Play Room

Good Deeds: Helping the Unhoused

PDX Parent's editor Denise Castañon loves sharing new ideas with other Portland parents. You can find her cooking, eating, crafting and writing in Southeast where she lives with her husband, 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
Denise Castañon
Latest posts by Denise Castañon (see all)

Nicholl Summers and her three kids love to travel from their westside home to the Gorge for hikes, but Summers says her kids often went from giddy to solemn when they noticed the juxtaposition of million-dollar homes next to tent encampments of the homeless. When a virtual campout with the Hike It Baby group led […]

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Kids’ Books to Calm Worries

PDX Parent's editor Denise Castañon loves sharing new ideas with other Portland parents. You can find her cooking, eating, crafting and writing in Southeast where she lives with her husband, 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
Denise Castañon
Latest posts by Denise Castañon (see all)

The pandemic, shutdown, economic turmoil and very violent images of police brutality we’ve experienced over the past few months — that’s more than enough to make anyone feel worried and anxious. And kids are not immune to anxiety. So we asked Kim Tano, the children’s-book buyer at Portland institution Powell’s City of Books, to recommend

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Kids to Know: Oregon’s Top Volunteers

PDX Parent's editor Denise Castañon loves sharing new ideas with other Portland parents. You can find her cooking, eating, crafting and writing in Southeast where she lives with her husband, 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
Denise Castañon
Latest posts by Denise Castañon (see all)

Recent Roosevelt graduate Kaiya Laguardia of Portland and 13-year-old Jacob Van of Beaverton were named Oregon’s top youth volunteers of 2020 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.  Kaiya produced a 16-minute documentary video on the movement opposing the construction of a military base

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New & Fun January 2019

Published as Play Room in the January 2019 Print Issue of PDX Parent Top 5 Ice Skating Rinks 1. Brave the elements at Hillsboro’s seasonal open-air rink now through January 5 at Jerry Willey Plaza’s Winter Village. The pace is gentle, the twinkle lights are abundant, and newbie skaters large and small can hitch rides

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New & Fun December 2019

Published as Play Room in the December 2019 magazine Kid to Know: The AI Master versus Cancer Watch out, pancreatic cancer. 14-year-old Rishab Jain is coming for you. The ninth grader at Westview High School in Portland recently took home a technology award at the Broadcom MASTERS 2019, a program of the Society for Science

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New & Fun November 2019

Published as Play Room in PDX Parent magazine Top 5: Cafés for Cocoa Foam Art Cocoa season is in full swing! Keep this cold-weather kid-pick fresh by visiting one of our city’s top stops for hot chocolate foam art. From tulips and unicorns to personalized monograms, these baristas take pride in their liquid artistry —

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New & Fun October 2019

Published as Play Room in PDX Parent magazine Top 5: Candy-free Handouts Whether you want neighborhood kids to have allergy-friendly treats or just can’t stand the thought of more candy in your house, here are some ideas for no-sugar swag to pass out to trick-or-treaters on October 31.   1. Mini Play-Doh containers. 50 for

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New + Fun September 2019

Top 5: Allergy-Friendly After-School Treat Stops 1. Shake off the day at Cully’s cozy whole-foods café Tiny Moreso and tuck into a Rawdacious mini-cake — GF, vegan, raw and available in a rainbow of flavors from pumpkin to blueberry coconut.     2.Over on Alberta Street, Back to Eden’s bakery-café serves up a mighty assortment

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New + Fun August 2019

Top 5: Late-Summer Art Encounters ➊ Handmade clothing and art, live music and a kids-only play zone pop up in the Beaumont neighborhood during Fremont Fest, August 3.      ➋ Little pickers will go wild over 120-plus booths of flea market finds at Junk Refunk Street Market, also August 3, in downtown Canby.   

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New & Fun May 2019

Published in PDX Parent as Play Room Kid to Know: Madam Governor Did you know Oregon currently has two governors? Yes, there’s Kate Brown. And then there’s Erikka Baldwin, a fifth grader from McCornack Elementary in Eugene who was sworn in this January as Oregon’s Kid Governor. The Kid Governor program started up in Oregon

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New + Fun April 2019

Published as Play Room in the April 2019 issue of PDX Parent Kid to Know: Irie Page 2.0 Last year we highlighted the work of 15-year-old Irie Page as she organized a super successful community talk on consent for teens. This year the Southeast Portland teen has teamed up with six other teens to form

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New & Fun March 2019

Published as Play Room in PDX Parent magazine Take Five: Aron Nels Steinke When it comes to the “my teacher is the coolest” contest, Aron Nels Steinke’s class of fourth and fifth graders at Woodstock Elementary School have some serious bragging rights. Their teacher is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Mr. Wolf’s Class. And the second

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New + Fun October 2018

The Play Room Column of the PDX Parent magazine Kid to Know: The Artistic Genius Seventeen-year-old Ester Petukhova sees clearly where she’s come from and where she wants to go. And all that understanding gets translated into her astounding painting and artwork. She immigrated to America as a toddler and her status as an immigrant has shaped her art. Over

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Play Room August 2018

Kids to Know: The Climate Change Challengers For Beaverton siblings Miko and Isaac Vergun, climate change is not some abstract idea. It’s personal and it’s a family affair. “Since I was born in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, it is very important to me to keep small islands nations like the Marshall Islands from

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Play Room April 2018

Take Five: Martha Strawn Morris Northeast Portland’s Martha Strawn Morris is the director of the Gateway Center, which strives to prevent and reduce the impact of domestic violence. In 2017 they helped 3,223 women, 245 men and 675 children. Visit portlandoregon.gov/gatewaycenter for more information. Q: What are some of the services The Gateway Center offers?

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Play Room December 2017

Good Deeds: Planting for the Future For decades, the vacant lot at the corner of SE 87th Avenue and SE Malden Court was an eyesore in the Lents neighborhood, choked with invasive Himalayan blackberries, strewn with trash and a magnet for unsafe activity. Finally, in 2015, neighbors had had enough — they reclaimed the space, planting a

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Play Room November 2017

Take Five: Amy Beacom Amy Beacom, an inner-Southeast mom of two, knows the difficulties working parents face, particularly when they welcome a new child to the family. She founded the Center for Parental Leave Leadership (CPLL), a company that coaches other businesses on how to shape their policies to support working parents. Additionally, CPLL spends

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