Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Bellingham Kids Get Crafty at the Library

On a quintessential Bellingham summer day—sunny skies with a comfortable breeze—160 local kids manned booths at the 40th Annual Children’s Craft Fair on the Bellingham Central Library lawn.

Families gather on the Bellingham Central Library lawn for music and a craft fair. Families picnicked on the Library Lawn during the 40th Annual Children’s Craft Fair.

This year’s fair on Friday, July 25 featured 56 different booths offering wares like pottery, reusable shopping bags made out of t-shirts and duct tape, and tooth fairy pillows, along with tasty refreshments, like Italian Sodas and baked goods.

The Children’s Craft Fair started in the 1960s, before current Children’s Library Specialists Bethany Hoglund and Helen Scholtz started working at the library, but they believe that the format for the event hasn’t changed much over the years.

“We encourage the kids to sell things that are completely handmade and we keep the prices reasonable,” Bethany said. This year, goods could be priced up to four dollars. “We raise the price a dollar every eight or nine years, which probably isn’t keeping up with inflation,” Helen said with a laugh.

The fair is a great opportunity for kids to pick up some cash, but the real treat is seeing the creative ideas that kids come up with each year.

Walker Burnett autographs a copy of his book. Walker Burnett autographed copies of his book at the fair.

Budding author Walker Burnett, 6 ½ years old, wrote and sold an original short story last year, so he decided to write a sequel,  “Captain Hurry and the Sea Serpent,” for this year’s fair. He drew the cover art and dictated the story to his mom, Janet Martinson, who also helped with printing and binding. They sold books for $1.50 with Walker quite willing to autograph each copy.

Another neat idea this year was mini cupcakes on a stick and “sushi” by Cesca, Miska, and Isabella, all 6 years old. Miska had participated in the library’s summer reading program, Catch the Reading Bug, so when her mom heard about the craft fair, she asked if Miska wanted to participate. She did, and invited her friends to join her.

“At first, we were going to make bracelets, but then we thought it would be a better idea to sell cupcakes,” Miska explained. When they were buying supplies at the grocery store, someone there suggested making sushi out of Rice Krispies treats, Fruit by the Foot, and gummy fish. The girls had a lot of fun making and selling their treats, and plan to participate in next year’s craft fair with a different product.

Cesca, Miska, and Isabella sell sweet treats at the craft fair. Cesca, Miska, and Isabella sold mini cupcakes and sweet “sushi” this year.

“My favorite part is seeing the amazing new ideas that kids come up with each year,” Helen said. “And to see what trends are popular from year to year. A lot of kids were selling beaded geckos for awhile. A few years later, it was bandana t-shirts.”

Bethany loves the excitement that each year’s craft fair brings to the library. “People start calling in March to sign-up, they look forward to it so much. And it’s just fun to see how proud the kids are of what they’ve made,” she said. She added that she also likes seeing the adults in the community come out to support young crafters, calling the annual Children’s Craft Fair “the ultimate ‘Buy Local’ event.”

Stay updated on other great events for kids at the Bellingham Public Library by checking out Activities!

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Dance It Up at Bellingham’s Outdoor Concerts

It feels like summer just started, but stores are already advertising Back to School sales and stringing up autumnal decorations in window displays. Don’t give in to fall just yet; we still have a few weeks of summer fun left in Bellingham! So get outside and enjoy one of the many Outdoor Concerts taking place at local parks and other venues in August. All these concerts are family-friendly and free!

Summer concert at Elizabeth Park in Bellingham. Families and friends gather at Elizabeth Park for a concert featuring What the Chelm.

The Summer Concerts in the Park series is sponsored by Bellingham Parks and Recreation. For the rest of the summer, you’ll find at least one free outdoor concert in town nearly every day of the week.

Thursday evenings in Elizabeth Park are a fun affair with concerts in the gazebo (through August 28). You can also buy treats from local vendors, like Mallard Ice Cream and Curt’s Kettle Corn, and play on the tennis courts and playground in between sets. And for each August concert, you can bring non-perishable baby food donations to help the Columbia Neighborhood Association with a “food 4 Tots” drive to benefit the Bellingham Food Bank.

For a more subdued setting, take a trip to Big Rock Garden Park on August 17 at 3:30 PM. Seating is limited and you might want to bring your own lawn chair to the venue. Or relax on the Fairhaven Village Green on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 PM, featuring acoustic pop rock by Kris Orlowski (August 5) and “goodtime ragtime blues” by the Gallus Brothers (August 12). 

Check out a final concert in Boulevard Park this summer on Saturday August 9 at 7 PM, with kids’ games organized by Parks and Recreation staff (parents responsible for supervising children). For concerts that are specifically for kids, but fun for the whole family, head to the Bellingham Library Lawn on Fridays at noon to see great children’s performers, like Dana Cohenour and Andy Blyth of Tickle Toon Typhoon.

A girl dances at a concert on the Bellingham Central Library lawn.A concert by the Students of Anna Schaad inspires dancing on the library lawn.

The Downtown Renaissance Network also joins in the summer concert fun by organizing the Downtown Sounds’ Summer Alley Concerts in the alley off of Holly Street between Cornwall and Bay Streets. You can get dinner from a Bandito’s Burrito booth or sweet snack from Mount Bakery. And there’s also a Wild Buffalo beer garden, if you want to leave the kids home with a sitter and have a pint or two while enjoying the music.

And as we say goodbye to summer on Saturday August 30, the community is invited to a Dance on Taylor Dock by music by Jon Parry and Joe Paquin (and Friends). The Parks and Recreation dance starts at 6 PM and ends when the sun set on Bellingham Bay.

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Homemade Frozen Treats

Going out for an ice cream treat is great, but making ice cream at home is a fun activity that will keep kids entertained for the afternoon and they can look forward to an after-dinner dessert that they helped make. Try any one of these recipes with your kids:

Three tasty ice cream cones. Make a variety of ice cream flavors at home.

“Kick the Can” Ice Cream


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small bag of cubed ice
  • ½ cup of rock salt
  • 1 large coffee can with lid
  • 1 small coffee can with lid
  • Duct tape

Combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in the small coffee can (make sure that the can is well-cleaned). Secure the lid on the small can with duct tape. Shake it to mix the ingredients. Put a layer of ice and rock salt in the bottom of the large can. Put the small can inside and fill the rest of the space with more ice and rock salt. Secure the lid on the large can with duct tape. Kick (or roll) the can for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the small can and scrape the ice cream away from the sides of the can. Recover and retape the lid on the small can and add more ice and rock salt to the large can. Kick the can for 5 to 10 more minutes. Stir the ice cream and it’s ready to serve!

You can make reduced fat ice cream by using low-fat milk and half-and-half instead of whipping cream. You can also make chocolate ice cream by using chocolate milk and adding 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, or fruit ice cream by adding ½ cup of sliced fruit (fresh or frozen).

No-Frills Mini Popsicles
Fill ice cube trays with any fruit juice or Kool-Aid mix. Partially freeze, then insert toothpicks in the center. When fully frozen, break them out of the tray and serve.

Pudding Pops
Make instant pudding of any flavor according to the directions. Pour mixture into a popsicle mold (or save, clean and reuse empty yogurt cups with new popsicle sticks). Freeze overnight and enjoy the next day.

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