Category Archives: Educational

Giveaway: Enter to Win Online Enrichment Classes with Flex Academies ONE!


Is your kid (and you) missing their after school enrichment classes since they’ve been social distancing? Flex Academies, a DC area provider of aftercare programs and summer camps can help with that!

Flex Academies ONE is the new virtual version of the service, so kids everywhere can now learn about the things they love through live streamed classes. Imagine someone who teaches music lessons, hip hop dancing, soccer, or coding coming to your home every weekday to work with your child. While that’s not possible right now, Flex Academies ONE offers the next best thing: Scheduled online learning experiences with certified instructors in different areas of interest.

A variety of classes are available for kids in Pre-K through 6th grade, from theatre to arts & crafts to sports to chess to martial arts — and much more. Even better, you have a chance to win a 10-pack of classes for your child!

Learn more about Flex Academies ONE here, and be sure to check out the FAQ for answers to many common questions.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win a 10-class pack from Flex Academies ONE, simply leave a comment below telling me your kid’s favorite at-home activity since social distancing began. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through Sunday, April 26, 2020, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified on Monday, April 27. Good luck!


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Filed under 2020, Class, Educational, Giveaway, Gradeschoolers

Virtual DC Activities & Experiences for Kids at Home During the Coronavirus

Last year’s cherry blossoms… you may not see them live this year, but you can get a peek online!


If kids can’t get to some of their favorite local places and activities during this time, you can bring the experiences to them — virtually. From webcams featuring the cherry blossoms and zoo animals to special live streamed programs especially for kids to online tours of iconic spots, there are a bunch of ways to access DC and keep your crew entertained while you #optinside. Stay healthy and safe!

See the Cherry Blossoms
If viewing the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin has become an annual tradition you’re going to miss, view them online instead. The Trust for the National Mall just launched #BloomCam – a live, 24/7 feed of the blossoming cherry trees in DC as they hit peak bloom, bringing this beautiful sight to all the people who can no longer get down to the Tidal Basin because of COVID-19.



The Lane Anti Social Club
The Lane, the brand new play space/family social club, just opened its doors a few weeks ago, and already they have to (temporarily) close them. So, this is a fantastic was to entertain the kids AND support a support a local business: The Lane (Anti) Social Club offers virtual events for kids to help give parents a much needed break or concentrated time to actually be able to work. Their “pay what you can” model makes it accessible to all, but a contribution is greatly appreciated — any donations received are going directly to pay their staff to help them stay afloat during this time. The Lane is partnering up with some wonderfully talented people like Corinne from Crescendo Communications and local artist Megan Elizabeth, otherwise all of the events will put on by their awesome staff. Follow the link to sign up for a session or a few!


Story Time with DC Public Libraries
On Friday, March 20 at 10:30am, join DC Public Library for a virtual story time on Facebook Live. This is short notice, but I’m guessing this will be the first of many more, so be sure to follow their social channels for updates.


Lunch Doodle with Mo Millems
It may not be in DC, but it’s presented by a DC place, the Kennedy Center, so that counts. Every day, kids can virtually join Mo Willems in his studio to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons weekdays at 1pm — and the sessions will remain online to be streamed afterwards if you miss it live. Post art to social media and use the hashtag #MoLunchDoodles!


Virtual Circle Time
Crescendo Communication invites you to join for song, dance, instrument exploration, storytime, and silliness. They are led by Corinne Zmoos, a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, who provides joyful & genuine music classes, speech-language therapy, developmental programming, and inclusion trainings.



Visit Animals at the Zoo
The National Zoo is closed, but its webcams are still running. You can catch live glimpses of lions, pandas, elephants, and naked mole rates. You may not always see much action — last we looked the lion was just sitting there and we saw piles of elephant poop, but no elephants — but you may catch some fun and entertaining moments. Also, the Zoo notes that while the “animal webcams remain online, volunteers will not be operating them, so animals may not be visible at all times.”


Explore our Museums
While we can’t go to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, kids can still explore many of them online through photo galleries, activities, and more interesting features just for young visitors. Start with the general Smithsonian page here, and access indivual museums here. You can also take a virtual tour of the National Gallery of Art, which is not part of the Smithsonian.


