Category Archives: Free

National Theatre Presents Free Virtual Entertainment with Saturday Morning Live! At The National

 

The National Theatre Corporation cordially invites you and your children to continue celebrating the 40th Anniversary Season of Saturday Morning Live! At The National by tuning in for our second series of free virtual programs, Gonzo’s Multiverse, beginning this Saturday.

Gonzo’s Multiverse is a funhouse ride for children and their families through the wild imagination of storyteller, poet, and musician David Gonzalez. Each episode features a mix of digital and live-action storytelling, interviews with amazing artists, and explorations of miniature marvels in the natural world. New content will premiere each week along with regular segments that include: The Dynamic Mr. Dull, Rockin’ with Donny and Daryl, The Carnival of the Animals, Grassy’s Microverse, and more.

Episode One: THE TALE OF VOVO
premieres on
Saturday, November 21st at 9:30 AM on Facebook
In this episode, viewers will hear The Tale of Vovo, have a conversation with a Vegan Shark, visit with calligraphic artist Barbara Bash, jam to music with The Good Boat Trio, and more!

Episode Two: THE TALE OF THE THREE DOLLS
premieres on
Saturday, Dec 5th at 9:30 AM on Facebook

In this episode, viewers will meet the eccentric characters Toasty and Sammy the Sloth, hear the stories The Hummingbird and the Tree and The Tale of the Three Dolls, and visit with Afro-Cuban percussionist Pablo Shine.

Episode Three: THE LOUDEST SOUND IN THE WORLD
premieres on
Saturday, Dec 19th at 9:30 AM on Facebook

In this episode, viewers will visit with hip hop poet YOH, listen to the music The Swan performed by Frederic Chiu, and discover why The Grass Isn’t Always Greener.

The programs will be available to watch on Facebook and YouTube after they premiere where you can also view past series of shows, Paige and Friends! RSVP to the event on Facebook to hear updates about the show.

While this programming is best suited for children aged 4-10, siblings and friends of other ages are always welcome to join the fun. Presented by the National Theatre Corporation, Saturday Morning Live! At The National is made possible through the generosity of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Free, Live Entertainment, Social Distancing, Virtual Programs, Winter

Scenes from a Lovely Fall Outing to Brookside Gardens

 

Is it just me, or has this fall been especially beautiful?  The scenery seems ablaze with golden yellow, fiery orange, and deep red as the foliage puts on its seasonal performance. Perhaps the general gloom of this past year makes the bright spots that much more vivid, or maybe Mother Nature just knows how much we need it right now.

The fam framed by fall foliage

It’s this autumn luster that brought us to Brookside Gardens this past weekend — well, coupled with a little photography agenda.  We wanted to get out and enjoy the day before the rain came, someplace relaxing that would showcase the season.  So, I checked the round-up of the best outdoor places for ideas (yep, I use my own blog!), and in one glance I knew where we were going: Brookside Gardens, the beautiful public display garden within Wheaton Regional Park in the Montgomery Parks system.

Owen, circa 2010

Owen, circa 2015

The lead image in that post, the one of oh-so-sweet, four-year-old Owen chilling in the tree, was taken at Brookside almost exactly 10 years ago.  We recreated the photo when we happened to be back there five years later, so when I saw it again and did the math, I realized it was time for the next installment.

Paved paths traverse the gardens…

…as do leave strewn dirt trails

As those photos indicate, we’ve been enjoying Brookside Gardens for a long time.  Along with an occasional fall visit, we usually go for the wonderful annual Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit and Garden of Lights holiday display, however, both were among the many beloved area events cancelled this year.  But this autumn outing was lovely and serene and perfect for right now.  Plus, we got that shot.

Owen at 14

Of course, we had to capture our best girl, too

Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD.  Right now, the grounds are open to wander and enjoy daily from sunrise to sunset, and the Visitor Center 10am – 2pm.   The sweet Children’s Garden is not accessible during Covid.  Along with the links above, read more about Brookside in this KFDC post.

And get more of a glimpse of the gorgeous fall in the pics below…

 

Goose watching

 

And it was all yellow

 

Japanese maple…wowza

 

View from a gazebo

 

Shimmering woods

 

A serene pond scene

 

This pergola turns into a fab pink walkway during Garden of Lights

 

Masks highly encouraged!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Fall, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Explore the Power — & Magic! — of Language at Planet Word

 

Planet Word is sure to get people talking.  The museum dedicated to language recently opened in downtown DC with a mission to “inspire and renew a love of words, language, and reading in people of all ages.”  And with three levels full of interactive and immersive exhibits that engage, educate, entertain, and delight, they easily achieve that goal.

It’s a museum that can be enjoyed by all ages, but older kids probably will get more out of it than younger children, having more grammar lessons under their belts and generally better comprehension.  Owen and Sasha, 14 and 11, were great ages for it — and older teens and adults will love it, too. (In fact, I’d rank it among my favorites museums in DC!)

Listen up under the Speaking Willow

The exploration of language begins before you even enter the building.  In the courtyard next to the entrance is the Speaking Willow, a ingenious art installation designed to look like a tree, its branches dangling 500 speakers that play recordings in different languages as you walk beneath.  It’s a fantastic preview of the word and language focused fun — and magic — that awaits.

Inside, the Planet Word experience begins on the third level and flows down, taking visitors through multiple exhibits on every floor, each of them highlighting different aspects of language in creative and interactive ways.  It starts with First Words, a short video about how we first learn language as babies, a cute and fitting way to begin.

Greetings from the wall of words

Audience participation encouraged

But that’s just a warm-up for the grand introduction:  Where Do Words Come From.  Featuring a lofty wall of words that tells the story of the English language, this exhibit combines impressive state-of-the art technology, clever narration, and  some interactive fun — microphones set up in front of benches let visitors have their say, too!  The installation is complemented by graphs that illustrate the evolution of language, plus touch screens that test your knowledge, too. (Note: The museum provides stylus pens, so you don’t have to touch screens with your fingers.)

Interactive word play

Explore languages across the globe in The Spoken World

That leads to The Spoken World, a large room with a giant disco ball globe as its centerpiece with voice-activated and touchscreen kiosks placed all around it.  Here, you can listen to people from around the world speak their language and talk about what makes it unique.  You’re encouraged to speak some words, too!  This exhibit also includes more interactives along one wall, giving guests a chance to delve further into diverse languages.

Do you know?

 

A first look at the library

In a museum all about language and words, books are sure to be showcased, and that happens when you hit the second floor and enter the glorious library.  The sight of it will get you first. Lined with floor-to-ceiling wood shelves and a mirror on the ceiling, it’s a magnificent space.  But it’s what the library contains that makes it so extraordinary.  And this is where my write-up gets tricky… do I reveal the details that make it so magical, or let readers discover it themselves?  Let’s just say that books come to life in fantastic ways, and you’re in for quite a treat!

Magic awaits here

A peek into a picture

Painting with words

There’s more magic nearby that I will share:  Word Worlds lets you “paint” with words.  Dip your brush into “autumn” then run it along the wall and watch it turn into deep red and orange hues, or try “surreal” to see odd shapes and swirls.

A “surreal” scene

Watch notable speeches…

…and recite one

The rest of the exhibits on the second floor don’t include magical elements, but they let you share your charm.  After you learn what makes a memorable speech, you can recite one of your own. Find out why some jokes work and some fall flat, then test them out in a Joking Around game.  And, because words help make songs, there’s a music-focused exhibit, too — with karaoke!  (Of course, we took advantage.)

Easy to keep a straight face in the joke games 😉

Get your karaoke on

Back on the first floor you will be sold on words in an exhibit all about advertising and how language is used to make things sell.  Walk through an interactive whirl, check out ads new and old, and play games on the way.

A whirl of ad insight

Fun with Wordplay

From there, enter the Words Matter room, where you can share your own story, express yourself in a word, and enjoy a few more interactives.  Here — and in all parts of the museum, for that matter — don’t miss the words on the walls, in the doorways, even on ceilings.  You’ll see quotes from renowned writers along with phrases that have become fixtures in our vernacular.

Any guesses which is mine?

Outside voices are encouraged as you make your way through Planet Word, whether you’re interacting with elements in the exhibits, reading quotes on walls, or just expressing yourself. Some other good things to know:
* There is metered parking along nearby streets and a parking garage right next to the museum on 13th St.
* McPherson Square (Blue/Orange & Silver) and Metro Center (Red) are the closest Metro stations.
* Free lockers on the first floor let you store coats and belongings.
* As mentioned above, the museum provides stylus pens, so you don’t have to touch screens.
* Other safety precautions, like hand sanitizing stations and social distancing guides, are in place.
* You can take an elevator or stairs to access different floors.
* Tickets are free, and need to be reserved in advance, but a limited number of walk-up tickets are also available on the half hour.

 

In case it’s not evident, I highly recommend visiting Planet Word — and making it a priority.  This does take some planning. Free passes are available on a rolling, 30-day basis, which means you need to know the date you’d like to visit, and reserve tickets 30 days ahead. Of course, if you have an open schedule, you can check any day and reserve a time slot a month away.

I can assure you, it’s worth the wait.

Planet Word is located at 925 13th Street NW in Downtown DC. Hours are 10am – 5pm, Thursday through Saturday. Admission is free, but a donation is suggested.

 

Museum with karaoke?  Count us in!

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend

Get Wildly Creative with the Torpedo Factory’s Annual Art Safari — Online this Saturday!

 

An Alexandria tradition for 25 years, Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Art Safari is moving online in 2020. This Saturday, October 17, professional artists will lead a series of creative hands-on projects via Facebook Live with sessions running 11am – 4pm. Other recorded sessions will be posted throughout the day via Facebook videos and will be archived on the Torpedo Factory website for later viewing.

Children can learn to create their own works of art like pinch pots with clay, origami butterflies, marbled paper, and more. The online workshops will feature live sessions, pre-recorded demonstrations, as well as downloadable content to create at home.

Projects are tailored for kids aged 5–12 to do together with their families, but younger kids will have fun, too!  Everyone should dress to get a little messy.

Preview the full list of projects and watch online here!

 

This post is sponsored by The Torpedo Factory, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Art, COVID-19, Fall, Free, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekend