What’s the best sunscreen? We put more than 20 to the test

Last year, I put 16 mosquito repellents to the test, and found some definite winners — and some losers.

This year, I grabbed 21 sunscreens of various types and tested them. I have very fair skin (ghostlike, my family says) and burn easily. I tried the sunscreens while gardening, while going for a long hike in the middle of Austin in the heat of the day (don’t try this at home) and while swimming at the pool.

Know which sunscreens work best and what to look for in a sunscreen. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN photos

I also rotated which area of the body each one covered to make sure that each sunscreen got an opportunity to be on both the upper body and lower body, except the ones that were made especially for the face. I tried ones that sprayed on, foamed on, slathered on and apply like deodorant. Some were all natural, some had chemicals by the dozen; some were sunblock rather than sunscreen. They had SPF (sun protection factor) of 21 to 100. Was there a difference?

The good news: All of them were better than nothing at all. The patches of skin left bare definitely reddened.

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See how we rated them:

Baby

Badger Baby Chamomile & Calendula

Type: Very thick cream

Price: $11.48 with $2 off coupon

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Zinc oxide, plus sunflower seed oil, beeswax, chamomile, calendula extract, seabuckthorn fruit extract. The tube says it is non-GMO, biodegradable, 98 percent organic, 100 percent certified natural.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 40 minutes

Scent: Light floral scent

Does it work? Yes. Badger baby was one of the best-performing. It was definitely water-resistant and sweat-proof. It was one of the few spots where there was no coloration of the skin, except the white residue left by the cream. The cream was a bit hard to spread because of its thickness. We could definitely tell where we put it. The scent was OK, but with all those floral ingredients, we expected it to smell better.

Would we use it again? Yes, especially on someone who is fair-skinned or a baby.

Banana Boat Simply Protect Baby

Type: Mineral-based lotion

Price: $7.92

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50+

Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide. The tube says there are no oxybenzone or parabens, no added oils or fragrances, but there are plenty of glycerides and other chemicals listed in the inactive ingredients.

Water resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Light sunscreen scent.

Does it work? Yes. It was definitely sweat-proof and water-resistant, but it does not rub in or remove easily with soap and water. Days later, my back is still white from where this sunscreen is lingering. It also was not as thick as some sunscreens so it got everywhere, including my car seat.

Would we use it again? Maybe. The great thing is it really works, but with it getting everywhere and being hard to get out, we’re a bit hesitant.

Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Whipped

Type: Mousse-like whipped sunscreen

Price: $9.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus various alcohols, acids and other chemicals. The bottle also says it is free of fragrances, parabens, oils, dyes and PABA.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Very light sunscreen smell

Does it work? It definitely let some reddening of the skin happen. It also was not sweat-proof at all, and we didn’t experience any water-resistance qualities.

Would we use it again? Probably not. We loved the concept of the whipped sunscreen, but it was incredibly hard to unlock the cap and press down on the top to squirt out the mousse. It also got all over clothes, but it did rub in better than some of the other baby lotion.

 

Kids

H-E-B Solutions Kids

Type: Lotion spray that sprays white for no missed spots

Price: $6.75

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus a lot of other chemicals as inactive ingredients. The bottle says it is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Light sunscreen scent

Does it work? Not well. This spray was goopy and gross, which made it hard to spray on hard-to-reach areas. It got everywhere. It also did not protect from pigment changes. In fact, each time, the area where we used this spray was one of the most burned areas. It was definitely sweat-proof, but not as effective on water-resistance after a trip to the pool.

Would we use it again? A big no.

Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen tropical fruit

Type: Cream

Price: $5.99 with $2 off coupon

SPF: Broad Spectrum SPF 45

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, octyl salicylate, plus natural oils and extracts, as well as oils. The tube also says it is tear-free, gluten-free, biodegradable, with no oxybenzone, octinoxate or animal testing, and with natural fragrances.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Very light scent, not fruity.

Does it work? There was definitely some color change, but not as bad as with others. It was easy to apply, rubbed in nicely and didn’t leave that white residue. It did fine with handling sweat. It wasn’t particularly water-resistent, but it also didn’t come off in the pool, either.

Would we use it again? Yes, because it was so easy to apply, but it’s not the most effective one we tried.

Sport

Banana Boat Sport sunscreen stick

Type: Sunscreen stick with Powerstay Technology

Price: $7.92

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50+

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, plus some other chemicals and cocoa butter.

Water-resistant: Water and sweat up to 80 minutes

Scent: Very light.

Does it work? We did have some skin color change, but not a lot. It was some of the most water-resistant and sweat-resistant of the group. It was easy to use and didn’t feel tacky at all. In fact, you could hardly tell you had it on.

Would we use it again? For ease of use, yes, but we would go over the area a couple of times. Also, it’s unclear how much of the body you could cover before you would run out.

Neutrogena CoolDry Sport sunscreen stick

Type: Sunscreen Stick with Micromesh

Price: $9.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50+

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, also some beeswax, plus parafin and chemicals.

Water-resistant: Water and sweat-resistance up to 80 minutes

Scent: Strong scent that’s nice, but might be overpowering on the whole body

Does it work? No. This area had some of the most color change. It did have some excellent water-resistance, but wasn’t particularly sweat-proof. It also was tacky to the touch and hard to see where it went on.

Would we use it again? No. We love the idea of a sunscreen stick for ease of use, but it didn’t work as well as the Banana Boat version.

No-Ad Suncare 30 Sport

Type: Sunscreen

Price: $6.97 with a $2 coupon

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, oxybenzone, plus some alcohol, glycerin and a lot less other inactive ingredients than most. It says it is paraben-free, fragrance-free and oil-free.

Water-resistant: Water and sweat-resistance up to 80 minutes.

Scent: It has a heavy sunscreen scent.

Does it work? Yes. We did not notice a color change any time we used it. It stayed on with sweat and water, though it wasn’t noticeably water-resistant.

Would we use it again? Maybe. It worked, but was cold when it went on and slightly greasy. The smell was like wearing a walking billboard for sunscreen.

Neutrogena CoolDry Sport sunscreen spray

Type: Spray

Price: $10.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 70

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus some other chemicals.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes, plus it says it “stays on through sweat”

Scent: It smells like a French perfume in a good way.

Does it work? We saw some color change. It was the easiest spray to use, though. When you do use it, get ready to jump. It’s really, really cold when it touches the skin. It also was a little greasy. We didn’t notice any particularly great water-resistance or sweat-resistance.

Would we use it again? Probably not. We wanted it to work better as a sunscreen. It was the easiest to use spray, though.

Goddess Garden Organics Sport

Type: Cream

Price: $12.98

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, with some shea butter, coconut oil, safflower seed oil and sunflower oil. It calls itself a “natural sunscreen” with organic ingrediants, and says it has no chemical sunscreen.

Water-resistant: Yes, for 80 minutes.

Scent: I thought it was smelly; my husband thought it smelled good.

Does it work? Yes, there definitely was no skin color change with this sunscreen. It definitely had water-proofing and sweat-proofing abilities.

Would we use it again?Probably not. It was definitely one of the best sunscreens as far as efficacy, but it left a white residue and was smelly. It also never fully rubbed into the skin and left its mark on the seat of the car.

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Ultra Light

Type: Cream lotion

Price: $7.92

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Avobenzone, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus fruit and flower extracts, shea butter, mango seed butter, paraffin, alcohol and chemicals. It says it is oil-free and breathable, non-greasy and won’t clog pours.

Water-resistant: Water- and sweat-resistant for 80 minutes.

Scent: Smells nice, though sunscreeny.

Does it work? Somewhat. There was definitely a color change, but it wasn’t particularly bad. It definitely had water-resistance properties.

Would we use it again? Maybe. It was some of the nicest feeling of the creams and rubbed in well. It left the skin with a cool feeling and wasn’t sticky. It’s performance was a bit disappointing.

Regular adult sunscreen

H-E-B Solutions Sunscreen Ultra Protection

Type: Clear spray

Price: $8

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 100

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus some oils, flower extracts, and some chemicals.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Stinky sunscreen smell.

