School's Out: A Holiday Survival Guide

Just where are the cool kids hanging out on Winter Break?

Well, fellow parents, it hit me today while picking up my Pre-K’er at school that today was, indeed, the last day of school until next year. Eighteen whole days of family fun, right?

Sure it sounds good and I should be grateful to be able to spend time with my lovely son and yada….yada…yada. Something tells me that Christmas bliss will be over by Monday and I’ll be wondering where I’m going to be taking my little angel for the next two weeks.

We aren’t much for day camps. They are so expensive and my son just isn’t the type to stay at a place with a bunch of strangers. There are plenty available, Dizzy’s Tumblebus offers them in Bellevue, you’ve got Great Play in Redmond and Arena Sports on Willows Road if that’s how you want to roll, but I need at least a half dozen activities that are local, cheap, boy friendly and sure to induce a good night’s sleep. So here’s my plan:

Jump and Donuts – Jump Planet right off the 527/405 interchange is a great place to burn off some energy. Granted, their drop-in times can be totally chaotic and the age restrictions are often not enforced, but for a few bucks (even less if you got the Living Social deal…) you can guarantee a set of rosy cheeks and some tired kiddos.

Before you get on 405 to return to your burb, do yourself a favor and stop by Carousel Café in Bothell. It’s tucked behind the Jack in the Box and Outback Steakhouse. Delicious donuts, cheap ice cream (first mix-in is free for kids) and decent coffee. Sure, donuts aren’t the best snack, but it gives you a clear excuse to skip the McDonald’s your kids are sure to spot on the way out!

Speaking of jumping, and less chaos, Arena Sports in Redmond is open 9 am.-3 p.m. for drop in jumping. There aren’t that many inflatables, but the flexibility of drop-in is awesome and they have Wi-Fi. Bring change for the vending machines and stop by Flying Saucer Pizza on the way out – try the Spudnik with extra sauce…it is life changing.

Tubing! Never in my life would I think I’d be excited about being cold, bundled up within an inch of my life or willingly jumping into an inflated tube and screaming down a hill. I am, however, loathe to becoming that Mom who doesn’t “do” the fun stuff with their kids. Snoqualmie offers a great hill complete with a tow rope back up to the top. Certainly get your tickets before you go. Sessions sell out fast – and it only takes 45 minutes to get there. Plenty of time left over to stop at Krispy Kreme on Front Street on the way home or stop by the outlets for post-holiday deals.

If, by chance, you need a break, as I’m sure I will by Thursday, Morning Star’s Kenmore campus is open for drop-off play and learn. They have some cool activities planned and it is one of the few places I am comfortable leaving my son. With rates starting at $8 an hour, it may be just the opportunity I need to take my husband out to lunch at a place that doesn’t have pictures on the menu…maybe downtown?

For free activities, I like (grab a latte and burn an hour or two in the kid’s section) or Country Village (it’s not too cold to play outside!) but really, anything free is going to be packed…notice I didn’t mention the third floor flesh pit at the mall as a suggestion. I hear the new Rainbow Play Systems showroom is hosting free play at 10:30 a.m. during the week, which we plan to check out if there is a particularly wet day.

So there are my six ideas for the week. All within a few miles and within our budget.

Sheryl December 17, 2011 at 03:33 AM
Great ideas. The Orange Blossom Society in Redmond has drop in play as well. And the libraries have some great shows/story times going on as well.


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