Cool the Kiddies Off at One of These Nifty Local Spraygrounds
Our sunny summer days are precious—and so are the moments we spend cooling off from the heat. Sure, you can hit a lake or a pool, but why not mix it up? Consider these five “spraygrounds” for an afternoon of free fun.
North Lynnwood Neighborhood Park
Lynnwood, 18510 44th Ave. W
Liquid assets: A submarine, a whale and a big dragon whose nostrils squirt water
Make a day of it: Have a picnic on the large, grassy play area.
Seattle Center’s International Fountain
Lower Queen Anne, 305 Harrison St.
Liquid assets: Colossal (120-foot!) water sprays synchronized to music
Make a day of it: Hit the Children’s Museum, just a few steps away in the Center House.
Bellevue, 16000 NE 10th St.;
Liquid assets: Spouting orcas, spitting frogs and squirting clams—on a special spongy-soft surface
Make a day of it: Grab lunch at the international food court at nearby Crossroads Mall.
Ballard Commons Park
Ballard, 5701 22nd Ave. NW
Liquid assets: Holey seashells (that squirt water)!
Make a day of it: Take in story time at nearby Ballard Library, or picnic on the lawn and watch the skateboarders do their thing.
Redmond Town Center
Redmond, 16495 NE 74th St.
Liquid assets: Water spouts and bronze bears
Make a day of it: Bring your bikes and ride on nearby Sammamish Trail.
Every child loves a birthday piñata, and Ravenna mom Wendy Sykes is teaching kids and parents that creating papier-mâché masterpieces is just as fun as cracking them open. Sykes, whose company, Four and 20 Blackbirds (fourand20blackbirds.com), offers pie- and cookie-decorating classes, added piñatas to her lineup after making one for her daughter’s birthday last year (a lovely ladybug). The $35-per-person, two-hour course covers everything from designing the piñata to mixing papier-mâché glue, layering newspaper strips, painting and decorating. It’s open to kids 8 and older (11 and older can come without a parent), and since there’s lots of drying time involved, you don’t leave with an actual creation. What you do take home: piñata prowess that’s bound to serve you for many birthdays to come.
Long summer days with the little ones require plenty of crafting, painting and baking distractions. Add a Luke & Loolu (lukeandloolu.com) smock or apron for safe and superstylin’ coverage. The collection—which includes art mats, tablecloths and messenger bags—is made in South Seattle from European-imported vinyl-coated fabric that is BPA-, phthalate- and lead-free. Aprons ($23.95) come in charming floral, polka dot and striped prints, and feature a three-sectioned pocketfor paintbrushes, measuring spoons and the like. Adult sizes are available, too, making this a natural for good, clean family fun.