Detective in Paris”. “We’re helping Sherbock Holmes solve the mystery of who stole the painting and the sculpture,” said camper Alexander S. The famous detective’s name is modified to include a reference to the camp’s mascot, a delightful rubber chicken. … Continue reading »

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Local business

As kids grow up, it’s time to swap

A recent KinderCycle swap in a capoeira studio
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By Izzy ben Izzy

Any parent will tell you how fast their kids grow up. One minute they’re crawling on the floor, the next, leaving for college. Babies, especially, grow out of their clothes and toys faster than their parents can buy new ones, or can afford to. Realizing this, Berkeley mother Jennifer Pesetsky founded KinderCycle, an organization that hosts “swaps” where parents drop off things they’re done with, and pick up the things they need.

Pesetsky said that it was “amazing to me the specificity of stuff that my daughter needed”, referring to her child born in April last year. She grew tired of purchasing new items, and began to shop at used clothing stores, and giving her daughter’s old things to charity. Still, this was a hassle, and she realized that most families wouldn’t bother. Soon she found a simple solution.

Pesetsky said that essentially, families “get rid of stuff they don’t want, and take stuff they do”. Since March of this year, she has hosted a swap each month at different locations in which families do exactly that. They pay an admission fee ranging from $5 to $20, and drop off their old clothes, toys, books, strollers, bathtubs, highchairs, and more, for volunteers to sort and put on tables around the room. A swap will last about two hours, but families can stay as long as they want. … Continue reading »

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