Tag Archives: DC Kids Activities

The Weekend Round-Up:
January 24-26

The REACH Winter Lanterns are part of the Kennedy Center’s Lunar New Year celebration


Washington Auto Show
Where: Washington Convention Center, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $12/age 13+, $5/age 6-12, free/5 & under

The annual Washington Auto Show revs up this weekend! And if there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. The Auto Show is like a Truck Touch, but with automobiles — hundreds of them — on display for guests to check out. Other activities like Ride ‘n Drives and celeb appearances give guests even more to do and see. There will also be fun especially for kids, including a Family Fun Zone and photo ops with some of their favorite characters along with the sweet rides. The show will be in town through February 2. Get a glimpse and an idea of what to expect in KFDC posts about it here and here.

Jurassic Quest
Where: Dulles Expo Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $22-36

Walk through the Cretaceous period, Jurassic Period, and Triassic Period at America’s largest and most realistic dinosaur event and experience fwhat it was like to be among dinosaurs of all kinds. Jurassic Quest has over 80 true-to-life size dinosaurs, from the very small to the gigantic, sky-scraping dinosaurs, each painstakingly replicated in every detail in collaboration with leading paleontologists. There are also attractions and activities of all kinds of dino fans — dig up fossils, do some crafts, explore science stations, ride on the back of a prehistoric beast, and enjoy more dino-themed rides. Guests, big and little, are in for a dino-mite time!

Author Meet & Greet
Where: Loyalty Bookstore | Adams Morgan, DC
When: Friday, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Author Thomas Taylor will be at Loyalty Bookstore (827 Upshur St NW) for an event to featuring his book Malamander. The middle grade novel is a quirky, creepy fantasy set in Eerie-on-Sea with a colorful cast of characters in hot pursuit of a sea monster thought to convey a surprising gift. RSVP for this free event!

Chinese New Year Family Day
Where: The Reach | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Saturday, 1:30-4:30pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center’s popular event returns, this time at it’s new extension, The REACH. Help celebrate the lunar new year and ring in the Year of the Rat with free activities for all ages, including arts and crafts, a traditional costume photo booth, zodiac stickers, demonstrations of sugar painting and wood block printing, magic shows, and more. Stay for the evening for the special display of Winter Lanterns in recognition of the first winter season at the REACH — it’s wonderful! And it’s on view through February 2 in case you can’t make it this weekend!

Monster Jam
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $29-110

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Alien Invasion, El Toro Loco, Grave Digger, Max-D, Megalodon, Monster Mutt, Soldier Fortune, and Zombie are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Kids Pizza Party
Where: Matchbox | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $32/child (includes round of mimosas for adults!)

Kids can become a real pizza makers at this hands-on pizza making class! Along with making a customized personal pie with Matchbox’s Chef Felipe, participants will get a tour of the kitchen and pizza oven; a chef’s hat, crayons, and coloring page; plus a round of mimosas for the adults. Recommended for ages 5-12. Sign up in advance here.

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

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Doolittle 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.

Art Investigators: Yayoi Kusama
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

The NGA’s wonderful Art Investigators is back with winter sessions. The drop-in program for kids ages 4-7 will explore works by Yahoo Kusama with a a book reading, a look at her work, then an art project that directly relates to it. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, starting at 10am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday. Be aware that you may not get an early time slot and will have time to fill before your session, so plan accordingly. Read a KFDC review of the series back when it was called Stories in Art (it’s an older post, but still relevant, as the program is very much the same).

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm  & Sunday, 12-5pm

Admission: $17.95, free for members

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world,  with an exciting celebration at Port Discovery Children’s Museum! Visitors of all backgrounds will learn, experience, and participate in traditions surrounding the Lunar New Year celebration. You’ll be mesmerized by the Chinese Lion Dancers of Tai Yim Kung Fu School, who perform the traditional lion dance throughout Port Discovery using a paper mache lion, instruments, and dance that will captivate you! Learn the art of calligraphy and chopsticks with the Xiamen Chinese Sister City, and share your gifts by partaking in the traditional exchange of red envelopes between one generation and the next. Other art projects and programs will take place throughout the weekend. Read a brand new KFDC write-up about Port Discovery!

Winter Blast: A Family Day of Native Games
Where: American Indian Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday,10:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This free family-friendly event celebrates Indigenous games from the Arctic to Argentina. Visitors can meet Talibah Begay (Navajo) as she shares a traditional Navajo shoe guessing game. Leihua Stewart (Native Hawaiian) teaches traditional Hawaiian games. Participants can learn to play Bolivian games with Julia Garcia (Aymara). The day features hands-on activities and “make-and-takes.”

Multilingual Education Fair of DC
Where: Roosevelt High School |
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore resources by 150 exhibitors covering 18+ languages for learners of all ages, including language classes, apps, books, tutors, assessments, travel abroad programs, university programs, dual language programs, after school programs, daycares, language and culture organizations, embassies and multilingual recruiters. Bonus: Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow rapper and poet Omar Offendum will be performing! See the full program here and book your FREE tickets here. Roosevelt High School is located at 4301 13th Street NW.