Virtual Family Game Night
Lincoln’s Cottage has come up with an activity the whole fam can enjoy — a virtual community game night to play together in creative ways. While the Lincoln family didn’t use computers or the internet to connect, they did enjoy spending time together at the Cottage playing games. Join on Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm with your imagination and these items: a cup, 2 coins, 2 pens, and a book. Together, you’ll turn these Lincoln-related objects into games that spark brave ideas.


Tour the Capitol & Library of Congress
Get a close look at the inside of the U.S. Capitol Complex, which includes the Library of Congress and US Botanic Garden, too. See the magnificent buildings — Virtually Anywhere has captured 360 degree photography in many areas, including the Capitol Rotunda, National Statuary Hall, Library of Congress, many important Congressional caucus rooms, and much more.


Virtual Camp
Badlands Play Space has launched a series of videos while they are temporarily closed. You can access them through YouTube or IGTV. So far, they’ve had a doodle session, a dance break, a science show, cooking with Tiny Chefs, and even a cocktails and mocktails class (for adults).

Do you know of other local places and businesses offering virtual activities for kids right now? Please share in the comments, if so!


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Spring

Tips for Parents During this Social Distancing Time at Home (that Don’t Involve the Kids)

Work space at home… with emergency supplies within arm’s reach on the console 😉


Parents, this one is for you. And I don’t mean to help you with the kids during this time — that’s been covered already — but to help you take care of you, mentally and physically and practically. As our routines are disrupted and lives turned sideways, we can use some good ideas for figuring it all out. Whether it’s constructive advice for getting work done, fun tips for filling the unanticipated extra time at home, or suggestions for alternatives to our usual activities, this post offers some information and inspiration to not just get through the quarantine, but make the best of it, too.


Working from Home
Working from home may sound wonderful (and it is great in many ways), but when it’s been unexpectedly thrust upon you under unnerving circumstances, that changes things a bit. I thought about offering my own tips, since I’ve been working from home for years, but to save time and because others have already made the suggestions I would have made, here are some good resources for making the quick office-to-home switch.

* This NPR article has great advice for working at home, particularly during this time when kids are home, too.

* USA Today has some good advice on being cybersafe as you telework.

* I shared these tips already, but they are good and concise and worth sharing again.

* How to use Zoom like a pro.

* A little work-at-home humor. 🙂

* This isn’t working from home, but for first responders on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19… Some may need high-quality, safe, and nurturing care for their children. Bright Horizons has partnered with #FirstRespondersFirst to open child care hubs around the country for health care workers, including one on L Street on Downtown DC. If this would meet a need for you or someone you know, visit the website for more information.

* Fatherly has some great tips for working from home right now.

[Note: The tips in some of these next sections might sound indulgent when many of us now have the kids and work at home, but even more reason to take some time for activities that are relaxing, enriching, and fun. Pick one (or more if possible) and fit them in when you can, even if it’s after the kids go to bed or only on weekends. Parents can take turns — one hangs with the kids, while the other has solo time. And if there’s any good reason to be a little more flexible with screen time, perhaps this is it. Putting a show on for the kids so you can have time for yourself or with each other won’t hurt them; in fact, it’ll probably be better for everyone. ]

Working Out
Exercising is a priority in my daily routine, for both physical fitness and mental wellness. I belong to a gym and do a mix of workouts there, so finding alternatives since I stopped going a week ago has been somewhat of a mission. I have discovered some good workouts on YouTube, gotten suggestions from friends, and heard about more ways to keep fit during this time that might also work for you.

* Les Mills has the best online workouts I have found so far. You can sign up for a free trial through their website, and I also found some workouts on YouTube. I do (and love) the Body Combat at my gym, so was psyched to find it online. It’s martial arts-based and has a big agility component along with cardio and strength, which I dig. Most of the YouTube workouts are only 30 minutes, so you might want to do two.

* I also just discovered Les Mills’ GRIT workouts, which come closest to the boot camp-style HIIT I love at the gym. Again, most are only 30 minutes, so you might want to do two (though one will get you sweating).

