Get the scoop on some of the new restaurants to pop up on Hawthorne! As a veteran on the Boulevard, we're always excited to welcome new neighbors, especially when they make delicious food!Read More
It’s finally spring, and for many of us, that means digging and tinkering in the garden. We’ve got some ideas to get kids in the garden, learning about how produce grows, and putting their hands in the soil -- without digging up your tomato seedlings.
Kid-Friendly Play Gardens
If you already have a keen gardener or flower-picker on your hands, consider giving them a section of garden to call their own. Choose a corner of the yard that’s been neglected, or a large container, and let them have at it. They can research the kinds of plants that they’d like, plant them, decorate the area, and then watch the magic happen. You can even spray paint a small picket fence to set off the little ones’ greenery.
Fairy gardens are whimsical miniature gardens with small structures (think mushroom houses or train tracks) as well as living plants. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what can go inside, but most will include small figurines. Fairy gardens exist just as much to play with and be tended to as they are to look at, though they are very sweet to see. Who knows? You might even lure a fairy or two to your house if you make a very inviting garden, and you’ll get a little good luck out of the deal.
A Green Place to Play
Every kid wants a private place to hide and attend to the important business of pretending and dreaming. A secret hiding place outside makes any backyard into a secret garden. Beans can be trellised into a shelter. Build a “trellis house” with a roof, and train vines over it. Whack the bottom out of a bushy area for a fort or cave. Gather any fallen branches from all those winter storms and see what the kids can build. And if you don’t have the space to promote this kind of outdoor play, there are always field trips to Westmoreland Park Nature Play for fort building.
Easy Plants for Kids to Grow
Some plants are easier than others. Set your garden up for success by choosing a few of these.
Sunflowers: They’re dramatic, kids know and love them, and you can eat the seeds when they’re done.
Peas: Peas can be started indoors and then transplanted to the garden, where they’ll need to be trellised. But once you get the trellis going, they’re easy to grow and fun to pick and eat.
Strawberries: Oregon strawberries are sweet and fragrant, and nothing’s better than spotting a red, shining fresh berry on your plants. Better plant more than you think you need, because between the birds, squirrels, and kids, you’ll want to be able to snack on a few yourself! Containers work great if you have limited space.
Radishes: Impatient kids? Radishes grow quickly. They’re also a good choice for indoor sprouting experiments for this reason.
Carrots: Not only are they easy, but they’re one fun and satisfying for kids to pull out of the ground. Get rainbow carrots for an added surprise.
Here at Kids at Heart, we love helping kids develop a love of nature and gardening. Young kids can help tend the plants with the Watering Can Set from Green Toys, or enjoy the movement in Usborne's Pop-up Garden book. Older kids can create a growing windowsill abode with My Fairy Garden's Magical Cottage, or try Creativity for Kids' Plant a Pizza Garden. And while Portland is a very green city, families will enjoy Peter Brown's classic urban gardening story, The Curious Garden.
Easter is coming! Easter 2017 is Sunday, April 16, and there are lots of fun activities and Easter Egg hunts around Portland for families to enjoy together during this spring season.
The 55th annual Easter Egg Hunt is, as you might imagine, a longstanding tradition for a lot of Portland-area families. It features two hunts (ages 3-5 at 10:30 am, ages 6-8 at 12:30 pm), with all sorts of exciting prizes. Last year one lucky hunter won a weekend stay at Great Wolf Lodge.
Saturday, April 15, free
That’s right—helicopter egg drop. For kids who like a little (or a lot) of excitement in their lives, register for Brentwood Park’s “Code Orange” hunt. Parents, from what we hear, should be ready for a bit of adventure and crowds themselves. This hunt is one of the few we’ve found that lets two-year-olds in on the fun. Everything is free, from the hunt to the bouncy house, but be sure to register ahead of time.
Saturday, April 8
There’s also an Easter Bunny arriving by helicopter at an Alice in Wonderland-themed extravaganza in Happy Valley’s Eagle’s Landing, for our friends further south and east.
Saturday, April 15
Bring your basket and your appetite, because if you have a buffet brunch at Edgefield’s Blackberry Hall, it comes with an Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones. Groups are divided by age, and this being Edgefield, the grownups can feel free to observe with drink of choice in hand. Reservations are required.
Sunday, April 16
Take a trip to the zoo, with a side of exciting egg hunts. Rather than one huge rush, there will be smaller groups hunting for compostable eggs filled with responsibly sourced treats every 10-15 minutes. Check out the separate hunt for the 2 & under crowd. Kids can only hunt for candy one time due to the popularity of the event, but there will be bunnies to pet, “crafts, games, and photo opportunities” in addition to the usual zoo excitement.
