Tag Archives: Summer Activities

5 Great Reasons to Attend iD Tech Camp this Summer  

[Note: This is a sponsored post contributed by the staff at iD Tech, an industry leader in STEM education.]

This summer, tens of thousands of iD Tech campers will get hands-on with coding, game development, robotics, and design, making unforgettable memories cemented by fun-filled STEM learning experiences on prestigious campuses.

So, what is it that makes iD Tech the #1 summer tech program on the planet?

Well, since 1999, 350,000 kids and teens have passed through our programs—making friends, learning new skills, and getting prepared for college, internships, and dream careers. In fact, iD Tech alumni often go on to work at some of the nation’s most iconic companies, like Microsoft, Google, and EA.  

What does all of this mean for your student?

With iD Tech programs held at nearby locations like Howard, American, and Georgetown Universities, he or she could very well be the creator of the next big app or huge video game title. Or, maybe they’ll use tech to found a nonprofit and make the world a better place.

We can think of hundreds of reasons why your student should attend iD Tech.  But hey, you have a summer to plan, so here are five of our favorites.

5. Students can start preparing for successful STEM futures.
Did you know over 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled in 2018? Sure, your little one might be years away from thinking about a career, or even college, but when it comes to STEM, there’s no time like the present to plant the seed.

Why?

A young mind is free of preconceived notions that can get in the way of wanting to explore something new. Many kids haven’t yet learned to fear failure. Nothing is too challenging. Thus, if they can dive into a STEM program now, they will be that much more prepared than their peers when it comes to grabbing one of the many high-paying STEM jobs down the line.


4. Children will discover that other kids do, in fact, share their same interests!
Everything is better with a friend, right? But even if kids aren’t bringing their best buddy to camp this summer, there is always the chance they’ll make some new pals.

What is the best atmosphere for cultivating such relationships? It almost always starts with being among those who have similar interests.

In fact, we hear the same thing summer after summer — “I’ve found my people” or “I’ve found my tribe.” Students at iD Tech have the uncanny ability to bond with their like-minded peers.

And it’s easy to see why.

When kids are in school, they can easily find others who like sports, thanks to the opportunity to join athletic teams. They can also find fellow math-minded students in their algebra classes or in after-school clubs. But coming across others who also want to learn to code? Or who share an affinity for building Minecraft mods? It’s a bit more difficult.

Camp, and iD Tech specifically, provides an ideal environment for making new friends. Students sign-up for a specific course in coding, whether it’s with Java, C++, Python, or another language, and are surrounded by other students just as eager to learn this new craft. This goes for all course areas, whether it’s coding, game development, robotics, or design.

3. Plus, they’ll have the chance to learn something they might not ever come across in everyday schooling.
When you hear things like “learn” or “prepare for the future,” you can’t help but think of school. We get it.

But, we call it summer camp for a reason. We even go as far as to describe the iD Tech environment as “un-school.” That means guaranteed small classes, personalized learning, and hands-on projects. It also means music blaring, outdoor games and activities, campus exploration, and gaming tournaments during down-time.

And instead of teachers, there are course instructors who act as mentors — passing along knowledge from their experiences as educators or tech professionals. Many even started out as students at iD Tech and have returned to pay their skills forward to the next generation!

As is regularly the case, your student might even discover something that inspires and motivates them to keep learning after camp. Meaning, they enter the summer as a consumer of technology – from apps to video games to social media – and leave with the skills and inspiration to become creators and producers of those very same things.

2. Not to mention free pie! Wait, let us explain…
In addition to celebrating Pi Day at our main office, we’re also known for our pie-your-instructor days out at camp! Students work hard all week to earn raffle tickets, ultimately leading up to the chance to pie their favorite instructors. Along with gaming tournaments, dress-up days, outdoor fun, and more, pieing is another pillar of our one-of-a-kind camp culture.

1. And finally, it’s an opportunity to experience the absolute best summer ever.
Sure, iD Tech is the largest and most trusted camp of its kind. With 50 innovative courses, the best industry-standard software and hardware, a unique camp culture, and an unmatched lineup of prestigious campus locations, we can’t be topped.

But at the end of the day, everything we do is centered around providing the ideal environment for that uber-important STEM skill-building we mentioned above. Parents across the nation and around the world agree that we’ve nailed the recipe for the best summer ever!

And, hey, here’s a bonus! Exclusive to KidFriendly DC readers, you’ll receive $75 off when you register with the code KIDFRIENDLYDC18 by May 31, 2018. Courses sell-out quickly, so get started by registering online or call 888.709.8324 for personalized course recommendations. And once signed up, you can make unlimited updates to your registration up to three weeks before your session.

This post is sponsored by iD Tech, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2018, Camp, DC, Educational, Guest Post, Maryland, Professional Service, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

strawberries_sash

The pick-your-own produce season starts with strawberries in the spring, then continues with more delicious fruits and veggies in the summer and fall. Heading out to the farm to do some picking is among my favorite seasonal activities with the kids. It’s a nice break from the urban bustle and a great chance to show them that food doesn’t magically appear on a plate or shelf at Trader Joe’s. Even better, the enjoyment continues with a basketful of fresh produce at home. The time is ripe for planning your own PYOP outing. Here are some great places around the area to reap some of the best treats of spring, summer, and fall. Happy Picking!

Shlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, MD, Shlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area, their season always beginning before other area farms, and because that’s the only PYO they offer. The fields are expected to open around May 1 and should yield berries until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids (and yourself) to ice cream. You can also pick up something up to cook for dinner — Shlagel also offers farm raised beef, pork, and chicken! Shlagel’s is open for PYO from 8am – 6pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
The farm in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck kicks off their PYO season in their strawberry fields in May, welcoming visitors daily. Come June, the rest of the berries (black, blue, rasp, and cherries) will become ready for picking, and peaches, nectarines, and plums won’t be far behind (see their approximate schedule here). Along with PYO, there are goats to visit and play areas for kids. Picking hours are Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm. (Update: Now open!)

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers much more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields will open in mid-late May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. Asparagus is available at the same time, and more berries, plums, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and hot peppers will follow in late spring and summer. The weekends of May 25-27 and June 1-2 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies 9-12 months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission to Great Country is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm. (Update: PYO strawberries has begun!)

Wegmeyer Farms
With three locations in Northern Virginia, Wegmeyer offers varying strawberry picking experiences as the settings differ at each. PYO at a historic homestead in Hamilton, then set up lunch at a picnic table (BYO) and let the kids play on a John Deere tractor slide and playground. At Oatlands, the patch and era-themed attire at the historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800’s, and while visiting the patch is free, you can purchase tour passes for the garden and/or mansion. And at Gilbert’s Corner, enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state; the no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. The PYO season will begin at all three locations in May. Check the website for updates, hours, and directions. (Update: Gilbert Corner & Oatlands fields now open!)

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open to the public in late May (check the website or call for an update) with access to their strawberry fields, then blueberries, peaches, brambles, apples, and paw paw. Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm and let the kids play it off on the playground. This year’s hours have yet to be confirmed, but last year they were open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am – 6pm, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season is expected to start with strawberries in late May/early June this year, and they’ll have the full spectrum of berries following soon after, just about every variety of peaches, and loads of veggies available from June – October, too. (See the list and view schedules on the website.) Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Summer hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday, expecting to start in late May. Following soon after are more berries and sugar snap and English peas. Potatoes, apples, and pumpkins come later. The Farm Park with the giant slides, a nature trail, and our farm animals can be enjoyed along with the PYO ops. And Bunnyland is still open April 27-28! Hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30am – 6pm. Admission is $3. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms strawberry picking season will begin in late May and will last several weeks. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. But, wait, the PYO doesn’t stop with strawberries! Other spring crops that you’re welcome to gather include lettuce, peas, arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard. Come summer, peaches, plums, blackberries, red raspberries, sour cherries, and summer veggies are available. Fall brings apples, home-grown Pumpkin Patch, fall vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

Green Truck Farm/Hartland Farm
Green Truck and Hartland Farms are located out I-66 less than an hour from DC (Green Truck is situated at the entrance to Hartland). Their strawberries will be ready for picking in May. The rest of their PYO offerings run the berry gamut along with tomatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins. And at Hartland, you can get berries, then peaches, apples, and pumpkins later in the year.

Homestead Farm
Homestead no longer grows strawberries, so their PYO season will begin a little later than other area farms. The first crop will be tart cherries in June, and other berries will be ripe and ready soon after. Peaches, apples, and pumpkins come later. Along with PYO, there are animals to visit (goats, pigs, and chickens), and watching the goats clamber along the goat-walk is always a trip for kids. Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. When open, the farm operates seven days a week, and PYO hours are 9am – 5pm. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email to stay up to date on their crops.

Waters Orchard
This Gaitherburg, MD, locale is a great place for apple picking come late summer and fall. The varieties are plentiful, and the scenery is lovely. After parking, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to the orchard. Last time we visited, there was a little tent set up where staff offered apple tastings and info about the apples and orchard. Hours are Fridays 12-5pm, and Saturdays & Sundays, 9am – 5pm. Pick-your-own pricing is by the peck — $15/half peck, $22/peck, $38/bushel and that includes entry fee for two. It’s $5/guest after that.

Do you have a favorite PYO farm that you don’t see here? Feel free to share in the comments, if so!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

Let me take you down, cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields

Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields



The PYOP (pick your own produce) season has begun! It starts with strawberries in the spring, then continues with more delicious fruits and veggies in the summer and fall. Heading out to the farm to do some picking is among my favorite seasonal activities with the kids. It’s a nice break from the urban bustle and a great chance to show them that food doesn’t magically appear on a shelf at Trader Joe’s or on a restaurant plate. Even better, the enjoyment continues with a basketful of fresh produce at home. The time is ripe for planning your own PYOP outing. Here are some of the area’s most popular places to reap some of the best treats of spring, summer, and fall. Happy Picking!

Schlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms — and because that’s the only PYO they offer. As of today, May 12, they are open and should be yielding berries until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids – and yourself! – to ice cream. Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
The farm in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck also opened their strawberry fields today and welcome visitors to PYO everyday through Sunday, May 17. Come June, the rest of the berries (black, blue, rasp, and cherries) will become ready for picking, and peaches, nectarines, and plums won’t be far behind (see their approximate schedule here). Along with PYO, a goat walk, cow train, hay ride, and play area are fun for kids. Picking hours are 10am – 4pm, and the farm is open 10am – 6pm.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers much more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields are expected to open the third week of May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. Asparagus is available at the same time, and more berries, plums, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and hot peppers will follow in late spring and summer. The weekends of May 23-24 and May 30-31 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies 9-12 months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Wegmeyer Farms
With three locations in Northern Virginia, Wegmeyer offers varying strawberry picking experiences as the settings differ at each. PYO at a historic homestead in Hamilton, then set up lunch at a picnic table (BYO) and let the kids play on a John Deere tractor slide and playground. At Oatlands, the patch and era-themed attire at the historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800’s, and while visiting the patch is free, you can purchase tour passes for the garden and/or mansion. And at Gilbert’s Corner, enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state; the no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. PYO should start in late May, and go well into June. Check the website for updates, hours, and direction. Bonus: Thursdays are Family Days at all three spots, and you can get a 25% discount simply by mentioning KFDC!

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open their farm to the public in late May (check the website or call for an update) with access to their strawberry fields, then blueberries, peaches, brambles, apples, and paw paw. Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm and let the kids play it off on the playground. This year they will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am – 6pm, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season in the popular pick-your-own fields opens in very late May this year (exact date still TBD). More berries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins come later. Along with PYO, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s residents. And Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. When open, the farm operates seven days a week, and PYO hours are 9am – 5pm. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email to stay up to date on their crops.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season opens in late May – early June with strawberries, and they’ll have the full spectrum of berries following soon after, just about every variety of peaches, and loads of veggies available from June – October, too. (See the list and view schedules on the website.) Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Summer hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday, expecting to start in early June. Following soon after are more berries and sugar snap and English peas. Potatoes, apples, and pumpkins come later. Picnic there and let the kids play on the slides and playground. In past strawberry seasons their hours have been 8:30am – 6pm during the week, and 8:30am – 5pm on weekends. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms will kick off its strawberry picking season in late May, and it should last several weeks after that. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. But, wait, the PYO doesn’t stop with strawberries! Other spring crops that you’re welcome to gather include lettuce, peas, arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard. Come summer, peaches, plums, blackberries, red raspberries, sour cherries, and summer veggies are available. Fall brings apples, home-grown Pumpkin Patch, fall vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

Do you have a favorite PYOP farm that you don’t see here? Feel free to share in the comments, if so!

 

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Festival, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 23-27

Prepare to be fascinated at the Maryland Science Center

Prepare to be fascinated at the Maryland Science Center



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Monday – DC public pools and spray parks are now open daily! Jump in or splash around for free (or a small fee in you’re not a DC resident). Check the DC DPR website for locations and hours — find pools here and spray parks here.

Tuesday – Enjoy a flick for a buck with the Regal Summer Movie Express. At participating Regal theaters, you can catch a family movie for just a $1 every Tuesday (and Wednesday) at 10am. Visit the website to find a theater near you and see what’s playing this week.

Wednesday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, where your crew can explore a variety of fun and fascinating hands-on exhibits, play in the Kids Room, see an IMAX movie, and more. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $18.95/adults and $15.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. Younger children might prefer Port Discovery, Charm City’s other fantastic children’s museum with multiple levels of interactive fun. Even better, Goldstar has a great discount on tickets for all dates through the end of this month!

Thursday – Be hugely entertainment at Imagination Stage where The BFG is opening this week. The production will run through August 10. Tickets start at $10.

Friday – Spend the day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where the annual celebration of living cultural heritage is full of activities, performances, demos, and much more from June 25-39 and July 2-6. Enjoy it from 11am – 5:30pm each day. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays