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18 Entertaining Ways to Jump-start the Back-to-School Season

Family fun distractions for a different kind of BTS start

Devon Hammer

Published on: August 26, 2020

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory
W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

This is not exactly going to be the September we imagined. For many parents, the usual excitement we feel as kids return to school has been replaced by dread. We are still stuck at home and now have to resume the role of accidental teacher, too!
But there is one teeny-tiny silver lining (in addition to the money saved on back-to-school shopping): Virtual school allows for more flexibility in our days, making getting out and about a little easier while we still have nice weather to enjoy. Read on for ways to de-stress and keep the fun rolling in September.
Editor’s note: Please remember to wear a mask when coming within 6 feet of anyone outside of your immediate household and follow all advisories related to safe recreating outdoors.

Get picking! Although most of the official state fruit grows in eastern Washington, there are some fabulous U-pick apple orchards open on this side of the mountains. Plan a day of harvesting the delicious produce Washington is known for worldwide. 

Sept. 5 and 6, 12 and 13: Stand among sky-high sunflowers at Rutledge Corn Maze in Olympia. Take a wagon ride to the fields for photo ops and to pick your own sunshine flower to take home. Open these two weekends only. 

Enjoy more space to walk, roll and bike on Lake Washington Boulevard. The city has closed the street to vehicles (except for local access) full-time through Sept. 8 for safe recreating, with the possibility of it being extended through the end of the month. 

Sept. 13 and 26: We have not one, but two Washington State Park free days this month. Park for free and immerse yourself in nature at one of more than 100 Washington State parks. 

Sept. 13: The pandemic has made seeing grandparents especially hard. Shower them with love on Grandparents Day by leaving a handmade gift on their doorstep, doing a celebratory drive-by, or simply by giving them a call. They will appreciate it more than ever this year. 

Sept. 13: Celebrate this year’s Tacoma Ocean Fest virtually! Join online for talks, art tours and DIY science projects to learn more about our oceans and what you can do to help protect them. 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. 

Have a kid who needs more than just a nudge to get out for a hike? Check out these Seattle-area hikes with a “prize.” We promise a noteworthy end to help entice even the most reluctant of hikers.

When working and schooling from home, who’s to say you have to actually stay at home? Soak up the last warm rays of summer on one of these nearby getaways, only a short road trip away. 

Like it or not, we are currently living through a unique (to say the least) period in history. Start documenting this unprecedented time as a family with these helpful tips. 

Set sail to Bainbridge Island for a change of scenery and some ice cream! Ditch the car and take a walk-on ferry ride; there are plenty of walkable destinations once you’re on the island. 

Experience the diverse plant collection and historic Victorian-style setting of the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. Book your half-hour time slot and get the whole place to yourself. Tuesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 

Escape to Bellingham for a night or even just the day. With its outdoorsy, small-town charm, there are plenty of things to see and do while maintaining safe social distance. 

Sept. 22: Celebrate the first day of fall by creating an autumn nature crown, acorn “owlies,” an apple-print wreath or any one of 15 other fall-related crafts

Sept. 26: Celebrate National Public Lands Day with free entrance to any national park. Now is the time to visit Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier or any other natural or historic destination on your bucket list. 

Hands On Children’s Museum was one of the first children’s museums to reopen its doors. Book a two-hour session of exploration and make sure to check out the new Obstacle Course, Shadow Room and more. 

Sept. 29: Now here’s a national holiday Seattleites can get behind: National Coffee Day. Celebrate by branching out to try a new kid-friendly coffeeshop near you. Pumpkin spice latte, anyone? 

Get out and see some seriously giant rocks! Find a glacial erratic near you and see if you can manage to climb atop it! 

Climb, slide, run and play at one of these newer playgrounds before they are consistently soaked by rain. Make sure to check that the playground is open before heading out! 

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