Category Archives: Outdoor
Play, sing, dance, and learn this summer at Wolf Trap!
Fun for all ages, this summer’s Children’s Performances feature music, dance, and storytelling. Wolf Trap National Park provides a full day of adventure! After the show, explore with Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, enjoy a picnic lunch, or play in the Meadow.
July performances start next week with Dan + Claudia Zanes with Friends, Inez Barlatier, Joanie Leeds, Oran Etkin: Timbalooloo, Elena Moon Park and Friends, and more.
Just added August performers include Sonia De Los Santos and The Okee Dokee Brothers, Yogapalooza with Bari Koral, Danny Weinkauf and his Red Pants Band, FLY DANCE COMPANY: The Gentlemen of Hip Hop, and many more!
Performances will take place at the Filene Center in July and at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods in August on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Saturdays, July 20-August 21.
This post is sponsored by Wolf Trap, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you probably already know that we love the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. The aerial forest experience that has adventure-goers navigating ropes courses and ziplines in the trees is such a fun and thrilling challenge — and easily one of our favorite adventures in the DC area.
The Adventure Park opened in 2011 and has since become the largest manmade outdoor climbing park in the world. We first experienced it not long after its launch, when Owen was just six years old, and we’ve visited at least once a year since then with the exception of the last Covid year, often as a special end of summer break outing, and with both kids since Sasha has been old enough to join. A visit there is a bit of a splurge, so it’s not something we do frequently.
That first visit, Owen could only go on a couple of easier courses for 5-6 year olds, and he had to be accompanied by an adult (me). As he got older he could tackle more — and on his own. On a recent visit, he and his friends were making their way from tree to tree high, high up in the air, maneuvering across wooden planks, grabbing for dangling ropes, and whizzing down zip lines.
Sasha and I stayed on the intermediate trails, which are very fun and challenging, just not quite as intense or as high as the advanced black and double black routes. It’s pretty awesome to see both of my kids conquer the courses and to think about how much they’ve grown — physically, mentally, and emotionally — since their first experiences on the beginner purples. It’s like our visits to the Adventure Park are kind of a benchmark for their development.
So, as mentioned, it’s usually a tradition for us to go at the end of summer, but after this weird bummer of a Covid school year, I decided an early summer trip there was well deserved. (And still planning to bring them before they head back to the classroom in August, too. )
In case it isn’t evident, I highly recommend experiencing the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring, especially for active kids who love the outdoors and a good challenge! Kids as young as 5 can go, but ages 5-6 can only do the easiest purple courses and must always be with an adult. Ages 7-11 can climb all of the intermediate courses with an adult, ages 12-13 can do the advanced black courses with an adult, and ages 14 and up can do everything solo.
Current pricing for a three-hour climb (prices are Mon-Thurs | Fri-Sun):
Adult (age 12+): $60 | 64
Junior (age 7-11): $50 | 54
Child (age 5-6): $16 | 20
Good things to know if you plan to go:
* You must reserve in advance. Admission is timed-entry and spots can fill up, especially on weekends.
* Wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in easily. I like to wear something with a pocket that zips or stays closed to hold my keys and phone.
* The park no longer provides gloves, but you can BYO or buy them there for $3, which I recommend.
* Closed-toed shoes are required.
* There is a short orientation on climbing (pay attention!) and a chance to practice using the gear before you get on the courses.
* Plan to leave belongings in your car or store in a small locker for $3. (I bring my phone and keys, but keep them in a secure pocket.)
* Concessions are available from the Munch Mobile food truck (and the fare is good) or you can BYO. There are picnic tables on the grounds outside of the climbing area for eating.
* Portable restrooms are outside the climbing area, and I recommend stopping at them before starting your climb — no one wants to be stuck in the trees with an urgent need to go.
* If you’re feeling really ambitious and want to do a double outing, the park is located right by the Underground Railroad Experience Trail
The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is located at 16701 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring, MD. It’s open every day through summer with varying hours, and mostly weekends in the fall and spring.
And since I brought my phone on my climb to snap pics, here are more scenes from our recent visit…
Summer is here, which generally means more time having fun playing outdoors. A great way to boost that fun: Lawn games! Whether they’re played on your actual lawn, in your neighborhood park (like some of us city folk who don’t have lawns), at the beach, or anywhere you happen to be with outdoor space, these game set-ups are not just an excellent way to keep kids entertained, they’re awesome for the whole family to enjoy together. Here are 10 “lawn” games to check out, with something for all ages. Happy playing!
Kadima is our go-to outdoor game that we always bring along with us on trips and, really, any outing that has us hanging out in open space with room to play. The two light paddles and small balls are easy to slip into a backpack or beach bag (or just carry down to the park for “backyard” play). For younger kids, this set of velcro paddles and ball is a similar type of game and might be easier to master.
Super popular, Corn Hole is kind of a safer alternative to horseshoe or Bocce. Instead of heavy (potentially harmful) balls or metal horseshoes that you try to toss around metal spikes in the ground, you throw soft bean bags onto or into a platform with a hole in the middle. This can be fun for all ages — just move the platforms closer or farther away as needed. The classic is played with wooden platforms, but the collapsible version linked above is easily portable and less expensive. And here is one especially for little kids.
If you like Frisbee and want a portable game that involves some disc throwing, Kan Jam is a fun one. You play in teams of two, and the goal is to toss the disc from across the playing space and either hit the can or get the disc into the can, either through a side slot with precise aim, in the open top, or with the help of your teammate “jamming” it in. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
This seems to be the game of the moment. On a recent beach weekend, we counted six Spikeball matches going on at once in the area around us, one of them amongst our crew. It’s kind of a mix between volleyball and four square, with teams of two players each passing the ball to each other and bouncing (or spiking) it off a net fastened to a hoop that sits a few inches off the ground. It’s recommended for teen ages and older, but I think tweens could get into it, too. For a cheaper option, there’s this knockoff set.
In this tossing game, you try to get bolos (a short rope with a small weighted ball on each end) to wrap around one of three rungs on a “ladder” set up a short distance away. The higher the rung, the more points scored. Play in teams of two or one on one. Most sets are portable and easy to assemble. This one with rubber balls makes it better for younger ages (be sure to select the classic, not pro, version).
A great tossing game for all ages, it just involves throwing rings around pegs to score points. This set comes with a case to make it easily transportable and pieces that are simple to put together.
A fun one for little kids (and even big ones, too), the squeeze of a lever launches a small plastic ball into the air for another player to catch in their handheld basket. This set is slightly smaller for littler hands.
You don’t have to venture out to a spray park for kids to have fun splashing around in jets of water. On a recent walk in the neighborhood, I saw a couple of little ones having a blast playing on a splash pad right in their front yard. You just need to hook up a hose and you’ve got a mini spray park at home.
I actually randomly came across this scavenger hunt card game as I was putting this post together, but it looks like a fun one to entertain kids for awhile. Apparently, there are brain teasing clues along with the big picture cards to get kids of all ages into the game. It gets great reviews, too!
If I had to recommend one item to have on hand at all times for game play, it would be a Frisbee. Our family are big fans of all kinds of disc play, but a simple Frisbee toss is simple, fun, and relaxing. It’s also lightweight, easy to bring along on any kind of outing, and even young kids can play with a lighter version like this one. For some fun Frisbee play at night, this one glows in the dark.
* * *
Do you have a favorite outdoor game set that you don’t see here? Let us know in the comments, if so!