Pink Sand 

Do-it-yourself castles

SUN 3/9

If you take your kids to the beach to build sand castles, two things are nearly inevitable. Number one: Somebody is gonna get sand in their shoes. Number two: Somebody will want to take their castle home. Fortunately, the folks at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center (4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward, 510-670-7270) have come up with an ingenious solution to both dilemmas. Founded in 1986, the center combines estuary ecology education with fun activities like nature hikes, arts and crafts, and science programs, making it a frequent destination for field-tripping elementary school kids.This Sunday, March 9 (2 p.m.), with the help of some nifty molds and a little glue, your kids can build sand castles that will outlast any tide. Okay. Technically, since this craft project is indoors, there won't be any tide. There will, however, be colored sand, something you won't find at Alameda beach. $5, ages six and up. Phone for reservations; they're required. --Joy White

SUN 3/9

Kiddie Lit

B&N gets very Newbery

The latte sales may suffer, but otherwise the Newbery Book Club is no different from any other book group that meets at Emeryville's Barnes and Noble (5604 Bay St.). The group, focusing on winners of the prestigious Newbery Medal from the last thirty years, currently comprises ten members, 8 to 12 years old, and is looking for a few more.This week's selection is Louis Sachar's Holes, set at Camp Green Lake, a boys' detention facility in deepest, un-greenest Texas. "If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy" is the reigning ethos, but protagonist Stanley Yelnats, the latest sad apple to fall from a hard-luck family tree, is there by mistake, and the warden in charge may be using the boys to look for something far more sinister than the rattlesnake venom she uses as fingernail polish. The group meets at 2 p.m. Call 510-547-0932 to sign up.--Stefanie Kalem

SAT 3/8

Blarney Corner

The Irish have the gift of gab, they say. You and your kids can test that proposition this weekend when storyteller David Ponkey drops into Children's Fairyland for a pre-St. Patrick's bit of craic (loquaciousness). Ponkey employs voice and movement to tell Irish tales, including the legend of St. Patrick himself. Find out what the old guy had against snakes. Ponkey, who claims a repertoire of more than three hundred fables, epics, and yarns, is the storyteller-in-residence of Mill Valley. He performs at 1 and 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Children's Fairyland, where the $6 admission price entitles a visitor to a puppet show, arts and crafts, and the fabulous Fairyland ambience. 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, 510-452-2259 or www.fairyland.org -- Kelly Vance

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