Heading out on a boat this weekend? Remember water safety with kids

Sea Tow Foundation has this infographic with helpful reminders about boating safety and kids. Remember to put on life jackets that fit before you go.  If you’re heading to the lake or to pools this weekend or later this summer, read my sunscreen guide and my water safety guide. Learn how to be a water guardian from Colin’s Hope and don’t forget to help kids learn to swim with Statesman Swim Safe.

seatow

Austin family creates Piki Piki Bike so toddlers can get on and go

Piki Piki Bike was created by Tamsin and Brett Spence. Their children Michael, 2, John, 4, and Megan, 7, have all test driven the bike. Credit: Spence Family/Gallo and Spence Toys
Piki Piki Bike was created by Tamsin and Brett Spence. Their children Michael, 2, John, 4, and Megan, 7, have all test driven the bike.
Credit: Spence Family/Gallo and Spence Toys

Growing up in South Africa, Tamsin and Brett Spence had plastic bikes that were low to the ground, had no pedals to them, and were easy for a toddler to balance on while scooting along. The bikes were sold at gas stations. “They were fantastic and a lot of fun,” Tamsin Spence says.

When their family came to the United States in 2010, the Spences couldn’t find anything like those bikes. Their daughter Megan brought a plastic bike with them and the neighborhood kids “would go crazy about these bikes,” Tamsin Spence says.

They thought, surely, they could find one like it here, in the States. No dice. So, the Spences along with his father, John, and brother-in-law Frank Del Gallo created the Gallo and Spence Toys. They took the basic design elements of the bikes they had in South Africa, but made them more durable and safer.

They found a local manufacturer in Georgetown to make them, and they named the product Piki Piki Bike. Piki piki means “little motorbike” in Swahili.

Piki Piki Blue AngleA couple features these bikes have that other ride along toys might not have:

  • Most kids can start around 18 months and be able to do it themselves. They can keep up with Mom or Dad or Big Brother or Big Sister on a ride to the park.
  • Kids can ride the bikes safely until they weigh 70 pounds, though at some point before that, their legs might be too long.
  • Kids can steer and propel themselves without having to have a parent bending over. “They are in control of the bike,” Tamsin Spence says. “They get the confidence that it builds. Mom isn’t controlling it; Dad isn’t controlling it.”
  • The bikes already are assembled, so there’s no “some assembly required” that makes parents want to tear their hair out.
  • The bikes only weigh 5 1/2 pounds, so no lugging.
  • The bikes have three wheels for added stability.
  • Kids don’t have to be coordinated enough to pedal because there are no pedals.
  • Kids can ride them inside or outside. Of course, anytime kids ride them, they should wear a helmet.

Piki Box Sm(1)Tamsin Spence says the bikes also help ease the transition from toddler bike to big-kid bike because kids are already accustomed to balancing on a bike. Her son, John, who is 4, transitioned from riding the Piki Piki to a big bike in two weeks. “They have the confidence they need to get on the bike and ride,” she says.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he and his older sister still don’t try to get on the Piki Piki. It’s reserved for Michael, 2.

Piki Piki bikes sell for $69.95 on Amazon.com and at GalloSpenceToys.com. The company is working on a pull cart accessory as well because the Spences have seen their own children take a trailer hitch for a ride-along car and attach it to the Piki Piki. “They always want to bring their stuff with them,” Tamsin Spence says.

 

 

 

Should you let your baby cry it out? One study says, “yes”

Ayden Bent, 10 months, stands in his crib during nap time.
Ayden Bent, 10 months, stands in his crib during nap time.

One new study put “crying it out” at night to the test. Flinders University in South Australia studied 43 babies who 6 months or older who had had sleep problems. A third of the parents were told to let the baby cry it out once they put the baby in the crib. A third were told to move the bedtime to when the baby naturally falls asleep — bedtime fading. The rest were told to do nothing different  (ie, snuggle with the baby in hopes the baby falls to sleep).

The researchers also studied the baby’s cortisol levels to make sure that the babies were not under stress.

What they found was that the babies who were told to cry it out or had the faded bedtime fell asleep between five to 10 minutes after being put in their cribs. The control group went to bed 20 minutes after the original bedtime.

The crying-it-out and bedtime-fading babies also didn’t wake up at night like the control group did.

I can tell you from personal experience and from mom friends, a lot of us who turn to crying it out do so as a last resort … and then when it works, we wonder why we didn’t do it much earlier.

 

 

 

Two parenting conferences in June: MommyCon and The Big Baby Bash and Family Jam

We’ve got two big parenting conferences coming and I’ve got tickets to one of them.

MommyCon is coming to Austin on June 25.
MommyCon is coming to Austin on June 25.

The Big Baby Bash and Family Jam is a prenatal to preschool fair from Toybrary Austin to connect you with all the resources you might need. You can test drive some of the newest baby products on the market, plus attend workshops and meet other parents. Plus, your kids can come and play. A portion of the tickets will go to Austin Diaper Bank. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 5. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive.  Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. thebigbabybash.com

MommyCon is a natural parenting conference for moms and dads from pregnancy through preschool. Workshops include titles like: Cloth Diaper 101; Scaredy Cat Potty Training; Preparing For Pregnancy and Processing Your Birth Experience; and Sex and the Breastfeeding Mom. $45. 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. June 25 at the Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. Mommy-con.com

I’ll have an interview with MommyCon founder Xza Higgins coming up and you can win tickets to the Big Baby Bash and Family Jam. Email me nvillalpando@statesman.com and put Big Baby Bash in the subject line. I’ll pull winners out of the hat on Tuesday.

 

What are you doing with your family this long Memorial Day weekend? We’ve got ideas

Ahh, summer is just around the corner. Kids in Austin Independent School District have a four day weekend, before heading back to school for three whole days next week. Bastrop does the same but ends next Wednesday. Round Rock has school on Friday, not on Monday and finishes next Thursday. Leander goes to school on Friday, not on Monday, but Tuesday-Friday next week. Hays will be in school Friday, not on Monday and finish on Wednesday. And lucky Eanes starts summer vacation on Friday.

Are you as confused as I am? Check

The new planetarium at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology will allow the museum to show different types of star shows as well as do star talks before.
See the new planetarium at  Texas Museum of Science & Technology. 

your district’s calendar before doing anything.

So, whether you have a three-day or a four-day holiday weekend or whether your kids are even old enough to go to school, we have ideas on what to do this weekend.

 

Friday

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Star Party. Look at the stars in the parking lot. 8-10 p.m. Friday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

Barnes & Noble story time. “Chicken Lily,” 7 p.m. Friday, Round Rock.

Friday-Sunday

“The Wizard of Oz.” See it on stage. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Long Center, 700 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.

Friday-Monday

Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants. Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden
Zilker Botanical Garden has a fairy trail
Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden Woodland Faerie Trail. Open through June 24. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Spring Road. zilkergarden.org.

Saturday

Science Saturday. Enjoy talks about science. 4-6 p.m. Saturday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

Thinkery Baby Bloomers. For ages birth to 3. Learn about Salvador Dali. 9 a.m. Saturday $29 one adult and child. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org.

BookPeople story time. Monkeys and Gorillas, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

Barnes & Noble. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Our Great Big Backyard.”

Read to Ella, the Reading Dog. Noon Saturday, Wells Branch Community Library.

 

Saturday-Sunday

Kids learn to do woodworking at The Thinkery. Photo by  Hunter Douglas
The Thinkery is open on Monday. Photo by Hunter Douglas

Thinkery workshops: Hydraulic Robots. For ages 4-7. 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $29 one adult and child.

Monday

The Thinkery is open all day, but there’s no Baby Bloomers.  The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org.

And if you’re looking for more events this summer. Look for my monthly calendars. Find June’s here.

Looking ahead to June: Things to do with your family in Austin

I’ve spent the morning finding all kinds of neat things to do in Austin in June with kids. Keep this list handy when “I’m bored!” hits.