Does it work? No. Despite it being SPF 100, when we used it, the area had some of definite color change. This was also the only area where the burn actually hurt. It wasn’t particularly sweat-proof or water-resistant.

Would we use it again? No. It didn’t work, plus it was very oily and runny and hard to put on. It left the skin oily.

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection

Type: Cream lotion

Price: $8.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 70

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus water, alcohol, and more chemicals. It says it is oil-free and PABA-free.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Nice, light scent.

Does it work? It worked better than some of the others, but there was still some color change. It wasn’t particularly water-resistant or sweat-proof. It felt good, but made the skin look oily.

Would we use it again? Yes, but there are better sunscreens out there.

SunBum premium moisturizing sunscreen spray

Type: Light-mist spray

Price: $15.99

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, plus a few other inactive ingredients including vitamin E-enriched. It says it is paraben-free, oil-free, PBA-free, hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, oxybenzone-free, non-comedogenic and retinyl palmitate-free.

Water-resistant: Yes, to 80 minutes.

Scent: Smells like sunscreen.

Does it work? Yes, it provided some of the least amount of skin color change. It didn’t have particularly noticeable water-resistance, and it wasn’t sweat-proof. The mist made it difficult to see if it was covering, but the sticky residue left behind helped us figure that out.

Would we use it again? Yes, but the price was a bit prohibitive. Also we could have done without the stickiness.

Hawaiian Tropic Anti-oxidant sunscreen lotion

Type: Moisturizing lotion

Price: $7.92

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene and some alcohol and oils, flower and fruit extracts, plus green tea extract. It promises to help prevent skin damage and skin aging from the sun.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Nice fruity, floral, coconut scent.

Does it work? Yes, we didn’t see much color change. It out-performed some of higher SPF sunscreens.

Would we use it again? Yes, it rubbed in well, wasn’t greasy, smelled great, and left a nice cool feeling.

SunBum premium moisturizing sunscreen lotion

Type: Moisturizing lotion

Price: $14.99

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, plus a few other inactive ingredients including vitamin E-enriched. It says it is paraben-free, oil-free, PBA-free, hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, oxybenzone-free, non-comedogenic and retinyl palmitate-free.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Nice light coconut scent

Does it work? There was a noticeable color change. It wasn’t particularly water-resistant or sweat-proof.

Would we use it again? No. It was very watery, yet it didn’t rub in very well and went everywhere. It left a glistening residue.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel lotion sunscreen

Type: Water gel lotion

Price: $10.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 50

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus water, glycerin, alcohol, and more.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes

Scent: Light, delightful floral scent.

Does it work? Yes, there was some color change, but not a lot. It had definite water-resistance.

Would we use it again? Yes, but note that it is blue in color, which is a bit odd, and it says it’s not greasy, but we found it to be a bit greasy. It was easy to spread and rub in.

Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate lotion sunscreen

Type: Lotion

Price: $9.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 70

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus water, glycerin, alcohol, beeswax, oat kernel flour and extract and oat protein.

Water-resistant: Sweat- and water-resistant up to 80 minutes

Scent: Nice floral scent.

Does it work? Not really. For SPF 70, we would have expected less color change. It also wasn’t particularly water-resistant or sweat-resistant.

Would we use it again? No. It was hard to spread around and didn’t rub in.

Bullfrog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen + Insect Repellent

Type: Spray with insect repellent for up to eight hours without bites

Price: $6.48 with $2 coupon

SPF: SPF 30, the only one that didn’t say “broad spectrum”

Ingredients: Octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone for sunscreen; butyl, acetylamino propionic acid ethyl ester for repellent; plus aloe and vitamin E.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes.

Scent: Very chemically smelling.

Does it work? No, each time we used it, we saw noticeable skin color change.

Would we use it again? No, not only did it not work, but it was smelly, oily and left the the skin at first tingly and then itchy. It also was not sweat-proof at all.

Face

Neutrogena Clear Face Break-out free liquid lotion sunscreen

Type: Liquid lotion for the face

Price: $8.97

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 30

Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, plus water, silica, bark extract and more.

Water-resistant: Yes, up to 80 minutes.

Scent: Neutral smell.

Does it work? Not really. This area of the face was the most burned area of the body. It also was very liquidy and left the skin feeling really tight.

Would we use it again? Nope. It didn’t do the job, plus pimples followed.

CoverGirl CG Smoothers BB Cream

Type: Tinted moisturizer and sunscreen

Price: $7.09

SPF: Broad spectrum SPF 21

Ingredients: Octinoxate and zinc oxide

Water-resistant: No

Scent: None.

Does it work? Not really. We still had reddening of the skin. We also sweated right through it.

Would we use it again? Yes, as a foundation; no as the only sunscreen.

Take aways

  • You can’t judge a sunscreen by the SPF number. One of the worst was SPF 100. Some of the best was SPF 30.
  • The sprays were less effective then the creams that you spread on or the sticks that you press on.
  • It’s true that those with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are considered sunblocks rather than sunscreens, worked the best. You just have to be willing to put up with white tinting of the skin and that it doesn’t always rub in.
  • Just because it says water-resistant and sweat-resistant doesn’t mean that’s true.
  • Even the most “natural” sunscreens have some unpronounceable ingredients on the back.
  • There are really only about seven different sunscreen active ingredients. It’s about how they are stabilized and how they are delivered to your body.
  • Any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.

Sunscreen tips

  • Sun damage is cumulative, and it matters how many burns you had as a child and young adult when it comes to skin cancer later in life.
  • A tan is sun damage.
  • You need sunscreen every day, especially on your face, neck and upper chest, which are regularly exposed.
  • Try to avoid going out in the heat of the day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Even if it’s a cloudy day, you can get burned. The clouds only block about 20 percent of the sun’s UV rays.
  • Apply sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Most sunscreen should not be applied to wet skin unless the label says it can be.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • If you’re in water, reapply sunscreen every 40 minutes to an hour even if it says “water-resistant.”
  • Most people don’t use enough sunscreen. You need an ounce of sunscreen each time or about a shot-glass full.
  • Spread sunscreen in a thick layer. If you are using a spray, you need to rub it in. You might need to spray an area three times and rub it in three times to get it thick enough.
  • Choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum,” which indicates that it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF measures the protection against UVB rays. It does not measure protection against UVA rays.
  • Choose the right SPF. An SPF of 30 means its 30 times more sun protection factor than nothing. You want an SPF of 30 or above.
  • New research actually indicates that the higher the SPF the better, which means there’s now a case for an SPF of 70 or 100. Previously, scientist thought there wasn’t much of a difference after SPF 50.
  • The fairer your skin, the more SPF you want to choose.
  • Sunscreen in makeup is not enough SPF, plus you don’t re-apply it every two hours to adequately protect.
  • A layer of sun-protective clothing will be better than sunscreen for protection. You can buy clothing with SPF factor built into the fabric or you can actually wash it in the washing machine with RIT Dye SunGuard to give it an SPF factor of 30.
  • There’s a difference between sunblock and sunscreen. Sunblock will have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in it. It prevents the UV rays from penetrating into the skin. Sunscreen doesn’t block the UV rays, but it changes them once they hit the skin to make the rays not as harmful.
  • Children younger than 6 months can use a sunblock made for babies, but check with your pediatrician first. Keeping babies that young out of the sun and covered will be a better option than the sunblock.
  • There are slight differences in the formulas of regular sunscreen and sunscreen for children. In general, the one for children is made for delicate skin. The formula for babies should be a sunblock, but not always, so read the ingredients label first.
  • If you see a change in your skin or a mole or birthmark, see a doctor.
  • One in 5 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70.
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined.

RELATED: More sunscreen tips

Sources: Dermatologists Dr. Ted Lain, Sanova Dermatology; Dr. Samantha Hill, formerly of Specially for Children and Dell Children’s Medical Center; and Dr. Lakshmi Atkuri, Scott & White Clinic — Round Rock; and Patricia Agin, formerly Coppertone’s scientific affairs leader at its Solar Research Center, and skincancer.org.

 

20 favorite TV moms and what they’ve taught us

Who among us hasn’t wished for a different mother, like the ones you see on TV? And for moms, who among you haven’t wished you could be more like those moms on TV? Steady and kind, funny and smart, always with the right answer to any problem.

For Mother’s Day, we give you 20 of our favorite TV moms. None of them are perfect, all of them have some definite flaws, but they are endearing, people we can relate to and they make us think. Deep down, they are just like real moms — but with better hair and wardrobe.

Carol Brady’s love was at the center of “The Brady Bunch.” FILE

Carol Brady

“The Brandy Bunch”

Carol Brady taught us that there didn’t need to be a difference between the love she had for the children she birthed and the love she had for the children who became hers through marriage. She’s the ultimate step-mom, and she quietly fought the notion of what boys and girls can do in her own house. “Camping is for boys and girls,” she told the kids.

June Cleaver loved her boys in “Leave It to Beaver.” File

June Cleaver

“Leave It to Beaver”

June Cleaver came to represent the bygone era of moms of the 1950s. Moms that always had a piping hot dinner on the table, while wearing a dress, heels and pearls. Yet, June Cleaver could be no-nonsense, and you definitely knew she cared about both of her boys and even neighbor Eddie Haskell. She was forever saying, “Ward, I’m very worried about the Beaver.”

Jackie and sister Roseanne might be different, but you know they love one another in “Roseanne.” ABC

Roseanne Conner

“Roseanne”

Roseanne Conner said the things all moms think with plenty of sarcasm thrown at you. Things like, “Excuse the mess, but we live here.” Roseanne and husband, Dan, don’t put on any airs. They are real Americans and they don’t care if you love them or loathe them. The great thing about Roseanne Conner is we’ve gotten to grow up with her family and see them 30 years later, and guess what? They are exactly the same.

Linda keeps the family going while Bob makes the family business happen in “Bob’s Burgers.” FOX

Linda Belcher

“Bob’s Burgers”

Linda Belcher loves her babies intensely. She’s fun, she’s a bit wacky. You just have to love her. And she’s very real, even if she’s a cartoon. She has real quips on parenting, like: “Raising you kids is a two parent, two-bottles-of-wine-a-night kind of job.”

Dre and Rainbow Johnson have been through a lot as a couple in “Black-ish.” ABC

Rainbow Johnson

“Black-ish”

We’ve gotten to watch Rainbow go through many things including most recently postpartum depression and conflict in marriage. She is the rock to the gregarious Dre, plus we love how she handles the in-laws and the teenagers, factions that could make any mom lose it. This family feels real because of her. As her husband announces that he’s figured out a way to save Halloween, she says, “Oh that’s great. I found a way to save a guy that was at the bottom of a pool for twenty minutes, but you go.”

“Speechless” is all about family and overcoming challenges. The parents just come up with different approaches. ABC

Maya DiMeo

“Speechless”

Raising a child with differences makes you resilient. Never has there been an example of this like Maya DiMeo. She’ll pick up the whole family and move if she doesn’t get the services she wants for her kids. As she tells her son Ray, ““I’m not going to apologize for taking care of your brother. He got the right mum.”

Clair Huxtable always wore big hair, big earrings and big shoulder pads, but she also wore a strength that moved mountains. FILE

Clair Huxtable

“The Cosby Show”

The creator aside, this show taught us that women can be both a professional and a mom. They could be smart and sexy. They could be strong and vulnerable. They also could stand up to their husbands in a way that was not passive or offensive. “No, Cliff. You don’t understand, Honey. You did not have that child. I had that child. I was the one who was on that table screaming, ‘Take it out!’”

Mrs. Garrett was at the heart of “The Facts of Life.” FILE

Edna Garrett

“The Facts of Life”

Yes, Mrs. Garrett isn’t technically a mom to the girls under her care, but she definitely mothered those girls. She played the straight woman to their zany, and she always saw them for who they are, counseled them on all their troubles, and delivered consequences with a firm, loving stance. She always knew the right thing to say, “Oh honey, your decision to stay a kid is the most adult thing you’ve ever done.”

Marie Barone wouldn’t get out of son Raymond’s life or trying to control husband, Frank. CBS

Marie Barone

“Everybody Loves Raymond”

Marie Barone firmly believes that a mother’s work is never done, which is why she continues to mother both her adult sons. She mothers with guilt. She mothers with food, which is how she shows love. She is always the straight woman to husband Frank, who always got the best lines. Instead, with Marie, you knew exactly where she stood because she always let you know. As she often says, “I don’t like that.”

Ma made everything OK in “Little House on the Prairie.” FILE

Caroline Ingalls

“Little House on the Prairie”

Life on the American frontier was hard, yet Ma always kept her children fed and clothed and imparted wisdom that worked for any age, like this gem: “When you love somebody, it’s worth putting your pride behind you.”

Marion Cunningham “adopted” more than a few wayward strays in “Happy Days.” ABC

Marion Cunningham

“Happy Days”

Marion Cunningham loved her children and their friends, and she had a special place in her heart for the Fonz. “I hope you weren’t offended when I got a little peeved at you the other day … You did a wonderful job, Arthur. Shall we make up?”

“The Simpsons” never seem to age, but Marge becomes more and more central to the way that family works. Fox

Marge Simpson

“The Simpson”

Without Marge this family (and this show) wouldn’t work. While we often forget about her as the rest of the family is going through one round of high-jinks after another, she often knows the right thing to say to bring her children back to reality. Sometimes, it’s just a groan or a look, or a sigh that follows, “Oh, Homie.”

“The Addams Family” has had different incarnations like this movie version. Annie Lebovitz

Morticia Addams

“The Addams Family”

Morticia Addams celebrates her family and their uniqueness in fierce ways. She shows love and cleverness and feminism in the 1960s. “I’m just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It’s just… I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.”

The Keaton family in “Family Ties” learned how to love despite different political views. NBC

Elyse Keaton

“Family Ties”

Elyse Keaton had four very different kids, plus a Skippy. Yet, she loved every one of them, even Alex who was a Republican to her former hippie self, and Mallory, who was more interested in clothes and boys than school, something hard to understands as a woman with a career in architecture. Yet, she met every kid where they were and tried to help them be better. As she tells Alex, “You’re pushing yourself too hard.”

Lucy and Ethel were a package deal in “I Love Lucy.” FILE

Lucy Ricardo

“I Love Lucy”

Nothing ever went right for Lucy. Somehow she always messed something up, which made her very human. She taught us the importance of moms having friends. She and Ethel were thick as thieves, as with this exchange:

Lucy: I’ll get even with him!

Ethel: What are you gonna do?

Lucy: I’ll leave him! No. That’s probably what he wants.

Ethel: Yeah, stay married with him. That’ll teach him!

Coolest mom ever, Shirley Partridge let her kids form a band in “The Partridge Family.” FILE

Shirley Partridge

“The Partridge Family”

Shirley Partridge taught us that moms can rock and they can go on the road with their kids and form a rock band! She was the ultimate stage mom, but not in a creepy way, and with her magical tambourine, she allowed her kids to follow their dreams. She also gave us real insight in the struggle of being a single mom, “Let me explain something to you. I’m your mother, and in that way I’ll always belong to all of you. But I’m also a woman. And even with five children whom I love very much, and who I know love me, there are times when I still feel lonely.”

Michonne from “The Walking Dead” provides a lesson in love after loss. Gene Page/AMC

Michonne

“The Walking Dead”

Michonne as the katana-wielding superheroine of the zombie apocalypse lost her own son to the apocalypse, but she took on the role of mother to Rick Grimes’ children. She’s become the voice of reason, after starting out with so much anger about her own child’s death. As she says to Grimes’ son Carl, “I can’t stop you, but you can’t stop me from helping you.” She’s the epitome of a strong woman making the best of a difficult situation and doing it with love.

