Category Archives: Parents

DC Start-Up Surprise Ride is Launching a Course to Help Families Unplug!

Some readers might remember Surprise Ride for their magical Winter Wonderland event for kids in December — I know some of you were able to attend!

Now, our friends at Surprise Ride, who originally launched on Shark Tank with activity kits to give kids a break from gadgets, are launching an online course with the same mission at heart.

As the Product Director at Surprise Ride, Kelly Voci’s livelihood is developing screen-free products. Under her leadership, Surprise Ride releases a new product once per month and has launched over 50+ products since its inception. Kelly is combining her expertise, customer feedback from over four years of being in business, and the latest industry research in an online video course which will help adults and, in turn, entire families rediscover their sense of passion and create a life of meaning in the real world.

Here’s what to expect from the course:
* Four videos jam-packed with research and inspiration
* Printable worksheets to track your progress
* Over 50 family-friendly, device-free activities
* A private Facebook group to connect with like-minded people
* Solutions to adopt lasting changes

This course is launching during a time when the discussion about screen addiction is at a peak. In January, The New York Times reported “the tech backlash has caught up to Apple,” and a new organization called The Truth About Tech, started by early Facebook and Google employees, is planning an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort with $7 million in funding – wow.

For those unfamiliar with Surprise Ride’s story: They’re located right here in Washington, DC, and this is where all their products are dreamed up and designed. Founders and sisters, Donna and Rosy started the company from inspiration from their own childhood — their father is an artist and created fun and educational activities for them at home. The sisters were featured on ABC’s Shark Tank where they left without an investment offer, only to receive one three years later on Shark Tank spinoff, Beyond the Tank, from Kevin O’Leary, a first in Shark Tank history.

Definitely check out this local company and learn more about signing up for their course here!

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

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Filed under 2018, Class, DC, Educational, Parents, Professional Service, Sponsored Post

Join DC Alumni from Marjory Stoneman Douglas for a Fundraiser to Support Victims & Families

Yesterday, when I posted about my commitment to doing my part to help end gun violence, I received a response from a reader who is also an alum of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). He let me know there are quite a few of them in the DC area, and they have come together to organize a fundraiser to support the victims and families of the shootings in Parkland, FL.

This Tuesday, February 27, join the DC Chapter of #MSDSTRONG at Tony & Joe’s in Georgetown from 6-8pm. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, among other honored guests and speakers, will also be in attendance to honor the victims.

Since the tragedy, over 11,000 MSD alumni nationwide have come together to create the Mobilizing MSD Alumni group. The DC area group is one of 16 local chapters throughout the country that are planning fundraisers, vigils, rallies, and calls to action. There are dozens of MSD DC alumni and this is just the start of their work — there will be more activities in the near future.

#MSDSTRONG Fundraiser
Where: Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place | 3000 K St NW
When: Tuesday, February 27, 6-8pm
Admission: Suggested $20 Donation – contribute here
RSVP: Click “Going” here or email
*Please save and show your e-mailed receipt at the door to be recognized as a donor.

If you can’t make it, you can still donate to the fund. All funds raised will go to support the Stoneman Douglas Victims & Families, through the Broward Educational Foundation.

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Filed under 2018, Cause, DC, Fundraiser, Parents, Special Event

Review: A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage

Whenever I write a review of show for the blog, I always feel like prefacing it with a reminder that I am not a professional theatre critic. I love going to the theatre and the whole experience of it — seeing stories brought to life on stage, admiring the talent and courage of actors, appreciating the set design and stage direction, and just losing myself in a (hopefully) good production for a while.

But when it comes to writing about theatre… I’m no expert. That said, I always hope I can at least convey a good sense of what a show is about, make age recommendations, and give readers an idea of whether it’s something they want to experience with (or without) their kids.

I feel compelled to say this because my lack of expertise may not always do a show justice, especially one as outstanding A Raisin in the Sun, currently running at Arena Stage. There are some productions that nail it on many levels, and to me, this is one of them.

Written by Lorraine Hansberry and first performed on Broadway in 1959, the play follows a 1950’s African American family as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it when they receive a windfall from a life insurance policy. The Youngers — Ruth and Walter, their son Travis, Walter’s mother Lena, and his sister Beneatha — all live together, but have differing views on what will make for a better life and how they will attain it.

Their diverging dreams are sources of conflict within the family and, at times, within the characters themselves that are played out brilliantly by the cast. Especially stellar is Lizan Mitchell in the role of Lena. Her emotion is palpable, and you can almost physically feel it watching her tremble with a mix of frustration, yearning, and a deep love for her family. It’s this love, plus a steadfast pride in who they are, that maintain a strong family bond despite their differences.

The show is poignant, hopeful, and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. And taking place on the Fichandler Stage, the intimate theatre-in-the-round setting is just right for this production, almost making you feel like a guest in the Younger’s living room.

As for age recommendations, I think kids about middle school ages and up could appreciate the story and performances (my friend who joined me for the show agrees). However, it’s a long production — nearly three hours including a 15-minute intermission — something to keep in mind for young theatre-goers who might get antsy. Of course, this would make for a nice KidFree outing, too.

A Raisin in the Sun is running at Arena Stage through May 7. Tickets are $40-111. And if you love theatre, I highly recommend considering a subscription to Arena Stage, which are now available for the 2017-18 season — more details are available here.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to A Raisin in the Sun from Arena Stage, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2017, Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Middle Schoolers, Parents, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

Hunt for Harry Potter in the National Gallery of Art with Watson Adventures

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

I love discovering new ways to explore old favorites. Like many Washingtonians, we’d been to the National Gallery of Art countless times, but never on a scavenger hunt, nor with Harry Potter as inspiration for a tour.

When I first learned about Watson Adventures’ Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, I was immediately intrigued. Not only does our crew love a good clue-driven search, we’re also big Harry Potter fans. Not to mention it takes place at a magnificent museum, where wandering through the galleries even without a purpose is fantastic.

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

This scavenger hunt is also a competition, adding a whole other fun and challenging element to the adventure. You sign up as a team, which can be a family/youth or all-adult, and compete against other groups. You’re all on a mission to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies in search of answers to 24 questions. There are clever Harry Potter-themed clues to help you locate each one, but many of them are tricky to decipher and take some sleuthing and careful examination of the art to figure out!

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Every team has the same questions, but ordered differently for each group to stay spread out, though we did run into other teams searching for the same art a couple of times. You have 90 minutes to complete the hunt, which takes place throughout most of the West Wing of the NGA. And that hour and a half goes by quickly — we were scrambling for those last few clues to finish before the hunt time was up!

The search covers a lot of museum ground

The search covers a lot of museum ground

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (Alexander Hamilton)

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (My name is Alexander Hamilton…)

One point is given for every question answered correctly. The team that comes up with the most creative name also gets points. And you lose points if you’re not back to the starting place before the hunt time is up. The teams (one family/youth, one all-adult) that have the most points win.

Someone is feeling stumped

Someone is feeling stumped

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

As the Hogwarts crew might say, this adventure is bloody brilliant! It’s unique, fun, and exciting, and something the whole family can do together. All four of us contributed to the effort, and while we didn’t win, we had such a great time together completing the task. On top of that, we all agreed that it made us take a much closer look at some of the art that we often casually stroll by, something we’ll keep in mind on our next visit.

Want to see the clues?  Go sign up!

Want to see the clues? Go sign up!

So, is your family ready to prove yourselves wizards among muggles? If so, here’s what you need to know about Watson Adventures:

* The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt is hosted monthly at the National Gallery of Art. The next one takes place Saturday, April 8, at 2pm. Sign up here.
* Cost is $17.50/ages 17 and under, and $19.50/adults
* While the website recommends this for ages 10 and up, I’d say about ages 8 and up can enjoy it. Sasha (8) loved it, and a couple of her 2nd grade classmates were there and had a great time, too.
* Watson Adventures also hosts scavenger hunts with other themes at different locations. Most are geared toward adults (think KidFree!), but Secrets of Georgetown is also for teens.
* Scavenger hunts are hosted in other cities, too. Visit the website to see where.

Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission for the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt from Watson Adventures, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under Art, Competition, DC, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Parents, Preteens, Teens, Tweens, Weekend

Join the Launch Party for the Acton Children’s Business Fair


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Acton Academy of Washington, DC, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, Educational, Free, Parents, Schools, Sponsored Post, Spring