BANANews: Week in Review & Fun Things to Do!

Welcome! It’s always fun when Friday rolls around because that means we can reflect on the past week and look forward to the weekend. There is a lot happening in the child care field and in our community, so read on.


This was an exciting and eventful week as we joined with other Californians to hear how negotiations from the joint budget committee would play out and how much funding would go to early learning and child care. On Thursday we learned that the Senate and Assembly had agreed on a budget of $392 million for early childhood education, and on Friday advocates for children and families began to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign the proposal, which is expected to be made official on Monday, June 15th. Every investment in kids is a good one and next year we hope to get the full $600 million. Be sure to stay connected with us on Twitter for all the updates! Our June Newsletter also came out this week offering lots of free community events, gift ideas for Father’s Day, and crafts to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month.


On Tuesday, June 16th, volunteers from the Alameda County Bar Association will be at BANANAS to offer free legal services to families with domestic concerns at our Free Family Law Clinic. Then on Thursday, June 18th, we’re hosting a Teen CPR & First Aid Training where kids ages 13 to 17 will learn life-saving techniques from a certified instructor and receive a certificate of completion. RSVP today for this wonderful workshop! Looking ahead there are still a FEW SPOTS LEFT for our CPR & First Aid Training on Sunday, June 28th. Sign up today!


Ready for a bunch of free family fun? We’ve got it! First off is a music-filled Community Pop Up in Berkeley on Saturday, June 13th, where you can enjoy food, walking and biking tours, and also learn about new changes coming to the Adeline Corridor neighborhood.  On Friday, June 19th, take the kids to a Summer Reading Celebration for a superhero photo booth, a barbecue, a book giveaway, and games. And, you’ll have a chance to extend your Father’s Day celebrations with a Daddy & Me Event on Friday, June 26th, at Children’s Fairyland. On Saturday, June 27th, don’t miss a free screening of the documentary series Raising of America, which explores the impact of early learning and child care on children and families.

As always, stay up to date with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn!

BANANews: Week in Review and Fun Things to Do

Welcome to Friday! If you’re looking for free events and resources, you’ve come to the right place!


After observing Memorial Day on Monday, we started Tuesday on a high note and published the Summer Edition of What’s Happening for Parents. This special issue of our newsletter includes information about our upcoming workshops and also invites readers to check out the bright and exciting world of BANANAS on Pinterest. We highlighted three of our favorite boards:  Activities for Baby, Parenting Like a Pro, and Playing Is Learning. For fun development ideas, handouts on parenting, and creative crafts that inspire learning, be sure to give them a look.


There are still a few spots left for our popular Positive Parenting series beginning on Monday, June 1st.  RSVP today to learn practical tips for raising compassionate, resilient children. If you’re a new parent and you’re heading back to work or could just use some support in finding the best child care fit, sign up for Choosing Infant Care on June 11th.


Saturday, May 30th, marks the second Love Our Neighborhood Day, a free festival on San Pablo Avenue between Oakland and Berkeley. Prepare for an afternoon of family fun! On Sunday, May 31st, check out the Oakland Book Festival, which will include participation from Too Small to Fail (an amazing resource for families with babies!), Children’s Fairyland, and the Museum of Children’s Arts. Then head over to the Bay Area Book Festival, a weekend event in Downtown Berkeley on Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th, where children’s authors— including Judy Blume!—will be in attendance. Don’t miss these FREE literary events that will excite children’s desire to #TalkReadSingPlay!

Have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you on Monday! Don’t forget to stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

BANANA Bites: Staying Connected with Grandparents

Welcome to another edition of BANANA Bites! Today we’re focusing on ways to stay connected to grandparents and other family members who may live too far away for frequent visits. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to ensure that your little one is in touch with everyone in the family no matter where they live!

Dear BANANA Bites,

We recently moved to Oakland from the East Coast and our three-year-old daughter really misses seeing her grandma and grandpa. Do you have any tips for ways to help her stay connected to them even with all these miles in between?

-Mom Feeling Disconnected

Dear MFD,

We definitely understand how tough it is to be away from loved ones. In order to help kids maintain relationships with family members who are located on different parts of the map, we came up with some simple, fun ideas to stay connected. Here are our top five favorites:

1. Create an original story with your child and then send it to family members asking them to write the next chapter. This is a creative way to exchange ideas, encourage imagination, and inspire continued correspondence.

2. Have your child make a collage of what grandparents or other loved ones mean to them using magazines, cards, stickers, and other materials.

3. Plant a tree or flowering shrub in honor of a grandparent and take photos to show how tall it has grown. If possible, send along a cutting from your tree or shrub so grandparents can grow a “twin” where they live.

4. Ask grandparents to record themselves reading your child’s favorite story and play it while you turn the pages. Any opportunity to encourage kids to #TalkReadSingPlay is a great one!

5. Keep family traditions alive by asking grandparents for a treasured recipe. Make this special dish with your little one’s help while talking about your memories of eating it as a child.

For more ideas on how to stay close and connected, check out our handout on Bridging the Miles and the Years.


If you have a question on parenting, early education, or child care, send an email to