* If, like me, you thought Peloton was just a stationary bike with spin class videos, think again. They actually have an app with loads of fitness classes, everything from yoga to strength training to audio running workouts to HIIT. (They just introduced Peloton Family, fitness classes parents and kids can do together.) Even more, you can get a 90-day free trial right now.

* Whether you’re a yogi or a newbie, yoga may just be a good thing for all of us right now. A friend who does yoga regularly recommended Asana Rebel Yoga. They have all kinds of workouts, so you’re sure to find something that suits what you need.

* Washingtonian just published this round-up of local fitness studios that are streaming workouts online.

* East Side Yoga is doing online classes now — a great way to exercise, de-stress, and support a local business!

* Of course, you can go outside for a bike ride or run, just maintain your six feet from others as you go. To keep it interesting, you can look for different running workouts.

* If you’re into OrangeTheory, take it from the treadmill to the pavement, switching up your pace the same way you do in class, then do some body weight strength training, since you probably don’t have access to weights and other equipment.

* Another class I’ve recently enjoyed is Sensazao, a dance fitness workout that combines Latin and hip hop dancing. There are videos on YouTube, you kind of just have to start following what they do. Warning: If you were offended by the Shakira-JLo Super Bowl halftime show, this is not for you. But I think it’s a booty shaking blast. 💃🏽 [PS: You can get a free 7-day trial, which gives you access to all their online content/classes and tutorials, and use the code SSZGBoss for 10% off a subscription.]

Get Cooking
There is a reason why comfort food is even a phrase. Eating good food really can make us feel better, and while the comfort part traditionally refers more to heartier dishes, even light healthy meals can bring calm, too. Even better, cooking any of them can be a great way to get our heads out of an anxious space and into one that makes us (and those who get to eat the results) happier. With more time at home, especially since dining out isn’t an option, it’s an ideal opportunity to get in the kitchen, maybe tackling some of those involved recipes that required more time than you had, trying some new dishes, or even getting into cooking altogether. These links should provide some inspo for that.

* Alison Roman is a cooking goddess — every one of her recipes I’ve made has turned out an amazing dish (if I do say so myself). Many of her recipes are in the New York Times Cooking Section, so they might require a subscription, but try anyway. If you can’t access those, there are plenty you can get through her website.

* Smitten Kitchen is full of fantastic recipes, but the ones that lean heavily on pantry items are good to keep on hand right now.

* Skinnytaste has been one of my go-tos for years with tons of easy, healthy recipes that are great for feeding the family.

* The only print magazine I still have a subscription to is Bon Appetit, which says a lot about it as a resource for cooking ideas. Of course, the website is great, too.

* ‘Tis the (crab) season!

Up Your Skill Set
Nearly 14 years ago, Levi bought me a guitar as a present for my birthday or a holiday after I expressed interested in learning how to play. I’d just stopped working full-time and figured that since I would be home with my infant, I would be able to take up all these new hobbies. Well, that must have been postpartum crazy brain thinking, because there was no time or energy or free hands or focus to learn a new instrument then….and I have this great guitar that’s been sitting in a corner since. Well, guess what I plan on doing now? I recommend this for others, too. You don’t have to learn how to play an instrument, but if there’s a skill or hobby you’ve wanted to add to your set, perhaps now is a perfect time to do it.

* Skillshare has thousands of online classes for creatives, everything from illustration to design to photography, and more.

* If you’re into photography (or want to be), you might find a course to enhance your skills or get started.

* Take some art lessons via online tutorials or live streaming sessions. A quick Google search will give you lots of suggestions for them. And Mo Willems just started a “Lunch Doodle” every weekday at 1pm.

* Learn a new language for free with Duolingo.

* This New York Times article has good advice for starting music lessons from anywhere.

* You’ll need to get some needles and yarn, but you can learn to knit for free. People I know who do it, say it’s very relaxing for them.

Catch Up on Your Reading
Confession: I have a bad habit of taking books from Little Free Libraries then holding on to them for a looong time before I read them. Like, there is a stack collecting dust on my nightstand. So, I’m hoping to start tackling it while we have this extra time at home. For others who love to read, take advantage of this time to delve into some good books, too. A friend just asked on Facebook for all-time favorite books, and I’m sharing what I posted below, along with links to good reading-related resources. (PS: When all of this is over, I promise to put back those LFL books I haven’t yet gotten to and let others have a go at them.)

* Some favorite books I shared on my friend’s Facebook post: Unaccustomed Earth/Jhumpa Lahiri, A Thousand Acres & Duplicate Keys/Jane Smiley, The World According to Garp/John Irving, Three Junes/Julia Glass, A Gentleman in Moscow/Amor Towles, Born A Crime/Trevor Noah.

* If you’re not yet on Good Reads, this is a great time to sign up. It’s kind of a social network for reading and books. You can connect with friends who are also on it and get recs for and keep track of books you want to read (and have already read). You also have access to a catalog of book reviews and reading lists beyond your friends’. Feel free to connect with me!

* As shared in the tips for weekdays at home with kids, you can stock up on books and support local small businesses by shopping online while you’re staying home and/or their brick-and-mortars are closed — some even deliver! Check out Kramerbooks, East City bookshop, Solid State Books, Politics and Prose, and Loyalty Bookstores.

* The New York Times is providing free access to the most important news and useful guidance on the coronavirus outbreak.

* Several authors share their “comfort books.”

Cocktail Hour(s)
I’ve seen lots of “quarantinis” on social media and, generally, more posts than usual about what peops are drinking, which is not surprising. No judgement here at all, but I feel like I should say be careful of overdoing it (both for liability and because you’ll be dealing with a hangover and close quarters with your kids). Here are some imbibing-inspired links…cheers!

* If we can’t really get out to enjoy the cherry blossoms, maybe we can drink one. These cocktail recipes include one named for the iconic blooms, plus many more spring drinks.

* Perfect the classics while you have extended home time.

* This is a good time for delivery. I’ve never received my booze that way, but here is a link to Yelp’s page for liquor delivery in Washington, DC. UPDATE: This new Eater DC article info on local booze delivery and carry-out kits.

* Before you partake in too many, check out this DCist article about the increase in alcohol sales due to coronavirus.

Listen Up
Most of us are hearing the drone of the news that is constantly on our TVs or radios as we keep up on the coronavirus latest. It’s probably a good thing to take a break from it for other kinds of listening. Music can heal the soul and lift the spirits — Italy has shown us that recently. A good podcast is a great escape, too. Follow these links for some listening suggestions.

* Did you hear that Rita Wilson made a Quarantunes playlist on Spotify while she was in isolation with COVID-19?

* Catch live streams of concerts (or recorded versions of them) just for coronavirus

* Some podcast recommendations, and be sure to check the reader comments, too, because there are always more good ones there.

* So, these involve watching along with listening, but NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts are so fantastic.

* This Cheer Up playlist on Spotify really is uplifting.

* With interesting info about our national parks, plus tips for visiting with kids, the Everybody’s National Parks podcast is a good listen and inspiration for a family vacation when all of this is over.

Watch It
I shared some viewing recommendations in this post a few days ago, but there are always so many more. Really, I could write a whole blog just about shows and movies to watch (hmmm….). Anyway, here are some more TV and film recs, plus some other sources for suggestions.

* Since we can’t go out to catch a flick, Amazon just introduced Prime Video Cinema, access to the latest movies that were just released (or would have been) in theaters.

* Some not-for-kids movies I watched in the past few months and really enjoyed: JoJo Rabbit, Booksmart, Parasite, Good Boys, Marriage Story, The Farewell.

* Some great not-for-kids series, both recent and not-so-recent: Fleabag, Succession, Lovesick, Catastrophe, Shrill, You, My Brilliant Friend, Six Feet Under (that one’s really not recent, but I kind of want to watch it again).

* Vulture’s list of 33 Best Movies Over 3 Hours Long will help fill up your time.

* Also check out Vulture’s list of the 100 best movies on Netflix right now.

* I suggested introducing these shows from the past to our t(w)eens, but I think maybe we should also rewatch them ourselves: My So Called Life, Felicity, Beverly Hills 90210, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Veronica Mars

* Synetic Theatre is streaming their 2015 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream through April 30.

* Check out Vulture’s 30 Best Comedies on Amazon Prime.

Help Out
This pandemic is taking its toll in so many ways, on so many levels, and some people and businesses are facing greater challenges than others. If you’re looking for ways to assist from home (or occasional, quick runs out for necessities) here are some things you can do.

* As you’ve likely heard, hospitals are in dire need of Personal Protective Equipment for their staff. If you have any supplies to contribute — masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns — find information on how to donate them to Children’s National Hospital, Virginia Hospital Center and Inova Hospitals, and I can help get them to local hospitals as well.

* Check in with neighbors, friends, and family who are older, have health issues, or have extra challenges right now and see how you can help. Offer to pick up groceries if you’re making a run to the store or just spend some time chatting (via text or phone), as they might feel isolated and lonely.

* Are you on Next Door? It’s a great way to keep in contact with people in your immediate community to share updates, check in, seek help, offer recommendations, etc.

* Support small businesses, like bookstores, (see the reading section above), shops, and restaurants, by ordering items or take out online. Many have curbside pick up or even delivery to make it as convenient and contact-free as possible. DCist has a big list of which are offering take-out (along with those that are closed). And check with any of your favorite places not listed to see if they are open. ADDED: DiningataDistance.com is “keeping you fed while supporting local businesses during COVID-19” by maintaining lists of local businesses still open for delivery and takeout in cities around the world.

* You can also purchase a gift card from businesses that are closed or difficult to patronize right now. I found an amazing spreadsheet through WAMU with a crowdsourced list of local places that allow people to buy gift cards online.

* The Greater DC Diaper Bank continues to do amazing, impactful work. In response to COVID-19, they have created Diaper Need Hubs to ensure all families have what they need during this tough time. Help them keep this important work going by making a donation.

* TheatreWashington has an emergency relief fund to help professionals in the community who are without work right now. (You can also contribute directly to your favorite theatre — just go to the website and look for donation instructions.)

* Brightest Young Things shared a great spreadsheet of local businesses that are shipping, so you can shop and support them from home.


Think Ahead
With so many unknowns right now, it’s wise to be pragmatic and proactive about the near future. I’m not suggesting we give up our optimistic outlooks, but it doesn’t hurt to take some simple plan-ahead actions. Here are some tips to help with that.

* The COVID-19 Business Resource Center is available for small business owners who need assistance.

* These grocery shopping “rules” are very sensible — and the link includes some recipes, too.

* It’s been recommended to get prescription medications filled sooner than later and make sure you have any over-the-counter essentials, too.

* Find out how to freeze fruits and vegetables to keep them as long as possible.

* How to make your own hand sanitizer. (Of course, you need to be able to find all the ingredients for it.)

* Are you in need of face masks? Etsy has a good selection of them.

* Start thinking about changing up your home space, like rearranging furniture, organizing, or switching up decor. My friend, Margaret, will do an online virtual consultation with you, if you’ve got a room you’d like to makeover.

* The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is having a Looking Forward Sale.

* The new OurStreets Supplies app, which works kind of like Waze but for stores instead of traffic, will let you know what stores have supplies before you go shop there.

* If you had air travel planned during this time or have a reservation for a flight coming up and now won’t be going, this Conde Nast Traveler article has info on your options.

* A good one to bookmark in case anxieties swell.

I, personally, would love more recommendations for any/all of the above — and I’m sure others would, too. If you have some good ones to share, please do so in the comments!


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Filed under 2020, DC, Educational, Parents

What to Do on the Weekdays At Home During the Coronavirus

Our cat Lola’s “What are you still doing here” look that we’ll surely see a lot this week


For obvious reasons, the usual Where to Play on the Weekdays feature, offering ideas for activities with kids around DC each day of the week, is being replaced right now. We’re entering new territory as we begin this extended time at home that will include keeping up with school work, keeping everyone engaged and entertained, and — let’s be honest — keeping us all sane. Here are some ideas to help with all of that (be sure to check comments, too, for ideas shared by readers). Stay healthy and safe…and sane. 🙂

Get Schooled
Most of our kids still have assigned school work, plus we don’t want them to get out of the routine of learning. While many schools are setting up online instruction, parents may want to create a schedule for their kids to follow. Even if you have little ones who don’t have assigned work, learning activities and structure to the day could help them stay in “school mode” to make the transition back to the classroom easier. Here are some links I found to help.

* Kahn Academy is free and has tips, schedules, and programs especially for this time.

* Scholastic’s Learn at Home website is a free resource that provides children from pre-K to grade 6+ with 20 days of exciting articles and stories, videos, and fun learning challenges.

* Tips from homeschooling parents

* Kiwi Crate just launched this resource hub for parents to help with learning at home.

* Zoom is offering their video conferencing tools to schools for free (possibly something to share with your kids’ schools and educators)

* Here’s another suggested (perhaps, more realistic?) schedule.😉

* Here’s a huge list of all education companies offering free subscriptions now.

* Wirecutter’s recommended educational apps and learning games for kids.

* As an education institution, the International Spy Museum has free lesson plans (up to curriculum standards), resources, recommended reading, and at-home activities.

* On March 30, Capitol Teachers is launching, offering tutoring services, enrichment opportunities, and homeschooling programs to students in grades K-12.

* Kids and teens ages 8-18 can learn to code from home through live, online classes with CodeWizardsHQ.

* National Geographic is offering free access to all of their coronavirus coverage, including their Resources for Families with good articles and tips for being at home with the kids during this time.

* Adventure Theatre is going online with its classes for Grades K-5! Grades K-2, can join for PLAYlabs on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am to act out a different story every session. Grades 3-5 can join for Acting Up!, a journey through the process of acting using creative drama and improvisation techniques, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am. Classes begin April 13th.

* Ten digital education resources from the National Gallery of Art.

* Educational activities you can do at home from the National Zoo.

* JK Tutoring Group is now offering virtual tutoring sessions to maximize social distancing.

* The Nationals have created content especially for young fans offering free, online educational activities for kids in grades 1-6, including STEM lessons, reading resources, and fun pages.

* Flex Academies usually provides after school enrichment activities for students. With these new social distancing circumstances, they’ve gone virtual, and kids everywhere can now learn about the things they love with Flex Academies ONE!, ofering everything from Improv Acting to Taekwondo to Yoga and Mindfulness in a safe, secure, online program.

* Mully Lingua, founded by a local mom, provides language and cultural activities activities to families in the DMV. In response to COVID-19, services have been moved online and are available for free for the next few months.


Extracurriculars
I shared some links with suggestions for fun and games at home in this post, and here are even more ideas to keep everyone engaged, enriched, and entertained during this time.

* a href=”https://airandspace.si.edu/anywhere” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Air and Space Anywhere lets you enjoy the fave-of-many Smithsonian museum from wherever you are. Access virtual tours, games & activities, podcasts, K-12 programs and more.

* Art Bar Blog has been putting together this Art & Play Activity Guides for Learning at Home. (The rest of the blog is great for arts & crafts ideas, too!)

* Get the kids in the kitchen and cook together.

* It’s spring, so do some spring cleaning! This blog post has good ideas to get the kids involved.

* Kids will want to get moving. If you have a game system (or even if you don’t… apparently you can play it online), I highly recommend Just Dance.

* Let the kids capture this time… in photos! If they don’t have their own, give the kids your camera (ie, phone) and let them snap away. This website has fun ideas and activities to guide and encourage them.

* To keep everyone chill during this anxious time, how about some yoga? I found Cosmic Kids Yoga, which looks good for little ones. (Admittedly, I’m not much of a yoga person to know what’s good, so do a search for “kids yoga” on YouTube for even more videos.)

* Take a Virtual Field Trip while kids can’t go on real ones. There are a bunch of places around the world to explore (plus the moon!) online in fun and educational ways.

* While kids can’t experience DC in person right now, let them visit virtually.

* The Lane Social Club just launched “The Lane (Anti) Social Club” — virtual events for kids to help give parents a much needed break or concentrated time to actually be able to work. It’s a pay what you can model, so it’s accessible to all, but donations are greatly appreciated to help support their staff.

* The International Spy Museum can guide you to some intriguing home activities, including designing a spy gadget, cracking a top secret code, and a mind memory activity.

* Keep children active even when they can’t get outdoors with Kids Workouts to Do at Home.

* Kids of all ages can learn to code for free at home through online classes, websites, and apps.

* The very recently reopened National Children’s Museum launched a daily, digital “STEAMwork” Series on their Facebook page. Each day at 2:30pm, there are projects, challenges, experiments, and story times for children under 12 and their caregivers.

* Kidstir, a company that makes subscription boxes providing cooking inspiration for children, is giving away 15,000 kits to keep the joy of cooking and baking alive as families are affected by the coronavirus. Sign up to get one! (Note: there is a $4 shipping fee so they can support as many families as possible).

* Lots of kids love earning Junior Ranger badges from National Parks. While they can’t visit them right now, there are some badges that can be earned at home by mail, and this blog post lists all of them.

* If your kids are missing their league sports, consider activities that keep them “in the game”: You can search for easy at-home drills, find past games of some of their favorite teams on YouTube, and/or set up video chats with teammates.

* While the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is closed, they have moved online, offering science activities and events (and even content for adults).

* While they can’t host their fantastic scavenger hunts in museums, Watson Adventures has come up with virtual activities to engage in some family fun: Trivia Slam, Family Edition is part trivia challenge and part home scavenger hunt as you compete against other teams all over. Our joined one and had a blast! They take place one Saturdays & Sundays through April and will likely be extended.

* Foublie, founded by a local mom, is full of ideas for free food-based activities with young children.

* A fun project with the kids: Grow a vegetable (and fruit) garden with your own scraps! More tips here.

* KID Museum has cool, free Make It! projects online. They also just launched Make It! Plus — live, interactive programming led by their Maker Educators, geared toward kids in Kindergarten – 4th grade for a fee.

* The American Visionary Art Museum has a bunch of online experiences available — how-to videos, instructions for projects, coloring pages, and more — that look really neat for kids and adults. Read more about the wonderful AVAM here.

* While we can’t be out and about in DC (and cities all over, for that matter), we can explore them virtually with Free Tours by Foot.

* Peloton just introduced Peloton Family, fitness classes parents and kids can do together! FYI: You can get a 90-day free trial right now.

* The Hirshhorn has introduced #HirshhornInsideOut, which includes creative ideas for kids at home that relate to their exhibits and pieces from the collections.

* It may be awhile before we can pitch a tent in the great outdoors, so why not do some camping indoors instead? REI has some great ideas for doing just that.

* A new Where’s Waldo-themed web portal has activities for quarantining families like downloadable activity sheets and fun videos.

* The National Museum of Women in the Arts has some online offerings kids can enjoy — the NMWA Coloring Book and the [email protected] Youtube playlist which now has several very charming “Story Time with Women in the Arts” videos.

* Tiny Chefs is launching Cooking Around the World, a virtual cooking series.

* Tinkergarten, known for their outdoor-based early childhood education programs, has just created Tinkergarten At Home, a free, weekly series of outdoor activity plans that help families keep young kids entertained, learning, and connected to nature during this challenging time.

* The Kennedy Center presents arts [email protected], where they offer background and insight on a variety of topics, plus dance lessons, resources for kids, art prompts, and more.


Read Up
This is a great opportunity to get kids reading more. Implement a set reading time each day (and plan to join them with your current book if they can read on their own). Rather than offer specific book recommendations — because there are SO many! — here are some links to help you pick out and purchase books for your kids, plus other story time activities.

* Stock up on books and support local small businesses by shopping online while you’re staying home and/or their brick-and-mortars are closed — some even deliver! Check out Kramerbooks, East City bookshop, Solid State Books, Politics and Prose, and Loyalty Bookstores.

* These Amazon Editors’ Picks include recommendations for kids books by age up to young adult.

* Common Sense Media also has good recommendations, plus plenty of ratings and details to help you decide if it’s appropriate for your child.

* So, it’s not actually reading, but Audible for Kids is a good way to access books without having to wait for deliveries or if multiple kids want to hear it. Also, kids who don’t read on their own yet can listen to stories while you’re getting work done. Even better, it’s FREE for kids for as long as schools are closed.

* Also not reading, but these This American Life stories are ones that kids seem to like.

* National Geographic Kids is always great to check out with children.

* On Thursdays at 7pm, tune in for Goodnight with Dolly as Dolly Parton begins a weekly series of reading bedtime stories for children.

* Port Discovery, the wonderful children’s museum in Baltimore, has loads of tips and resources for at-home play on their website, from art to STEM to theatre to health & wellness to sensory to music & movement.

* Want a super cute way to support kids during this challenging time? Call a Sesame Street character.

* The National Park Service is celebrating National Park Week (April 18-26) by offering all kinds of digital experiences on their website.

* The Hirshhorn has introduced #HirshhornInsideOut to experience the art museum while their doors are temporarily closed, which includes art prompts for kids, too.

* This new Where’s Waldo-themed web portal with activities for quarantining families like downloadable activity sheets and fun videos.

* It may be awhile before we can pitch a tent in the great outdoors, so why not do some camping indoors instead? REI has some great ideas for doing just that.


Screen Time
I think we’re all going to need some good shows and movies during this period of our lives, whether or not we’re big on screen time. (For the record, I’m pretty loose about it, but my kids do plenty of non-screen activities, too, and aren’t distracted from their school work by TV.) Anyway, if you’re looking for stuff for kids to watch, you can find recommendations through these links.

* My friend Darcy’s old blog, No Monsters in My Bed, had the best Family Movie Night list.

* Here’s a quick link to Kids’ TV on Netflix.

* Lots of our t(w)eens have already discovered The Office and Friends, but here are a few more faves from the past to introduce to them: My So Called Life, Felicity, Beverly Hills 90210, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Veronica Mars

* Common Sense Media’s Best Movie lists and Best TV lists are quick and easy go-tos for viewing ideas.

* Sasha digs this YouTube show (even though I think it’s weird).

* Amazon just made a bunch of their kids shows available for free.

* Amazon also just introduced Prime Video Cinema, access to the latest movies that were just released (or would have been) in theaters.

* As kids are missing their sleepovers and hanging out with friends, Netflix Party is a fun substitute — it lets them watch a movie or show and chat at the same time.

* Arts on the Horizon, which usually presents adorable productions especially for really young audiences, is now doing a Virtual Storytime Series for little ones (also adorable).

* Timing and luck will play a big part in this, but you can try to view the Northern Lights via web cam.

Hang Out(side)
While it is best to stay at home as much as possible right now, it’s tough to keep kids inside 24/7. If you feel the need to get out, do it responsibly for this time, and go where there is plenty of space to keep good social distance. These links have ideas to help with that, just be sure to check ahead that locales are open before you go.

UPDATE: I can’t stress enough that it’s best to stay at home right now, as even outdoor spots might draw too many visitors to make them safe. The National Arboretum closed to prevent the spread after the masses started flocking there. I also recently heard from a KFDC reader who went shark tooth hunting at Purse State Park that she felt very uncomfortable with so many others there, and it’s usually empty. Thus, I am now recommending you don’t go to those places.

* Hiking is still permitted for outdoor recreation during the coronavirus outbreak, and this WTOP article has really good tips for doing it safely.

* The KFDC round-up of Walks in the Woods has info on good places to hike with kids.

* The flowers blooms may not be happening, but this KFDC post highlights gardens around the area where you can roam around.

* A shark tooth hunting adventure gets you outdoors with lots of open space, plus it’s fun and kind of educational.

* A walk or bike ride close to home may be enough to get the indoor willies out.

Do you have recommendations for activities at home this week? Feel free to share in the comments! I’m sure they’ll be much appreciated.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Maryland, Outdoor, Virginia