Museums

Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton's WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle. Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman
Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton’s WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle.
Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman

Wildflower Center. Nature Nights. The free weekly program at the Wildflower Center explores a different topic each week. The power of fire, June 9; life cycles of plants and animals, June 16; pollinationors like bees and butterflies, June 23, and predators like birds of prey and snakes, June 30. 6-9 p.m. Thursdays. Family Cave Tour. Explore what’s under the Wildflower Center. For kids 10-16. 9:30 a.m. June 18. International Mud Day. Play with mud all day. June 25. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Blanton Museum of Art. Explore art and make art. 3ft Deep art program for ages 3-5, 10 a.m. Tuesdays, June 14-28; Artists and Authors for ages 5-8, 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, June 16-30; and Deeper Dives for ages 8-12, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Fridays, June 17-22; or play in the WorkLab, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays June 15-27. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org.

Bullock Museum. Free First Sunday. Celebrate the museum’s anniversary. Noon-5 p.m. June 5. Tasting Kitchen. Try different foods from local purveyors. Noon-2 p.m. Saturdays. Summer Free Family Film Series: “The AristoCats.” 2 p.m. June 11. “Ratatouille,” June 25. World Refugee Day. Celebrate our diversity with hands-on activities. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 18. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Thinkery. Workshops: Instant Ice Cream. For kids 4-7. 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. June 4, 5, 18, 19. $8 per person. Dry Ice Sorbet. For kids 8 and older. 3:15 p.m. June 4, 5, 18, 19. $8 per person. Art Bots. For kids 4-7. 12:15 p.m. June 11, 12, 25, 26. $8 per person. 3D Printed Art Bots.For ages 8 and older. 2:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. June 11, 12, 25 and 26. $8 per person. Early Learners Workshops: Things that Glow! For ages 1-2. 9:45 a.m. June 4 and for ages 2-3, 10:45 a.m. June 4. $20 child and adult. Baby Bloomers for ages birth to 3. Frida Kahlo. 9 a.m. June 4 and 6. Georgia O’Keeffe. 9 a.m. June 11 and 13. Pablo Picasso. 9 a.m. June 18 and 20. Andy Warhol. 9 a.m. June 25 and 27. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Family Day. Make art, hear stories and do yoga. Free. June 12. Kids Kraft program on Saturday afternoons for kids kindergarten through second grade. Blue-Prints, 10 a.m. June 4, and Crossing Lines, 10 a.m.m June 18. $15. umlaufsculpture.org.

Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria for Families Create! Explore Lost and Found items, go on a scavenger hunt and meet a pet detective. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 11.Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org.

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Star Party. Every Friday in June, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8-10 p.m. June 3, 10, 17 and 24. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

Theater

Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble making much to the delight of his ever growing audience. Laguna Gloria Contemporary Art Museum holds a Second Saturdays Family Activity Day and today the theme was bubble making with loads of activities and demonstrations for kids of all ages Saturday afternoon October 10, 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble making much to the delight of his ever growing audience. Laguna Gloria Contemporary Art Museum holds a Families Create! Day every month.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“Cowboy in the Kitchen.” Pollyanna Theatre Company presents this story of a cook who is planning a birthday surprise for a musician. For children ages 2-4. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. June 11, 14-18. $6.50. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. pollyannatheatrecompany.org

Movies

Paramount Theatre Classic Film Series. “Space Jam,” 2 p.m. June 5; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II,” 3:45 p.m. June 5; “Dumbo,” 1 p.m. June 12; “A Little Princess,” 1 p.m. June 18; and “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” 1 p.m. June 26. $10 adults, $5 kids. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org.

The Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” 11 a.m. June 3-9, Lakeline; 10 a.m. June 24-30, Slaughter Lane; “The Iron Giant,” 11 a.m. June 10, 12:30 p.m. June 11, 10 a.m. June 12-16, Lakeline; 10:30 a.m. June 24-26, 11 a.m. June 27-30, South Lamar; “Curious George,” 10 a.m. June 3-9, Slaughter Lane; 10:30 a.m. June 10-12, 11 a.m. June 13-16, South Lamar; 11 a.m. June 24-30, Lakeline; “Clash of the Titans,” 11 a.m. June 4 and noon June 5, Ritz; “A League of their Own,” 10:30 a.m. June 3-5, 11 a.m. June 6-9, South Lamar. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Nature Cat.” 11 a.m. June 11, Lakeline. Reserve tickets for $1-$3 donation online. drafthouse.com.

Regal Summer Movie Express 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Westgate Stadium 11. “The Lego Movie” and “Max,” June 7-8; “Goosbumps” and “The Iron Giant,” June 14-15; “Pan” and “The Smurfs 2,” June 21-22; “Despicable Me 2,” and “Home,” June 28-29. Tickets are $1. regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse offer $1 movies Monday through Thursdays at Round Rock 8 and Cedar Park. “Paddington,” June 6-9; “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip,” June 13-16; “Peanuts,” June 20-23; “Pan,” June 27-30. and cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse

Flix Jr. Flix ofers $2 children’s movies. “Shrek,” June 1; “Ponyo,” June 8;”The Sandlot,” June 15; “The Peanuts Movie,” Juen 22; and “The Iron Giant,” June 29. flixbrewhouse.com

Deep Eddy Splash Party. “The Force Awakens,” 8 p.m. June 25. Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave.

Events

Austin-based children's performer Ms. Staci Gray entertains at a room packed with kids and their parents as they try to burst bubbles during story time at Book People. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Austin-based children’s performer Ms. Staci Gray entertains at a room packed with kids and their parents as they try to burst bubbles during story time at Book People. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Bubblepalooza. Explore all things bubbles in this interactive event. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 4. The Long Center, Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

RED Arena Round-Up. Family fun and an inclusive rodeo play day with a petting zoo, bounce houses and mini horses. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 4. Free. Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Drive, Dripping Springs. redarena.org

Zilker Botanical Garden Woodland Faerie Trail. Open through June 24. Special Woodland Faerie Trail by Silver Moonlight June 17-19. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Spring Road. zilkergarden.org.

Children’s Day Art Park. Hear local musicians: Sara Hickman, June 8; Beto and the Fairlanes, June 15; The Hey Lollies, June 22; Joe McDermott, June 29; and make art and try musical instruments. 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays. 50 cents a kid. Symphony Square Amphitheatre, 1101 Red River St. www.austinsymphony.org

Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park. Hear the symphony sections play. 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Strings, June 5; Woodwinds, June 12; Big Band, June 19; and Brass, June 26. Long Center City Terrace, 701 W. Riverside Drive. www.austinsymphony.org

Summer Carnival. Play games and get the first 10 tickets free. 2 p.m. June 24, Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive.

Books

BookPeople Events: “Secrets & Second Chances,” Young Adult author panel, 7 p.m. June 20.

Barnes & Noble Events: Summer Reading Triathlon Opening Ceremony. 11 a.m. June 4, all locations. B-Fest Teen Book Festival. various times June 10-12, all locations. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” story time, 11 a.m. June 11, all locations. Father’s Day story time, 11 a.m. June 18, all locations. “Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery” story time, 11 a.m. June 25, all locations. “Meet Biscuit!” noon June 25, Hill Country Galleria. Other story times: “Pinkalicious,” 11 a.m. June 1, Lakeline; “I Need My Monster,” 11 a.m. June 8, Lakeline; Jon Klassen, 11 a.m. June 15, Lakeline; “Pete the Cat,” 11 a.m. June 22, Lakeline; “”Curious George,” 11 a.m. June 29; “You’re Doing That in the Talent Show?,” 7 p.m. June 3, Round Rock; “Wolf Camp,” 11 p.m. June 7, Round Rock; “Bears Makes the Best Reading Buddies,” 7 p.m. June 10, Round Rock; “Herman’s Vacation,” 11 a.m. June 14, Round Rock; “Thunder Boy Jr.,” 7 p.m. June 17, Round Rock; “Follow Me!” 11 a.m. June 21, Round Rock; “Chimpanzees for Tea!” 7 p.m. June 24, Round Rock; “Whose Story is this, Anyway?” 11 a.m. June 28, Round Rock.

To see what’s happening at the library, click here 

 

Pflugerville Girl Scout Marie Young gets her Silver Award by creating Junior Ranger Badge at Waco Mammoth National Monument

Marie Young, 12, came to the Waco Mammoth National Monument last summer and was disappointed. The new national park did not yet have a Junior Ranger Program.

