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Top Father’s Day Outdoor Adventure Ideas

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2016

Father’s day is just around the corner so before you scramble to buy another tie or “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug, get creative and treat him to an outdoor adventure! To parents, the ultimate present is that of time spent together and precious memories. So this year, plan to wake up dad with a home cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs and French toast please!) followed by an activity-packed day outdoors with the entire family.

Today I would like to introduce you to a very special place that has all the above and makes for the perfect Father’s Day gift. Northern California’s Half Moon Bay is home to sun drenched beaches ideal for sunbathing and picnicking, one of our nation’s most spectacular marine protected areas for tide pooling, marine mammal watching, long stretches of coastline trails for biking and hiking, a protected harbor for sea kayaking and a great fishing destination.

Half Moon Bay’s Coastside Trail runs parallel to the Pacific Coast and is truly a fun destination. It’s a family-grade flat ride with sweeping views of the coast, the ocean, picturesque bluffs, views of the world-famous Mavericks, a surfing spot near Pillar Point that’s visible from the trail and wildlife viewing.

It has access to several beaches so make sure you take your bike locks if you plan to make stops to visit the beaches.

This ride is an overall easy one with the most difficult part being where to choose to stop! Insider Tip: Stop at El Granada for a delicious cup of clam chowder and finish your ride at the ice cream parlor.

Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice and Francis beaches line up along the Half Moon Bay coast to form two miles of white sand that makes up Half Moon Bay State Beach (see the map above). A fifth beach, Cowell Ranch Beach, is also part of the state beach and is three miles further to the south.

Venice beach is between two creeks (Pilarcitos and Frenchmans) and makes a great wading area for kids.  It has outdoor showers and flushable toilets, which is a nice luxury. Birds are also common users of the freshwater of Pilarcitos creek so be sure to pack your binoculars.

Francis Beach has a nice grassy park with picnic tables and barbecues on the bluff above the ocean. It also has a campground for tents and trailers. Word of caution: These beaches are not suitable for swimming but they are great for sunbathing and picnicking.

Tide Pooling
Located only 15 minutes north of Half Moon Bay in Moss Beach is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, which is home to dozens of colorful, unique sea creatures.  If you visit the reserve at low tide (one foot or less), you’ll be able to see a multitude of sea-life. The reserve hosts a living community of seaweed, crabs, sea-stars, octopus, sponges, mollusks, fish, and even harbor seals. It’s Full of natural marine wildlife splashing in the Pacific Ocean which makes it an ideal spot for your little marine biologist. Watch the introductory video created by Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Boating and Fishing
Pillar Point Harbor is one of area’s most protected harbors. This location is ideal for sea kayaking as well as stand up paddle boarding (SUP) since the area is shielded from wind. There are kayak and SUP rentals available at the harbor to enjoy an afternoon paddle amongst the seals, birds and other marine life.

Pillar Point Harbor is also a prime location along the California coast for commercial and sport fishing. There are several sport fishing charters operating at Johnson Pier. If your family has no luck with active biters, you can purchase fresh fish from commercial fishermen that sell their catch of the day right off their boats! Food doesn’t get any fresher. Insider Tip: As with any other Northern California coast, Half Moon Bay can get foggy in the mornings and cold in the evenings so dress in layers.

Mavericks Cliffs Trail is a 1.5 mile (easy) hiking trek that places you in one of the most famous surfing locations in the world, where the annual Mavericks competition is held. You can supplement the excursion with a climb to a bluff with ocean views, and scramble down a hillside for a walk on the beach.  Inside Tip: The Mavericks Cliff Trail is dog friendly.

GPS Coordinates for the Trailhead: 37 30’06.5”N 122 29’47.9”W

Another fun activity to consider – boulder hopping! My kids and I had a lot of fun watching the seals and looking for other marine life while hopping along a 1.4 mile long jetty of big rocks. This is however a potentially dangerous activity since the rocks are large and sometimes big waves may come unexpectedly so please proceed with caution.

Outdoor enthusiast Holly Motaghi created Power Travelers to help families plan and execute their next outdoor adventures with ease -- including hiking, biking, camping and water activities. Power Travelers can also be found on Facebook.

Tags:  activities 

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Another Farm Day Success!

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thanks to everyone for coming out this past weekend! We had another fabulous adventure at PAMP's Fun Day at the Farm.

The day included visiting the petting zoo, seeing animals like goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks and even a mini pig. There were also pony rides, hayrides, train rides and a bouncy house. If you missed this one, don't worry -- we'll be hosting another Farm Day later in the year.

PAMP member Kim, attending her second Farm Day event, said, "We enjoyed it so much the first time when only my daughter could participate that we wanted to share it with my son (who is now old enough). They both loved it!"

Kim said she enjoyed seeing, "... the excitement and smiles on my kids' faces with every pony ride (2xs each), train ride (2xs), hay ride and bouncy house bounce (uncountable)! The authentic farm atmosphere and the fact that it kept us busy for two whole hours with my kids begging for more."

Stay tuned for some awesome PAMP events coming up this summer, including the Member Connection dinner & movie night as well as the Jump into Summer bounce house fun.



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Join us for our Spring Fun at the Farm Day!

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Updated: Friday, April 29, 2016

You won't want to miss this event! Back by popluar demand is Fun at the Farm Day!

Sunday, May 15th
Pastorino Farms, Half Moon Bay

PAMP Members are invited to enjoy a fun day at Pastorino Farm, hosted by Friendly Pony Parties. There will be Pony Rides, a Petting Zoo, Hayrides, a Bouncy House and Farm tours. We will provide snacks and drinks, and you can bring a picnic lunch if you wish.

Pastorino Farms in Half Moon Bay is 30 minutes from the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area. Come and enjoy all of the great activities and spend time with fellow PAMP members. The event starts at 10am, but you can show up any time and spend as much or as little time as you want. Children of all ages are welcome. 

Cost is only $10 per family! if you want to attend for free, contact us to volunteer, as we need a few people to help with hosting at the event.  

Please RSVP for your family, and indicate the number of adults and children so we can plan accordingly.

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Member Musings: Eclipsing

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Sunday night is our get-ready-for-the-week night, usually. But on this night, we had a chance to share something wonderful with the rest of the planet, and our neighbors. It strikes me that while we live in “neighborhoods” often the aspect of “community” can get lost. Not on purpose, but because life has a lot going on. And depending upon your actual neighbors you may or may not want to commune with them.

The lunar eclipse and the blood moon were rare opportunities for community tonight. Driving home from a family dinner we found our neighbor outside trying to see the blood moon and lunar eclipse. We too were going to show our girls – who love, love the moon – but a thin layer of clouds graced the sky. So we chatted a bit and went inside.

As we finished putting the oldest to bed my husband said, “I can hear Ana saying she can see it.” So we ran outside, only to find her husband excitedly walking up the path to our front door to let us know. We stood for a bit looking at the glowing sky, watching the eclipse and then quickly got our daughter up to see it.

As our neighbors’ sons and our daughter ran around in pajamas, another neighbor from down the street came walking by with his dog. All of us stood staring into the night sky, which was now clear, and facilitated animated discussion. Standing there chatting we found out that our next door neighbor and the man with the dog didn’t know each other, yet they’ve lived on this street just a few houses a way for a good many years.

Our days and nights go by so fast. It was a heartening experience tonight to enjoy a few moments, let go of the rules for bedtime, and just be with our neighbors watching such a rare occurrence. In our own way, we had our own eclipse — of community.

To see when the next lunar eclipses for 2016 are expected, check the schedule.

PAMP gladly accepts member blog submissions, including anecdotes, advice, confessions, recipes, outing suggestions and more! Want to join in the fun? Submit your own musings.

Kelsey Combellick is a career-loving parent who is passionate about travel, food, wine and her family. Email her at

Tags:  activities 

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Create Special Memories at PAMP’s Family Day

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Family Day is one of PAMP’s largest events of the year. And every year, PAMP adds new and exciting aspects to keep it fresh and appealing. This year, PAMP has invited new entertainers including Andy Z, a delightfully engaging musician that will get the entire crowd moving. Other things to do at the event include Family Zumba, a bouncy house, pony rides and a petting zoo. And don’t forget about the storytime and photo opportunities with the Snow Queen!

PAMP is also encouraging members to pay-it-forward by participating in the Diaper Drive benefiting HAMO. If you have extra diapers that you’d like to pass on (even open packs!), please bring them. But do not buy diapers just to donate them! Remember that monetary donations go a long way with HAMO. Either bring cash or check to Family Day or donate today.

“I have been to four Family Day events now and each year they get better and better!” exclaims Chanden Moya, PAMP member and former Board President. “What I enjoy the most about this event is that it is a great opportunity for us to get out with our families and be able to meet so many other families that have more than just the fact that they are parents in common with us… they are members of PAMP!”

Creating special memories at Family Day is what keeps members coming back. Chanden explains, “In 2013, my youngest son, at that time who was only one, was so excited to go to the bubble area that he tripped and fell straight into the bubble bin! I thought he was going to cry but he was just so excited that he just sat there with the big bubble wand and tried to make bubbles from what was still left in the bin.”

Chanden continued, “In 2014, my eldest son, who was 4 then, had such a hard time trying to decide if he should stay at the “Lego” table or at the “Sticker” table. He eventually chose the Sticker table because they had an empty chair in the shade for him.”

“Family Day is where my own family meets my PAMP family. We enjoy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones!,” says Maya Herstein, Co-President of PAMP. “The kids have a blast playing games and snacking on foods while I talk to other parents in our community. This year I will also be greeting our members at the board table. Please come and introduce yourself!”

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend Family Day and create your own lasting memories.

Tags:  activities  family 

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Camping — At Home?

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Camping in the Bay Area with a young family can be challenging. Campsites get booked out months or even a year in advance, buying gear quickly adds up, and if you don’t go regularly, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the logistics of carting your whole family into the outdoors.

Or you might be like us–we have campsites already reserved for our annual camping trip with friends this summer, but are bracing for cancellations. Like last year, the ongoing California drought has forced numerous campsite closures at local parks all around the Bay Area.

But whatever your situation, a great way to try out camping without the hassles is to camp at home! With a little creativity and some help from the kids, your backyard or even your living room could make a terrific spot to set up camp.

The Essentials:
Tents come at all price levels–the more expensive tents are generally more lightweight and made of better materials. But you can purchase a good, inexpensive tent for car camping at Target, Walmart or Costco (Coleman is a good brand). You can also rent camping gear by the day (everything from camping stoves to tents, sleeping bags and mats) from stores like REI and Redwood Trading Post.

If you plan on camping indoors, a simple tent made by stringing up a clothesline and a dark bedsheet works great!

Sleeping bags and mats are fairly inexpensive and easy to pick up at the store. But if you’re camping at home, some cozy comforters off your bed are even better. The most important thing about sleeping on the floor, indoors or outdoors, is cushioning. Even a carpeted living room gets uncomfortable and cold without some cushioning between you and the floor. You can use yoga mats, the kids’ gym mats or layer a few fleece blankets or beach towels (the thicker the better).

Make meals fun by taking your family out of your typical family routine. Eat outside, picnic style. Or turn off the lights, light up a lantern or candles and eat indoors. You can find recipes for great camping meals online. Try chili dogs, stews, mac ‘n cheese or creative dinners (which also makes a fun activity to put together). And for dessert, try skillet s’mores!

Don’t forget to plan some fun camping inspired activities. These can be as simple as checking out a stack of camping related books from the library to read with a flashlight or putting together an outdoor scavenger hunt. Take a moment to gaze at the stars and point out the constellations to your kids.

