Playtime: Flexible activity options for changing family needs

Free co-ed skateboarding classes in Seattle this summer.

Our youngest is currently coming into his own, he’s found something he loves to do (skateboarding), not just something he did largely because his brother did (hockey), so our focus on him is now more often “what does he want to do” as opposed to “what can we do with him while.”

This all made me think of that early time when you’re trying to balance new needs in the house whether first kids, more kids or blending families. A few weeks into my time as a parent of two kids (eight years ago thanks to my Facebook memories), I called Debbie Johnson at Edmonds Parks and Recreation and basically asked for help. I told her I had a 3 1/2-year-old that needed something to do. She set us up with the now-defunct Camp Goodtime — if this were a text I’d utilize multiple crying emojis and maybe even that great Dawson’s Creek gif — which led us to Meadowdale Preschool, where we made a lot of the friends we have today. I called Debbie to see if Meadowdale Preschool is full for fall, and as I suspected, it is. It all got me thinking about those great low-commitment activities that allow for you to have fun together or give everyone some space without having to have too much gear or pressure, or having to bring snack.

I’ll start with something I came across today while at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store on 196th. Unless I’m picking up foam core for a march, I’m usually at Jo-Ann under some sort of duress, as was the case in today’s trip for “Shoe Goo.” When I walked in, I saw a sign advertising a four-day camp for kids for $99. Kids Sewing Camp and Kids Craft Camp are 2.5 hours a day Monday through Thursday. On the flyer detailing the classes and camps for July and August, I found classes with even less commitment. There are some one day, three-hour classes that range from “How To’s” for knitting and crocheting to days focused on making things like bags or flower pot covers. You can find more information on the classes, camps, and of course a coupon for the classes, on

Edmonds Parks and Recreation offers some great classes that don’t require too much. The first one that comes to mind is Kidz Love Soccer. This is a great way to participate in a sport where the schedule doesn’t change based on the game times. This is a once-a-week kind of class where the kids are in a group, a team if you will, of other kids their age. Both of my kids have done KLS and I would definitely recommend it, especially for those times where one kid needs something and you’re low on time. Other KLS bonuses include weekend classes, indoor classes in winter, and the only gear required is shin guards.

While reminiscing with Debbie about summers past, we got onto the topic of other great Edmonds Parks and Recreation options. She recommended Jumpin J’s Jump Rope Camp, which runs from July 31 through Aug. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. Debbie explained that she took some time to observe this class last summer and was impressed! For registration or more information you can call Debbie at 425-771-0230 or visit

There are also some chances to try out the sports of choice for free this summer. The organization Skate Like A Girl is offering FREE co-ed lessons this summer for those interested in skateboarding. Throughout different skateparks in the Seattle area, including Roxhill and Seattle Center, those 12 and under at any ability level can take advantage of the free instruction and loaner gear, first come first served. For more information you can call 888.401.0195 or click HERE for dates and locations.

Seattle Junior Hockey Association is also hosting a “Try Hockey Free” event at Olympic View Ice Arena on Aug. 5 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.. This is how our oldest, who is heading into his 8th season of hockey this fall, started out. These events offer a chance to strap on some skates and get instruction on basic skills, most importantly being how to get up. SJHA also offers Learn to Skate/Play sessions for ages 4 to 14 now. If you’re looking for low commitment, this fits the bill as this once-a-week class offers rental equipment and has sessions as opposed to teams. If your kid ends up liking it, they can move up from the Learn to Play/Skate classes to the age-appropriate division. For more information on what you’ll need to bring for Try Hockey Free, you can visit the SJHA page by clicking HERE.

By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mom of two young 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” @jen_marx.

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