Edmonds Kind of Play: Summer opportunities for tweens

City of Edmonds Discovery programs include a Naturalist Camp for tweens.

As my oldest ascends, maybe descends, into his teenage years, I feel like I’m straddling the very fine line between the person who tells the parent of a young child, “it goes so fast” and the parent in the thick of it, who thinks “this will never end.”

Simultaneously, I feel a bit of regret, similar to the last day of vacation or last bite of something very delicious — that sinking feeling that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have, and also just like this picture I’ve seen of my friend in the middle of running a marathon. She had stopped and pulled over to the side of the race, looking at her watch with a look of distress as she tried to talk herself into finishing. Of course, all the feelings are heightened and descriptions sprinkled with hyperbole as the transition to middle school looms and there’s only one size left of all the pairs of shoes strewn around the house that indicates there is a child living here.

The whole time just feels like it weighs more. I mean, they make movies about young teenagers with real-life themes and not just talking dogs or adorable British wizards. We watched a movie last night that had no superheroes or animation in it, though I suppose it did have aliens. At this age, I certainly remember being somewhere in between doing Barbie’s hair and using the multi-plate crimper I got for Christmas on my own hair. While he’s still a “tween” for now, “considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager,” we’ve reached the portion where we’re standing on both legs if you will, but the weight is shifting more toward the one who thinks “you just don’t get it.”

While we can still reap the financial benefit of the “Kids Menu,” I thought I’d share some tween options, staving off the Napoleon Dynamite-level sighs as long as we can.

Aug. 6th through the 10th, kids ages 9 to 12 can attend Jr. Naturalist Camp through the City of Edmonds. This Discovery Program, taught by Ranger-Naturalists, will show campers what professional naturalists do: “animal tracking, nature journaling, bird identification, stream and wetland investigations, and more.” Campers will “use scientific tools while exploring the forest, marsh, and intertidal habitats of Edmonds.”

This camp runs all week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, in our experience, is one of those where you pack extra clothes and plastic bags to store the wet, sandy ones. They have been a big hit at our house and they offer non-student day options during the school year. For more information or registration, you can visit RecZone.org or call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230.

Jedi Master Engineering with LEGO Grades 2 to 6 (7-12) will be held the same week, Aug. 6th through the 10th. This advanced engineering course for  a “young Jedi” will help campers “discover key engineering concepts such as gear trains, worm drives, pneumatics, and eccentric motion.” The list of projects includes “X-Wings, AT-AT walkers, Pod Racers,” and “other complex machines and structures from a galaxy far, far away.” This camp is half day, held from 1 to 4 p.m., and has an option earlier in the day, 9 a.m. to noon, for kids ages 5 to 7. We have done a LEGO camp with Play-Well before and my youngest had a good time. For more information you can visit Play-Well.org and for registration you can contact Park and Recreation at 425-771-0230.

Sno-Isle Libraries has a lot of options for “tweens” that are often shared with the “teen” age group, plus, the library is a cool place in this heat and they have computers and some fancy seating in the teen area.  Monday, Aug. 6 is another option for an Explore Summer: Pop-Up Maker Lab where tweens and teens can drop-in to create, play, invent, and tinker with our monthly rotating gadgets, electronics, crafts, tools, and more. This session, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., is Virtual Reality & Robots with their Oculus Rift virtual reality system and Ozobots (tiny, line-reading robots.) That VR stuff is pretty amazing and my oldest had Ozobots in class and enjoyed them. For more information on this Pop-Up Maker Lab and more options for tweens, you can visit Sno-Isle.org/SummerTeens.

Volunteer opportunity for tweens at Holly House: Help organize a storage unit.

Holly House, which provides gifts and necessities to low-income families and their children primarily in the Edmonds School District during the holidays, just posted a volunteer opportunity in a local “T(w)eens” group that I thought: I’d share with you. I know that perspective can get lost a little bit during these years and also that volunteer hours can help with college — as the kids say, “I can’t even” think about college. It’s time to “tackle” one of the Holly House storage units and they are looking for help with sorting, repacking, and stacking gifts for this season, including those bought most recently on Amazon Prime Day. They can use your help on Monday, Aug. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Armadillo Storage on Highway 99 in Edmonds. For more information you can call 425-673-0526 or visit HollyHouseForKids.org.

— 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.

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