Category Archives: Shop

Back-to-School Gear Recs — for Elementary Students to High Schoolers


And just like that, summer break is over — for us, anyway.  My kids headed back to school today, the first day of high school for one of them, and the last first day — senior year –for the other.  (No, I’m not crying, I just have something in my eye.) Whenever your kids are starting and whatever milestones they’re hitting as they begin the new school year, they’re going to need to gear up for it.  So, I’ve rounded up some items that might come in handy, both for the students and us parents. Some of these have been mentioned before, but others are new recommendations…and now they’re all in once place. Happy BTS!


Just recommended by Wirecutter (and mentioned by me) as the best, this backpack is the one my kids used all through elementary school, and it served them very well, especially for the price. Here’s another style to check out. And this is the best one for teens, according to my teen daughter.


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Another one I just mentioned, when I recommended this bento box-style lunchbox (another option).  Of course, a more traditional style works, too, especially one that’s insulated. And something basic like this is what my teens would carry (solid colors only for them) when they don’t do outside lunch.


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Reusable Sandwich Bags
Packing lunches can create so much waste, but not if you use reusable sandwich bags. The linked set includes both sandwich and snack-sized silicon pouches as well as larger gallon freezer bags (so you can save leftovers and pack them for lunch).


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Having a thermos like this opens up the lunch possibilities because you can send hot meals like pasta, mac-n-cheese, noodle soup, fried rice, even chicken tikka masala (Trader Joe’s has a frozen one that just takes a few minutes to microwave). This one comes with a foldable spoon that nestles right into the lid.


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Water Bottle
Whether to stay hydrated during the day, for a drink at lunch, or to use for after school sports, a water bottle comes in handy for so many reasons. And back-to-school is a prfect time to pick out new ones. These bottles come in both solid colors and pictures that little kids will like. This one is trendy with the teens. We recently bought a few of these and really like them.


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Pencil Case
They’re great for pencils, but a pencil case is also handy as a catch-all for the little school supplies odds and ends or other random things kids seems to acquire throughout the day or insist on bringing to school.  This one is as basic as they come, or kids might like something fun like this. The t(w)een set might like one with more pockets, a trendy brand like this (that also makes a great BTS gift), or something more camp-style like this.


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Alarm Clock
Just bought this alarm clock that simulates the natural sunrise for our senior to help him wake up for school. Echo Dots are also great for their many features. This one is particularly cute for younger kids.


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Kids love their hoodies (mine do, anyway), and I always recommend they keep one in their locker or backpack in case it gets cold in school. They also just seem to be part of the BTS shopping repertoire. Adidas has a bunch for kids of all ages. Owen really likes these sweatshirts (and you can’t beat the price). Sash prefers a zip-up like this. And there are tons of options for younger kids here and here.


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I just mentioned this sale a couple of weeks ago on trendy teen pants and jeans (guys here). You can find lots of cute styles for younger kids here and here. And this brand is always great for easy, comfortable basics for little kids — including uniforms.


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Cool Kicks
Shoes may just be the most important part of my kids’ ‘fits. Both of them have these popular sneakers. And according to them, this 90s style is back in, too. New Balance seems to be everywhere. Also, Crocs and Birks — with socks.


What kinds of gear are you adding to your back-to-school shopping list?


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Filed under 2023, Schools, Shop

Prime Time: KFDC Picks for Amazon’s Big Sale


It’s that time of the year when Amazon has its big annual sale.  And while it’s called Prime Day, it actually takes place over a couple of days.  You really can get fantastic deals on all kinds of items, however, there is so much to sift through, it can be quite time-consuming browsing it all.  So, I’ve done some of that for you and found what I think are great offers on a variety of products.  Many of these are in the spirit of KFDC — items to enhance your adventures around the area and beyond or just make family time better.  Others are things we have and love.  And some just look like products I would like to have (and would probably love) and think you might, too.  I hope you agree and find them useful and/or enjoyable. Happy Shopping (& Saving)!


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Camping Chair
We have these chairs and use them all the time —  hanging out at the park, at soccer games, and other outdoor pursuits and places that include some sitting time. They’re so easy to tote and set up — just a few quick pulls and click-ins — and fold back up nice and neat into a bundle that you can carry in one hand or stow in a backpack.



Portable Table
This table elevates a picnic, literally and figuratively! It keeps the food away from the ground (great at the beach) and also helps keep an outdoor set-up organized. Friends brought this when we were hanging out recently, and now we want one, too.



