Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

I’m back home, just in time for the chilly fall weather. Again, as though I never left. The fountains at the 24th St Mini Park are still broken. It was too cold this week, anyway, to have really enjoyed them. The strawberries are just about done; Saturday was the last day for blueberries. Rainbow has cancelled its coupon program.

So back-to-school, and good bye to the summer we never had; a new season for all of us, young and old. The tomatoes are finally here, Pal’s is now open on Saturdays, there are new toys at Paxton’s Gate, Precita Eyes is back from the holiday, Parque Ninos’ Rec Center hours have been expanded.

So, a confession: I am relieved, really, to be back here, to be back home in the (current) epicenter of all things San Francisco. Where the street carts got their start, where our walls are covered with bright paint and bright flowers, where my son speaks better Spanish than I do, where we have both Valencia Street and Mission Street. Where there is room to be the shy kid, room to be the jock, to be the nerd, to paint, to write, to cook, to fix a car, invent the next killer app, and have a backyard farm. Where there is enough home for all of us.

Celebrate multiculturalism, bilingualism, and great experiments in the neighborhood
“Speaking in Tongues” covers San Francisco’s acclaimed bilingual education program in general, and Buena Vista Alternative Elementary (25th & Potrero) in particular.
“Speaking in Tongues” & director Q & A. Wednesday, September 22nd, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Ages 5+. Free. Bernal Public Library, 500 Cortland Avenue.

Get a leg up
Need some homework help? The Library, as always has things covered.
Homework Help. Monday – Thursday, 4 – 6 p.m. Ages K-7. Free. Mission Branch Library. 300 Bartlett at 24th.

Freaks and Geeks
This isn’t in the Mission, but what a great back-to-school outing. This weekend, as part of a new monthly program, build your own rocket at the Exploratorium. Chances are the talent docents can make yours (semi) functional.
“The Physics of Toys: Space, the Final Frontier” Saturday, September 18th, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Ages 3+. Free- $15. Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon Street.

Papel Picado
Due to some combination of my Nikki McClure calender, the Wheatpaste outside Pal’s/Tony’s, Casa Bonompak, Art in the Storefronts, and I don’t know what all else, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with paper cutting and paper crafting with my son lately. At its most basic, it’s an easy way to have fun with scrap paper, a way to while away an hour or two. Mexico is the origin and home of the best “papel picado”; in honor of the Revolution, we’ll be trying something from this site (full of great tips and ideas to get started) tomorrow afternoon.