Edmonds Kind of Play: Options for seeing virtual and real wildlife, story times and summer day camp options

“Jelly Cam” is now something I blurt out at random times during the week. This is to alert everyone that the Monterey Bay Aquarium Facebook has a live feed of jellyfish running. They also have Kelp Forest Cam, Shark Cam, Penguin Cam, Sea Otter Cam, Moon Jelly Cam, and videos of things like a huge octopus and a squid that looks like a cartoon — I didn’t even list every “Cam.” Even as we enter phases of reopening, we are still interacting with people, media, and companies in different ways. This past week, we followed #WatchWithTheAcademy on Twitter as the writers, director, stars, and creator of Scott Pilgrim vs The World live tweeted the movie and shared behind the scenes stories and pictures — it felt good to know that we were all hitting play at the same time.

I saw this week that Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville announced their “Wild Drive Experience.” The park, known for its exhibits and tram ride, is now selling guided tours where you stay in your car. The tour will be limited to 10 registered vehicles, reservations are required and a guide will take you through the trails as you follow along with audio on an app you download ahead of time. There is a maximum of eight people allowed per family/household in your vehicle with tickets sold online ahead of time — $80 for non-members. The program has already sold out for the next four weekends, but I saw weekdays available on the ticketing page. For more information and to pay for your reservation, you can visit NWTrek.org.

I saw a parent on a local Facebook group mention a group called Chess 4 Life that their child was successfully participating in virtually. The organization offers clubs, classes, and camps online with different levels of instruction and game play in each option. My oldest gets instruction online for music via Zoom and it has gone so much better than expected and, just like at lessons, he has learned new things. For more information and registration you can visit Chess4Life.com.

Given the learning differences and busy hands at our house, audio books have been a staple for years. Now that kids don’t have access to school and public libraries, I see new options for books read aloud each week. The latest option is Oscar winner Taika Waititi — your student’s may know him from Thor: Ragnarok — reading Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach across 10 episodes and with some famous guests. So far, Waititi has been joined by Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nick Kroll (my favorite!) and Chris and Liam Hemsworth. The collaboration is to benefit COVID-19 impacted charities, which you can donate to on the same link where you can find each episode of the story read so far, RoaldDahl.com/Taika-and-Friends.

Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Culture Services has offered a “fun rainy day activity” for the whole family. The art project, put together by one of  Parks and Rec’s “resident art instructors,” Jessica Carlson of Adventures In Art, is Puzzle the Giraffe. “Puzzle” is one part puzzle, one part art, that includes step-by-step instructions and involves learning without seeming like it. The city invites you to post your family’s projects on Facebook.com/EdmondsRecZone.

Some families still need child care and the Edmonds and Alderwood Boys and Girls Club are offering 14 weeks of camp starting on Monday, June 1. Edmonds Boys and Girls Club, whose location is at Civic Field in Edmonds, 310 6th Avenue, is offering camp for kids from kindergarten to 6th-plus. Alderwood, which is located at 19719 24th Ave. W., Lynnwood, offers K through 6th and also teen camp for kids entering 7th through 9th grade. Registration is open for both locations now and scholarship assistance will be available to those who qualify. For camp at the Edmonds location, you can find information and registration HERE and for the Alderwood location you can find information and registration HERE. For all Boys and Girls Club information, you can visit BGSC.org.

In a “normal” summer, it is so much work to schedule camps. There are so many variables with before- and after-care options, differing interests, kids in different age groups, camp accommodations and accessibility, and this year, online options. In 2014, Northwest mom Helen Wang came up with a free, one-stop option to help parents — 6Crickets.com. I felt better when I read that Wang told the Seattle Times that the process of scheduling camps is “not even simple for a computer.” Every year seems to add a new variable for summer care, some years it was before care, other years it was two kids, two locations — this year would have been both kids interested in being in the same place each week. To add to the management of care, it seems like waitlists fill up earlier and earlier each year. If you are looking for summer options, putting “online” in the search field showed me some local online options. You can visit 6Crickets.com to learn more.

This week, the activity for kids I saw making the rounds on social media was a DIY Lava Lamp. These are the kinds of activities I prefer to happen on someone else’s watch, but this one is done with mostly items that are found at home or at least at the store where you get your groceries.

With Alka Seltzer, vegetable oil, food coloring and a sealed container like a 2-liter soda bottle, you can make the “lamp” and the kids can learn why oil and water don’t mix. According to  Science Bob, it is “polarity.” You can find the activity and the explanation at ScienceBob.com.— 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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