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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

July 9, 2015

Beach Time!
How to Enjoy the Beach with Kids
How to Build a Sand Castle

The Fair is coming September 16-20!

Tour and Stories with Ohlone Indian Descendent
23 Suggestions for Beach with Kids
10 Essentialsfor the Beach
How to Build a Sand Castle
Another Beach Essentials List
Click to view our Business Directory

(AAA July 2015) Beach_Seabright.jpgWe are fortunate that we can access beaches within minutes!   Even if you are a local and a pro at going to the beach, we think you will find a new idea on one of these lists by mom bloggers who love going to the beach.

It occurs to me that at least two adults will be needed to pull this off, but you will be so well prepared that you will have the best beach days ever.  However, depending on their ages, children can be enlisted to carry their own gear in backpacks.  Go here for an overview of Santa Cruz County beaches.  Remember tides and winds change beaches.  It wouldn't hurt to do an adult only visit to find the best beach for your age children.

Is this your or your childrens' year to enter a contest in the Santa Cruz County Fair?  We include links to contest rules and applications.

Camp Options: A-Z Camps  ~  Camps on the Calendar  ~  Camp Guide Newsletter.

Thank you for sending many new families our way. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend

See you at the beaches, Parmalee

Parenting Support ~ Parks ~ Museums The Weekend


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  Beach Time!

(AAA July 2015) BeachBabySand2.jpgEssentials for a kid friendly beach trip by Paula

Summer is here, and that means many of us are gearing up for beach trips! I love a good day (or week!) at the beach, but it does get a little more hectic when there are little ones involved. Today, I've got 10 things that are essential for a kid friendly beach trip! These will help make the trip safe, easy and fun for every one! Click for my 10 essentials!

  How to Enjoy the Beach with Kids

(AAA July 2015) BeachKidsatWatersEdge3.jpgby Jessica 

Are your kids little breaded chicken nuggets by the end of the day? Is your food extra crunchy from a sprinkling of sand? Did you solemnly swear that you'll never go back to that wretched place?

I've been there. After a few years of trekking solo with two tiny kids I've learned a thing or two. Please don't let the sand get in the way of enjoying a nice day at the beach.  Here's how to get through it like a boss.  Click for my 23 suggestions!

  How to Build a Sand Castle

(AAA July 2015) Sandcastle3.jpgBuilding a castle is buckets of fun, so why not make a few with your kids at the beach this summer? All you need are sand, water, household items, and some helping hands.

You can find these at home: shovel for scooping and packing; small bucket for shaping towers; two-by-two for tapping out air; paint stirrer for sketching and smoothing; straws for blowing excess sand away; measuring spoons and melon baller for making windows; offset spatula and plastic knife for carving; and large buckets for hauling water and building. Click for "how to">>>


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  The Fair is coming September 16-20!

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It's time to think about entering a contest at the Santa Cruz County Fair! 

Show off your best at the Santa Cruz County Fair! 

Online Entry Deadline: August 22, 2015 @ 11:59 PM.

Entries and entry forms for most departments are due on August 29 or August 30 by 5 PM.

 Ag & Hort Department
  Submit Entry Online
Horseshow Department
Amature Winemaking Department
  Submit Entry Online
Lego Department
  Submit Entry Online
Collections & Hobbies Livestock Department
Education Department Photography Department
  Submit Entry Online
FFA Department
  Submit Entry Online
Poultry Department
Fine Arts Department
  Submit Entry Online
Senior & Junior Home Arts Department
  Submit Entry Online
Floriculture Department
  Submit Entry Onlin
Technology Department
  Submit Entry Online
Handsupn / Handwoven Department
  Submit Entry Online
Youth Organization Department
  Submit Entry Online
Homebrew Department
  Submit Entry Online
Poetry Department
  Submit Entry Online


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in the Parks

A-Z Camps

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Guitar &

African Drumming

Small Group Lessons

with Ron Dunn

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Weekly July 6 - Aug. 12

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 Tour and Stories with Ohlone Indian Descendent

Explore Native Traditions with Pajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council's Patrick Orozco

Watsonville Wetlands
Date: Saturday, 7/11/ at 10:00am
Admission Fees: free
Special Instructions: behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Clearwater Lane

(AAA July 2015) OhlonePatrickOrozco.jpgPajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council chairman Patrick Orozco will lead a special tour along the Pajaro River. He will tell stories, sing, and share his experiences and knowledge about local native culture and history.

Patrick, descendent of native Californians, has been researching and teaching about native culture for over 20 years. He delights and inspires students by visiting schools and sharing remembered songs and stories, dances and regalia.

This family-oriented tour, hosted by the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, starts at 10 a.m.

Meet at the City of Watsonville's Pajaro River Park, behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Clearwater Lane just outside of Watsonville (directions).The tour is free, but you must register by clicking here. For more information, contact Kathy Fieberling, 831-345-1226,

Free Kids Summer Movie Series
click to view website
  Free Kids Summer Movie Series
Green Valley Cinema 9
Date: Every Mon, Tues, Wed and Th (Jun 18-Jul 30) at 10:00am
Details: Free summer movies for kids
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 761-8300 view all details >>
FREE Daily Entertainment
click to view website
  FREE Daily Entertainment
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every day (Jun 19-Aug 18) from 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Ages: All
Details: FREE Daily Entertainment June 20 - August 14, Noon - 6pm
Special Instructions: FREE shows noon - 6pm
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831-423-2053 view all details >>
Marimba Workshop for Kids!
click to view website
  Marimba Workshop for Kids!
Singing Wood Marimba
Date: Every Mon, Wed and Th (Jul 7-Jul 20) from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Ages: 8-12
Details: Marimba Workshop for Kids!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 687-8827 view all details >>
Beach Time!
click to view website
  Beach Time!
view all details >>
Facebook Workshop
click to view website
  Facebook Workshop
Date: The 2nd Wed of every month (Feb 11-Nov 18) from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Details: Small business workshops held monthly -free, but register
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831-479-6136 view all details >>
Chantey Sing at Hyde Street Pier
click to view website
  Chantey Sing at Hyde Street Pier
San Francisco Maritime Historical Museum
Date: 07/11/2015 from 8:00pm to 12:00am
Details: Join a public sing-along of sea chanteys and sailor songs aboard a historic ship at San Francisco Maritime National Historical P
City: San Francisco Phone: 415-447-5000 view all details >>
Beach Time!
click to view website
  Beach Time!
view all details >>
Silicon Valley S.T.E.A.M. Festival
click to view website
  Silicon Valley S.T.E.A.M. Festival
Hot San Jose Nights
Date: 07/11/2015 from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Details: A Family Friendly FREE Science Technology Engineering Arts & Aviation & Math Festival
Special Instructions: near Eastridge Mall, across from Lake Cunningham Park
City: San Jose view all details >>
ADHD Support
click to view website
  ADHD Support
CHADD, Monterey/SantaCruz
Date: 03/23/2016 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Details: Support for adults with ADHD
City: Aptos Phone: 831-818-9619 view all details >>
Beach Time!
click to view website
  Beach Time!
view all details >>
The Power of Sleep: Enhancing Performance, Safety and Health
click to view website
  The Power of Sleep: Enhancing Performance, Safety and Health
Gateway, Mount Madonna, York & Cabrillo
Date: 02/28/2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Details: Strategies for better sleep, alertness, and performance will highlight the value that good sleep can bring to help everyone thri
City: Aptos Phone: (831) 479-6154 view all details >>
Free Movies at the Beach
click to view website
  Free Movies at the Beach
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every Wed (Jun 21-Aug 16) at 9:00pm
Details: Bring the family and your blanket or low back chair and join us for these classic hits!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Much Ado About Nothing
click to view website
  Much Ado About Nothing
Santa Cruz Shakespeare
Date: Every day (Jun 30-Aug 30)
Details: A WICKEDLY WITTY battle-of-the-sexes comedy
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Musical Movies for Families
click to view website
  Musical Movies for Families
Library Watsonville
Date: Every Tues (Jun 9-Jul 21) at 6:00pm
Details: Tuesday Musical Movie Nights
City: Watsonville view all details >>
  23 Suggestions for Beach with Kids

1.  Scare the living hell out them.  The ocean is a vast body of deathly water.  It's full of rip tides, rocks, and will suck you under in a moments notice. Talk to them about the dangers of the water.  I don't let my tiny kids go in alone past their knees. You'll know the what your kids limits are and a little deathly reminder is always helpful.

2. Go early to grab a spot near the lifeguard and sit as close to the water as possible.  Check the tide and make sure it's not coming in.  You don't want to have to move your stuff back in a few hours and infringe on someone's spot. I personally want to obliterate anyone who does this.

3. Buy a wonder wheels, a magical little cart with large wheels and a huge mesh basket that folds up nicely. You're going to have to walk through the parking lot and the sand. This little invention makes toting all of your stuff a lot easier. It's worth the sixty dollars if you go to the beach frequently. You can get one at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon.  All the locals have one for good reason.

4. Bring a backpack chair for each adult and small cheap chairs for your kids.  These beach chairs are the most comfortable seats.  They have a cup hold and a pouch in the back for extra storage. Don't waste money on buying backpack chairs for the little ones. They cost around $30 a piece. I've had mine for 5 years and it's still going strong.

5. Bring baby powder. Sprinkle some on your body for instant sand removal. No more sandy feet in your car. If you have a diaper wearing toddler this is a must for keeping the sand out of their creases.

6. Pack a cooler with lots of small containers for snacks. The last thing you'll want is your kid sticking their sandy hand in a bag of chips.  Provide individual portions so they can keep the sand in their own snacks and not yours.  Alice and Dottie never seem to mind the extra "seasoning". Keep your cooler in the shade.

7. Mind your manners. Do NOT sit on top of fellow beach goers.  You'll be in for a day of dirty looks.  Keep enough space between you and everyone else so your kid isn't running past someone while kicking sand on them.

8. Pack good food. Good food just makes everything better. Don't forget napkins!

9. Bring a tiny baby pool. This extra watering hole is great for little ones to sit in.  They get to enjoy the water without you sitting with them near the ocean all day.

10. Don't forget your auger for your umbrella. You already know that an umbrella is a must. However, you might not think to bring one of those corkscrew things to keep it in the sand.  A little wind will lift your umbrella straight out of the sand where it transforms into a spear for someone else.

11. Spread out. If you follow my advice by going early you'll want to spread your stuff out the claim your space.  Keep the sand toys in front of where you're sitting and the wonder wheels behind you.

12. Don't forget a plastic shopping bag for your garbage. The trash cans are usually a hike to get to.  Save yourself the trip. Take a few extras so the kids can share with someone who "forgot" to pick up their trash.

13. Put your cell phone in a zip lock bag. Keep the sand out of your phone's little crevices and protect if from any ocean water.  I store my keys, wallet, and phone in the pocket of my wonder wheels.

14. Freeze a couple bottles of water. They are more effective than those little cooler packs.

15. Don't forget to reapply sunblock every 80 minutes. A cooling breeze can make you easily forget that you're going to burn in the sun.

16. Wear foam flip flops. Keep the cute leather ones at home.  It doesn't feel so nice rinsing expensive shoes under water at the shower station before you leave.

17. Bring a long sleeve cover up. If the temperature is below 85 degrees there's a chance it could feel really cool by the water.

18. Pack large sand buckets. You'll be glad you brought these to fill up that little blow up pool.  I like to keep a full one so the kids can rinse their hands off. Another tip within a tip, don't bring books for the kids.  Every time I've tried they've turned into a soggy mess.

19. Go during the week to avoid crowds.

20. Keep your shell collection in order. We're always bringing souvenirs home from the beach.  Bring a small bag to keep them together for later.

21. Bring a beach blanket and comfort items. I can't tell you how many times Alice has fallen asleep at the beach. I used bring an extra large blanket for her to lay on and a stuffed animal she likes to cuddle with. You can also put the kids chairs on top of the blanket in case they drop their sandwich during lunch.

22. Spray sunblock in the same direction as the wind. This will ensure all of it is actually getting onto your kid's body.  That stuff is expensive, don't waste it by making this mistake!

23. If you have a baby try to find a baby dome. I'm sorry to say it's been discontinued.  I've seen these in consignment shops time and time again.  They are blue circular enclosed play pens that fold in half.  There's a little stand on the bottom so your baby isn't laying on the ground.  It was perfect. You can also try a baby bumbo seat.

  10 Essentialsfor the Beach

Inflatable Pool - If you have babies or small toddlers, this one is for you! Bring an inflatable kidde pool and set it up on the beach for them! This way, you can bring the water to them, instead of them needing to brave the waves. We took our first Florida trip when our son was about 7 months old, and this was perfect for him. The pool kept him out of the sand, and we could fill the pool with an inch or two of water for him to play in with his toys. He was happy and content there for hours. Since it's inflatable it's easy to travel with as well! This is definitely a must for little ones! Especially if your babies are anything like mine, they will try to eat the sand! Our little pool saved our son from eating the entire beach!

Safety Sticker Tattoos - These are waterproof stickers! First you write your phone number on them and then you stick to your child's skin. This way if a kiddo wander off down the beach, the lifeguard or some one else who stops them can call you, so every one is not frantically searching for everyone else! We all hope this would never happen, but it's good to be on the safe side, especially since they are only about $11 for 6 stickers. Each sticker is advertised to last for weeks. 

Daily Photos or Matching Clothes - At the start of each new day of fun, snap a full-length photo of each child on your phone. This will also help if you get separated, because you can show people the photo of what your child is wearing and exactly what he or she looks like. Dressing all the kids in matching outfits could have a similar affect, if you aren't planning to bring your camera or phone down to the beach with you. Of course we all watch our kids like hawks and don't want any one to get lost, but being prepared is always the best strategy!

Extra Swim Suits - Each kid needs more than one suit. Expect potty accidents (not just the wet kind!) and all sorts of other shenanigans to happen. Bringing extra suits with you to the beach will keep you from paying crazy prices in the tourist shops!

Loads of snacks - Being in the sun all day makes you hungry! I try to pack snacks that are easy to eat with two fingers, since every one (and everything) will be covered in sand. Prepackaged crackers with cheese or peanut butter are one of our absolute favorite beach snacks! Every one can get their own pack, and the extra protein in the peanut butter helps get your energy back up.

Waters - I'm totally that mom that forgets to bring sippy cups of water to playdates throughout the week. It's okay for an hour long playdate, not so much for a day at the beach! Purchasing a few larger water bottles make life much easier. Sippy cups hold such a small amount of water, and little ones often struggle drinking from a normal water bottle, so I prefer the "adult" version of the sippy cup for every one when we're beach bound.

Plastic Bag for the Camera - If you have a small point and shoot, bring a ziploc bag to keep it in! It will probably be bright enough outside that you won't need the flash, so you could even shoot some photos through the clear plastic so you don't have to worry about it getting wet or covered in sand from your hands.

Diaper Rash Cream - A day sitting in the salty water and sand can be tough on a kiddo's bottom. Even though my little ones rarely get diaper rashes normally, I always bring some rash cream to the beach with us, because after a day or two they will be sore down there and needing the extra help! Look for spray on kind.

Baby Powder - This is like magic! Rub baby powder on every one and the sand comes right off! It's truly amazing! It works best on dry sand/skin, so don't try this fresh from the ocean. Wait until the end of the day when every one is drying up and do it just before you hop back in the car.  Can you imagine a beach trip where you don't end up with sand in your car for the next 4 months? Hooray for baby powder!

Aloe lotion (not the gel!) - Think ahead and bring that aloe vera lotion! I know that the gels are very popular, but a fire fighter friend told me that lotion is actually much better for burnt skin than the gel. This is because the aloe gel acts like a blocker and actually locks the heat in and doesn't allow your skin to heal. (Yikes!) Lotion on the other hand, seeps down into your skin to heal it, while also letting the heat get out, so you have a better chance to keep the tan and not peel!

  How to Build a Sand Castle

Use a shovel or paint stirrer to draw an outline in the sand where you want the castle to stand (don't forget the entrance). That way, everyone who helps with the project will know exactly where to start digging.

Dig Shovel sand from outside the lines into the center of your sketch to form a large mound. The pile should be a little bit taller than the first floor of the castle, since you'll probably end up carving a lot of it away.

Pound With the back of a shovel, pack the sides of the mound to form walls. Make them higher than the center of the mound, creating a "bowl" to hold water. Keep packing until you get the height you want.

Pour Add buckets of water to the center of the mound to form a pond, and pour evenly around the inside so as not to create weak spots.

Jump Jump around! Once the water sinks in, add more sand and water, and jump again, until the middle of the mound is the same height as the sides.

Build Place a large bucket with bottom cut off on the mound. Fill three-quarters up with sand. Pour in water, climb in, and stomp. Tap sides with a two-by-two to remove air. Repeat until bucket is full, then lift it off.

Mold Small buckets are great for making towers. Just fill them with damp sand to overflowing, level off the sand, turn over in desired spot, and lift. The more sizes of buckets you have, the more varied your towers.

Carve Once you have the basic castle shape, use the remaining tools to make the sides straight and add windows, doors, and other details. Since the sand has been tightly packed with water, it will maintain its shape.

Making Straight Walls Make wall shape with a downward motion, slicing into the side with the offset spatula and removing sand as you go. To make walls level and fine-tune the angles, run the spatula or paint stirrer down all four sides. The smoother the walls are, the more real your castle will look.

Making Ledges Slide the offset spatula over the roof to make it level. Holding the spatula at an angle, cut into the sand with a sawing motion. When you've worked your way in to the depth of the spatula, cut away the excess sand by running the spatula straight down.

Making Windows Draw windows with plastic knife. Angle offset spatula or knife into the window; carve sand away. Use the rounded edge of knife to shape curves of windows. Make lookout windows with melon baller or measuring spoons. Blow excess window sand away with drinking straw.

Making Doorways Draw shape; with offset spatula or knife, carve away sand as you would for windows. For a double door, draw a second arch slightly inside the outer opening. Carve sand away. Smooth the wall by running a plastic knife along the back of the door.

When you're finished, don't forget to take pictures of your sand castle before the tide rolls in

  Another Beach Essentials List

The following is a list of items we consider our beach essentials!  by Rachael

  • Sunscreen/sun protection (including swimsuits with UV protection)
  • Chapstick
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuits and swimsuit cover ups (a jacket if it's windy/chilly)
  • Wipes (even if your kids are out of diapers, it's nice to have wipes for older kids and adults to use to clean their hands)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bugspray-sand flies are the worst.
  • Waterproof (and sandproof) cases for phones and e-readers
  • Sippy cups and water bottles
  • Snacks (for parents and tots)
  • Cooler and ice packs-honestly, we don't bring a lot of cold items to the beach, so a backpack or grocery bag works fine for our snacks. But a cooler may work best for your family!
  • Lotion and aloe
  • Sandals/water shoes
  • Beach Towels
  • Beach chairs-if you're not going to a resort where chairs are provided, you may want to bring your own. Camping chairs are a space-saving option.
  • Hair ties
  • Conditioner-our girls have a LOT of hair. With chlorine, saltwater, and sand, a bottler of leave-in conditioner is definitely a necessity for our family!
  • Wet Brush-these brushes do the best job with gently tackling tangles. See note above for why we consider these necessities!
  • Reading material
  • Pacifiers and loveys for babies
  • Swim diapers (we like the reusable options)
  • Diaper cream
  • Battery-operated fan. Nice for sleeping babies and tots!
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