Living Columns & Blogs

Improve your outlook with projects, programs for 2010

This is a great time of the year to get out of the house and make memories, especially since a lot of people are trying to squeeze in more activity, learn something new or make other lifestyle changes that fit in with their resolutions for the new year.

Here are some fun, family-friendly ideas to consider:

Play and learn: Kids can play while grownups can add skills to their parenting toolboxes during the Hands On Children’s Museum’s free Power Parenting Series. This month’s class, which will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, covers positive ways to deal with stress and anger. Preregistration is required to ensure adequate staffing levels for child care; for more information, call the Hands On Children’s Museum at 360-956-0818 or the Family Support Center at 360-754-2629.

Go birding: Bundle up for cold weather and learn about ducks, seabirds and many of the other feathered friends that winter on Capitol Lake and around downtown Olympia during a guided bird walk, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The walk begins at Marathon Park on Capitol Lake, and will be led by retired Evergreen professor Burt Guttman, author of “Finding Your Wings: A Workbook for Beginning Bird Watchers.”

The trip is geared toward beginners, but birders of all levels are welcome to attend. “There’s something there for everyone,” said member Whittier Johnson, a member of the Black Hills Audubon Society. However, the event probably would be better suited to families with older children. “The little kids aren’t going to be focused,” Johnson said.

Unlike many Audubon events, there isn’t a limit for the class, and preregistration isn’t required. “Folks should show up and enjoy it,” Johnson said.

For information about the trip and other birding events, go to www. or call 360-352-7299.

Create art: On the second Saturday of each month, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma hosts Family Day, where children and adults can create their own Chihuly-inspired projects. Families are invited to create seed bead and glittered snowflakes and felt mitten clips with artist Jennifer Adams from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Museum of Glass is at 1801 Dock St., Tacoma. Regular admission is $12 adults, $5 ages 6-12, and $36 for families (includes two adults and up to four children under 18). For more information, call 253-284-4750 or go to

Take in a concert: Join the fun with “Buck & Elizabeth: Animal Songs to Sing-a-long” at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th Ave. S.E., Olympia. The free event, geared to ages 3 to 6, will encourage children and their caregivers to sing, dance, use sign language and other movement. For more information, call 360-704-4636 or go to

Volunteer for a cause: Every year, more Americans vow to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day “a day on, not a day off” and participate in community service projects. Find a Jan. 18 activity to support at or contact the Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties at 360-741-2622.

Hit the ice: If you love the feel of winter activities without slippery driving conditions to area Sno-Parks and ski resorts, why not take the family to an ice skating rink? The Group Health Ice Arena in downtown Bellevue is the area’s only outdoor skating rink, and is open through Jan. 10. Regular admission is $10 and includes skate rental; cost is $7 if you bring your own skates. For more information, call 425-453-1223 or go to www.

Closer to home, the Sprinker Recreation Center, 14824 C St. S., Tacoma, offers daily indoor public skate sessions. Admission is $4-$6 and skate rental is $2. For details, go to or call 253-798-4000.

Former Olympian reporter Lisa Pemberton is busier than ever with her three children. She can be reached at