Category Archives: DC

A Sneak Peek at the New National Children’s Museum

[Note: This post was written by new KFDC contributor Emily Moise, who attended the National Children’s Museum Family Celebration with her daughter for a first look at what’s to come this winter.]

The wait continues for a much-needed and overdue children’s museum in the nation’s capital — but it will be well worth it. Originally slated as the grand opening celebration, this past Saturday’s Family Celebration at the National Children’s Museum was instead a sneak peek at the learning disguised as amusement park-like fun that will be made available to the public this holiday season.

Hundreds were dazzled with modernized, interactive STEAM exhibits in what is positioned as the first children’s museum-slash-science center. Believe it or not, Washington, DC, with its plentitude of museums and culture, is the only major city without either.

The National Children’s Museum is making up for lost time with new-age ideas and social impact-focused goals — plus tons of creative play spaces for even the littlest ones. Kids can learn physics through Nationals-branded pitching and batting exhibits, explore the technology of filmmaking with SpongeBob, and discover their superpower with the Climate Action Heroes roadmap.

The pièce de résistance may be the miniature car race track that teaches kids principles of design and engineering with high-speed excitement. After tweaking and adorning their wooden cars, kids watch as a mechanical lift raises their vehicles to the starting line. Ready, set, go… cars race down the track, lights flashing, and the most aerodynamic one wins. Overhead a screen shows detailed stats from the races. Barring a long waiting line, kids can experience the cycle of design, test, re-design.

There is also a Tinkerers Studio, set up like a 21st century classroom, which will be home to school and group field trips, as well as workshops and unguided open studio hours. Equipped with everything from colored paper for art projects to laptops for creative coding projects, the Studio will allow kids to combine the tools of STEAM to create and learn. Notably, teachers from Title I public and charter schools in Washington, DC can request free field trips, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

And all of this was just the lower concourse level. The main level will boast the Dream Machine entryway, a two-story slide that transports visitors to the wonderland of exhibits, a playzone, café, and gift shop. There appears to be much work left to be done to make all of this visitor-ready, but workshops are already being listed online for early December, which are free with general admission. (Admission will be $10.95 for children over the age of one and adults, and membership packages are expected to range from $75 to $150.)

Due to the Nationals’ World Series parade coinciding with the Family Celebration, another similar sneak peek day may be offered prior to opening. Stay tuned to the National Children’s Museum website for updates on the opening, events, workshops, and more!


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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Indoor Play, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend

Fig & Wally: A New Gifting Site for Experiences, Empowerment Toys, and College Savings (+ Giveaway!)

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Sonia Pinto, Co-Founder of Fig & Wally, an online service for creating invitations and gift wishlists for meaningful giving.]

Have you ever tried to figure out what six nieces and nephews want for the holidays? I have. My three sisters politely thank me for my gifts, but half the time they collect dust. Over the years, I’ve bought hundreds of dollars in toys that could have gone in to college savings, a family day in a chocolate factory, science camp, or toys that helped them pick careers.

When my sisters finally told me about my epic toy fails, we decided to help other families change the way they gift. Enter Fig & Wally, a gift registry for toys, family experiences, classes, vacations, charities, and college savings.

The name Fig & Wally came from our favorite ice cream, Fig and Walnut. We’d get one or two new toys per year, but every week we’d take a family trip to get Fig and Walnut cones — a tradition among our fondest memories. We couldn’t imagine not including experiences as a potential gift in our registry tool when an ice cream shop was the center of our childhood fun.

How do you create a Fig & Wally registry? Start with creating a digital invite on our site to an event, like your kid’s birthday, or a special gifting occasion, like Christmas. The invite will allow you to include your child’s wishlist that you also can create in a few minutes. Think about all your options from toys they love to a family cooking class, skating passes, a visit to donate to the local animal shelter, or tickets to Disney on Ice.

Don’t worry about duplicating gifts because your friends and family won’t buy gifts directly, they’ll click to send you the amount for the gift to your PayPal account. Then, you can decide which items from the list to purchase.

I’m so grateful my sisters posted their wishlists this year. One year, we all bought the same gift for my niece: a mini piano. There were three in her living room! We had to lug two back to the store and exchange them.

This year, their kids’ wishlists are decked with two favorite toys each (after all, how many toys do they need?), a sprinkling of activities, and the rest goes to a local charity of their choice (one they can visit and connect with) or their college savings plan. Grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins have all contributed. My sisters are hard at work writing thank you notes for each contribution to tell each family member where their money went.

So you don’t have fond memories of carrying mini pianos back and forth this holiday season, try Fig & Wally this year. Let us do the heavy lifting as you sit back and enjoy the sight of your little one’s eyes light up as they receive their perfect presents.

Join us on social!
Instagram: @figandwally
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/figandwally
Have questions or need help creating an invite or wishlist:
Email us at [email protected] or call us at 917-310-0841

* * * * *

Giveaway(s): Fig & Wally is hosting a giveaway on their website this holiday season, with a chance to win fun, kid-friendly experiences to share our belief that the best gifts make lasting memories. Prizes include gift certificates to the Kennedy Center and Adventure Theater! They are also giving away skating passes to the home of the Capitals! (A special thanks to the Capitals Iceplex for sponsoring the skating passes giveaway.) Submit your entry here!

KFDC readers only also have a chance to enter a bonus giveaway of a $50 gift certificate for Adventure Theatre. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting us how you would use Fig & Wally (FYI: email addresses will be shared with them). This giveaway will run through Tuesday, November 12, 2019, then a winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by the Fig & Wally, however, I only promote businesses, services, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under Birthday Parties, DC, Giveaway, Guest Post, Holidays, Professional Service

KID Museum’s Invent the Future Challenge

Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg Photography

[Note: As I mentioned in my recent post about Dr. Jane Goodall coming to DC, I want to highlight local ways that kids and families can take action against climate change. As Goodall suggested, this action can begin with everyday choices — what we buy, what we eat, what we wear, etc. However, this guest post by Emily Moise from KID Museum shares a way for kids to truly take things into their own hands.]

KID Museum, the creative, hands-on learning space in Bethesda, MD, is challenging middle schoolers across the region to create an invention that will solve an environmental problem.

The Invent the Future Challenge, now in its third year, is part of the museum’s invention programming amplified by a district-wide partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Almost 1,000 kids participated in last year’s challenge, and the museum seeks to double that this year by reaching more schools and students beyond MCPS.

The challenge question is a big one — What will you make to protect life on this planet? — but the guidelines are simple:

  • Form a team of 3-6 middle school students and one adult team coordinator.
  • Make a physical representation of your invention.
  • Spend no more than $60 on materials for your invention.
  • Present at the Challenge Summit in May for a chance to win awards & prizes.
  • Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg Photography



    Kids can get involved in the challenge through STEM-focused clubs and teachers at school, or on their own with a parent coordinator. School groups can visit KID Museum for Invention Studio field trips — skill-building sessions in design, engineering, electronics, coding, and prototyping — or through Invent the Future weekend workshops at the museum.

    Previous award winners include a “smart tree” for early-detection of forest fires, a coded water-rationing device for showers, and solar panels that double as advertising on buses and buildings. Winners received tickets to local amusement parks and awards to display at their schools, and were invited to exhibit at FutureFest, KID Museum’s annual family festival.

    And for the grown-ups, there are other ways to get involved in the challenge and support KID Museum’s mission to inspire the next generation of changemakers. You can serve as a mentor at an Innovation Exchange or as a judge at the Challenge Summit. The Summit is also open to the public and should make you very hopeful for the future!

    Visit kid-museum.org/invent-the-future for more information and to get started today. Registration is open now through January 31, 2020.


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    Filed under 2019, 2020, Competition, DC, Educational, Middle Schoolers, Special Event, Tweens

    Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 4-8

    Taking in views of the city from the Old Post Office Clock Tower


    Monday – Walk in the woods and explore the grounds of Woodend Nature Sanctuary to enjoy the lovely fall day. The home of the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase, MD, is perfect for hiking with little ones. The trails are mellow, there are several small exhibits like bird feeding areas, and wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

    Later on, see “Balloons,” a melodic and playful production for children by Estonian theater group Must Kast. It starts at 5pm at the Sitar Arts Center in Kalorama. The show is part of the Kids Euro Festival that brings free entertainment by artists from the EU to venues all around DC through November 10.

    Tuesday – Watch the airplanes, kick a soccer ball, have a picnic, or just hang out at Gravelly Point. The park located right off the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport is a great place to savor a nice day, offering views of the river and airplanes taking off or landing right overhead. (Warning: Some kids find that part exciting, others might be frightened by the loud noise and sight of an airplane coming right at them.) Admission is free.

    Wednesday – Join a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, where they’ll explore a mansion room through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this session of the three-part Kings and Queens-themed series, they’ll enter the glamorous world of kings and queens as they prepare for a royal ball and discover glittering treasures. The whole series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult ($25 member; $18 additional adults), or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on November 6, 13, and 20.

    Thursday – Zip up to Baltimore for a day of play and learning at Port Discovery. Several levels full of awesome, hands-on exhibits will keep kids entertained all day long. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $17.95 for ages 2 and up, free for under 2. And if you think you might go a few times this year, I recommend checking out their membership options.

    Friday – See the city from a new vantage point at the Old Post Office Clock Tower. It’s free to visit and go up to the observation deck of one of the tallest buildings in DC. It’s located in what is now a hotel, but the Clock Tower is operated independently by the National Park Service. Open daily from 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday this time of year (12-6pm on Sunday). The entrance for the Tower is at 12th and C Streets NW (on 12th, btwn Pennsylvania & Constitution Avenues).


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    Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays