Check Out the Newest, Hottest Spot for Indoor Play!

Seattle families know how to get creative when it comes to indoor play. We understand (and sort of accept) the fact that we may only get a few months of sunny, warm weather throughout the year, having to resort to parkas, umbrellas and rain boots for the remaining nine months. Or we stay inside. There’s no shortage of indoor play spaces in the Rainy City (thank you thank you thank you), but we’ll always welcome a new one with open arms. Wide open arms. Lynnwood’s Playdate Café is the newest play space on the block, and we love it already.

playdate cafe 7 (600x400)

Passionate and driven owner Lizz Quain is serious about play. She’s a parent who knows the importance of engaging in play and how it provides a host of benefits for little ones, from developing imagination, dexterity  and cognitive strength to promoting healthy brain development and confidence. Quain wanted to build on this, and she has hit the mark with Playdate Café.

For the full article, click HERE.


Little Gymnasts: Open Play at Northwest Aerials

This place doesn’t have shiny, moving play sets. It’s not pretty and compact. And it’s not one of the spanking new indoor play areas that have (thankfully) begun to pop up in and around Seattle. But it is one of the oldest and largest gymnastic schools in the U.S., featuring internationally standard equipment and state of the art training accessories. It also has a preschool associated with it, so kids can get their share of balance beams and trampolines along with their ABC’s.

nw ar

Northwest Aerials, located in Kirkland, offers some awesome gymnastics classes for kids ages 3 (and under!), all the way through 11. And it’s not just tumbling: the extensive schedule includes ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop classes as well as the popular kids yoga classes, summer camps and private lessons. And it’s definitely not just for girls. We saw plenty of little dudes there today (and no, they weren’t wearing leotards).


We came for open play, and had a great time jumping, swinging, running, leaping…basically getting worn out. Which, in most parents’ eyes, is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Open Play: Fridays, 9:30am-10:30am, ages crawling thru 5, $8/child

For more awesome, wear-em-out, indoor play areas, check out my article on ParentMap!


A good list of kid-friendly coffee shops never gets old. Bring on the lattes.

Seattle Travel Mom

Seattleites are happily spoiled when it comes to coffee, and we know how to enjoy a cup or two.  From the big boys like Starbucks to the much-loved independent coffee shops and neighborhood cafes that line our streets, there truly is something for everyone.  And thank goodness for the kid-friendly coffee shops!  Whether it be to chat with another adult over a latte while your kids play, find solace from the rain, or enjoy a coffee/cocoa date with your little connoisseur,  these spots are much-needed and appreciated!  Here are some favorites:

Twirl Café  (Queen Anne)

One of the most kid-friendly coffee shops around, Twirl is a mecca for moms, kids and coffee.  A winner of many parent awards, the café offers delicious sandwiches, soups and salads, plus a full kids menu that includes lots of organic ingredients.   We tried the sunflower-butter and jelly sandwich with orange slices-  my…

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What’s on This Weekend?

Many of us are looking forward to a 3-day weekend!  With (a little) sun in the forecast, there may be a chance to get outdoors and enjoy this winter weather!  From nature walks and fun runs to a model railroad show and concerts, here are a few options for your weekend:



Outdoor Fun

Tails & Trails Little Tykes

Nature-loving tots: this is for you!  Start your morning off with a story at the Seward Park Audubon Center, then head outdoors to explore the trails of Seward Park!  Walks are easy and less than one mile in length.

Seward Park Audubon Center  /  Saturday, Jan. 19 @ 10am-11am.

Ages 1-3  /  $2/person



MLK Weekend Run @ Magnuson Park

Get the whole family out for a jog at this Saturday’s MLK Run!   5k, 10k, 15k or 400 meter Kids Dash!  Register online.

Magnuson Park  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 10:30am



Ranger Program: Wetland Birds

Take your little bird-lovers to the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center this Sunday and learn about our feathered friends that inhabit wetland ecosystems.

Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center  /  Sunday, Jan 20 @ 2-2:30pm

Ages 5 and up  /  FREE


Indoor Fun

Hawaii in Your Own Backyard (Seattle Aquarium)

Get a dose of the tropics this weekend at the Seattle Aquarium!  Discover and explore some of the unique sea life native to the Hawaiian Islands.  As with any event, the Aquarium will feature hands-on activities and special diver shows!

Seattle Aquarium  /  Jan 19-21 @10:30am-3pm

Free with admission



Model Railroad Show

Calling all conductors!  Bring your little train enthusiasts to the Pacific Science Center this weekend for the 39th Annual Model Railroad Show.  One of the Center’s most-loved programs, the show will feature dozens of model railroad displays and layouts, crafts & activities galore, and –of course– trains for kids and tots to ride!   Reference here for specific train times.

Pacific Science Center  /  Jan 19-21 @ 9:45am -6pm

Free with admission



Music / Concerts

Caspar Babypants Concert

Caspar Babypants is making his way to West Seattle this Saturday for some musical fun!

High Point Community Center  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 10:30am

$3 advance tickets, $5 day-of ($20 max for families)


Eats & Beats: Eric Ode

KidsQuest Museum’s popular Eats & Beats program welcomes the much-loved Eric Ode this Saturday evening!  Come for music, stories, puppets and pizza!

KidsQuest Children’s Museum  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 5:30pm-8pm

$8-$12 / $3 Jet City Pizza & lemonade


Here’s to a great weekend!  For more indoor play areas check out my previous post featuring indoor hot spots!

Batman Playdough

Since I mentioned homemade playdough in my last post and feel that, having a mom blog, I should mention playdough somewhere in a post, here you go:

Homemade Playdough a la Seattle Travel Mom

There’s more than one way to create your own playdough, and definitely more than one blog to find a recipe on.

Here’s a simple, oldie but goodie:


Stir 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tspns cream of tartar in a medium-sized saucepan.

Add 1 cup water, 1 tbspn oil, continue stirring over medium heat.


I added food coloring at this point (blue, “ONLY blue,” to be exact), squeezing out more color until my son was satisfied with the precise shade of Batman Blue.

When dough starts sticking and forming a ball, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

(Or until you can start kneading it without getting an unfortunate and potentially embarrassing playdough burn).


Tada!  Warm, blue, homemade playdough that (almost) don’t cost a thing! 


What are some of your favorite playdough recipes?  Variations? 

All About the Rain: Where to go and What to do with kids

Today we saw the first big rainfall of the season, reminding us what’s in store for the next few (or 7) months.  These are the days– dark, damp and dreary– that seem to drag on for us moms and dads if we don’t have something on the agenda.  There are tons of indoor play areas scattered throughout Seattle.  From neighborhood community centers and trampolines to a huge indoor sandbox, these indoor play havens are a blessing to us all and will have you, if not looking forward to these wet days, at least not dreading them.

Rainy Day Indoor Activities

Action Packed:  For the kids who need more than a train table.  Be it trampolines, foam pits or inflatables, these places will make ’em sweat.

Skymania or Sky High Sports

Pump it up or 3-2-1 Bounce

Arena Sports

Climbing at Pump It Up

Cheap and Easy:  From open play times and “wear em’ out rooms” to shopping malls, there are a lots of options.  Community centers are cheap (averaging around $3) and malls are free.

North Kirkland Community Center, Queen Anne Community Center, Greenlake Community Center

Southcenter Mall Play Area

Bellevue Square Kids’ Cove

Northgate Mall’s Tot Area

Classic:  You can never go wrong with the Woodland Park Zoo or the Seattle Center.  The Zoomazium offers kids a giant treehouse and crafts, and both kids’ museums host a variety of hands-on play activities.


Children’s Museum

KidsQuest Museum

Unique:  Seattle’s only indoor moving playground (WiggleWorks), a sandbox the size of a volleyball court, and A relaxed “nest” for moms and kids.


