Category Archives: DC

10 Reasons Why KinderCare is a Top Daycare Option in the DMV and NOVA

[Note: This is a sponsored Guest Post contributed by the staff at KinderCare Learning Centers.]

As a DMV or NOVA family, your Instagram feed likely has a shot (or 10) of your child under the cherry blossom trees on the National Mall or gallivanting around the Smithsonian. But raising a child in the District is about more than these photo-worthy moments. It’s also about giving your child plenty of chances to explore and learn at their own pace — and joining a childcare community that feels just right for your family.

Of course, just finding care can be a challenge in the DC area. There aren’t nearly enough childcare spaces for all the babies and toddlers that call the area home. Luckily, KinderCare Learning Centers recently opened more centers to help meet the need, including the South Riding center in Chantilly and two brand-new centers at Penn Quarter and the Watergate building.

An early childhood education company that’s been at it for 50 years, KinderCare is laser focused on what children growing up today need to be ready for kindergarten — and beyond. “Studies show that children who 
attend high-quality programs are 
better prepared for school, have higher high school graduation rates, and even have better long-term health,” says Dr. Elanna Yalow, KinderCare Education’s chief academic officer.

How does that translate into great centers for children? Take a look!

1. Every child should have space to thrive.
When children enter a KinderCare center, they know it’s designed just for them—because it is! Each classroom is filled with toys at kid-eye level and places where tots can create, express themselves, play, and pretend. It’s also a “print-rich environment”: Books are readily available and words are everywhere, which help plant the seeds for strong literacy skills. It’s a perfect place for busy toddlers whose personalities are just beginning to emerge (sometimes with gusto)!

2. Creativity means more than drawing inside the lines.
While writing on the walls probably isn’t something parents want to encourage at home (unless they invest in some whiteboard paint), children have plenty of opportunities to express their creative side at KinderCare! For little ones, painting and drawing this fuels creativity, builds fine-motor skills, develops symbolic thinking, and creates a sense of community and ownership in the classroom when children see their masterpieces hanging on the walls.

3. Books are within easy reach of little hands.
No tall bookcases here! Placing books within easy reach makes reading super accessible — and that encourages book love. Instead of waiting for an adult to bring a book over, kids can initiate story time all on their own. When they’re little, KinderCare teachers teach children how to be gentle with books and treat them kindly. Teachers also know that one way kids learn to read is by associating simple written words with objects. So, in KinderCare classrooms, teachers label things like chairs and tables to give children a head start on their ABCs.

4. We like to play pretend.
ROAR! Playing with animal toys lets kids make new sounds and play pretend. Also known as dramatic play, playing pretend helps children work on problem-solving and social-emotional skills like cooperation — and it’s also tons of fun! When an adult is playing with a child, it’s important to get down to the child’s eye level (like KinderCare teachers do) to help them connect.

5. There’s no right way to play.
KinderCare teachers let kids play their own way. That’s why there’s plenty of unstructured play time into the day. Toys and learning materials in classrooms are open-ended (with multiple uses) so kids can explore their imaginations. Who says trucks have to roll? Putting a car on a toy scale helps children learn about cause and effect, and other foundational math and science concepts. (And they don’t even know they’re doing some Capital “L” Learning!)

6. Take time to craft outside the box.
Sometimes there’s no such thing as too much glue! Part of being a great artist is doing what you want and not playing by the rules. In art activities, KinderCare teachers provide children with lots of different materials and let them decide how they want to be creative. This kind of independent thinking builds critical — thinking skills and self-reliance. In KinderCare classrooms, kids are encouraged to think outside the box. It’s all about the process, not the product.

7. Eat your fruits and veggies.
She thinks she’s just playing grocery store, but she’s also learning about healthy eating through dramatic play. But KinderCare centers have more than just pretend fruits and veggies in their centers! Their Nutrition and Wellness philosophy makes it all the way to kids’ plates, where meals are accompanied by fruits, veggies, and whole grains. KinderCare centers never serve a drop of juice because fruit is sweet enough to eat.

8. Caring for each other is key.
When children pretend to take care of a baby, they’re actually developing critical social skills that will help them become kind and empathetic friends later on. That’s why everyone at KinderCare believes in nurturing kindness in all kids, starting from day one. Each center has plenty of baby dolls, toys, and learning materials that represent all children—it’s okay to play with whatever you want, whoever you are!

9. Yes — you can do it!
Developing fine-motor skills starts with simple toys — exactly what kids need when they’re just learning to solve problems and get those oh-so-cute little fingers to do what they want. Though they may seem “easy,” simple toys teach little kids that they can take on a challenge — and succeed. By working through the toy with an adult by their side who can ask questions like “What color goes next?” and “Which one fits?”, children also develop important language and literacy skills.

10. When in doubt, act it out.
Kids have big feelings—and sometimes those feelings can be tough to cope with. Enter the family of adorable classroom puppets, who make everything just a little less personal. If a child is having a hard time learning a behavior used in a social situation (sharing, for example), puppets are a great tool to help kids understand without making them feel bad. KinderCare teachers also use puppets to help kids learn how to manage and express their feelings in a positive way. Each KinderCare center has lots of puppets for teachers to use as tools for learning and storytelling — but when teachers aren’t using them, they’re available for kids to play with whenever they want.

To learn more about KinderCare Learning Centers, visit them online at, on Facebook or on Twitter. For resources, information, and activity ideas for parents and teachers of young children, visit the KinderCare Blog.

This post is sponsored by KinderCare Learning Centers, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Babies, Child Care, Daycare, DC, Educational, Guest Post, Preschoolers, Schools, Sponsored Post, Toddlers

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 15-19

Interact with New Nature at ARTECHOUSE

Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Go to one of three locations: Brookland in DC or Takoma Park or Hyattsville in MD. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving.

Tuesday – Experience New Nature, the current digital exhibit at ARTECHOUSE. The installation is a “colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life,” and it’s full of stunning imagery and interactives that will delight all ages. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm (21+ 5:30-10:30pm), and admission is timed entry. Tickets are $15/adult, $8/child.

Later on, join Living Classrooms for their Watch and Learn Birding Series at Kingman and Heritage Island, where they observe feathered friends and host a book reading or hands-on activity. This week the topic is Bird Beak, and you’ll observe bird feeding habits and learn how different bird beaks are adapted to eating different foods. Read more about Kingman and Heritage Island here.

Wednesday – Enjoy the fantastic fall weather at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. As you hike the woods and wetlands, look for little creatures — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings. Take in sweeping vistas of the marshland, which should include tinges of autumn foliage now. And be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Thursday – Go ice skating! The outdoor rink at Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring has opened for the season. They have skate sizes ranging from toddler 7 to adult 14, plus push penguins for newbies, so little ones can get gliding, too. Hours are 12-10pm Monday – Thursday (10am–12am Friday – Saturday, 10am–10pm Sunday). Admission is $9/age 13+, $8/12 & under, $5/skate rental.

Friday – Roam the beautiful grounds and explore the cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the site welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 9am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under 2018, DC, Fall, Maryland, Weekdays

“District Shabbat for Tots” Coming to Southwest

For more than a century, Washington’s Jewish community thrived in the heart of the city. Since 1995, however, there hasn’t been a Jewish synagogue in Southwest. For Jewish families in this part of the District, this meant traveling to other areas engage in Jewish life.
That’s about to change.

On Friday, October 19, Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) will debut District Shabbat for Tots, an amazingly joyful and musical Shabbat experience right at the Southwest Waterfront at 555 Water Street.

Q: What is District Shabbat for Tots?
A: Much more than a Shabbat service, this is a full-blown Shabbat “experience” for families with young children. It’s led by WHC’s clergy and internationally acclaimed folk-rock musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis who bring some new and exciting features to Reform Judaism’s Friday night service.

Q: Who is it for?
A: Short answer: Families! The service is geared toward toddlers through kindergartners (and their favorite grown-ups) — and it’s open to the whole community at no cost. You do not need to be a WHC member to attend!

Q: What can I expect?
A: Come at 5:30 pm on Friday, October 19 for a fun, engaging, musical Shabbat service that’s perfect for the little ones — and will get you on your feet too. The service lasts about a half-hour (a time-frame that’s also perfect for the little ones!), and it’s followed by a free family-friendly dinner catered by CAVA (RSVP required), so both tummies and hearts will be full at the end of your evening.

Q: Where is it?
A: St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church – 555 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 — right across the street from Arena Stage. Looking for public transportation options? In addition to Metro’s Green Line Waterfront stop and the M-74 bus, which stops one block from St. Augustine’s, check out the free Wharf shuttle from L’Enfant Plaza and the Circulator’s SW Waterfront Route that runs from Eastern Market to L’Enfant Plaza.

Q: How do we sign up?
A: You can RSVP for the October 19 District Shabbat for Tots here.

Q: I have a night without the kiddos, is there something with more “adult” appeal?
A: Yes! Come for “District Shabbat.” It starts at 6:15 pm with a “Shot of Torah,” where drinks and appetizers are the opening to a spirited discussion with WHC’s dynamic rabbis about the week’s Torah portion. That’s followed by a high-energy service at 7:00 pm, led by the rabbis and musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis.

You can also make it a complete night and sign up for one of their optional dinners:
Community Dinner — Catered by Mediterranean favorite CAVA, it’s $18 and held right at St. Augustine’s.

    – The Rabbi’s Table – This prix fixe dinner WHC’s Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig at the Wharf’s Canopy by Hilton is $50 and limited to just 20 people.
    – If you can’t stay for dinner, that’s fine too! There’s no charge for Shot of Torah and the service, but you need to RSVP either way.

Q: We can’t make it on October 19th. Will District Shabbat and District Shabbat for Tots be held another time?
A: Both District Shabbat and District Shabbat for Tots will be held monthly on the third Friday of the month at St. Augustine’s. Want to see the complete calendar, learn more, or RSVP? Click here.

This post is sponsored by Washington Hebrew Congregation, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Preschoolers, Sponsored Post, Toddlers

The Weekend Round-Up: October 12-14

Celebrate Capitol Hill Day at several iconic DC destinations!

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: $15

Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — register in advance. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)

Fall Carnival & Fall Harvest Days
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25

Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start Thursday with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.

Celebrate Capitol Hill Day!
Where: Several Capitol Hill destinations, DC
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Join the Capitol Visitors Center, U.S. Botanic Garden, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, National Postal Museum, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument for a celebration of the 225th anniversary of the laying of the U.S. Capitol cornerstone! Bring a picnic lunch and roam the Capitol campus while enjoying the day. Special activities for all ages will also be hosted by all of the destinations. Check their websites and social media for more information on their programs.

The Big Build
Where: National Building Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Any kid (or adult, for that matter) with an interest in building and construction will dig the National Building Museum’s huge annual event celebrating all things, well, building. The Great Hall will be full of different stations where guests aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to try their hand at all kinds of construction and design techniques alongside experts demonstrating their craft. Discover what it’s like to be a builder and meet plumbers, ironworkers, landscape architects, woodworkers, and experts in many other fields. A special feature this year is author Joshua David Stein who will lead story time with activities around his new book Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture. All ages welcome, but best for kids 5-12.

Art Safari
Where: The Torpedo Factory | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s art-filled tradition for families returns for its 23rd year! Art Safari is a day of hands-on activities for kids and accompanying adults. Artists will lead young visitors in creative projects across a variety of media, including clay, fiber, painting, even bottle caps. All activities are free, most of them appropriate for children ages 5 – 11 and some requiring parental assistance. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty.

Suit Up to Clean Up
Where: Kingman Island | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Ocean Conservancy invites DC area residents to #suituptocleanup Kingman Island at its flagship International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). All ages can join the event that hauled in 4,000 pounds of trash last year! And it’s not all garbage collecting; other activities include live music, lawn games, and a “weird finds” contest. Volunteers will receive t-shirts and other giveaways; and gloves, bug spray and sunscreen are all provided, along with a light breakfast and lunch. Go here for more info and registration.

New Nature
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 13
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE invites you to experience nature in a whole new way — through a colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life. It’s full of stunning imagery and fun interactives that all ages will find delightful. Even if you don’t plan to go this weekend, plan a visit for later, and snag tickets now.

Gimme an H!
Where: H Street NE | Atlas District, DC
When: Saturday, 1-6pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on Northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind huge crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and some kids’ activities. I recommend taking public transportation there, since parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

More Fall Fests
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Say “huzzah!” to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, pick some pumpkins, get lost in corn mazes, go on and hayrides, whiz down giant slides, bounce around on jumping pillows, and so much more. There are activities galore to you embrace the autumn spirit, and the KFDC guide to fall festivals has details on all of them.

World of Wheels
Where: Dematha High School | Hyattsville, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Explore many forms of transportation in person at this family friendly fundraiser. Touch and climb on a variety of vehicles. Enjoy an assortment of activities for kids of all ages. Pepco’s World of Wheels for CASA, an annual touch-a-truck event and family festival is nirvana for motor obsessed kids. They’ll have a fleet of police, construction, utility and other vehicles for you to see, touch, and sit in. Adding to the excitement will be food, music, and an assortment of activities for kids of all ages. Dematha High School is located at 4313 Madison St. in Hyattsville, MD.

Water Discovery Day
Where: Environmental Center at Alexandria Renew | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria Renew Enterprises is hosting its annual Water Discovery Day, co-hosted by Virginia American Water. The free, indoor/outdoor community event features food, music, and family-friendly activities to help attendees deepen their understanding of their role in Alexandria’s water system. Build a rain water barrel, take a walking tour of AlexRenew, join a water discovery lab, and enjoy plant giveaways, free yoga, slime making , and more. See the website for the schedule of activities.

Sensory Friendly Screening: Goosebumps 2
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $6.50

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Goosebumps 2 on Saturday morning. The newest My Way Matinee from Regal gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the trailer for the movie here.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* The children’s book classic Blueberries for Sal comes to life on the Adventure Theatre stage
* Theater Unspeakable recreates the entire American fight for independence in American Revolution at the Kennedy Center
* Sleepy Hollow brings a haunting tale to Synetic Theater
* Hansel & Gretel is the Main Stage production at The Puppet Co.
* Little ones will love Panda-Monium, this week’s featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre.
* Take the preschool set to see Blue at Imagination Stage
* Encore Stage & Studio’s Ghostchasers is theatre by kids for kids (get a ticket deal)
* Make it a date night for Turn Me Loose at Arena Stage.

Wicked Fun
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Halloween may not be for a few more weeks, but you can get the party started with activities and events that celebrate the spooky spirit. This post has details on where the tricks and treats are happening.

Visit Viking Ship
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Through October 15
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child, $30/family

The world’s largest Norwegian Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, is at The Wharf for just a few more days. Visitors have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the deck of the massive ship and interact with the crew. Look for a deal on tickets here).
And tours only last about 20-25 minutes so plan to hang at The Wharf longer.

Grand Opening Community Day
Where: National Law Enforcement Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $21.95/age 12+, $14.95/age 6-11, free/5 & under

This family-friendly Grand Opening event will mark the first time that the National Law Enforcement Museum has opened its doors to the public. It will include activities and entertainment for all to enjoy including K9 demonstrations, a variety of police vehicles and technology, face painting, live entertainment, and more.

Weekend Workers: Paper Airplane Design
Where: Museum of Industry | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $12/adult, $7/age 7-11, free/6 & under

Join the museum for a Weekend Workers session that is taking paper airplane design to new heights. Joint he fun – it’s open to all ages. Cost is included with museum admission, and you should, of course, plan to tour it while you’re there! Read more about the Museum of Industry in this KFDC post.

Model Trains and Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)

Stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose.

Kalamata’s Kitchen Food Adventureland
Where: 6th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Kalamata’s Kitchen is partnering with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group at its annual Snallygaster Beer Festival to provide fun, family friendly activities that make every guest feel like a VIP – even the kids! Bring your family, appetite, and sense of adventure to the Kalamata’s Kitchen experience featuring activities designed to connect kids and grownups to other cultures through food adventures. Family friendly goodies and adventures include a Taste Bud Membership lanyard, a Food Adventure Passport as you try new cuisines and collect stamps, a chance to purchase a Kalamata’s Kitchen book and have it signed by author Sarah Thomas and illustrator,Jo Edwards, fun photo ops, games, and giveaways.

Family Fun Day | Jazz and Lily Pad Concert
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

Music and fun for all ages! Enjoy live entertainment from Janelia Soul, pumpkin and face painting, games, snacks, and even a booth showcasing live birds of prey. Of course, guests will also be able to marvel at the beauty of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. For more about DC’s hidden gem, see this KFDC post.

Taste of the Harvest
Where: THEARC | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy a beautiful evening at THEARC to celebrate the harvest from the Bridge Park Plots and THEARC Farm. Dine with your family and neighbors at the king’s table. Experience tastings from the gardens that will compliment any meal that you bring yourself. Stay for performances curated by THEARC THEATER and activities that will get you in the fall spirit!  reserve your seat at the table!

OPUS Merriweather
Where: Merriweather-Post Pavilion | Columbia, MD
When: Saturday, 5-11pm
Admission: Free

Imagine what it would be like to stand inside a 75-foot laser cathedral, to jam to DJs on a grass lawn, to experience a 16-foot tall animated owl communicating in film quotes, and to let loose during a meditative dance party. This is OPUS: the boundary-breaking festival that invites families to explore and indulge in discovery. For one night only, OPUS will bring together 25 groundbreaking artists and musicians from all over the world, merging art, music and technology for an enchanting evening in the forest. In addition, OPUS will feature a culinary village with some of the DMV’s best food trucks + restaurants featuring glow in the dark cotton candy by Fluffness and gelato from Dolci Gelati.

Harbor Harvest Children’s Festival
Where: Inner Harbor’s Rash Field | Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The 11th annual Harbor Harvest fall family festival is returning to the Inner Harbor’s Rash Field. The free event will feature a petting zoo, hay maze, face painting and more — without having to leave the Waterfront. Guests can also enjoy a variety of food trucks and live interactive musical experience by The Uncle Devin Show and the Sons of Pirates. New this year, the event is extended two hours for an extra dose of fun! 

Used Bike Sale
Where: Bike and Roll DC | National Mall, DC & Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but plan to buy!

Bike and Roll DC’s famous annual bike sale is back! Each year they sell inventory from their expertly maintained fleet bikes to the public, and the prices cannot be beat. This year they are selling Trek Verve 3 Comfort Hybrids in a variety of sizes, beginning at $220 + tax.  (New models retail for close to $699.99.)  The sale will take place at both the National Mall and Alexandria Waterfront locations.  Arrive early because they often sell out!

Community Day
Where: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Park Service as they continue to celebrate 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, the “Lion of Anacostia,” as they host their annual Community Day at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. This year will feature hands-on activities, games, local exhibitors, and live entertainment. Make ice cream with a churner, learn how to drill like a Civil War soldier, play outdoor and board games, make a craft, tour Frederick Douglass’s historic house, and check in with local organizations who serve our community. Fun for the whole family!

* DCSchoolHub is hosting its annual Preschool and Private School Fair next Sunday, October 21.
* Tiny Chefs offers parties, classes, and camp for kids who are keen on cooking!
* Throughout October, the National Gallery of Art is hosting Sketching is Seeing, a celebration of drawing with sketchbooks available at Info Desks and special programming for all ages.
* Goldstar is always great to check out for deals on local entertainment and events.
* This is so great.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend