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Bay Explorers

My vision is to inspire families of all backgrounds to explore, be present, and have fun with their children in the Bay Area.

Winter Break

It is that time of the year- Winter Break! An exciting time for all the kids released from school for two plus weeks, and a daunting time for the parents who must take off with them. This is the time when best practices of planning and patience must be put to the test. For my daughter she has 16 days off of school plus a little sister who is not in school currently as well. So 2 kids x 24 hours a day x 16 days= 1 crazy mom. This year we do not have the funds to send her off to some expensive Winter Camp so it is all about my personal planning that is going to keep our threesome afloat. I will be doing a play by play of where we explore each day to share some ideas with parents who are struggling or just need some fresh ideas on this Winter break.

What to do on these 16 days of no school? Have no fear Bay Explorer has all the great ideas here! A trip to the park is always free, make it a little more fun by inviting one of your kid's friends to meet you for a play date. The main thing your children are missing is their buddies that they run around on the playground with. Incorporate friends into the plans. It may seem like throwing another child in the mix may make things more hectic but it's the opposite. Having a friend distracts and entertains your children and provides hours of entertainment. My husband's brother is a few years older then my oldest daughter but they love each other and have so much fun together. We had him all day on Monday and even for a sleepover and I barely had to come up with activities and rules, just guided them in the right direction and they took care of the rest.

Here is how our days are going thus far...

(Sung to 12 Days of Christmas)

2) On the second day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- matinee of the Moana moovie. I have not been with my daughter to see a movie in theaters since our second daughter was born- so almost two years. This break I decided to give it a try and take the kids with their uncle to the movies. We went to a matinee and I was able to get all four of us in for under $20- wow! Four people at the movies these days at an evening show usually cots an arm and a leg. It all worked out great though, no one was in the theater but one elderly couple. I just let the baby walk around until she got tired and she took a nap, I was so happy to watch a movie with them for so cheap too. Matinee's are a great deal. Also $5 Tuesdays are a way to save on ticket prices at Grand Lake theater and Jack London Square.

3) On the third day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- Bay Museum of Discoveryyy. The Bay Area Discovery museum is a super fun way to spend the day. Kids can let their imaginations run wild with all the dramatic play areas. This place has everything fun from pirate ships, to giant spider webs, gravel pits, train town, a pretend fishing port with pulley's, art projects, giant musical instruments, and so much more. Now through January 8th, they have iceless ice skating.

4) On the fourth day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- Aquatic Park in Berkeley. Aquatic Park in Berkeley is a really fun park right on the water. The play structures look more like forts constructed of wood and are great for a game of hide and go seek. Lovely rolling lawns make for a good place to sit for a snack or play a game of ball. Plus lots of bike paths if your kid has some wheels to bring.

5) On the fifth day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- Fairmont Ridge for a little hiking with the family. Fairmont Ridge is an off-leash dog hike with some of the best sweeping views of the Bay Area and overlooking Lake Chabot.

6) On the sixth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee- Curbside Creamery. Curbside Creamery in the Temescal district of Oakland is my favorite ice cream stop! They have multiple vegan flavors so I can have some ice cream too and everyone is happy. Usually any ice cream place we go they only have one vegan flavor if any-vanilla. So Curbside Creamery's assortment of vegan flavors is highly appreciated!

7) On the seventh day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- Strawberry Creek Park in Berkeley. Strawberry Creek Park in Berkeley is a quiet little park tucked away in the trees. Great park for playing basketball, bike riding, and exploring.

8) On the eighth day of Winter break, I took my kids to thee- Wildlife Museum of Lindsay. Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek is a great chance to get up close and personal with common Bay Area critters including opossums, owls, and the cutest porcupine.

9) On the ninth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee- Point Isabel in Richmond to walk the doggy! Point Isabel is the Bay's most famous dog walking park- literally hundreds of dogs are walking there everyday. We like it because our dog can run off leash and so can the kids.

10) On the tenth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee- Adventure Kinderland (can't make that rhyme). Adventure Kinderland in Richmond is a great resource for parents on cold or rainy days. It is an indoor play place with a jungle gym and slides that fall into ball pit. The facilities are very clean and there are lounge chairs for parents. We went on a quiet day and my kids pretty much got the full run of the place.

11) On the eleventh day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee- Oyster Bay for biking. Oyster Bay in San Leandro is an ideal place for bike lessons, picnics, dog walking, or a game of velcro catch with ideal views of the Bay and Oakland Airport.

12) On the twelfth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee- Stow Lake to go paddle boating. Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is always a fun time! The boathouse has plenty of options for you and your family to get some exercise around the lake while ducks swim by.

13) On the thirteenth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee Koret Children's Playground in Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park Playground is one of the funnest & oldest playgrounds the Bay Area has to offer. There are multiple play structures, the famous cement slides, a very inexpensive merry-go-round, and a glorious lawn for all types of activities.

14) On the fourteenth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee Alameda Beeach. Crown Memorial Beach in Alameda is my favorite beach this side of the Bay and always nice for a walk in the sand or a chance to dip your feet in the waves.

15) On the fifteenth day of Winter Break, I took my kids to thee a quiet walk with the doggy. Lake Chabot has many trails off the beaten path of the big trail by the lake. Some are off leash and we like to walk our dog and kids up there.

16) On the sixteenth day of Winter Break, we made sandwiches to give back to the communityyy. On the last day of our Winter Break we prepared 50 bag lunches that we distributed to people we saw on the streets that needed food in Oakland and Berkeley.

Hope you enjoyed following us on our Winter Break. We had fun exploring our area, and it was proof that you don't have to leave town. You can have a whole two plus weeks of fun activities around the Bay Area ;-)

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