Sandbox Sports

Happy Nest

The “balloon room” at WiggleWorks

Coffee & Play:  Go for a double play- or a double latte.  Coffee, wifi and happy kiddos are such a good combo.


Village Bean


For more kid-friendly coffee shops, click!

Rainy Day Craft:

I came across this cute craft via the DIY blog Lines Across.  Little Rainy Day Bags filled with fun crafts or little treats for the kiddos, saved especially for rainy days.

Rainy Day activities inside

All you need:  Brown paper sacks, Card stock (white and blue), Glue & scissors, Silver paint pen (or white crayon)

See directions here.

Rainy Day Treat:

Worms and dirt never looked so good!  Try this deliciously muddy treat at home.

Worms and dirt never looked so good

Ingredients:  Chocolate pudding, Oreos, gummy worms, cool whip

See recipe here.

So…now you can hold off on singing “Rain Rain Go Away.”  At least until until tomorrow.

What’s Happening This Weekend?

Another weekend is on the horizon!  Here’s my post for 425 Mom.  Look what’s happening this weekend on the Eastside!  (Plus one event at the Zoo).

Turkey Toss at the Woodland Park Zoo

It’s turkey-tossing time at the Woodland Park Zoo!  Following the same idea as last month’s Pumpkin Bash, kids can watch how the Zoo’s most beloved carnivores nosh on their Thanksgiving dinners.  And like the Pumpkin Bash, the Turkey Toss is part of the Zoo’s exceptional care program, designed to enrich the lives of the animals through mental and physical stimulation as well as the promotion of natural animal behavior.  So come and wish the animals a Happy Thanksgiving and watch them chow down!

Saturday November 17, 10am-2:30pm

Free with admission or membership

Didn’t know these guys ate turkey.

Hopelink’s 12th Annual Turkey Trot

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving on the Eastside without the annual Turkey Trot!  Grab your running shoes, jogging stroller and the family and head over to Marina Park for this 5K walk/run.  All proceeds go to Hopelink.  Participants will enjoy door prizes, music and goodies from participating vendors!

Sunday, November 18

Registration 10am; Run/walk 11am

$35 to register

Karl Johnson Portrait Silhouettes

This beautiful (and now rare) form of portraiture is still being practiced by renowned artist Karl Johnson.  Johnson cuts each silhouette freehand, catching the likeness of his subject, either live or from a photograph. Past clients include Tom Hanks and Katie Holmes, and his work has been featured in O Magazine, among others.  Visit Johnson in Bellevue this Friday and watch art in the making!  Perfect for a keepsake gift.

Friday, November 17


Peek Aren’t You Curious @ Bellevue Square

Call 425-533-2104 to reserve your 5-minute appointment.


**Other places: Saturday/Bainbridge Island & Sunday/University Village

Reindeer Sightings at Swanson’s Nursery

Get in the Christmas spirit and take your kiddos to visit Santa’s Reindeer!  Dasher and Blitzen (very much alive!) will be making their home at Swanson’s Nursery every day until Christmas Eve, when they will be dashing away on their very important job.  Curely the Curious Camel will be joining them as well.  Daily feedings at 10am and 4pm.  Come wish the Reindeer a Merry Christmas!

Tim Noah’s Eats & Beats Concert

Emmy award-winning songwriter, singer and performer Tim Noah is stopping by KidQuest this Saturday for a rockin’ good time!  Sing, dance and hear some fantastic storytelling while you chow down on Jet City pizza and sip lemonade.  Kids and adults alike will enjoy this Eats and Beats event!

Saturday, November 17


KidsQuest Museum, Factoria

Advance Tickets: $8 members/$10 non-members

At the Door: $10 members / $12 non-members
$3 Jet City pizza & lemonade

Pre-registration recommended; call 425-637-8100 to order pizza.

