Category Archives: Maryland

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 24-28


Monday – Enjoy a quintessential winter activity and go ice skating! It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the season, and there are rinks located all around the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has details for all of them.

Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where it kind of feels like pulling a fast one on the weather gods. Explore the different plant collections as you walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside if it’s not too rainy. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.

Wednesday – Catch a performance of Mouse on the Move at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The interactive show recommended for ages 1-5 is also part of the annual INTERSECTIONS Festival. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $15. Plan to grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.

Thursday – Explore an off-the-beaten path gem: The U.S. Navy Museum. Located on base in the Navy Yard, it’s a trove of fascinating exhibits. See an amazing collection of model ships, peer into a real periscope, sit in the gun seats of old fighter planes, view naval artifacts hundreds of years old, and much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. *Be sure to note requirements for access to the base and museum.

Friday – Head out to Calvert County to Annmarie Sculpture Garden for artsy adventures. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. The grounds are lovely all year ’round, just bundle up to roam around. Trust me, it’s worth the drive out there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Play: A Necessity for the Child and the Student at Rochambeau The French International School

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by the staff at Rochambeau, the French International School.]

“Start by closing your eyes…the intensity, power of laughter, the pleasure and the joy are incomparable and unforgettable. Open your eyes, cut the sound: the joy on their faces, the enthusiasm, friendships, exploration, total and absolute engagement: pure enjoyment,” advises Fréderic Tavernier, the Director of the Maternelle Preschool at Rochambeau The French International School.

For a teacher, this small experiment is a way of reminding us that preschool and kindergarten are all about fun.  “For the child, play is a source and a vehicle for learning,” he insists. This principle is at the heart of France’s official Maternelle program and at the core of the curriculum taught at Rochambeau The French International School Maternelle for children ages 2 through kindergarten.  

While Rochambeau offers a comprehensive education all the way to 12th grade, “Maternelle is an essential step in the journey of students to ensure their academic success,” emphasizes Frédéric Tavernier. It is a school where children will learn together and live together. Here they develop their oral language and begin to discover writing, numbers, art, sciences… in both French and English. They learn through play, reflection, problem-solving, practice, recall, and memorization.

This attention for the well-being of the child, with a curriculum adapted to their rhythm, ensuring a balance between academics and recreation, meets the recommendations of American specialists. In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics sounded the alarm in a report expressing concern about the decline in the amount of time devoted to play in the lives of toddlers. “From 1981 to 1997, children’s playtime decreased by 25%. Children three to 11 years of age have lost 12 hours per week of free time. Because of increased academic pressure, 30% of US kindergarten children no longer have recess.”

The Maternelle teachers have one central goal: to ensure that the children are excited to go to school to learn, gain confidence, and develop their personality.

“Mission accomplished,” say parents like Erika Aparakakankanange. “When my children are at Rochambeau, they have so much fun that they don’t always realize that they are learning things, and for children like mine, who are not native French speakers, it makes the immersion process much easier…I can honestly say that my boys like to go to school every day and that is one of the many things we love about Rochambeau.”

“What I like,” says another parent, Sabine Durier, “is that the school combines classroom work, where all activities are intentional, with moments purely reserved for free time, where they can be children before they are students.”

Quoting Montaigne, the French philosopher, Maternelle teacher Bénédicte Le Nouën Maurice notes that “a child is not a vase that you fill, but a fire that you light”, which you let grow. “It’s important to give children free time to play, to make choices. This free time is not a waste of time, quite the contrary! During these moments of freedom, the child thinks about what he could play; he can make choices, invent, create, reach out to others. Many skills are built during this time. The child must not always be waiting for instructions, he must be able to learn to think for himself, to make his own choices, to invent, to create… and for this he needs free time.”

Preparing Global Citizens
Beginning at the preschool level and continuing through 12th grade, all students at Rochambeau, the French International School receive regular, guided instruction in both English and French, and can start a third language as early as elementary school (Arabic, Spanish).

Students represent more than 80 nationalities and communicate in over 25 different languages. As the only accredited French school in the Washington, DC, area, Rochambeau proudly enrolls children without any knowledge of French until the 4th grade. Our adapted immersion program gives students the opportunity to be part of and benefit from this extraordinary community. 

Graduates of Rochambeau go on to study at top universities in the US, Canada, UK, France, and all around the world. Students receive their US high school diploma at the end of 11th grade and the French Baccalaureate at the end of 12th grade. Starting in 2021, Rochambeau will also offer the IB dual language diploma. 

Tours of the school are offered on Thursdays and Fridays on all three campuses — register for them here. For more information about Rochambeau, The French International School, visit the website.


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


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Filed under 2020, Educational, Gradeschoolers, High Schoolers, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Preschoolers, Schools, Teens

{Review!} Thumbelina at Imagination Stage

Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage

[Note: This review is by KFDC contributor Emily Moise.]

Young theater-goers can experience the art of storytelling like never before at Imagination Stage’s Thumbelina, playing now through April 5. The classic Hans Christian Andersen tale about a girl trying to find her place in the world is reimagined with artistry inspired by Kamishibai, a form of Japanese street theater. Along with traditional acting performances, this unique production utilizes live video projections of small-scale puppetry and dioramas to bring the story of a thumb-sized girl to life.

Thumbelina employs the same ensemble of actors as Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, a musical currently playing in repertory, in this contrasting brand of theater. [You can read the KFDC review of Zomo here.] If you happen to see both shows, the versatility of these actors is awe-inducing — once rapping and hip-hop dancing in Zomo, now maneuvering mini puppets along mini video-projected sets on right and left stage, then moving center stage for their life-sized roles in Thumbelina.

Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage

Thumbelina, like Zomo, offers lessons abound for young audience members just beginning to learn about the world and their place in it. Most importantly: you have the power to create your own story, and you will eventually find your people and place, just be kind to those that are different along the way.

The multi-media aspect of the production adds a whole other layer to the lessons, as Thumbelina certainly writes its own category of theater. And look at all of the different skill-sets needed to bring it to life!

Zomo is a tough act to follow with its high-energy and audience engagement. But Thumbelina captivates with its creative production methods, flawless lead performance, a climactic act with a villainous mole, and a touching ending that’s a reminder to kids and adults alike that the rest is still unwritten.

Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage

Thumbelina is playing now through April 5 at Imagination Stage, located at 4908 Auburn Avenue, Bethesda, MD. Tickets are $15 – $35. Recommended for ages 4+.


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Filed under 2020, DC, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Theatre, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 18-21

Go undercover at the International Spy Museum


Tuesday – Explore the intriguing world of espionage at the International Spy Museum! It’s a great place to take kids on February Break from school. The new location at L’Enfant Plaza is fantastic, with exhibits that are engaging for both kids and adults, including state-of-the-art multimedia installations and tons of fun and interesting interactives. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $24.95/age 13+, $14.95/7-12, free for ages 6 and under. You can save $2 on adult admission when you purchase online.

Wednesday – Get outside and get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults) will love seeing the cannons and historic remnants of the old fort within the grounds along the river. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $10/vehicle.

Thursday – Head to a local go-to for fun and educational recreation: The National Air & Space Museum! It’s filled literally floor-to-ceiling with fascinating exhibits and amazing artifacts from of flight and space. For some hands-on explorations, stop in the fantastic “How Things Fly” gallery with loads of cool interactive stations or head to the “Go Fly Zone” and take a “ride” in a flight simulator. And the Flights of Fancy story time for little ones begins at 11am with a flight-themed reading and activity. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free (flight simulators are extra).

Friday – Cap off the week with some active fun at The St. James, massive the sports, wellness, and entertainment facility in Springfield, VA. The Super, Awesome, and Amazing activity center is full of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and bouncy areas for all ages, and the indoor interactive waterpark is a blast for everyone from toddlers to teens to adults, too! Admission to each is $15 before 3pm, $23 after 3pm. Hours are 9am – 10pm Friday & Saturday (9am – 9pm Sunday – Thursday).

* For more ideas for things to do during the DCPS February Break check out the Everyday Play page.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter