Pre-Trip Fun for San Juan Islands, Washington
Free Willy -- When a 12-year-old street kid learns of a plot to kill a whale at an aquarium, he joins together with his friends on an epic journey to free the whale. It's a great way to help kids prepare for whale watching adventures. (School-age and up)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home -- Although this movie features humpback whales instead of orca whales, it's still a fascinating glimpse into whale culture. (School-age and up)
Salmon -- Whales eat salmon, too. Try it mixed with rice, scrambled with eggs, or in another simple, kid-friendly preparation.
Blackberry Shortcake -- Blackberry season is August, when they grow wild and in abundance on the islands.
Curious George Goes Camping by Margaret Rey and H. A. Rey -- George goes camping and gets lost in the woods. Crazy antics follow, with a happy ending as George finds a way to be helpful to his fellow campers. The book is a great way to introduce basic camping concepts. (Preschool)
O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman -- Beautiful photos and descriptions of wildlife and nature teach the alphabet while showing children the animals and sights they'll encounter on the islands. (Preschool)
A Whale of a Tale!: All About Porpoises, Dolphins, and Whales by Bonnie Worth and Aristides Ruiz -- The Cat in the Hat goes in search of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and teaches kids all sorts of fun facts about them (like how they stay warm without hair, why they jump out of the water, and how singing helps them see). (Preschool)
Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids' Guide by Lynn Brunelle -- Loads of fun facts, crafts, and activities for camping, like how to make campfire chili and ice cream, navigate by the sun and stars, and spook your friends with ghastly ghost stories. (Elementary)
The Wild Whale Watch -- The Magic School Bus by Eva Moore and Ted Enik -- Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus take to the seas, where kids learn all about whales and the deep, dark ocean. It's a fun way to demystify the deep water and the creatures that live there. (Elementary)
Let's Discover the San Juan Islands: A Children's Activity Book for Ages 6-11 by Let's Discover (Mountaineers Books) -- Word searches, trivia, puzzles, and games teach kids all kinds of fun things about the San Juan Islands. (Elementary)
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera -- This gripping story about a young Maori girl who represents her New Zealand tribe's future is a complex and dramatic tale. Whale-based myth and reality are woven together with themes of racism and death that are most appropriate for older readers. (Young Adult)
Lavender-filled sachet -- Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island is one of the country's largest lavender farms. Lavender can be used in any number of ways; a fragrant sachet is a simple and fun thing to make before or after your travels.
Whale water scoop -- Bath time fun is a whale of an adventure with this easy-to-make water scoop. It's a great introduction to whales for little ones about to see them in real life.
Fish-shaped wind sock -- Whales aren't the only creatures of the deep, and these wind socks will help kids learn and think about the other fish they're about to see.
Bird mobile -- The San Juan Islands are home to the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the country. This fun craft give kids plenty of leeway to design their own fanciful creations while teaching them about wildlife in the sky.