Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


3 Days of Labor-Free Fun in Whatcom County

The kids might not be looking forward to starting school next week, but at least it’s a three-day weekend so your family can enjoy some extra time together. Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City, and the “working man’s day off” became a federal holiday in 1894. If you need to keep the kids entertained for just a few more days, here are some fun (and FREE) events taking place across Whatcom County during this holiday weekend.

Kids climbing on rocks as the sun sets over the ocean. Say goodbye to summer with some fun events.

Saturday: Dance on Taylor Dock
Bellingham Parks and Recreation ends their summer concert series with a dance on Taylor Dock between Boulevard Park and Fairhaven. This year’s music, described as “honky-tonk Cajun hippie blues,” features Jon Parry and Joe Paquin and Friends. All ages are welcome, so put on your dancing shoes and meet on the dock at 6 PM to boogie-woogie until the sun sets on summer over Bellingham Bay.

Sunday: Peace Arch Park Concert & Sculpture Exhibit
Head north on Sunday, but you don’t need to worry about going through the border to enjoy the attractions at Peace Arch Park; you can walk around freely in the international park (but have your personal ID with you, just in case). Take the trip to check out the sculptures in the park as part of the 11th Annual Peace Arch Park International Sculpture Exhibition. Sculptures in the exhibit were created by artists from around the world, including a piece called “Mountain Cherry Tree” by Bellingham artist Tony Hermanutz. And starting at 2 PM, you can also enjoy a performance by the Morning Star Korean Cultural Center dancers and musicians, the last concert in a summer series at the park celebrating Asian music and culture.

Monday: Lynde 500 Soapbox Kart Race
Got the need for speed? Visit downtown Lynden for this sixth annual race. Teams of four (ages 14 and up) can test their racing skills to win cash prizes; first place this year is $1,000! If you’d like to race this year, hurry to the Lynden Pioneer Museum to get your kart checked out and turn in your registration. And even if you don’t want to race, head to Front & 4th Street to watch the exciting races at 11 AM and stick around for free refreshments, face painting and plenty of fun!

Check out all the Activities for families in Bellingham and Whatcom County, and have a great holiday weekend.

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Getting a Great Start at School

With the beginning of school parents are hopeful that their children will have a successful year. For some parents this time is filled with tension as they wonder whether their children will “get the right teacher,” excel at their studies or in some cases just stay out of trouble. Children are individuals and each school year brings new challenges and concerns. While parents cannot control all that happens during a school year, they can take active steps to encourage a positive experience for all involved. Following are some practical suggestions to help parents get their children off to a good start.

Kids in line for the bus on the first day of school. Ensure success for your kids as they start another school year.
  1. Meet with the Teacher(s). Request a meeting with the instructor within the first few weeks of school. At this meeting, discuss your child’s past school experiences (including areas of strength and weakness), your hopes for the year, channels and frequency of communication, the teacher’s style and expectations related to teaching, discipline, class goals, and homework. Every effort should be made to establish a sense of agreement and teamwork that insures that together you and the teacher(s) will be working to make this a good year for your child.
  2. Meet the Support Staff. Get to know the building administrators, office staff and counselors as well as any specialists that your child will be involved with. Again, an effort should be made to establish open communication and a cooperative atmosphere.
  3. Know the Schedule. Try to know the answers to the following questions. What will your child be doing during the day? What teachers will she/he be with? When should she/he be home?
  4. Get Involved. Join the parents organization, serve on the site council of a school or district committee, volunteer in the classroom or to help with extra-curricular activities. These opportunities provide you with an insider’s view of life at school and can help you earn the right to be heard when you have questions or concerns.
  5. Take Your Child on a School Visit. If you have moved or your child is changing to a new building, it is helpful to take them to the building before school starts. Kids can feel less overwhelmed during the first few days when they know where things like the office, library, restrooms, lunchroom and play area are located.
  6. Know Basic School Policies (especially in discipline). Find out: What is expected behavior? What is the process for discipline? How are parents informed and involved?
  7. Get school supplies. The sooner your children have their supplies the sooner they will be able to get to work, hopefully preventing falling behind.
  8. Establish a Home Study Time. Set aside a portion of time during the evening when the TV is off and homework is completed. On days there is no homework, the time can be used for reading or playing “learning games” with the family. It is helpful to have a container of basic supplies at home so there is no excuse for not being able to do homework because, “I don’t have the right stuff.”
  9. Encourage Participation in School Activities. Clubs, music, sports and other activities at the school can provide excellent opportunities for applying what has been taught at home and school in practical ways as well as being positive outlets for kids to have fun and build friendships.

As parents work to become informed and involved thought these and other positive efforts, kids will be able to experience increased success in a new school year and parents can breathe a sigh of relief.

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Bargains in Bellingham for Back to School

When I was growing up, I loved the annual “Back to School” shopping trip. I loved seeing the displays for school supplies, from Lisa Frank portfolios to a 64-pack of Crayola Crayons with new colors, and picking out a new backpack. But my favorite part of the shopping experience was finding a new outfit for the first day of school. Instead of a spending an arm and a leg on new clothes for kids this year, check out some of the great deals available at second-hand and consignment stores in our area.

Two teen girls look inside their shopping bags. Find bargains for back to school by shopping at local consignment stores.

Consignment shopping is a great idea for the budget-minded family, as you can often find brand-name clothes at reasonable prices. Plus, you can clean out your closets to consign clothes (in good condition) that your kids have outgrown, and a few stores in town even offer trades or cash for clothes. And just in case you need another reason to shop second-hand, remember that buying gently used clothing is a form of recycling, so you can get a “new to you” outfit while conserving resources.

For the pre-school and elementary school crowd, check out Wee One’s Reruns at 1938 James Street. Along with clothes sizes newborn to preteen, you can also find quality toys, books, and other stuff for kids. They even have a playroom to keep kids entertained while moms are browsing. Visit their website to get a special Online Coupon before your visit.

Up north in Ferndale, Tots-to-Teens Children’s Consignment (5703 Third Avenue) is another great stop for back to school shopping. And now is also the perfect time of year to check out their selection of sporting gear and Halloween costumes. Plus, they’ve also opened a women’s consignment boutique, Impressions, just in case mom is in the mood for a “Back to School” outfit too.

For middle schoolers and high schoolers, try Plato’s Closet at 3960 Meridian Street for the trendiest brands without the hefty price tag you’ll find at the mall. And if your teen is just a little bit ahead of the style curve, give Buffalo Exchange (1209 N. State Street) a chance; there’s a mix of second-hand and new items at this boutique that’s really popular with Bellingham’s university crowd. While both of these stores are associated with national chains, they do offer cash or trades rather than consignment, which might be useful motivation if you’re begging the kids to clean out their closet before school starts.

If you have other suggestions for deals on second-hand clothes for kids, leave a comment below.

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