Lois seems to always be yelling at someone in “Malcolm in the Middle.” Deborah Feingold/FOX

Lois

“Malcolm in the Middle”

Lois is an every mom. She’s working a bad job, trying to raise four boys, one of whom is already a delinquent and one of whom is a genius she doesn’t know what to do with. Plus she’s got a husband with some pretty wackadoodle ideas. She always comes back with a good quip: “Once upon a time, there was a little boy that made his mom so crazy she decided to sell him to a circus.”

Tami Taylor might think her husband’s approach needs softening and she’ll let him know in “Friday Night Lights.” NBC

Tami Taylor

“Friday Night Lights”

Tami Taylor as the school counselor/principal/football coach’s wife mothered a whole team, really a whole town. There’s a sweetness to her and a toughness. She’s always the voice of reason and compassion. As she says, “I believe in you with every cell of my being.”

Daenerys Targaryen is the Mother of Dragons in “Game of Thrones.” If you can mother dragons, you can do anything, right? HBO

Daenerys Targaryen

“Game of Thrones”

Motherhood can be elusive. Daenerys loses her unborn baby in the first season of “Game of Thrones,” yet she grows an empire and three dragons. She is the mother of dragons and so much more. As she says, “No one will take my dragons.” And yet, we now know she is vulnerable.

New book ‘The Stepmoms’ Club’ reminds us: Don’t forget stepmoms this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be the loneliest holiday for stepmoms. The children they are helping to raise are with their mothers. They’ve often helped create something special for the children’s mother and often the work they do is not acknowledged.

“You go to Starbucks and they don’t know you’re not a mother and they wish you a Happy Mother’s Day,” says Kendall Rose. She along with three friends formed The Stepmoms’ Club and now she writes about becoming a stepmother and the challenges of this unappreciated role.

She wrote the book as a girlfriends’ guide to this role, as a way for women to find answers about what other women weren’t talking about.

In “The Stepmoms’ Club: How to be a Stepmom Without Losing your Money, Your Mind and Your Marriage” ($15.99, Source Books), Rose shares stories and wisdom learned after 15 years of helping to raise her husband’s children from another marriage. Rose, which is a pen name she chose after her’s and her grandmother’s imaginary tea names, uses that name to protect her stepchildren. All the names in the book are not real names, but they are real women with real stories of how hard it is to be in this role.

How do you overcome the “wicked stepmother” stereotype perpetuated by Disney and make it work? The biggest rule is to always focus on the children and their needs.

“When parents don’t get along, they’re not focus on the issue at hand what’s going to be be most beneficial for the child or children,” she says. “That’s when we see the strife.”

Sometimes you have to put your needs last and take a step back. “There are times when the children really want you to be involved,” she says. “And there are other times looking for mother and father to be in that situation, even if it’s difficult as a stepmom that wants to be involved.”

You put the kids’ needs first, which is always the right answer.

That might mean that the mom, not you, shops for the dress to the dance, or that you sit with the mom in the bleachers at the game so that the kid doesn’t have to look for two different sets of parents. It might mean that there are times when you take a step back and let the biological parents get all the public acknowledgement.

Rose recommends entering into the relationship slowly and with knowledge. It will take some time to decide what this relationship is. “Making it into a big deal turns it into a big deal,” she says.

Instead, do more informal introductions, slowly start spending more time with them rather than launching head-first into part-time or full-time mom.

She recommends waiting until it’s very clear that this relationship is going to be permanent.

“In a new relationship, you’re still learning about one another, and then you’re learning about another family’s dynamics,” she says.

Once you do enter into the relationship, fill yourself with knowledge. That means you’ve read the divorce decree and all the custody documentation. You know what the rules are for how much time the children will be with their father, how holidays are divided and how much child support is each month.

This and a conversation with your partner will help you figure out what your role as stepmom will be. “Don’t make the assumption that you’re jumping full feet into the water, and you’re taking on the role of the mother,” she says. “They have a biological mother. Know where you fit within the family dynamics.”

You also have to figure out what your house rules are, which might be very different than Mom’s house rules. And then you have to figure out if it makes sense for you to be the main enforcer of these rules, for their father to be or for you both to be.

“There is something so important about letting go,” Rose says. “It sounds so much easier than it is. It’s about not getting caught up in what happens elsewhere.”

Often, the kids won’t be so welcoming to you. After all, this wasn’t something they got a choice in. “Tread lightly,” Rose says. “Try to connect with them on some level. Ease into it.”

Recognize that they might blame you for the breakup of their parents’ marriage or they might feel like liking you is a betrayal to their mother. You also don’t know what they’re being told at their other house.

“You have to let it play out over time,” she says. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone.”

Stepmoms have to recognize that there’s a lot they are not in control of: the terms of the divorce, the way the other parent parents. “There are things you can’t change, but you can change how you react to things,” Rose says.

Stepmoms are often the last to know important details like what’s going on at school because the teachers often primarily communicate with mom, maybe dad. You can make sure that you’re on the emergency contact list, that you’re on the teacher’s email that goes to all the parents, that you are in contact with any coaches or after-school activity provider. Rose also suggests giving the teacher a box of self-addressed stamped envelopes for them to mail to you a copy of any papers that might be going to home to the other house.

Recognize that there are parts of the children’s life that you’ve missed and are going to miss. And yes, they will talk about that time when they were little and said the funniest thing or their favorite stuffed animal, and you won’t be able to tell them more about that. “You have to let it go,” she says. “You weren’t there, as much as it hurts.”

There are some wonderful things, too, about being a stepmom. Often they come at unexpected times when you get a nice note or a card and you know that you mattered. “The smallest thing has the biggest impact,” she says.

And when a blended family works, it’s incredibly rewarding, Rose says.

“Parents can love multiple children; children can love multiple parents,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just a little bumpy, but they can get there.”

Mom shares the less-than-pretty truth about raising a child with autism in ‘Autism Uncensored’

Whitney Ellenby writes her truth about raising a son with autism in “Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain.” ($19.95, Koehler Books) Not everyone is going to like it, and that’s just fine with her. In fact, she’s been reviled for writing what she’s written.

Ellenby was a lawyer in Washington, D.C., working in the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice, when she and her husband, Keith, became pregnant with Zack, who is now 17.

Whitney Ellenby, her husband Keith, son Zack and daughter Cassie.

Ellenby doesn’t pull any punches about the first five years of Zack’s life. When he was born, she had trouble connecting with him. He didn’t sleep well. He didn’t respond in ways she thought he should. His expressions were just flat. He never pointed for anything. Yet, how should she know this wasn’t normal? He was a first child.

She doesn’t hide her bitterness when the diagnosis came, and with it, a recommendation for 40 hours a week of therapy. This therapy came with a false hope that maybe he could be trained to alter his behavior so much that he appeared normal.

Whitney Ellenby wrote “Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain.”

She dutifully brought her son to Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for months on end. Some behaviors would get better for a time period, or he would move from one behavior to another, but she became aware that it wasn’t working, that he hated the therapy, that it felt like punishment.

She writes that felt like she was losing herself. She looked at her work clothes and realized she was no longer that person who wore those. She felt like she was becoming more and more isolated. She couldn’t take Zack to public places because he would freak out. He started doing things like smearing his poop all over his room at night or eating non-food items. She writes “So this is my life. I am a well-educated woman. I am an accomplished civil rights attorney. I am a woman who spends hours every night on her hands and knees scraping feces off walls.”

The book, she says, was written for parents like her who are struggling and in pain. “When you decide to become a parent, it’s a leap of faith,” she says. You expect a normal baby. You don’t expect a Zack. “It’s not natural to have a total surrender of your identity,” she says. “Are you expected to be happy and thrilled or is there a natural amount of anger and bitterness?”

“Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain,” by Whitney Ellenby.

She has experienced backlash after writing the book, she says, mainly from some other parents of children like Zack and from adults with autism who are high-functioning. “It’s just terrible to tell my truth,” she says, of the messages she has received. “I’m offended that your offended,” she says about her critics.

