East Bay Mother’s Day Guide

Thanks to the Children’s Creativity Museum, CCM, in San Francisco for sponsoring today’s guide to Mother’s Day. The Children’s Creativity Museum offers hands-on, multimedia arts and technology experiences designed to build creative confidence in children ages 2-12 while being a ton of fun.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8 and there are as many ways to celebrate moms as there are moms in the world. We hope you can find just the right way to say, “Hey mama, thanks for all you put up with while raising me to be a decent human.”

The first decision point is: Does mom want Alone Time, Family Time, or Some Combination? When my children were tiny, all I wanted was to spend time with them while still avoiding the three dreaded Ds of diapers, dishes, and discipline.

Mother’s Day Activities for Together Time

Mother’s Day Outing @ Children’s Creativity Museum, SF

Saturday, May 7 & Sunday, May 8, 10 am to 4 pm. Moms and children can team up for stop-motion animation, sound studio experimentation, and shredding negative feelings – it is lots of fun to play like a kid with the kids! CCM is also a great spot for dads and children to craft love mementos for mom while she relaxes elsewhere. Advance purchase is recommended for weekends. Reserve your spot >>

parent and child doing lego stop motion movie making
Be playful and creative at the stop motion animation station | Photo provided by the Children’s Creativity Museum

Pro-tip for family together time: Dads and older kids, pack the bag for the event so she can just show up and enjoy (snacks, diapers, wipes, layers, water, sunscreen masks, etc.).

Pro-tip for mom gets time off: Give her the heads up so she doesn’t feel banished. Will she want to walk the Embarcadero with a friend or read in Yerba Buena on the lawn?

child playing with machine
This fun crusher machine lets your kid create a Love Token for mom | Photo: Julie Herson

Do something together on Sunday, May 8 (family-friendly happenings)

9:00 am - 1:00 pm Amazing Hike & Pancake Breakfast at West Point Inn
9:00 am - 2:00 pm Kensington Farmers' Market at Kensington Farmers’ Market
9:00 am - 1:00 pm Temescal Farmer’s Market at Temescal Farmer’s Market
9:30 am - 7:00 pm Play at Splash Park at El Cerrito Swim Center
10:00 am - 11:00 am Mommy and Me Tot Group at Washington Park
10:30 am - 1:00 pm SelfCare Sunday Family Bike Rides at Unity Park on the Richmond Greenway
11:00 am - 3:00 pm Mother's Day on the Farm at Ardenwood Historic Farm
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm Cal Softball vs. Arizona at Levine Fricke Field
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm Golden State Model Trains Operating at Golden State Model Railroad Museum
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm Visit with Wildlife at Sulphur Creek Nature Center

Flower Crowns & Photoshoot @ Nurtured Seedling, Oakland

Sunday, May 1, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. This is a combo gift and outing: Flower and Forage and Megan Small Photography team up for a memorable maternal celebration. Moms, grandmas, and children over age 5 are welcome to create real flower crowns before a special photoshoot together. $225 for adult/child pair. Register in advance.

Mother’s Day Marina Cruise Brunch, Berkeley

Sunday, May 8, 10 am boarding and cruise until 12:30 pm. For a big splurge, try a memorable morning. Bottomless mimosas, plated brunch, and spectacular views of the Bay. $95 for adults (and kids over 12), $75 for children 4+. Reserve Your Spot >

Giants vs. Colorado Rockies, San Francisco

Sunday, May 8, 1:05 pm. Enjoy an afternoon baseball game at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. On Mother’s Day, the first 20k fans get a tote from Ghiradelli. There’s also a game on Saturday afternoon. Prices vary. Purchase tickets >

Filoli Garden & Estate, Woodside

Daily 10 am to 5 pm. Moms and grandmas will enjoy the flowers while children run “all over the place” in this 16-acre garden. Seniors: $22; Adults: $25; Children (5-17): $15; Under 5: free. For additional fees, reserve tea or champagne. Reservations are suggested for such a special weekend.

Take a hike

Outdoor adventure. Pick your favorite hike or outing and force the kids into a gentle “No whining, it is Mother’s Day” agreement. I find a pocket full of candy helps. Can you rally the kids for a longer hike with pancakes and amazing views? Other pretty places to explore include Tilden Park, Lake Merritt Garden, or the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Explore Angel Island

Take the tram or use your feet. A day trip to Angel Island with kids is like a mini-vacation. Perfect for a weekend adventure or day off from school, the trip has a little something for everyone on your list: a ferry ride, outdoor time, food and drinks, history, beach, AND beautiful scenery. Sound good? Let’s go to Angel Island with the family!

Angel Island Group Photo
Views from Angel Island’s Camp Reynolds cannot be beat! | Photo: Maureen Burke

Float away at Lake Chabot

Rent a boat, large or small. There are kayaks for active families, pedal boats for tweens, and pontoon boats for relaxing plus trails to enjoy the day. Find something perfect for your energy level and budget. Check availability.

Gifts children can make for Mom (with help)

DIY Crafts at Michaels @ many locations

Sunday, May 1, or Sunday, May 8. Kids can make mom a sweet handmade gift for $0. All supplies provided. No registration is required.

DIY Craft workshop at Walnut Creek Civic Center Park

Saturday, May 7, 10 am to noon. Children ages 3 to 8 are invited with a helping adult to make two DIY crafty gifts and cards for moms and grandmas. Enjoy the facilitated crafts and the park. $25 per child. Register first.

DIY Wishbook and other stuff you can put together at home!

The homemade coupon book is a classic for a reason. Gift mom with things she loves now (foot rub, favorite dinner, sleeping in, desserts, walk together, control of remote, alone time, snuggles, breakfast in bed) and less of what she doesn’t (chores help of all kinds, instant Sibs Stop Fighting ticket, wash the car, laundry all day, etc.) with a few ideas for future treats (girls night out, a theater visit, a massage!). You design it because you know Mom best. Here’s a template if you’re not creative in that way >

Kid craft projects. Made with love and their own messy handwriting, adorable craft projects. #1 Mom, and done!

Handmade tee shirts. This one is pretty easy: grab some WASHABLE markers and write a message of love on the kids’ clothes or hers: I love Mom, Mom Rules, Queen for a Day, etc.

mom and kid hugging
Hug your mom until her glasses are crooked

Gift Ideas to Buy for Mom

Paint some kiddo handprints on a lovely keepsake mug at Brushstrokes in Berkeley or Color Me Mine in Alameda. My family has a few of these and I tell my husband that every year, he only needs to fill it with chocolate (but like really good chocolate!)

Book a photography session with a local family photographer. Find a great location and date for a family picture to make mom smile all year.

Surprise mom and grandma with a framed print of a photo they already love. Or a puzzle, memory game, tote bag from her favorite pictures.

Wellness time. Massage mom’s busy brain with stress-reducing services at the Bay Area Brain Spa on Solano Ave.

Succulent garden. For all the materials and instructions to make a beautiful succulent arrangement just like Andre’s Living Art, visit Broadway Terrace Nursery. Kits are $75 to $85 and include everything you need.

Share the love. For the woman who doesn’t need anything, make a donation to one of our favorite local non-profits, Help A Mother Out, raising funds to provide diapers to moms in need.

Special thanks to the Children’s Creativity Museum for sponsoring today’s guide to Mother’s Day celebrations. 

black and white photo of child holding up LOVE you sign
We love you, moms! | Photo: Parul Patel at the Children’s Creativity Museum