Village Parkdays 12:00 pm – 4pm (or sundown)

Upcoming Events
Aug 13 - Venia's Vacation: Belarusse, Vienna, and..

Aug - 6 Topanga Beach Day (boogie boards and sandcastles)

July 30 - Summer Parkday

July 23 - Leather Stamping

July 16 - Ancient Rome

July 9 - Japan Past & Present

July 2 - Independence & H2O

June 25 Beach Day

June 18 Tenzi Frenzi

June 11 - Juggling Craft and Fun

June 4 - Stokes Theater & Plays

May 28 - Christina's Family Yogatime

May 21 - Bring your crafty projects & Potluck

May 14- Career Day

May 7 - Mother's Day Tea

April 30 - Art Show & Painting

Apr 23 - Earthday Show & Tell and Planting

Apr16 - 19 Joshua Tree Annual Family Campout

Apr 9 - HexiFlexigons - rescheduled

Apr 2 - Magic Tricks & Juggling Sticks

Mar 26 - HexiFlexigons - Geometry Gone Wild

Mar 19 - Potluck & Nat Amer Kid Presentations

Mar 12 - Nat Amer 2: Plains & Tipi's

Mar 5 - Native American 1: Inuit & Carving

Feb 28 - The Art of Debate

Feb 19 - Potluck & Chinese New Year & Korean, Vietnamese

Feb 12 - Valentyne's Day exchange

Feb 5 - Favorite Books

Jan 29 - Build an African Kalimba

Jan 22 - Patents and Inventors

Jan 15 Potluck, Patents and Inventors

Jan 8 - Boardgames and Beginnings

Jan 1st New Year's Playday

Dec 25 Merry Christmas No Parkday

Dec 18 Kwanza; Hannukah; Xmas; Solstice Celebration & Lunch Potluck

Dec 15 Caroling at Retirement Homes

Dec 11 Holiday Craft Day

Dec 4 Idioms by Maria Wheee!

Nov 27 Happy Thanksgiving No Parkday

Nov 20 Venezuela by Enrique & Potluck

Nov 13 Science Bloopers

Nov 6 Inside a Courtroom

Nov 4 Take your Kid to Vote

Oct 30 Costume Halloween Party

Oct 23 Bring a Poem

Oct 19 Campfire Potluck &Talent Show

Oct 16 Poetry Play Day & Potluck

Oct 9 Save Big Cats & Habitats

Oct 2 Making & Launching Rockets

Sept 28 Watts Tower Drumming Festival 10-4pm

Sept 25 Basket Weaving with NewsPaper

Sept 18 M&B Family Campout @ Sequoia Nat'l Park (No parkday)

Sept 11 OuterSpace Aeronautics or
Sustainable Farming & Husbandry (if cool enough for goats to visit)

Sep 10 M&B Free @ LA County Fair

Sep 2 Amazing Aeronautics

Aug 28 Beach Day

Aug 21 Pioneer Day

Aug 14 Five Year M&B Anniversary

Aug 7 Solar Ovens Part III

Jul 31 Solar Ovens Part II

Jul 24 Solar Ovens Part I @ Beach

Jul 17 Balloon Fun/Physics

Jul 10 Blind as a Bat (Braille & Sonar)

Jul 3rd (No Parkday Independence)

Jun 26 Tal Family

Jun 19 Kinetic Ball Run & Squirt bottle motion & Potluck

Jun 12 Summer Festival & Games

Jun 11 Full Moon Hike

Jun 5 Let's Get Tiny - Cells (Animal & Plant)

May 29 Lets get tiny - Cells (Animal & Plant)

May 22 Famous People

May 15 Beach Day & Potluck

May 8 Celebrating Mothers

May 1 Secrets of Water

Apr 24 Earthday & Planting

Apr 17 Games & Crafts Bring Your OWN

Apr 10 Nat'l Poetry Month

Apr 3 Cotton Magic

Mar 27 Bacteria Fun

Mar 20 Potluck & Organ Day!

Mar14-16 Joshua Tree Annual Spring Family Campout

Mar 13 - No Theme due to weekend Campout

Mar 6- Birdwatching & Nesting Day

Feb 27 - Physics of Bowling due to Rain

Feb 20 - The Winter Olympics

Feb 14-17 Backyard Bird Count

Feb 13 - VOLUNTEER PLEASE. Valentines Day

Feb 6 - Taxonomy & the Darwin Challenge

Jan 30 - Lunar New Year of the Horse

Jan 23 - Simple Machines II - Pulleys & Levers

Jan 16 - Habitats & Keystone Species & Noon Potluck

Jan 9 - Cogs & Cams: Simple Machines

Jan 2 - Reconnecting after holidays & New Year's Celebrations

Dec 26 - No Parkday Happy Holidays

Dec 19 - Celebrate Holidays: Winter Solstice, Kwanza, Christmas & Hanukkah

Dec 12 - Solar Fun & Mask Making with Michelle

Dec 5 - Monarch Magic & Eucalyptus

Nov 28 - Happy Thanksgiving - No Parkday

Nov 23 - Fieldtrip to Monarch Groves in Goleta

Nov 21 - Monarchs & Eucalyptus Trees postponed

Nov 14 - Atoms, Protons, Electrons, Oh My!

Nov 7 - Autumn Leaves & Sewing with Heather

Oct 31 - Halloween Festival

Oct 24 - Spooky SeeSaw Algebra

Oct 17 - 3 City Geography & Int'l Potluck & 6:00pm Talent Show

Oct 10 - 2nd M&B Bug Faire

Oct 3 - Abacus Math Magic

Sept 26 - Bark Painting & Spirit Animals

Sep 19-23 Annual Sequoia Family Campout

Sep 14 Fieldtrip to Point Vicente

Sep 12 - Lighthouses & Prisms II

Sep 5 - Build Splash Toys @ Pool

Aug 29 - Lighthouses & Light I

Aug 22 - DeSalination @ Beach PD

Aug 15 - Weaving yarn or old clothes

Aug 8 - Hula Hoop II

Aug 1 - Hula Hoop I @ Beach A

Jul 25 - M&B's 4th Anniversary
All ages Talent Show

Jul 18 - Hawaii Day & Potluck

Jul 11 - Bubble Science Fun

July 4 No Parkday HOLIDAY

Jun 27 No Parkday HOLIDAY

Jun 20 - Crafts Free for All

Jun 13 - Gold Mining & BoomTowns

Jun 6 - Anyone? Or Lemonade Stands

May 31-Jun 2 Family Campout at Montano De Oro

May 30 - MayDay PlayDay II

May 23 - MayDay PlayDay

May 16 - Bats, Owl Pellets & Potluck

May 9 - Primitive Arts & Indian Trading Blanket

May 2 - Painting & Poems

Apr 25- Help Our Wildlife Thrive

Apr 18 - M&B Earthday & Potluck 5pm

Apr 11 - Missouri Day / Bees Part 2

Apr 4 - Bees ($3/kid for candlemaking)
Ula's Birthday

Mar 28 - Feathers, Microscopes & Origami Cranes

Mar 21 - History of Sugar; Plant own sugarcane

Mar 14 - Robots & Circuitry $3/kid

Mar 7 - Rainy Day @ Skirball Free

Feb 28 - Felting & Fiber Arts

Feb 21 - Morocco II
and Islamic Prayer

Feb 14 Valentines & Asian New Year Traditions

Feb 7 - Huichol Yarn Paintings
& Esme's Bday

Jan 31 - Birth of a Nation

Jan 24 - Cancelled
due to RAIN

Jan 17 - Craft parkday

Jan 15 - USA Tour @ Skirball

Jan 10- Morocco Senses & Allah

Jan 3 - Free for All Playday

Dec 27 - Free For All Playday

Dec 20 - Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Divali & Winter Solstice (Carols & Potluck)

Dec 13 - Morocco, Art & Mint Tea

Dec 6 - Pompeii Part II & Archeology

Nov 29 - Let's BOWL
due to Rain

Nov 22 - Thanksgiving - No Parkday

Nov 15 - Duct Tape Crafts & creations by C & C
and Lunch Potluck

Nov 8 - Ancient Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius

Nov 1 - Election & Voting Debate:
More trees or Waterslide

Oct 25 - Trunk or Treat; Dress-up

Oct 18 - Peace Building &
Anger drop

Oct 11 - Superhero Rain

Oct 4 - Inks from Nature

Sep 27 Ireland Fun & Culture

Sep 20 -Sequoia-sized Boardgames

Sep 13 - 3rd Sequoia Campout

Sep 6- Heroes and Heroines - Kids Presentations

Aug 30 - Simile, Metaphors & Figures of Speech

Aug 23- Letterboxing II

Aug 16 - Letterboxing I

Aug 9 - Beach Day

Aug 2 - Modern Olympics II

July 26 - Ancient Olympics I

July 19 - Paper Arts: Bowls, Books & Beads

July 12 - Beach Day

July 5 - Statue of Liberty - 4th July

June 28 - Storytelling & Aussie Rainsticks

June 21 - Fun Games Field day

June 14 - Mystery Math = Algebra Fun

June 7- Silly Summer Day Fun

May 31 - Build Miniature Golf

May 24 - Sewing & Haiku Part II

May 17 - Haikus & Drums & Evening Potluck

May 10 - Rock Hunter Guest Speakers

May 3 - May Day Celebrations

Apr 26 - Fibonacci & Nature

Apr 19 - Thai New Year -Songkran & Potluck

April 12 - Spring Bling & Night Crawlers Planting season

April 5- Easter /Passover Crafts

Mar 29 - Ethics & Fairytales

Mar 22 - Detective Fingerprints & Crafts

Mar 15 - Prep for Joshua Tree

Mar 8 - Marbles & Physics

Mar 1 - Make Real Dream Catchers

Feb 23 - Pirates, Sea Captains &Tall Ships

Feb 16 - Wilderness Survival - guest Speaker

Feb 9 - Anatomy Guts vs Feeling Guts

Feb 2- Gravity Fun Games

Jan 26 - Cement Bridges Part Two

Jan 19 - Kids first Rock & Gem Show

Jan 12 - Global New Years Celebration

Jan 5 - Rockets-Aquarius M&B helped launch

Dec 29 - Cement Construction hand print tile

Dec 22- Kwanza, Hannukah, Bodhi Day stories & games 12/8

Dec 15 - Amy's Anatomy Obstacle Course

Dec 8 - Painting so it POPS! w/ out wind

Dec 1 - Painting so it POPS!

Nov 24 - Happy Thanksgiving - No M&B Parkday

Nov 17 - Fun with Manners & Empowering Etiquette & And 3rd Thurs Potluck (lunchtime)!

Nov 10 - History of Photography - Make Pinhole Cameras

Nov 3 - Butterfly & Bug Faire & Poems & Riddles

Oct 27 - Pumpkin Festival *Dress UP!!

Oct 20 - Empathy & Empowerment

Oct 13 - Braille & Visually Impaired

Oct 6- Atoms & Cool Molecules

Sept 29- Black Bears & Sequoias

Sept 22 - Sequoia Fires & Cones

Sept 15- Clay Creatures & Open-ended ?s

Sept 8- Beat the Heat Beach Day

Sept 1 - Lemonade Stand Commerce

Aug 25 - Back to Homeschool Play

Aug 18 - Saw Safely & make a Jacob's Ladder

Aug 11 - Biomes, Habitats & Soda Bottle Terrarium

Aug 4 - M&B 2Year Anniversary Party

July 28 - Finger Knitting & Natural Fibers

July 21 - Stone Soup Potluck & Storytime

July 14 - CrazyFun ScienceLab Experiments

July 7 - Independence Day Celebration @ Zuma Beach

June 30 - Nocturnal Creatures & Owl Pellets to dissect

June 23 - Book Exchange Circus

June 16 - Lewis & Clark, Quill pens from feathers & Potluck

June 9 ATC- Making Artists' Trading Cards

June 2 Petraglyphs, Pictoglyphs & Rafting the Grand Canyon

May 26 Historical
Figures that changed the World
all Kids Perform

May 19 Pharoahs, Pyramids & Crafts
And Potluck 5pm-sundown

May 12
Mars & Space Travel

May 5
Mother's Day
High Tea

Apr 28
Physics & Imagination=
Future Travel

Apr 21
Mask Making & Storytelling

Apr 14
Sound Waves

Apr 7
Geodesic Dome

Mar 31
Earthquakes & Tectonics

Mar 24
Show & Tell & Games

Mar 17
Family Campout Joshua Tree

Mar 10
Mardi Gras

Mar 3
Africa & Wangari Maathai

Feb 24
Brains: the Inside Story

Feb 3
Chinese New Year

Jan 27
Pioneer Parkday Part 2

Jan 20
Days of Yore

Jan 13
Fun & Safety
with Germs

Jan 6
Chess by Jahan

Dec 31
New Year's FreePlay

Dec 23
Kwanza, Hannukah
& Christmas

Dec 16
Engines & Cars
& Alternative Power

Dec 9
Microscopic World

Dec 2
Cartoon & Collage

Nov 25th
Thanksgiving Holiday

Nov 18th
Nature Crafts & Yoga

Nov 11th
Wind Turbines

Nov 4th
Indian Diwali Celebration

Oct 28th
Spooky Obstacle Course

Oct 21st
How Songs are Born

Oct 14th
Build a
Weather Station

Oct 7th
Prisms, Vision & Zoetropes

Sept 30th
Spanish CultureFest

Sept 23rd
Russian Culture & Potluck

Sept 17
Family Campout @ Sequoia Nat'l Park

Sept 9th
Chemical (molecular) Reactions

Sept 2nd
History of Flight

August 26th
Light, Refraction & Rainbows

Aug 19

August 12
Turtles, Tortoises & YOU

August 5th
Honey, Bees & Wasps

July 29th
M&B 1 year anniversary

July 22
Inuit Culture & Games

July 15th
Bastille Day - French Independence

June 17th
Swedish MidSummerFest

June 10th
Catapults & Parachutes
Gravity & Lift

June 3rd
Our BodyGuards
Snot & Scabs

May 27th
Pollination, Fruit & Seeds

May 20th
Hawaii & Potluck Luau!

May 13
Ladybugs, Silkworms & Praying Mantis

May 6th
Knots, Pirates & Explorers

April 29
Earth Day Part 2

April 22
40th anniversary of Earth Day

April 15th
Japanese Girls' & Boy's Day

April 8th
Bridges, Cantilevers & Treehouses

April 1st
Magnetism part II: Physical Force of Nature

March 25
Magnetism part I: I'm attracted!

March 18th
Desert Life

March 11th
Global Timelines

March 4th
Spring Bling:
Worms, Dirt & Seeds

Heroes of the Globe (& your family): Freedoms, Rights & Responsibilities


There are many books, online resources and dvds that will indoctrinate your family on the symptoms of prejudice and racism, but none will make a greater impression than those you share directly or indirectly with your children and partners.  My husband and I have chosen not to teach strongly about how blacks in particular were persecuted in this country or other nations involved in the trans-atlantic slave trade.   I do not want to connect the differences with color and attitudes towards friends, family and neighbors.  Not at a time when they are still learning what friendship and citizenship means to them.  When I discuss slavery or other forms of persecution, I speak in terms of people in power and those who were unjustly treated.  When my children start asking the more specific questions, I will give them more specific answers.

Again, this is what I have chosen for my family.  Your decisions will be different.  Allowing every family personal freedom on this hot-topic  made this Martin Luther King, Jr inspired parkday my most difficult to plan.   I wanted to bring up issues of Injustice and Honor, but not in a way that would undermine the choices each family is making on their own.  But my intent was to be a starting point for some.

So I chose to focus on the Heroes themselves vs the issues.  I asked families to discuss what makes someone a hero and to be prepared to share when together at the park.  We would all share one personal hero for each, from parents and children alike.

On the way to the park, one mother and daughter came up with three traits that they felt all REAL heroes possessed. (Thanks C & D!)

Bravery                       Peacefulness                  Caring

To that end, we added that Heroes try to change the way things are in order to help themselves, their family, their community or maybe even their country.  We discussed how they did so at risk.  Oftentimes at a great risk.  Some never got to see their family again, some were imprisoned, some were willing to die.  Some heroes chose to go against the norm or what their families wanted to do what they felt was right.  At a minimum we become a hero when we risk doing something different.

Everyone was given a lot of time to share at their own pace who they thought was a hero.  We heard about relatives, neighbors, teachers and even pets as heros. Other issues were brought to light when heros were involved in wars like one grandfather who fought in fighter planes.   These discussions were amazing, enlightening and very positive as everyone’s input was honored.


I chose the people above to include in my email as a guessing game and briefly shared how they were deemed heroic (by wikipedia standards and my own).

From left to right:Martin Luther King Jr American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement.  He had a dream that I am proud to say MudPies & Butterfly families expound upon in our varied communities.

Victoria Claflin Woodhull - First Female  to run for President  in the USA – Her 1872 campaign came at a time when women did not even have the right to vote.


Raining Diamonds by J. Deltac

Frederick Douglass - American abolitionist, women’s suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman & reformer. (appointed to be Victoria’s Vice Presidential Running Mate – though he never acknowledged it)

Susan B. Anthony– Women’s Suffragist and immortalized on the $1 coin.

Cesar Chavez Mexican American farm worker, labor leader , and civil rights activist    who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers

Anne Frank – Author of a diary that gave honest depictions of a teen’s thoughts, feelings and pacifist ideals while living in cramped quarters for 2 years from Nazi occupation.  Sadly, she was captured and died of Typhoid in a concentration camp at age 15.

Nelson Mandela – Young lawyer and Civil rights activist of his native South Africa.  He was imprisoned for 27 years and later elected as first president of Democratic South Africa.

