New & Fun September 2018

The Play Room Column of the PDX Parent magazine

Top 5 Fall Color Hikes

➊ Head to Silver Falls State Park outside of Silverton to gaze at the red alder and vine maple. (The waterfalls are nice, too.)
➋ Right in town, fall color peaks at Hoyt Arboretum in mid-October.
➌ In addition to beautiful changing leaves on the Salmon River Trail near Welches, this is the time of year to watch the salmon spawn in droves.
➍ The Washington side of the Columbia River gorge boasts the gorgeous Cape Horn Loop Trail, where bigleaf maples put on a show.
➎ The Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park is a little light on the hiking, but the scenery can’t be beat. Bonus: A scavenger hunt for the littles. — Julia Silverman


Playlist: New Tunes for Little Ears

Outstanding new kindie music for your every mood.

Supa Stupefying
by Mo Phillips

Portland kindie fave Mo Phillips serves up a super fun dance album that shimmies through genres. Supa Stupefying is a club mix that even adults will groove along to. And the copious cowbell on Disco Hit #6 (Be My Friend) will make you want to teach your floss-obsessed kids how to do the hustle. At

La Luna
by 123 Andrés

Drift off to the beautiful, lulling vocals from Latin-Grammy winners Andrés Salguero and Cristina Sanabria. This sweet album of songs in Spanish provides the right beat for rocking a sleepy babe off to dreamland — or calming down an overtired toddler. At


Blue Skies, Sunny Days
by Frances England

Frances England’s smooth and breezy vocals and lyrics are the perfect soundtrack for a great day with your kids. England’s goal with her fifth album for families was to provide an “antidote for all the bad news out there.” And she very much accomplished it with a selection of
laid-back tunes filled with optimistic and loving messages. At — Denise Castañon

Gear Guide: Pack ‘Em Up

Try one of these sturdy backpack carriers to bring your toddler along on one of the great hikes.

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite
This popular backpack carrier sports loads of useful features. The kickstand lets you easily load your kiddo in the pack, the easy-to-adjust belt make it a breeze to switch the pack between parents of different sizes, and the padded shoulder straps make it comfortable to wear even on longer hikes. $259.95. At Bridge City Kid, 8402 N Lombard.

Deuter Kid Comfort Air Child Carrier
If lightweight is your top requirement for a pack, this is the one for you. Its design also allows for plenty of airflow, a plus if you or your kiddos run hot. Parents also enjoy the ample storage. $240. At Next Adventure, 426 SE Grand Ave., and

Crosslinks Clvr Baby Backpack Cross Country Carrier
With a lightweight frame and budget-friendly price tag, the Clvr carrier is a great option. It features many of the bells and whistles of pricier packs, including a sun shade and loads of storage. But while the carrier is lightweight, it is bulky to store when not in use. $119.99. At — D.C.

Podcasts We Love: Kid Pleasers

So you’ve already listened as a family to this month’s episode of the PDX Parent podcast? Cool. Try these kid-approved podcasts next.

Story Pirates
Ahoy there, mateys! The only pillaging here is the original stories by kids, which serve as source material for the crazy crew of comedians and improvisers who spin that inspiration into podcast gold. On Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.

This Podcast has Fleas
So there’s this dog, Waffles, and a cat, Jones, who live in the same house, and both think they’re the next big thing in podcasts. Hijinks ensue! From the public radio wizards at WYNC; find it at

Smash Boom Best
Which is better? Pizza or tacos? What’s spookier — the Bermuda
Triangle or the Loch Ness Monster? Contestants debate these age-old questions, and kids get to be the judge. From Minnesota Public Radio.

Getaway: Mount Saint Helens

Mount Hood gets all the glory when it comes to the PDX skyline, but Mount Saint Helens, just about a two-hour drive away, is a huge adventure in its own right, completely unlike any other destination thanks to its 1980 eruption and the aftermath.

If you haven’t taken your kids to Ape Caves yet, this is your chance — the trail features the longest lava tube in the continental United States and even on the hottest days, it’s a steady 42 degrees down there. (Pro tip: Bring headlamps if you’ve got them!) Older kids will dig the live seismographs and geology exhibits at the Johnson Ridge Observatory, while little ones will have fun with the National Parks’ Junior Ranger program scavenger hunts and puzzles.

Other hiking options include the Trail of Two Forests, which has giant holes in the ground where trees once stood (think the world’s best game of hide-and-seek), the 2.5-mile Hummocks Trail and the Volcano View Trail, which is stroller-friendly and offers a peek at the mountain. Stay at Eco Park Resort just outside the national park, where you can rent a cabin for four people for $150 a night or pitch a tent for $25. Pro tip: Book one of the family-friendly horseback riding tours to get a birds-eye view tour of how Mount Saint Helens is returning to life, nearly 40 years after the eruption.

For dinner, try the beefy “logger stew” in a bread bowl at their Backwoods Cafe. (Don’t worry vegetarians/vegans/the gluten-free, there are choices for you on the menu, too.) — J.S.

Good Deeds: Rock the Vote

Tuesday, September 25 is not just another random Tuesday, not by a long shot. It’s National Voter Registration Day — so why not celebrate by rounding up your kids and running your very own voter registration drive? Pair it with a lemonade stand (or hot chocolate, if it’s rainy out) and set up a table at any intersection near you that receives a reasonable amount of foot traffic. (Pro tip: For maximum impact, take the MAX down to Portland State, or set up near a Portland Community College campus, where you are likely to find a higher percentage of unregistered voters.)

In addition to the lemonade fixings, all you’ll need are a big stack of voter registration cards. If you need 500 or fewer, you can get those from your local county elections office. Shooting big? Requests for more than 500 registration cards should go to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. Do note that those you register will need to provide either an Oregon driver’s license number or state-issued ID number; the last four digits of a social security number will also work. And any completed forms you receive need to be turned into to your local elections office within five days of being filled out, so bring a big manila envelope with you to hold all those new voter cards! It’s a great way to give the kids a civics lesson about the importance of participation in the democratic process — and their cuteness, plus that lemonade, will help attract more new voters to your table. Win win! — J.S.

Chalkboard: The year of the woman

Number of women running for the state legislature in Oregon
38: Number of those women who are Democrats
18: Number of those women who are Republicans 
9: Number of state House or Senate races where both major party candidates are female.

POLITICAL PUNDITS across the land have declared 2018 to be the year of the woman in politics, and Oregon is no exception. As November’s elections approach, the local political landscape is full of female candidates to watch, from incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat hoping to win her first full term in office, to the race between Loretta Smith and Jo Ann Hardesty to become the first female black member of the Portland City Council.

Consistent with national trends, more Democratic women are running than Republican ones, by a generous two-to-one margin, some of them in races that have statewide implications. Keep an eye out for Democrat Shemia Fagan’s campaign for state Senate in eastern Multnomah County — she unseated a more conservative Democratic incumbent in the primary, but the traditionally blue-collar district is hard to predict in a general election. Another interesting race looms on the northern Oregon Coast, where child welfare advocate Tiffiny Mitchell is running for an open seat vacated by longtime incumbent Deborah Boone. Her Astoria-area district is historically Democratic, but not by a country mile. Control of the state legislature is especially crucial for both sides this year because it will fall to the 2019 legislature to draw up proposed boundaries for future electoral districts, including, possibly, an added U.S. House seat in 2020 and beyond. — J.S.

Ask Dr. Doug

Q: My child has a severe peanut allergy, and I’m nervous about leaving her with caregivers, like her teachers when she starts kindergarten next year. Can you offer any suggestions for talking with people about how to deal with it if she goes into anaphylactic shock?

A: Your big 5-year-old grinning on her first day of school is such a bittersweet moment — how did they get so big? Unfortunately for parents of children with food allergies, this milestone often comes with added worry. Food allergies are common and have been on the rise over the past 20 years. Around 8 percent of children have one, so your daughter likely won’t be the only student with a food allergy. However, there are still plenty of misunderstandings around food allergies, which is why your communication with her school is so important.

I would recommend starting with teaching your daughter, calmly and matter-of-factly, that she needs to only eat the foods you give her, and to ask “Does this have nuts in it?” if any snacks are distributed in school. If you are reassuring and calm while discussing this you can help ward off the natural anxieties she may have around school and food.

Next, call the school and ask to talk to the administrator regarding their food-allergy policies. Do they have allergen-free rooms or areas? How are staff trained to use epinephrine autoinjectors and is the training current? Educating caretakers how to handle an exposure or a reaction — even before the first day of school — is important so they can take the time to feel fully prepared before they are in charge of caring for your daughter.

In order to plan for an accidental exposure, I would highly recommend you fill out an allergy-action plan with input from your pediatrician or allergist. This is a specific plan on how to recognize symptoms of a reaction and how to treat them. The best version is from FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), found at Remember: when in doubt, give epinephrine. Antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) only treat itching or hives and will not stop anaphylaxis. A quick poke to save a life is
worth it.

View this transition as an opportunity for education and growth. Be prepared, but don’t forget to tell yourself (and your daughter!) that you can handle this. Hug her tight the first day of school — she will be graduating from high school before you know it!

Dr. Doug Lincoln practices general pediatrics at Metropolitan Pediatrics in Happy Valley. He is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine, with special interests in helping parents meet their breastfeeding goals, caring for neurodiverse children with behavioral health needs, and advocating for children via teaching and policy. As a dad of two boys, he understands the joy and hard work that comes with parenting. Find out more about Dr. Doug and Metropolitan Pediatrics at

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