Category Archives: Weekend

Social Distancing Survival Tips for Parents with Toddlers

[Note: These tips are from KFDC contributor, Emily Moise, mom of two little ones. Most of my strategies have been more for school age children, so Emily brings a fresh perspective to this new socially distanced world we’re all still figuring out how to navigate.]
 

If you’re like me, you’re seeing the plethora of virtual events, free online courses, streaming exercise classes, and binge-worthy TV recommendations, and thinking, “If only I didn’t have two toddlers!” Even though many of these offerings are geared towards preschoolers, a screen opens Pandora’s box for my nearly 3-year-old daughter and isn’t doable for my newly 1-year-old son.

Here are my social distancing survival tips for parents and caretakers of kids in the 1-3 range, using minimal or strategic screen time:

Change the scenery. Toddlers physically cannot stay in the house all day. It just ends badly. If it’s nice out and above 40 degrees we get outside (a nursery school rule), at least two times a day. Back yard, front yard, open field, tennis court, or “nature walk.” If stuck indoors, we change up the scenery there as well. Whether that’s making bath time a foam party, setting up a tent, or just moving playtime from room to room.  

FaceTime. This was always part of our little ones’ routine for family in NYC, but now we’ve added friends, more family, and even a whole nursery school class to the mix. Using a smartphone as a phone feels good! Kids get to converse or listen to conversation, see friends they miss, and then we can hang up without them wanting to scroll or watch videos. If your preschool class has yet to schedule a live group chat, encourage them to do it! We used Lifesize.

Hone in on the distraction-proof activities. My child can do puzzle after puzzle only looking up for you to hand her the next one, but give her an easel and paint and she’ll be done, paint spilled in about two minutes. We haven’t given up on painting, but we are really playing up the things that give her laser focus to kill an hour. Tip: Search the Facebook Marketplace for more puzzles, Play-Doh supplies, etc. You won’t have to wait for shipping…just be sure to sanitize well!

Choose your parent-DIY activities wisely. There are so many crafty ideas for toddler activities circulating out there now—but some can take way more time to create than use. I recently discovered @busytoddler on Instagram and her ideas using stickers (like this one) was an aha moment for me. My daughter loves stickers, as in she loves to just peel them off one by one until the sheet is done—five minutes max. With @busytoddler guidance, I’ve since created sheets of words and landscapes for her to match stickers to.

Aim for 45-minute intervals. The majority of those gym and music classes our children cannot attend at the moment are just 45 minutes long. For us, on non-school days we would have one or maybe two classes/open gyms on the schedule. If we can set up one of our social distancing activities and go for 45 minutes, I consider that a win and there is less pressure on the rest of the day. This is a good way to think about digital activities like Cosmic Kids Yoga. You can also try starting an activity with 20 minutes of your own “circle time” using music like this.

Love thy neighborhood walks. When the workday is over, we’re likely strolling through our neighborhood with the little ones in a wagon. We find neighbors out on every block willing to have a 6 foot-separated chat, or giving the kids a friendly wave and smile—much needed, real-life face time! The sidewalk chalk art movement is making these walks even more cheerful for everyone. Tip: Search your toddler’s favorite characters on this drawing tutorial site and be amazed at your sidewalk art skills.

Lastly, find your child’s TV obsession and milk it for all it’s worth. My daughter is fan-girling over Paw Patrol at the moment. Our routine is to watch two episodes in the morning and two in the afternoon (~40 minutes total). So now that’s all she asks for rather than an endless stream of requests. If she asks for more we say, “But you already watched four Paw Patrols today!” —which sounds like a lot. We have a stash of activity and reading books to support the fandom without the need for more TV.

What are some of your strategies for this social distancing with toddlers? If you have some good tips to share, please do so in the comments!

 

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Filed under 2020, Preschoolers, Toddlers, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend: March 20-22


For the second week in a row, this regular Thursday post is not like the others. Where you usually find a round-up of weekend events and activities instead is a recap of the latest KFDC posts, plus a mix of links around the Web, all of which hopefully will be of some help during this unusual time. Happy Weekend!

*KFDC POSTS*

* Articles, Posts, Memes, and More Relevant Links for Right Now
This mix of links posted last weekend was a quick way of relaying some practical information, offering suggestions, and providing some smiles and laughs.

* What to Do on the Weekdays At Home During the Coronavirus
The title might say it’s for the weekdays, but certainly the suggestions for kids’ activities can be enjoyed on weekends, too.

* Tips for Parents During this Social Distancing Time at Home (that Don’t Involve the Kids)
Some of these ideas especially for parents may actually be better for the weekends, especially for moms and dads who are working from home during the week. Since we can’t dine out, see shows, go to events, or visit many local places, we’ll have more time at home — and this post has suggestions to help make the most of it. Yes, the kids will be home more, too, but parents could take turns giving each other their own time while one hangs with the kids.

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


*MORE GOOD STUFF*

* DCist offers motivation to stay in with one-star Yelp reviews of DC monuments.

* I recommend reading this article by an Italian mom under lockdown.

* It’s official: DC Public Schools will be closed and distance learning will take place through April 24.

* Humans of New York Quarantine Edition has begun, sharing happy stories, just getting them in a different way. Start reading them here.

* Just watched Grand Budapest Hotel (for the second time, which I realized after I was partly into it). Like every Wes Anderson movie, it’s brilliant.

* Consider ordering take out this weekend to support your favorite local restaurants.

* Get some new family, kid, or adult games and puzzles to make your inside time more fun. Labyrinth has an amazing selection and is open for pick-up and delivery, to boot.

* Funny, but true? 😂

* Trevor Noah ❤️


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Filed under 2020, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend: March 13-15


If you visited this page hoping to find information about events and activities happening around DC this weekend, you’re going to be very disappointed. I had a whole Weekend Round-Up all ready to go, but it’s been scrapped.

Not only have many events been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus, my conscience is weighing in, too. With all that we now know about coronavirus, I believe that exercising caution and proactively preventing the spread of the disease should be of utmost importance at this time. No, I am not a health expert (though I did discuss this with one), but I am a concerned human, and I just wouldn’t feel right encouraging my readers in any way to put themselves (and others) in potentially risky health situations. This isn’t panic; it’s just taking these unique circumstances very seriously.


If you still want to get out of the house, consider outdoor activities that still allow for social distancing like hiking, a bike ride, or even a shark tooth hunting adventure.

I’m still sharing my planned *MORE GOOD STUFF* section with a mix of relevant, informative, and fun links, plus some more recommendations for activities in lieu of large public events.

Thanks for your understanding of this decision. Stay healthy and safe.

And, as always, Happy Weekend!

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The DC government set up a central website for local coronavirus updates.
* The Washington Post also has Live Updates.
* Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo are still open as of now, but all public events through May 3 are canceled.
* All shows scheduled at the 9:30 Club, Lincoln Theatre, and The Anthem through March 31 are being postponed.
* How the coronavirus hijacks your cells.
* Some National Cherry Blossom Festival events have been canceled, including the Kite Festival, and there may be even more.
* The cherry blossom peak has been revised to March 21-24, and these tips for viewing them include places to go without the crowds.
* My friend Darcy always has the best recommendations for reading, watching, and listening.
* The second season of My Brilliant Friend, based on the wonderful books by Elena Ferrante, premieres Monday!
* I love a good protest.

*FUN & GAMES AT HOME WITH KIDS*
* Fatherly has some good suggestions for DIY activities with kiddos.
* Here are some good ideas from The Cut.
* 10 Kid-Friendly Card Games.
* Some of our favorite family games: Rummikub, Anomia, Scrabble, and Catan.
* A KFDC reader shared this fun website with me.

*MORE TO WATCH* (With and without kids)
* A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood seems like a good one to see now for something uplifting and, because, Tom Hanks.
* In case you didn’t (or did) see Frozen 2 in the theater, you can rent it now.
* Sing Street is one of our family’s favorite movies.
* Sasha and I just watched Legally Blonde together — her first time seeing and enjoying it — and I loved it all over again.
* The Outsider on HBO is so creepy and compelling.
* Owen (age 14) is really into this anime series.
* I’m with Hillary on Hulu!
* Levi and I just watched Swallow, a super bizarre movie.
* I mentioned Love is Blind last week, and I’m suggesting it again because it’s a perfect binge.
* Contagion apparently has had a resurgence in popularity (wonder why?).

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Filed under 2020, DC, Maryland, Spring, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2020)

[Note: This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom. Also, I realize that coronavirus may be a factor as you make plans to see the flowers; however, I am not a health expert, but know that KFDC has an audience of smart, discerning parents, so I will leave those judgements up to you.]

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is NOT recommended to go see the cherry blossoms, especially at the Tidal Basin and on the National Mall, as it is NOT conducive to social distancing. Instead, view them virtually from home or just wait to set them next year.

🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸

Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 27-30 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s spring agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it ishard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro — it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the Tidal Basin for the blossom scene. Another good option is the bus — the DC Circulator will run between Eastern Market and L’Enfant Plaza, a convenient route with even more to do on both ends. And the 32, 34, and 36 routes of Metrobus stop at the National Mall close to the Washington Monument. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take the Cherry Blossom Shuttle ($1/person) to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin. There is also a parking garage at L’Enfant Plaza. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. You can ensure yourself a spot with Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service that lets you search for and reserve garage spaces in advance.

Flying amid the flowers

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson back in my kids’ baby days on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration, the Blossom Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri among them, and there are many non-official festival happenings as well. Most events take place nearby the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. Peak bloom is expected to occur mid-Festival this year, so you can enjoy blossom-inspired activities and the efflorescent trees at the same time. This post has details on the best cherry blossom season celebrations and activities for families.

Get a view of the blossoms from a paddle boat

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Right now you can find great deals with Washington Marina National Ferry Corp, Capitol River Cruises, and Boomerang Boat Tours. Potomac Riverboat Company and DC Water Taxi are a couple more to check out. You can also opt for a paddling excursion and navigate the waters yourself.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual blossoms only add to it. And Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has a lovely collection of cherry trees, too.

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the memorials are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos



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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend