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February 2021


S U R PR I S E !



Matters of the



s e in z a g a m f o y l i Our fam


San Diego Family Magazine

San Diego Family

San Diego Family Magazine


How to embrace opportunity, despite the frustration


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14 There’s a Silver Lining in Challenging Times


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Volume 39 • Number 11 • February 2021



38 ce 1 9 82

in every issue 10 Staff Page 12 Short & Sweet News | Notes | Tips

26 February Calendar

Photo courtesy of SeaWorld

Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience and more!

16 Smart Snacking for Heart Health Kid-friendly foods for American Heart Month 18 Benefits of Choosing a Private School Seven things to help parents decide 20 Creative Arts and Sports Why they are so important right now 22 14 Sweet Ideas for Valentine’s Day Ways to make it fun and memorable 24 Hearts & Crafts Projects your family will love

On the Cover: Happy Valentine’s Day

30 15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Fabulous ideas for all families

from 10-year-old Skylar of Carlsbad!


Cover photo: All Colors Photography

2021 Spring Education Guid e Visit SanDiegoFamily.co m

Winner 4 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

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Valentine’s Day Word Search

Let’s Do This Together! Keep 6 Ft Distance

Wear A Mask

Wash your Hands Love February Cupid Arrow

Cards Kiss Valentine Candy

Cover your cough & sneeze

Clean and Disinfect

Hugs Chocolate Flowers Gift

Children’s Primary Dental wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Ask about our free hand sanitizer at your next appointment!




on the web Get to know SanDiegoFamily.com, where you’ll discover a plethora of awesomeness for parents.

To enter these contests, visit SanDiegoFamily.com, go to “Contests”, then “This Month’s Contests.”

Celebrate the month of hearts by winning a SWEET prize! Enter for your chance to win. Contests end February 26.

Things to Do: Seasonal Happenings • Feeling Down? Turn “the Blues” into Family Fun • Finding Snow in San Diego

Lift Chocolate Bars For the Kids: Crafts for Kids

Photo courtesy of Emily Dolton

• Make and Send a Hug to Loved Ones

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California Early Start is a state and federally funded program that provides free assessments to infants and toddlers and, if needed, important therapeutic services (free to eligible families) early enough to make a huge impact in a child’s development. Services provided include early intervention instruction; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; medical diagnosis/evaluation. Even with pandemic restrictions, the San Diego Regional Center is open and working to ensure your child has the right services to meet their needs.

Call the San Diego Regional Center at 858-496-4318 or the Exceptional Family Resource Center (EFRC) at 619-594-7416.

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From baby bump to toddler time, find ideas, answers and tips from local moms who care about you.

SanDiegoFamily.com/ parenting/baby

New digital issue!

February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Discover the World of Montessori

“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World” According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children learn best in an environment that demonstrates love, trust, understanding, patience and consistency. Students excel academically while experiencing cooperation, respect, self-confidence and the joy of learning. Contact these local Montessori schools for more information.

North County Coastal

East County

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San Diego Central MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle AMS Affiliated

4544 Pocahontas Ave., San Diego 92117 Serving all of San Diego County from our central location

San Diego Coastal

Publisher/Editor in Chief Sharon Bay sharon@SanDiegoFamily.com Managing Editor Lisa Gipson editor@SanDiegoFamily.com Calendar Editor Linda Bay events@SanDiegoFamily.com Editorial/Administrative Assistant Adrienne Sigeti family@SanDiegoFamily.com

Design Art Design/Web Design Rik Thiesfeld rik@SanDiegoFamily.com Cover photo: All Colors Photography

Editorial Guidelines Find editorial guidelines at SanDiegoFamily.com (“Editorial” at the bottom of the home page). Submission does not guarantee publication. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Pick up a free copy of this month’s issue at Albertsons, select Vons and CVS stores throughout the county.



BETH MONTESSORI Infants/Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten



Lic. # 376700496

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MISSION BAY MONTESSORI ACADEMY Preschool/Elementary Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School

2640 Soderblom Ave., San Diego 92122 La Jolla, Pacific Beach, University City

858-457-5895 www.mbmacademy.com

858-270-9350 www.MontessoriSchoolHouse.org

“Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” - Maria Montessori

8 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021


Distribution Locations

760-942-1111 www.ecdschools.org

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Giovanni Baldan 619-685-6987 • giovanni@SanDiegoFamily.com South Bay, San Diego Downtown, Uptown San Diego Family 619-685-6970 • family@SanDiegoFamily.com North County Inland (includes Scripps Ranch) East County, Clairemont, Linda Vista, Mission Valley North and Mira Mesa San Diego Family Magazine is published monthly by San Diego Family Magazine LLC. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily the opinions of this publication.

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Publisher’s Letter

Love: Family, Schools and Creative Arts & Sports

Love is in the air! February promotes love through Valentine’s Day and it should be continued all year long. San Diego Family delivers 14 ways to celebrate on page 22. I have seen Christmas trees decorated with hearts and red and white decorations, all expressing love. Add Valentine’s Day cards and heart-shaped snowflakes! For yummy snacks, make the Oreo truffles on our website (url is under #14 in the article) or try treats on page 24. Serve them with fruits and veggies to make snack time healthier. Many private schools are now open. On page 18 check out the benefits of private schools. Now is the time to look for school open houses and registration deadlines. See more about our school advertisers at www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/ education-directory. Sports, creative arts and music all provide great benefits for kids. Improved mental health is a big advantage that can come from the socializing, creativity and physical activity in extracurricular activities. Learn more on page 20. There is a silver lining to the shutdown. Yes, we have all slowed down and enjoyed more family time, but there’s also an opportunity to focus on a child’s emotional skills. Read about it on page 14, then continue these habits after we open up again.  Hug your kids today, tomorrow and every day! And thanks for loving San Diego Family Media. sharon@sandiegofamily.com Main Office: 1475 Sixth Avenue, Fifth Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: 619-685-6970 Fax: 619-685-6978 Email: family@SanDiegoFamily.com Mission Statement To enhance the quality of life for San Diego County families by providing information and resources that support the importance and pleasure of parenting.