Bike Lock with Cable
This little bike lock system is perfect for family bike rides. Just loop the cable through the lock and around all the bikes, so you can lock them all up together at your destination. Ours has gotten a ton of use.



A foldable utility wagon is exactly what you need for carting gear and  kiddos when there’s a lengthy walk to a destination from the parking lot — or even just from your house to the park several blocks away.  I can think of  some places where this would really come in handy for families with little kids, like here and here.



Bike Rack
I’ve mentioned this purchase on the blog before, but it’s such a good one that I’m sharing again. This wall mounted bike rack is such a great space saver, especially in tight DC row homes. We have several friends who saw our rack, then bought it for themselves. And it’s $20 off during this sale!



Sports Gear Organizer
I’m sure we’re not the only family that needs help organizing all of our sports gear. This looks like a great solution, and it’s 20% off right now.


Pickleball Set
The game is all the rage these days, and this set lets you play without having to find a court — and it packs up into one bag, so you can bring it anywhere. Friends set it up in their back alley often for neighborhood pickleball fun. And if you just want the paddles and balls, this set is part of the sale, too.



Portable Cornhole
There’s a whole KFDC post about lawn games, and cornhole is, of course, included on it. The beanbag toss game is fun and easy for all ages to play. And this portable set makes it convenient to bring along anywhere.



Scavenger Hunt Game
I’ve mentioned this cute scavenger hunt game before, and now it’s over 50% off the original price. It gets great reviews… apparently, there are brain teasing clues along with the big picture cards to get kids of all ages into the game. You can play at home or bring it along on outdoor adventures.




All the kids, little and big, are wearing Crocs these days, and some styles are included in the sale. The pic links to little kid sizes (more here), and you can find older kid/adult sizes here (note that only certain colors are on sale).




Adidas Running Sneaks
They’re running shoes, but also cute to wear as everyday shoes. And they come in a variety of colors. FYI: Adidas has a bunch of good items in the sale, including gear and apparel for women, men, and kids.




Workout Tights
I recommended these exact tights last year, saying they were worth a try because they were such a great deal. Now that I have them, I can say they are definitely worth purchasing.  No, they are not on par with lulu, but for less than $16, they are really good tights.



Goodr Sunglasses
Levi has a few pairs of Goodr sunglasses and swears by them. They look cool, have protected polarized lenses, and are nice and cheap — $17 on sale, regularly $25.




You can get some amazing deals on luggage during Prime Days, and this one (pictured above) is just one of them. If you prefer a soft case, check out this set.  Or just browse all of the deals here.



Packing cubes
These help keep packing organized when you travel, and this set comes with eight pieces and gets great reviews. Lots of colors to choose from, too.  You can also see a bigger selection of packing cubes in the sale here.



I’ve been looking for a very versatile backpack, and this one looks like it more than fits the bill. It can be used for travel, hiking, or just everyday toting. It has some structure for packing clothes (or food for a picnic), a laptop sleeve, a shoe compartment, lots of pockets for organizing, even a charging port. Plus, it’s waterproof. Comes in several colors, too.



Echo Dot 
I’ve recommended Echo Dots before — they are great as an alarm clock, music player, even encyclopedias. And how cool are these styles for kids (or adults) who love Star Wars? (FYI: The basic one is on sale, too, for even less!)



Echo Buds
Wireless earbuds are a must-have for everyone in our family, and who needs pricey ones when they’re easy-to-lose items. Amazon has their own brand of ear buds, and they’re a lot less expensive than Air Pods, especially with the Prime Day deal. (But just to put it out there, if you’re in a splurgy mood, there are some really good deals on Beats in the sale.)




Wireless Headphones
For little kids who don’t like sticking things in their ears, these wireless headphone have a lot of great reviews. Our kids had similar pairs that really came in handy on long road trips.




Portable Charger
I got these for my kids awhile back, so they could make sure their phones stay charged when they’re out and about. They’re even small enough to carry in a pocket and don’t bulk up the phone too much when it’s attached.




Patio Umbrella
A friend has a similar large umbrella for her patio, and it’s perfect for the space. I especially like that this one has LED lights for a lovely evening glow.




Sail Shade
For something more simple — and less expensive — to keep the sun from beating down on your outdoor space, a shade sail is great. We have this exact one and love it for our small patio.



Patio Storage Box
I just bought this box for our back patio to store the furniture cover and other items like bug repellant and sun block that we use regularly out there. It was super easy to put together, and it’s totally waterproof. Bonus: It also provides an extra seat.



Reusable Storage Bags
It’s a good time to stock up on these reusable bags to replace plastic zipper bags. They are great for lunches, packing for picnics, and storing food in the fridge. These are BPA free and come in a few sizes.



Drying Lotion 
I usually rely on my teen daughter for tips on skin care and beauty products. She uses this drying lotion when blemishes pop up, and says it works great. Snagging a couple of bottles for her while it’s on sale (one of them as a set with the patches).




Mini Food Processor
‘Tis the season for cold soups, and I use my mini food processor all the time to make individual servings of gazpacho or avocado cucumber soup for an easy, chilled lunch on a hot summer day. I also use it often to blend dressings and quickly chop veggies. Of course, if you’re doing bigger batches, go for the large blender.



Dyson Vacuum
Finally, this might seem like a super random, pricey product to include in this list, but we really like our Dyson vacuum and think it was totally worth it. And this is a fantastic deal on one.



Macbook Air
One more late addition… a friend pointed this one out to me. A great deal on a Macbook at $250 off the regular price. If you’re in need of a new computer, snag one of these while you can!


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This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a small commission.  This helps me continue to produce KFDC, all completely free to readers.  Thank you so much for the support!

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Filed under Product, Shop

Must-Haves for Keeping Kids Cool at the Pool

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.   She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them hereherehereherehere, and here.]


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Summer comes at you fast, and if you’re like my family, it’s time to gear up for spending the majority of your time at the good ol’ community pool. For us — and our water loving five-year-old — pool days have actually been year-round, giving us extra time to work out the kinks with goggles, swim bags, shower supplies, and more. Here are our must-have items for keeping kids cool at the pool.



De-Boggling Goggles

Oh first world little kid goggle problems: they leak, fog up, straps snap, or are just never quite comfortable enough. My 5-year-old has tried at least half-a-dozen this past year. This bungee strap pair is the winner. Here’s a similar style at an even better deal.


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Sunscreen Success

After many trials and tribulations, Bare Republic Clearscreen (plus the face version) became our family favorite last summer—it’s clean and has an invisible finish. For squeamish faces, try an applicator or makeup brush. Glitter sunscreen is on my radar if we encounter resistance.


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Preferred Swimwear

If you’re familiar with Fair Harbor swim trunks (and the game changing boxer brief liner), you’ll love this highly rated option for kids. And for girls who are into color and cut outs: rainbow one piece, cut out one piece.


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Unbeatable Bags

Mesh bags are a must for pool rats, and this backpack style is just perfect. This larger backpack will hold just about everything, plus features hooks on the outside to hang swimsuits to dry. And these waterproof and tip proof totes are splurge-worthy.


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Tried and True Toys

For pool time with little ones, there is one brand of toys that floats to the top: Green Toys. These ferry boats with cars and spouted submarines are classics, and these newer seacopters and rescue boats with removable figurines look like winners.


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Shower Power

Nothing beats sling-back Crocs for showering (make ‘em extra with charms). Avoid a swim bag disaster with leak-proof, refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. And don’t forget a mini Wet Brush for easy detangling.


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Quick Change

The “time to go” process can be an ordeal. For a quick change, opt for a terry romper (here’s another option for sizes 6-13). This is a classic swimmers “shammy towel” for quick drying. Or just throw on a hooded poncho towel and go (best of luck with the ice cream truck!).


What are your must-have pool items for kids? Tell us in the comments!

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Filed under 2023, DC, Product, Shop, Summer

The 2022 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide

A holiday photo fave: Her first Christmas, his fourth (and obviously an unwrapping pro even then)


If this gift guide looks familiar, that’s because you’ve likely seen it before — a version of it, anyway. Over the eight years I’ve been sharing it, the general ideas haven’t changed very much (nor has the above photo that I adore). While the specifics are always updated, the overall concepts have remained pretty consistent year after year, as I want my recommendations to reflect the spirit of my blog — of adventure, discovery, local culture, and family time — and these ideas do just that. (Plus, I think they’re really good suggestions! 😉 )

So just like the last many years, I’m sharing some things our family has really enjoyed around DC and/or think would make fantastic presents for a variety of people. This also gives me a chance to highlight local places and businesses offering unique experiences and products as well as people and organizations that are doing great things. And then there are ideas that are simply fun and enriching and showcase the incredible, dynamic city that is Washington, DC. None of these recommendations are sponsored; they’re just experiences, places, adventures, and products that I truly like and think you and yours might, too. Happy gifting!



