Edmonds Kind of Play: Free summer programs for kids and families

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Ranger-naturalist programs on the Edmonds waterfront.

This week, I found myself in the Frances Anderson Center to participate in the stakeholder meeting for the design of the new Civic Field skate park. Having spent many a hour at the Edmonds skate park watching my youngest learn and try increasingly scary-to-his-mother tricks, we’ve met a lot of people, made some friends along the way and added the park as another reason we love it here so much. If you use the skate park as a skater or a parent of a skater and are interested in any future stakeholders meeting, you can email Carrie Hite, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director, at [email protected].

One of the bonuses of being in Frances Anderson Center (FAC) — besides of course that feeling you get taking in the view, the classic classrooms, and passing the rooms full of kids — is that there are flyers posted all around that have great, local and often free events on them. Many of the events I saw are those that involve the city’s ranger-naturalists. This summer there will be three FREE low-tide public beach walks. On July 12 from 10 to 11 a.m., July 28 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and Aug. 13 from noon to 1 p.m., you can meet the ranger-naturalists at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station and enjoy the low tide with an expert! We once had a birthday party during low tide and hired a Ranger-Naturalist and it was that great mix of fun and educational. They have a good eye and can not only describe what they see, but point out more than your average person knows to look for.

There will be two “Ranger Talks” this summer where you can join ranger-naturalists for an informative program on the beach this summer as well. On June 30 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. you can attend “The Seals of Edmonds” talk. This one-hour talk, which starts at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station, will cover behavior, life cycles and biology of the seals that are visible along our waterfront. On July 14 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. they will be giving a Buoys and Gulls Walk and Talk. This talk, which starts at the base of the Brackett’s Landing North jetty, will cover the “daily goings-on along the Edmonds waterfront.” The Dive Park, Marine Sanctuary and wildlife will be discussed.

One of the best events of the summer is the Moonlight Beach Adventure, which this year will be on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Marina Beach Park. The ranger-naturalists put on a show to kick off the night that involves touch tanks full of live creatures brought to the shore by volunteer scuba divers operating a live underwater video feed. Not only can you talk to them while they are underwater, but the feed is projected for all Beach Adventure-goers to see. It is recommended that you dress warmly and bring a flashlight and I would second that. One of the years that my husband brought the kids, he had leftover glow bracelets in the backpack and he said it was a great way to keep track of the kids once it started to get darker. All of the above events areFREE and for more information on them you can call 425-771-0227.

Engineering with LEGO Summer Camps was another flier posted at FAC. There are four different options put on by Play-Well, each broken up into morning or afternoon sessions based on age. There is a STEM week, a LEGO robotics week, a Minecraft-themed week, and a Jedi Engineering week. The age ranges are 5 to 12 and vary depending on the week and theme. These camps are another option where the kids are learning while having fun and not in the put-cheese-sauce-on-broccoli sort of way. My youngest took a week of LEGO camp a few summers ago and they built LEGO creations that moved — and the fun he had that week translated into a long-term interest in learning how to make the LEGOs move. For all of the different camp options, times and fees you can visit EdmondsCamps.org or call FAC at 425-771-0230.

I also saw a Kindermusik poster that had class options for newborns up to 5 year olds. Kindermusik, where they “dance, sing, listen, learn, play and pretend,” is more of a class than a camp, even though it’s happening during summer. Classes are once a week in the month-long sessions, and children need to have adults with them. There are summer options for Wobblers, ages newborn to 20 months, Toddlers, ages 1.5 to 3.5, and Family Music, which is for kids from ages 1 to 5. For more information on Kindermusik at FAC you can visit JoyousNoiseStudio.com or call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230.

 
I would be remiss if I discussed the Frances Anderson Center and not mention the new playground. It is chock-full of things to do! Now I don’t know the official names of many of these features, but kids can spin, climb, make music, slide and a ton more. When I stopped in the middle of my Mom Walk to get a drink there at the end of last week, the newly opened park had a lot of visitors and yet, still a lot of space to play!

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”

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