“The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years,” Nora Ephron explains in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman –What I Wish I’d Known. I read this right around the time our beloved sitter, Chelsy, told us she’d be moving out of state. I don’t think anyone six months into a symbiotic sitter relationship would believe this, I certainly didn’t want to. Before I had kids, I didn’t fully understand how important having a good sitter would be, especially because I was unaware of the amount of days the kids are off school or only there for a half-day.
We are at the point in the school year where roughly half the weeks include five full days of school. Otherwise, we are looking at professional development days, teacher non-contract days, early release days for end of terms, plus plain old early releases, some Monday holidays, and spring break. While there doesn’t seem to be an equal substitute for a great sitter, or a video game expert neighbor home from college for a holiday/long weekend, or a nearby family member with an open schedule, there are some local options for scheduled non-student days or a few hours free on some evenings.
Edmonds Discovery Programs often offers non-school day camps for students age 6 to 12. My oldest son loved these camps before he aged out and is counting down to when he can volunteer. The next two options are Monday, Jan. 28 and Tuesday, Feb. 19 — both from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are $39 for Edmonds residents. On Jan. 28, campers can attend “Dinosaurs & Raptors” day camp, taking themselves “back in time to when giant dinosaurs roamed the earth. They will learn how today’s birds descended from the dinosaurs and how these raptors evolved to be successful in their habitats through crafts and games. There will be a create-your-own fossil craft and a trip to a local park to “find signs of raptors.”
On Feb. 19, the theme is “Salmon and Stream Critters.” Campers will “find out what lives beside salmon in their natal streams and how they depend on each other for survival.” They’ll create their own salmon life cycle craft and “take a walk to a local park to look at salmon habitat and possibly see them!” For more information and registration for either camp or the Discovery Program Spring Break Camp, you can call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230 or visit RecZone.org.
Glazed and Amazed is offering a “Kids Night” on both Friday, Jan. 25 and Feb. 22. Once a month they offer this drop off event from 6 to 9 p.m. They provide a pizza dinner and the kids watch a movie (this month it’s Small Foot) and create two fun projects for $37 per child, plus tax. For more information and to check out their calendar, you can visit GlazedandAmazed.com.
The City of Lynnwood has a similar monthly option under the name Parents Night Out, with the next one is on Feb. 1. You can drop off kids ages 6 to 12 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lynnwood Recreation Center for fun, food, crafts, movies or swimming for $17 for Lynnwood residents. Just like Glazed and Amazed Kids Night is great for parents due to its proximity to all of the restaurants and options in downtown Edmonds, this Lynnwood option is perfect for a movie or dinner at Alderwood Mall or — if you can catch them open — Dave’s Burgers right down the street on 44th just north of 196th. For more information and registration, you can visit PlayLynnwood.com or call the Lynnwood Recreation Center at 425-670-5732.
Cascade Elite Gymnastics in Mountlake Terrace has a lot of options for both non-student days and nights out, even offering an overnighter a few times a year — the next one is in spring. Before I get into the options, it is good to know Cascade Elite requires a yearly membership fee of $40 a child, $80 for a family, to take their classes or register for camps and special events. Their next non-student-day camps are on Jan. 21 for the MLK holiday, Feb. 18 for President’s Day extending through Feb. 22 to cover extra days off and other school districts’ mid-winter break. These day camps for kids age 5 to 12 are $55 a day and last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with kids bringing their own lunch and snack. Their Parents Night Out option is from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and the next two options are Friday, Feb. 15 and Friday, March 15.
The Boys and Girls Club in Edmonds is a great option for year-round child care. We have joined their Healthy Habits sports programs and have friends who use their before/after care, all with great success. Plus, if you do a Healthy Habits program — available at Sherwood Elementary, Westgate Elementary, Edmonds Elementary, Lynndale Elementary, Cedar Valley Community School, Hazelwood Elementary and the Edmonds Main Club — you qualify for drop-in care at the Main Club at Edmonds’ Civic Field, which is almost too good to be true. They offer lots of different options for care, on-site after care or Main Club care on non-student days, though all options require the yearly $30 membership fee. For more information you can visit the Edmonds Boys and Girls Club website or call them at 425-774-0630.
— By Jennifer 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.