Emmy-award winning Tim Noah

Rearranging Photos

I’ve been slowly redecorating our house over the last few months…little touches here and there.  It’s never ceased to amaze me how such a tiny rearrangement of an end table or hanging up a new photo can change a space so spectacularly.  Here are some of my influences:


Coastal Living


**Check out more of my favorite spaces on my Pinterest page.  

I’ve been going through my abundance of photos, and it’s dawned on me that I don’t have enough frames (not including the mismatched, soon-to-be-thrift-store frames I found in the garage).  I also hang my son’s paintings (marvelous for a 3-year-old, I shall say), and I started looking for a way to bridge the gap between framed photographs and artwork.  Alas, Printcopia.  Simply upload your photos, choose a canvas size and, wala!  Framed photos and kid’s artwork flow seamlessly throughout a household.  Stunning, precise, easy.  Check out the assortment of Canvas Prints here.

And now, back to rearranging…

A New Twist

I’ve been brainstorming a way to give Seattle Travel Mom a little bit of a unique twist- call it a niche or a specialty- and I think I’ve figured it out.  One of the reasons why I began Seattle Travel Mom was to give parents some ideas of what to do with their kids; reasons to get out and discover their city through the eyes of a child.  I’ve only just scratched the surface, and am having a great time doing so.

But if I really think about it, the question that I want to tackle is the ever-looming “What should we do today?”  At times it’s a light question, full of excitement and expectation (especially on the warm, sunny days).  Check out a new park?  Go to the Zoo?  Find a new farmers market or try a different ice cream shop?  But more often than not, we may find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering, “What are we going to do for the entire morning/afternoon/day?”  

Parks, zoos, farms and all the other kid-loved venues are just a part of it.  There’s only so many places you can hit in one day without the kids, yourself, or a combination of both having a “major meltdown.”

So I’ve come up with a solution set in 3’s.  Somewhere to go, something to craft, something to make/bake…all sharing a theme.  I’ll help parents to not only get out there with their kids, but to also inspire creativity within them.  For now I’ll call these types of posts “All About” Days.  All About Animals Day.  All About Trains Day.  All About Rain Day.  You get the point.

Here’s an example of what I’m thinking:

All About Pumpkins Day

Place:  Pumpkin Patch

(I’ll include review here)


Create: Jack-O-Lantern lanterns

(I’ll include instructions here)

Cute lanterns made with jars, orange tissue paper and modge podge.

From Ordinary Life Magic


Bake: Pumpkin Spice roll-out sugar cookies

(I’ll include recipe here)

Mini Pumpkin cookies.

From Life’s A Batch

So you’ve go a bit of travel, a bit of Martha Stewart and a cool idea for a snack.  You could do one idea or all three…whatever you have the time and desire for.  And I won’t be doing “All About” posts all the time, but rather in addition to my other Seattle reviews.

So…what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

What’s on this weekend?

It’s Bumbershoot time again, but if dragging your kids through mobs of people doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend a Saturday, then check out some of these smaller (yet very much still big on fun) venues.

Labor Day Train Rides at Snoqualmie Depot

Kiddos can get their choo-choo fix while you enjoy the scenery aboard antique railroad coaches puffing along through the Upper Snoqualmie Valley and Cascade Foothills.  A 75-minute round-trip excursion.  All aboard!

Where: Snoqualmie Depot

38625 SE King Street, Snoqualmie, Wa

When:  September 1-3, 2012

Hours:  11am-4pm

How much?  $10-$15 (under 2 free)


Kid’s Day at the Redmond Farmer’s Market

Come and spend the morning browsing 80+ local vendors at the oldest open-air market on the Eastside!  From fresh cheeses and warm breads to zucchini races and pet parades, there’s always something special going on at the Redmond Farmer’s Market.  This Saturday, September 1st, it’s Kid’s Day, where young artisans (15 and below) have a chance to sell their creations.  And stick around for children’s entertainer Mr. Darby and musical guest Ben Fisher.

Where: Redmond Farmer’s Market

7730 Leary Way NE, Redmond,WA

When:  Saturday, September 1st

Hours:  9am-3pm

How much?  Free!