Adventures to share with your toddler

Staff from the Padilla Bay nature center lead a Mudflat Safari in 2011.
Staff from the Padilla Bay nature center lead a Mudflat Safari in 2011. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald


Explore the beach at low tide

Free summer programs at the Padilla Bay nature center include its popular Beach Seines and Mudflat Safaris, which help children learn about the sensitive estuary ecosystem and some of the plants and animals that inhabit it.

At Beach Seines, participants help naturalists drag a net through the waters of Padilla Bay to collect specimens from the bay’s submarine eelgrass meadow. Seines will be held 2:30 p.m. July 14, 2 p.m. July 29, 1:30 p.m. Aug. 18, and 11 a.m. August 26. It’s like scuba diving, only without the gear. No registration is necessary. Beach Seine programs are at Bay View State Park, about one-quarter mile south of Breazeale Interpretive Center.

Mudflat Safaris are during minus tides from 10 a.m. to noon July 1, noon to 2 p.m. July 17, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Aug. 4, and 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 28. Guides will lead a limited number of participants into the eelgrass meadow, which is exposed during extreme low tides, and allow a close look at marine life. For best exploring, wear old shoes that tie, or snug-fitting boots that won’t pull off in the sticky mud. The program begins at the nature center and ends at Bay View State Park. Registration is required.

Breazeale Interpretive Center is part of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Preserve and features aquariums and natural history exhibits that focus on the Salish Sea and nearby Padilla Bay.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Parking is free. The center has clean restrooms and several miles of trails, including beach access. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Call 360-428-1558 or go to padillabay.gov.

Bay View State Park requires a $30 seasonal Discover Pass or a $10 day-use fee.

If you would like to explore other beaches during the extreme low tides of summer, go online to protides.com for information about tides at locations around the world.


Science experiments

Educators agree that the best way to learn is while having fun. Here are three resources for age-appropriate experiments and activities you can do at home. They help your children develop an appreciation for the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that are in high demand.

▪  sciencebob.com/category/experiments

▪  redtri.com/classic-science-experiments

▪  buzzfeed.com/peggy/kids-science-experiments-that-adults-can-enjoy-too#.irpDwjbdV3

▪  “150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids,” by Seattle educator Asia Citro

▪  Monthly program called Hardware Science at the Ace Hardware in Sehome Village. Presentations usually on the fourth Saturday of the month at noon and 2 and 4 p.m. Call 360-733-4686.


Summer reading

Did you know your libraries have a Summer Reading program for preschoolers? Stop by your library today and pick up an activity sheet that challenges children and their adults to talk, sing, read, write and play together. The activities are not only fun, but help build the skills needed for a child to be able to read and succeed in school.

Bethany Hoglund

Head of youth services

at Bellingham Public Library

Reach Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or robert.mittendorf@bellinghamherald.com. Read his columns at bellinghamherald.com/out-with-kids.