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I know I’m the Bay Area Beauty Blogger, but guess what? I grew up in the great state of New York. I’m from upstate NY and have lived in Queens and on Long Island. Whether you live upstate, on Long Island, or right in NYC, a visit to the Color Factory is well worth the trip. Without realizing it, I’m sure you’ve seen my photos from our visit to the Color Factory in San Francisco earlier this year. Sadly, our Color Factory installation has closed, but yours just opened last week.

Now, the photos that you’re going to see from my Color Factory experience throughout this post will differ from yours. The Color Factory is starting from scratch and creating brand new site-specific installations. The New York installation will be 20,000 square feet in Soho’s Hudson Square neighborhood.

Circles For Days Color Factory NYC


Location: 251 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013

Cost: General admission is $38.00 per person. Children 2 and under are free.

Good to Know: Tickets MUST be purchased in advance, they are not sold at the door.


My Family’s Experience

After trying to purchase tickets a couple of times, but it being continuously sold out, Color Factory extended their stay and released tickets one last time. I didn’t purchase tickets the minute they were released, so by the time I did go to purchase them weekday time slots were my only option. There were some tickets available on the weekends, but they were at night and I have a little one. I purchased tickets for a weekday morning at 10:30am. Not convenient, but as long as my family got to go before it closed, I was happy.

We arrived at our scheduled time slot and were granted admittance in small groups. There was a quick briefing from the staff and then we were on our way. We didn’t get 5 feet into the first room without stopping to take a photo at one of their photo stations. These photo stations, located throughout the installation are great, all you need to do is enter your e-mail to receive the photos that are taken.

The second room featured a rotating selection of macarons for our enjoyment. We each selected our own macaron and then washed it down with a small cup of black lemonade.

From here, we moved throughout each themed room. The first room was full of only orange objects, the second was packed with blue balloons, and the third had a large display of disco balls hanging from the ceiling. This glittering “mirror/diamond” room was interactive, by pressing buttons on the wall you could control which themed song was played. We selected “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, danced our butts off, then played “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles.

Continuing on our colorful journey we encountered larger than life green markers that guest were welcome to use on the walls of the green themed room. We left our mark. We then ran through ribbons hanging from the ceiling. My little one crawled through brightly colored tunnels and we saw a room continuously printing selfies and letting them fall to the floor. By snapping a photo and tagging it with the appropriate tags on Instagram, your selfie could be one of the 1,000s added to this room-sized piece of art. Mine was in their somewhere, but I didn’t bother looking for it.

Although each and every room provided it’s own unique and entertaining experience, the highlights for us were the confetti room and the pool sized ball pit. We spent a lot of time in both of these areas. The confetti room slowly dropped confetti from the ceiling onto the floor, but by gathering this confetti and tossing it into the air, you could take some pretty spectacular photos. The ball pit needs no explanation, it was just plain good ol’ fashioned fun. Yes, the amount of germs that must have been in it made me cringe, but I let that go, jumped in, and enjoyed myself.

To conclude our visit, we enjoyed some mini yellow-colored vanilla-flavored ice cream cones.


Do you plan on visiting the New York version of the Color Factory? Please let me know in the Comment Here! section below.

I can’t recommend experiencing the Color Factory for yourself enough. Go, go, go!


ENJOY! ❤💙🖤💚🧡💛💜

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From dance to theater to cooking, there are toddler classes available for any and all interests in the city of San Francisco. Many are enrolling now for Fall sessions, take a look at the list I’ve compiled and get your little one signed up today!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Find Hello Kitty at DylansCandyBar.com


SF Tots

SF Tots Activity Hero

Photo Credit: ActivityHero.com

Locations: San Francisco Zoo (Lakeshore), Marina Green Park (Marina District), Mother’s Meadow Playground (Golden Gate Park), Upper Noe Recreation Center Athletic Field (Noe Valley), Hamilton Recreation Center (Pacific Heights), Mission Bay Commons Park (Mission Bay), Jackson Playground (Potrero Hill)

These active classes consist of story-based exercises that engage children while they work on advanced motor skills, team skills, and following directions. This is a parent participation class and I must admit that running around and kicking the ball with your child is energizing and fun. I love that each 10-week session concludes with a team photo that you can take home.

Cost: $195.00 – T-shirts are included in the class fee.

Site: sftots.getgalore.com


Play Haven

JAMaROO

Location: 245 Laguna Honda Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94105

Play Haven offers an opportunity for your children to play in a large space inside while you attempt to get some work done. Free play stations include painting and Play-Doh. Weekly classes are also offered. I recommend trying out the JAMaROO Kids Music and Movement class. This class incorporates stories, instruments, and lots of dancing. Watching the kids pretend to be frogs as they hop across the room is adorable and hilarious.

Cost: $10.00 per class for Non-Members, Free for Members

Site: playhaven.com


Gymboree Play & Music

Gymboree Play and Music

Location: 1503A Sloat Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94132

I’ve been biased towards Gymboree Play & Music thinking: Can a clothing company really offer decent classes for kids? Yes, they can! I’m so happy I got over my preconception toward Gymboree Play & Music and tried out their music class with my little one. The instructor we had was SO energetic and entertaining. The music classes give children the opportunity to play instruments, sing, and move around the room in fun and imaginative ways. The play classes also play music but focus more on games and exploring the large play structures in the play space. Bonus: This particular location is in a shopping center so there are plenty of free parking spaces available.

Cost: $95.00 every 4 weeks for one class per week. ($23.75 per class)

Site: gymboreeclasses.com


AcroSports

AcroSports.com

Photo Credit: AcroSports.com

Location: 639 Frederick Street San Francisco, CA 94117

Foggy, chilly San Francisco day? No problem! Little ones can get ALL of their energy out at an AcroSports class. Sessions run for 15-weeks and Fall enrollment just began August 20th. At AcroSports, kids can run, jump, crawl, swing, and climb. The very large indoor AcroSports multi-level space includes obstacle courses, a trampoline, LED tunnel, balance beams, a climbing wall, and hammock swings. Depending on your child’s age, their age appropriate class will help them work on spatial, directional, and body awareness, strength, coordination, flexibility and floor tumbling.

Cost: $300.00 per session, $22.00 per class for Drop-In classes

Site: acrosports.org


The Container Store


Little Learners at the San Francisco Zoo

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Location: Sloat Blvd at The Great Highway San Francisco, CA 94132

If you’re little one loves animals, these are the classes you need to consider. Each week a different theme and animal is featured. Upcoming themes include Wonderful Wolves, Springy Sifaka, and Sweet Squirrel Monkeys. During these parent participation classes your little one will create a craft, have a snack, and meet an educational animal visitor. After class, enjoy the zoo or head across the street to Ocean Beach.

Cost: Members: $25.00, Non-Members: $35.00. Class fees include zoo admission and a parking pass.

Site: sfzoo.org


Recess

Recess Sf

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 470 Carolina Street San Francisco, CA 94107

When I first saw one of the classes they offer, I couldn’t believe it. Recess offers a Toddler Chefs class! Little ones can do more in the kitchen than we give them credit for and this class demonstrates that. During this class little ones will be involved in preparing a meal or snack. Helping and learning to prepare something to eat will boost your toddler’s confidence and give them some independence.

Cost: Single classes are $30.00. When enrolling in the full series, classes are $25.00 each. Recess members receive a discount of up to 25%.

Site: recessurbanrecreation.com


Rabbit Hole

RAbbit HOle SF

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 800 Diamond Street San Francisco, CA 94114

Rabbit Hole is all about imagination. Classes offered focus on theater, dress-up, dance, story telling, and music. For example, The Treasure Box class begins with an object found inside the Treasure Box, the theme of the class is determined by this item. Next, the children explore a story based on the object by dancing, singing, and moving their bodies. Since His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman is my family’s favorite trilogy, I must mention that the Rabbit Hole also offers Day Camps, which like their classes have a theme. On Monday, September 3rd their Day Camp theme is The Golden Compass, the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. If not for my little one being too young, she’d be signed up!

Cost: $125.00 for 5 classes. $140.00 for Day Camp.

Site: therabbitholesf.com


Little Artistas

Little Artistas Hoodline.com

Photo Credit: Hoodline.com

Location: 667 Chenery Street and 1513 Church Street San Francisco, CA 94131

When it comes to arts, crafts, and language, Little Artistas is the place to be. Little Artistas offers classes, camps, and date nights. Classes are run in sessions and the Fall Session begins September 10th. Sessions run for 12 weeks and classes are held once a week. With their parents, little ones will be able to work on their fine motor skills and get messy with non-toxic art supplies. Bonus: The mess stays at Little Artistas, not at your house!

Cost: $300.00 per session.

Site: littleartistas.com


ODC Youth & Teen Program

ODC Dance

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 351 Shotwell Street San Francisco, CA 94110

One of the best dance studios in San Francisco offers classes for even the youngest movers and shakers. The Creative Movement classes for kids encourage individual expression in a nurturing and structured framework. Movements explored are age appropriate and complimentary to gross motor development. Little ones can participate in parent participation classes or begin to explore creative dance. Through creative dance young children develop coordination and confidence. In these classes, they’ll also begin to learn how to take direction within the context of a dance class. The Fall session beings September 8th and runs for 13 weeks.

Cost: Fall Tuition is $260.00.

Site: odc.dance


Which of these classes would be your little one’s favorite? We’ve tried almost all of them and have had fantastic experiences.

If your little one loves a class in San Francisco that’s not listed, please share it in the comments below!


Classes for Kids in San Francisco


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ENTER the Amazing August Giveaway!

Summer road trips are great family outings. The kids get to enjoy nature and new sites, the parents get to relax, but it’s not always easy to keep kids interested in the itinerary. So we’ve built an itinerary for a specific kind of child: one who is fascinated by technology and interested in learning more about robots, computers, and tech icons.

Most road trip sites focus on sightseeing, nature, and the best outdoor getaways and fail to help kids who are more digitally-inclined satisfy their drive to learn. Luckily, this trip guide will take you on a coastline tour down the West coast, and it’s jam-packed with unique destinations. Or, pick and choose the few that work for your family and integrate it into an existing trip plan. Read on for the places you’ll need to hit on your high-tech road-trip.


Destination 1: Seattle

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@maxderoin

Start your tech trip adventures out in Redmond, Washington, just outside of Seattle. Redmond is home to the Microsoft campus. Find the Microsoft Office Visitor Center in Building 92 and check out their exhibits, which include an Xbox 360 that you can play on a ginormous screen and the first PC ever created. Then, swing by the Microsoft Company Store to grab branded clothing and swag you won’t find anywhere else.

Home to other tech giants like Amazon, Seattle is well worth further exploration. Bring your kids to see the colorful glass sculptures at Chihuly Garden and Glass, meet animals young and old at Woodland Park Zoo, or relax in a plant-based paradise at Seattle Japanese Garden

Once you’ve had your fill, it’s time for a cross-state jaunt through Oregon into California!

Gadget Tip:

If you decide to stop somewhere remote in Oregon along the way for an overnight in the woods, grab a Scrubba Wash Bag for your journey. This pocket-sized contraption with flexible washboard can help you do laundry anywhere you are. With kids, that’s crucial.


Destination 2: The Bay (San Francisco and San Jose)

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@mockupeditor.com

As you leave Oregon and curve down through California, you’ll notice changing landscapes and highway-scapes. There are more people on the road, and as you near San Francisco you could find yourself stuck in traffic alongside any number of commuter vehicles and of course, a Tesla or two, but it is so worth it to make it to the tech Mecca of the U.S. With so much to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start, so let’s run through the best spots.

Cupertino, California is the home of Apple’s new, space-age looking headquarters. The windows in the building have been designed to automatically open or close to let in just the right amount of light, wind, and fresh air to maintain a comfortable temperature. In other words: Apple employees never get into fights about the office being too hot or too cold. The glass exterior walls were curved on-site in a factory in Germany, and shipped in. In total, there are six square kilometers of glass. “There’s not a straight piece of glass in this building,” Jobs once said.

Take note, three different contractors were hired and then left the project during the course of the build because Apple was so persistent regarding their desired building specifications. Thanks to those particularities, you and the kids will get to see a building unlike any that’s been built before. Who knows, maybe you’ll run into the right person and hear the scoop on what the company’s cooking up for the future.

In San Francisco, explore the history in South Park, not the show, but the “ground zero of the dotcom era.” This park is where the idea of Twitter was first conceived by its founder. Web entrepreneurs have been eating lunch on its grass since the start of tech’s golden age, and you shouldn’t miss your chance to, either.

Also in the San Francisco area, the Gourmet House Stadt in Redwood City is worth a visit. To those not in the know, the Stadt isn’t just a charming German shop and beer garden, but the place where the iPhone 4 made its unofficial and unintentional public debut. Great for a lunch with the fam.

