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  • 7 Dec 2023 3:39 PM | Pauline (Administrator)

    As the weather gets colder and rain enters the picture, it becomes more difficult to find activities for kids to keep them busy.  Here's a guide we put together with a list of indoor playgrounds, museums and activity centers. 


  • 3 Oct 2023 3:35 PM | Pauline (Administrator)

    One of the most commonly asked questions in this group is about childcare. Here are some resources online. If anyone has other resources, please add.


    Sonoma County Natural Families and Nannies

    Sonoma County Licensed Childcare

    Sonoma County Nannies

    Sonoma County Nannies and Families


    Backup babysitters nannies



  • 24 Sep 2023 4:23 PM | Pauline (Administrator)

    By Megan P

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Just kidding, it’s Cold and Flu season.

    With our children returning to school has come the return of the yuck. You may be wondering how to prevent colds and flu this season. Here are some helpful tips, adapted from the CDC, to help keep you and your little ones safe this cold and flu season:

    ·      The single best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated each year. The seasonal flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that will be most common during the upcoming season. Children as young as 6 months are able to get the flu vaccine. You can visit your pediatrician for the vaccine or depending on age, some kids may be eligible to receive it at the pharmacy. Here are some age minimums for popular pharmacies: CVS pharmacy- 18 months, Rite-Aid, Safeway, Costco Walgreen’s pharmacies- 3 years.


    ·      Avoid close contact.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others.


    ·      Stay home when you are sick.
    If possible, stay home from work, school, and other public places when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your germs to others.


    ·      Cover your mouth and nose.
    Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Many viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with cold or flu cough, sneeze or talk.


    ·      Clean your hands.
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs that you may encounter. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.


    ·      Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    Germs can spread when you touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.


    ·      Practice other good health habits.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

  • 15 Aug 2023 9:50 PM | Anonymous

    By Sylvia Merrell

    It's Back to School!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful Back to School week! A number of parents will be sending their children to "big kid" school - for the first time, for the last "first time", or for another time. Some thoughts on preparation for this time:

    - Don't stress the small stuff! Schools may not be sending supply lists out until the first few weeks, some schools provide it.

    - Keep the sleep routine! SRMC member, Megan E talks about letting kids stay up later by one hour on Fri/Sat nights, but the same routine makes it an easier transition back to school. (I have not been able to keep this up myself!)

    - Back to School pictures: some do it the day before, the day or week after, or not at all. You can do a test run with photos. Or, do something completely different by doing a first day of school (or week!) interview! Co-President, Pauline, does this with her kids by asking the same questions every year, and it's fun to re-watch with the kids! "It is delightful to have this time capture of little voices, likes/dislikes, thoughts as your children grow" (P. Hsu). Some examples can be found here: 23 Fun First Day of School Interview Questions to Ask Your Kids (Free Printable!)

    - It's hard to "break in" to a new school - as a kiddo and as a parent! Some people know each other from other contexts (preschool, older kids, sports, extracurricular activities, neighbors). It's fun to reconnect after the summer, reminisce, and also to share our excitement for the kids and families in the next year. Also, reach out to the parent standing to the side, the one who may not know the other parents. They may be new to the school or area, or have their first child in the school. Reach out, grab coffee, share a hello. Thank you to those who did the same for me!

    - We all learn as we go! Provide yourself and kiddos grace as you navigate a major shift from summer break to school!

    Best wishes for all as some of us transition to Back to School!

  • 30 May 2023 8:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you have been searching for what classes and activities are available for your little one in Santa Rosa and the surrounding cities, you are not alone. I have research several different types of toddler classes and compiled a list of some classes we've tried and some that are on our list to try. If you know of a class/activity that isn't on this list, please let me know! I'd love to learn more and share with everyone.

    Toddler Classes.pdf

  • 6 Apr 2023 9:32 AM | Anonymous

    by Angela A

    Spring is here (even though it might not seem like it)! Here are some sun protection tips for kiddos this season.

    Recommended sunblock is SPF of 30 or higher and reapplied every 2 hours. Mineral sun blocks with zinc and/or titanium are considered baby safe. If the plan is to be in the water, the sunblock should be water resistant and applied 15 mins before entering the water. Rash guards and brimmed hats are also recommended.

    My favorite mineral based sunblock:

    Blue lizard sensitive skin or baby

    My favorite toddler/kids’ hat:

    Sunday Afternoons adventure hat

    (Sunday Afternoons has a really cool trade up program. When your kid grows out of the hat they give you half off of the next size up AND you get to keep or donate the previous hat.)

    Other tips:

    The weather app on the iPhone will tell you the UV index at any given time and will tell you what times that day you should be sun protecting (index of 3 or higher). It’s a great resource.

    Start putting hats and sunblock on your kids as early as possible. It’s much easier to get a baby used to it than an opinionated toddler.

    Have a fun sun safe spring!

  • 11 Feb 2023 7:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Fun Activities/Locations:

    If you like art museums, check out DiRosa in Napa. There is an outdoor sculpture garden where you can have lunch, a trolley ride that goes from the main building to the house part. Kids are free. You can usually snag a free admission ticket through the library Discover and Go Program too.The museum staff are generally excited to see kids since they don’t get a ton.  They have a kids scavenger hunt and bingo!

    Cornerstone Sonoma has some terrific outdoor gardens to run around with many different displays. They have some food shops, lots of hedges to play hide a seek in and of course wine!

    Great Beaches and Parks:

    Short Tail Gulch just before Doran, (many people know Pinnacle Gulch) but when that trail is busy Short Tail is right next door and connects! It’s a short hike but enough of a deterrent that most people who want to go to the beach avoid it, so it’s like a private beach most of the time.

    Hearts Desire in Pt. Reyes, a little more sheltered so smaller wave activity, and you can take a small hike to a more secluded beach covered with tiny shells - pretty magical place.

    Maxwell Regional Park in Sonoma Valley is good for toddlers. There’s a great playground and then lots of acres of mostly flat trails for exploring meadows and oak trees.

    Doyle Park in Santa Rosa has a great creek exploration area behind the big kids playground. When the water level is normal you can easily walk down to the water for boot wading or just admiring the beautiful riparian greenery.

    Florence Ave in Sebastopol is a great area to drive along and see all the sculptures.

    Deals Clothes, books and more: 

    Sweet Pea in Cotati and Whipper Snapper in Sebastopol are great kid’s consignment stores. 

    Falling Prices in Santa Rosa is great, but you never know what you will find so it's hard to use for specific items. It can feel like Black Friday every opening morning, so buyer beware. They do have a great auction site for online finds too: Www.Bidrl.comI

    For used baby clothes Welfare League Thrift (Fourth street location). It has a limited selection but everything is $1-2. They don’t have much in 2T or larger though. Kids books are also $1.

    Treasure House for knickknacks and antique furniture, usually way cheaper than an antique store.

    ABC Thrift in Petaluma and there is a higher end consignment shop that’s fun I’m forgetting the name.

    Believe it or not, Olivers Market usually has a great sale on at least one natural care shampoo/conditioner so you can stock up.

    Borders Books has a good clearance section but you never know what’s there. I’ve bought heavily discounted stationery, games, and books.

    Corricks is not cheap but they’re a wonderful local institution and always worth perusing their kids section. Good books, toys, and even stuffies.

    Plain Jane’s Consignment in Sonoma is awesome. Great variety of home decor and furnishings.


    Korbel Winery has a great deli-style lunch and beautiful seating area outside during the summer.

    The Wurst in Healdsburg is a casual sausage place. One of the cheapest places in Healdsburg to eat on your way back from a day at the river.

    Community Shop inside Windsor's Raley’s. Lots of local vendors and items from local schools.

    Vinoma Restaurant, an Argentinian spot attached to a Shell gas station: 5085 Redwood Dr in Rohnert Park is known for their Empanadas. 

    Criminal Bakery has huge and delicious breakfast burrito- so much better than the normal just eggs & potato variety.

    With our local Farmer’s Markets being quite pricey, Imwalle’s is definitely the place to score affordable local produce.

    Frozen Art (500 Sebastopol Road Ste. B) and Fru-ta (3 locations) are both great options for yummy ice cream and popsicles. 

  • 28 Dec 2022 4:07 PM | Pauline (Administrator)

    Childhood is all about exploring a wide range of experiences before we get "set" in our adult ways.  I try to bring my kids to as many museums as I can so they can see the world openly.

    When purchasing memberships at museums and gardens, there may be an option to be part of a larger reciprocal network where admission at sister sites is discounted or flat out free.  This makes the value of the membership worth much more.  These networks make it possible for families to experience more art, nature and science.  Children are like sponges!

    Association of Children's Museum (ACM) Reciprocal Network is a voluntary group of museums open across the U.S. and Canada that reciprocate discounted admission to each other’s members. 200 museums participate in the network and reciprocate 50% off general admission for up to six (6) people. The card holder must be present for discounted admission.

    Sonoma County Local Agency:  Children's Museum of Sonoma County - Fun Four Level, $140

    Examples of Nearby Reciprocal Partners:  Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito), Chabot Space (Oakland), Children's Creativity Museum (San Francisco), Children's Discovery Museum (San Jose), KidZone (Truckee), Lawrence Hall of Science (Berkeley), Lindsay Wildlife (Walnut Creek), M Y Museum (Monterey), The New Children's Museum (San Diego), Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, Sacramento Children's Museum, San Diego Children's Museum, San Luis Obispo Children's Museum, Santa Cruz Children's Museum, and much more.   Total list here.

    • NARM -

    The North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) is an extensive network of hundreds of cultural institutions across Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States, connecting their memberships for access to Arts, science, history, botanical gardens, and more.

    Sonoma County Local Agency:  Charles Schultz Museum - Fan Level $115

    Examples of Nearby Reciprocal Partners:  Di Rosa (Napa), The Junior Center of Art and Science (Oakland), California State Railroad Museum (Sacramento), Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego History Center,  Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), de Young (SF), Legion of Honor (SF) and many small art institutions.  Total list here.  This is great way to expose young children to art museums!  You can do short visits instead of trying to see everything at once.  

    • ROAM -

    Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (ROAM) was created to fill a need amount museums and their members, a free reciprocal network that connects world class institutions.

    Sonoma County Local Agency:  Charles Schultz Museum - Fan Level $115

    Examples of Nearby Reciprocal Partners:  UC Berkeley Art Museum, UC Botanical Garden, Cartoon Art Museum (San Francisco), Children's Creativity Museum (SF), Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Walt Disney Museum (SF), San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, CuriOdyssey (San Mateo), UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Palo Alto History Museum, Fowler Museum of UCLA and much more.  Total list here.  Like NARM, this list is extensive and is a unique opportunity to introduce young minds to art museums.

    A current membership card entitles you to special admission privileges and discounts at 345+ gardens throughout North America.

    Sonoma County Local Agency:  Sonoma Botanical Garden - $75 for household

    Examples of Nearby Reciprocal Partners:  Gardens of Golden Gate Park - Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, Styling Arboretum (San Francisco), Humboldt Botanical Garden, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Regional Parks Botanical Gardens (Berkeley), San Diego Botanic Garden, Turtle Bay Exploration Park (Redding), all the UC Botanical Gardens and many more.  Total list here.  Similar to the museums, this program allows families to take a break at wonderful gardens that they may not normally explore.

    Other Networks with no Local Sonoma County agency, but may be in San Francisco, Oakland or San Mateo

    The Sonoma County Library also offers free admission to local museums and activity centers through their Discover and Go Program.  Popular sites like the Bay Area Discovery Museum or the California Academy of Sciences are only allowed once a year and need to be reserved much in advance.

  • 20 Nov 2022 8:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family fun Ideas this holiday season

    As we are entering the holiday season, many of us have been thinking about what we can do with our little ones/families. I know I have. I wanted to share what I have come across in my search. The following is a list of some local (Sonoma County) holiday fun and some ideas a bit further away if you are open to a day or overnight trip.  Links to all found here.

    Holiday Activities

    Sonoma County

    • Santa’s Boat Arrival, Nov 26, 2022-11:30 am - 1:30 pm- River Plaza Shopping Center in Petaluma. Watch Santa and Mrs. Claus make a unique Petaluma arrival when they sail up the Petaluma River on a tugboat and dock at River Plaza Shopping Center. 

    • Kids Night At The Museum: Holiday Tales (for older kiddos, this is a drop off), Dec 17, 5-7PM @ Charles M. Schulz Museum

    • Charlie Brown Christmas tree grove (Windsor Town Green) 

    • HOLIDAY CELEBRATION Nov 27th from 2pm-4pm, Near Style Bar at East Washington Place, 401 Kenilworth Drive, Petaluma, CA 

    • French Winter Fair - Marché de Noël, DEC 17, 11 AM – 4 PM, Old Courthouse Sq, Santa Rosa 

    • Holiday Open House at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, Sat, Dec. 3 & Sun, Dec. 4 (Santa Rosa) 

    A little further away

    • The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (Nov 18, 2022 – Jan 8, 2023 ) Is doing  winter themed activities with indoor flurries, icy science experiments, spirited performances, and more. 

    • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Nov 19 – Dec 18, Cow Palace Arena & Event Center 

    • Six Flags Presents Holiday In The Park Nov 25 – Jan 1, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 

    • Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks, Dec 10, 5-8 PM @ Gabrielson Park (Sausalito) 

    • Gingerbread House Tour A wonderful family walking tour of all the Gingerbread Houses in Sausalito starting Dec 1 to Dec 31.

    Tree Lots & Farms- There are a lot of fun places to grab your Christmas trees throughout Sonoma County. The following is a short list of local places to cut down your own tree or lots that have additional fun for the family while you are looking for that special tree. 

    • Mickelson Christmas Trees  (Petaluma) 

    • Garlock Tree Farm (Sebastopol)

    • Frosty Mountain Tree Farm (Sebastopol) 

    • Reindeer Ridge Christmas Tree Farm (Sebastopol) 

    • Graton Fire Dept. If you have a little one who loves fire fighters/engines, then maybe consider visiting the Graton Fire Dept to grab your tree Proceeds goes to supporting the Graton Fire Dept.  

    Parades & Festivals

    Sonoma County

    • Coffey Park Christmas Parade, DEC 18 AT 9 PM, Coffey Park, Santa Rosa

    • Geyserville Tree Lighting and Tractor Parade Nov 26, Downtown Geyserville  

    • 12 Days Of Christmas & Snowman Tree Lighting: Cornerstone Sonoma, 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma– This event has something new to offer from 11/30 until 12/11.  I’m personally excited about the snowman tree lighting on the 3rd

      • Garden Light Show - Nov. 30th DAY 1: WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30.

      • Wreath Making Workshop DAY 2: THURSDAY, DEC. 1

      • Story Time with Santa DAY 3: FRIDAY, DEC 2

      • Snowman Tree Lighting and Toy Drive DAY 4: SATURDAY, DEC 3

      • Cocktail Class DAY 5: SUNDAY, DEC 4

      • Yoga Adult Class - 9:30am-10:30am DAY 8: WEDNESDAY, DEC 7

      • Yoga Family Class 10:45am-11:15am - DAY 8: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7

      • Wine and Cheese Class  DAY 9: THURSDAY, DEC 8

      • Horse Trolley Ride $45.00 - DAY 11: DEC 10

      • Cooking Class W/ Casey - DAY 12: SUNDAY, DEC 11"

    • Lighted Boat Parade Dec 10, Petaluma Marina 

    • Penngrove Holiday Parade of Lights with lighted farm vehicles.  Dec 18, Downtown Penngrove 

    • Guerneville Parade of Lights, Sat, Dec. 3, 7pm-Parade of Lights on Main Street in Downtown Guerneville. Small town holiday fun on the Russian River, with festively lit cars, trucks, tractors, and floats in a Fairy Christmas theme! 

    A little further away

    • Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland Nov 26th from 1p-5p with a lighted classic car parade at 5:30p. Downtown San Rafael 

    • Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade Dec 3, Downtown Calistoga 

    • Glowfari, A Wildly Illuminating Lantern Festival! Nov 11 – Jan 29, Oakland Zoo 


    Sonoma County

    • Chanukah Celebration & Drone Gelt Drop, Dec.18, 4:30-6:00 pm, (Petaluma) 

    A little further away

    • Hanukkah Inside Out! FREE and fun Hanukkah holiday event! Dec 11, The Osher Marin JCC 

    • Chanukah in the Park Come together for a pre-Chanukah dreidel craft at the park! Dec 12, Old Mill Park (San Rafael) 

    Menorah & Tree Lighting

    Sonoma County

    • Winter Lights Tree Lighting Event Nov 25, Old Courthouse Square (Santa Rosa) 

    • 21st Annual Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting, DECEMBER 1, 5 – 8 PM, Windsor Town Green 

    A little further away

    • Macy's Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony Nov 25, Union Square Park (SF) 

    • Holiday Carousel Lighting Nov 26, Children’s Creativity Museum (SF) 

    • Tree Lighting Ceremony at Jelly Belly The event begins stage-side with live entertainment and parade, followed by puppet shows, fun and Santa! 5 - 8pm. Nov 26, Jelly Belly Candy Company (Fairfield)

    • Hanukkah Lighting in Tiburon–Bring your Hanukkah spirit and join us at the fountain in downtown Tiburon to light the grand Hanukkah! Songs, doughnuts, LED Hanukkah crafts, chocolate gelt and more! Dec 3 