Miriam Makeba (personal heroine of mine) – Singer from South Africa. First black South African to address the United Nations in person about Apartheid.  Was not allowed to return to her country for decades to see family as a result.  In the 90′s I painted her portrait (image on right) from her first album cover that came out in 1960 (Harry Belafonte discovered her while on tour in Africa) and affixed broken glass to represent many things,  including human atrocities commenced in the name of diamond mining.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – National hero of India and the world for non-violent protest. His first acts of non-violent civil disobedience occurred in South Africa where he was a lawyer.  Whereas in India, one of his most striking actions was the salt march known as the Dandi March, that started on March 12, 1930 and ended on April 5, when he led thousands of people to the sea to collect their own salt rather than pay the salt tax. On May 8, 1933 Gandhi began a fast that would last 21 days to protest British ‘oppression’ in India. In Bombay, on March 3, 1939 Gandhi fasted again in protest of the autocratic rule in India.Creating the Declaration of Independence.

Through out history to ensure freedom and liberty ideals became laws. In 1776,  founding fathers (like Benjamin Franklin) of America drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence.   Here is a great video that includes the recitation of the Declaration of Independence by a star-studded cast.  Morgan Freeman discusses how this document influenced Martin Luther King, Jr and others to change their world.playing-for-change

You will not be disappointed to click on this next link – Playing For Change: Peace Through Music – a documentary that traveled the world to show how we are all connected by Music.  Many parents raved on the experience of watching this clip with their children.

I chose to read from Dr. Seuss’s Sneetches and other Stories. sneetches11Theodor Seuss Geisel made Social criticism and commentary palatable. One will find metaphors and themes about Social Justice in most of his children’s books ! This timeless story gently speaks of the negative outcome when people discriminate based on differences instead of celebrating them.  In the story, if you didn’t have a Star upon your belly, you weren’t invited to parties and were overlooked as a lesser than worthy presence.  The story changes when  a Money Maker comes to town and puts stars on those wanting them and collected even more money to take the stars off. In the end the Sneetches are penniless, but found a higher value in each other.

After reading Star-bellied SneetchesIMG_2918, I played a sticker game with the kids.  I put a sticker on each child and I separated them into two groups based on differences of their stickers.  One group was to laugh and point at the others.  I then rearranged the groups by another trait found on some of the stickers and absent on others.  This time one group was directed to walk by the other and express disgust at the smell of the others.  We did this enough times so that each child had the experience of being on both sides.

IMG_2919Afterward, we discussed our feelings, our reactions and the futility of not being able to do anything about the situation.  We applied this to what other people at other times in the world went through this for a life time.

This was loosely based on Jane Elliots blue-eyed and brown –eyed experiment with her all white 3rd grade class in the 1960’s (thanks Kris)

“On that day, a Tuesday, she decided to make the blue-eyed children the superior first, giving them extra privileges like second helpings at lunch, access to the new jungle gym and five minutes extra at recess.She would not allow blue-eyed and brown-eyed children to drink from the same water fountain. She would offer them praise for being hard-working and intelligent. The “brownies” on the other hand, would be disparaged. She even made the brown-eyed children wear ribbons around their neck.
Daddy G reading Crayon Box Poem

It is awe-inspiring to think this woman was not involved in anything other than human speculation.  Her pragmatic journey did alot for the world.  Anyone who would like to discuss this experiment, its implications or racism, should know I invite that heady chat anytime.

I will end this blog as I did with the kids that day- with a poem by Shane DeRolf.  It has been turned into book versions and can be found on many websites.  The kids loved it so much they asked me to read it three times.  With simple language it honors the feelings of rejection at being discriminated against as well as the feelings of having our differences embraced as well as found to be a joy to behold.

The Crayon Box That Talked

While walking into a toy store the day before today
I overheard a crayon box with many things to say

“I don’t like Red!” said Yellow and Green said “Nor do I”
“And no one here likes Orange but no one knows just why”

“We are a box of crayons that doesn’t get along
Said Blue to all the others “Something here is wrong”

Well, I bought that box of crayons and took it home with me
And laid out all the colors so the crayons all could see

They watched me as I colored with Red and Blue and Green
And Black and White and Orange and every color in between

They watched as Green became the grass and Blue became the sky
The Yellow sun was shining bright on White clouds drifting by

Colors changing as they touched becoming something new
They watched me as I colored – they watched me till I was through

And when I finally finished I began to walk away
And as I did the crayon box had something more to say

“I do like Red!” said Yellow and Green said, “so do I”
And Blue you were terrific! So high up in the sky

“We are a box of crayons each one of us unique
But when we get together the picture is more complete”