Indoor Play

Since it rains so often here in Washington State, we take a few trips a week to indoor play places, so the boys can play with toys and friends and get some energy out. We have found a few places that we love to frequent. The only downfall we have found so far is that my boys have been sick almost monthly this winter! This is a big change from home in California. I’m assuming it is from catching bugs from other children in these indoor play places. I’m also making some changes at home, in case the moisture may be causing them to become ill.

We got a membership for Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. This place is so worth the money! It is a fun environment with various different areas/rooms for the boys to play and use their imagination. There is a even a roof-top playground for when the rain is not too heavy. I really like the tables downstairs to sit and eat our own snacks/lunch. They are located in front of the art room – another aspect I love. The art room has various daily activities – this almost takes the place of me paying for an art class. The museum is perfect for the ages of my boys, and I especially like having a membership, so I can go during not-so-popular days/times. The place can get packed on the weekends and during their one FREE evening a month.

Our second favorite indoor play place is called PlayHappy Cafe. It is located very close to home in Lynnwood, WA. This place has lots of great attributes. There is a large play area for little ones ages 1 to 6 with toys, a blow-up jump house, a ball pit to jump in, a play fire station, dress-up stage, train table, and little cars to ride around. My boys love to play here. I also love that they have a little cafe for parents to grab a latte or some inexpensive organic snacks for the little ones. I would normally prefer to bring my own snacks for the boys, but this is the next best thing. My favorite part about this place is that we get to attend for FREE, because I volunteer to monitor and clean-up the play area for a couple hours every Friday. I don’t mind helping, and I love saving money!

My third favorite play area is not large – in fact it is only about the size of my kitchen! It’s FREE for children 2-5 to play for an hour and it’s supervised, so I can drop them off and run around – run around the store and shop. This is the playroom at our local Fred Meyer. It is not the greatest in terms of space, but it wins in terms of convenience. This is where I go when I need to think for a minute – and buy some bananas. I generally prefer to grocery shop at Trader Joe’s, and we purchase our fluoride-free water at Whole Foods, so we shop there occasionally also… and if either one of these places offered a free supervised play area I would visit daily. Fred Meyer has a Starbucks in it – Enough said! They also have great sales on clothes, shoes, kitchen items, sporting goods, and electronics. Their prices on organic/healthy foods are very high compared to Trader Joe’s, but I am glad they have such foods, so I can pick up a few things while I’m getting a break from my boys and they are able to play with other children and the nice young lady with the blue hair that supervises them.

There are plenty of other indoor play places that cost plenty of money to enjoy in and around Seattle. In fact, here is a nice list of indoor activities, complements of Seattle’s Child Magazine, in case you are interested. As you can tell from this post so far, I enjoy saving money. It helps me afford to stay home with my boys and give them the love and education I want them to receive.

So, back to my list, coming in at number four is a really nice play area with great toys, a huge ball pit, supervision, and some serious security measures to keep my boys safe – and it’s FREE for all children between the heights of 37″ – 54″ once per day for up to one hour. This is at IKEA in Renton. It’s a bit of a drive for us, so we don’t go often, but when we’re in the mood to look at furniture and space-saving contraptions it’s a fun day for all of us.

Now, I must go attend to my boys with the stuffy noses – thanks to all the parents who take their sick kids to indoor play areas!



Playing in Nature

One of our favorite things to do is to enjoy nature.

Lewis is 3.5 years old, and Edward is 1.5. Leward Academy 2016-02-10.pngThey love to go on hikes! We moved to Washington state from Southern California a few months ago, and one of our main reasons for moving was to get closer to nature. We absolutely love all of the parks up here with the amazing playgrounds and so many hiking trails. The building we moved into has a small hiking trail right behind it that is attached to a city park with a playground – practically in our back yard. It is simply beautiful.

We encourage our boys to play all day. We are very aware of the vast amount of research that demonstrates how young children learn best through free play. When it is raining outside, as it does so often here, we spend time playing at home, and we have been exploring indoor play places all over – within about 30 miles. There are some really nice ones very close to us. I’ll try to create a list and add it to our Resources page soon. Lately, we started dropping off Lewis twice a week at a drop-in play class that is provided at our local Recreation Center. He seems to love it.

We are just beginning our official homeschooling/unschooling journey. We are leaning toward “unschooling” as a philosophy, but  I don’t want to be boxed into any label just yet. Legally, we will be “homeschooling”, and I hope to keep track of my boys’ learning here on this website – as a family journal. Once the boys are old enough I hope they will take over the recordkeeping process – as metacognition is the forgotten secret to success.

Welcome to our journey. We are hoping to make friends with local homeschool/unschool families. We would love to meet up for play dates, and we are considering starting our own Homeschool Co-op someday… potentially… if we don’t find an already established group that we love. Let us know if you are interested. Please, follow us and leave us a comment.