    Santa Train Rides

    A little further away

    • Skunk train (departing from Willits) Nov 26 – Dec 31, 

    • Sacramento River Train Nov 25– Dec 23, Sacramento River Train 

    • Santa Trains NOVEMBER 26 -Dec 18th (Sat & Sun only)  12 PM – 7 PM, 5848 CA-12, Suisun City, CA 94585-9741 

    • Chanukah Train –This one may be more than a day trip, Nov 26, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 

    Breakfast with Santa

    Sonoma County

    • Breakfast with Santa Program at Costeaux French Bakery Costeaux French Bakery (Healdsburg) 

    • Breakfast with Santa, DEC 10, 9a – 12 PM, City of Cotati 

    • Cookies & Cocoa With Santa & Mrs. Claus, Fri, Dec 23, @ 12 PM – 3 PM, Petaluma Village Premium Outlets  

    Photos with Santa

    Sonoma County

    • Windsor Santa 

    • Dandelion Boutique hosted a picture with santa last year, I am hoping they will host this again.  

    • Coddingtown mall

    • Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, Come Meet Santa, DEC 3rd, 10th and 17th, AT 12–3 PM 

    • Have pets? Santa Paws at Western Farm Center, Dec. 3, 10am-3pm, Have your pets picture taken with Santa Paws! Proceeds benefit Canine Companions. (Santa Rosa) 

    Christmas Lights

    I found these websites listing some Christmas lights to see around Santa Rosa. I am hopeful they will be expanded upon as we get closer to Christmas. If anyone knows of a good drive-thru Christmas light show, let me know. 

    Please feel free to add some activities you would like to share that I may have missed or provide some feedback, if you have attended any of these in the past. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season full of love and happiness. 

  • 15 Nov 2022 7:51 AM | Sylvia Merrell (Administrator)

    Cooking with kids can be: chaotic, stressful, and fun! Check out these tips for working with your child (either toddler or older), guiding them gain skills in the kitchen, and recipes you can supervise for Thanksgiving meal planning! SRMC Thanksgiving with Kids Recipes.pdf


    Choose small, bite-sized tasks

    Helping out during meal prep is a great opportunity to practice things that they love to do: scooping, counting, mixing, getting a little messy, being silly, and cutting into the tiniest little pieces. Don't sweat the small stuff, it will get messy, it will be chaotic, but it will be done together!

    Use age-appropriate tools  ‍

    We use child-sized wooden knives and cutting boards, especially when they were little (toddler, preschooler), and now graduating to less-sharp real knives with focused supervision by an adult for older ages (kindergartener and up). My kids love cutting up different fruits, vegetables and cheeses (remember: the tiniest little pieces!). Toddler-appropriate plastic knives also work, and some examples of wooden knives for toddlers and up on Etsy here here and here.

    Make it a dance party!  

    Put on a fun play list, maybe even themed, and have some fun! It might be 10 minutes or an hour (which we sometimes, mostly, don't have) - these dance parties are the pictures that I look back on and smile! Build your own, or find on a streaming service. I use these playlists through a kids cooking subscription box (the playlists are free on Spotify), but who's to say I don't put on some Whitney Houston, The Bangles, Cyndi Lauper (oops, am I aging myself?) to shake it up!

    Find recipes that work for you, modify so kids can cook too  ‍ ‍

    Check out the recipes below that are modified so kids can help in some or all of the process - modify for your needs and tastebuds!


    A collection of recipes just in time for Thanksgiving meal planning: a Turkey Cheeseball (made out of cream cheese, veggies, and crackers or nuts), Jam-Filled Hand Pies (store-bought or homemade options, can pivot to savory too), and Mashed Butternut Squash (fun to mash! either plain or turn into a caramelized casserole). See the printable recipes (pdf), below. 

    SRMC Thanksgiving with Kids Recipes.pdf

    Notes for kid involvement:

    For the cheeseballs, kids can take turns mixing up the ingredients, smashing the crackers, older kids can cut up the veggies, and all of them can roll the balls around. Give each kid a ball and see what creations they make!

    For the hand pies, use store-bought ingredients or make your own (pie crust, jams or fillings). Even younger kids can roll out pie dough (with a little added effort on your end), and they love using a pizza rolling cutter to cut into the necessary strips. Be sure to crimp the sides closed all around and add in those air vents, either way, they'll be delicious!

    For the mashed butternut squash, adults please cut the squash, but kids can scoop and mash and add ingredients to mix around. Add or change seasonings to your taste, and the optional step to melt some cheese or caramelize gives it just a little bit more...more!

    Enjoy, have fun...and be sure to always supervise!

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