Playtime: Family-friendly Lake Ballinger, summer reading, Yost Pool open swims

A view from the Lake Ballinger fishing pier.

A pit stop at the new Lake Ballinger fishing pier in Mountlake Terrace was the perfect way to decompress after one of the last days of school this week – it was also a decent antidote to the seasonal section at Target replacing beachy outdoor items with school supplies — yes, already. I had only been to this area once when a rare bird had taken a temporary residence in one of the trees just above the shiny new pier.

We didn’t plan on going, but the way home took us past the MLT Park and Ride and then Lake Ballinger. It was one of the first sunny days in ages and the scene was just too much to pass up. Besides the sparkly water, blue sky and green everywhere, there were adults with kids enjoying the sunshine, little ones toddling around on the grass next to blankets spread out on the grass, and someone was taking a work call with an open laptop. We walked out onto the fishing pier and saw the brave paddleboarders in the water and an even braver swimmer take off from the floating dock. We entered the parking lot from Lakeview Drive and this lot gives you access to the boat launch, pier, floating dock and lots of space to sit down. The new restroom building has four family restrooms and an outdoor shower. On top of the recent additions, a universally accessible playground will be installed north of the parking lot, at Ballinger Park, later this year.

While this recent weather has reminded us that school is wrapping up and summer is mostly/almost/supposed to be here, one of my sure signs it is summer is the Summer Reading lists at the library.

Summer Reading for kids and teens is happening at Sno-Isle Libraries until Sept. 11. Kids and teens who read, or are read to, for 10 hours during Summer Reading will get a free book! There will also be book recommendations, Summer Activity Card for kids, Mindfulness Bingo for teens, and virtual and in-person events.

This year there are multiple options to get your reading log. You can head to the library and get a paper log, or you can use Beanstack by visiting to log online or to find their app. If your reader uses Beanstack, they can earn badges and follow their friends.

Sno-Isle Summer Reading is kicking off with the Zaniac Zoom Show on June 27 from 2 to 3 p.m. Kids and tweens can tune in for “a crash course in juggling, balancing, and beatboxing as well as some easy-to-learn magic tricks, sight gags, and funny faces.” Parents are welcome at this “low key and extra silly” virtual event. Registration is required and a Zoom link will be sent 24 hours before the event.

On Friday, the Edmonds Library announced that they were closed until further notice due to damage caused by a burst pipe. Library holds will be available for pickup at the Lynnwood library for now.

Half Price Books is offering its summer reading program, Camp Discovery. Your camper can “explore with individual math and science crafts, coloring pages, activities and reading lists or download the entire packet to have the full Camp Discovery experience right at their fingertips.” There are STEM-inspired or Storytime crafts and activities and after their reading log is finished you can print out a “Super Reader Certificate.” For all of the Camp Discovery information you can visit

Barnes & Noble has a Summer Reading Program in July and August for students in first through sixth  grades. Participants read the designated amount of books and write about their favorite part in the Barnes & Noble Reading Journal. When they return the journal to any location, they get to choose from one of the books listed on their journals. The great thing about this program is the books are usually big names. This year’s offerings include Pete the Cat Goes Camping, Juana y Lucas, Amari and the Night Brothers, and Rebound. The downside is, once you’re inside the Lynnwood Barnes & Noble there are not only other books, but so many toys and a refrigerated case with cookies and cupcakes. For more information and to download a Reading Journal, you can visit

Yost Pool.

While I had intended to just talk about summer reading, I took a quick break to doomscroll and saw a post detailing Open Swim hours at Edmonds’ outdoor Yost Pool and it felt like a good last-week-of-school thing to add. Open Swim will be weekdays from 1:15 to 3:15 pm and on the weekends there will be three sessions between 12:15 and 6:45 p.m. Open Swim is first-come, first-served and anyone who enters must pay the entry fee. You can find the schedule and Open Swim fees at…/schedule/summer-schedule.

— 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.

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