Playtime: From art classes to slime making, consider an ‘experience’ gift for your child

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Kids working on art, courtesy adventuresinart.com

In an effort to reduce the amount of toys stacked in buckets, and because this was something I really wanted, we got the whole family tickets to see Weezer last Christmas. They are a band we all like, and we were able to get them cheap, as far as concert tickets go, because they were nowhere near the stage. Last year was the first year where we gave an “experience” as a gift; in fact, my younger son got more than one gift like this, also getting a gift certificate for a “Chocolate 101” class.

Having something to look forward to, and then enjoy together, ended up being fun for all of us, but being as it was the first time we did a gift like this and the concert was over seven months after Christmas, the response to opening the gift was not at all like the reaction to opening something that can be used immediately.

When The Craze came in the mail this week, I wasn’t as quick to skim through it as I usually am because my oldest aged out of the Discovery Programs he loves so much, and my youngest is trying out a new sport that requires a lot of gear and practices. The sport is lacrosse, and we need to talk about your options to play as well when the holidays are over. However, when I sat down today to skim through the Craze, published by the cities of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, it occurred to me that there are a lot of “experience” gift options available for a range of ages. Many are also very reasonably priced, though usually a couple dollars extra for non-Edmonds residents.

For kids aged 5 to 7, there are a couple of Saturday art class offerings that involve leaving class with handmade art. The classes cost $25 (with a $5 supply fee), for Edmonds residents. Mermaid Art will be held on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. In this class, students will used mixed media — paint, glitter and glue — to learn several artistic techniques to create your very own mermaid swimming in an underwater scene. And Princess Dollhouse will be held April 27 from 10 a.m. to noon. This class will use fabric, felt, ribbon, markers, stickers and more to make your own doll and decorate a house for them to live in.

It is recommended to “dress for the mess” for both classes! As of today, both classes still have spaces available. The Fairy Home class scheduled for March 30 is already full, though they do have an option to join the waitlist.

If you’re looking for a gift for a child between the ages of 5 and 12, the City of Edmonds is offering Slime Extravaganza at the Frances Anderson Center, taught by an 11-year old and her “adult assistant.” Slime making is still going strong with kids, and this class is a chance to learn how to make three different types of slime (borax-free) including basic slime and fluffy slime. Those in attendance will also learn how to “waterfall” and “pop” their slime, which I am assuming is something you’d want, but have exactly zero idea what it means. Kids will take home their slime along with recipes to make more at home. This class is $15 for Edmonds residents and has a $10 supply fee.

Kid-created anime art, courtesy adventuresinart.com.

For those interested in art, there is an Adventures in Anime Workshop held in two different sessions next year. On either Feb. 16 or April 20, both from 10 a.m. to noon, students ages 7 to 11 can create a special Anime character in a two-hour workshop “designed to enhance your drawing skills as well as your imagination.” No drawing experience is needed to attend the class, where artist quality mediums are used. This class is $25 for Edmonds residents with a $3 supply fee. Instructor Jessica Carlson’s work can be seen at AdventuresinArt.net.

Though listed in the “Adult Enrichment” section, there are three Saturday cake-decorating classes for students 10 and up that are $32 for Edmonds residents with a $5 supply fee. On Feb. 2, you can decorate a Valentine’s Day Geode Cake using rock candy to make the geode effect. On March 2, you can decorate End of the Rainbow Cupcakes. Participants will decorate cookies as the rainbow and the cupcakes to create as pots of gold for a St. Patrick’s Day treat. On April 6, it’s an Easter Mini Log Cake, as a round cake is transformed into a springtime log with butterflies and flowers, and a hiding spot “for a very curious bunny.” Fondant, buttercream, molds/cutters and piping tips will be used for decorating. This is a great price for a class like this, and I am really disappointed my youngest just missed the age cutoff for these classes!

For the outdoors-y young person on your list, there are some fun options. First, there are two non-student school day Discovery Program mini-camps for kids ages 6 to 12. On Jan. 28, kids can participate in Dinosaurs & Raptors and on Feb. 19, Salmon & Stream Critters. My oldest son loved these programs so much and is sad to have aged out of them. I think they do a good job at mixing learning and fun outside and have really liked each of the Ranger-Naturalists who teach the classes. Camps are $39 for Edmonds residents and run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Also under “Adult Enrichment,” but with options for different age groups  are some bird-focused class options. Owl Prowl with Pilchuck Audubon is on March 6, a Wednesday night, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.. This $5 class allows you to join Discovery program naturalists and volunteer guides form the Pilchuck Audubon Society for an “evening getting to know the owls of Yost Park.” This rain-or-shine event is open to those 6 and over. Water Birds of the Puget Sound Region will be held on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 12. This $17 course is designed for adult beginning birders, but children aged 12 and over are welcome to learn all about the different kinds of ducks that live in the Puget Sound, as well as other birds such as geese, gulls, blackbirds and heron. The More Amazing Birds class has the same parameters and instructors but is held on March 19 and focuses on the “amazing and beautiful birds that visit or live in our area.” You can learn all about the sparrows, warblers, wrens, woodpeckers, swallows, cedar waxwings and others that can be seen throughout the year.

For more information or to register for any of these classes, you can visit RecZone.org or call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen 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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