Playtime: From Hogwarts school to outdoor movies, ideas for staycation fun

An attendee at the 2017 Granite Falls Library Hogwarts Summer School session gets some help trying on the sorting hat.

Three families in my Facebook feed are in Europe, two in Paris. Another family we know just got back from their European adventure which included Paris as well. While we currently operate on a “Staycation” and Day Camp budget, which we are grateful for, it’s not the only reason we have yet to approach this kind of undertaking. We aren’t yet able to watch a movie at night without stopping it approximately 1 million times because someone is hungry, has to go to the bathroom, or is talking over the dialogue in the movie that would answer their question.

I just can’t imagine our family is ready for the rigorous part of that kind of travel and the kids in these families range from preschool to preteen! Last year, we ventured all the way to Oregon on a Sunriver deal for a couple of days and that was nice we highly recommend the tubing experience through Old Mill District. Otherwise, the longest flight we’ve been on is between Burbank and SeaTac. In fact, it’s the only flight-style vacation we take now that I think of it, because that’s where our families are.

This year is a “Staycation” year, where we all ditch our normal weekly routine and become tourists in our own town/region while the kids wake up earlier than they need to until the first day back to camp. While looking for things to do during our “time off,” I came across some things we’ve done before and enjoyed and a couple more that look fun enough to try.

On Saturday, July 28, kids can attend the 2nd annual Hogwarts Summer School at the Granite Falls library, 815 E Galena St., Granite Falls. This FREE library event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a Sorting Hat Ceremony, Start-of-Term Feast, wand making, Magic Snow, Potions Class, and a special Defense Against the Dark Arts Demonstration with “auror” and magician Brian Ledbetter. Harry Potter-related costumes are highly encouraged! I found out about this event when Sno-Isle put out a call for Hogwarts Summer School volunteers last week. Prospective volunteers should be 14 and over and can contact Christine Stansfield by July 26.

It’s about Outdoor Movie time in Edmonds. This is when people set up their lawn chairs or blankets on the field at Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St., and watch a FREE movie on a giant inflatable screen. After stopping by Civic Field on the 4th of July, I was reminded that these outdoor events that are late and allow for a more free-range experience for kids are sometimes the only events that give our kids the neighborhood play feel they don’t get in the same frequency we did. On Friday, July 27 you can set up to see Moana and Friday, Aug. 3 you can see Wonder. Both movies begin around 9 p.m. and refreshments will be sold. For more information you can contact Edmonds Parks and Rec at 425-771-0230.

When I was at PCC, I stopped to look at the flyers posted outside of the bathrooms and saw that Movies at Marymoor is a similar event. The difference with Movies at Marymoor is that there is a fee to park and a less-than-matinee level fee to get in, for those 6 and over. The movies are also a little less PG. Seating for Movies at Marymoor opens at 6:30 p.m. and the movies start at dusk. On Wednesday, July 25 they’re showing The Greatest Showman, on Thursday, Aug. 2 its 10 Things I Hate About You, and on Wednesday, Aug. 8you can see Thor: Ragnarok. For more information, visit

2017 Pacific Northwest Chalk Festival.

The other interesting flyer for event I saw was also in Redmond. The second year of Pacific NW Chalk Fest is happening Aug. 17-19 at the Redmond Town Center, 7525 166th Ave. N.E., Redmond. This FREE event will include chalk mural artists, live music, merchant sidewalk sales and kids activities. According to their website, 2017 PNW ChalkFest attracted people from all over the Western US. Over 50,000 attended and joined in the art and activities. After checking out the pictures from last year, we definitely added this to the summer calendar that we post on the pantry door and fill out in pencil, like the old days. For more information on Pacific NW Chalk Fest you can visit

With Redmonds top of mind, my Facebook memories showed me that four years ago we went to Rainbow Run Mini Golf at Willows Run Golf Course, 10402 Willows Rd. N.E., Redmond. This course was fun for all four of us, at the time the kids were 8 and 5. We saw groups of maybe teenagers (I’m horrible at other people’s ages now) and other families as well. The bonus of being at a real golf course is it’s quieter than typical putt putt courses, which are typically arcade adjacent. It is a little spendier than say, Family Fun Center — $12.55 for adults and $8.65 for those 12 and under — but it is more of a destination and less of an add-on event. For more information, you can call 425-883-1200.

– By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a 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. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese.”

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