Rapunzel
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Tickets: $12 (find discount)

A “bewitching” tale by Duane T. Bowers, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairytale. Witch Wartsmith wants a baby, and after bargaining for little Rapunzel, must go to great lengths to keep her out of the hands of a handsome prince. The Puppet Co. uses “coloring- book” charm and the simplicity of hand puppets in a production designed to delight its younger audiences. Recommended for ages 3.5-9.

Mouse on the Move
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $12

Nellie and Amelia are two adventurous mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon, since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese (so they have heard). In this interactive play, the audience becomes part of the story through multi-sensory activities. Join us as we all try to reach beyond the stars. Recommended for ages 1-5.

Happy Theater: Five Spoons
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $20

Interactive community building theater piece for adults and children alike. Five miniature stories are creatively told and woven together into a greater story about our personal connection to the world and to each other. Through physical theater, storytelling, audience interaction and object-based theater we meet five people who live next to us – people who may be living without vision, or hearing, who have movement limitations, or are lonely, angry, sad… How do they see, hear or feel the world, and how do we see, hear or feel them? Recommended for ages 10+.

Capital City Symphony’s Symphonic Dancing
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Sunday, 3:30pm & 5:30
Tickets: $15-20

This fun, interactive family concert will have every family member on their feet! The program explores the expressive, dance-like melodies of William Grant Still’s Danzas de Panama, and Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag. Come enjoy this energetic concert for all ages! Join 30 minutes before the performance for an Instrument Petting Zoo!

Moco Camp & Summer Fun Expo
Where: Hilton DC/Rockville Hotel | Rockville, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

At Washington Parent magazine’s Annual Camp and Summer Fun Expo, attendees can gather details about camp options and learn about summer activities for the entire family. Learn all about various kinds of camps — general, sports, residential, special needs, arts, STEM, special focus, and summer programs. You can also explore summer fun destinations like theme parks, vacation spots, and general summer happenings. There will be plenty for kids to do while parents focus on the programs for their children, including face painting, balloon arts, giveaways, and more.

McLean Chocolate Festival
Where: McLean Community Center | McLean, VA
When: 11am – 5pm
Admission: $2, free/under 3

If you love chocolate, check out this sweet event: McLean Rotary is hosting its 9th Annual Chocolate Festival on Sunday. Vendors include Dave’s Candy Kitchen, Seasons 52, Fluffy Thoughts, Capital Candy Jar, and many more. Patrons can buy treats to eat on site or to stock up for Valentine’s Day, and there will be a chocolate-related games for kids and live entertainment throughout the day. And American Heritage, a Mars company, will demonstrate how chocolate was made in colonial America. Proceeds go to fund local charitable organizations.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Join the museum dedicated to Asian Art for the sixth annual Lunar New Year celebration to ring in the Year of the Rat. Enjoy food, performances, and art representing the richness of New Year celebrations in China, Korea, and Mongolia. Experience interactive art demonstrations, live magic and musical performances, and delicious food for sale. Plus, enjoy two special Sackler exhibitions—Resound: Ancient Bells of China and Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece—and the permanent collection of Asian art in the Freer.

CUENTA-CUENTOS: STORYTIME in Spanish
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy story time en Español at the Hirhshorn! Join for a read aloud of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Following the story, stay and play with Snowy Day-inspired materials.Explore contemporary art through stories and movement. All audiences are welcome to join this Spanish-language program, led by a multilingual educator.
 
Chinese New Year Parade
Where: Throughout Chinatown, DC
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Welcome, Year of the Rat! On Sunday, the annual Chinese New Year Parade brings vibrant tradition to Downtown DC. Festivities kick off at 6th & I Streets NW at 2pm and will wind through the streets of Chinatown celebrating Chinese culture in a brilliant procession of traditional dance, music, and, of course, the iconic lions and dragons. Kids always love seeing the show and having trinkets and treats given to them by parade participants passing by (mine really dig this!). The parade lasts about two hours, and spectating is free. Get there a little early to stake out your curbside spot — lots of folks come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.

Winter Wonderland Ball
Where: Kensington Town Hall | Kensington, MD
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $7/person or $25/family

The Noyes Children’s Library Foundation is hosting The Winter Wonderland Ball, a family dance party celebrating imagination, fun and, of course, books. Kensington Town Hall will be transformed into a fairy tale palace, with children invited to march in a Royal Procession before joining the A-Squad DJ on the dance floor. There will be crafts, photo-ops and a special Royal Reading Room with stories and songs. Costumes (of any kind) are encouraged for children and parents. Space is limited, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. The Winter Wonderland Ball is open to children of all ages, but the activities are geared to kids from 2 to 8 years old.

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

I’m a big proponent of getting outdoors, no matter what the weather. And this weekend should actually be decent at least one day, so get out and take advantage. Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year), the National Arboretum, or Brookside Gardens. Go for a hike at Great Falls, Prince William Forest Park, or even farther out at Harper’s Ferry. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or Clemyjontri Parks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids — there are tons of great al fresco adventures around the area.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* There are a couple of giveaways currently running — for tickets to The King’s Speech at National Theatre and a session of February Break camp or Spring Break camp (when DCPS students are off) with RDUTennis!
* The Spy Museum’s annual Spy Fest is next Friday night. And I can tell you from experience that it’s a really fun time!
* The 6th Annual Comfort Cases Gala to benefit their mission to help youth in foster will take place on Saturday, April 25.
* Who else is excited about American Ninja Warrior coming to DC?
* Just started this book thanks to this post.
* Faves of the latest IG meme: This, this, and of course the original.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, Art, DC

Anchors Aweigh, Kids, at Baltimore’s Port Discovery

[Note: This post was written by KFDC contributor Emily Moise, who visited Port Discovery with her family, including her 3-year-old daughter and baby son. In all the years our family visited the children’s museum in Baltimore, I never did a proper write-up, and my kids have aged out of a lot of it. But as Port Discovery recently underwent a major renovation, the timing is great for one now.]

As we await the *almost open* children’s museum here in Washington, DC, a half-day trip up to Baltimore’s Port Discovery will certainly tide you over. The Inner Harbor, and its historic seaport, provides the perfect metaphorical backdrop for this children’s museum that has, without exaggeration, something for every child, with every interest, to embark on.

Open since 1998, the museum completed a $10.5 million renovation in 2019, notably with the floor-to-ceiling “SkyClimber” and twisting slide, as well as a life-size ship facade where kids can play captain and load “cargo” on the third-story overlook. The museum has the latest and greatest in hands-on, creative play — though, like all children’s museums, things become “well-loved” so some of the 10+ exhibit spaces aren’t as brand-sparkling new as others.

If you have a preschooler in tow, your first stop will likely be at the “Store & Fill’er Up Station” which is one of the most authentic fake food shopping set-ups I’ve experienced. It’s a convenience store modeled after sponsor Royal Farms, allowing kids to fill up a grocery tote, get a pretend fountain soda, put gas in the car, and “drive.” A few levels up, “Tiny’s Diner” offers even more for the play food lovers with a large space conducive to collaborative play and parent engagement.

Perhaps the most unique exhibit space is “Wonders of Water” where my daughter’s love of squeegeeing grew exponentially with the addition of spray bottles and free-range windows. Also found here are STEM-infused water tables, a giant bubble hoop, and a musical water play (and spray) area. The most thoughtful touches are the amenities: raincoats, crocs, and a drying station for all sizes.

For those with younger toddler-age children, you won’t want to miss “Tot Trails” which is limited to children three and under. This exhibit space is set up with simple yet stimulating activities for all levels—sitters, crawlers, climbers, and walkers. Like most of the museum, STEM and arts are intertwined in a rudimentary, unintimidating way. For example, here you’ll find a classic wind tube with leaves for little ones to insert and catch with a butterfly net.

Lastly, “The Oasis” provided a much-needed wind down from the stimulation. It’s a children’s library-esque space stocked with books, cozy nooks, and exploratory play stations. By chance, we walked in just as story time was about to start—on this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend day, themes of community and connection were shared throughout the three books read. This was the perfect ending to our visit, leading to an instantaneous car nap for both of my children.

From the archives: Tiny Sasha serves up big sandwiches at Tiny’s Diner



Port Discovery is located at 35 Market Place on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. General admission to the museum is $17.95 for visitors ages 1+. If you think your family will go at least couple of times in a year, consider a membership starting at $140.

KFDC Tips:
* There are lockers to store your items (for free) in “The Pier” eating area — use them! The museum is three levels of non-stop movement, particularly for a first-time visitor trying to see and do everything.
* The Pier is also where you can take a snack or lunch break. Bring your own food or carry out from one of the neighboring establishments.
* There are many, many exhibits — more than mentioned here, including a bunch for grade school ages — so be ready for a long day (or plan on more visits!)
* Port Discovery hosts lots of special events and themed weekends — check the calendar for any you might want to experience.
* You could make it a longer trip to Baltimore, overnight or even weekend, and also visit the Maryland Science Center, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, or tour the historic ships docked at the Inner Harbor.


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Filed under All ages, Educational, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Ongoing, Play, Weekdays, Weekend

Summer Camp for Children Ages 3-6 at Concord Hill School!


This post is sponsored by Concord Hill School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2020, Camp, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 21-24

Bundle up for a day outdoors at Great Falls Park


Tuesday – Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, restaurant, vintage store, and hotel all in one. It’s one of the neatest and most stunning spaces in DC! And visitors are welcome to explore (and shop!) it all. Tours are offered 11am – 3pm. Self-guided tours start at $25 — purchase tickets in advance online.

Wednesday – Get excited for the Lunar New Year at the Freer|Sackler Gallery, where you can view a remarkable collection of Asian art and special exhibits. Ask for activity cards and a family guide at the front desk when you arrive to help with kiddos with their art adventure. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Bundle up for a hike and some nature fun at Great Falls Park. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Open 7am to 30 minutes after sunset. Admission is $20/vehicle.

Friday – See some entertainment especially for kids at The Puppet Co., where Rapunzel is the current Main Stage production. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays