Just because we’ve fallen backward doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of hours left to spend exploring the hills and valleys, streets and festivals that surround us in the Bay Area. And there’s a bevy of nighttime activities too! Light your dark nights up the traditional German way, or let the Emerald City be the beacon. Get a jumpstart on holiday crafts or shopping, teach the kids the spirit of giving at a family-centric charity event,  or volunteer to battle the broom of Horse Hill. Plus the birds and the bees, pigs and digs–it’s an eclectic, event-centric weekend so get out there and ride!

Lantern_Festival_Copyright-Margaret-Stranks

San Francisco

Bling Your Terrarium
Kids can create their own little living garden with pizzazz! Take a few basic materials, and a hint of bling, and voila! You’ve got a one-of-a-kind terrarium–makes a great gift for grandma or display it proudly on the coffee table. Taught by lifestyle blogger and DIY expert, Jeanne Chan. All materials provided, plus snacks and drinks. Sat., 1-3 p.m. San Francisco. Free. 3 and up. Event details.

Gobble & Give
Come celebrate the season of giving with the kiddos at Gobble & Give’s fundraising celebration. A festive, open-house event featuring face-painting, car-races, carnival games, crafts, kid-centric treats like hot dogs and cotton candy, plus drinks and bites for mom and dad. The event raises money for the Raphael House, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity. Families can participate in sponsoring Raphael House residents in big and small ways, from helping with food costs to assisting a family with moving expenses. Sat., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. San Francisco. $100 – $275. All Ages. Event details.

Slothy Sunday with J. Otto Seibold
Join beloved local author J. Otto Seibold (Olive the Other Reindeer) for a reading of his book Lost Sloth at the Exploratorium! The first in a new series, McSweeny’s McMullens at the Museum, this awesome event includes a reading of the book and book signing, plus sloth biology with Exploratorium staff. This event is included in the admission price, so after the reading you can explore the Exploratorium.  A must-do for a lazy (slothy) Sunday. Sun., 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. San Francisco, Free with admission, see website. 0-13. Event details.

East Bay

Body Music Festival
Snapping, clapping, stepping, stomping: come hear music made entirely on the body. This week-long festival’s family matinée features international performers that will knock your socks off, plus a workshop of children’s hand games. Your little ones will leave tapping their toes and drumming their own bellies to the beat! Sun., 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Berkeley. $10.50-$12.50. All Ages. Event details.

Jack-of-All-Trades Market
Local makers make their mark alongside indie designers, antique vendors, collectors, artists, beercrafters, food,  and more–it’s the Treasure Island Flea Market meets Jack London Square. Make it a grand-excursion and take the ferry to the market, and enjoy the many DIY workshops for all ages. Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, and enjoy the festive and creative atmosphere with the kiddos and the doggies too. This is the kick-off for second Saturdays! Sat., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oakland. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Lanternenfest
Light up the darkening hours with this traditional celebration of St. Martin’s Day, Kinderstube’s annual Lanternenfest. Enjoy adorable kids performing on stage, sing songs, and join the Lantern Parade. Bring your own lantern, or buy one at the fest! Plus delicious German fare–sausages, Weckmaenner (a German sweet bread), soft pretzels, hot chocolate, Gluehwein, German beer, and more! And don’t miss the raffle for one of many uber-cool gift baskets! Sat., 4:30-7:30 p.m. Albany. $3 suggested donation. All Ages. Event details.

Southbay/Peninsula

Henry and Mudge
Based on the best-selling and beloved series of children’s books by Cynthia Rylant, Henry and Mudge make a dynamic-duo. Join Henry, a precocious boy, and his 182-pound canine buddy Mudge for a romp across the stage and an adventure full of twists, turns, and lots of laughs! Bonus: You can expose your little tikes to the theatre in an atmosphere fit for a king: this sprawling complex of the Montalvo Arts Center is a great spot to explore the afternoon away. Sat., 11 a.m., Saratoga. $8-$20. 4-8. Event details.

Archeology Day
Kids love to dig in the dirt and here is a chance to show them what lies beneath! The  Stanford Archaeology Center hosts a kid-centric history day with a mock excavation, screening, artifact identification and artifact reconstruction. Junior archeologists will also get a change to learn about the hidden history of San Jose’s early Chinatown and the legacy of early Chinese pioneers. Kids will get to collect stickers for each activity to put in their Archeology Passports and become “certified” as an official Junior Archeologist. Sat. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. San Jose. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Marin County

Honeybee Family Farm Day
Learn more about honeybees and native pollinators. There will be an observation hive on display, learn some basics about backyard beekeeping. Kid-friendly crafts promise to be extra sweet! Sat., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Muir Beach. $30/person; $95 families of four or more; Kids two and under free. All Ages. Event details.

Wizard of Oz at Throckmorton Theatre
Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they follow the yellow brick road through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their heart’s desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for all the family. Fri., Sat., & Sun., Times vary. Mill Valley. $14-$35. All ages. Event details.

Broom Buster’s Pizza Party on Horse Hill
Marin Parks and the Alto Bowl Horseowners Associate want you for their army: the army to push back the invasive French and Scotch broom at the western part of the Alto Bowl Open Space preserve. Join other volunteers (ages 5 and up) plus parks staff to pull broom and sow native grass seed. Learn about and meet the horses living on the preserve, enjoy some pizza, and enter to win prizes in the raffle. Sat., 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. 5 and up. Event details.

Tell us what you’re up to this weekend in the comments section below!

–Amber Guetebier

Photo credit: Margaret Stranks via flickr