The way she felt, she says, is very normal. “It’s helpful to acknowledge it,” she says.

Ellenby spent five years trying to figure to figure out what went wrong and blaming herself as well as trying to find a way to make him more like a neurotypical kids. She wants parents to “shed the shame. Don’t waste time blaming themselves,” she says. “The numbers are huge and we don’t know why. We don’t know what’s causing it, but it isn’t anything we intentionally did.”

The book takes readers through those dreadfully frustrating years, but there are triumphs for sure. The highs were incredibly high, and the lows were incredibly low.

One of the things Ellenby did that experts discouraged her from doing was exposure therapy to the public spaces that Zack feared.

Ellenby created a routine of bringing Zack to places like the movie theater or a “Sesame Street Live” performance. Zack would have an all out tantrum and often the audience would be hostile to Ellenby until she started explaining to them what was about to happen. She would tell them that her son has autism and that he is afraid, but if they will just listen to him scream for a few minutes, she would talk to him and tell him what was going to happen, and suddenly he would realize that Elmo is on stage and that’s magical or that a movie is going to start and that’s pretty cool.

“Our kids can do so much more than they think they can do,” she says.

Through doing this, Ellenby made sure that Zack was able to go on the high slide at the water park, even though she was too chicken to follow him down, or go to a rock concert.

Her work with Zack also inspired her to create a nonprofit organization in the Washington, D.C., area to offer sensory-friendly events for families of children with autism.

Instead of chasing a cure, she’d like national organizations to build in more services for families, to advocate for more opportunities for people with autism. She’d like autism to be treated like any other disability, with accommodations in public places.

“Our kids are innocent travelers with a disability that makes the world hard to navigate,” she says. “If they are flapping, own it. Don’t feel ashamed of it. Get them out into the real world. Don’t keep them at home because you’re embarrassed. The only way to crystallize skills is to practice them in the real world.”

One of the things she wants to encourage families with a new autism diagnosis to do is to try lots of therapies, but to trust their gut. If something isn’t working or if their child plateaus, try something else.

She wishes she had done more with real world experiences and playdates when Zack was younger rather than him spending his time in 40 hours a week of therapy that didn’t work.

Zack started out in regular classes with some support, but then as the gulf between him and his classmates became wider and wider, it became painful for Ellenby to watch. She had to get over the idea that the experts had given her early on that Zack could “recover” from autism. It was about letting go of the fantasy and pretense. Once she accepted that he’s never going to “recover,” and “it was strangely liberating,” she says. “We acknowledged we had set the bar at an unrealistic place.”

For her, that means she looks to a future of Zack living with assistance and maybe one day having an entry-level job that works for him.

“This is who he is, this is who he’s meant to be,” she says. “Call the thing what it is and ask for what you need.”

Plan your weekend with the kids now with these Austin events, April 13-15

It will be nothing like last weekend — we promise. No sudden cold snap that made outdoor activities just icky. It might rain Friday morning, but then you’ll be good to go to be outside with your family.

Here are some events happening in and around Austin for little ones and teens alike:

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 Saturdays are for Families once a month. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

Contemporary Austin. Saturdays are for Families: Ships Ahoy. Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Teen Event: Destination Laguna. Explore the museum after hours with snacks and activities for teens. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Free for teens 13-18. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Science Mill. The Science of Sports. Test your balance, see how hard you can hit and more. 10 a.m. Saturday. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Sábados en Familia. 10 a.m. Saturday. Free arts and wellness programs for the whole family, plus free lunch. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. 600 River St. austintexas.gov/esbmacc

Williamson Museum. Hands-on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown. williamsonmuseum.org

 

Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

 

 

Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. Through April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov

Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day: The Art of Resistance. Enjoy activities around the current exhibit. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave. mexic-artemuseum.org

“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through a dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m.  Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children. scottishritetheater.org

“The Smartest Girl in the World” is at Austin Playhouse.

Austin Playhouse presents “The Smartest Girl in the World.” Two kids dream of helping their family by going on a game show. For grades second through sixth. Pick your price. 2 p.m. Saturday. Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus, 6001 Airport Blvd., South Entrance. austinplayhouse.com

Thinkery. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

BookPeople events: Donna Janell Bowman reads “Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words.” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.”  10:15 a.m.  Saturday-Sunday, Lakeline. drafthouse.com

BookPeople events: Emma Berquist reads “Devils Unto Dust.” 6 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Free with admission. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Wildflower Center. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

 

BookPeople 10:30 a.m. storytimes:  Yoga, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Pig the Star,” Saturday.

 

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” began the book and movie series.

Teen “Harry Potter” Club. 2 p.m.Sunday, Central Library.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. Saturday, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd. austintexas.gov

Car seat check.  9 a.m. Saturday, Covert Hutto Chevrolet, 1200 U.S. 79, Hutto. austintexas.gov

Teen Book Club: “Revolver.” 3 p.m. Saturday, Central Library.

Dads, (and moms, too) learn to do your daughter’s hair with these easy steps

Oh, dads, we feel your pain. It’s time to get your daughter ready for school, her hair is a hot mess, and you’re not sure what to do with it. Even the ponytail, which seems simple, just isn’t.

Jessica Tellez pulls Ashlynn Bradley’s hair into a ponytail at Urban Betty Salon. Deborah Cannon/For American-Statesman photos

Urban Betty Salon hair stylist Jessica Tellez is teaching a daddy/daughter hair styling class. She’s starting what she calls the 101 class: that’s ponytails and buns. Pigtails and braids are more complicated, and she’ll save those for the 2.0 class. Here are the basics on creating ponytails and buns.

[cmg_anvato video=”4368095″]

Basic ponytail

1. Spray a detangler such as Bumble and Bumble Prep Primer on the hair.

2. Use a Wet Brush, which can be used on wet hair or dry hair, to brush out thehair. The Wet Brush is made to not hurt.

3. Start at the bottom of the hair and brush to the end, then go higher up the hair and brush to the end. Take it at a section at a time until everything is detangled.

4. Pull the hair into a ponytail by combing underneath, then supporting the bottom. Brush the top of the hair while holding the bottom in a ponytail to smooth out the top.

5. Hold the hair with one hand. With the other hand, use two fingers to spread the ponytail holder.

6. Hold the ponytail holder over the ponytail and grab the ponytail with that hand. With the other hand, pull the ponytail holder over the ponytail to its bottom side and pull the ponytail through. Continue to keep a tight grip on the hair with the top hand.

7. Twist the holder and pull the hair through again and again. Be sure to hold the ponytail with the other hand until the hair is secured by the holder.

8. If you mess up, remove the holder, brush the bottom of the ponytail, the sides and then the top again, and repeat steps 5-7.

ALSO IN PARENTING: Wendy Mogel wants to teach you how to talk to your kids

[cmg_anvato video=”4367726″]

Basic high ponytail on ethnic hair

1. Spray a detangler, conditioner such as Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer, on the hair.

2. Comb out the hair.

3. Use only the side of the Wet Brush to move the hair into place and move the primer through the hair. Brush underneath and the sides and then the top.

4. Move the hair into a ponytail, holding the base of the hair. The hair will naturally stay where you have placed it, but it’s still a good idea to hold onto the ponytail you are forming with one hand.

Stylist Jessica Tellez pulls Josephine Pitts’s hair into a top ponytail at Urban Betty Salon on Friday, March 23, 2018. Deborah Cannon /For AMERICAN-STATESMAN

5. With the other hand, use two fingers to spread the ponytail holder.

6. Hold the ponytail holder over the ponytail and grab the ponytail with that hand. With the other hand, pull the ponytail holder top piece over the ponytail to its bottom and pull the ponytail through. Continue to keep a tight grip on the hair.

7. Twist the holder and pull the hair through again and again. Be sure to hold the ponytail with the other hand until the hair is secured by the holder.

Josephine Pitts shows off her top ponytail at Urban Betty Salon on Friday, March 23, 2018. Deborah Cannon /For AMERICAN-STATESMAN

[cmg_anvato video=”4367730″]

Bun

1. Create a ponytail using the steps above.

2. Secure it with a holder.

3. Add more primer to the hair to give you more grip.

4. Twist the hair by holding the ponytail at the end and turning it hand over hand until it is all twisted throughout.

5. Twist the hair around itself like a coiled snake against the head.

6. Lock it into place by using bobby pins. Grab the side of a coil at the top and stick it into the hair. Grab another pin and go through the side until they lock in place.

7. Continue to alternate pins in a crisscross shape until you feel the bun is secure.

Tips:

Brush hair every night and have your daughter sing “Happy Birthday” three times while doing it to make sure you are doing it enough.

Use shampoo only at the scalp. Use conditioner at the ends. Make sure all of it gets rinsed out.

When brushing, start with the bottom layer of the hair. Put the top layers in a clip on the top of the head to get them out of the way. Once you get the first layer, add another layer, brush it out, then another, until all the hair is smooth.

Daddy/Daughter Hair Class

When: 10 a.m. April 21

Where: Urban Betty Salon, 1206 W. 38th St., Suite 1107

Tickets: $75, technically sold out but contact the salon if you’re interested in a future class

Information: urbanbetty.com, 512-371-7663

 

More than a dozen things to do with kids this Easter weekend in Austin, March 30-April 1

Have you seen the Easter Bunny yet? You’ve got a long three-day weekend to find him. Also find more on our family to-do list of events happening in Austin:

The Easter Bunny is in a mall near you. Staff photo by Bill Lackey
  1. Easter Bunny photos. Various times through Saturday. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase; hillcountrygalleria.com. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Barton Creek Square; simon.com/barton-creek-square. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Lakeline Mall; simon.com/mall/lakeline-mall, Round Rock Premium Outlets, premiumoutlets.com/outlet/round-rock.

    You can find more than bluebonnets at the Wildflower Center this weekend. You might find eggs. AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
  2. Wildflower Center: Egg-cellent Adventures: Decorate hard-boiled eggs with items from nature, go on an egg hunt and learn about what lays eggs. 12 p.m. Saturday. $20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
  3. Austin Nature & Science Center. Celebrate Urban Birds. Celebrate birds by going on a bird-watching hike, dissecting owl pellets and more. Free. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc

    Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.
  4. Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com
  5. Neill-Cochran House Museum. Getting the Message: The Telegraph & The Crystal Radio. 1 p.m. Sunday. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org
  6. Pollyanna Theatre presents “Hurry Up and Wait.” Wendy and Harry plant a garden and have to learn patience. For ages 2-4. $6.75. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
  7. Cirque Éloize: “Saloon.” The circus meets an old-fashioned Western. $29-$59. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
  8. Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
  9. Thinkery. Take Apart Art: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Friday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
  10. Wildflower Center: Afternoon Explorers: Butterflies in the Garden. Learn about butterflies. For ages 6-10. 3:30 p.m. Friday. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
  11. BookPeople events: Barbara Nye reads “Somewhere a Bell is Ringing”: 2 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
  12. Car seat check. 9 a.m. Friday, Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 E. Montopolis Drive. austintexas.gov
  13. Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
  14. Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Light It Up. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
  15. Toybrary Austin. Mini horse visit. 10:30 a.m. Friday. $12. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
  16. BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Around the World: Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
  17. Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Duckling Gets a Cookie?”: Saturday.
  18. Bow Wow Reading With Bonnie the Dog: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Plan ahead: What are you doing with the family in April in Austin

April is that magical time when we bridge from the warmth of spring to the heat of the summer. It’s a great time to get out there and enjoy the wildflowers, a spring festival or try some science.

Here is our list of family events happening next month in and around Austin:

Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.

Events

GirlStart Starry Nights. Look at the mini planetarium and enjoy hands-on activities. 5:30 p.m. April 5. GirlStart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org

Insect Safari Hike on the Water Quality Protection Lands. Find and look up bugs in this family-friendly event. 10 a.m. April 7. Register and then get directions. austintexas.gov/water/wildland

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old “uU.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com

Monster Jam. Seriously big trucks crush other trucks. 7 p.m. April 21, 2 p.m. April 22. $20-37. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com

City Nature Challenge. Find things in nature and record and share what you find. April 27-30. Get help at these events: 3 p.m. April 27, JJ Seabrook Greenbelt; 9 a.m. April 28, Mabel Davis District Park; 3 p.m. April 28, Willowbrook Reach; and 3 p.m. April 29, Gracywoods Neighborhood Park. tpwd.texas.gov/naturechallenge

EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens is celebrating the Butterfly Festival in April.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month it’s all about the Earth. Free. 10 a.m. to noon April 4. Register at domainnorthside.com.

Children’s Picnic. Local food vendors and farmers, plus make your own eco pot, enjoy storytelling, music and an imagination station. 105 p.m. April 8. Rosewood Park, 2300 Rosewood Ave. edibleaustin.com

Butterfly Festival. Games, crafts and live butterfly release. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 21. Free. The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

Game Chica Conference. For girls ages 9 to 18. Learn how to design video games with experts from Austin technology companies. $15 includes lunch. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 28. HomeAway at the Domain, 11800 Domain Blvd. No. 300. gamechica.com.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. In Spanish, 4 p.m. April 2, People’s Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa. 9 a.m. April 7. Seton Southwest Medical Center, 7900 FM 1826. 9 a.m. April 14, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd. 9 a.m. April 28, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive. austintexas.gov

Car seat check. 9 a.m. April 3, Dove springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. April 6, Buda Fire Station 2, 151 FM 2001, Buda. 9 a.m. April 12, BabyEarth, 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd. Suite 100, Round Rock. 9 a.m. April 14, Covert Hutto Chevrolet, 1200 U.S. 79, Hutto. 9 a.m. April 18. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.austintexas.gov

Fairytale Tea Party. Dress in princess attire, play games and make crafts. Free. 10 a.m. April 28. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. austintexas.gov

Museums

Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. April 13-April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov

From left, Briana So-Morris, 5, Alec Blondin, 13, and his sister, Ashley Randall, 5, uncover a Mastadon at the Dino Pit at the Austin Nature & Science Center. 2004 American-Statesman

Austin Nature & Science Center. Austin’s Nature Day Nature and Art. 9 a.m. to noon April 21. Free. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc

Bullock MuseumLiving History Days: Re-enactors stroll through the museum, 10 a.m. April 5. Little Texans: Cowboys and Cowgirls. For ages 2-5, 10 a.m. Aoruk 12. Science Thursdays: 10 a.m. April 19. Storytime: Nature. 10 a.m. April 26. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Contemporary Austin.  Teen Event: Destination Laguna. Explore the museum after hours with snacks and activities for teens. 6-9 p.m. April 13. Free for teens 13-18. Saturdays are for Families: Ships Ahoy. Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Science Mill. The Science of Sports. Test your balance, see how hard you can hit and more. 10 a.m. April 14. Homeschool Day. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 11. Earth Day Butterfly Bonanza. Learn more about butterflies. Noon-4 p.m. April 22. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Getting the Message: The Telegraph & The Crystal Radio. Make your own switches. 1 p.m. April 1. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day: The Art of Resistance. Enjoy activities around the current exhibit. Free. Noon-5 p.m. April 15. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave. mexic-artemuseum.org

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Sábados en Familia. 10 a.m. April 14. Free arts and wellness programs for the whole family, plus free lunch. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. 600 River St. austintexas.gov/esbmacc

Thinkery. Sensory Friendly Hours. Free breakfast tacos from Hat Creek Burger Company and a free screening of Trolls at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. Free.8 a.m. April 29.Art Start: My Many Colored Days: 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays (1-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays (2-year-olds), Wednesdays, through May 9. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Decoding DNA. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 7-8, April 21-22. $8. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 14-15, April 28-29. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Peppa the Pig is coming to Toybrary Austin. Cartoon Network

Toybrary Austin. Spanish class. 10:30 a.m. April 3. $5. Gardening Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Free with admission. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Peppa Pig Visits. 10:30 a.m. April 5. $12. Silly Sparkles Super Silly Show. $10:30 a.m. April 12. $10. Bubblefest with Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. April 26. $10. Firetruck visits. 10:30 a.m. April 27. $7. Family concert and picnic. 5 p.m. April 28. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. April 8. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. unmlaufsculture.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Free with admission. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Afternoon Explorers: Wild about Wildflowers. For ages 6-10.$15 one child and adult. 3:30 p.m. April 20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Tina Steiner smiles as she records a historical presentation at The Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail. Photo by: Megumi Rooze

Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown. williamsonmuseum.org

The Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail. Chisholm Trail Day in Round Rock. Live cowboy music, Dutch oven cooking, hands-on activities and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7. 8 Chisholm Trail, Round Rock. williamsonmuseum.org

“The Smartest Girl in the World” is at Austin Playhouse.

Theater

“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m. April 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 12:30 a.m. April 21-22, April 28-29. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children. scottishritetheater.org

Fifth Annual Greater Austin High School Theatre Awards. See who wins, plus some snapshots of the best shows. 7:30 p.m. April 18. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Disney on Ice: Reach for the Stars.” Mickey and friends in a star-studded extravaganza. $15-$50. 7 p.m. April 25-28, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. April 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. April 29. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. hebcenter.com

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Austin Playhouse presents “The Smartest Girl in the World.” Two kids dream of helping their family by going on a game show. For grades second- through sixth-graders. Pick your price. 7 p.m. April 3, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 7 and 14. Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus, 6001 Airport Blvd., South Entrance. austinplayhouse.com

Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the “The Sandlot.”

Movies

That’s My Face Film Series: “The Making of Claudia Rankin.” For young adults. 6:30 p.m. April 27. Free. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Alamo Drafthouse. “The Sandlot” Movie Party. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this movie. 1 p.m. April 8 Lakeline and Slaughter Lane., and 7:15 p.m. April 9-12, Slaughter Lane. “PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.”10:30 a.m. April 20-21, Mueller. 10:15 a.m. April 14-15, Lakeline.drafthouse.com

Movies in the Park. “The Lion King.” 8:15 p.m. April 5. Northwest District Park, 7000 Ardath St. Free. austinparks.org

Books

BookPeople events: Junot Díaz reads “Islandborn.” 6:30 p.m. April 4. Emma Berquist reads “Devils Unto Dust.” 6 p.m. April 14. Donna Janell Bowman reads “Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words. 2 p.m. April 15. Stuart Gibbs and Sarah Mlynowski reads “Waste of Space” and “Two Peas in a Pod.” 6 p.m. April 23. Charlie Rose and Dan Peeler read “Dragons of Romania: Star of Doom.” 2 p.m. April 7. 10:30 a.m. story times: Pets are the Best, April 3. Poets Who Know It, April 4. Imagination Station, April 7. We Love Libraries, April 10. Ms. Staci, April 11. Yoga, April 14. Armstrong Community Music School, April 17. Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo, April 18. Mrs. Purple Urple, April 21. Preposterous Puppet Show, April 24. Favorite Read Aloud, April 25. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Giving Tree,” April 7. “Pig the Star,” April 14. “Here We Are: Notes for Livng on Planet Earth,” April 21. “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” 11 a.m. April 28.

Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who struggles against his family’s generations-old ban on music, creates a secret space where he can play his guitar and soak up the on-screen talent of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt), in “Coco.” Contributed by Disney/Pixar

At the library

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Mondays, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 2 p.m. April 11, Carver Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 12, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 24, Howson Branch.

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Mondays, University Hills Branch. 6 p.m. April 3, Yarborough Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Milwood Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Old Quarry Branch.

Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. April 3 and April 24, Twin Oaks Branch.

Tabletop Tuesday. Play games every Tuesday. 5 p.m. Tuesdays. Central Library.

Art Smart: Celebrating Asian Dragons. 10:15 a.m. April 4, Howson Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 4, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 6, University Hills Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 11, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 4:30 p.m. April 17, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 18, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 26, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. April 4, North Village Branch. Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 p.m. April 11, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Music and Movement. 3:30 p.m. April 4 and April 11, Ruiz Branch. 11 a.m. April 5, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. April 9, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. April 13, Old Quarry Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 25, Ruiz Branch.

Chess Club. 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Money Smart Week: Savvy Shopper. 3:30 p.m. April 5, Carver Branch.

Express Yourself with social media. 1 p.m. Saturdays, Ruiz Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Coco.” 1 p.m. April 7, St. John Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. April 8, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

“Anansi and the Golden Box of Stories.” 3:30 p.m. April 9, Spicewood Springs Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 17, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 18, Ruiz Branch. 1 p.m. April 21, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Kids’ Yoga. 3:30 p.m. April 9, April 16, April 23, Yarborough Branch.

NBTween Book Club. “The Tale of Despereaux.” 4 p.m. April 12, Cepeda Branch. “Flora & Ulysses.” 6 p.m. April 19, Twin Oaks Branch. “Counting by Sevens.” 6 p.m. April 19, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Tech Thursday. 4:30 p.m. April 12, Ruiz Branch.

Teen Book Club: “Popular.” 6:30 p.m. April 12, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Revolver.” 3 p.m. April 14, Central Library. “Persepolis.” 6:30 p.m. April 17, Howson Branch.

Night Builders: Family Lego Lab. 7:30 p.m. April 12, Hampton Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee “Moana.” 3:30 p.m. April 13, Carver Branch. “Hop.” 3:30 p.m. April 13, Old Quarry Branch.

Doodling for Families. 4 p.m. April 13, North Village Branch.

Perler Bead Saturday. Noon April 14, University Hills Branch.

Sign Me Up! Sign-Making Party for teens. 1 p.m. April 14, Central Library.

Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. April 15, Central Library.

Mother-Daughter Book Club: “A Snicker of Magic.” 6 p.m. April 18, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. April 18, Howson Branch.

Tween Anime Club: “Sgt. Frog.” 2 p.m. April 27, Twin Oaks Branch.

World Dance Day. Noon April 29, Central Library.

Featured Flicks: “Coco.” 4 p.m. April 30, North Village Branch.

Are you ready for Sunday’s time change? Here are our tips

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The time change is coming. On Sunday at 2 a.m., you’ll set your clock ahead one hour (we know you’ll stay up all night just to do this).

Benjamin Villalpando needs his extra hour of sleep. Nicole Villalpando/American Statesman 2014

This one always feels harder than the one in the fall because we lose an hour, but unlike in the fall, we get to do it over spring break (or South by Southwest — the adult version of spring break).

What do we love most about this time change?

The sun doesn’t set until well after 7 p.m. That makes for some really nice nighttime walks or trips to the neighborhood park.

RELATED: What’s the best playground in Austin?

What do we like least?

Losing that hour (we have stuff to do!)

Trying to get a sleepy kid up when it’s dark and everything in their body tells them it’s an hour earlier.

For kids who are home all next week, they can gradually adjust their body clocks without having to wake up at what feels like an hour early on a Monday morning. For the rest of us, it’s going to be brutal.

Dr. Nina Desai, a family doctor at Baylor Scott & White Clinic Austin-North Burnet, said in a press release last fall, that often babies, young children and seniors feel the effects of time changes the most.

She offers these tips to make the transition:

  • About three days before the time change, try moving your bedtime 15-20 minutes later. This gradual change, along with delaying your wake time 15-20 minutes, can help decrease the symptoms of fatigue and irritability.
  • Try dimming the lights for about an hour after you wake up in the morning.
  • Avoid electronics and screen time on computers, tablets and phones. This can keep your body’s clock in check so you feel ready to wake up in the morning and ready for bed at night.
  • Get plenty of sleep leading up to the time change to avoid health and safety risks.

While it’s normal to feel tired for as much as a week after the time change hits, if you continue to feel tired or you already feel tired all the time, Desai wants you to go see your doctor to rule out a sleep disorder, metabolic disorder, depression or anxiety.

RELATED: Is my child getting enough sleep?

 

 

Plan ahead: What are you doing this spring break in Austin? We’ve got your family events calendar

Spring break is coming— a time when kids are screaming for joy at all the possibilities of fun; a time when parents are left trying to find a one-week camp for their kids, cobbling together care or trying to keep everyone entertained and away from screens all week long.

RELATED: How to get teens off screens and reading a book this spring break.

Austin, which gets overwhelmed by South by Southwest this week, does have things for kids to do all week, most of which have no South by Southwest tie-ins at all.

Check out a few of these:

See bull riders and the people who try to keep the bull away from the rider at Rodeo Austin. Mark Matson/Rodeo Austin 2014

Events

Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. March 10-24. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, March 10-12, March 16-18. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com

Kids Fest. Little Yoga House presents this two-day event. Enjoy musical acts, art projects, coding games, films, a family photo booth and Lego animation. Free. 1:30-3:30 p.m. March 13-14.The Little Yoga House Clarksville Location, 1211 Parkway. littleyogahouse.com

Music

123 Andrés aka Andrés Salguero plays Rock & Read at the Domain.

Thinkery. Unofficial SXSW Event: Kids’ Music Showcase. Kids’ music, plus hands-on activities. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10. Free with admission. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

MyMusicRx + YOU WHO! Rock Show for Kids at the Fader Fort’s new location. 10 a.m.-noon March 15. $25 adults, $30/day of show; free children 10 and younger. Benefits the Children’s Cancer Association. 1501 E. Seventh St. joyrx.org/rockshow

Bill Childs of Spare the Rock on KUTX presents these fun music for family events:

“Hello Dolly! A Tribute to Dolly Parton.” Celebrate Dolly Parton’s music with Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Red Yarn, Jon Langford, 1-2-3 Andres, Ms. Kat, Que Pastas, SaulPaul and more. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 16. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children. sparetherock.com

Rock & Read at the Domain. Musicians include the Hoots, 1-2-3 Andres, the Que Pastas, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship. 2-5:30 p.m. March 17. Free. Domain lawn by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s. sparetherock.com

KUTx live broadcast kids’ music lineup. The KUTx live broadcast at the Four Seasons during South by Southwest will feature children’s music between the sets each morning. Red Yam and JareBare, March 14. Ms. Kat and SaulPaul, March 15. Laura Doherty and 1-2-3 Andres, March 16. Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band and Sugar Free Allstars, March 17. $5 for a wristband for the kids-only stage. $15 for the adult stage. Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com

Music and Movement. 11 a.m. March 12, Pleasant Hill Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. March 11, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Theater

Circus Chickendog has shows all week.

Circus Chickendog’s “1001 Tricks in 1 Hour!” See the original show with rescue dogs. 1 p.m. March 12-16, 10:30 p.m. March 17. $15, free for children younger than 3. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive. chickendog.net.

“Nugget and Fang!” ArtsPower’s musical about a shark and a minnow that get along. $9-$12. Noon March 10. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Cave Road. oneworldtheatre.org

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Sundays. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Bubble Guppies Live!: “Ready to Rock.” The Nickelodeon cartoon comes to the stage. $19-$29. 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 11. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Movies

“Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Fox Searchlight

Alamo Drafthouse. Kids Camp: “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”: 10 a.m. March 10-15, Lakeline. 10:25 a.m. March 11, 10:30 a.m. March 12-15, Mueller. “The Iron Giant”: 12:45 p.m. March 10, 4 p.m. March 11, 7 p.m. March 13, Lakeline. 1:15 p.m. March 10, 4:15 p.m. March 11, 7:15 p.m. March 13, Slaughter Lane. Noon March 3, 6:30 p.m. March 4, 7:30 p.m. March 7, Village. “All Dogs Go to Heaven”: 10:15 a.m. March 10-15, Slaughter Lane. 9:30 a.m. March 17-18, Lakeline. “Back to the Future”: 1:15 p.m. March 17, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com

Saturday Movie Matinee, “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. March 10, University Hills Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Women’s History Month Film Series: “Wonder Woman.” 3:30 p.m. March 12, Old Quarry Branch.

Family Movie Night. “Jumanji”: 4 p.m. March 13, Cepeda Branch. “Robots”: 4 p.m. March 15, Cepeda Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “Sing.” 3:30 p.m. March 16, Old Quarry Branch.

Books

Asian American Resource Center. Indian American Children’s Literature: Celebrate Indian literature with stories, crafts and games. Free. 2-4 p.m. March 18. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. austintexas.gov/aarc

BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Brand New Books: March 10. Colors of Spring: March 12. Heartsong Music: March 13. Ms. Staci: March 14. Princesses and Warriors: March 15. Luchador Legends: March 16. Lucky Day: March 17. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Magician’s Hat”: March 10. “The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School”: March 17.

Teen Book Club. “Bunker Diary”: 3 p.m. March 10, Central Library.

NBTween Book Club. “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”: 4 p.m. March 14, Howson Branch. “The Nest”: 6 p.m. March 15, Spicewood Springs Branch.

The Third Floor Corridor: Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. March 18, Central Library.

Art

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum has hands-on crafts all week. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013

Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 10. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown. williamsonmuseum.org

Blanton Museum of Art. Look. Think. Make. Drop in and make art every Thursday. Noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Thursdays. Blanton Museum of Art. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org

Bullock MuseumSpring Break at the Bullock. Hands-on activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 12-16. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Crafternoon. 2 p.m. March 14, Cepeda Branch. 2:30 p.m. March 14, Carver Branch. 3 p.m. March 12, Dove Springs Recreation Center.

Perler Bead Saturdays. Noon March 10, University Hills Branch.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. March 11. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. unmlaufsculture.org

Thinkery. Take Apart Art: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. March 16-18. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Art Free for All. Explore Laguna Gloria and make art at this open house. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 10. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Technology

The Colossal Robotic Hand is open at the Hill Country Science Mill.

Texas Museum of Science and Technology. This Cedar Park museum and planetarium will close after March 18. Currently you can see the exhibit “Amazing Butterflies” and do the TimeWalk, journey through the Precambrian and Jurassic eras and into the Holocene period. $18-$12. 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

Hill Country Science Mill. Robot Mania. Special hands-on activities. March 12-16. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Tween STEM Lab. Electric Sculpture with Squishy Circuits. 3 p.m. March 16, Cepeda Branch.

Teen Tech Week: Robot Petting Zoo: 2 p.m. March 11, Central Library. “Ready Player One”: 2 p.m. March 12. Pi Day: 1:30 p.m. March 14, Central Library. Bristle Bots: 2:30 p.m. March 15. Stop Motion Animation: 2 p.m. March 16, Central Library.

Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. March 10-12. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Curiosity Cube. Get a hands-on science experience at MilliporeSigma’s mobile science lab. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 10. Downtown Austin Farmers’ Market, 422 Guadalupe St. thecuriositycube.com

 

The Easter Bunny will be at Hill Country Galleria and other malls around town.

Other fun

Toybrary Austin. Spring Break Staycation Party with Spunky Kids: 10:30 a.m. March 15. $10. Daddy and Me Playdate: Let’s Go Fishing: 10:30 a.m. March 17. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Tabletop Tuesday. Games to play. 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

“PAW Patrol” Party. 10:15 a.m. March 16, Carver Branch.

Easter Bunny photos. Noon-6 p.m. March 18. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase. hillcountrygalleria.com 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Barton Creek Square. simon.com/barton-creek-square. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Lakeline Mall, simon.com/mall/lakeline-mall Round Rock Premium Outlets, premiumoutlets.com/outlet/round-rock

Caring Bunny. For kids with special needs and sensory disorders and their families. 9-10:30 a.m. March 18. Barton Creek Square and Round Rock Premium Outlets. 10-11:30 a.m. March 18, Lakeline Mall. Free, but you need to register, simon.com/barton-creek-squarepremiumoutlets.com/outlet/round-rock simon.com/mall/lakeline-mall