Summer Stuff for Kids

Your kid-friendly to-do list, from pirates to cowboys to Legomania



Kids are absolutely going to love this. The serenity of Idaho’s tranquil waters is soon to be interrupted by a band of swashbuckling salty sea dogs, as the Pirates of the Caribbean culture craze spreads from the high seas of Hollywood to the forested shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

“The resort has been doing scenic lake cruises for years, so this year they decided it would be fun to try out a Pirate-Themed Summer Cruise,” says Jillian Kramer, production director (and Director of Entertainment at the Lake City Playhouse).

This isn’t your average troupe of circus-sideshow wannabees — more than 60 actors auditioned, Kramer says.

The live storyline features Calico Jack, the Jolly Roger’s scurvy-faced captain, who malevolently snatches the beautiful damsel (Lady Killigrew) as his prisoner, drags her away to the foreboding Kidd Island and (gasp!) tries to marry her — against her will!

The actors aren’t the only ones pimped out in pirate garb, either. The resort is taking a standard cruise boat and scalawag-ifying the whole thing by wrapping it in vinyl, so the body appears to have wood siding. They’re also constructing a mast and a crow’s nest.

“If these prove to be successful, in the future [the resort] will build a separate boat that’s very unique,” says Kramer.

Coeur d’Alene’s very own pirate ship??!! Yaarr.

“The actors are trained to entertain children, but also to educate them and teach them what it takes to become a pirate,” she says. “It’s going to be really fun and interactive for them.”

We don’t want to give away too much, but there’s a sword fight, stolen treasure and a culminating attack scenario involving more than one ship. There’s also face painting, jaunty jigs and convivial singing.

The cruises run twice daily from 1-2:30 pm and 3:30-5 pm, seven days a week, July 1-Aug. 31. Cost for adults is $29; kids (ages 6-12) $19; ages 5 and under are free. Call (208) 765-4000 or visit (BT)


Giddy Up!

rodeo.jpgFrom humble beginnings in the early 1920s, the five-day North Idaho Fair and Rodeo has grown into a full-scale community extravaganza. The demolition derby is always a riot, especially if you like watching fearless knuckleheads crash into each other like there’s no tomorrow. There’s three different rodeos, exhibits, live performances, motocross, a world of reptiles and tons more. The fair runs Aug. 25-29; visit (BT)


Notes from the Underground

People who enjoy learning should check out the Sierra Silver Mine Tour, which takes visitors through a century-old mine in Wallace — a town so historical, the whole thing got put on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit And this summer, they’ll be adding tours of the famous sites of the Great Fire of 1910, which happened a century ago, if you do the math. (BT)


Top Chef

Sure your preschool-age daughter is adorable and all. But wouldn’t she be better — at least more useful — if she knew how to cook? Fortunately, on June 20, you and your child can take FREE COOKING CLASSES together at the Main Market Co-op using fresh, local ingredients. The class, 4-6 pm, will focus on learning how to create some delicious smoothies. Soon, you’ll just be able to say “Smoothie me!” and see Junior run to fetch the blender. Visit (DW)


Kids Concert

Kids love music. At least the fun kind — none of this sappy sad stuff. And what’s more fun than the music of the PANHANDLE POLECATS, five Idaho siblings with a hankerin’ for bluegrass? They play bass, guitar, mandolin and harmonica, and do so in that bluegrass way that makes even the stodgiest country music haters tap their feet along. It’s all sponsored by our public radio friends at KPBX. And don’t fear, penny-pinching parents. It’s absolutely free. Bring a picnic lunch and a picnic blanket, and sit on the grass. Visit (DW)


These Books Are Made for Reading

For all the joys of being a kid in summer, for all the beaches and parks and ice cream truck jingles, summer carries a dark secret: Summer is a mind-killer.

Experienced teachers know that the summer brain drain is an especially pernicious foe. Test at the beginning of summer, and test at the end, and you’ll notice something: Somewhere, amid the barbecues and videogames and sandlot baseball, the kids get a lot stupider.


Jill Bolon

But one thing can slow the mental decline: books.

Jill Bolon, a youth services librarian for 14 years at Shadle Park Library, knows all about it. She goes from elementary school to elementary school, preaching the gospel of reading, emphasizing to youngsters that summer can be about books, and that books don’t have to be boring slogs. They can be about trucks, sports, dinosaurs!

She passes them around a classroom, always keeping her ear open for what kids like reading these days. They like the Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief books? Bolon brings books on Greek mythology. She brings books on drawing and origami and books on creepy bugs and scary sharks.

It’s all to promote the SUMMER READING PROGRAM. Read 15 books or spend 15 hours reading throughout the summer, return your log to the library, and, as a reward, pick a paperback book from the bin to keep. The program’s even for babies, Bolon explains. If their parents read 15 books to them, their parents can pick out a book their baby likes.

And maybe kids want to hear a voice other than that of their parents wax rhapsodic about tenacious steam shovels starving caterpillars. Fine. At every Spokane Public Library, there are toddler story times at 10 am and preschool story times at 10:30 am. (Visit for dates and locations.) Parents can also find story times at AUNTIE’S BOOKSTORE, every Saturday at 11 am.

Bolon loves leading story time. She creates voices for each of the characters. For one of her all-time favorites, a pop-up book called The Wide-Mouth Frog, she says she likes to do the voice of the frog.

“Do the wide-mouth frog voice!” I say.

Her voice drops an octave and comes out a rasp, like a smoker grandmother.

“I am a wide-mouth frog, and I like to eat flies,” Bolon croaks. “What do you like to eat?” (DW)


Special Day

When I was especially young, I would always go on a self-righteous tirade about the injustice of having a “Mother’s Day” and a “Father’s Day,” but never a day for us kids. What about the children? I would implore. But now, on Aug. 14, from 11 am to 5 pm, Riverfront Park puts on KIDS DAY, a day entirely dedicated to giving kids free fun stuff to do.

There’ll be bouncy castles to bounce in. Miniature mini-golf. Police officers will run safety courses, the Boy Scouts will set up obstacle courses and Shriners Hospital will paint faces. Fun. (DW)



As a kid, you don’t have much power. You can’t control much, you can’t create much; your parents won’t let you drive. But get your tiny hands on a bucket of LEGO bricks, and suddenly you are God. You can create almost anything — though, granted, that “anything” is usually some sort of spaceship. The only problem: LEGO sets are expensive. Birthdays and Christmases are too rare.

Fortunately, every fourth Thursday this summer, for only $7 ($5 with a membership) at MOBIUS KIDS, you’ll get a chance to build LEGO boats, cars and massively high LEGO towers. Visit (DW)

summerguideinsidesmangle.gifSummer Guide 2010

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READ THE E-VERSION Stories Calendar listings

Bazaar @ Downtown Spokane

Sat., Aug. 7, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
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About The Authors

Blair Tellers

Blair Tellers is a freelance writer and a former Inlander intern.

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...