Tag Archives: Best Ideas for Activities with Kids in Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 13-17

The National Arboetum is a great place to enjoy warmer-than-normal weather

Monday – Go to Story Time at the National Postal Museum. Taking place every Monday, the program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Of course, stay to explore the rest of the museum, which is full of interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – Take kiddos to bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center in Landover, MD. The hour-long weekly open play workshop is a great way for kiddos to be active indoors (it was a regular outing for us when the kids were younger)! The session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. This also takes place on Wednesdays at 11:30am and Fridays at 4:30pm. Read more about the open play sessions here.

Wednesday – Spend what’s forecast to be a warmer-than-normal winter day at one of the prettiest places in DC, the U.S. National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections on nature walks, view the bonsai exhibit, visit the Washington Youth Garden and romp on the natural playground, check out the old Capitol columns, picnic in the Grove of State Trees, and so much more. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read even more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list! — as well as this post and this one.

Thursday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Afterwards, take the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Friday – Rock out with local kids’ fave Rocknocerous at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. You can also nosh while you’re there — the smoothie, juice, acai bowl, and coffee menu will be available. Showtime is 10:30am, doors open at 10am. Tickets are $5.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Story Time, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 6-10

Celebrating 11 years of our fiercely loved girl this week. Happy Birthday, sweet Sash 💜💙💚

Monday – Savor the sunshine and some outdoor time at Roosevelt Island, which I just posted a big write-up about! It’s a great place to hike with kids and get a dose of history in one fell swoop. The trails are easy for little legs to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Visit a DC go-to: The National Museum of Natural History, which has exhibits to indulge a variety of interests. View all kinds of mammals, hold live insects, learn about early humans (and see what you’d look like as one), gaze at amazing gemstones, and, of course, check out the dinos and other prehistoric creatures in the Hall of Fossils. KFDC Tip: On Tuesdays, entry to the Butterfly Pavilion is free, and I recommend getting tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away. Admission to the museum is free, the Butterfly Pavilion is $7.50/adult, $6/child other days. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Go to Story Time at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The weekly program features a different children’s book and fun activities for little ones each session. They’ll watch your kids while you grab a coffee (or, if it’s that kind of morning, a mimosa) from the great Afterwords Café. The session starts at 10:30am, and admission is free (but mimosas you have to pay for). All ages welcome.

Thursday – Head north to Charm City for a time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city. It’s full of fun and interesting exhibits and installations, many with hands-on elements, that appeal to children and adults alike. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under. Look for a deal here.

Friday – Join a free workshop for preschoolers (ages 2-5) with the Wolf Trap Foundation. The interactive session at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA, will include a story dramatization of the book Ask Mr. Bear with the goal of exploring simple math concepts and learning how to bring stories to life. The program takes place 10-11am, and admission is free. Register in advance here.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 30 – January 3

Glide into 2020…

* Along with these daily recommendations, don’t forget to check the Winter Break Guide, which contains a great mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school.

Monday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, which is open this Monday during Winter Break (regularly only open Tuesday – Sunday). You can easily make a whole day of it exploring the variety of neat hands-on exhibits, playing in the Kids Room, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $25.95/adults, $19.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.) Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

For something local and easier on the wallet, visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent and a must-see for both locals and visitors to DC. Hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of many events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2020. 🎉Happy New Year! 🎉

Wednesday – A couple of suggestions: Take a New Year’s Day hike — this post has details on a bunch of great places to hit the trail with the kids. Or, go out for a fun family meal. All Purpose Pizza at the Capitol Riverfront is doing a special New Year’s Day brunch. Pinstripes in Georgetown has a bistro, plus bowling and bocce. Jaleo, located in Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City, has tapas to please everyone — and they might seat you at a Foosball table. Carmine’s serves food family-style and is very family-friendly. Ted’s Bulletin is always a hit with kids.

Thursday – Go ice skating! It’s always a fun, active way to take advantage of the season, especially when you glide under the sky at one of the many outdoors rinks in the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has all the details on all of them.

Friday – Experience AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights before it closes after this coming weekend! The art installation at ARTECHOUSE is beautiful, enchanting, and interactive with a little bit of magic that both kids and adults will love. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm (21+ 5:30-10pm), and admission is timed entry. Tickets are $16-20/adult, $8-10/child, and they are offering a 20% discount package for 2 adults + 2 children, Sundays through Thursdays (the deal will auto-populate when tickets are requested online).

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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays (and Nights!): December 23-27

The National Menorah and Christmas Tree from a past holiday season

Last week I posted the Winter Break Guide, a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out! Below is a suggested itinerary that you can easily switch up with the recs from the guide. Have fun & Happy Holidays!

Monday – Bundle up the kids (and yourself) and take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Winter Break. Their fantastic playground is open to the public when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free.

Later on, get into the holiday spirit by viewing some holiday lights! Visit one of the many twinkling displays around the area or go see the National Menorah and Christmas Tree on the Ellipse or the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (This is something you can do any evening during the week, though check schedules on Christmas night, as some of them are closed.)

Tuesday – Watch Santa have some fun before his big night out, as he water skis his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all for free from the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria starting at 1pm sharp — the best viewing spots will be from the Torpedo Factory to Point Lumley Park.

In the afternoon, enjoy a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre. They are offering a special promo for select dates and time, including shows on Christmas Eve at 2pm and 4:30pm — use the code 5OFF to save! (Note: This is also good for shows on December 28 at 2pm, December 29 at 4:30pm, December 31 at 4:30pm, and January 1 at 4:30pm.)

Wednesday – Have a very Merry Christmas! And enjoy some activities out of the house, too! The U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or do what’s a tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas and go out for Chinese food and a movie.

And one more idea: Fill your morning with Chanukah excitement! With 4 different live shows plus crafts, food activities, and more, Chanukah Wonderland, hosted by Chabad DC at TheSHUL, is a great way for kids of all ages and their families to celebrate. Food and snacks will be available for purchase and free raffles will take place every 30 minutes! Get your tickets by signing up at ChanukahFun.com. It takes place 9:30am – 1pm, and admission is $10/child or $35/max per family.

Thursday – Get Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s recommended for ages 11 and up, but some younger ages could also enjoy it. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum — including the much loved Fossil Hall — for everyone. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

When the sun goes down, go ice skating! There’s something kind of magical about skating under the stars, and there are several rinks around the area where you can glide on ice at night.

Friday – Go bowling! Take advantage of Kids Club bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown and North Bethesda. From 11am – 1pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $6/hour and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

If you’re with really little ones, catch a performance of Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop, running at the Atlas Performing Arts Center December 27-31. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am (varies other days, so check the schedule), and tickets are $12.

In the evening, experience Georgetown GLOW, the annual exhibition of outdoor public light art installations that makes the neighborhood sparkle. Plan on dinner while you’re there — you’ve got your pick of places in the bustling community.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Playground, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter