Plan your October with books, spooks and pumpkins

October is upon us. That means heading to pumpkin patches, celebrating Halloween and Day of the Dead. It also means enjoying music and great weather outside.

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop is open for pumpkin plucking. Barton Hill Farms

Events

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Bewitched. Free. 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 3. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com

Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and see how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 4 Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org

Roots & Wings Festival. A combined celebration of Arbor Day and Monarch Appreciation Day. Come in costume or create one there. Visit the butterfly release station, climb a tree, make crafts and more. Free with admission. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 27. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov

Family Hasya Laughter Yoga. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. Free with RSVP to AARCATX.Eventbrite.com.

Round Rock Premium Outlets opens new Texas-themed play area. Celebrate with music, activities, self-station and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6. 4401 N. Interstate 35, Round Rock.

Fall festivals

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Walk through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 4. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins, or get a $10 wristband for everything. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin-picking. 10 a.m.-7 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 4. $15.95, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick-your-own-pumpkin patches and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 4. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Evergreen Farms Pumpkin Hunt. Chuck a pumpkin, race with a pumpkin, take a train ride, go golfing, jump in the bounce house and pick a pumpkin. Activities $2.50-$5 each. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Evergreen Farms, 242 Monkey Road, Elgin.evergreen-farms.com

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Fun. Mazes, animals, pumpkin decorating, train ride, hay ride and more. $8 admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 5-31. Pumpkin Festival Oct. 13-14, Oct. 20-21. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Natures Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Vida La Vida Festival and Parade. Celebrate Día de lost Muertos with this parade and festival around Mexic-Arte Museum. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 27. 419 Congress Ave. mexic-artemuseum.org

Halloween Carnival and Haunted House. 25-cent game tickets, $1 haunted house, plus a costume contest with prizes and trunk-or-treating. 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 18. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexas.gov

Austin Code Spooktacular Bash. Games, face painting, costume contest, bounce house, spooky house exhibit. 4:30-7 p.m. Oct. 25. Free. Fiesta Gardens Building, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St.  austintexas.gov

Pumpkin Carving on the Dock. Play games, carve pumpkins, compete in a costume contest. 11 a.m. Oct. 27. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Howl-O-Scream. Games, treats and a haunted house. 10 free tickets or $3 for unlimited tickets. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 27. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road; Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St.; Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane; Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.  austintexas.gov

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Reserve tickets early. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org

Spooktacular at the Bullock Museum will offer Halloween activities. Bullock Museum

Museums

Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day with the artist collective, Kuniklo. Make decorative masks and alebrije caterpillars with recycled materials. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 21. 419 Congress Ave. mexic-artemuseum.org

First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Oct. 6. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Bullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday. Free family fun around westward expansion. Noon Oct. 7. Living History Days. Re-enactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Oct. 4. Homeschool Day. 10 a.m. Oct. 11. Little Texans: Gallop. 10 a.m. Oct. 11. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Oct. 189. Story time: Halloween. 10 a.m. Oct. 25. Spooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Oct. 26. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Fall on the Farm this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays, except Oct. 8. $5. Art Start: Nature as our Canvas workshop. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Wednesdays, through Oct. 24. $20 per class. Namaste & Play: Get into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays, through Oct. 26. $20 per class. Silly Science. Play with bubbles, foam and more. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds, Sept. 3. $20. Whisks & Wizards workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6-8, Oct. 20-21. $8. Spark Shop Scribble Bots for ages 4 and up. Learn to use a robot to draw. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 13-14, Oct. 27-28. $6 for a kit. Community Night Spotlight: Disabilities Awareness. Explore the tools and technologies that empower people of all disabilities. 4-8 p.m. Oct. 17. Free. Sensory Friendly Hours. 8-10 a.m. Oct. 14. Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny. Play at night with a Halloween theme. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 26. $15-$13. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Paint a Landscape Scene. Go outside with your paints and paintbrushes. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 14. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Branching Out. Make art with botanical supplies and learn about trees with Tree Folks. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 13. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Science Mill. Kooky Spooky Chemistry Day. Learn about chemistry with a Halloween theme. Kids in costume get a free Halloween excavation kit. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 27. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Straw Fest. Pumpkin-carving, petting zoo, zombie makeovers and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 28. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Azie Morton Road. umlaufsculpture.org

Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “Coco.” See the movie outside. $12-$8, free for kids younger than 4. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 31. Fire & Water Walk. See how fire and water are used to maintain the garden. 10 a.m. Oct. 25. Free. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Toybrary Austin. Drop-in Dance Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Baby Play Date. 1 p.m. Tuesdays. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Theater Class for Littles. 10:30 a.m. Fridays. $10. CD Release Party with Miss Ariel. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 6. Free. Date Night Child Care. 5 p.m. Saturdays. $25, $10 extra sibling. Make a Halloween Ghost. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18. $7. Halloween Slime Day. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 20. $10. Nappy Time Halloween Portraits. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 27. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

The Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Make a music craft. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13. The Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. williamsonmuseum.org

“Beetlejuice” is at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Movies

That’s My Face: Youth and Young Adult Film Series: “Birth of a Movement.” Free. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Movie on the Lawn: “Monster House.” Free. 8 p.m. Oct. 19. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive. austintexas.gov

Alamo Drafthouse events. “Little Shop of Horrors” Movie Party. 4 p.m. Oct. 7, Lakeline. 1 p.m. Oct. 6, Mueller. 4:15 p.m. Oct. 7, Slaughter Lane. “Beetlejuice” Party. 7 p.m. Oct. 21, Lakeline. Alamo for All, sensory-friendly screening “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2, Lakeline, Noon and 2:50 p.m. Oct. 2, Mueller, Noon Oct. 2, Slaughter Lane and 2:50 p.m. Oct. 3, Mueller. “Small Foot.” 1:15 p.m. Oct. 2, Lakeline, 11:05 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Oct. 2, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com.

“Tortoise and the Hare” musical is at Zach Theatre. Kirk Tuck

Theater

“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Pollyanna Theatre presents “The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost.” 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Oct. 1, Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Oct. 6-7. $10.50 and up. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Emily Ann Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $10-$8. 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 21.1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Oct. 6-7, Oct. 14, Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

“Tomás and the Library Lady.” Paramount Theatre is working with Mexic-Arte Museum for the kick-off of its Discovery Series for the year. 2 p.m. Oct. 21, show, preceded by crafts from Mexic-Arte Museum and followed by family day at Mexic-Arte Museum. Paramount Theatre, $18-$10. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“The Ugly Duckling.” Ballet Austin II presents this show for ages 3-10. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. $15. AustinVentures StudioTheater, 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org

Austin Symphony’s Halloween concert brings out the spooky sounds. Austin Symphony Orchestra

Music

Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $10-$15. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 28. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St. austinsymphony.org.

Austin Kiddie Limits. Hear kids’ music, build things, make art and dance. Free for kids 10 and younger with parent with a wristband. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 5-7, Oct. 12-14. Zilker Park. aclfestival.com/kids.

Head to the children’s tent of the Texas Book Festival. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Books

Texas Teen Book Festival. See some of your favorite young adult authors. Free. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6. St. Edward’s University. texasteenbookfestival.org

Texas Book Festival. Hear from children’s authors, middle-grade and young adult authors at this free festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 28. Capitol Building and the grounds. texasbookfestival.org.

BookPeople events: Girl Scout CEO Sylvia Acevedo reads “Path to the Stars,” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Erin Hunter reads “Bravelands No. 3: Blood and Bone,” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Tillie Walden reads “On a Sunbeam,” 7 p.m. Oct. 4. Property Brothers read, “Builder Brothers: Big Plans,” 4 p.m. Oct. 7. Kwame Alexander reads “Swing,” 7 p.m. Oct. 8. Don Zolidis reads “The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig,” 2 p.m. Oct. 14. Spooky Story Celebration, Oct. 20. Jon Lasser and Sage Foster-Lasser read “Grow Grateful,” 2 p.m. Oct. 20. Kids Book Club with Austin Allies, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Marit Weisenberg reads “Select Few,” 7 p.m. Oct. 23. Dylan Thuras reads “Atlas Obscura for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid,” 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Mark Falkin reads “The Late Bloomer,” 7 p.m. Oct. 30. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday story times. Best Friends Forever, Oct. 2. Favorite Characters, Oct. 3. Illustrator Spotlight, Oct. 6. Brand New Books, Oct. 9; Susan Kralovansky, Oct. 13. Monsters Are Our Friends, Oct. 20. Pets are the Best, Oct. 23. Great Outdoors, Oct. 24. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Kids’ Book Hangout. 2 p.m. Oct. 20, Round Rock; 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Builder Brothers: Big Plans,” Oct. 6; “I Lost My Tooth!,” Oct. 13; “Featuring Elbow Grease,” Oct. 20. barnesandnoble.com

Little Seedlings Story Time: Korea. Learn about Korea while making a paper fan and hearing a story. 10 a.m. Oct. 19. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. austintexas.gov

At the library

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Mondays, Southeast Branch. 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Twin Oaks Branch. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Carver Branch.

Literature Live presents “Tales from Graves.” 3:30 p.m Oct. 1, Spicewood Springs Branch. 1 p.m. Oct. 3, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Ruiz Branch. 6:30 pm. Oct. 8, Central Library. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 10, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Old Quarry Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 25, North Village Branch. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26, Yarborough Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 30, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 31, University Hills Branch.

Lego Lab. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Carver Branch. 3 p.m. Oct. 3, Southeast Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 5, North Village Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Spicewood Springs Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 10, Howson Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16 Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Pleasant Hill Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Ruiz Branch. 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Yarborough Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Pajama Story Time. 6 p.m. Mondays, University Hills Branch. 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Central Library. 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Yarborough Branch. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, St. John Branch. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Manchaca Road Branch. 6 p.m. Oct. 15, Milwood Branch. 6 p.m. Oct. 25, Spicewood Branch. 6 p.m. Oct 25, North Village Branch.

College Planning Workshop: Award Winning Essays. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Howson Branch. Studying film, music and more. 11 a.m. Oct. 13, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Twin Oaks Branch.

Science Fun. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 2, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Rubik’s Cubing Club for ages 8-18. 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Healthy Bodies for Healthy Kids. 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Family Board Game Night. 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Board with Books. 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Central Library.

Story time and Movement with Ballet Austin. (Reservation Required). 1 p.m. Wednesdays Central Library.

Bow Wow Reading with Roo the Dog. 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Little Walnut Creek Branch. With Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch. With Daisy the Dog. 11:15 a.m. Oct. 25, Ruiz Branch.

Music & Movement. 10:15 a.m. Thursdays, Carver Branch. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 5, Old Quarry Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 8, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 9, Spicewood Springs Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 23, Ruiz Branch.

Thursday Night Teen Writers Room. 6 p.m. Thursdays, Central Library.

Friday Movie Matinee: “The Lego Batman Movie.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Ruiz Branch. “Goosebumps.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Carver Branch. “Coco.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Old Quarry Branch.

Dia de los Muertos. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 6, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Howson Branch. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 16, Carver Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 18, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 25, Cepeda Branch. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26, Central Library. 11 a.m. Oct. 29, University Hills Branch.

Homeschool Social. 11:15 a.m. Oct. 10, Carver Branch.

NBTween Graphic Novel Club “Four Points.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. “Newsprints.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. “Posted.” 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Twin Oaks Branch. “She Loves You.” 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Spicewood Springs Branch. “The Time Museum.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 24, St. John Branch.

Thursday Matinee: “Hotel Transylvania 2.” 1 p.m. Oct. 11; “Ghostbusters.” 1 p.m. Oct. 18; “Boo 2.” 1 p.m. Oct. 25, Terrazas Branch.

Family Craft Night. 7 p.m. Oct. 11, St. John Branch.

Animanga Club. 3:30 p.m. Fridays Ruiz Branch.

Robotics Beginners Class: Ages 5-8. 4 p.m. Oct. 12, North Village Branch.

Sewing After Dark. 5 p.m. Oct. 12, Central Library.

Southeast Branch 20th Anniversary and Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. 5 p.m. Oct. 12, Southeast Branch.

Saturday Cinema: “Coco.” 2 p.m. Oct. 13, Southeast Branch.

Halloween Costume Total Reuse Event. 1 p.m. Oct. 13, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. Oct. 14, Recycled Reads Book Store.

Teen Book Club: “Alanna.” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Howson Branch.

Walking on Sunshine Early Literacy Sing-along Adventure. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 31, Central Library.

Platform Nine and Teen Quarters Harry Potter Meetup. 2 p.m. Oct. 21, Central Library.

Maker Night Halloween Mini Die-o-rams. 7 p.m. Oct. 23, Twin Oaks Branch.

Mother Daughter Book Club “The Shadow Cipher.” 6 p.m. Oct. 24, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Tween and Teen Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Twin Oaks Branch.

Saturday Crafts. 11 a.m. Oct. 27, Milwood Branch.

Night Crafters. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29, Central Library.

Halloween Party Literacy Costume Bash. 7 p.m. Oct. 31, Milwood Branch.

Keep the kids busy in Austin this last weekend of September, Sept. 28-30

Looking for fun this weekend? We’ve got a great list for you from the new Fortlandia at the Wildflower Center to American Indian Heritage Day at the Bullock Museum. Keep in mind, it might rain on Saturday and Sunday. (There’s a 40 percent chance right now.)

Nan Blassingame performs the fancy shawl dance during American Indian Heritage Day performances at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in 2014. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

FRIDAY

Namaste & Play: Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Friday. $20 per class. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Parents’ Night Out, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday. Kids must be 4 or older and potty-trained. $45 first child, $25 each additional sibling. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Bullock Museum.  American Indian Heritage Day. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for school groups, 6-8 p.m. for the public, Friday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Toybrary Austin. Chair Massage while the Littles Play. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. $1 a minute. Theatre classes. 10:30 a.m. Fridays. $10. Date Night Child Care. 5-8 p.m. Friday. $25-$10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Early Literacy Playgroup. 10:15 a.m. Friday, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Tween and Teen Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Twin Oaks Branch.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and older. 2 p.m. Saturday. 6:30 p.m. Friday. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

“Tortoise and the Hare” musical is at Zach Theatre. Kirk Tuck

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 4. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Pollyanna Theatre presents “The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost.” 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sept. Saturday and Sunday. $10.50 and up. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost” from Pollyanna Theatre Company is at the Long Center.

SATURDAY

Science Mill. Girl Scout Badge Day. Do activities and earn a badge based on your program level. Saturday. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Wildflower Center. Nature Creations: Bracelets. Make bracelets using things from nature. 10 a.m. Saturday. Free. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3. Learn about Color this month. 9 a.m. Saturdays. $5.  Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

The voice of Channing Tatum in “Smallfoot.” CONTRIBUTED

Alamo Drafthouse events. “Small Foot” Family Party. 10 a.m. Saturday, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com.

BookPeople story times. Let’s Get Moving. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “I Am Neil Armstrong.” barnesandnoble.com

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Read It, Sing it, Let Us Hear It Open Mic! 1 p.m. Saturday, Carver Branch.

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop is open for pumpkin plucking. Barton Hill Farms

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

Wildflower Center. Fortlandia Grand Opening Weekend. Step inside forts from University of Texas students and Austin architects in the Texas Arboretum. Saturday-Sunday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Emily Ann Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $10-$8. 10 a.m. Saturdays starting Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays. 1101 RM 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Wander through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 4. Free, but pay for each activity and pumpkins, or get a $10 wristband for everything. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m. to 7 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, beginning Saturday through Nov. 4. $15.95, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

You can karaoke at the Barrell O’ Fun as a family on Sunday. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

SUNDAY

Bring the Sing: Family Karaoke. 1-4 p.m. Sept. 30. Barrel O’ Fun, inside the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller, 1911 Aldrich St. Suite 120. Free. drafthouse.com

Teen driver deaths, injury rates on the rise, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Parents of teen drivers, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some not-so good news for you.

After the number of crash-related teen deaths have be cut by about 50 percent in the last decade, those numbers are on the rise in the 2014-2016 years. Our teens still are more likely to be involved in a car accident that causes injury or death than any other age group in the United States.

RELATED: TIPS FOR TEEN DRIVERS

Student driver Morgan Stewart takes her third test drive with driving instructor Zane Bush,left.. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN 2013

Teen drivers with less than 18 months experience have a four-times higher risk for being involved in crash or “near-crash event.” The report listed reasons such as speed, inexperience, distractions, teen passengers, use of alcohol, drugs and medication.

If your child isn’t yet driving, but is riding with a teen who is, consider that more than half of the children age 8 to 17 who die in car crashes are driven by a driver younger than 20.

RELATED: HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD A DRIVER’S LICENSE

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising its pediatricians to talk about these things with their teen patients (and parents, you can do some of this. too):

  • Counsel teens on seat belt use and the risks of driving while impaired by alcohol, illicit substances and medication.
  • Encourage parents to practice driving with their teenagers in a variety of environments and for more than the state-required minimum of hours.
  • Promote the use of safe alternative routes to school to lessen driving time.
  • Support later school start times to ensure teens have adequate sleep.
  • Study whether the graduated driver’s licensing provisions should be expanded to include novice drivers who are 18 or 19 years old.

RELATED: LEARNING TO LET GO AS TEEN STARTS DRIVING

How to keep kids safe online, on social media

Parents probably were horrified at the news of Cody Wilson, designer of the 3-D printed gun, being accused and arrested for sexual assault after meeting a 16-year-old girl online.

What can parents do to make sure their children don’t become targets on social media or websites?

In the Raising Austin column, we’ve featured many experts in parenting or internet safety. Here are their tips:

Create a digital contract with your kids. You can get one for free for the whole family at netnanny.com. During that contract process parents would go over all the rules and restrictions for what is good behavior online.

Are your kids always on their phone? Create some phone-free zones. Bryan Thomas/The New York Times 2015

Know what social media accounts your children are using and monitor them. One of those big rules is that kids can only have accounts that parents know about. “About 60 percent are unaware of the accounts teens have created,” says Toni Schmidt, the social media manager for Net Nanny.

Don’t rely on monitoring software to do your job for you. “The more walls we build, the more we are just creating little hackers who are just trying to get around the fence,” says Devorah Heitner, founder of the website Raising Digital Natives and the book “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.” Instead, be curious, engage in conversation about their online and social media use.

Devorah Heitner wrote “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.”

Mentor your children on the appropriate use of screens. Heitner offers this list of questions to ask your children:

  • Do they know people they are playing online games with? If not, you might want to set up a private server in games like Mindcraft to only invite real people they know.
  • Are they involved in group texts? Remind them that everyone is on those texts and can get hurt.
  • Are friends sharing texts with other friends about other friends? Remind them to not engage in that behavior and call it out when they see them.
  • Are they looking for validation based on the number of likes and comments on posts?
  • What will happen if they lose their phone, tablet or computer? How will they reimburse you?
  • Do they understand that digital money is real money? Do you have a plan on what permission they will need and how they can pay for their online purchases?
  • What will cause them to lose their phone, tablet or computer?
  • Make sure they know it’s OK to not respond to texts and social media posts right away. They don’t need to be connected all the time.
  • Invite them to ask you when they have a question. Google is wonderful, but it might provide information they might not understand or might be overwhelming to them.
  • Talk through different situations: What will you do if you see something inappropriate on your phone? What will you do if you feel a friend is not behaving well online? What will you do if a friend doesn’t understand that you can’t respond right away?
Psychologist Mike Brooks is the director of the of the Apa Center,

Be a role model of phone and computer use. Austin psychologists Mike Brooks and Jon Lasser wrote “Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World.” Kids often complain as much about their parents’ use of technology as parents complain about their kids’. Think of it like healthy eating, Brooks says. We can’t force them to eat healthier foods, but if we model eating healthfully, they might do it.

Set limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ media use policy recommends these guidelines:

  • Children younger than 18 months of age: Avoid the use of any screen media except video chatting (with grandparents, for example).
  • Children ages 18 months to 24 months: Introduce high-quality programs or apps, but do it with your children to create a dialog about what they are seeing and how it relates to the world around them.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years: Limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programs that you view with your children.
  • Children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on time spent using media, the types of media and make sure that the use of media does not take the place of sleeping, exercise and other healthy behaviors.

Build up the parent-child relationship to prevent conflict and dangerous online use. Brooks and Lasser’s No. 1 recommendation is for parents to spend more time with their kids without technology. “The more time we spend with kids in that capacity, it feeds that part of their soul that is going to be happy, healthy, and they will have that in them that is it’s valuable to be in relationship,” Brooks says.

Dr. Leonard Sax wrote “Girls on the Edge” and “Boys Adrift.”

Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” says family physician, psychologist and author Leondard Sax, who wrote “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat them Like Grown-Ups.”

Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cellphones, computers, TVs, video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnoses, Sax says.

Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. Even though, they might still be sneaking and text to their friends PWOMS (Parent Watching Over Shoulder) or some other acronym, they are less likely to be doing something unsafe if you could be walking by.

Remind them that what they post online stays forever. Those middle-school photos will follow them to their first job interview. Remind them of the permanent legal consequences of sending or receiving photos that could be considered child pornography. Kids can be charged with distributing child pornography even if they didn’t take the photo. And if a parent shows it to another parent or a teacher or principal, they’ve just distributed child pornography, says Bob Lotter, creator of My Mobile Watchdog, a monitoring app. They can only show it to law enforcement, Lotter says.

Make sure kids engage with real people they know. Their online friends can quickly become more important than the friends they see in person.

Determine if they are really ready to have a cellphone. An Austin group, launched the nationwide movement Wait Until 8th to encourage parents to take a pledge to not give their kids a smartphone before eighth grade.

The National Consumers League says parents should ask these questions when shopping for a phone for their child, specifically in those tween years:

  • Why does your child need a cellphone?
  • Will the phone be used primarily to stay in touch with parents or for emergency use? Or will your child be using the phone for entertainment or to communicate with friends?
  • How much do you want to spend per month on service?
  • How much do you want to spend on the initial purchase of the phone itself?
  • Is your tween mature enough to keep her minutes, texting and data use within plan limits?
  • Is your tween mature enough to use the phone responsibly and avoid viewing or sending inappropriate content?
  • What is your tween’s school’s policy on cellphones in school?
  • Does your tween have a habit of losing things, or can he handle the responsibility of caring for a phone?

Is your child in the right car seat? New guidelines to check

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its guidelines on car seats in one pretty significant way.

Instead of children being in rear-facing seats until they turn 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children stay in rear-facing seats as long as possible until they meet the upper number for that seat’s height or weight limits. That means that most children will outgrow that rear-facing seat anywhere from age 2 to age 5, but there could be some kids who are older than age 5 who are still in rear-facing seats because of their size.

Why make the change?

It’s all based on analysis of trauma data from car crashes, which is the No. 1 cause of death for children age 4 and older.

Children who were in rear-facing car seats had fewer injuries and a decreased chance of death than kids in forward-facing car seats.

Why is that? Kristen Hullum, a nurse and trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, says that it’s all about avoiding head, neck and spine injuries. Young children have immature spines and necks and are also head-heavy, she says. The rear-facing seats prevent more movement of the head, neck and spine than forward-facing ones.

“My 5 year old is petite,” Hullum says. “I still have her rear-facing. That might have seemed pretty conservative to many people, but this justifies it,” she says of the new recommendations.

Get your car seat professional installed and inspected each time you get a new one. 2007 Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman

Here is the progression of where and in what your child should sit in the car:

  1. Rear-facing infant carrier in the back seat (or convertible rear-facing car seat if it’s weight range is low enough for an infant) until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that carrier, which is typically anywhere from 22 pounds to 35 pounds. For infant carriers, that usually happens around age 1, but it could be later.
  2. Rear-facing car seat in the back seat until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that seat. That could happen any time from age 2 to 5 or even later depending on the upper limits for that seat, which can be 40 to 50 pounds or even more.
  3. Forward-facing car seat with a harness in the back seat until the child outgrows the upper height and weight limit, which could be anywhere from 65 to 90 pounds. The forward-facing seat should be tethered to the car.
  4. A booster seat in the back seat that raises the child up so that the car’s seat belt fits the child properly until the child is 4 foot 9 inches tall and outgrows the upper limits for that booster, usually around 100 pounds. That could happen anytime between age 8 and age 12. It’s Texas law that children younger than 8 ride in a booster seat or car seat.
  5. In the back seat using the car’s seat belt once they have reached the upper limit of the booster seat’s height and weight limits until age 13.
  6. In the front seat, only after age 13, but also tall enough and heavy enough to not be injured by the air bag. That’s at least 4 foot 9 inches and 100 pounds. Even though it’s hard for preteens to want to be in the back seat, it’s about safety. Airbags inflate at 200 miles an hour, Hullum says.” If that air bag hits them in their face, there’s a significant brain injury,” she says. “The air bag should be at somebody’s chest.”
Kristen Hullum, trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, teaches a class to teachers. American-Statesman 2017

There are other recommendations and guidelines that parents should know.

  • Get your child seat professionally installed each time you get a new one. Hospitals and county Emergency Medical Services offer car seat checks that you can sign up to attend.
  • When picking a car seat, the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. They all have to pass the same federal guidelines. It’s more of a question of which one has the fanciest cup holders.
  • If you can’t afford a car seat, your pediatrician or any car seat check location should be able tell you how to get a free one.
  • Car seats do have expiration dates that are usually between six and 10 years. They wear out with use.
  • Once a car seat has been in an accident, it is no longer safe to use. Car insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of the new one.
  • Unless you know the complete history of that car seat, do not buy or receive a used one.
  • If you have a truck that only has a front-seat, you can install a car seat in the passenger seat, but you have to make sure the air bag is turned off.
  • Rear-facing car seats could be a problem for toddlers and preschoolers who get motion sickness. If that’s the case, talk to your pediatrician about what medications or techniques they recommend.

For parents who might be thinking that their 5-year-old is never going to see the world around her if she’s still in a rear-facing seat, Hullum says, not to worry. Her 5-year-old can easily remind her if she’s passed a Chic-Fil-A.

Car seat checks

9-11 a.m. Sept. 7, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.

9 a.m. Sept. 10, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.

9 a.m.-noon, Sept. 13,  Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd, Round Rock

2-5 p.m. Sept. 13, Elgin Fire Station, 111 N. Avenue C, Elgin

9-11 a.m. Sept. 17, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.

9 a.m. Sept. 19, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane

9 a.m.-noon Sept. 29, St. David’s Emergency Center, 601 St. David’s Loop, Leander. Free car seats will be available at this event.

9 A.M. Oct. 2, Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive

9-11 a.m. Oct. 5, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.

9 a.m. Oct. 9, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.

9 a.m.-noon, Oct. 11, Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd., Round Rock

9-11 a.m. Oct. 15, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.

9 a.m. Oct. 17, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane

Call 512-943-1264 to register for an appointment with St. David’s or Williamson County EMS. Call 512-324-8687 to register for an appointment in Elgin, Dell Children’s Medical Center or H-E-B. Call 512-972-7233 for CommUnity Care Clinic and recreation centers.

More teens getting HPV vaccine, CDC reports

Good job, parents. More teens are up-to-date on their HPV vaccines than in previous years, the Centers for Disease Control tells us in a new report. 

University of Miami pediatrician Judith L. Schaechter gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images 2011

Related: Do you and your teens know about a vaccine they should be getting?

The number of adolescents age 13-17 years who have completed the recommended doses in the HPV series was up 5 percentage points from 2016 to 2017. Now 49 percent had completed the series. As well, 66 percent had started the series.

The CDC notes:

In addition to a yearly flu vaccine, CDC recommends three vaccines for all preteen boys and girls:

  • meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis
  • HPV vaccine to protect against HPV cancers; and
  • Tdap booster to protect against whooping cough.

RELATED: CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics release new vaccine schedule

For kids age 9-14, it’s two doses between six and 12 months apart. For kids age 15 and older, it’s three doses. The second one is a month after the first; the third is three months after that.

The HPV vaccine can prevent 90 percent of the 31,200 cases of cancer caused by HPV in the United States every year.

We know that in Australia, which has had a more intensive HPV vaccination program, doctors are seeing less precancerous cervical lesions now.

RELATED: Is your doctor talking about sex with your child?

Do you and your teens know about a meningoccal vaccine they should be getting?

Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that will be in the September issue of “Pediatrics” that found that doctors aren’t talking to their teens and their parents or young adults about getting the serogroup B meningoccal vaccine.

That vaccine was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunication Practices in 2015 for people age 16 to 23.

Live Oak Health Partners Community Clinic LVN Donna Donica  vaccinates a student for back to school at the Live Oak clinic in San Marcos in 2017. Teens need vaccines, too.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

What researchers found was that only 51 percent of pediatricians mentioned the vaccine to patients in this age range and only 31 percent of family practice doctors mentioned it. The good news was that when doctors talked about it, 91 percent of them recommended it to their patients. Doctors were more likely to recommend it when there was a disease outbreak or incident of the disease locally.

What other vaccines do kids need? Here is the current school vaccination schedule:

Kindergarten-Sixth Grade

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: four or five doses depending on which version your kid got.

Polio: four or three doses

Measles, Mumps and Rubella: two doses

Hepatitis B: three doses

Varicella: two doses

Hepatitus A: two doses

Seventh graders

All of the above, plus

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: three doses of the primary series plus a booster within the last five years

Meningococcal: one dose

Eighth- throught 12-graders

All of the above, but if the diptheria/tetanus/pertussis shot has not been given in the last 10 years, a booster is needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends these vaccines for the 11-year-old or 12-year-old check up:

  • HPV vaccine
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against HPV infections that cause cancer. For kids age 9-14, it’s two doses, one six months to a year after the first. For kids 15 or older, it’s three doses, the second one to two months after the first; the third, six months after the first.
  • Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine
    Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the bacteria that can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal. It recommends one dose at 11.
  • Tdap vaccine
    Tdap vaccine provides a booster to continue protection from childhood against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).
  • Flu vaccine
    Preteens and teens should get a flu vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible. It is very important for preteens and teens with chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu shot, but the flu can be serious for even healthy kids.

RELATED: FluMist will be back this year

The CDC recommends this vaccine at the 16-year check up:

  • A second dose of meningococcal ACWY
  • meningococcal B vaccine.

 

Bring your young superheroes out to play this weekend in Austin, Aug. 24-26

We’re all adjusting to this back-to-school thing. Spend this weekend catching up on sleep, staying cool, and enjoying fun activities as a family.

Here are some of the family events we found:

FRIDAY

Back-to-School Dance, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St. austintexas.gov

Toybrary

Austin. Unicorn Swimming. 10 a.m. Friday. 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

“Rise of the Black Panther.” Meet author Evan Narcisse. 7 p.m. Friday, Carver Branch.

Spider-Man fights off the Green Goblin in a demonstration at the Erwin Center for “Marvel Universe Live.” RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

Heroes in a Half Shell: A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Celebration. Mondo Gallery offers art of the cartoon. Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Mondo Gallery is located at 4115 Guadalupe St. mondotees.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

Marvel Universe Live! Now you can see your favorite action heroes live. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. $25-$90. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com

“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Club. Kids movies for a $1-$3 donation. “Kung Fu Panda.” 10:20 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Mueller. 11 a.m. Friday, 10:35 a.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Slaughter Lane. “Paddington 2.” 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday, Lakeline. drafthouse.com.

SATURDAY

Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth-grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the Downtown Austin location, 1510 Toomey Road. RSVP on a link on zachtheatre.org

Thinkery. Splash Into Summer this August for Baby Bloomers, 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Tinkering Take Home. For ages 4 and older. Make a sewn circuit. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org

BookPeople events. 10:30 a.m. story times. Coloring story time, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble. 11 a.m. Saturday story times. This week hear “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.” barnesandnoble.com

Minecraft Club. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch.

Sherwood Forest Faire brings stories of Robin Hood to Scottish Rite Theater.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 12 and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St. brownpapertickets.com/event/3527404.

SUNDAY

Hideout Kids: “Mission Kid-Possible.” Enjoy a kid-centric improve. $5 11 a.m. Sunday. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.com

Come Dance 2018. Ballet Austin’s annual free day of dance allows you to sample a variety of the organization’s community dance classes, including ballet, Bollywood, hip hop, Brazilian, African, Irish dance and more. No RSVP is necessary — just get yourself moving. 1 to 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org.

Austin Symphony Hartman Concerts in the Park. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

BackYard at Waller Creek Sunday Funday. Games, face-painting, bounce house and more. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Free for kids younger than 12, $5 adults. 701 E. 11th St. backyardbaraustin.com

Slow down, drivers. Kids are back in school

This morning, while the school bus was approaching to whisk my son off to his final year of high school, I watched as car after car tried to pass the slowing-down-with-its-lights-on school bus. Trying to game the system and get around my kid’s bus, makes you a jerk.

You’ll start to see kids like Travis Bradley and Julian Gonzalez running for the bus. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

All over Central Texas as kids go back to school, we have kids and parents who aren’t sure where they are going, who aren’t sure what the traffic pattern at school is yet, or are waiting for buses that are running late.

Let’s all practice our patience and be safe.

If you haven’t watched this 2016 video from Austin Independent School District of two students getting hit by cars after getting off the school bus, watch it. Also read Melissa Taboada and Katie Hall’s story about the 900 cars AISD caught that didn’t stop for school buses in the first week of school that year. 

Those big yellow school buses are a reminder that school is back in session and there are lots of kids and parents walking around, and not just in and around a school bus. Watch out for kids walking or riding bikes to school and from. Watch out for their parents walking to bus stops before or after the bus gets there.

RELATED: How to take a good first day of school photo 

Slow down. Stop. And Think.

If you did hit a kid or a parent and he or she was seriously injured or died, how would you live with yourself?

Kristen Hullum, MSN, RN, the trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, offers the following tips on how to keep your children safe between home and school.

Street Safety

Kids who walk, bike or take the bus to school must be familiar with street safety rules. Remind them to use crosswalks whenever available; always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard; and never assume that a car can see them. Help them understand how to take extra precautions when watching for vehicles and crossing streets safely. Use the sidewalk when available, and walk facing the flow of traffic.

Children should wear reflective strips on their backpacks, shoes or jackets if walking or riding to school in the dark.

Remind children to keep their “head up, phone down.” Many students can be seen walking to school while texting. It is easy for them to become distracted—and lose awareness of their surroundings and moving vehicles—while using their phone.

Lap and shoulder belts have been available on Texas school buses for many years. Insist your child always wears their seat belt on the school bus and sets an example for other children. Remind them to stay in their seat until the bus comes to a complete stop, to keep their arms and head inside the windows at all times, and never to assume that cars will stop for the bus or children crossing the street — they still must watch carefully for vehicles.

Playground Safety

More than 20,000 kids visit the emergency room every year with injuries sustained on the playground. The majority of these injuries are related to falls. Remind children to be aware of moving swings, broken equipment, platforms from which they could fall and activities that may not be appropriate for younger kids.

Children should always be closely supervised when playing on the playground, and injuries (even minor ones) should be reported to teachers and parents so they can be monitored.

Ask children to report safety hazards to an adult to prevent other children from getting hurt.

 

Sports Safety

Be sure your child wears the proper sports safety equipment for whichever sport they play.

Monitor your children for subtle signs of an injury—limping, grimacing, holding or rubbing a certain area. If your child ever hits his or her head, with or without a helmet, monitor the child carefully for signs of a concussion, and see a physician immediately if symptoms occur. Signs include confusion and forgetfulness, changes in mood or behavior, loss of consciousness, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurry vision and complaints of “just not feeling right.” If you suspect a concussion, see a physician and have your child refrain from further physical activity. When in doubt, sit it out.

Keep kids well hydrated. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water or electrolyte replacement fluids before, during and after sports activities. Monitor for signs of heat exhaustion—confusion, lack of sweating (a sign they have already lost all fluids through the skin), nausea, headache, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and muscle cramping. Kids experiencing any of these symptoms need to be moved to a cooler place, drink lots of fluids, use a damp washcloth to cool their body and seek medical attention if symptoms do not resolve quickly.

Did you take first day of school photos?

We want to see your first day of school pictures! If you do remember to take a photo, send it to readerphotos@statesman.com or tag us @statesman on Twitter or Instagram.

Is it better to start school on a Monday or in the middle of the week? Weigh in

Is it better to start school midweek or on a Monday? That is the question I’m currently pondering.

RELATED: Do you know when school starts?

This week, on Wednesday, a bunch of schools started back including Lake Travis, Bastrop, Liberty Hill, Wimberley and Lago Vista. The next wave came on Thursday with Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville and Georgetown joining them.

Parents and children stand in line at Deep Wood Elementary School on the first day of school to take photos. Round Rock ISD started classes on Thursday.  Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader.

On Monday, Austin ISD, Manor and Burnet return to class. Followed by Dripping Springs, Hutto and Smithville on Tuesday, and Eanes, Elgin and Marble Falls next Wednesday.

Bringing up the rear on Aug. 27, is Hays Consolidated, San Marcos Consolidated and Del Valle.

So, is it better to start mid-week or on a Monday?

That’s like asking: do you rip off the bandage in one jerky move or do you peel it away millimeter by millimeter?

A long time ago… like when my now senior in high school was in kindergarten … Austin ISD did start on a Thursday. At the time I thought, “That’s just crazy!” Why a Thursday?

Now I get it. There are pluses and minuses.

Pro mid-week:

You get a gradual ease in. For those anxious kids, it’s just a few days and then a weekend break. Whew!

RELATED: How to help a shy child get ready for school

You have two days to pick up school supplies before the next class, rather than one night. If you have a middle-schooler or high-schooler, you know what I’m talking about. The first time your kid goes to a class, they get a list of supplies they need. If you have a kid on an A-day/B-day schedule, it takes two days to see all of their teachers. If you start on a Monday, your kid doesn’t get their complete list until Tuesday.

Next Tuesday night, I and all the other frustrated parents of Austin ISD kids will be in the Walmart or Target scrounging for supplies that are no longer there.

RELATED: Dear Walmart and Target, kids still need school supplies

One year, I tried to out-guess the teachers and pre-buy supplies. I ended up with a bunch of stuff that neither one of my kids needed. Now I buy basics: notebook paper, pencils, composition books, pens. That’s it and wait until we get the list.

That means I’m with all of you desperate and irritated parents at the big box store. One year, my kid needed a certain kind of dry erase marker that I checked five different stores to find and finally located it in the CVS of all places. And then my kid transferred out of that class two weeks later. The time spent, the pressure around finding items, is crazy-making.

RELATED: Where’s the most popular places to buy school supplies?

Teachers get a weekend between the first few days of school and the first full week to get their classrooms back in order. (And yes, we know you’re not supposed to be working on the weekend, but we also realize that you do.)

Pro-Monday start date:

Teachers get a weekend between Meet the Teacher and the first day of school. They have time to touch base with parents who had questions at Meet the Teacher. They can put away all the supplies the kids brought to Meet the Teacher. They can follow up with the parents who weren’t able to make it.

Parents don’t have to find a half-week camp for their kids or take off a couple of days because they can’t find a camp for those two or three days.

High-schooler and middle-schoolers really get a sense of their whole schedule that first week. There’s no delay in figuring out if the course load is too crazy.

The transition could be easier if you have a kid who likes routine. Bedtime and wake-up time routines get established quickly. It feels like school has begun.

What do you think? Are you Pro Midweek Start or Pro Monday Start? Share your thoughts in the comments.

RELATED: How to take a good first day of school photo

RELATED: What to do the night before school starts