Head up to Baltimore for art that all ages will ❤️
Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Catch these shows at area locations: See Oh Susannah in Brookland, Miss Niki at 14th & V NW, Frolic the Fox in Takoma Park, Little Treasures in Anacostia, and Miss Theresa in Hyattsville. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving.
Tuesday – Get ready for the upcoming holiday by making Nature Valentines at Brookside Nature Center. You’ll go on a short walk in search of nuts, sticks, and other natural items to decorate with, and then head inside and get to work. The program is from 1-2pm, and admission is $7 — register in advance! For more activities that kids will love, see this post about Valentine’s Day-inspired fun around the DMV.
Wednesday – Head up to Baltimore to see some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. The vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/child age 7+, free/6 & under.
Thursday – Go play at The Lane on opening day! Be among the first to check out the brand new social club for families for in Ivy City. Let the kids romp, have a bite to eat, and explore what is sure to be a go-to local kids and parents. Be sure to book an entry time in advance! Admission is $20 for a two-hour drop-in session. UPDATE: The opening has been pushed back a day to Friday, February 14!
Later on from 4-6pm, attend the Grand Opening Celebration for Bright Horizons at Ballston. The preschool center just opened in January, and all are welcome to check it out and enjoy an afternoon of family fun. Meet the staff and explore the vibrant classrooms, plus enjoy children’s activities, raffles & refreshments, and a performance by Rocknocerous! RSVP here.
Friday – Take your little loves to Nook for Blooms Day: Make Your Own Valentines Day Bouquet. All ages can play florist at a DIY bouquet station — choose your blooms and arrange them into a bouquet or two to bring home to your valentines. This will be available at all Nook locations, which are in Ballston Quarter, Bethesda Row, and the Mosaic District from 10:30am – 12:30pm, and includes Open Play. Admission is $20/child.
[Note: This Guest Post/Letter is from Marisa Flowers, current owner of Gymboree Play & Music DC in Woodley Park. I first mentioned her on KFDC nearly five years ago when she was getting ready to open Gymboree in the District. She’s now moving on, but looking for the right buyer to take over the business to continue offering their quality play and learning opportunities to children in the city.]
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Dear Friends of Gymboree Play & Music,
The purpose of this letter is to let you know that the rights to the Gymboree Play & Music of Washington, DC, are available for sale. Gymboree Play & Music has been serving this area for 5 years and has had the privilege of sharing many notable moments with the children and parents from our local communities.
I have had the incredible opportunity of owning and running my own business over these last five years and have been able to give back to local families, what Gymboree Play & Music gave to me and my family. Gymboree Play & Music of Washington, DC opened its doors in July 2013 and has grown significantly since its inception. For family reasons, I have decided to sell my Play & Music business. It is a hard decision to make as Gymboree Play & Music of Washington, DC, has its best years ahead. It is truly an exciting time to be at Gymboree Play & Music. Our new management is dedicated to seeing double-digit growth in our sites and has the same philosophy as the creator of Play & Music – namely that “Gymboree Play & Music is to preschool as kindergarten is to first grade.”
Gymboree Play & Music has programs for children ages 5 and under, offering developmentally appropriate classes allowing learning through play, art, music and more! To plan for the continued growth and development of this family-centric business:
I am seeking a business minded, customer service oriented, enthusiastic buyer who is committed to the Gymboree Play & Music philosophy and brand.
If you, or anyone you know, is interested in researching the possibility of owning a Play & Music location please contact Bonnie Stewart at corporate office to request an information packet. Her information is listed below. Additionally, I would suggest that you visit our website at gymboreeclasses.com where you can review pertinent facts regarding the franchise that has been in operation since 1978.
Once you have received the information from our corporate office, submitted your application forms and are ready to move forward, we can meet to further discuss this exciting business.
Gymboree Play & Music, Franchise Development
Direct: (415) 604-3004
Owner of Gymboree Play & Music of Washington, DC
Contact me about the opportunity: firstname.lastname@example.org
This post is sponsored by DC Kids Play, LLC, however, I only promote places, programs, and services that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.
As the holiday season hits full swing, many of us are thinking about gifts for family and friends. So just like last year, I’m taking the opportunity to share some things I’ve really enjoyed and/or think would make wonderful presents for a variety of people. This also gives me a chance to highlight local businesses and people offering unique products and experiences as well as organizations that are doing great things. And then there are some ideas that are simply fun and enriching. You might notice some things are back from last year, but that’s because they’re worth repeating (kind of like the photo above). None of these recommendations are sponsored; they’re just things that I truly like and think you and yours might, too. Happy gifting!
Made by Sasha: Glowing space mobile
Tinker, Create, and Innovate
Just when I thought my kids were moving on from Kiwi Crate after several years of receiving the monthly craft box subscription, they have assured me they still love it, recently delving into projects like a glowing space mobile and groovy lava lamp. Hence, I’m endorsing the products with fervor once again. The original kit comes with all the supplies needed to make an adorable craft. There is also the Koala Crate for ages 3-5, the Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+, and the Tinker Crate also for ages 9-16+. Sasha still enjoys the Kiwi, while Owen likes Tinker-ing away. They’re great to have on hand for rainy days or anytime kids want a ready-to-go (ie, minimal work for you) project at home.
An activity bag ready for delivery
Craft and Give Back
Similar to Kiwi Crate, but with a philanthropic twist, Little Loving Hands provides pre-packaged children’s craft kits where the end product is used to contribute towards supporting a philanthropic cause. The company’s mission is to provide a fun and educational method for parents and caretakers to engage children in learning about the importance of being kind and giving back to others. Each kit contains materials for the project, as well as documents and other fun items to reinforce what the children are working on and how they are helping others. One Sasha worked on was a sweet little activity bag that was sent to a patient at the Children’s Inn at NIH.
Cover to cover inspiration
This book is a bible of fun, educational, and just really awesome ideas for crafts, science projects, outings, and other activities with kids. And, as its title states, parents will enjoy them just as much as their babes. Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You’ll Actually Enjoy is written by my friend Rebecca of the fantastic blog Not-So-SAHM, so I can assure you all of these ideas come from a cool, creative, smart, fun source. (Really, after reading her book and blog, you’ll want to hang out with her and her kids, too!) With a wealth of ideas and tons of good tips, it’s perfect for parents who like DIY pursuits, but sometimes need a little extra inspiration.
For kids and adults who like thrilling adventures, consider a gift certificate to iFLY Loudoun. This opportunity to experience “flying” without stepping foot in (or out of) an airplane is fairly new to the area — and guaranteed to make any thrill seeker’s day. Meant to simulate skydiving, flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel on a smooth cushion of air created by high-powered fans that enable people to float. It’s incredibly exhilarating, but also a splurge, making it a special and unique present. Read more about the experience here.
Hello, Port Discovery? I’d like a membership, please.
For children who aren’t quite old enough to fly or take in a big show, consider a membership to a museum. The National Building Museum offers family memberships for $90/year, getting you all into the Building Zone and most exhibits free of charge (regularly $3-10/person). Port Discovery in Baltimore is another great one with loads of hands-on, curiosity-peaking, educational, fun exhibits that keep kids engaged for hours. Family memberships for the year start at $114 (admission is $14.95/person), and right now they are offering 10% off if you purchase by December 31!
Get your game on at Labyrinth
DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles recently expanded, so they have even more fantastic options for holiday gifts at Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened six years ago, it’s gotten even better. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. And the service is just as great as the inventory. Give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game to buy.
A robust selection of kids’ reads
Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop, one of the newest retail establishments to open on Capitol Hill, and a really great one, at that. The store doesn’t just have an excellent selection of books from all genres, you’ll also find gifts for children and adults, some of the cutest and most clever greeting cards, and friendly service from staff who will also offer good recommendations if you’re stumped on what to get. You may also end up making plans to return to one of their events — they host weekly story time for kids, book discussions, author readings, and more.
Capture them with this gift
Picture Perfect Presents
How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session — I know just the right photographer for it. I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, mostly on her blog No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last couple of years, she has started her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s funny and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.
T’s That Salute DC
If you’re looking for a fun “DC” gift, check out Sneekis. I discovered this local T-shirt company that specializes in DC-themed wear through Instagram last year. Their clever designs incorporate local sports and recreation, plus a zeal for the District that giftees can proudly boast across their chests. Since then, they’ve also started making T’s in children’s sizes, so tiny Washingtonians can represent, too! Read more about them here.
Out of the mouths of babes
T’s with ‘Tude
Recently launched by the fabulous Shannon who writes But I Do Have a Law Degree, Kidsults is an online store of t-shirts, onesies, and other products featuring her kids’ best (hilarious!) insults. “Your hugs are boring,” “I will never forgive you, even when you’re dead,” “I didn’t like you when I was a baby,” are just a few of the zingers printed on a variety of items. Perfect for parents and kids with a great sense of humor — just like Shannon. If you check out the Kidsults website, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Love my LuLaRoe dress
Clothes for Comfort
You’ve probably heard by now about the LuLaRoe clothing line for women and children, as online boutiques have been popping up all over social media. I was recently introduced to it by local seller Jill O’Hanlon and now understand what the hype is all about. The clothes are incredibly comfortable — and really cute, too. There are dresses, t-shirts, tunics, cardigans, and you can mix and match many of them. But the leggings, which are super soft and in all kinds of fun prints and colors, are their signature piece and would make great stocking stuffers. The kids clothes are also adorable and comfy, and the prices are reasonable, too! Join Jill’s Facebook group to start shopping.
Gifts That Give Hope
How about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers, and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, while enjoying festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. The Arlington Fair will take place Saturday, December 10, at Discovery Elementary School from 10am – 2pm. You can also purchase online.
A trove of international treasures
Help support people in developing countries while you shop for fabulous, unique, hand crafted gifts, all brought to you with fair trade practices. This is what you can expect at Trade Roots in Arlington. I visited the store for the first time a couple of months ago and was so impressed by both the amazing selection — jewelry, accessories, art, house wares, neat items for children — and values on which the shop operates. As owner Lisa Ostroff explains on her website, “Fair trade respects and appreciates hardworking people, provides a living wage for marginalized populations, supports the conservation of the environment, and empowers women and minorities.” These are gifts that go a long way…all around the world.
Gifts for all ages at the National Gallery
Enter Through the Museum Gift Shop
We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops echo the impressive collections and have items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. For instance, Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Kit is available at the National Museum of American History — and a great time to purchase it is this weekend, December 3 & 4, at the annual Smithsonian Holiday Festival. And I highly recommend browsing shops at some of the other museums in town: The National Building Museum, International Spy Museum, and Newseum all have particularly great inventory.
I was introduced to artist Kate Hardy and her beautiful pottery when she was throwing bowls (that’s making them on the wheel, not smashing them, in potter speak) at Steadfast Supply to donate to SOME’s Empty Bowl Fundraiser. Her ceramic mugs, vases, and bowls are also showcased and for sale at the pop-up space at The Yards. I didn’t buy anything then, but have had her work in mind for gifts since. Luckily, I’ll get to shop an even bigger selection when she hosts an Open Studio and Sale this Saturday, December 17, 11am – 4pm in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE. You can also check out her work on Instagram and purchase online through Etsy.
KFDC readers who are getting ready to move from the area are looking for another family to take over their boat club membership. Here’s their ad with details:
Looking for a really outstanding activity to do regularly with your kids and still enjoy yourself? How about a reduced-price boat club membership that you can use to take out any one of several boats in the area? The membership operates similarly to Zipcar, but with a set monthly fee for boating, giving you the freedom to operate a boat you don’t own or have to care for in any one of three locations in Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland.
Most boat club memberships involve a hefty upfront initiation fee, which in this case our family has already paid. We are looking to transfer the ownership on the three remaining years of our 5 membership commitment, without the initiation fee, starting in mid-September, and in doing so you would only be responsible for the ongoing monthly fee (with upfront payment required for the first year). That is a REALLY good deal as the initiation fee is usually several thousand dollars. See the Carefree Boat Club website for more information and background.
This opportunity is only available to one family. If you are interested, please contact Sachin Agarwal at email@example.com