Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.
Years ago, in another lifetime, I was part of a team designing next-generation television interfaces. One of my favorite projects explored the impact of choice on program selection: Research showed that with four or fewer choices, the target audience was more likely to select and watch a program. These days, video content is available everywhere — online, on the phone, on urban projection screens.
And as a parent, my TV choices are pretty basic: Let him watch TV, or not. But that choice research is still a useful tool. A binary choice between these shorts or those makes dressing quick and easy, and averts the typical two-year-old morning meltdown. Filling only two sections at a time on the divided plate leads to more food eaten. I never thought I’d be using Malcolm Gladwell and Barry Schwartz as parenting gurus, but inspiration is where you find it.
I do wish the magical gods of family event planning would read Blink, or at least talk to each other. There are so many things to do in the city, and in the Mission this weekend, after several weeks of slim pickings. Sadly, we won’t be able to do at least a few things we would have enjoyed, simply because there are too many choices.
Inspired in part by this Spark segment, I bought my son a harmonica a few weeks ago… an idle fantasy that he and my husband on guitar might make some beautiful music. Let’s just say it’s going to take some time, practice and patience. Meanwhile, I’m excited to check out the real thing!
Peña Govea Family musical performance. Friday, July 16, 3-4 p.m. All ages. Free. Mission Branch Library, 300 Bartlett @24th.
More music, interactive this time, is on tap at Natural Resources, as Susan Appe starts up her next five-week class.
Music with Susan Appe. July 13 to August 16, 10:45-11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.. Ages 12 months to 3 years and birth to 12 months. $69-$95. Register online or call 415-550-2611. Natural Resources, 1367 Valencia St. @ 25th.
My radio is constantly on, even if the TV is not. I heard this amazingly catchy-and-not-trite kids band, Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players on NPR recently, and I so wish we could go to the concert… but it’s during nap time.
Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players. Saturday, July 17. Noon. All ages. $12.50-$15. Tickets. Swedish American Hall, 2170 Market St. @ 15th.
And more music. Maybe it helps brain development, maybe it’s just fun. Whatever the reason, the super-fun, super-cheap Mommy and Me dance class at Sports Basement is back, starting this Saturday.
Mommy & Me Dance Class. Saturday, July 17, 10-10:40 a.m. Ages 2-4. Free. RSVP at 415-575-3000. Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St. @ 16th.
Snails are apparently completely deaf, won’t be grooving to music any time soon, but could cure chronic pain. The talk this week at Science Cafe sounds fascinating.
Killing Pain with Killer Snails. Monday, July 26, 7-9 p.m. All ages. Free. Atlas Cafe, 3049 20th St. @ Alabama.
The Potrero Branch library has a beautiful, inspiring view, and the family room is large, spacious and fun. It has fewer events than the Mission Branch, but a lot of regular family programs. The 22 stops close by.
Baby Rhyme and Play Time. Tuesdays, 1:15- 2 p.m. Birth to 18 months. Free. Potrero Branch Library, 1616 20th St. @ Connecticut.
So, after doing all that TV research, I also swore off video games. But I imagine that at some point my son will want one and I’ll probably give in. The Excelsior Branch Library is experimenting with a teen meet-up centered around sharing/swapping video games, which sounds like a great way to keep costs down and reduce the anti-socialness of the toys.
Gaming for Teens. Wednesday, July 21, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Ages 11-18. Free. More information, or call Marla at 415-355-2868. Excelsior Branch Library, 4400 Mission St. @ Francis.
What does too much choice do to us, anyway? Leads to too much trash, for one thing. Leading up to the opening of Intersection’s junk art exhibit, check out the art an Oasis for Girls workshop created from trash, leftover magazines and recycling scraps.
Recycling in Color. July 21 to September 25. All ages. Free. Mission BART Plaza.
16th St @ Mission.
All Weekend Long
(Maybe.) The best for last: Target Arts & Wonder Free Family Event, aka Free Museum Day, returns this weekend. Different museums offer free admission Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Details
A walk down 24th Street is one of my favorite activities, no matter the day, week or season. I love the color, the music, the patterns, intentional and ad hoc. Lately I’ve especially appreciated how the murals are being complemented by the art in storefronts program. Cynthia Milionis, the current artist at 3040 24th (always a favorite), has a small show this weekend as part of Summer Art Walk. As part of the festivities, the SF Museum of Craft and Activities is also offering a children’s workshop in site-specific sculpture.