For an immersive experience, check out the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, just outside San Jose. This museum boasts one of the world’s largest collections of computing artifacts and tells the stories of tech giants like Adobe, Intel and HP, while also featuring a model of the Babbage Engine and a separate section entirely for children.

Finally, to round out a jam-packed trip of sightseeing and immersion into past and present, take a quick tour of the famous garages: the “Google garage” can be found on 232 Santa Margarita Avenue in Menlo Park and the HP garage can be found on 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto.

Gadget Tip:

action-america-architecture-378570

To brave the traffic, you’ll want to navigate lanes as safely as possible. Consider adding a rearview camera to your vehicle before you begin your journey. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require them on all vehicles issued after May 1, 2018, as rearview blind spots account for over 15,000 injuries each year, and backup cameras reduce this blind zone by about 90%. Check out the wireless backup camera by Pep Boys to make your ride safe and smooth in that California traffic.


Destination 3: Southern California

business-chairs-company-7070

@start-up-stock-photos

The last leg of your journey, which winds through Southern California, is more of a choose your own adventure. For your consideration when you head south…

Visit the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena! The Kidspace Children’s Museum has over 3.5 acres of interactive environments with a mission to nurture the potential of all children through kid-driven experiences, inspiring them to become joyful, active learners. The Robert and Mary Galvin Physics Forest is a super fun outdoor interactive experience with 13 different hands-on exhibits to nurture and inspire children to be the innovators and creators of tomorrow.

There are also several beaches along the Southern Californian coast with wi-fi to stay connected as you take a day away from the cities: try Sunset State Beach, Hermosa Beach, Newport Beach, and Santa Monica. Take some time off from activities and just enjoy the other hallmark of the West Coast: the sun!

Gadget Tip:

If you have your tech outside with you, avoiding sand is an absolute must. We’ve got the scoop on a sand-free beach day. The Sandless Beach Mat from C-Gear is a large mat designed with C-GEAR technology to allow sand to fall through the material without allowing it to come back up.


With these kid-friendly travel destinations, you’re sure to engage your tech-driven child and help them explore the possibilities available to them. What about you? Have you ever taken a road trip built specifically around your child’s interests?


About the Author: Sam Casteris is an avid traveler and aspiring travel writer. She writes creative pieces about travel, informational articles for other travelers, and guides to make travel as stress-free as possible. Her home base is in Phoenix, AZ.


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Painting is an activity all little ones already love. Today, let’s take the classic activity of painting and play with a “paint” that creates fluffy, soft dimensional art.


Fluffy Cloud Paint Supplies

First, you’ll need the following:

  • Glue
  • Shaving Cream
  • Blue Construction Paper
  • Paint Brush or Sponge
  • Bowl – I recommend a paper bowl for easy cleanup.
  • White Crayon – If you choose to outline your clouds.
  • Smock – This isn’t necessary to complete this activity, but it is recommended.

This post may contain affiliate links.


Fluffy Cloud Paint Step One

Step One

Gather your supplies and if you’d like, suit your little one up in a smock. Mix equal parts glue and shaving cream in your bowl. I never measure when I do this, I just squirt in a bunch of glue and a big puff of shaving cream then mix. Your cloud paint is now ready.

Fluffy Cloud Paint in Action

Step Two

With the white crayon, outline clouds onto your blue construction paper for your little one to fill in with the cloud paint or let your little one paint the paper however they’d like.

Fluffy Cloud Paint Step Two

Step Three

Let your paintings dry and enjoy your new works of art!


Make it Educational

Just by doing this activity, you’re strengthening your child’s fine motor skills and allowing them to express themselves creatively.

To also explore texture with your child, have them gently touch the dry cloud paint to feel how soft and fluffy it is. Have them then touch a regular dry painting and talk with them about how different each one feels.


Clean Up

If using a paper bowl, toss it. Otherwise, rinse off your paint brushes, sponges, and bowl immediately after you’re finished painting. The cloud paint will rinse off easily if cleaned up quickly after you’re done using it.


Fluffy Cloud Paint Results

Share Your Art

Have fun creating clouds and please show me photos of your creations by posting them and tagging me #bayareabeautyblogger or @bayareabeautyb on twitter!


🌟Become a Patron🌟


Toddler Activities Fluffy Cloud Paint


 

asphalt-blue-sky-clouds-490411

Photo by @nextvoyage

California is a gorgeous and lively state with so many fun spots to explore on a mommy-and-me road trip. The state covers such a large area that a family could surf some white-topped waves and ski powdered mountain slopes in the same day. It also has a rich history and diverse population that make for plenty of fun learning experiences. No matter where you go, here are some simple tips you can follow to keep the trip stress-free and affordable.


3-Day Trip Itinerary: From Redwood National Park to San Diego

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Start your trip with a visit to Redwood National Park in northern California. This park has the tallest trees and some of the oldest trees on earth. Try and plan the trip around a fee-free day. This is when the National Park Service waves entrance fees on certain days of the year, such as Veterans Day and National Public Lands Day in September. Visit the park for a short hike, or rent a campsite and explore the area for a weekend.

Continue your tour of northern California with a visit to Monterey Bay. Located near San Francisco, this bay is part of a National Marine Sanctuary and it is teeming with sea life. The best way to experience this is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here kids can touch starfish and stingrays and check out penguins and the Giant Pacific octopus. Save on a ticket by booking a night at a hotel that partners with the museum.

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Start your tour of southern California at Santa Monica. This beach town is near Los Angeles, and is home to the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Take a dip in the ocean or let the kids run wild on one of the many jungle gyms on the beach. There are also bike rentals available for use on an easily accessible beachside path. Older kids will like Pacific Park, which has a carousel and a small roller coaster.

Then, carve out some “me time” and stop by the Third Street Promenade. This area has plenty of outdoor shopping and dining options, and it’s in a pretty area with lush fountains and greenery. Santa Monica also has a twice weekly farmer’s market where residents and top chefs flock for the freshest vegetables and fruits. Bring cash, as most vendors prefer it over credit cards.

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Photo by Mark Munsee

After an overnight stay (we recommend camping or AirBnB to get the most stretch out of your dollar), continue along the southern California neck of the tour with a visit to warm and sunny San Diego. Learn how to hang 10 with a surf lesson at La Jolla Beach. Afterwards, stop by the world famous San Diego Zoo. Get to know Bai Yun and Gao Gao, the two giant pandas in residence, or laugh along with the elephants and Galapagos tortoises.

Finish the trip with a stroll through the historic downtown area known as the Gaslamp Quarter. This 16-block neighborhood has great dining options, as well as comedy and live music at the Balboa and Horton Grand Theatre.


1. Pick Your Vehicle Wisely

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Photo by Avinash Patel

Instead of driving the northern neck of California in your everyday car that doesn’t have ample space for the whole family, consider taking a rental instead. You’ll save precious miles on your own vehicle, which will help keep your car out of the shop when you need it most for your commute. You’ll also give your kids the space to spread out a little in the backseat, avoiding interpersonal headaches when they get the wiggles. When you’re looking for rental cars, keep in mind how you’ll be using the vehicle. If you’re camping, consider renting an SUV that can carry you from the highway to the top of the mountain and offer you plenty of space to keep your camping gear in the back. If you’re going to the beach, maybe choose a car with leather seats in case the sand finds its way from the seashore into the backseat.

2. Prepare for boredom

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Unless your child goes straight to sleep, car rides can be tough for everyone. Break up long hours on the road by playing some classic road trip games such as 20 questions and the license plate game. Research rest areas along the way and find interesting stops along the drive. This can help you plan stops in advance, so you don’t have to worry about finding a bathroom last minute. Finally, keep wet wipes handy for cleaning up any messes.

3. Use tech to keep it easy!

There are several phone apps out there that can keep your trip simple and stress-free:

  • GasBuddy uses crowd sourced data to show you the lowest gas prices nearby. It finds on average a 41-cent difference in prices between local gas stations.
  • Groupon gives great deals at local restaurants, hotels and various things to do in the area.
  • Meal Pal is just food focused, but it works by showing coupons at local restaurants and gives reviews of nearby places.
  • Roadtrippers helps you find fascinating stops along your route, to break up the monotony of rest area stops and give your little ones the chance to run out some of their energy.
  • If you find yourself in an unexpected accommodation pickle, Hotel Tonight can help you find last minute availability in your area.

What do you think? Have you taken any family trips through California that you’ve enjoyed? What are some tricks you’ve discovered on your journeys?


About the Author: Sam Casteris is an avid traveler and aspiring travel writer. She writes creative pieces about travel, informational articles for other travelers, and guides to make travel as stress-free as possible. Her home base is in Phoenix, AZ.