Category Archives: Charity

The Weekend Round-Up: December 8-10

Georgetown all aGLOW last year



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It’s really going to start looking a lot like Christmas if the predicted snow actually does fall. Luckily, the next few days are loaded with holiday activities that fit right in with that scenario. Happy Weekend!

GLOW with It
Where: Around the neighborhood | Georgetown, DC
When: Nightly through January 7, 5-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light – literally. Every evening through January 7, the neighborhood will sparkle with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community. Works of local, regional, and international artists will be on display in both public and privately-owned spaces, including M Street, along the C&O Canal, and more nearby places. Take the family dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Read a KFDC write-up about last year’s GLOW.

Winter Wonderland Party
Where: Surprise Ride Office | Downtown DC
When: Friday, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

Join a local start-up that makes activity kits for kids (they were featured on Shark Tank) for a celebration at their offices. Kids and their families will enter the space decked out in fake snow and holiday lights to be transported into a magical Winter Wonderland! You can craft, snack, drink, and meet their Shark Tank sisters, Donna & Rosy.  The offices are located a 1146 19th Street Northwest, Suite 800. RSVP here – required for front desk security.

Imaginary World of the Nutcracker
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 7
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

Since ARTECHOUSE opened this past June, the gallery has been bringing us art experiences that are beautiful, innovative, immersive through the fusion of art and technology. The newest holiday season exhibition, “Imaginary World of the Nutcracker,” follows suit with an installation that engages and enchants. You can view Nutcracker scenery projects on walls, manipulate light and color with your own movements, and look for magical surprises throughout. Bring the kids during daytime hours 10am – 5pm, but I also recommend this for an adult outing 5:30-10:30pm or 11:30pm when special cocktails (and some extra magic) are served, too!

Christmas is Afoot
Where: Christ Crossman United Methodist Church | Falls Church, VA
When: Friday & Saturday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

This Christmas season take a walk through historic Bethlehem! Christ Crossman United Methodist Church will open its doors to the community for a journey that begins with a live nativity and petting zoo, Christmas music from members of the George Mason High School band, warm cider, and snacks. Once inside, enjoy making crafts resembling historical Bethlehem market goods and participate in a service project assembling health kits for the Falls Church Homeless Shelter. This event is free and open to all ages.

Sound Health: Second Saturdays
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 9:30m & 11:30am
Admission: Free

This new series of free workshops designed for families with children under the age of 8* explores the power of the arts to promote wellness of the mind and body. Every second Saturday of the month, local arts organizations offer two 45-minute workshops in the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer.

DIY Holiday Cards
Where: National Postal Museum | Union Station Area, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Create one-of-a-kind handmade cards at the museum all about mail. They provide beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve been to this event a bunch of times over the years, and it’s always really well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read a KFDC write-up about the museum.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s holiday inspired fun to be had all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around the Roadside Attractions-themed display at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. Or take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Go on a holiday scavenger hunt (and shop for gifts) at the Mansion on O Street. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2017 Holiday Guide.

Celebration of Buddhist Journeys
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the museum dedicated to Asian art and culture for a rich day of activities for all ages, exploring aspects of Buddhist art and practice as we celebrate the new exhibitions “Encountering the Buddha” and “Secrets of the Lacquer Buddha.” Be transported on a journey across the Buddhist world, from India to China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and beyond. Experience timeless artworks, hear inspiring musical performances by members of the Silkroad Ensemble, listen to stories from the life of the Buddha, and trace the paths of Buddhist journeys past and present.

“Shop” & Gift Hope
Where: Discovery Elementary School | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Put a new spin on gift-giving and philanthropy. At this Gifts That Give Hope Fair, you can support the community and give a meaningful gift by making a donation to one of 17 locally-based nonprofits featured at the fair. Personalize the card to a loved one, then give that act of kindness in their name. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and there are some special touches this year just for them, including a wintery performance from the Yorktown Dance Team, holiday crafts, face painting, sensory activities at the new Skill Builders pop-up shop, and Coder Kids’ Mac workstations to code a Minecraft Mod.

EdFEST
Where: DC Armory| Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2017-18 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Magical Mirrors Children’ Book Fair
Where: Sankofa Video & Books | Shaw, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Sankofa Video & Books will be celebrating black literature for all ages and grade levels with its 6th annual Magical Mirrors Book Fair. Children and families are welcome inside the largest collection of African American children’s literature in the District for a weekend of storytelling, crafts, kids yoga, African dance class, a creative writing workshop and more. 

Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood
Where: GALA Theatre | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 12:30pm & 2:30pm & Sunday, 1:30pm
Admission: $25/adult, $15/child

Groove along with the Duke’s jazz piano! Take the kids on an interactive journey through Duke Ellington’s DC and discover how a local hero championed African-American musicians, influenced the Harlem Renaissance and became an international star in this production from The In Series Opera & More.

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment, there’s plenty of that now. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre. Join the Christmas Revel for a French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice. Take little ones to Art’s on the Horizon’s Snow Day. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up in the 2017 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Show Time
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

For live entertainment without all the seasonal trimmings, Hansel & Gretel is a lovely wordless show for all ages at Synetic Theatre. Me… Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall is at the Kennedy Center. Charlotte’s Web is on the Imagination Stage. Kids’ fave Annie is at Olney Theatre. Nina Simone: Four Women at Arena Stage is a moving and powerful show that teens and up will appreciate. And you can make it a grown-up night for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night.

Winter Woods Weekend
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Saturday, 9am – 5pm & Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

The Wheaton Woods are calling, “Wake up to winter!” Walk the trails with a naturalist, make a special family craft & warm up at the marshmallow campfire. There will be a woodsy mix of indoor and outdoor games and activities for kids, adults and families all weekend long to celebrate the coming of winter. Check out the Sunday schedule. A few activities and treats cost a small fee. See the Sunday schedule here.

Russian Winter Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adults, $12/members, $5/ages 6-18, free/under 6

Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand at Sviatki, a Russian-style celebration of the holidays. Winsome characters will surprise and delight visitors across the estate, create and wear your own headpiece, listen to festive music, and enjoy a variety of live cultural entertainment.

Maker Morning: Trace
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn, builders and makers of all ages are welcome to join the Hirshhorn on Saturday mornings in December for hands-on activities related to the exhibit. Check out a kit and create portraits in the Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn galleries. Bring your youngest artists for a special Saturday edition of STORYTIME (then stay and play). Complete a 2D portrait of selected subjects featured in Trace using LEGOS® as a medium. Join in a collaborative 3D portrait challenge. And so you don’t go home empty-handed, jump in a photobooth, and create your own portrait to take home!

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Santa Claus is Coming… to Park View
Where: Walls of Books | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4
Admission: Free (photos with Santa are $20)

See Santa at Walls of Books on Saturday. He’ll be there laughing, listening, and refining his list. Enjoy coffee & hot chocolate from Heat Da Spot Cafe. Professional photo shoot with Santa are available for $20. Spots are filling up fast, so register soon!

Silent Disco (POSTPONED to December 14 due to weather!)
Where: Washington Harbour | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 7-10pm
Admission: Free

Dance your heart out among a crowd of glowing headsets! As part of Georgetown GLOW 2017, Silent Dance Society is hosting a Silent Disco on Saturday evening. Free and open to all ages, just put on head sets pumping music from three different genres and get down!

Shakespeare, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harmon Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Want to introduce your kids to Shakespeare? The Shakespeare Theatre Company is kicking off their annual Family Week, which includes a Mini-Summer Night’s Dream, discount tickets to their current production Twelfth Night, and all kinds of programming especially for young theatre-goers through December 17. Read a KFDC write-up about our first experience with STC’s Family Week!

Chanukah Celebration
Where: Edlavitch JCC | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $23/family by 12/8, $25/family after 12/8

Grab your socks and your yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah! 
This year’s rockin’ Chanukah party will feature a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Christmas on the Big Screen
Where: Arlington Cinema Draft House | Arlington, VA
When: Sunday, 12:30-9pm
Admission: $10

Catch a merry flick — or eight — and get into the holiday spirit. This Christmas-themed movie marathon welcomes you to join for as many films as you’d like. You can even pop in for one early, leave, then return for evening entertainment. All for one very reasonable admission price!

Colonial Wassail
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission:

Gather in the 18th Century Farm’s orchard to wassail (wish good health to) the apple trees with singing, dancing, and chants to ensure a “howling crop.” Hot spiced cider, ginger biscuits, a bonfire, and 18th century games will be among the festivities to round out the fun.

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings all weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take a drive or a stroll through one of the many light displays in the area. The twinkling exhibits feature all kinds of delightful scenes — holiday faves, animals, gardens, and the landscape illuminated in brilliant colors. You can find details for all of them in the 2017 Holiday Guide and view photos of Brookside’s Garden of Lights, which we recently visited, here.

Insider Info
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

According to the latest weather forecast, we’ll likely be getting the first snow of the season. So, if you’re looking for extra ideas for things to do indoors, this ever-growing list of 90 suggestions of activities that take place inside will have you literally covered.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* If you’re doing some holiday shopping this weekend, be sure to check out the 2017 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, full of ideas and inspiration for presents for peops of all ages at all price points (even free!), from kids’ products to theatre tickets to unique experiences to gifts that give back!
* Don’t forget to enter the giveaway running right now for a chance to win a sewing class with Three Little Birds Sewing Co.!
* The National Menorah Lighting is this coming Tuesday, December 12, at 5:30. Free tickets to attend are still available, just go to the website and register for the event.
* I love getting feedback from you guys both about your adventures around DC and my blog in general, and I think other KFDC readers would benefit from it, too — what you especially liked (or didn’t) about a particular place, whether or not you agree with my reviews, tips you might have for others. So I wanted to take a second to encourage comments on the blog. Leave them on posts about the places you visit, or in the Weekday and Weekend Round-Ups or wherever you see fit. We’re always interested to hear you thoughts! 🙂

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Cause, Chanukah, Charity, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The 2017 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide

Presents!



As we head into the thick of the season, many of us are still searching for those perfect gifts for family and friends. So just like the last couple of years, I’m going to try and help out with that by sharing some things I’ve really enjoyed and/or think would make fantastic presents for a variety of people. This also gives me a chance to highlight local businesses and people offering unique products and experiences as well as organizations that are doing great things. And then there are some ideas that are simply fun and enriching. You might notice some things are back from previous years, but that’s because they’re worth repeating (like the photo above…an oldie but goody that makes me chuckle every time). None of these recommendations are sponsored; they’re just things that I truly like and think you and yours might, too. Happy gifting!


A Tinker Crate ceation

Deliver Creativity
Kiwi Crate, the monthly activity box subscription, has been in our lives for several years, so I know firsthand that it makes for great presents for kids. In fact, not only do mine get them, we also give them. Hence, I’m endorsing the products once again! A few kits are available — the original Kiwi comes with all the supplies needed to make an adorable craft. The Koala Crate is for ages 3-5, the Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+, and the Tinker Crate also for ages 9-16+. They’re great to have on hand for rainy days or anytime kids want a ready-to-go (ie, minimal work for you) project at home.

Games galore at Labyrinth

Are You Game?
DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles continues to offer so many fantastic options for holiday gifts, so plan on a visit to Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened seven years ago, it’s gotten even better. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. And the service is just as great as the inventory. Give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game to buy.

A robust selection of kids’ reads

Book It
Find presents for everyone at a local bookstore! Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop. The store has an excellent selection of books, plus other fun gifts for children and adults. Politics & Prose, one of the city’s most well known bookstores, just opened a location at The Wharf along with its original Connecticut Avenue shop. Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle is a DC institution and always a great place to browse and have a bite at Afterwards Cafe. You can go secondhand at Walls of Books in Petworth, where the inventory is 99% used books (and there is regular programming for kids)! And Baby Ventures Books, started by two local moms, inspires young children to explore their world early on with wonder and compassion.

Eight years in a book

O Snaps
Obama: An Intimate Portrait is bound to be a big gift this holiday season. The book by Pete Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer during the Obama administration, beautifully captures those eight years in images that are heartwarming, poignant, powerful, and inspiring with captions to accompany each one, and longer stories to illustrate a few even more. For young readers, Dream Big Dreams is a shorter, but just as inspirational, version especially for them.

Synetic Theatre’s Hansel & Gretel

Hot Tickets
There’s so much great live entertainment both currently running and coming to local stages soon, that would make fantastic presents for kids and adults. KFDC Tip: Before you buy, check for ticket deals, as you may be able to get discounts to some productions. See the round-up of winter entertainment, and here are some recommendations for shows running during the holiday season and coming up soon in the new year:
* Hansel & Gretel at Syentic Theatre
* Frosty the Snowman at Adventure Theatre
* Nina Simone: Four Women at Arena Stage (and any future shows there)
* Mr. Popper’s Penguins at the Kennedy Center.
* The American Pops’ Around the World in 80 Days
* Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live at Warner Theatre
* Les Misérables at National Theatre
* Monster Jam at Capital One Arena
* An American in Paris at the Kennedy Center.

There’s a huge selection of gifts for all ages at the National Gallery

Enter Through the Museum Gift Shop
We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops echo the impressive collections with items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. Just about all of the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo have wonderful gift shops. And I highly recommend browsing the shops at some of the other museums in town: The National Building Museum, International Spy Museum, and Newseum all have unique and interesting inventory.

Sportin’ shirts that salute DC

Spot of T’s
Wearable gifts are a good idea, especially when they bear inspiring designs. WEErascals has “clothing inspired by heroes,” like T-shirts boasting images of Jane Goodall, Albert Einstein, John Muir as well as shout-out slogans such as “Fierce Like Frida” and “Dreamin’ Like MLK.” You can keep it DC focused with WEE the People T’s that celebrate iconic sites and figures. For adults, I love shirts from SuperLoveTees, not only because they’re supercute, but because they spread a good vibe with positive, uplifting messages.

Urban cowgirl

Ride On
What kid (or adult) doesn’t love a brand new bike? Sure, it might be a biggie when it comes to presents, but in our cycling-friendly town, where it’s often easier — and much more fun — to get around on two wheels than four, the gift of a bicycle is as practical as it is exciting for the giftee. REI is always good place to shop for them — their own lines are solid, plus they carry several other brands — and they often have good sales (just got a great deal there on my new ride). Conte’s is a new shop at The Yards with a nice selection of bikes and good service. You can also try to score a fixed-up find at a local refurbished bike sale on December 9.

A gift of adventure

Aaand…Action!
For the people, young and old, in your life who like active thrills and challenges, a gift certificate or season pass for one of these action-packed pursuits is strongly recommended.
* The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring, one of our favorite outdoor places to play, is an exciting aerial forest experience, where adventure-goers navigate ropes courses in the trees, with climbing for kids as young as 5 years old. Check out their gift options for the season, and read more about the adventure in this KFDC post.
* iFLY Loudoun offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience “flying” without stepping foot in (or out of) an airplane. Meant to simulate skydiving, flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel on a smooth cushion of air created by high-powered fans that enable people to float. It’s quite exhilarating, but also a splurge, making it a special and unique present. Read more about the experience here.
* Trapeze School New York in DC has classes in flying trapeze, static trapeze, balancing and acrobatics, trampoline, and more. Both of my kids have tried — and loved — the circus-inspired adventure at The Yards in the Capitol Riverfront (and I want to give it a whirl myself)!
* Many local ice skating rinks have season passes available for peops who want to practice their triple lutzes and spins — or just really like to glide around.

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

Clued In
Any sleuths on your gift list? If so, solve the mystery of what to get them with Watson Adventures. These scavenger hunts that take place at local museums are as well executed as they are fun and intriguing. There are hunts for adults as well as a Harry Potter themed Wizard School quest for younger ages, too, that has you searching the National Gallery of Art for works that echo the characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed books and movies. A gift certificate to one of these experiences is like a passport to adventure! Read more about it all in this KFDC post.

Hello, Port Discovery? I’d like a membership, please.

Members Only
For children who aren’t quite old enough to climb, fly, or take in a big show, consider a membership to a museum. The National Building Museum offers family memberships for $90/year, getting you all into the Building Zone and most exhibits free of charge (regularly $3-10/person). Port Discovery in Baltimore is another great one with loads of hands-on, curiosity-peaking, educational, fun exhibits that keep kids engaged for hours. Family memberships for the year start at $124 (admission is $15.95/person), and right now they are offering $20 off if you purchase by December 18!

Kids can kick it with DC Way

Class Acts
Has your kid expressed interest in a particular activity or sport? Or maybe your spouse wants to pursue a new hobby or begin a different routine? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! From soccer to sewing to dance to art to yoga to cooking to theatre to music to running, there are all kinds of sessions all around the area offering lessons and guidance that help turn curiosity into mastery and skill. Here are some recommendations for places and programs:
* DC Way has soccer and futsal for kids.
* All ages can get grooving and twirling with CityDance.
* Register really little ones for classes at Gymboree Play & Music DC
* Three Little Birds Sewing Co. and Sew Creative Lounge offer sewing classes for children and adults.
* My Gym Bethesda & Potomac have active classes for kids ages 3-10
* Budding actors can learn the performing arts ropes with Adventure Theatre.
* Check out Gabriella Boston’s Boot Camp for Capitol Hill adults who want a great workout (and like early morning fitness).
* Runners of all levels can make strides with Kathy Pugh Running.
* Activity Rocket and Course Horse are great websites to find even more classes for all ages and interests.

A Shenandoah farm getaway

Great Escapes
Gift your whole fam with a getaway! There are plenty of great not-too-far places for a family weekend jaunt. Great Wolf Lodge caters to families with an indoor waterpark and tons of fun for kids. The Chesapeake Hyatt is popular for its indoor swimming and family-friendly amenities. Wintergreen is a lovely all-season resort. Or find a great VRBO or Airbnb and get out of town for a few days — we loooved this Shenandoah Farm where we stayed in the spring.

gift_gtghGifts That Give Hope
How about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers, and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, while enjoying festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. The Arlington Fair will take place Saturday, December 9, at Discovery Elementary School from 10am – 2pm. You can also purchase online after the event.

Lending a hand at DC Diaper Bank

Give…Back
Along the same lines as the above event, you can give to a cause or charity in someone’s name through a donation — the GIVE Page has suggestions on where to contribute, all of them shared by KFDC readers. You can give your time and plan a volunteering outing with your kids and show them the gift of giving back. A bunch of organizations around the area have opportunities for children and parents help out in a hands-on way together. DC Diaper Bank, Wreaths Across America, DC JCC, and Capital Area Food Bank are some places to check out, and you can find even more in this KFDC post.

Design guru

Design Time
If there’s someone in your life who wants a facelift for their home, but needs some guidance going about it, gift them the help of an expert. Margaret Carroll is an architect and design consultant extraordinaire and, full disclosure, also a really great friend of mine. But that just means I know first hand that she has a keen eye for style and the sharpest aesthetic of anyone I know, from the perfectly picked tile in her (former) bathroom to the amazing booties on her feet. She’s actually in the midst of a tear-down/rebuild of her own house and is blogging about the process, so you can follow along as she documents the journey — and see that she’s as charming and funny as she is talented.

Capture them with this gift

Capture them with this gift

Picture Perfect Presents
How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like last year, I am recommending just the right photographer for it. As mentioned in the 2016 Gift Guide, I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, mostly on her blog, No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last few years, she has started her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s funny and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.

Cover to cover inspiration

Cover to cover inspiration

Banish Boredom
This book, written by DC mom and blogger Rebecca Green of Not-So-SAHM, is a bible of fun, educational, and just really awesome ideas for crafts, science projects, outings, and other activities with kids. And, as its title states, parents will enjoy them just as much as their babes. Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You’ll Actually Enjoy has a wealth of ideas and tons of good tips for getting kiddos engaged in all kinds of interesting and really fun ways. It’s perfect for parents who like DIY pursuits, but sometimes need a little extra inspiration.

Math games compared

Toy Tips
You can take some of the stress out of holiday shopping for kids by getting recs from someone who has already shopped and compared. Red Jellies, an online resource founded by DC mom Kimberly Stephens, is a fully independent review service that helps you discover the very best books and toys on the market. They scour major toy conventions and test loads of products so you don’t have to. Not only can get good gift ideas, you can focus more on the joy of the holidays.

It’s free to see residents of the Rock Creek Horse Center

Give Freely
Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions:
* A visit to the Wizard of Oz playground, Old Maryland Farm, and Nature Center at Watkins Regional Park
* Fossil hunting adventures at Purse State Park or Flag Ponds Nature Park
* Flight fascination at the Udvar-Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the Air & Space Museum
* A tour of Ford’s Theatre to learn about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination through a museum and performance
* A day at Rock Creek Park to visit the horses, Nature Center, Peirce Mill, and enjoy a hike
* The Washington Youth Garden, Bonsai Museum, and old Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum
* The Fairy Lolly and art experiences at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens
* A nature walk among the lily pad laden ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
* A day of play at Clemyjontri
* And there are many, many, many more right in our backyard.

Happy Holidays!

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Filed under 2017, 2018, All ages, Chanukah, Charity, Christmas, DC, Free, Holidays, Professional Service, Seasonal, Shop, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 27 – December 1

Hike (and hide) amid the pretty foliage at Pohick Bay Regional Park



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Monday – Hang out at Hains Point! Play, picnic, and enjoy the surrounding scenery where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers converge. Head all the way down, almost to the tip of the park, to reach the playgrounds. They’re set amid a large grassy area with picnic tables and restrooms right there, too. And the spot offers great views of the rivers and airplanes taking off and landing at DCA. You could even make a longer day of it, and visit the nearby Tidal Basin to explore the Jefferson, Roosevelt, and MLK Memorials. Admission to all of it is free.

Tuesday – Relish in the beautiful fall day at Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, VA. Hike the easy trails through the woods vibrant with foliage, take in views of the water, let kiddos swing and climb on the playground, and play some disc golf if that’s your thing. Bring along a picnic — there are lots of tables in gorgeous spots for lunch al fresco. Hours are sunrise to sunset, and admission is $7 (though the gate house was closed when we recently visited, so entry was free).

And don’t forget to take part in Giving Tuesday! If you want some ideas of where to donate, the GIVE page has a long list of charities and causes, all of them shared by KFDC readers. (And if you have one you’d like to highlight, leave a comment on that page, and I’ll add it.)

Wednesday – Enjoy a little time trip back to the 18th century at Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The living history locale welcomes visitors to explore the grounds, where there is a tobacco barn, farm house, garden, orchard, and animals. Guests can also interact with a family portraying life as it was back then. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5/adults, $3/children ages 3 and up, free/2 & under. Read about our first experience there in this post.

Thursday – Bring little ones to the National Museum of American History for a special Sesame Street Celebration. Festivities include a “Create Your Own Character” craft, a music making station, Sesame Street story times, and a rare opportunity to see Sesame Street characters from the Museum’s storage. Plus, families will be able to meet Julia, one of Sesame Street’s newest residents who lives with autism, during meet and greet sessions. This will all take place 10am – 12pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Zip over to DC’s big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show is back in the West Hall, featuring an elaborate Norwegian mountain landscape. Plan to grab a bite to eat at one of many options there or pop over to the National Postal Museum next door for more fun. Admission is free to both the train exhibit and the museum.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Cause, Charity, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Trains, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: December 10-11

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour



Up to 40% Off All Bikes at PUBLIC Bikes. Save on stylish commuter bikes at PUBLIC. A bike is the best holiday gift. No offer code necessary.


Holiday season is in full swing, and this round-up of recs is proof with a loads of ways to celebrate the season. And DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet for family fun — you can refer to the big list of indoor activities, or enjoy some cool outdoor pursuits. Happy Weekend!

#StandWithComet
Where: Comet Ping Pong
When: Friday, 11:30a – 9:30pm
Admission: Your meal and a big tip!

Show some support for this local institution! A favorite of many for pizza and family-friendly dining has had an undeserved rough time as of late, and the community is showing we stand with them by patronizing the restaurant today. Eat some pizza, play some ping pong, and show them some love. Read more about Comet here.

DIY Holiday Cards
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Create one-of-a-kind handmade cards at the museum all about mail. The National Postal Museum provides beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve been to this event a few times over the years, and its always very well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read more about the museum in here.

GLOW with It
Where: Georgetown
When: Nightly through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Holiday magic comes to the Adventure Theatre stage in this very clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Italian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am-3pm
Admission: Free

There’s no place like SAAM for the holidays. To celebrate the vibrant culture of Italy, Simona Rodano returns as The Italian Fairy to engage kids with the beauty of her native language. Along with Nutcracker ballet and winter-themed crafts, this festival will have all the music and Italian flair you’ll need to get in the spirit of this joyful season.

“Yes, Virginia” Family Day
Where: Newseum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: FREE for kids (details below), $19.50/adult

Celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 18th annual “Yes, Virginia” Family Day. Join for a reading of the heart-warming editorial, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Afterward, the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and pose for photos with good boys and girls as Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers from the Washington National Opera provide entertainment. Kids 18 and younger will receive free admission that day if they bring a letter to put in Macy’s Believe Mailbox. (There will also be a table outside the Newseum where youth can fill out a letter on the spot). Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish® for every letter collected. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Holiday Cheer
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Holiday-themed fun is happening all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around the National Parks and Historic Sites-themed display at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. Or take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

“Shop” & Gift Hope
Where: Discovery Elementary School, Arlington
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Put a new spin on gift-giving and philanthropy. At this Gifts That Give Hope Fair, you can support the community and give a meaningful gift by making a donation to one of 17 locally-based nonprofits featured at the fair. Personalize the card to a loved one, then give that act of kindness in their name. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and there are some special touches this year just for them, including a Spanish-language children’s choir, interactive science experiments with Rosie Riveters, face-painting, Dr. Bear from Children’s National, and refreshments.

EdFEST
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2017-18 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: $33/adult, $23/child, under 2 are free

It’s the ultimate holiday season celebration for Nats fans! Join clinics with Nationals players and coaches, watch a Homerun Derby featuring the Nationals mascots, make a snow fort, take batting practice, hear a winter or baseball themed story read by a Nationals player, ride down The Slider – a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill, and more. Guests can also meet and greet their favorite Nats players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-size snow globe photo station, and donate a toy to a child in need.

Hyattsville for the Holidays
Where: Hyattsville Arts District
When: Through December 17
Admission: Free (but plan to shop!)

Kick off a week of fun-filled neighborly holiday festivities for the whole family in Hyattsville. Participating businesses along the Arts District corridor are extending their shopping hours, offering engaging workshops for all ages, and hosting receptions for friends all over the DC Metro area to gather and celebrate all the innovative and artistic businesses that are blossoming in the Gateway Arts District. Franklin’s, Green Owl Design, and Tanglewood Works are a few of the places in the mix, plus there’s a chance to win prizes from them, too!

Family Opera: Goyesquitas
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre
When: Saturday, 2:30pm
Admission: $25/adult, $23/senior, $15/student

Take the whole family on a musical journey to Spain with composer-pianist Enrique Granados as your tour guide! Goyesquitas, an original production from The In Series: Opera & More, celebrates Spanish culture through lovely music and lively dance. Audiences of all ages can explore cultural traditions as they hear, see, and dance along to the music around them.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. The show is a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more. Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5. Expecting a tree? Nope. A Nutcracker? Yes, but not the one you knew as a child. A prince and mice? Yep. Rats and ninjas? You bet! (The school is located at 3950 Chesapeake Ave. NW.)

Russian Winter Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate
When: Saturday
Admission: $18/adults, $12/members, $5/ages 6-18, free under 6

Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand at Sviatki, a Russian-style celebration of the holidays. Winsome characters will surprise and delight visitors across the estate, create and wear your own headpiece, listen to festive music, and enjoy a variety of live cultural entertainment.

Show Time
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, dance along with Rainbow Rock at Jammin Java. Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at The Lab at Convergence. Or take little ones to Aquarium at Imagination Stage. Make it date night to see a fantastic production of Carousel at Arena Stage or take older kids to see Moby Dick there. Go Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center. See Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s enchanting and moving performance of The Secret Garden.

Holidays on Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment, there’s plenty of that now. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre, or see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

Santa Brunch & The Nutcracker
Where: City Club of Washington
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $15/child, $30/member, $40/non-member, Nutcracker tickets sold separately

Jeté into the holiday spirit by joining City Club Members and their families for a delicious meal, pictures with Santa, and gingerbread house making. All of this will be followed by a matinee presentation of The Nutcracker at 2pm at The Warner Theatre!

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/18 and up

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids 10 & up! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Songs for Unusual Creatures
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy free entertainment on Saturday evening! It’s Target Family Night at Millennium Stage, the Kennedy Center’s free nightly performance. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer Michael Hearst presents a special music program featuring some of Earth’s strangest animals and interesting, uncommon instruments.

Santa’s Elves Hunt
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Sunday, many times slots available
Admission: $35

Join a festive holiday treasure hunt to help Santa find special goodies found only at O Museum in The Mansion! Easily one of the neatest places in the city, the Dupont Circle locale is filled literally floor to ceiling with all kinds of interesting items — and all of them for sale, so you can do some holiday shopping, too! Be ready to see some really funky decor, and keep an eye out for secret doors. Read more about this wonderful site here.

Magical Mirrors Children’s Book Fair
Where: Sankofa Video, Books & Café
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Stock up on kids’ holiday gifts as DC’s largest collector of African-American children’s literature hosts its 5th Annual book fair! A special treat this year will be a chance to see author Sherrita Berry-Petus on Sunday, as she reads from her books, “Rock on With Your Afro Puffs” and “Smile Bright Chocolate Prince.”

Sunday at the Studio
Where: Gary Rosenthal Collection
When: Sunday, several time slots available
Admission: $22.50/family

Feeling a need for a joyful creative outlet? Want to take some broken pieces and make them whole? Join PJ Library for a unique craft opportunity. Nationally renown local artist Gary Rosenthal is welcoming guests to his studio to create fused-glass mosaic and metal art! These beautiful, heirloom-quality keepsakes also make great gifts. A wide range of project choices will be offered. All levels of artistic ability and ages welcome, but small children need supervision. Gary’s studio is located at 4218 Howard Avenue in Kensington, MD.

Christmas on the Big Screen
Where: Arlington Cinema Draft House
When: Sunday, 12:30-9pm
Admission: $8

Catch a merry flick — or eight — and get into the holiday spirit. This Christmas-themed movie marathon welcomes you to join for as many films as you’d like. You can even pop in for one early, leave, then return for evening entertainment. All for one very reasonable admission price!

Family-Style with Shakespeare Theatre
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week is returning with free and low-cost programs, something for all ages. STC will celebrate the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden, through the workshops, events and conversations. Families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Market (Holi)Days
Where: Eastern Market
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

A Capitol Hill weekend institution gets extra festive this weekend as Eastern Market celebrates the holidays. Along with the numerous vendors selling their art, accessories, treats, and more, there will be special activities for all ages, Make crafts, here stories, watch a juggler, and do some tree decorating, and more. See the website for the day’s schedule.

Ice It
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Warm up with a quintessential cold weather activity! Lace up the ice skates and get gliding at one of many outdoor rinks in the area. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Colonial Wassail
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child, free for 2 and under

“Stand fast, root! Bear well, top!
God send us a howling crop!” In the winter the apple trees need encouragement to bear fruit during the coming year, so Claude Moore Colonial Farm invites you to gather in the orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure “a howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th century games, too – a fun and educational activity for all!

Light it Up
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Either way, expect to be dazzled!

**If you’re doing some holiday shopping this weekend, check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, full of ideas and inspiration for gifts for all ages at all price points (even free!), from kids’ products to theatre tickets to unique experiences to gifts that give back!**

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