Marie has earned 59 junior ranger badges — pins or sew-on badges that children can receive by learning about national parks either at the parks or by studying about them remotely. Marie wanted to earn a junior ranger badge at the park about 100 miles from her Pflugerville home. And she fell in love IMG_4999with the park.

“I thought it was really interesting,” she says. “There’s not a lot of paleontology parks in Texas,” she says.

The park is the site of fossils from at least 19 Columbian mammoths (which were larger and less hairy than the woolly kind) a juvenile saber-toothed cat tooth, a Western camel, a dwarf antelope, a giant tortoise and an American alligator.

The first fossils were discovered in 1978, and Baylor University, the City of Waco Parks and Recreation, and the Waco Mammoth Foundation ran the site until last year, but are still are involved in the site. Some of the fossils discovered are housed at Mayborn Museum Complex in Waco.

Marie decided to do something about Waco Mammoth not having a junior ranger booklet. She created one with the help of Dava Butler, who runs the education department at the monument.

Marie’s work earned her the Girl Scout Silver Award, a service award girls in middle school can earn for doing a project that makes a lasting impact on their community. In April, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to have National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis pin her silver award on her Girl Scout vest.

The new Junior Range book at Waco Mammoth has 14 activities that follow the life of Wanda, the name of Mammoth W, one of the mammoths found at the park, and Barry, the saber-tooth cat. (Marie named the cat Barry after President Barack Obama, who made the monument a national park.)

To earn the junior ranger badge, you have to complete five activities if you’re ages 5-8, seven activities if you’re ages 9-12 and 10 activities if you’re 13 and older. Activities include a scavenger hunt, talking mariejuniorrangerto a ranger, answering questions about Columbian mammoths, a word find, a crossword puzzle, a circle what doesn’t belong, and a senses hike. There’s also a bonus activity that takes you to the nearby Mayborn Museum Complex.

Marie got her ideas of what to include from other junior ranger books she’s done, and she wanted to be sure to include options, so if kids weren’t interested in one activity, they wouldn’t have to do it to earn the badge.

Marie tested out the junior ranger badge book at the Mammoths on the March event in March, in which she got to swear in fellow junior rangers. She continues to volunteer at the monument and spread the word about Texas’ newest park. She even represented Waco Mammoth at an event this month at the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum in Dallas. There she met first lady Laura Bush, who was launching “Our Great Big Back Yard,” a book she wrote with daughter Jenna Bush, which celebrates the centennial of the National Parks Service.

Parks throught the country will be hosting centennial events this year and this is a perfect year to start earning junior ranger badges. Texas has 14 pational parks, including the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Johnson City, and Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi. There’s even a Cennential junior ranger

Marie Young created the junior ranger badge book for Waco Mammoth National Monument.She received her Girl Scout Silver Award from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis in April.
Marie Young created the junior ranger badge book for Waco Mammoth National Monument. She received her Girl Scout Silver Award from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis in April.

badge.Marie isn’t done with creating junior ranger badge books. She is talking with staff at El Camino Real National Historic Trail, which stretches from New Mexico to Louisiana, and with staff at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, which was the home to the National Woman’s Party and became a national park in April, about creating their books.

Marie didn’t start doing junior ranger badges until two years ago when her family went to Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico. She’s now completed junior ranger badges from California to Washington, D.C. Her family has made this a quest as well. In April, when Marie visited Washington, D.C. she went from national monuments to historic parks and everywhere in between, wearing her junior ranger vest and her ranger hat. She became known among the rangers, who rotate through the Washington, D.C., parks as that girl with the hat, a hat she got at Carlsbad Caverns, N.M., and has never found another one like it since.

Her favorite junior ranger badges, besides of course the one she created for Waco Mammoth, are Ford’s Theater, where she got to hear about Shakespeare plays as well as become a detective and follow the trail of President Abraham Lincoln assassi, John Wilkes Booth, and Paleontology, a badge that you can earn at parks that have paleontological sites. “It got me wanting to be a junior ranger and a ranger when I grow up and a paleontologists,” she says.

 

Kids to Park day at Waco Mammoth National Monument

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive, Waco

nps.gov/waco

So much happening at the Austin Public Library for kids in June

We get excited when school gets out because the Austin Public Library becomes bustling with programs for kids experience its summer reading program.

Here’s just a sample of what is happening in June: 

Random Acts of Harping. 1 p.m. June 4, and 1 p.m. June 5 with a harp petting zoo, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Children listen to a story in their pajamas. Photo by Lee Hershfield
Children listen to a story in their pajamas. Photo by Lee Hershfield

Snorky‘s Rhythm Tunes, 2 p.m. June 4, Twin Oaks Branch.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Brave.” 2 p.m. June 4, Windsor Park Branch. “Ant-Man,” June 4, University Hills Branch.

Echo and the Bats play. 2 p.m. June 5, Faulk Central Library.

Lunch Bunch. Hear a story for ages 6-10. Noon Mondays, Twin Oaks Branch.

Will Dupuy plays. 2 p.m. June 6, Pleasant Hill Branch; 2 p.m. June 17, Ruiz Branch.

Hey Lollies present: “Armadillo Alice.” 2 p.m. June 6, Spicewood Springs Branch; 4 p.m. June 8, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. June 11, Yarborough Branch; 2 p.m. June 14, Cepeda Branch; 2 p.m. June 20, Windsor Park Branch; 4 p.m. June 23, Milwood Branch; 4 p.m. June 28, Twin Oaks Branch; 2 p.m. June 29, Ruiz Branch; 2 p.m. June 30, Carver Branch.

Crowe‘s Nest Farm visits. 4 p.m. June 6, Howson Branch; 4 p.m. June 7, Old Quarry Branch; 2 p.m. June 8, Hampton Branch; 2 p.m. June 15, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. June 21, Cepeda Branch; 2 p.m. June 23, Carver Branch; 2 p.m. June 27, Widsor Park Branch.

Literature Live! “Rumpelstiltskin.” 2 p.m. June 7, Cepeda Branch; 4 p.m. June 8, Milwood Branch; 4 p.m. June 13, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. June 16, Pleasant Hill Branch; 2 p.m. June 18, Yarborough Branch; 2 p.m. June 22, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. June 23, University Hills Branch; 2 p.m. June 26, Faulk Central Library; 4 p.m. June 28, Old Quarry Branch; 2 p.m. June 29, Hampton Branch; 2 p.m. June 30, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Sandbank Shadow Factory “A Wild Goose Chase.” 4 p.m. June 7, Twin Oaks Branch; 2 p.m. June 8, Ruiz Branch; 2 p.m. June 16, University Hills Branch; 4 p.m. June 22, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. June 24, Terrazas Branch; 4 p.m. June 27, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. June 28, Cepeda Branch; 4 p.m. June 30, Milwood Branch.

Sew Happy. For ages 1

"This one blows up and this one inflates itself!" Seth and Evelyn Ledezma, 9 and 7 year-old, recreate Angry Birds characters "Bomb Bird" and "Atomic Bird" among other creatures at Crafternoon at the Manchaca Branch of Austin Public Library on Monday, July 21, 2014. The Manchaca Branch Crafternoon meets every Monday this summer from 2-4pm while other branches of the Austin Public Library hold their own versions on different days and at different times.
“This one blows up and this one inflates itself!” Seth and Evelyn Ledezma, 9 and 7 year-old, recreate Angry Birds characters “Bomb Bird” and “Atomic Bird” among other creatures at Crafternoon at the Manchaca Branch.

0 and up. 5 p.m. June 7, Manchaca Road Branch.

Art Smart. 6:30 p.m. June 7, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; 6:30 p.m. June 28, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

You are the Force. 4 p.m. June 8, North Village Branch; 2 p.m. June 17, Terrazas Branch; 2 p.m. June 23, Willie Mae Kirk Branch;

Literature Live! Brown Paper Puppet Lab. 2 p.m. June 8, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. June 15, Ruiz Branch; 2 p.m. June 20, Spicewood Springs Branch;

Glow in the Dark Dance Party. 2 p.m. June 9, Carver Branch; 4 p.m. June 15, North Village Branch.

Magik Theatre Presents: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” 2 p.m. June 9, University Hills Branch; 2 p.m. June 22, Hampton Branch.

