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Ready for a Summer Do-Over? 15 Things to Do With Kids This July

Our July Play List includes all the summer fun you missed last year

Devon Hammer

Published on: June 29, 2021

boy running through a sprinkler backlit by the sun
Credit: @phammi, Unsplash

Wow, this summer is shaping up to be a whole lot more entertaining for families than last year [understatement]. Many of the classic Seattle-area events we know and love are back in operation, and we are more appreciative of them than ever. Think of outdoor concerts, fave summer festivals, swimming at outdoor pools and more — let’s do it all!

Yes, many movie theaters are open and, yes, $1 summer movies are back at Regal Theatres. Check online for participating Puget Sound–area Regal locations and the schedule of movies. Tuesday–Wednesday through Sept. 8. 

Go on a squirrelly scavenger hunt through Auburn parks to find hidden summer squirrels. Keep track of where you locate the squirrel images and submit your scorecard by July 11 for a chance to win prizes! July 1–11. Check online for a list of parks and trails where the squirrels are hiding. Free. 

What’s a Fourth of July celebration without some fireworks? The City of Lacey has come up with a COVID-safe version of its traditional fireworks show. Fireworks will be set off at the Chinook Middle School fields; spectators are invited to drive to surrounding schools and parking lots to enjoy the show from their cars. Saturday, July 3, fireworks start at 10 p.m. Free.

Find a spot at a waterfront park on Commencement Bay in Tacoma to watch the Freedom Fair Air Show. While the traditional Freedom Fair isn’t happening this year, we can still enjoy the patriotic air show spectacle. Saturday–Sunday, July 3–4, 1:30 p.m. Free. 

What could be more like summer than taking in an outdoor concert from a grassy lawn on a warm evening? Watch the kids twirl the night away at Concerts on the Green on the Issaquah Community Center lawn. Tuesdays, July 6–Aug. 24, 7 p.m. Free. 

Get tickets to meet the “real” Thomas the Tank Engine at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie. Go for a ride in a train car pulled by Thomas, picking up party favors and playing games at stops along the way. Friday–Sunday, July 9–11 and 16–18; $24–$28; ages 1 and younger free. 

Celebrate LGBTQ+ pride with your favorite animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Animals will enjoy rainbow-colored enrichments while you go on a Pride-themed scavenger hunt. Saturday–Sunday, July 10–11. Book tickets in advance. 

Pack a picnic and head to Morrill Meadows Park in Kent for a midday, family-focused concert. Enjoy the summer sun while the kids dance on the lawn to some jammin’ kid-approved tunes. Wednesdays, July 7–Aug. 11, noon. Free. 

Head to the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn for a glimpse into what family farm life was like in the late 1800s. Saturday–Sunday through Aug. 29, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Suggested donation of $2–$5 per person. 

Partake in a modified version of Snohomish’s annual Kla Ha Ya Days summer fest, which includes five days of carnival fun at Harvey Field. Get dizzy on the rides, indulge in sweet treats and play carnival games. Wednesday–Sunday, July 14–18. Check online for pricing. 

Get a taste of summer at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center’s Tastes of the Farm festival. Take a kids’ farm tour, explore the Living Playground, hike the trails and enjoy culinary activities. Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Free entry; some activities have a fee. Preregister. 

Grab tickets to a unique — and COVID-safe — outdoor theater performance of “Little Women” staged by Kitsap Forest Theater. Enjoy the performance surrounded by towering trees! Select weekends through Aug. 22, 2 p.m. $10–$18; ages 5 and younger free. 

Put in a day of service at the fantastic Magnuson Children’s Garden. Join a family-friendly stewardship work party on select Tuesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 14. Weed, mulch and help with other maintenance projects. Best for ages 6 and older. Preregister. 

The Maple Valley Kids’ Festival is back this year at Lake Wilderness Park. Join in the kid-themed fun and excitement at this beautiful lakeside park. Saturday, July 24, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Free; some activities have a fee. 

Calling all superheroes! Join Pierce County Parks & Recreation at Meridian Habitat Park’s great lawn to test your powers on a superhero-themed challenge course. Make a mask and meet a real superhero, too! Saturday, July 24, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $10; preregister. Ages 5–10. 

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