Tag Archives: Seattle

Summer Concerts and Plays

Kitsap Forest Theatre, www.foresttheater.com/

Kitsap Forest Theatre, http://www.foresttheater.com/

My last post was about summer movies in the Seattle area. Today’s is about concerts, outdoor theatre and other live entertainment for summer 2016. Most of these shows are free (but please give optional donations when the pass the hat, so they can keep offering them!!)

Concerts: Red Tricycle has already assembled this great Guide to Free (and Cheap) Summer Concerts. It includes info about kid-friendly concerts at the Ballard Locks, the zoo (not free), Issaquah’s Spring Free trampoline, U Village, downtown Seattle, Seattle Center, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Kirkland, Issaquah, Sammamish, Everett, Kenmore, Redmond, and Tukwila.

Theatre:

Most of the shows on here (though not Shakepeare’s tragedies… ) are good for ages 7 or 8 and up. We have brought a toddler / preschooler, but with lots of snacks, toys and sticker books to entertain him quietly, then we take him over to the wading pool or playground before or after the show.

Wooden O is doing Hamlet and Love’s Labours Lost. In Bellevue, Edmonds, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Mercer Island, Seattle,

Greenstage Shakespeare in the Park is performing Cymbeline and Merry Wives of Windsor this year; their smaller scale Backyard Bard performances are of Pericles and Twelfth Night. Season runs July 8 – August 13 at multiple parks in Seattle, plus Lynnwood, Maple Valley, and Fall City.

July 9 and 10 is the Seattle Outdoor Theatre Festival in Volunteer Park in Seattle, which features performances from Wooden O and Greenstage (see above) plus Last Leaf, Theatre Schmeater, Jet City Improv, 14/48 projects, and Young Shakespeare Workshop. Our favorite for years has been Jet City Improv’s Lost Folio, where they improve Shakespeare (yes, dialect and all) based on suggestions from the audience.

Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre is doing Beauty and the Beast. July 23 – August 21. $10 to $20. Ages 5 and under free. Can combine nicely with a day trip to Snoqualmie Falls.

Kitsap Forest Theatre (near Bremerton) is doing Little Mermaid. (They did the Music Man on the weekends from Memorial Day to Father’s Day.) July 30 – August 21. $10 – 20, 6 and under free.

Leavenworth Summer Theatre is presenting Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, and Beauty and the Beast. $14 – 32.

Outdoor Trek. Each year, they perform live an episode of Star Trek The Original Series. This year will be Space Seed (where we first meet Khan). For those of you who have gone in the past, and roasted in the sun during the performance, it’s good to know that all shows start at 7 pm this year so we can sit in the shade.

Library Summer Reading Programs

Seattle Public library programs for kindergarten to grade 5 kids include Scribble Machines, stories about Anansi the Spider, writing a picture book, making candy, learning circus skills, math in the music, creature feature from Pacific Science Center, and Little Critters from the Woodland Park Zoo. Locations throughout Seattle.

King County library programs for age 3 – 12 include concerts by Nancy Stewart, the Exercise Everything Show, Bing Bang Boom show, games you can’t lose magic show, Team Tales, The Magically Ridiculous Game Show, and more. Locations throughout King County, including lots in the south part of the county.

Advertisements

Summer Movies

Whether you’re looking for outdoor movies to enjoy those warm summer evenings, or indoor movies for those hot summer mornings when you really just need some A/C, or a drive-in movie, here are some options in the Seattle area for summer 2016.

Kids’ Summer Movie Clubs

As you may remember from your own childhood, these are probably the cheapest, easiest way to entertain your kids for two hours on a summer morning…

Outdoor Movies

Note: all outdoor movies start around “dusk”. This being the Pacific Northwest, that usually means around 9 – 9:30 pm in July and 8:30 – 9 in August, so outdoor movies aren’t compatible with early bedtimes. Get some handy tips / etiquette advice for outdoor movies here and here.

Wednesdays:

Movies at Marymoor in Redmond. Wednesdays, 7/26 – 8/4. Mostly kid-friendly, but use discretion for Jurassic World and Star Wars Force Awakens. $5 per person, $5 to park. Live entertainment, trivia, food trucks, vendors. www.epiceap.com/movies-at-marymoor/

Thursdays:

Fridays:

Saturdays:

More options: Lemay’s Car Museum; Auburn’s Summer Sounds; Shilshole Bay Marina; Three Dollar Bill, Cal Anderson Park, Capital Hill. And Skyway. And Bellingham. More details about all of these at: www.seattlemet.com/articles/2016/5/26/seattle-summer-outdoor-movie-guide-2016

Drive-Ins

Movies start at dusk… see note above. There aren’t many drive-ins left… and when you search for them online, you’re likely to find out of date listings. For example, http://www.driveintheater.com/drivlist.htm lists Samish in Bellingham, which was demolished in 2004, and http://www.driveinmovie.com/WA.htm lists Valley in Auburn which has been closed for several years and Puget Park in Everett, which closed in 2010. Here’s what’s still open within a two hour drive from Seattle:

The only other one in the state is Auto-vue Drive-in – Colville, WA. 6 hours from Seattle. www.facebook.com/Auto-Vue-Drive-In-Theatre-120740527937813/

Summer Movie Guide

If you’re looking for a list of first-run movies for the summer, and advice on whether they’re kid appropriate, check out the Summer Movie Guide from Common Sense Media.

Other Activities: If you’re looking for other fun ideas for the summer, check out my series on “Cheap Dates with Toddlers and Young Kids”, or read about hands-on STEM enrichment activities for kids age 3 – 7 at www.InventorsOfTomorrow.com. If you have kids age birth to 7, check out info about fabulous classes for them that include parent education for you, available at all local community colleges during the school year – register now before they fill up!!

Amazon Fresh and Grocery Delivery

amUsually on this blog, I focus on parenting skills, child development, early childhood education, and STEM activities for kids. But, today, I’m jumping out of that theme a bit for a local-interest post on local grocery delivery services. (Note: I am not an employee or affiliated with Amazon in any way except as a customer.)

Like many local folks, I use AmazonFresh for grocery delivery. I’ve used them since they launched, however long it’s been – I can tell you that I’ve ordered milk from them more than 99 times…  I’ve been quite happy with them. We do a delivery about once a week and I very rarely go to the grocery store. (I’ve got a four year old, use crutches, and have  a busy schedule so this makes my life much easier.)

So, like many other users I was very unhappy last fall when they told us they were going to start requiring a membership to use their services. I was relieved when they delayed that requirement… but now, the time has hit. In order to continue using AmazonFresh, I need to be a Prime Fresh member… $300 a year! So, yes, I was raging about it the other night. But, then my husband pointed out that we already pay $100 for a Prime membership, which is included for Prime Fresh members, so really it’s only $200 more than we currently spend. And, since we do weekly grocery deliveries, that works out to $4 a week for a grocery delivery. (Not having to shlep groceries, not having to drag my four year old through the store, etc.) Huh.. suddenly that seems more reasonable.

But, then I wondered: how do they compare to the competition? I know the AmazonFresh system and don’t really have the time or energy to learn a new system. But… I needed to know: how do the options compare on the bottom line?

So, I picked 15 items I often order. I purposely picked some fresh produce, some dairy, some staples, some snacks, some organic, some not organic to get a wide sample. And I compared how much it would cost to have those 15 items delivered by

  1. Amazon Fresh
  2. Safeway.com
  3. Whole Foods via Instacart
  4. PCC via Instacart
  5. QFC via Instacart

If a store did not have a specific item, I found what I would consider the best replacement to meet my needs. Sometimes those are perfectly fine replacements, sometimes I would be disappointed to have to make that substitution. (e.g. I really like Blue Sky cola – I have one every afternoon – it’s not available from Safeway or Whole Foods.)

The 15 items were milk, bread, ham, yogurt, juice, beef stew, pretzels, frozen pizza, toilet paper, cereal, cola, apples, bananas, romaine lettuce, and carrots.

For delivery fees, I counted Amazon as $4 per weekly delivery; Safeway is $9.95 per delivery of over $150. Instacart is more complicated pricing, but I chose to consider the option that was $99 per year for a membership, then after that, free delivery of all orders over $35. With weekly orders, that would be $2 per week.

So, the summary results for 15 items plus delivery (to see the spreadsheet click here)

  1. Amazon Fresh: $57.02
  2. Safeway $67.88
  3. Whole Foods $72.72
  4. PCC $79.12
  5. QFC $71.40

With Amazon Fresh I get exactly the product and brand I like to buy. With Safeway and QFC I had to make two substitutions. With PCC, it was 7 substitutions. With Whole Foods, I had to make substitutions on 10 out of 15 items. (Now, obviously, if you normally shop at Whole Foods, you might find you could get all the things you normally buy. But, for me I found very few of the things I buy.)

Clearly, your results may differ radically, based on what you buy and how often you get deliveries. But, despite all my anger at Amazon Fresh when I just looked at the lump sum number… it turns out I’m actually going to pay for the membership and keep on using Amazon Fresh.

Watermelon Magic Movie

Today we saw a sweet IMAX movie called Watermelon Magic. If you have a young child, and you like gardening or the outdoors or the forest kindergarten movement or like seeing five-year-old children who are empowered and supported in independent play and in pursuing a long-term project, you will like this movie.

Click on the trailer at the top of the post to get a sense of what the movie is like. Our son fell in love with this trailer when he was three years old, and it finally came to Seattle! (It’s at Pacific Science Center IMAX theater now: www.pacificsciencecenter.org/IMAX/watermelon-magic)

Audience: This is a movie aimed at the under 7 crowd. My son is four, and loved it. I talked to the mom of a two year old who enjoyed it though his mom said he was squirmy. The other 5 people in the theater were grandparents and an aunt… It was not high entertainment for the adults, but not annoying like some kid movies. It was an easy, relaxing, gentle and sweet movie.

Plot: It is a very simple story. The brief plot is: 5 year old Sylvia plants watermelon seeds, tends the garden, and sells them at a farmer’s market. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the big picture.There’s also very little dialogue – it’s show… not tell.

The parts I liked best were: Sylvia has a magic wand at the beginning and uses it to play some harmless tricks – it’s a fun little bit of fantasy at the start of the movie. Later, after the watermelon have begun to grow, her little brother keeps accidentally tromping on them, so she has the idea to build a fence. She gets the saw out, saws the bamboo, sets the bamboo posts, and ties the cross-beams on. By herself. Remember, this a 5-year-old who is doing the work. (Yes, I’m sure she had supervision, and had help when the camera wasn’t filming, but there’s no reason to think a 5-year-old couldn’t be taught to handle this project safely.)  She staffs her own stand at the farmer’s market and collects the money herself.

Mood: it’s sweet, gentle and slow-paced. Kind of like spending time outdoors in a garden.

Film: This is shot in time-lapse photography style. There’s lots of very cool scenes of plants growing, including close-ups of sprouts pushing up out of the soil. There’s some fun sunrise and sunset time-lapses and rainstorms. These are all pretty fabulous. But… my only complaint about the movie is that the whole thing is time-lapsed, and frankly it gets a little tiring to see the “stuttering” quality of that throughout the whole movie. There were times when Sylvia was talking with her mom where they slowed down the frame speed and would hold the image of each of them for longer… I liked that better. And although the time-lapse helped the movie feel “magical”, I wished some portions had just been done as video.

Possible activities you could do with your child before or after this movie, to extend the learning:

  • watch other time-lapse videos. there’s LOTS on YouTube
  • make a time-lapse video. We may try doing this… I don’t have the patience to do it with a growing plant, so I’m thinking it would be something that changes more quickly… maybe water beads going from their dried up form to fully grown, or the “Magic Grow Capsules” – those capsules where you put them in water, and the foam inside grows into a dinosaur or whatever. These changes happen over 8 – 20 hours, so my son is familiar with that process, and if we time-lapsed it and then played the video in 20 seconds, he’d get a better grasp of time-lapse, and then we could talk more about how the plants didn’t really grow as fast in reality as they did in the movie
  • you could plant watermelon seeds and tend them till you have watermelon (I say “you” because I know I’m not likely to do that… I’m not a gardener)
  • the next time we eat watermelon, we’ll talk about this movie
  • If you live somewhere watermelon grows, you may be able to find a you-pick watermelon farm
  • help your child come up with a big long-term project they would like to try

If you see the movie, let me know what you think!

Summer Outdoor Movies in King County

movieEach summer, I go through and make a list of all the options for outdoor movies… this year someone did it for me!

www.seattlemet.com/articles/2015/6/9/seattle-summer-outdoor-movie-guide-2015

I loved taking my older girls to outdoor movies every summer – the kids can run around near you and play, you can relax on your picnic blanket. They’re free or cheap. Lots of fun kid-appropriate summer movies. It’s all good!!

Sadly, our boy has been an early-to-bed child so far, and in Seattle summertime it doesn’t get dark enough to start an outdoor movie until after his bedtime. (I think in July, movies start at 9ish. In August, they start at 8:30 or so)  But, if you’ve got a child who stays up later, or a child who will curl up on a picnic blanket and fall asleep, they’re great!

If you’re interested in lots more fun (and inexpensive) things to do with your kids in King County, check out my Cheap Dates with Toddlers series. If you want to learn more about fun outdoor activities, and why they’re good for kids, I write a lot about nature play.

 

photo credit: watching the movie via photopin (license)

Cheap Dates with Toddlers: More “Natural” Playgrounds

Woodland Park playground by landscape structures

Woodland Park playground by landscape structures – click to enlarge pictures

Proponents of outdoor play and nature play know that one of the benefits of outdoor play is the range of physical skills used when playing outdoors: balancing on logs and climbing up trees requires kids to continually adapt their movement – reaching farther for some toe-holds than others… moving slower on slippery moss. Some modern playground manufacturers are starting to try to incorporate some of this variability and adventure in their playgrounds, while still making sure they meet all the safety requirements.
We recently checked out the playground at Woodland Park in Seattle (at 59th and Phinney Ave, by the north parking lot at the zoo). They have a new playground which has got some really cool features:

  • Ladders with uneven steps… challenge kids to pay attention and to adapt their movements to the variable heights of each step
  • “Rock climbing” ladders… kids scale uneven “rocks” to get to the slide
  • this rope dome thing that has no clear obvious way up, so kids have to get inventive to find their way up

Landscapes Structures is a national company. You can search for a Landscapes Structures playground near you: www.playlsi.com/

(I do have to say though, that just because it’s Landscape Structures won’t mean it’s this cool…. this is one of their newest designs I think – we’ve been to some parks with older equipment by them and they don’t have these organic features, though they’re still always nice.)

And also, I recommend getting your child out in nature, or in “found nature playgrounds” in your urban area.

 

Great Classes for Kids AND Parents: Parent Education Programs and Cooperative Preschools

Classrooms in the Bellevue College Program

Classrooms in the Bellevue College Program – click for larger view

Are you a parent of a baby, toddler, or preschool age child? Are you looking for:

  • A place where your child can explore toys, do art, hear stories, sing songs, and make friends?
  • A fun activity to do with your child where s/he learns new skills and you get new ideas?
  • Opportunities to meet other families and build community?
  • Expert advice and research-based information about parenting and child development?
  • Support from professionals and other parents for the challenges of life with a little one?

You can find all these great opportunities in one place!

In the Seattle area**, our community colleges sponsor parent education programs, including parent-tot programs and cooperative preschools, which are a fabulous resource for families. For children, classes offer hands-on learning, discovery and play. For adults, they offer on-going education on all topics related to parenting, and connections to other parents.

What is the children’s experience like?

The programs are play-based, because research shows children learn best through hands-on exploration in places where they feel safe and free to explore. Each classroom has several stations around the room, with developmentally appropriate activities to help kids build the skills they need. Children are encouraged to move around and explore at their own pace. In parent-child programs (aka “mommy and me classes”) for babies and toddlers, parents play along with their children. In coop preschools, working parents are assigned to a station:

  • Art activities: play-dough to roll, easels to paint at, markers for learning to write
  • Sensory activities: tubs of water or rice or beans to scoop, pour, stir, and run fingers through
  • Large motor: mats for tumbling, tunnels to crawl through, climbers and slides, balls to throw
  • Small motor: blocks to stack, puzzles to assemble, shape sorters to solve, beads to thread
  • Imaginary play: dress up zone for trying on new roles, dolls to care for, kitchen for “cooking”
  • Science experiences: seeds to plant, tadpoles to watch, items from nature to explore
  • Snack time: a place to practice social skills and table manners and to discover new foods

stations

Classes also include “circle time” or “music class” where the teacher leads the class in singing songs, dancing, playing musical instruments, and reading stories. This is a chance for children to practice sitting still, listening to a teacher, and participating in a group activity, all essential skills for kindergarten readiness. Academic skill-building (reading, writing, pre-math skills) is integrated into all types of activities.

What makes these children’s programs different from other programs?

Diverse Experiences in One Familiar Setting: Most children’s programs focus on one domain of learning: dance class, art class, story time, music class, or tumbling. These programs do it all. And they do it in a known space where the child feels safe and comfortable. Some of the same toys activities reappear from week to week to provide reassurance and routine, and some new toys and activities rotate in to encourage children to explore and try new things.

Long-Term Relationships: Lots of programs run in short sessions of 4 – 6 classes. Parent ed programs run for the full school year. Seeing the same children week after week allows kids to build friendships.

Close parental involvement: Parents are always welcome in the classroom.

What are they like from the parent perspective: how do they work?

Each program works a bit differently, so check to be sure of the details, but here is the general idea:

Parent-infant Classes and Parent-Toddler Classes: Meet weekly for two hours. Every other week, the parents attend a one hour parent education session. In infant classes (for babies birth to one year old), the baby remains with the parent for parent ed. In toddler classes (for one-year-old and two-year-old toddlers), children are encouraged to play in one room with the children’s teachers and other parents while their parent attends parent ed.

Staffing and Parents’ Role: Each class is staffed by a parent educator and one or two children’s teachers. Parents provide snacks for the class on a rotating basis. Each family may bring snacks 1 – 3 times a year. Parents may also be asked to help tidy up the toys at the end of the class.

Cooperative Preschools:Three-year-olds may attend 2 or 3 days a week, four-year-olds attend 3 or 4 days a week. Typically, the parent stays with the child and works in the classroom one day per week, and the other days are “drop-off” preschool for that family. Classes may be 2 – 3 hours long.

Staffing: There is a preschool teacher, trained in early childhood education, who is responsible for planning and coordinating the children’s activities, and leading group times. A parent educator observes / consults during some class sessions, and offers a monthly parent education session plus one-on-one expert parenting advice.

Parents contribute by working in the classroom once a week. They also help with the running of the school by: providing snacks, fundraising support, helping with end-of-year cleanings, serving on the board (chair, treasurer, secretary, etc.), or as class photographer, play-dough maker, etc.

Length of program:Most classes (parent-child and coops) meet for the full school year – September through May. [Note: sometimes families need to leave during the year, so if you’re looking for a class in the winter or spring, check with programs to see if they have openings – they’ll often have a few.] Some have summer programs.

What do Programs Cost?

For some programs, you pay by the month, some by the quarter, some by the year. If you look at the cost for a quarter (11 weeks) or year (33 weeks), it may look like a lot compared to other children’s activities in the community. So, to compare apples to apples, it’s best to look at it as cost-per-hour. Infant and toddler groups at our local community colleges range from $7.00 – 11.00 per hour. For comparison’s sake, here’s what a sample of other programs cost on an hourly basis:

  • Big motor activities: Gymboree $30, Gymnastics East $20, Northwest Aerials $13
  • Parent education and support: Mommy Matters $22 plus child care costs. Baby Peppers $9
  • Art programs: Kidsquest $17 per hour. Kirkland Parks $13. Kirkland Arts Center $10.
  • Music programs: Kindermusik $22, Kirkland Parks $11. Bellevue Parks $21 for residents.

Cooperative preschools in these programs range from $7 – 9.50 an hour. For comparison sake:

  • Bellevue public schools, $10 per hour. Bellevue Christian School $10. Bellevue Boys & Girls Club $11. Bellevue Montessori $16. Jewish Day School $18. Villa Academy $18. Seattle Waldorf $22. Cedar Crest $24.
  • Note: most preschools have an adult/child ratio ranging from 1:6 – 1:9. At a coop, the ratio may be 1:3 or 1:4.

All the parent education programs and cooperative preschools offer scholarships to lower income families which can further reduce the cost.

What makes these programs different from other programs?

College credit and student privileges: Parent education programs are college classes, and parents receive college credit for attending. They can also receive student ID cards, which depending on the school may give access to discounts and services such as fitness center or gym access.

Parent Education: Experienced professional educators offer information that is current and research-based but also relevant to the day-to-day reality of parenting little ones. Topics are tailored to the age and needs of the families, but may include: daily routines, discipline, child development, early learning, nutrition, potty training, emotional intelligence, and self-care for parents.

Individualized Advice: Parent educators and children’s teachers have the opportunity to get to know each child as an individual, and also get to know parents well. This allows them to answer questions in a highly personalized way. They can also refer on for additional services when needed.

Parent Involvement: Participating in your child’s classroom from day one encourages you to think of yourself as an active participant in your child’s learning and an advocate for them in future classrooms. You’ll know the other children and can help your child learn about them. You’ll know what happened in class, so you can later reinforce the learning. Seeing classroom activities may give you new ideas for what you can do at home to enhance your child’s development. Having the opportunity to observe other children each week helps give you a deeper understanding of child development, and seeing parents respond to their children shows you options for parenting style.

Peer Support and Long-Term Relationships: Parents meet with other parents over the course of many months, which allows for long-term connections. Working together on projects strengthens those bonds, as does the peer support gained when parents discuss and share the joys and challenges of caring for kids.

Programs offer classes for families with children from birth through age 5, so instead of having to search for new classes every month or every year, you always know where you can find a fun and educational class for you and your child.

Learn More about Programs Near You and Register Now!

Note: Classes for 2014 – 15 start in September but it is best to register in spring or summer, because they do fill up!

Program Name / Website Locations * Ages Served / Programs
Bellevue Collegewww.bellevuecollege.edu/parented/ Bellevue, Carnation, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Renton, Sammamish, Snoqualmie Birth to 7: Parent-Child (day & evening), Coop, Dad & Me, Science Enrichment
Edmonds Community Collegewww.edcc.edu/pared/ Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Mill Creek, Snohomish 7 months to 5: Parent-Child, Coop Preschool, Daddy & Me
Green River CC. Limited info available online: www.greenriver.edu/academics/areas-of-study/details/parent-child-education.htm. Auburn area, birth to age 5.
Lake WA Institute of Technologywww.lwtech.edu/parented Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville 5 months to 5 yrs: Parent-Child and Coop Preschool
North Seattle Community Collegehttp://coops.northseattle.edu/ Several sites in Seattle, north of ship canal to NE 145th. Vashon. Birth to 5: Parent-Child (day and evening), Coop Preschool
Seattle Central Community Collegewww.parentchildcenterseattle.org/ Capitol Hill, Mt. Baker, Madison Pk, Rainier Val, Queen Anne Birth to 5 yrs: Parent-Child and Coop Preschool
Shoreline Community Collegewww.shoreline.edu/parenting-education/ Shoreline, Bothell, Inglemoor (Kirkland), Woodinville Birth to 5 yrs: Parent-Child and Coop Preschool
South Seattle Community College https://sites.google.com/a/southseattle.edu/homelife/ SCCC campus, Admiral, Alki, Arbor Heights, Lincoln Park Birth to 5 yrs: Parent-Child and Coop Preschool

*Not all ages served at all sites. For example, most programs only have infant classes at one site.

** I don’t know whether community colleges in other cities have similar programs. They might!

 

Would you like to print this information for your reference or to share with a friend? Get the PDF here.

If you want more information right now about parenting, look in the “categories” section on the right hand column and click through to any topic that interests you (for example, you can read my posts about choosing a preschool or find lyrics to songs your child will love.) To receive updates as I publish new articles, go to the right hand column and click on “like me on Facebook” or “follow this blog.”