10 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Our San Diego


In your family, is Valentine’s Day a celebration for parents, kids or the whole family? How do you plan to celebrate (if at all )?

Emily Dolton resource specialist Our kids consider Valentine’s Day a celebration of friendship. The focus on including everyone, the fun in making simple crafts, and the excitement of little people receiving 30 tokens of affection make it a joyous day.

Alyssa Navapanich art project contributor Our family plans and makes a special meal together with a fancy dessert. We decorate the table with red, white and pink; we light candles, have sparkling cider and make homemade valentines for each other.

Cherie Gough freelance writer We like to take a picnic to the beach and watch the sunset as a family on Valentine’s Day.

Jewish Montessori Preschool in La Jolla

Plan now for the 2021-2022 School Year! MISSION BAY MONTESSORI ACADEMY Serving Students Two Years Old – Sixth Grade 2640 Soderblom Avenue, San Diego, CA 92122

info@mbmacademy.com • www.mbmacademy.com Follow us on Facebook! See our Instagram photos and videos.

Email us to set up a virtual tour and informational session and experience our individualized and rigorous method of creating life-long learners. Check our website for our outstanding test scores!

Feeling clueless about choosing a new school for your child? Explore San Diego Family’s Spring Education Guide and uncover tons of education options in San Diego County www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/education-directory/education-directory

• Children ages 9 months to 6 years • Proven Montessori Method and Philosophy • Learning through hands-on experience • Integrated secular and Judaic curriculum • Bilingual Program • Skilled teachers, trained in early childhood development • Secured, state-of-the-art facilities

Classes are filling up quickly! For more information, contact us at

(858) 452-3030

or info@bethmontessori.com Beth Montessori adheres to the principles of Association Montessori International (AMI)

8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Fax (858) 777-9199


February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Short & Sweet

Lisa Gipson Classroom Scholarships Available at Birch! Scholarships are available for school and youth groups to attend Birch Aquarium’s Virtual Education Programs. The aquarium’s goal is to serve as many schools as possible, while providing a unique and stellar learning experience for all students. Pre-K through 12th grade students explore the ocean world virtually with the aquarium’s engaging ocean experts. Classes are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and help fill the science gaps in virtual learning. Learn more and apply at www.aquarium.ucsd.edu/teachers/onlinelearning/virtual-youth-and-school-group-programs.

Congratulations, Alyssa! Our very own “Art with Alyssa” contributor (Alyssa Navapanich) was recently named California Outstanding Elementary Visual Art Educator of the Year by the California Art Education Association (CAEA). Woo hoo! Learn more about the award at www.caeaarteducation.org/professional-awards. Alyssa is a specialized AMP (Art, Music, PE) teacher, who currently teaches in Lemon Grove. We are thrilled she has earned this much-deserved statewide recognition and feel very lucky to have her as an art contributor. Find over 20 of Alyssa’s art projects at www.sandiegofamily.com (put “Art with Alyssa” in the search bar).

“Show Us the Love!” Contest We love our readers and social media followers! Want to share the love back? Vote for your favorite 2020 San Diego Family Magazine cover for a chance to win an awesome prize! Check Instagram @ sandiegofamilymagazine for contest rules and to vote. Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Contest deadline: March 1.

12 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

New Book Helps Kids Learn to Regulate Emotions In Most Exceptional ME, by Tiffany Malas and Lauren Maerz, Sam learns to navigate the challenges of kindergarten with the help of a supportive teacher. The story highlights the importance of emotional wellbeing for a child to succeed academically and socially, and demonstrates how encouragement and self-regulation make a world of difference. Both speech-language pathologists specializing in pediatrics, Malas works in Orange County and Maerz works for the San Diego Unified School District. Their students were a major inspiration when writing this story, which includes daily strategies used in the classroom. The book also has free online resources for parents, teachers and speechlanguage pathologists.

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! e s i r p Su r

There’s a Silver Lining in Challenging Times One of the biggest concerns expressed by parents in

these challenging times is how to help kids cope with the disappointment and frustration of life turned upside down. “My son has so many questions and emotions that I don’t always know how to handle,” says Encinitas mom Katie Andrews. “He’s only 8 years old—I just wish he didn’t have to worry about any of it.” It’s natural to want to shield children from harsh realities, and it’s a parent’s job to make sure kids feel safe and secure while navigating the difficulties of COVID. But with every crisis comes an opportunity, according to John Gottman, Ph.D. and author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

“Negative experiences,” says Gottman, “can serve as superb opportunities to empathize, to build intimacy with our children, and to teach them ways to handle their feelings.” Without diminishing the severe strain of the pandemic, it’s reassuring to know that there can be a silver lining while we wait out current restrictions. Here’s how to use this time to help children grow important emotional skills that will serve them well in life (resilience, empathy, patience and compassion). Focus on connecting. Disrupted routines, loneliness and boredom make solid family relationships more vital than ever to help kids feel safe, secure and loved. Make connecting a priority by focusing on communication and quality time. Try starting each day with a quick family check-in. Ask each person what they’re looking forward to that day. Short breaks throughout the day (playing, reading, going outside for fresh air) can boost a child’s sense of safety and security. Consider having a weekly family meeting in which each child shares a goal or accomplishment and their greatest challenge of the week. Brainstorm how family members can support one another, then wrap up with something fun like a poem, song or story. Practice naming feelings. Helping kids name and understand their feelings provides the ability to self-

14 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Jody Lee Cates

soothe and handle negative emotions productively. According to Gottman, labeling big feelings like anger, sadness and fear helps kids understand that everyone experiences these emotions and can handle them. For help with naming emotions, read picture books (see pull-out) and try using an emotions wheel or feelings thermometer (found easily online). Books that help kids understand emotions: The Way I Feel by Janan Cain The Feelings Book by Todd Parr In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

Take advantage of real-time opportunities to practice with kids. Resilience. Many parents want kids to gain resilience, but don’t realize that their own overprotective ways have the opposite effect. It’s impossible to shield kids from challenging disruptions such as school closings and social distancing, making this the perfect time for kids to learn resilience. Experiencing turmoil personally and learning to navigate new ways of doing things is precisely the way kids practice perseverance and creative problemsolving. Hearing how neighbors, local communities, and people worldwide respond by taking precautions, making scientific discoveries, and turning to faith traditions for comfort gives kids the confidence to believe that challenges in life can be overcome. Empathy. Growing empathy in children starts when they experience and see it modeled by parents. Always take time to validate feelings of confusion or frustration. Share your feelings of care and concern for them (and others). Include kids in acts of kindness and support for neighbors, the elderly and other people in need. Talk about what it must feel like to walk in the shoes of first responders and point out other helpers who keep life running safely for all of us: grocery store workers, mail and package delivery people, pharmacists and garbage collectors. Write cards or letters of thanks and encouragement to these unsung heroes and remind kids that wearing masks

and social distancing are small ways we can do our part to care for those who are caring for us. Compassion. When coping with difficult circumstances, thinking of others helps take the focus off ourselves and grow compassion for those who are struggling. Talk with kids about grandparents and older neighbors and why we need to take extra care of them. Answer questions about why COVID hits some communities harder than others. Help kids understand that even if we can’t see sick people, we can still let them know we’re thinking of them. Express compassion together as a family by making small gifts and participating in acts of service. For ideas about where and how families can volunteer, check out the list of opportunities published by Doing Good Together, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower families to raise children who care and contribute: www.doinggoodtogether. org/family-volunteering-san-diego. Patience. Life is one long exercise in waiting, and nothing has felt longer than waiting out this pandemic and quarantine. The best way to grow patience is through practice. Again, parents may wish to shield kids from the pain of waiting, or themselves from the pain of listening to complaints. But patience is a virtue all of us are exercising daily, and children are experiencing firsthand the value of waiting with hope for a brighter tomorrow. Take advantage of this unique time to focus on positive outcomes for your family. By uncovering opportunities to learn and grow that are hidden in hardship, families build emotional skills that will serve them for years to come. v Jody Lee Cates is a local mom and award-winning writer who blogs about healthy relationships at www.jodyleecates.com.

February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Cherie Gough


Snacking for


Health Look for Snacks that Contain: • Whole grains and fiber • Fruits and vegetables • Nutrient-rich protein • No refined sugar

If your family is like mine, you may

have “eaten your feelings” last year — snacked your way through 2020 while stuck at home, indulging in comfort foods and favorite treats to maintain the emotional roller coaster.

February is American Heart Month, a great time to mindfully develop (or re-establish) better eating habits and take charge of heart health. To take the guesswork out of identifying snacks that offer the most benefits, we’ve compiled expert snacking tips and a list of healthy, kidfriendly foods.

Why be concerned with kids’ heart health? “Obesity starts very young,” says Children’s Physicians Medical Group Pediatrician Dr. Ahmad Bailony, “and the pediatric obesity rate shot up during the pandemic.” If bad eating habits continue, they have long-lasting consequences on children’s health. Bailony reports

16 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

an increase in the number of teens developing metabolic syndrome, which causes high blood pressure and liver damage. Make healthy living a priority for the whole family so children will follow your lead to adopt a similar lifestyle.

Ants on a log (peanut or almond butter and raisins on celery)

Create Healthy Habits

Popcorn (air-popped; not microwave popcorn)

Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Dr. Bailony suggests that parents and caregivers choose snacks for kids that add value to their diets, just like they do at mealtime. Good options provide a balance of nutrient-rich protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nonrefined sugar. “Limit baked goods to special occasions,” he says.

15 Kid-Approved HeartHealthy Snacks Plant-Based Apple slices Carrot sticks Roasted chickpeas Veggies with hummus

Whole Grains Peanut or almond butter on whole-grain toast Whole grain crackers with guacamole

Healthy Proteins Cheese and whole grain crackers Fruit and veggie smoothie Greek yogurt Nuts and seeds Sweeter Snacks Baked apple with cinnamon Unsweetened dried fruits (raisins, apricots, etc.) Frozen banana Fresh fruit salad

What about prepackaged or low-fat snacks? When my daughter and I discussed this article topic, she said, “Duh, Mom.

Tell them to eat a banana.” She’s right. Sometimes healthy eating is as simple as it sounds, but package labels can be tricky and misleading. When reaching for a pre-packaged snack, how do parents determine if it’s healthy? “Look for how much fiber the snack contains,” says Dr. Bailony. “A good whole grain snack has a few grams of fiber and limited carbs.” Many snacks now have added vegetables, too. Try some made with peas, kale and chickpeas. Fat is less of a concern with kids, unless managing obesity. Foods such as Greek yogurt and avocados offer healthy fats and protein that are important for growing brains.

Serial Snackers Parents know their kids best. Feed them when they are truly hungry (not bored). “A good rule of thumb is to snack after a productive activity like chores or a bike ride,” says Dr. Bailony. Avoid passive snacking coupled with excessive screen time, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Picky Eaters Don’t give up on picky eaters — keep introducing new healthy foods. “It’s normal for kids ages 1–6 to be picky eaters,” says Dr. Bailony. “It can take as many as 50 tries for a kid to develop a taste for a new food. It’s better to struggle at this age than to give in.”

