Get Out and Play: Active Ideas for Spring
Get the whole family moving with these fun ideas for beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) spring days.
Keeping kids active is a key part of being healthy. That goes for parents, too! From long walks through the tulip fields to a hike with a view, we've got the inside scoop on kid-friendly activities to keep your family moving this month.
Hike of the Month: Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Ledge near North Bend is a great little hike, and it's dog-friendly, too. The trek is about four miles round trip. Pace yourself; you gain more than 1,000 feet on the ascent. On a clear day, you will be treated to incredible views of Mt. Si, the Cedar River Watershed and the glistening Rattlesnake Lake below—well worth the work to get there. Once at the top and safely seated away from the edge, have a snack and take in the beautiful view. (Note: There is a 100 to 200-hundred foot drop-off so hang on to young kids' hands and don't take older kids up here if they insist on scampering like mountain goats and won't respond to your warnings). Another option is to leave a picnic lunch in your car and sit by the lake after your hike, where the kids can skip rocks and watch dogs frolic about in the water. If you have time, pay a visit to the Cedar River Watershed Education Center to learn more about the area that provides most of our drinking water.
A Walk with a Blooming View
Most of the tulip fields are now in full bloom, so the time is ripe to take in the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, running until the end of April—just one more week! A few hours walking through the vast fields of vibrantly-colored tulips and daffodils is active family time well spent. Check out a map and schedule of events before your visit, and be sure to read our guide full of helpful tulip trip tips for help navigating the fields.
Visit Our State and National Parks
National Park Week, April 21-29, warranted itself a presidential proclamation. Take in nature somewhere wonderful, such as Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Bridle Trails in Kirkland or Dash Point State Park in Federal Way. The week is also a great time for a family road trip to explore Mount Rainier National Park, the North Cascades, Ebey's Landing or Olympic National Park.
Families can check out the beautiful Kubota Garden in Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood. When walking through this picturesque park’s massive twenty acres of waterfalls, ponds, plants, and streams, kids won't even realize they’re getting exercise.
Kids Bowl Free: Right Up Your Alley
A few hours of flinging those heavy balls down the lane ought to work your muscles. Kids Bowl Free is a program that offers children two free games of bowling every day, all summer long, yet the program kicks off at most sites this month or May 1. My family loves to bowl free, but we tend to go more often in the spring when the sun is still hiding. Register at www.kidsbowlfree.com to receive weekly vouchers for your free games, and get thee to a bowling lane.
Sign up for a Family Fun Run
There are plenty of local runs in the spring that offer terrific opportunities to focus on fun. Some are more challenging races for older kids, but many events have kids' dashes or family walks. Many of the upcoming spring runs also have fun themes and perks—like free doughnuts and getting intentionally messy with bright colors. Check out our guide to the most popular runs for families for ideas on which ones to register for.
Weather Got You Down?
Rainy spring weather can make getting outdoors seem like an ordeal – the lack of sunshine can make even the most outdoorsy family want to stay inside. Pooja Tandon, MD, a childhood health researcher with Seattle Children's Research Institute and pediatrician, encourages children and families to get out no matter the weather, and she has just the ideas to help. Visit Seattle Children's On the Pulse blog for Tandon's tips on cold weather activities for kids, including scavenger hunts and creating nature books.
Climb that Wall!
Whether you’re looking for a fun first foray into the world of rock climbing, or are experienced at scaling rock walls, Seattle has several great options for indoor places to climb (with ropes) and boulder (no ropes) with kids. Vertical World offers a one-hour Rock Climbing Experience Class (make a reservation ahead of time!) for learning tips before hitting the walls. Stone Gardens has two rooms for bouldering and a Pro Belay class that will give you an intro course in rock climbing. Seattle Bouldering Project has thick floor mats in case of a fall and a children's play area, plus shoe rental is free on your first visit.
Explore REI Seattle
REI’s flagship location in downtown Seattle has mini hiking trails, a waterfall, and a killer 65-foot indoor climbing pinnacle. Single climbs are available in 15 and 30 minute intervals, by advance reservation on weekends or on a drop-in basis. Group climbs are available by reservation most weekdays. REI Flagship also features a children’s play area. Shopping isn't the only cardio you can do at this outdoor retailer.