Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Sign-up the Kids for a Library Card

Coinciding with the start of the news school year, September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. It’s a great idea to get early readers excited about starting school by visiting your local library to get them a library card of their very own.

Sign-up the Kids for a Library Card Start the school year a new library card.

Youth library cards are available for any Whatcom County resident under the age of 18 years old; a parent’s or legal guardian’s signature is also required for applicants. According to the Bellingham Public Library website, “[t]he parent/guardian assumes responsibility for materials borrowed on the card. Young people are welcome to use the library’s entire collection, subject only to the parent’s guidance.”

If you sign-up for a library card at Whatcom County Libraries, or bring in a friend to get a card, both of you can enter a prize drawing to win an iPod Shuffle; two iPods will be raffled off. Each library branch will also have a Bookmark Calendar, donated by the Whatcom county Library Foundation, to give away in a prize drawing for new library card holders. Winners will be drawn on October 17th.

Need some more incentives to join a local library? Check out some of the highlights below.

Books Sales

Friends of the Bellingham Public Library host quarterly book sales to raise money to support library activities. Books, children’s books, CDs, and videos are available for cheap, cheap prices. Whatcom County Libraries also hold individual library sales throughout the year.

Community Activities for Kids & Families

From story times for preschoolers to game nights for teens to evening concerts that the whole family can enjoy, local libraries provide free activities that will help kids get excited about reading and learning. Community groups are also able to use library meeting rooms for events, providing a welcoming environment for new participants.

Locations All Over the County

Although the Fairhaven Branch Library is currently closed for repairs, the Bellingham Library has three other locations (Central Branch, Barkley Branch, and WCC Connection Branch) that are currently open to for book pick-up; there are also four Drop Boxes in Bellingham. There are nine Whatcom County Library locations, as well as a traveling Book Mobile, to serve various Whatcom County communities.

To find out what’s going on at your local library, visit Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library System. You can also check out Activities to see if there are any great library events taking place today!

What are some other things you love about the library? Leave a comment or write a post in the Forum.

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Bring Kids & Veggies Together at the Market

A trip to the Bellingham Farmers Market is always a great experience for families. Not only are youngsters enthralled by buskers, freshly-made cotton candy, and the hoola hoop testing zone, but parents have the opportunity to promote healthy eating and healthy communities to their children.

Check out Kids, Cukes & Carrots Day at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Check out Kids, Cukes & Carrots Day at the Bellingham Farmers Market.
Photo by Theresa Carpine

Families will definitely want to mark their calendars for a special day at the Saturday Farmers Market at Depot Market Square on August 29, 2009. In partnership with Sustainable Connections as the August Eat Local Every Week event, the Bellingham Farmers Market invites kids to “Kids, Cukes & Carrots” so people of all ages can see where their food comes from, and learn that sometimes it’s okay to play with your food!

Bellingham Farmers Market Director Caprice Teske explained that the idea for a kids’ day came about because “we wanted to incorporate kids into our Chef in the Market series by showing them creative ways to enjoy their veggies.” Sustainable Connections wanted to get involved in the event too, since it is easy to help kids connect to where their food comes when they can meet local farmers at the Market.

Arrive when the Market opens at 10 AM to hear the author of Simone Goes to Market, David Westerlund, read stories about farming to kids.

At 11 AM, Claire Niland of Cuisine by Claire will lead a cooking demonstration for kids to make all-natural sodas and paninis.

Throughout Market hours (10 AM to 3 PM), Laura Plaut of Common Threads Farm will shared farm-focused activities for kids. She’ll help kids make a farm collage, organize a veggie scavenger hunt, and interview farmers with the kids.

Come to Kids, Cukes, & Carrots at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Bring kids to the Farmers Market.
Photo by Cynthia St. Clair

Kids also might get the chance to make “Stone Soup” with Market vegetables, pending approval from the Health Department.

Need another reason to visit the Market on Saturday? It’s Kids Vending Day, as it is on the last Saturday of every month. Is there a better way to emphasize the importance of buying local food, plants, and crafts from local vendors than to let kids see their peers selling the fruits of their labor at the Farmers Market?

“At the core of this event is the desire to deepen children’s understanding about local agriculture, the choices they can make about food and healthy eating, and how these ideals nurture a healthy community,” Caprice said.

Don’t miss out on this great day for kids to learn about where their food comes from and meet the great folks that grow it.

Visit Bellingham Farmers Market for more information, and check Activities to find other Market events that the kids will love.

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So Many Activities, Not Enough Time

So Many Activities, Not Enough Time What new activity will your child try this year?

School is coming, bringing a radical change in schedules for most families. An optimal goal is to help your child experience a full, yet balanced life. Hobbies, sports, clubs, arts, and enrichment opportunities all add depth and vitality to a person’s life. Team work, operating in a system, cooperation, and accomplishment are practical lessons learned through organized activities.

In today’s world of multiple choices, the problem is that our kids can go at breakneck speed from one event to the next with little time for rest or reflection. A balanced kid’s life is one that incorporates diverse opportunities for growth with the simple joys of being a kid.

As you wade through all the possible extracurricular activities that your child may choose this year, set up rules and expectations for your family. Following are several guidelines to consider.

1. Family is always a priority. How will it be encouraged? A daily regular meal or one evening for all to be together at home are possible starting points.

2. Balance is a part of growing up. Kids may need to be guided in areas of participation that they might not naturally try. An expectation may need to be set that everyone participates in a selected range of activities while in a certain school framework. For example, when our youngest son was in middle school, he wanted to add football to the other activities he was already experiencing. We made a deal that he could play football if he participated in band the same year.

3. Recognize your child as an individual. It isn’t about you and what activities you chose as a child. Don’t put your sense of social value on your kids. They’ll find enough pressure on their own. Encourage them to try a variety of activities, but let them come to a decision about what skills they want to strengthen and develop.

4. Commitment is important. Establish expectations of a minimum time of involvement in an activity. If you start, you finish the term, season, or class. It can take a while to find out if a child has skill or interest in a given area.

So Many Activities, Not Enough Time Music, theatre arts, sports, and student government are great options for kids.

5. Identify family values of the activity. Is the activity or organization rooted in values that compliment your beliefs and commitments? It is important to see that participation enhances your greater goal in helping your child transition to adulthood.

6. Downtime is part of the deal. Being bored is okay. It may lead to creative play and times of needed solitude. Make sure there is “unscheduled” time in your child’s schedule.

7. Evaluate costs. There is more than money to consider here. What are the time commitments and how do they impact the whole family? Are there ways to involve the broader family through coaching, teaching, mentoring, or support organizing?

Our community in Bellingham offers a near endless stream of opportunities for kids. It is the privilege and responsibility of parents to help their kids enjoy a balanced life of active participation, family experiences, and being a kid!

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