You are the Artist! For ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. June 9, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; 2 p.m. June 16, Carver Branch; 4 p.m. June 22, North Village Branch.

Positive RePrecussions: Family Rhythm Jam. 2 p.m. June 9, Pleasant Hill Branch; 2 p.m. June 13, Windsor Park Branch; 4 p.m. June 16, Milwood Branch; 2 p.m. June 23, Pleasant Hill Branch; 2 p.m. June 27, Spicewood Springs Branch; 4 p.m. June 29, Manchaca Road Branch;

rbz-Crowes-Nest-Farms-08
Crowe’s Nest Farms will bring some animals to the library.

Neal Kassanoff plays. 2 p.m. June 10, Terrazas branch; 4 p.m. June 27, Ruiz Branch.

Terrence Taps. 2 p.m. June 12, Faulk Central Library; 2 p.m. June 15, Hampton Branch; 4 p.m. June 20, Howson Branch.

StoryBook Dance Making. 2 p.m. June 12, Recycled Reads Bookstore; 6 p.m. June 13, University Hills Branch;

Alyse Black plays. 2 p.m. June 13, Spicewood Springs Branch; 2 p.m. June 20, Manchaca Road Branch;

Jedi Training Camp. 2 p.m. June 13, Manchaca Road Branch.

Crafternoon. 2 p.m. June 13, Carver Branch; 2:30 p.m. June 16, Howson Branch; 3 p.m. June 21, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. June 27; 2 p.m. June 27, Carver Branch.

You Crack Yourself Up! 4 p.m. June 14, Twin Oaks Branch.

You Get the Crown! 4 p.m. June 14, Old Quarry Branch; 4 p.m. June 21, Twin Oaks Branch; 4 p.m. June 29, North Village Branch.

Family Movie Night: “Labyrinth.” 6:30 p.m. June 14, Twin Oaks Branch; “Inside Out,” 5:30 p.m. June 22, Carver branch.

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre “The Three Little Pigs – Texas Style.” 4 p.m. June 15, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. June 19, Faulk Central Library; 4 p.m. June 21, Old Quarry Branch; 2 p.m. June 22, Ruiz Branch; 2 p.m. June 25, Yarborough Branch; Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. June 29, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

You Make It! 2 p.m. June 16, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Juneteenth: Art is Cool. Art is Freedom. 11 a.m. June 18, Carver Branch.

Roald Dahl Movie Marathon: “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” and “James and the Giant Peach,” 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 23, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Music & Movement. For kids 3-5. 11 a.m. June 24, Howson Branch.

Lucas Miller, the Singing Zoologist. 2 p.m. June 24, Old Quarry Branch.

Gusto the Great. 2 p.m. June 30, University Hills Branch.

There’s Something Fishing Going on in Texas. 2 p.m. June 30, Pleasant Hill Branch.

14 things to enjoy with kids this weekend in Austin

The weatherman says it’s going to be beautiful on Friday and Saturday, making them perfect days and nights to see stars or wander around gardens. Sunday is a different story, with 90 percent chance of rain. It’s a great day to head to a book store or see theater.

Here are my weekend picks for families:

Friday

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Star Party. Every Friday in May, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8-10 p.m. Friday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

BookPeople events: Jennifer Armentrout reads “The Problem with Forever.” 6 p.m. Friday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

Friday-Sunday

Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants. Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden
Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants.
Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden Woodland Faerie Trail. Open through June 24. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Spring Road. zilkergarden.org.

Saturday

Meet Me at the Market. Enjoy hands-on activities on a farming theme, plus a scavenger hunt and giveaways. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. Lakeline Mall at the farmers’ market in the Sears parking lot, 11200 Lakeline Mall Drive, Cedar Park.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Recycled Robots. Make a robot and then bring it to life in the animation station. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. contemporaryaustin.org.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Kids Kraft. For grades kindergarten-2. Making Multiples. Experiment with casting techniques and colors. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday. $10 members. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org.

Ney Day. See a new sculpture and more family activities. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E. 44th St.

Barnes & Noble Story time. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: ThankoRama Story Time, Saturday.  Corduroy visits, noon Saturday, Hill Country Galleria.

