When my kids were younger, I dreaded the arrival of fall. It was easy to entertain them in the summer when we would go to the park or the pool every day. But when the rainy season arrived, I found myself often battling cabin fever. Luckily I eventually found some great “rainy day retreats” in and near the plateau, which I’m always happy to share with other Sammamish parents.
Drop in Play at Park and Recreation Centers
Sadly the drop in play program my son and I used to enjoy when he was a toddler at the was recently shut down. Redmond park and recreation staff are looking for ideas on how to restart the program with the help of volunteers. If you are interested in helping out, you can contact Tami Cobb, program coordinator for the Redmond Park and Recreation department at 425-556-2377.
In the meantime, you can still take advantage of other “drop in play” programs on the eastside. Parks and recreation programs offering drop in play nearby include the Issaquah Community Center at 301 Rainer Blvd. South, which offers its “Toddler Time” indoor playground program Monday through Friday from 8 am to noon for kids ages one to three for just $2.
The Bellevue park and recreation department also offers drop in play at locations including the . Kids five and under can enjoy drop in play there Monday through Friday from 9 am to 11:30 am. Bellevue non-residents pay $4, but if you purchase a punch card you can reduce the cost of each session to just $2. This is one of my favorite drop-in programs because of the variety of toys and structures for the kids to play on and because you are allowed to bring beverages and snacks. Just enjoy them at the table located just outside the gym entrance.
You’ll also find a drop in play program for kids five and under at the Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Bellevue non-residents pay $4, but they also offer a “play pack” that reduces your per visit cost. You can have lunch nearby afterwards at , where toddlers also enjoy riding the old-fashioned coin operated rides just their size.
Toddler Aerobics at Pump It Up and Sky High Sports
When it is pouring down rain and you and your child want to work up a sweat, here are two great eastside options for “toddler aerobics.”
in Kirkland offers Pop-In Playtime for kids six and under Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 am to 10:15 am and 10:30 am to 11:45 am. The cost is $6.50 for the first child and $4.50 for each additional sibling. Parents play for free and must accompany the child at all times. Socks and a signed waiver are required to play.
in Bellevue offers “Munchkin Mondays” where toddlers can jump for just $7 from 11 am to 1 pm. Bring a bottle of water and encourage your little one to play in the dedicated “eight and under court” so they don’t accidently get bumped by a “ big kid.”
Drop In Play Date at The Orange Blossom Society
Redmond's offers a great option to plateau parents who would like to get together over coffee or just get some down time during Drop In Open Play and Drop In Classes (select the Drop In Classes tab). The center offers members and non-members Open Play on a drop-in basis Mon-Thurs 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and Fri/Sat 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. The cost is $10.00 per family for up to two children and includes 1.5 hours, coffee or tea & WiFi access.
On Nov. 11 drop in play will not be offered and starting December 1, Open Play will be available to OBS members during normal business hours and non-members by appointment for groups.
Escape the Rain At Local Libraries
My kids spent hours escaping the rain when they were younger in several King County Library system libraries including the and branches and later the .
The new here on the plateau is a great place to hang out with a child, toddler to teen. Sara Jensen, the Children’s Librarian for the Sammamish library, points out several of the “kid friendly” aspects of the new space.
“Our children's area features several built-in literacy games and puzzles, puppets, cozy reading areas, computers with educational software and a family restroom,” Jensen said.
The Sammamish library offers numerous story times for children ages six and under, seasonal programs for kids ages five and up, including the upcoming Bookmaking for Kids with the Seattle Center for Book Arts on Monday, December 11 at 6:30 pm and numerous programs for tweens and teens, including a teen writers club. All the programs offered at the Sammamish Branch are listed on the King County Library System website.
Bellevue Square’s Kids Cove
Kids Cove is a dedicated play area on the third floor of the mall for kids under 42 inches tall. The cove was created in 2008 and replaces the “gladiator style pit” that used to be on the first floor of Bellevue Square that moms of older kids may remember. The Kids Cove offers soft climbing toys, a place to stow your toddler’s shoes, and seating both inside the play area and outside tables. If you are looking for a treat, Pinkabella Cupcakes is located just steps away on the same floor. You can get to the play area via the center court elevator.
Newly Opened Sammamish EX3 Teen and Recreation Center Will Provide Rainy Day Options for Tweens and Teens
Last week the much anticipated Sammamish EX3 Teen and Recreation Club – Powered by Microsoft, finally opened in the location of the old Sammamish Library at 825 228th Ave Northeast. The center is operated by the Redmond/Sammamish Boys and Girls Club and open to tweens and teens in grades six through twelve.
Parents can register their child online to become a member of the center. The center is open after school until 7 pm, Monday through Friday. The center offers a technology lab, performance stage, teaching kitchen, games room, study space and a multi-purpose room. A high school size gym is planned to be built as well once funding becomes available, adjacent to the current center.
Sammamish parent and artist Cheryl Smith assisted guests during the grand opening with creating a glass mosaic that will hang in the center. She says, "It is an attractive place for the kids because it is the first local place they can call their own. They do not have to hang by Safeway any more. I look forward to my children and their friends having a space to hang out. They now have a place where they can play pool, foosball, Xbox, be creative on the stage, cook, do art and just hang. It is an attractive place for parents because it is a safe place with a young energetic staff who relate to the kids."
Jeremy Peck is the Resource Development Manager for the Redmond/Samamish Boys and Girls Club. He says the center needs the help of plateau parents to succeed.
“The immediate need parents can help with is fundraising - both to help support our operating fund and our capital fund to build a high school size gymnasium. In the near future, parents can help with volunteering, teaching classes, etc,” Peck said.