5 Must Have Family Game Night Games

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I love games. All kinds of games. Really. Card games, board games, puzzles…you name it, if it is fun and creates family time, I’m down. 

Family game night can be educational, teach your child problem solving, develop motor skills, promote family bonding, and it is a fun family tradition

While there's a good variety of family games for older kids, I find it tricky to find GREAT games that we can play together with our preschooler.

I’ve compiled a short list of favorite games that we have had great time playing together as a family, and that are perfect for 3-5 years old. Hope you'll find it useful!

What's your favorite games? Please share in the comments! We always love trying new games :)

Thinkfun Roll and Play
Roll & Play is the first game we got for our toddler. We bought it when he was 2, and enjoyed it since. He is now 3, and still enjoys playing with it, mostly with friends, since it doesn't require a lot of help from parents. ThinkFun have a few games that are super cute, and we have some of them, but I chose to share this one because it's very versatile: I made cards with pictures to help with dinner decisions, clean up and more, and it works!!
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2qtsvce
 
Snug as a Bug in a Rug
In this matching game, players work together to get all the little colorful bugs under the rug before the 3 stink bugs stink up the place! It helps little ones practice colors, numbers, shapes and counting, as well as taking turns, rolling a die, spinning a spinner, and working cooperatively.
What I really like about Peaceable Kingdom games is that if a piece is missing or broken, they will send you a new one, free of charge! Yay for great customer experience!
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2rdvmJ4
 
Stack Up!
Players work together to stack 12 blocks before the Block Smasher arrives and topples the tower. The game is great for balance and Hand-Eye coordination, but what I like most about it, is that the game requires the players to work cooperatively. 
And just as the Snug as a Bug game, Peaceable Kingdom will replace any missing or broken piece, so you know you will play with it for a long time!
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2pU0EQB
 
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
The object of the game is simple: use the plastic squirrel to collect different-colored acorns from the tree to fill up your tree stump. Once you have collected all five colors, you win.
The game is fun, works on counting and color-matching skills, turn taking, and fine motor skills. I like the simple design, the rubber the acorns are made of, and the cute squirrel! Perfect for 3-4 year old preschoolers.
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2qprBit


Spot it Alphabeth
While there are other options to the Spot It game, I found this one the best for us. It's fast paced game, which make it very exciting and funny to play. There is always one, and only one, matching letter between any two cards - spot it to win! I must admit I lost more than once, but I tell myself I let him win... haha!
The game develops visual perception skills, attention, and fine motor skills. 
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2qpeZYY


Indoor Playplaces

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Indoor playplaces provide parents and children an environment for development & enrichment, focused in physical, emotional, social and cognitive domains. 
It's a great place to visit when it's too hot, or too cold outside, and just whenever you want to have fun. This is a list of Bay Area favorite playplaces. Enjoy!

Whimsey Saratoga (14510 Big Basin Way Suite 3, Saratoga)
http://whimsy-saratoga.com/ 
An indoor play space designed with both kids and parents in mind. There is a large play structure for physical play, as well as various areas for imaginative play (dress up/stage area, play house, pretend kitchen, building block area, etc.) and arts/crafts.  

Play! Los Altos (170 State St, Los Altos)
http://www.playlosaltos.com/
Variety of crafts and activities to enthrall and engage your little one, music and yoga classes, and lots of fun toys.  

Lemon Tree (3427 El Camino Real, Santa Clara)
http://www.lemontreeevent.com/#home3  
A small and chic playplace for parents and young children. 

Billy Beez (925 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose)
http://www.us.billybeez.com/#!oakridge-hours-and-pricing/c8yf
Combines physical play and pretend play. In the pretend play area you’ll find a bank, supermarket, pizzeria, school, hospital and more. Big structure play with lots of slides, balls and more.

The Jungle Island (5401 Camden Ave, San Jose)
www.thejungleisland.com
Jungle-themed amusement venue with laser tag, bumper cars, arcade, a giant play structure & a cafe.  

Pump It Up (2919 Mead Ave, Santa Clara, Also in San Jose and Milpitas)
http://www.pumpitupparty.com/
Gigantic inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more.  

Sky High (2880 Mead Ave, Santa Clara)
http://sjc.skyhighsports.com/
Trampoline park for the entire family.  

Safari Run (1180 Kern Ave, Sunnyvale, Also in San Mateo)
http://www.safarirun.com/
Big mazes, climbing tunnels, giant slides, running track, separate toddler area, parent lounge with TV and free Wi-Fi.  

Diddalidoo (544 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno)
http://diddalidoo.com
Lively indoor play center offering interactive activities for young kids, a gift shop & party space. 

Gymboree (Multiple Locations)
http://www.gymboreeclasses.com/en/
Venue offering space for children's hands-on classes ranging from music to sports. Call to see if they have drop offs, some locations are members only.  

Wund3rKid (559 College Ave, Palo Alto)
http://www.wund3rkid.com/
Parent and child development & enrichment studio, focused in physical, emotional, social and cognitive domains. Yoga, music and art classes.

The Duck Pond (5884 Eden Park Pl, San Jose)
http://theduckpondsj.org/
A safe and fun place to bring your children to play, learn, and grow. Crafts, playdough & bubbles offered every day. Check the schedule for special events.

Jumpity Bumpity (Fairway Park Shopping Center, 31169 Mission Blvd, Hayward)
http://www.jumpitybumpity.com/
Jumpity Bumpity is an ocean themed indoor recreation center and birthday party venue in Hayward for children 12 years and under. 

La Petite Playground (1264 Oddstad Dr, Redwood City)
http://www.lapetiteplay.com/the-playhouse/
La Petite Playhouse is the ultimate indoor destination for children to play, explore and most importantly…have fun! An  incredible, 10,000 sq. ft. facility includes giant undersea-themed play structures,separate baby/toddler structure, interactive “Eye Click” game, climbing wall, 2 sport courts and private party rooms for birthday parties and special group events.

Mel's Play Place (20994 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley)
https://melsplayplace.wordpress.com/
Mel’s Play Place is a children’s recreation center that provides a unique play experience for children ages 8 months to 11 years old.

Bounce A Rama (Great Mall, 1450 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas)
http://bounce-a-rama.com/
An indoor inflatables park.

Play Haven (254 Laguna Honda Blvd., San Francisco)
http://www.playhavensf.com/
An indoor play space and party venue for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers where children and families come together to explore, create, and have fun!

Peekadoodle Kids Club (Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St, #100, San Francisco)
http://www.peekadoodle.com/
A balance between exploratory play & structured learning is paramount to your child’s development. Peekadoodle kidsclub has been designed to foster independence and creative thinking at the earliest stages, and to nurture those principles from infancy through preschool – providing just what your child needs at each developmental stage. In addition to featuring a larger than life Golden Gate Bridge, quaint Victorian, and child-sized cable car, the playspace is maintained around the clock by a team of cleaners who ensure that toys are washed and surfaces are sanitized.

Peek-a-Boo Factory (2 W Portal Ave, San Francisco)
https://peekaboofactory.com/
Peek-a-Boo Factory is a premier indoor playground and party place designed for parents to allow their children to socialize, learn, and play by creating an environment that emphasizes physical exercise, mental stimulation, and collaborative activities.

Urban Putt (1096 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco)
http://www.urbanputt.com/
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district, Urban Putt is the City’s first and only indoor miniature golf course. Urban Putt offers guests a fun experience with top-notch food and drinks, and a fantastical, high-tech 14-hole mini-golf course.

Earth Day 2017 around the Bay Area

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Earth Day is an annual celebration of our natural resources, raising environmental awareness and coming together as a community.
We’ve compiled a list of some great family friendly Earth Day events around the Bay Area - from park clean-ups to tree planting, you have plenty of options to make this Earth Day an opportunity to get out in your community to give back a little to this beautiful planet we live on. 

Happy 47th Earth Day Everyone!

Saturday, April 8, 2017:
Bay Festival (Berkeley) - Come celebrate the Earth and our Bay by listening to music, eating wonderful food, and enjoying a day by the Bay.   


Saturday, April 15, 2017:
Action for Wildlife at Oakland Zoo (Oakland) - Explore a wide variety of hands-on Earth Stations presented by dozens of Bay Area animal and environmental organizations.



Saturday, April 22, 2017: 
Children’s Earth Day/Ocean Day at Falkirk Cultural Center (San Rafael) - The ocean comes to the lawn of Falkirk. Come to hands on marine science adventure with local environmental education groups, artists and ocean advocates. Learn more about plastics in our oceans, whales, sharks and all things marine. 

Earth Day Street Fest (San Francisco) - Educational, impactful and festive Earth Day celebration with top notch entertainment, ‘Eco Teach In’ section, chef showcase, kids zone and more. 

Earth Day & Arbor Day Festival (Cupertino) - Community members of all ages are welcome to learn about environmental issues and solutions in a family-friendly, interactive atmosphere. 

Earth Day on the Bay at Marine Science Institute's (Redwood City) - Touch live sharks, arts and crafts, shows and boat rides.

THANK YOU EARTH Gathering at Hidden Villa (Los Altos) - Create mandalas, enjoy nature games, visit the animals and more.

Earth Day Celebration (Santa Cruz) - Community event offering educational information, activities for kids including an arts and crafts tent, live music and a focus on green businesses.

Earth Day Celebration (Alameda) - Earth day games, wxhibits and free activities for kids, petting zoo, jumpers, touc-a-truck, plant-a-tree and more.

Let's Go Green Together (Fremont) - Meet with eco-friendly experts and learn new ways to go green! Fun Activities for the Whole Family including arts and crafts, face painting and more.

Earth Day Festival (Palo Alto) - A celebration of Earth Day including activities, art, live music, prizes, zoo animals, bike tours, bird walks, food and fun for the whole family



Sunday, April 23, 2017:
Create-With-Nature Earth Day Celebration (Stinton Beach) - Celebrate Earth Day by creating art on the beach! Join in as community members, professional artists, and passers-by construct sculpture using sand, rocks, shells, seaweed and other beach treasures.



Friday, April 28, 2017:
Arbor Day/Earth Day Celebration (Santa Clara) - City staff invites the community to engage in environmental education for a healthy lifestyle and a healthy planet through the festivities.



Saturday, April 29, 2017:
Castro Valley Clean Up (Castro Valley) - Volunteers are needed to beautify and clean up Castro Valley parks, creek, recreation area and schools.

Easter 2017 Around the Bay Area

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

With lots of egg hunts, bunny visits, storytimes, crafts and Easter events around the Bay Area - you will sure find the perfect outing for your family! 

For a guide with lots of free online resources, recipes, DIY crafts for kids, DIY projects for parents, and more - visit this page!
Happy Easter!
Saturday, March 25, 2017:
  • Baby’s First Easter Event at Toys R Us (Multiple Locations) - Bring your little bunny in for fun, free activities, crafts, ideas for creating Baby’s First Easter basket, giveaways and photo ops!

Saturday, April 1, 2017:
  • Spring Egg Hunt (Camden, San Jose) - Welcome the Spring season with a morning full of fun activities and family memories. There will be an egg hunt for different age groups, a special prize for those who find the egg with the golden ticket inside, and children will be able to create holiday-themed Arts & Crafts.  

Friday, April 7, 2017:
Saturday, April 8, 2017:
  • Splash Into Spring Egg Scramble (Alaneda) - Lawn games, arts & crafts, pictures with Easter bunny, egg hunt by age groups. 
  • Spring Egg Hunt Extravaganza (Berkeley) - Arts & crafts, egg hunt, petting zoo, visit the spring bunny, kids carnival, bunny hop dance lessons and more.
  • Hippity Hop Music & Art Playdate (Willow Glen, San Jose) - Celebrate Easter and the arrival of Spring with movement, vocal play, object and instrument exploration, singing, art and a colorful literature component! Ages 1-4.
  • Spring Egg Hunt for 1.5-2.5 yrs (San Jose) - Welcome the Spring season with a morning full of fun activities and family memories. There will be an egg hunt for different age groups, a special prize for those who find the egg with the golden ticket inside, and children will be able to create holiday-themed Arts & Crafts.  
  • Spring Egg Hunt (Almaden Lake Park, San Jose) - Welcome the Spring season with a morning full of fun activities and family memories. There will be an egg hunt for different age groups, a special prize for those who find the egg with the golden ticket inside, and children will be able to create holiday-themed Arts & Crafts.    
  • Community Egg Hunt (Cupertino) - Bring your kids & family to a FREE egg hunt for the community. There will be petting animals, bounce houses, activities, snacks, family photo booth, and age appropriate egg hunts.  
  • Photos with The Easter Bunny in Santana Row (San Jose) - Have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny at Santana Row!


Sunday, April 9, 2017:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017:

Thursday, April 13, 2017:

Friday, April 14, 2017:
 
Saturday, April 15, 2017:
  • Bunnies and Bonnets Parade (Campbell) - This annual Easter Parade tradition features marching bands, dancers, animals, community groups, local organizations, and more. It's a wonderful Campbell tradition the entire family can enjoy!
  • Eggstraordinary Easter Egg Hunt (Felton) - Hop on Board! The Easter Bunny makes a stop at Roaring Camp. After riding Roaring Camp's real 1880s Steam Train under the majestic Redwoods, over Indian Creek Trestle and through the Santa Cruz Mountains, your kids are going to have the time of their lives scavenging for chocolate eggs at the top of Bear Mountain. 
  • Spring Egg Hunt (Los Altos) - Egg hunt, activities and visit from Fun E. Bunny.  
  • Burgess Park Egg Hunt (Menlo Park) - Each year the Bunny visits the Burgess Park with toys and candy filled eggs for girls and boys ages 8 and under. Activities incluses bounce houses, crafts, and pictures with the Bunny. 
  • Kelly Park Egg Hunt (Menlo Park) - Egg hunt, crafts, magic show, music, and photo opportunities with the Bunny. 
  • Capitola Village Easter Egg Hunt (Capitola) - Hop on for an Easter Egg Hunt on the beach! Kids 12 and under can hunt for candy-filled eggs hidden in the sand.  
  • The Great Egg Hunt (Oakland) - Egg hunt, face painting, arts & crafts, petting zoo and more. 
  • Breakfast with the Bunny and Spring Celebration (Carmel) - A morning feast, games and other fun holiday-inspired activities for adults and children. 
  • Eggstravaganza (San Mateo) - Pancake Breakfast, Peter Rabbit's Playground, puppet show, parade, magic show, Andy Z and egg hunt. 
  • Easter Bunny Arrives by Helicopter (San Carlos) - Get an Easter Egg straight from the Bunny and enjoy face painting, a bounce house and slide, and an amazing model train display. 
  • Golf Course Easter Egg Hunt (Monterey) - Take the kids to Pacific Grove and let them blow off some steam at this free, wildly fun Easter egg hunt for the whole family. The hunt happens on the driving range and hundreds of eggs are distributed around the grass, under the trees and even appear at some of the flagpoles.
  • Easter Egg Hunt & Easter Pool-Ooza (Santa Clara) - Egg hunt, face painting, family activitiesw and more. 
  • Spring Egg Hunt (Berryessa, San Jose) - Welcome the Spring season with a morning full of fun activities and family memories. There will be an egg hunt for different age groups, a special prize for those who find the egg with the golden ticket inside, and children will be able to create holiday-themed Arts & Crafts.  
  • spring eggstravaganza at Golden Gate Park (San Francisco) - Egg hunt, carnival rides, face painting and more. 
  • Egg Adventure Hunt (Belmont) - Games, pictures with the Easter bunny and more. 
  • Easter Fun Fair (Mountain View) - Music, games, crafts, egg hunt, jump house, BBQ lunch and more.
  • Community Easter Egg Hunt (Santa Clara) - LifeCity Church's 4th annual community Easter egg hunt. 
  • Spring Fest (San Jose) - Arts and crafts, egg hunt nd more kid friendly activities.
 


Sunday, April 16, 2017:
  • Eggstraordinary Easter Egg Hunt (Felton) - Hop on Board! The Easter Bunny makes a stop at Roaring Camp. After riding Roaring Camp's real 1880s Steam Train under the majestic Redwoods, over Indian Creek Trestle and through the Santa Cruz Mountains, your kids are going to have the time of their lives scavenging for chocolate eggs at the top of Bear Mountain.
  • Easter Parade & Spring Celebration (San Francisco) - Live music, petting zoo, pony rides, activities and more.



 

Passover 2017 around the Bay Area

With lots of options for the seder, Pesach events, and Matzah Bakes - you will sure find the perfect outing for your family! 
For a guide with lots of free online resources, Passover recipes, DIY crafts for kids, DIY projects for parents, and more - visit this page!

Happy Passover!
Saturday, March 25, 2017
  • Passover Family Day at Congregation Beth El (Berkeley)
    A brief, family-friendly Shabbat morning service with Rabbi Rebekah Stern, fun Passover activities for the kids while the adults learn together with Rabbi Stern, and a culminating activity for the family to enjoy together.


Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Kids Pesach Activity and Matzah Bake at Chabad Israeli Silicon Valley - IN HEBREW (Palo Alto)
    Model
    seder and Matzah bake.
    Ages 4-12.
    $10 per child.
  • Model Matzah Bakery (Castro Valley)
    Come make the Matzah from start to finish! Chaff the wheat, grind it into flour, roll the dough, bake it, and take it home!


Sunday, April 2, 2017
  • Family Seder Game Show with Chabad of Fremont (Fremont)
    A
    lively morning of exciting games and family bonding, as together you embark on a multi-sensory journey, exploring the profound themes of Passover.

    Prepare your kids for Passover with a Model Seder experience that you've never seen before! Game shows and an interactive video and bring the story of Passover and the Seder to life so that your children will feel like they are truly experiencing the Passover story! 

    FREE, RSVP to chaya@chabadfremont.com.
     
  • Passover Puppet Show with Jen Miriam Altman at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco)
    Enjoy an interactive experience of the Passover story with puppets and songs. Meet Moses and Miriam and cross the Red Sea in this fun puppet show from Jen Miriam Altman.

    FREE with Museum admission; youth 18 and under always free.
     
  • Community Passover Celebration at the Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto)
    Celebrate the Passover journey to freedom with your family and friends. Activities for children and families will teach you more about the Passover story: enjoy an interactive Hebrew story time, dance along to a fun musical performance, learn about insects and bugs with Mad Science, watch a fun Passover show, bounce along in the bounce house, and build and learn about pyramids with Legos® from Playwell.

    FREE
     
  • Pre-Passover Party with Jewish Baby Network (Redwood City)
    Come get ready for Passover with the Jewish Baby Network and PJ Library.
    Learn fun songs, read PJ Library® stories and learn how to bring joy and meaning to your young family seder.
    Bring an outdoor blanket, and JBN will provide snacks and drinks.

    FREE
     
  • Passover Celebration and Preschool Academy at Wornick Jewish Day School (Foster City)
    T
    his educational and fun morning of learning activities with Wornick teachers and musician Elana Jagoda is especially for children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Co-sponsored by PJ Library. Lunch is included.

    FREE, RSVP required.
  • Passover Escape Room (Palo Alto) - Journey to Ancient Egypt to unlock the mysteries of the Passover Seder, solve hidden clues, and rescue the Jewish people before it’s too late! 

Friday, April 7, 2017:
  • Friday Night Lights: The Passover Edition - Congregation Etz Chaim (Palo Alto)A Shabbat experience for children ages 6 and unser and their families. Featuring seasonal and holiday scavneger hunt, songs and more.
    FREE, RSVP required.
Saturday, April 8:

Sunday, April 9, 2017:
  • Passover Storytime and Crafts at the Bookasaurus (Sunnyvale)
    Celebrate spring with storytime, an egg hunt and flower planting, read books to celebrate Spring, Easter and Passover. After storytime enjoy an egg hunt and then decorate and plant seeds in grow pots.

    FREE
     
  • Family Day: Celebrating Authors Big and Small at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco)
    C
    elebrate books, reading, and the story sharing tradition of Passover at The CJM’s annual Family Day. Stories come alive with acrobatic storytelling by Acrolele, Puppy Dog Tales, kid authors sharing their books, letterpress bookplate projects, free cake, and more!

    F
    REE with Museum admission; youth 18 and under always free.
  • Jewbilee's Pre-Passover Presidio Picnic (PPPP) & Hike (SF) - Re-enact the wandering of our people out of Egypt while enjoying the coastline of the Bay & meeting other cool Jews.
    FREE, registration required.

Monday, April 10, 2017:
  • Community Pesach Seder with Chabad MidPen (Redwood City)
    Passover Community Seder, a meaningful Seder that you can follow! The Seder will be hosted at the Brand New Courtyard Marriott in Redwood City.

    Enjoy a full-course, sumptuous Seder feast, with all the traditional delicacies!

    The story of the Exodus will come alive through the Kabbalistic insights and mystical teachings told with humor and melody. The Seder is English-friendly so everyone can feel welcome.

    Adults $40, Children 2-12: $20. Nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds.
  • Passover Seder with Chabad (Castro Valley)
    Celebrate Passover in the great company of friends, family & community! The Passover Seder features a gourmet four-course meal, hand baked Shmurah Matzah, four cups of wine, personal Hebrew-English Haggadah and
    interactive Children's program.
  • Pesach Seder Experience with Chabad of Fremont Jewish Center (Fremont)
    Gourmet Gluten-free Passover cuisine, hand-made Shmurah Matza and Kosher Wine. Family-friendly Hebrew/English Haggadah.
  • Community Passover Seder with Chabad (Palo Alto)
    Family-Friendly Seder with games, songs and activities.
    Adults $25, Children: $15. Nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds.
  • Passover Community Seder (Santa Clara) - Relive the exodus and Share a traditional Seder with Chabad Santa Clara. Enjoy a delicious four course meal. Taste the special Passover delicacies of Charoset & Marror and eat the special hand baked “Shmurah” Matzah. 
  • Community Passover Seder at the OFJCC (Palo Alto) - This interactive, warm and welcoming event is perfect for the whole family!  Enjoy a delicious Kosher for Passover meal, singing and matzah decorating!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017: 
  • Community Passover Second Seder with Chabad (Palo Alto)
    Family-Friendly Seder with games, songs and activities.
    Adults $25, Children: $15. Nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds.
  • PJCC Family Seder (Foster City) - A playful, interactive and meaningful Seder. Explore the Passover traditions in a fun and engaging atmosphere full of singing and storytelling. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017:
  • PJ Library Passover Playdate at the Rec Room (Berkeley) - Passover reading nook and music, and craft activity. Admission: $5 discount for PJ Library families given at the door. 
Thursday, April 20, 2017:
  • Mimouna: A Post-Passover Celebration (Los Gatos) - Mimouna is a Moroccan-Jewish post-Passover festival. It's a celebration of community, friendship, and hospitality. Moroccan-Jewish families invite relatives and friends and other guests over to each other's houses and there is a sweet table covered in a white tablecloth that is set up in each house that serves as the centerpiece for the Mimouna festival.  Admission: $8 (JCC members $5)
Saturday, April 22, 2017:
  • Community Mimouna Celebration (Berkeley) - Traditional sweets and desserts, Henna artists, Moroccan lantern making, traditional Moroccan clothing and photobooth, belly dancers, Havdalah ceremony, DJ and dance party. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. 

 
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