Edmonds Kind of Play: Home-based options for staying active

Some of our early quarantine “go-tos” aren’t fitting the bill these days. The kids are pretty burned out on sitting through a movie at night, especially because we’re still struggling to get a good amount of exercise — I’m going to add some new links below because it seems like it’s not just us. Virtual events, mostly drawing tutorials and book reading so far, have added an interactive layer to an activity that is not led by the adults in the house.

This Friday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m., the Washington State Park Foundation is hosting The Great Washington Camp-in. They invite you to “set up your tent and sleeping bags in your living room or yard to enjoy ranger talks, acoustic guitar sing-alongs, dance, poetry and special campfire recipes like s’mores [and] cocoa!” On top of those activities, during the Virtual Camp-In, you will get to see unique views on Whidbey Island’s Fort Casey Historical State Park and on the Northwest Geology at Sun Lakes State Park in Eastern Washington and can expect to see “surprise guests.” There is a photo contest and you are invited to share your at home Camp-In set up for a chance to win a prize. This online event is free and you can find more information on their Facebook events page and at WAParks.org.

Virtual Storytime with Sno-Isle libraries started this week! Stay at Home Storytime Snippets will be posted on the Sno-Isle Facebook page and YouTube channel Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m., as they were this week, though they can be watched whenever fits for you. When the first one posted on Tuesday, I opened it and watched some of it, excited to report back to you all. As a testament to that something special in the voice of a librarian, my youngest — far from the age of the intended audience — stopped what he was doing and asked me what I was watching. Katherine Combs, Children’s Librarian at the Edmonds Library, told me that these Storytimes are currently planned to continue until at least May 5. You can find the Storytime on the Sno-Isle Facebook page, and their YouTube channel and you can visit the online calendar for updated information and additional events.

Potterheads now have more access to Harry and Hogwarts than ever. In order to help children, parents, caregivers and teachers confined at home, Author J.K. Rowling and her Wizarding World partners have created Harry Potter at home where “you’ll find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied.” This “hub” will offer “nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.” They are also offering a weekly email newsletter as they add and update the options. You can find the Harry Potter series via Sno-Isle.org on Overdrive and all of the Harry Potter at Home options at WizardingWorld.com.

My youngest learned about the Pete the Cat books while at preschool and we both fell in love with him, or maybe it was just me. The illustrator of the series, James Dean, has been holding the Pete the Cat Club online offering activity ideas, scavenger hunts, plus drawing tutorials and story reading. Pete the Cat Club is now daily at 1 p.m. on Instagram Live, but can also be found on Facebook. If you go to Instagram.com/PetetheCatOfficial at 1 p.m., you will be able to see the event as it’s happening; otherwise, it is available there for 24 hours. PetetheCatBooks.com has additional options for stories and videos, plus printable activities.

Alright, let’s talk about the exercise, though I am only talking about it in a way to “get the wiggles out” or say, get tired enough to take a nap/go to bed on time. We are really struggling to get the kids enough movement here. You know it’s a situation when you feel excited that your elementary-aged student’s PE teacher stopped by their Zoom meeting — I am not up to date on what you would even call that, a pop in? Anyhow, she led the kids in a little bit of exercise and it was a relief to not be the one trying to get one of the kids to move and a double relief to see them following along to the burpees and jumping jacks that the class was doing.

I realize that I am never going to be able to recreate our pre-quarantine levels of activity. One of our kids had 4.5 hours of weekly after-school practice alone, and I know that it is different given the change in routine and the additional anxiety of the circumstances. I am just looking to help everyone manage themselves and be able to (mostly) sit through dinner when walks aren’t always an option. I saw an Avengers-themed exercise video on social media and went to YouTube to check it out. Les Mills, which offers kid and adult exercise videos online, have some selections on YouTube, including a five-minute Avengers video that  my youngest begrudgingly agreed to and then has willingly done multiple times today. (To be fair, it includes kicking.) The video, set on the scene of a Thor movie, was fun and easy to follow. Les Mills offers other workout options like this 20-minute dance-based option. There are other Avenger-based workouts on YouTube and one of the more shared workout options — Cosmic Kids Yoga — has Spiderman, Frozen, and Moana themed videos on their YouTube channel. We tried this early on in our time at home and while I think it is really great, it was a bit too young for my kids.

If you are looking for something for yourself, Harbor Square Athletic Club has been offering classes via Facebook Live, even posting a schedule for the week. This week they offered a wide range of classes from Yoga to Barre to “Red Hot Dance.” I also saw they posted a list of exercises for Muv Tribe’s Workout of the Day that can be done at home. You can find all of the workouts at Facebook.com/HarborSquare.

In the spirit of ending this column again with my attempt to try something I saw online (see last week’s tot waffle attempt), I had seen a few posts about people drawing on plates with dry erase markers — then adding water to make not only the drawings float into the water, but on some posts, then become “tattoos” ala a birthday party goodie bag. As shown in a video I found on YouTube, it is not as easy as writing on a plate with a dry erase marker and having the markings come to life. We went through all of the dry erase markers we had until we realized that only one color we tried worked and we had to pour the water on fairly quickly. As far as the temporary tattoo is concerned, my youngest and I both put the backs of our hands into the water above whatever managed to float and let it stick to our hands. His warped star drawing is still on the back of his hand! I found another tutorial video from The Dad Lab — he seems to have a better experience than I (well we, if you count the early video I linked) did. It was fun to try though, and cleanup was easy

— 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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