Parental Guidance: December

Virtual bedtime stories, cool kids' duds, and keeping the little ones amused on road trips

Travel: Sketch Books
Wondering how to occupy the little ones during holiday travel? Greenwood-based John Skewes (best known for children’s books Larry Gets Lost in Seattle and Seattle ABC) introduces the clever Washington Doodles ($12.95, Sasquatch Books), which will keep their little minds and fingers busy on the airplane or during the “Are we there yet?” ride to Grandma’s. The more than 200 doodles, dot-to-dot puzzles and artistic brainteasers center on familiar Emerald City subjects. Draw fruit in the bins at the Pike Place Market, the many boats going through the Ballard Locks, or the walkers, runners and bikers making the loop around Green Lake. Skewes usually does the drawing, but this time he’s passing the illustrator reins to the kiddos, and what a fun ride it is.

Kids' clothes:
luscious layers
Dressing little ones in winter layers is less of a chore when you get the satisfaction of putting them in superstylish knits from My Oleda (myoleda.com). Marysville mom Sarah Irish crochets sweaters, hats, booties and infant cocoons ($15–$50) that have a vintage look with a modern flair, thanks to Irish’s use of hip patterns, funky yarn combinations and oh-so-adorable button, flower and ribbon accents. Irish also accepts custom orders so you can outfit your little dude with his very own Seahawks or Huskies ear-flap hat, or whatever your current obsession might be.

Technology: Virtual bedtime stories
The folks at Jackson Fish Market continue their quest for bedtime story dominance. Last year, the Pioneer Square software-design startup introduced A Story Before Bed (astorybeforebed.com), a website where adults need only a webcam to record a video of themselves reading a story to a child. The video is matched with actual pages from the book, and each story ($6.95 per title) is saved in a virtual library, where it can be viewed repeatedly. And with more than 150 books to choose from (including new holiday titles such as Christmas Around the World and Jingle Bells), it’s a great way for parents who are traveling on business and grandparents who live in another city to be involved with bedtime, no matter how far away they are. Most recently, A Story Before Bed introduced its Reading Room, where authors and illustrators read their books. Think of it as a reading at a bookstore, except kids can watch while wearing their comfy-cozy jammies.

Put it on your calendar: Ice, Ice, Baby
This month, don’t forget about the area’s two pop-up ice rinks, which offer brisk, beautiful ways to fill a day of the kids’ winter-break vacation. The Group Health Ice Arena is at Downtown Park in Bellevue (open through January 9, 2011; $7–$10; magicseason.com) and the Ice Rink at Fisher Pavilion is part of Winterfest at Seattle Center (open through January 2, 2011; $2–$5; seattlecenter.com).

Myoleda photo by Jessica Feely Photography

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