Just remember that the best part about camping is spending quality time with your kids and focus on doing something different from your day-to-day routine. Camping is a great excuse to put away the cell phones and tablets, turn off the TV and focus on each other.

There are more ideas online to help spark your imagination. Here are some resources to check out below:

More Ideas

Camping Books
Maisy Goes Camping: A Maisy First Experience Book by Lucy Cousins
Curious George Goes Camping by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey
S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books) by Helen Foster James and Lita Judge
The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham

Bonnie Tam is the mom of two little ones, constantly juggling that crucial balance between work and play. A passionate lover of the outdoors, she is always looking for creative ways to inspire the same in her children. She currently works part-time at a start-up while looking to reenter the energy industry.

Tags:  activities 

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Fitness with Kids this Father’s Day

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I feel fortunate to have a child who is very interested in fitness and athleticism. He always has been. We have many opportunities to train together, and we love to connect in this way. So this Father’s Day, we’re going to the gym to workout! Really, we are. 

When I’m working out by myself, I’m able to stay focused and be efficient. As a dad, I’ve got many other things to do, so efficiency is important. When I’m working out with my kid, however, we take extra time to talk through the nuances of stretching correctly, proper form and general fitness topics. So, the workouts become more of a time to connect. They take longer. They look different.

Here’s my advice to dads starting to workout with their kids, whether it’s in the gym, on the hiking trail, on a bike ride around the block or even at home:

Don’t push. Don’t struggle. Make it fun. Focus on fitness fundamentals as building blocks for a long-lasting fondness of exercise. Keep the workout intensity at the child’s level — not yours. Find out what they want to accomplish and help them to meet their goals. And keep checking in with them.

See their love of fitness — and hanging out with dad — explode into greatness.


Rubber Ducky Daddy

PAMP gladly accepts member blog submissions, including anecdotes, advice, confessions, recipes, outing suggestions and more! Want to join in the fun? Submit your own musings. 

Tags:  activities 

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Learning to Code at Age 5?

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Technology is changing our world, and today kids as young as five years of age are learning to program computers. Learning to code is not only helpful in promoting qualities that are important to nurture in kids — perseverance, creativity and confidence — but it is also helpful in gaining invaluable critical thinking and STEM skills that support learning across all academic areas.

Creativity, for example, is a skill that can be developed and learned at home and in school through the cultivation of an experimenter’s mindset, whole brain thinking and an innate desire to be a creator (and not just a consumer). Kids embrace imaginative play, ask questions, paint colorful pictures and build elaborate things with blocks, but somewhere along the way the capacity for creative thinking diminishes. It’s not due to the lack of a “creative gene”, but rather that we haven’t reinforced creativity — and as researcher George Land concludes from his longitudinal study on creativity and divergent thinking, we have unlearned it.

Programming Teaches Kids to Experiment and Persevere
Creative thinking begins with a questioning mindset. It can be taught by encouraging kids to experiment, explore their ideas, question their assumptions, make mistakes and learn from them. Thomas Edison was a master of this type of thinking. He tested thousands of materials and processes before creating the first working light bulb. “I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb,” he famously said. With programming, kids are exposed to this process of experimentation. They start by learning a handful of commands to do simple tasks, and with each successful result, they slowly gain the confidence try new and more ambitious things, things that force them to question each decision and ask “What if I tried X?” Testing their assumptions in a live environment frequently results in errors and bugs, giving kids the opportunity to find a workable solution. With practice, kids gain a proficiency in their technical and hypothesizing skills, allowing them to move onto solving increasingly complex problems, and, eventually, to building programs completely on their own.

Programming Strengthens Whole Brain Thinking
Each side of the brain is said to control different parts of thinking and information processing. The left hemisphere is typically associated with logical, technical, and analytical thinking, whereas the right hemisphere is associated with imagination, artistic, intuitive thinking. We tend to think of creativity as a right-brain function, but the most creative thinkers and problem solvers can effectively engage both hemispheres. This idea of marrying “art with science” is what Steve Jobs built Apple on, and it’s this kind of “whole brain” thinking that teachers have been embracing in the classroom by promoting active, project based learning, using everything from 3D printers to sewing machines to encourage kids to create, design and build things.

Programming Gives Kids the Confidence to Create
Like learning a sport or a musical instrument, the cultivation of creativity requires hard work and practice. For kids, if the work is confusing, monotonous or the end goal unappealing, the desire to practice weakens. Kids must be motivated. They need to be in an environment that builds confidence and instills in them a genuine desire to create. Kids pick up on technology with shocking ease, so giving them a basic knowledge of programming on a coding platform that is fun and easy to use is one of the best ways they can spend time in practice and actually enjoy the process. Learning programming on the right platform, one that is structured, engaging and well paced, puts kids on the path to fluency in the language and logic of programming, and ultimately gives them a springboard to create – to not just play the games that they love, but to create the games they love to play. What an amazing gift.

Learning to code is very much like learning a new language – it gives kids a fluency not just in technology, but also in the language of creativity. Maria Klawe, mathematician, computer scientist and president of Harvey Mudd College believes that “coding is today’s language of creativity. All our children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science.” It doesn’t mean they’ll all grow up to be computer programmers. Programming is part of the development of a valuable technical and creative skill set that will grow with them into adulthood, enabling them to thrive in our ever growing digital world. It’s creativity that lays the foundation for innovation, ingenuity and leadership because it represents the ability to connect existing ideas with new solutions, approaches and concepts. And we owe it to our curious and imaginative kids to give them the tools to be the creative thinkers and problem solvers of the next generation.

Jennifer Apy is an involved parent, a public education supporter and champion for innovative educational products for children. She is currently VP of Marketing for Tynker.

Tags:  activities  technology 

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Does Physical Exercise Make Kids Smarter?

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The stereotypical smart kid prefers reading to playing sports. The stereotypical below average kid prefers sports to learning in the classroom. The fact is these perceptions are flawed.

Focus on academic achievement and lower budget levels has led many schools in the U.S. to diminish— or for 47% of high schools, eliminate — P.E. altogether. Yet neuroscience tells us that daily physical activity opens minds to learn more. In a study conducted with 3 million children in Texas and California, a strong correlation was found between higher fitness scores and higher academic scores.

Dr. Gage’s work of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown that exercise helps generate new brain cells: “Through increased blood flow to the brain, physical exercise triggers biochemical changes that spur neuroplasticity – the production of new connections between neurons and even of neurons themselves. Brain exercise then protects these fledgling neurons by bathing them in a nerve growth factor and forming functional connections with neighboring neurons.” (Fernandez & Goldberg, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp)

Here are 3 ways to keep children physically active. Training our children today will largely influence their future lifestyles.

1) Start daily physical exercises at an early age and build this as a habit for future years. We often remind our children to brush their teeth twice a day. Add one more reminder: “Did you do your aerobic exercises today?” You will find numerous choices of exercise videos on YouTube. It’s like watching TV (not sitting down like coach potatoes), but with physical actions.

2) Playdates should include physical play. I remember when I was a kid, my mom punished restless me by making me stay in my room. Today, with all the digital toys, it’s the opposite. Playing outside is a punishment! Tell kids that play dates start with running and jumping around the yard or inside the house. If they want to play video games, start with aerobics apps or Wii workouts. iPad apps and video games keep children inside rooms during play dates.

3) Remind kids how physical activity keeps one healthier and smarter. If you have access to pedometers, have each member of the family wear one. Make it a family goal to physically move throughout the day and monitor progress. You can create rewards such as whoever has the highest score will determine the minimum goal for the next day. You can also create a family monitoring system by having a graph on the wall or having each member remind the others about their physical activity goals.

Reprinted with permission from Young Outliers.

Gigi Carunungan is the co-Founder and Chief Learning Architect of Young Outliers, a design entrepreneur summer camp for children in Palo Alto.

Tags:  activities 

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