BookPeople story time. Bears, Bears, and More Bears, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

Saturday and Sunday

Pollyanna Theatre’s “Young Bear: The Story of Frances Slocum.” The story of a young girl who is taken to an American Indian village in the 1800s. For grades 2-5. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 4 p.m. Saturday. $12. Long Center, 700 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.

Thinkery Workshops: Exploring Explosions. For ages 8 and older. 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $34 one adult and child. Baby Bloomers. For ages birth to 3. Learn about famous artists. 9 a.m. Saturday. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org.

Sunday

BookPeople events: Samantha Mabry and Joy Preble read and sign “A Fierce and Subtle Poison” and “It Wasn’t Always Like This,” 1 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

 

Looking ahead to the summer: My top 5 things to do with kids in Austin

 

There’s a lot of family activities to do this summer. Here are my Top 5 things we’re looking forward to this year:

1. Spend the day at Barton Springs Pool, then head over to Zilker Hillside Theater for the Zilker Summer Musical. This year “Shrek: The Musical” takes the stage Thursdays through Sundays at dusk July 8-Aug. 13. It’s free, but donations are appreciated. zilker.org

Explore pollinators and other creatures during Wildflower Center's Nature Nights.
Explore pollinators and other creatures during Wildflower Center’s Nature Nights.

2. Explore nature at the Wildflower Center for Nature Nights. The free weekly program explores a different topic 6-9 p.m. each Thursday night, beginning June 9. Learn about the power of fire from the Austin Fire Department and Texas A&M Forestry Service on June 9; understand the lifecycles of plants and animals, June 16; discover po;linationators like bees and butterflies, June 23, and meet predators like birds of prey and snakes, June 30. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

3. When the weather heats up, head indoors to the movie theater for low-cost family-friendly movies. The Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp is happening daily with a different movie at each theater each week. Reserve tickets for $1-$3 donation online. drafthouse.com. Regal Summer Movie Express happens 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Westgate Stadium 11. Tickets are $1 and movies run June 9-Aug. 3. regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express. Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse offer $1 movies Monday through Thursdays at Round Rock 8 and Cedar Park, 6-Aug. 11. cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse

4. Hear the symphony at work. Children’s Day Art Park happens 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday, June 8-July 27, at Symphony Square Amphitheatre, 1101 Red River St. It’s 50 cents a kid, but you get to hear local musicians Sara Hickman, Beto and the Fairlanes, The Hey Lollies, Joe McDermott, the Flying Balalaika Brothers, Mr. Will Music and Staci Gray. You also can make art, and touch and try musical instruments. You also can see the symphony for its annual July 4 concert and fireworks begining at 8:30 p.m. at Auditorium Shores and 7:30 p.m. every Sunday at the Long Center City Terrace for the Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park, June 5-Aug. 28. www.austinsymphony.org

5. Try a new-to-you museum. Sometimes we get stuck in the rut between the Thinkery and the Bullock Museum — both great, and if you haven’t been to

Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton's WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle. Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman
Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton’s WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle.
Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman

either, what are you waiting for? But if you’ve been a thousand times, try something new. Head to the Blanton Museum for their 3ft Deep art program for ages 3-5, Tuesdays, June 14-28; Artists and Authors for ages 5-8, Thursdays, June 16-30; and Deeper Dives for ages 8-12, Fridays, June 17-22; or play in the WorkLab, Wednesdays June 15-27. blantonmuseum.org. Go to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, which now has Kids Kraft program on Saturday afternoons for kids kindergarten through second grade, or the Family Day on June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14. umlaufsculpture.org. Hit Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria for Families Create! Saturdays on June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13. thecontemporaryaustin.org. Farther afield, explore science at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology in Cedar Park and the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. TXMOST has the Genesis exhibit its unpacking with many dinosaurs as well as a planetarium. txmost.org. Hill Country Science Mill lets you create an avatar as you become a scientist. sciencemill.org

And for adults, the Austin360 team is putting together a Camp Austin360 guidebook filled with adult fun to have in Austin.  You can earn the Camp Austin360 badge and have a whole lot of fun getting to know your city better.

Look for the guide May 27 and online at austin360.com.