If kids ran the world ... we'd have video games on every channel. But the Kids Can Free the Children Conference at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek is for real. The Saturday conference for students age 12-18 is a hotbed of issues in need of answers -- workshops include World Hunger, Child Labor, Poverty in the US, the Effects of War on Children, and a leadership training seminar for young people led by Mikey Opatowski from the Toronto HQ of the Kids Can Free the Children nonprofit. In recent years, Walnut Creek reached out to Kosovo and Nicaragua. Info: FreetheChildren.org -- Kelly Vance
It's not too early to find them something to do.
Ah, summer. Warm weather. Ice-cream trucks. Idle children. As most parents know, the critical question is not whether their kids will find something to do from June to September, but what it is they'll be doing. The 22nd annual Children's Summer Programs Information Fair, Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center (1547 Lakeside Dr., Oakland), is where forward-thinking parents can get a jump-start on planning their children's summer. Sponsored by the Oakland/Piedmont branch of the American Association of University Women -- a nationwide organization advocating educational opportunity and equality -- the free fair presents a roundup of more than one hundred summer programs, from daylong field trips to full-fledged bring-a-flashlight-and-mosquito-repellent camps. Whether your kids are into sports, music, drama, or computers, the informational event provides the scoop on a host of fun programs for all ages. Don't forget your child or your checkbook; the event is kid-friendly, and many programs will allow you to sign them up on the spot. Info: 510-287-9855. -- Joy White
Leave it to Children's Fairyland to transform St. Patrick's Day from its current status as a holiday for tavern louts into a gentle, magical time for the wee ones to become enthralled by leprechauns and fairy princesses. That's the agenda for this weekend's St. Pat's celebration at the famed Oakland kids' attraction on the banks of Lake Merritt, featuring the harping and guitar playing of Jacqueline Lynaugh, aka Lady Emerald, who will sing and spin folk tales from the Celtic lands at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Also, the puppet show An Irish Tale continues at 11 a.m., 2, and 4 p.m. To learn more, visit Fairyland.org -- Kelly Vance