Saturday, April 15
For bigger kids who think of themselves as “too old” for Easter Egg hunts, there’s this Easter brunch that just happens to have eggs to find for the first 50 people in the door on Easter Sunday. Each one holds a “golden ticket” for up to $50 worth of treats at Pix. Stay if you’d like for the fancy tea service, but make a reservation first.
Sunday, April 16
Tips: Talk with your kids about what to expect before letting them loose at an Easter Egg hunt, and put them in clothes or accessories that will be easy to pick out of a crowd. When you’re focused on finding eggs, it’s easy to wander a little farther from grownups than you expected! This is a great time to talk about sharing and helping others, and focusing on the fun of the hunt.
If the Easter Bunny needs a few ideas for the baskets at your house, send her over to Kids at Heart Toys. We’ve got a vast assortment of Jellycat bunnies, spring-themed books, gardening tools, and Easter egg sidewalk chalk. Small basket stuffers like Chenille Chicks, Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty, Schleich rabbits, Easter themed Japanese Erasers, and Calico Critter rabbits are going fast, so stop by before we run out!
Hop hop! We love active play to engage active minds and bodies. One way to get kids up and running is by heading to one of Portland’s many places where they can jump and bounce — sometimes literally off the walls. These indoor inflatable playgrounds and trampoline parks are the perfect place to get some super fun exercise, especially on those few, inevitable, stormy summer days. Don’t forget your socks!Read More
For some, summertime means getting out on the water. If that’s what floats your family’s boat, here are some fun ways that all ages can enjoy the rivers and lakes that run through and surround Portland. Don’t forget to wear your floatation devices, pack sunscreen, and have fun!Read More
Whether you're a seasoned local, or visiting Portland with kids, there is so much to do on Hawthorne! Read on to find all the places to go, things to see, and foods to eat on the Boulevard!Read More
Come one, come all, to the 2015 Hawthorne Street Fair!
We love our neighborhood and our customers, so we pull out all the stops for the Street Fair, throwing an over-the-top party for kids and families at Kids at Heart Toys.
On Sunday, August 16th, Hawthorne will be hopping with plenty of neighbors and visitors from all parts of the city. They’ll enjoy a music stage at SE 34th Avenue, art activities at Muse, beer gardens, and all kinds of delicious food and unique vendors. Of course, we think the best part of the Street Fair will be all the awesome activities for families we have planned at Kids at Heart.
On the Main Stage we’ll be featuring great entertainment for the whole family. Two of Portland’s most beloved children’s musicians, Mr. Ben and Lorna Miller, will invite us on their musical adventures, where all can sing and dance along. Then, Penny’s Puppet Productions will present not one, but TWO amazing puppet shows! Portland’s favorite clowns, Olive & Dingo, will take the stage with their wonderful antics, and Circus Cascadia joins us with a fantastic array of events: juggling demos, tightrope walking, balance balls, stilt lessons, and clown skits!
Besides our Stage shows, we’ll feature activities all day on SE 35th Avenue and in our back parking lot. We’ll have a refreshing misting tent and dedicated sidewalk chalk area. Our good friends from Metro Parent - PDX Kids Calendar will be set up with a prize wheel and photo booth, and face painters will be at the ready to beautify all those little faces! And perhaps most important of all, to ease all those weary feet, tables & chairs for resting and eating will be available.
Outside the store on Hawthorne is our annual Sidewalk Sale, with amazing deals on some of our favorite toys and books! Then, don’t forget to stop in the shop and fill out a ticket – we’ll have a drawing for you to win gift certificates to the store!
It’s our best Street Fair yet, and we are so excited to share it with all of you! See you then!
Tips for a successful family trip:
- Parking might be a bit tricky, so plan on parking a few blocks away and walking.
- Public transportation or a family bike ride will work great, too.
- Parts of Hawthorne will be closed to traffic/buses.
- Feel free to bring your own food and snacks, but there will be plenty to purchase from vendors and from our local restaurants and carts!
WHAT: Hawthorne Street Fair Children’s Events
WHEN: Sunday, August 16th, 2014 – 11am to 5pm
WHERE: Kids at Heart Toys - 3445 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214 – Stage performances and other activities will be outside on 35th Avenue (closed to traffic) and in the back parking lot.
WHY: The Hawthorne Street Fair is Portland’s longest running street fair, and offers the best of summer fun. Kids at Heart Toys saw the need for more kid-specific entertainment, and we have been presenting our children’s events alongside the rest of the street fair for eight years!