Make a Plan As with meal planning, involve kids when choosing snacks. A plan and a list help avoid grabbing junk food with empty calories to fill cravings. If you don’t buy junk food, it won’t be in the house to tempt your family.

The Bottom Line “The best snacks have two qualities,” says Dr. Bailony. “They’re healthy and kids want to eat them.” v Cherie Gough is a freelance writer based in San Diego sharing simple solutions for nutritious gluten-free eating and cooking. If you grow it, they will eat it. Learn more on IG @cgoughwrites. February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Benefits of 7 Choosing a Private School The School year has been everything but familiar or smooth and local students are in a variety of schooling environments; some schools follow a HyFlex model, some remain fully virtual and some have been largely face-to-face since August. As families continue to ride the roller coaster of changes, many parents are exploring what other educational options they have. In early August, 56 San Diego County schools requested waivers from San Diego’s Health & Human Services Agency that would allow them to reopen; all but five were private schools. As these schools announced plans to return face-to-face, it caught the attention of some parents who wish they had explored this option sooner. For those who are still weighing educational options for your kids, I’m offering the lowdown on private schools 18 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

as an educator, parent of two and former private school teacher.

Dr. Jenny Pieratt

There are many benefits to choosing a private school education, including but not limited to:



There is no shortage of private school options in San Diego County. In 2019 there were 316 private schools, (typically preschool-8th grade). Roughly half are secular (not religious) and include Montessori, alternative, or special education, while the other half are religious-based schools (Christian, Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, etc.).

There are typically fewer students in each grade level and smaller class sizes in private schools. This tends to be important in primary grades when students learn literacy skills, and at the secondary level (middle and high schools) where the alternative is large, comprehensive schools. The student-toteacher ratio ranges from 14:1 to 16:1, compared to the San Diego Unified and California average ratio of 23:1. “As a public school teacher, moving my child to private school was a difficult decision,” says Elizabeth Anglin, parent at Saint John School

in Encinitas. “Ultimately, we chose to move her because as a first grader she needs a small, structured environment with opportunities to interact with peers and receive instructions in the classroom. The private school was able to accommodate COVID-19 health guidelines by delivering instruction in a small cohort. It has been the best educational decision we have made as parents.”

“The thing I value most [about private school] is that there is a personal investment in our kids,” says Tiffany Nikkel, parent of two at Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach. “By nature of going to a private school there is a shared accountability between us and the school that ensures our kids are successful.”


Private schools historically are very competitive in sports in San Diego County. A quick glance at athletes featured in the San Diego UnionTribune always includes students from private schools. Contrary to popular belief, private schools are not able to recruit due to CIF rules, but they draw top athletes from around the county (without boundary restrictions) because of their incredible resources.

Because of smaller numbers in private school, teachers and administrators are more able to remain “nimble.” As a result, the needs of individual students can often be met when it comes to scheduling, supports or curriculum. “Private school gives our son a chance to excel in areas where he may have been overlooked at public school,” says Sam Sarles, a parent at The Rhoades School. “With a very small class size and breakout groups based on knowledge level, we feel he’s more focused and inspired to learn and achieve his potential.”

Community Many families are drawn to private schools because of the sense of community; whether it be grounded in religion or long-standing tradition and legacy family members. Private school environments are known for their events, deep connections, network, and relationships between students, between teachers and students, and amongst like-minded families.

Discipline Private schools uphold high expectations for students with everything from uniforms and behavior to homework and attendance at events outside of school. Similar to the military, this is a known fact amongst the general public and sometimes gives students a “leg up” in future endeavors.

Parent Involvement Because parents are funding private schools, administration prioritizes parent input and strives to involve parents in a variety of ways.


Student Support According to Juan Trevino, LCSW, of Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad,

We’ve reintroduced

“Student support is where private schools really shine. At Pacific Ridge School we’re fortunate to have three student support specialists available to work with teachers, students and parents, and support the socialemotional and academic needs of our students. Smaller classes (15:1 ratio in the classroom; 7:1 overall) allow faculty to really get to know students, understand their learning styles and meet their needs. This is in addition to a college guidance department that boasts low student-to-counselor ratios (35:1).” If you’re ready to take the next step, read “Considering Private School?” for my suggested questions to ask when exploring the private school option: www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/ education-directory. v Dr. Jenny Pieratt is a native San Diegan, award-winning author, speaker, business owner and mother of two. She loves sports, yoga and adventure. To learn more about her work visit  www.craftedcurriculum.com.



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Cherie Gough

Creative Arts and Sports

Why they’re important right now

Upheaval and stress have caused

tremendous concern about the emotional health of our kids. The way they spend their extracurricular time is more important than ever. Involving kids in the arts and sports offers a much-needed release, social connection, and critical developmental tools. Read on to hear from experts about how the arts and sports help shape kids’ brains and what you can do to help them use extracurricular time in the healthy ways.

Art Has a Calming Effect “Art immerses you in the moment,” says Alyssa Navapanich, California Outstanding Elementary Art Educator of the Year and Lemon Grove AMP (Art, Music, PE) teacher. Many of her students report that her class helps them feel relaxed during distance learning. Navapanich teaches her students that there are no mistakes in art. She encourages focus on process over product, which takes the pressure off creating perfection.

20 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

“I like to build a sense of resiliency into my students,” says Navapanich. “When they feel like they make a ‘mistake’, I encourage them to refocus, see their creation differently and recreate their idea. The picture book Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg is a great tool for teaching this concept.” Children’s Physicians Medical Group (CPMG) Pediatrician Dr. Rachel Gianfortune agrees, “Being able to express yourself through any type of art helps kids process emotions and exercises the brain’s muscles in new ways.”

Art Connects People According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the emotional well-being of members of the same family is closely related—and parental calm is essential to children in times of crisis. Creating art together is a great way to connect with children.

Sometimes the family members of Navapanich’s students join in during her virtual art lessons. “My favorite moments of teaching virtually are when family members participate in the process,” she says. “It creates a very real and tangible connection to a child’s education in a low stress way. They connect to each other and to art. Honestly, that’s the best reward an art teacher could have.”

Physical Activity Improves Mental Health Many studies have proven that daily physical activity improves mental health by increasing serotonin, one of the brain’s happy chemicals. “Giving kids a break from academics and time away from social media improves mood and helps manage stress,” says Dr. Gianfortune. Physical activity also helps kids gain more confidence and work through emotions, as it stimulates the brain in different ways.

While sports programs may be limited right now, there are various programs available that get kids moving in a safe environment, such as dance (try Scripps Performing Arts), gymnastics (check out Poway Gymnastics) and golf lessons (Pro Kids Golf Academy). If you missed last month’s article “Movement Breaks for Mental Health”, read it in the January digital issue for great ideas about activities to do at home: www.sandiegofamily.com/ magazines/san-diego-familydigital-issues.

Safe Options to Stay Active •

Kicking a soccer ball

Hiking and walking


Dance lessons

Riding bikes and scooters



Throwing a baseball or softball

Batting practice

Scavenger hunts www.sandiegofamily.com/thingsto-do/out-about

Music Develops Young Minds

Ideas for Creating Art

Don’t underestimate the benefits of music as an art form—another noteworthy extracurricular activity for kids. “Music is a powerful learning tool that stimulates brain patterns and memories,” says CPMG Pediatrician Dr. Gina Rosenfeld. If kids are too little for instrumental lessons, Rosenfeld encourages singing to young children to help wire the brain.

See what more local experts say about the benefits of music in “Why Music Education Matters”: www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/ afterschool-activities/why-musiceducation-matters.

Arts and Sports Enhance Academic Success Creating art and engaging in artistic projects exercises many areas of the brain, including critical thinking, problem-solving and spatial relationships. “Children who are involved in and exposed to the arts tend to be more creative, expressive, and are often more sure of themselves,” says Dr. Gianfortune. “Those characteristics lend themselves to improved academics and better mental health.” Kids who participate in sports teams develop grit, which can translate into working harder at academics and improved leadership skills, according to Dr. Gianfortune.

Hot Spot Pottery offers outdoor classes with plenty of seating, as well as online lessons and private art “parties” (with people in your “pod”). www.thehotspotstudio.com Paint along with Bob Ross, a popular art instructor on YouTube.

Write and illustrate a comic book with a friend. Consider getting instruction from Little Fish Comic Book Studio: www.lilfish.us.

Write a story and read aloud in a video to share with friends.

Engage in Musical Arts •

Take virtual or private lessons — voice, choir, instruments.

Create rhythms with items at home. Get step-by-step instructions on how to make a Melon Maraca, Citrus Drum and Rainbow Rainstick in our video “How to Make DIY instruments for Kids”: www.sandiegofamily.com/ for-the-kids/crafts-for-kids/diyinstruments-for-kids.

Listen to podcasts such as Classics for Kids. v

Cherie Gough is an award-winning local writer and mom of two.

Scholar s Availabhips le

Virtual Youth and School Group Programs

Bring the wonders of the ocean world to your students virtually through Birch Aquarium’s Next Generation Science Standard-aligned Virtual Education Programs. Pre-K to Grade 12 students can observe animals, explore ocean data, or ask questions about careers and conservation with engaging aquarium experts.


February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Jill Morgenstern



Since many children are missing out on usual traditions, why not make Valentine’s Day extra fun this year? Here are 14 ideas to help make this a memorable Valentine’s Day!

3. Decorate in Hearts

1. Make a Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board

Put clues around the house and let your kids search high and low for a surprise sweet treat.

While a simple cheese plate used to suffice, today the charcuterie board is all the rage. Technically a charcuterie board means a board of prepared meats, but these days anything goes! Cut cheeses or salami into heart shapes to make a beautiful food presentation.

2. Send Valentines Sites such as Blue Mountain Cards, American Greetings or Punchbowl allow people to email fun cards for free. For a small fee, the TouchNote app lets users send postcards with a photo. They do the printing and mailing and your valentine receives a special postcard. Alternatively, go the old-fashioned route. Children love picking out their own stamps and mailing valentines. (Hint: They also like receiving them!) Depending on your child’s age, address the envelopes for them or use it as an opportunity to teach the finer points of letter writing.

22 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Heart-shaped balloons or pink and red heart cut-outs create a festive atmosphere at home.

4. Create a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt

5. Have a Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot Cut a heart out of construction paper (as a prop), dress the kids in red and have a photo shoot! Be sure to share your photos with long-distance relatives who miss your family.

6. Surprise Your Kids with Love Notes Leave Post-It Notes of love and encouragement for your kids on the fridge, bathroom mirror and other key spots around the house. For extra fun, use pink notes or design them in the shape of a heart.

Read “21 Ways to Say I Love You to Tweens and Teens”: www.sandiegofamily.com/ parenting/teen/21-ways-to-tellyour-tweenteen-i-love-you.

7. Put Up a Valentine’s Day Tree Haven’t taken down that Christmas tree yet? Don’t despair! Switch the decor to hearts and other festive ornaments! It may become a new family tradition.

8. Break a Heart-Shaped Piñata Who doesn’t love breaking open a piñata full of treats? Heart-shaped piñatas are available online if you can’t find one locally.

9. Play Tic-Tac-Toe The x’s and o’s in tic-tac-toe make it a natural choice for Valentine’s Day fun! Winner gets the number of kisses and hugs on the board.

10. Bake to Your Heart’s Content This may be obvious, but pink frosted cupcakes or sugar cookies with heart sprinkles are a big hit.

11. Indulge in Heart-Shaped Food

Tony/January 2021/cr experience hanDS-On animal Interactions!


Make a special meal featuring heartshaped pancakes, pizza or sandwiches. Sweetheart Pancake Breakfast: www.sandiegofamily.com/things-todo/dining-and-recipes/snacking-withjoy-sweetheart-pancake-breakfast

Preschool-6th Grade

February 8th-19th Register at animalcenter.org/education


12. Make Pink Drinks Find a delicious recipe for strawberry smoothies, milkshakes, cocoa or punch.

14. Make ChocolateCovered Treats Impress loved ones with delicious homemade truff les (made with Oreos and cream cheese!): www.sandiegofamily.com/things-to-do/ dining-and-recipes/oreo-truffle-balls. Chocolate-dipped strawberries are always popular for Valentine’s Day. They’re beautiful, delectable and easy! Flip to the next page to find an elegant twist on the traditional treat. v Freelance writer Jill Morgenstern has 13 years teaching experience and is the mother of four.

Discover more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in our round-up: www.sandiegofamily.com/things-todo/seasonal-happenings/valentinesday-round-up.



13. Read a Book There are great picture books that complement love for family on Valentine’s Day. Try Mama Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joosse, A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn, or ABC Love, a board book by Christiane Engel.


• • • • • •

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February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Hearts & Crafts

Projects your family will love As if the ideas on the previous pages weren’t enough, here are three fun projects the family can do together—two sweet treats and an art project—all special enough to gift to loved ones. Get your hands messy and make some fun memories together!

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like chocolate-dipped strawberries! Use white chocolate and red or pink food coloring to create Ombre White Chocolate Strawberries, a unique and modern twist on the classic favorite. Find directions, plus tips on how to dip and store the strawberries, from Oceanside food blogger, The Seaside Baker, at www.theseasidebaker.com/ombre-white-chocolate-strawberries.

24 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Photo credit: www.TheSeasideBaker.com

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These Italian 7-Layer Bars from The Seaside Baker (Jackie Bruchez) look like beautiful petits fours. Jackie insists that even though the recipe seems long, the batter is a cinch to put together—plus, they’re fun to decorate! Find the recipe at www.sandiegofamily.com/things-todo/dining-and-recipes.


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858.748.1716 Girl Scout camps for every girl! Create beautiful Heart Batik Murals with the family, then decorate the house or gift one to a friend, relative or neighbor. Directions: www.sandiegofamily.com/for-thekids/crafts-for-kids. Find even more Valentine’s Day treats, crafts and ideas in our round-up: www.sandiegofamily.com/things-todo/seasonal-happenings/valentinesday-round-up. v

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February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •




Still looking for last month’s events? Check out the digital edition of our January issue at SanDiegoFamily.com

Black History Month • San Diego Museum Month • American Heart Month Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience

Photos courtesy of SeaWorld

Drive through SeaWorld Park and enjoy twinkling lights, dance to a lively Sesame Street soundtrack and wave hi to your favorite furry friends from the comfort of your own vehicle. Available select dates through February, 5:30–8 pm. Starting at $49.99 per car. Visit website for tickets. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego. www.seaworldsandiego.com

Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

monday | 1 Japanese Friendship Garden San Diego. Stroll through a unique outdoor setting with stone arrangements, koi ponds, water features, sukiya-style buildings and landscape. Daily, 10 am–6 pm. $10-$12; 6 & under free. 2215 Pan American Rd., Balboa Park. Pre-purchase tickets online at www.niwa.org.

tuesday | 2 Groundhog Day Winter Whale Watching Tours. Witness the annual migration of gigantic

26 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

gray whales off the San Diego coast as they journey to the lagoons of Baja California. Daily cruises, 9:30 am–1 pm & 1:30–5 pm. Adults, $50; Ages 4–12, $25; 3 & under free. Pier 2, 970 N. Harbor Dr., downtown. Make reservations at www.hornblower.com

Paws and Pages. Kids in grades 1–5 can read to animals in a non-judgmental environment. 5–6 pm. $10. Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. Register at www.animalcenter.org.

wednesday | 3

VIRTUAL FREE Nature & Me Story Time. A new mini-episode across social media channels and on YouTube. Today & Feb. 18, 10:15 am. www.sdnat.org

VIRTUAL The Sky Tonight: Supermassive Black Holes. At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a supermassive black hole. Do all galaxies have black holes in their centers? 7–8 pm. $5–$20. To register visit the Fleet Science Center at www.fleetscience.org.

thursday | 4

VIRTUAL FREE San Diego Virtual Job Fair. Looking for a job in San Diego? Meet with top hiring companies. 9 am–3 pm. Register at www.besthirecareerfairs.com.

friday | 5 VIRTUAL FREE First Friday ARTS DISTRICT. Features local artists as well as art demos and exhibits, live performances, live kids’ events and more. 4–8 pm. Visit www.libertystation.com for schedule.



Sesame Street Parade of Lights DriveThru Experience. See pullout page 26.

saturday | 6 FREE Lake Poway Youth Fishing Derby. Freshly stocked with rainbow trout, the lake will be open exclusively to fishing derby participants. All participants must register before fishing. For ages 4–15. 6–11:30 am. 14644 Lake Poway Rd. www.poway.org VIRTUAL Wake Up with Wildlife: Seeds for Songbirds and other Donations at Work. Each year Project Wildlife takes in 13,000 orphaned and injured animals. Go behind-the-scenes and learn how donations are put to use. 9:30–10:30 am. $5. Register at www.sdhumane.org.



VIRTUAL Kiss the Cook Valentine’s Day Cooking Class. Learn how to prepare a gourmet brunch for your sweetheart just in time for Valentine’s Day. 12 noon. $25. Preregister at www.kpbs.org.

VIRTUAL The Cardiff Kook Run. Kick off Super Bowl Sunday with an epic 10K/5K run. $25–$35. Visit www.thekookrun.com to register. FREE Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá. Take a self-guided walking tour of San Diego de Alcalá, the first of the twenty-one great California Missions, founded on July 16, 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. Open daily, 10 am–3 pm. 10818 San Diego Mission Rd. www.missionsandiego.org

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monday | 8 VIRTUAL FREE Experience USS Midway at Home. Explore America’s favorite aircraft carrier museum’s most popular spaces and exhibits. Listen to the awardwinning audio tour, view a naval aircraft gallery and read amazing historical accounts of the USS Midway from the comfort of your home. www.midway.org

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February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


tuesday | 9 San Diego Botanic Garden. Visit this 37-acre urban oasis with four miles of trails. Wed.–Sun., 10 am–5 pm. Adults, $18; Ages 3–17, $10; under 3 free. Prepurchase tickets at www.sdbgarden.org. Cabrillo National Monument. Access to outdoor areas include tidepools, hiking and taking in the nearly-360 degree view of the City of San Diego, Pacific Ocean, Mexico and the surrounding mountains to the north and east. Open daily, 9 am–5 pm. $20 entrance fee. www.nps.gov/cab

wednesday | 10 Fishing and Boating at Lake Poway. Trout season is here and Lake Poway is stocked. Visit Lake Poway Concessions for fishing permits, boat rentals, tackle, bait and more. Wed.–Sun., 6 am–sunset. 14644 Lake Poway Rd. www.poway.org

thursday | 11 VIRTUAL San Diego International Jewish Film Festival. Choose from 36 different films, enjoyed virtually from the comfort of your own home. Through Feb. 21. Visit website for tickets. www.lfjcc.org/film

Kids in the Garden: Birds, Nests and Feathers. 10 am–noon. $5. Preregistration required at farmerjonesavbg@ gmail.com. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, 1270 Vale Terrace Dr. www.altavistabotanicalgardens.org

sunday | 14 Valentine’s Day Santee Drive-In Theatre. Gates open at 5:30 pm, movies start at 6:30 pm. Open 7 nights a week, year-round. Adults, $10; Ages 5–12, $5; under 5 free. Visit website for current movie schedule. 10990 Woodside Ave., N. www.santeedriveintheatre.com Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

monday | 15 Presidents’ Day FREE Mission Trails Regional Park encompasses more than 8,000 acres of both natural and developed recreational

areas. Enjoy the outdoors and take the family on a hike to Old Mission Dam, Cowles Mountain or Pyles Peak. Open daily 9 am–5 pm. One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego. www.mtrp.org

tuesday | 16 VIRTUAL FREE Live Cams at the Safari Park. Watch Platypus, Tigers, Elephants, Giraffes, Burrowing Owls and Condors in their natural habitat. Daily, 7:30 am–7:30 pm. www.sdzsafaripark.org FREE Old Town San Diego State Historical Park. Walk around the park and view the exteriors of the exhibits and museum areas. QR codes linking videos and other interpretive material are posted around the walk. Open daily. www.parks.ca.gov

wednesday | 17 VIRTUAL San Diego Bird Festival. This hybrid event includes webinars, an online exhibit hall, a silent auction and small capacity, social distanced field trips where

VIRTUAL FREE Roots: Thailand. Featuring Thai community partners highlighting food and music central to Thailand. 4 pm. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. www.sdcdm.org

friday | 12 Chinese New Year Vietnamese New Year

VIRTUAL FREE Year of the Ox Celebration. Join the House of China for a virtual celebration of the Year of the Ox with dance, music, lion dance, and more. Visit www.houseofchinasd.com for details. Sesame Street Parade of Lights DriveThru Experience. See pullout page 26.

saturday | 13 VIRTUAL FREE San Diego Tết Festival. Celebrate the Year of the Ox via livestream. 12 noon–5 pm. www.sdtet.com

28 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Photo courtesy of Rachel Cobb

VIRTUAL Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K/5K/1 Mile Run. Today through Feb. 14. $39 includes swag item, medal and commemorative bib. To register visit www.valentinesday10k.com.

San Diego Museum Month

Discover (or re-discover) the story of San Diego as told through our diverse range of museums, historic sites, gardens, zoos/aquariums and more. Explore a rich world of cultural experiences, including virtual activities, behind-the-scenes tours and other special museum moments. Feb. 1–28. Visit www.sandiegomuseumcouncil.org/specials/museum-month for a list of participating in-person and virtual museums.

attendees meet at the site. Today through Feb. 21. To register and view event schedule visit www.sandiegoaudubon.org.

with maritime chaparral, the rare Torrey pine and a lagoon. Open daily. 12600 N. Torrey Pines Rd. www.torreypine.org

thursday | 18

wednesday | 24

VIRTUAL PET Talk: Massage for Pets. Learn how massage can help create balance and well-being for your pet. 6–7:30 pm. $5. www.sdhumane.org

VIRTUAL FREE Live Cams at the San Diego Zoo. Watch Hippos, Baboons, Penguins, Polar Bears, Apes and Koalas in their natural habitat. Daily, 7:30 am–7:30 pm. www.sandiegozoo.org

VIRTUAL FREE Nature & Me Story Time. See Feb. 4.

friday | 19 Pet Pals. Each month focuses on a different animal or animal-related topic and includes a lesson, activity and animal interaction geared towards the theme of the month. 4:30–5:30 pm. $10. For ages 6–11. Reservations required. 5500 Gaines St. www.sdhumane.org

saturday | 20 VIRTUAL FREE SDMA 360: A Virtual Gallery Experience. Step inside The San Diego Museum of Art and enjoy 360-degree views of your favorite galleries, zoom in to see art details and read full label text in both English and Spanish, all from the comfort of home. www.sdmart.org.

thursday | 25 VIRTUAL FREE Family Arts & Literacy Night: Art of Brazil. This family friendly event is packed full of fun, interactive art projects and performances. 6:30–8 pm. Register at www.sd.kroccenter.org.

friday | 26 TinyFest California. Tour tiny houses, van conversions, backyard cottages, shipping container homes and more. Presentations will be hosted live on social media. Today, noon–6; tomorrow, 10 am–6 pm; Feb. 28, 10 am–5 pm. $10–$15; 12 & under free. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.tinyfes.events

VIRTUAL FREE San Diego Bird Festival Family Day. Attend a day of family friendly events. 10 am–3 pm. View full schedule and register at www.sandiegoaudubon.org.

monday | 22

sunday | 28

FREE San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Whether you are a runner, hiker, birder, photographer or painter, San Elijo Lagoon provides natural solace and recreation. From sunrise to sunset, explore seven miles of easy-to-moderate trails. Open daily, 9 am–5 pm. 2710 Manchester Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea. www.sdparks.org

VIRTUAL Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k. Run or walk the distance you pick wherever you want. Goodie bag, medal, personalized bib and chocolate kit will be mailed. Log in and upload your results, download a finisher’s certificate, check your overall ranking and upload your photos. $40. To register visit www.hotchocolate15k.com.

tuesday | 23 FREE Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Hike one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast. See stunning overlooks, walk a peaceful trail and enjoy 1,500 acres of land filled

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s Online Gift Shop is full of train-themed toys, games, books, and apparel for train lovers of all ages! We offer shipping nationwide or contactless curbside pickup, and all purchases directly support the museum.


saturday | 27 Children’s Nature Retreat. Explore the beautiful grounds and discover over 130 animals in their habitat. Open Thurs.– Sun., 10 am–5 pm. $20-$38; under 2 free. Visit website to make reservations. 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine. www.childrensnatureretreat.org

sunday | 21


Want us to spread the news? Email events@sandiegofamily.com and include the name of the event or activity, a brief description, event address, date, time, cost, contact number and website. Submission does not guarantee

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publication. Deadline for the April issue: March 1. February 2021 • SanDiegofamily.com •


Lisa Gipson

15 Ways to Celebrate

Black History Month Black History Month (February) is often something that is recognized at school, but is your family doing anything to celebrate or discuss it at home? Literature, food, music and art are fabulous ways to expose children to different cultures and experiences. Plus, early exposure to a variety of books and characters helps develop acceptance and understanding at a young age. If you haven’t started diversifying your family’s bookshelf, consider doing so this month. Here are 15 ways to celebrate Black History Month.

Create a beautiful African Maasai Family mural. Find instructions from our “Art with Alyssa” contributor at www.sandiegofamily.com/forthe-kids/crafts-for-kids/africanmaasai-family-art-project.

Create art inspired by Black history. Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most famous and successful “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, the intricate network of people, safe houses and trail routes followed by men and women enslaved in the south to make it to freedom in the 1800s. Along the way, trail demarcations such as broken pottery and chalk symbols on barns let Tubman and those who escaped know where to travel or lodge safely. It is even believed that hanging quilt “codes” helped lead the way to safety. There are several quilt patterns thought to have been used, such as the bowtie quilt block pattern, which let travelers know that finer clothes were needed to “blend in.” To commemorate Black History Month, do some research as a family on the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. Then construct your own bowtie quilt square with paper. Instructions: www.sandiegofamily.com/for-the-kids/crafts-for-kids

30 • SanDiegofamily.com • February 2021

Read children’s books that teach something about Black history, such as Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (ages 4–8) and The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (ages 5+).

Trace your hands. We recommend keeping People Colors art supplies (crayons, colored pencils, craft paper and shapes) on hand at home (available at Lakeshore Learning). They allow children to create art that reflects skin tones they see in the world. Directions for this project: www.sandiegofamily.com/ for-the-kids/crafts-forkids/diversity-craft.

Support a San Diego Black-owned

restaurant or business. Find a list at https:// blog.sandiego.org/2020/06/supportingblack-owned-san-diego-businesses.

Read a children’s book by a Black author, such as Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry or Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood. Cook a traditional soul food meal. Learn about an unsung hero of Black history, such as Jesse L. Brown or Daisy Bates. Support a local Black artist, poet or musician.

Read children’s books that feature Black characters. Ezra Jack Keats was an award-winning author and illustrator who believed all children should see themselves in books. Some of his beloved classics include

• Goggles! • Peter’s Chair • The Snowy Day • Pet Show!

Listen to music by jazz pioneers Louis

Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington; then follow up with the book This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt (ages 3–7).

Engage in healthy conversations about Black history with your family. Listen (and learn the lyrics) to the song

“Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (or listen to it on YouTube). Read children’s books that raise awareness of civil rights: www.sandiegofamily.com/for-the-kids/ book-multimedia-reviews/9-children-sbooks-to-raise-awareness-of-civil-rights. v Lisa Gipson is the managing editor of San Diego Family. She treasures the time in college when she got to hear poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou speak in person.

Profile for San Diego Family Magazine

San Diego Family February Issue 2021