Concert tickets would make a perfect teen (or adult) gift


There’s so much great live entertainment coming to local stages soon, that would make fantastic presents for kids and adults. KFDC Tip: Before you buy, check for ticket deals here as you may be able to get discounts to some productions. Here are recommendations for shows coming up soon and even a few running during the holiday season.

* Aquarium at Imagination Stage
* The Hula Hoopin’ Queen at Imagination Stage
* Into the Woods at Signature Theatre
* Wicked at the Kennedy Center
* Cenicienta: A Bilingual Cinderella Story at the Kennedy Center
* Les Misérables at the Kennedy Center
* Cats at National Theatre
Jagged Little Pill at National Theatre
* Jerry Seinfeld at The Anthem
* Trevor Noah at the Hippodrome in Baltimore
* Taylor Swift in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh
* Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue at Warner Theatre
* Bruce Springsteen at Capitol One Arena
* King Lear by Shakespeare Theatre Company
* The Jungle by Shakespeare Theatre Company
* Kinky Boots at Olney Theatre
* Ride the Cyclone at Arena Stage
* War of the Worlds at Synetic Theater
* The 9:30 Club is legendary and welcomes all ages to most shows (think teen gift!)
* The Anthem has a great line-up of concerts, too (again, teen gift!)
* For holiday season shows, look here
* You can also give a gift certificate or membership to one of the venues mentioned above!



Give them a flying adventure

For the people, young and old, in your life who like active thrills and challenges, a gift card or season pass for one of these action-packed pursuits is strongly recommended.

* iFLY Loudoun offers a one-of-a-kind exhilarating opportunity to experience sky diving without stepping foot in (or out of) an airplane.  Read more about it here. (Post is about my experience, but my kids have done it, too!)
* The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring, one of our favorite outdoor places to play, is an exciting aerial forest experience, where adventure-goers navigate ropes courses in the trees, with climbing for kids as young as 5 years old. Check out their annual Holiday Sale! In the meantime, read more about the adventure in this KFDC post.
* Many local ice skating rinks have season passes available for peeps who want to practice their triple lutzes and spins — or just like to glide around.
* Ski season is starting, and White Tail is an easy-from-DC place to go for downhill fun.  Read more about it and find links for other regional ski resorts here.
* Trapeze School New York in DC has classes in flying trapeze, static trapeze, balancing and acrobatics, trampoline, and more.  Read more about it here.
* Give a gift card for a paddling excursion (for when it’s back in season).
* The St. James has Super, Awesome, & Amazing fun at its activity center and indoor waterpark.
* Kids love scaling the colorful walls at ClimbZone.
*  TopGolf,  with area locations at National Harbor and Germantown, is a fun place to practice driving balls from their hitting bays.
* A sightseeing boat tour is a cool way to get a new view of DC — and have some fun on the water.


Hang out in Dunder Mifflin at The Office Experience


DC is known for its many free attractions, but there are some places and experiences that require admission. So, make a visit to one something special by giving it as a gift. Here are some to check out that are worth the splurgy entry fee.

* The Office Experience offers a tour of Dunder Mifflin…a simulated version of it, anyway. Explore re-created sets loaded with authentic, fun details and recall many funny moments from the show.  It’s in town through January 16.
* The Mansion on O Street is easily one of the neatest places in DC…a self-guided tour and secret door hunt is practically guaranteed to delight giftees of all ages.
* Exhibits at ARTECHOUSE are unique, immersive, and fun to experience.
* For movie lovers, dinner (or lunch) and a flick at The Alamo is a perfect present.
* Thrill them with a visit to the International Spy Museum.
* History buffs will enjoy exploring Mount Vernon, George Washington’s former digs.
* There are many awesome attractions in Baltimore that would be great to gift.
* The Calvert Marine Museum is a super interesting non-DC museum, too.
* Several holiday light displays run into January.


Gift the whole fam membership to t he National Building Museum


Membership really does have its benefits!  You can get first dibs on tickets to events and shows, exclusive access to special offerings, and/or free admission to places, perfect for those who have favorite spots they frequent often. Here are some local attractions with membership options that would make for excellent gifts:

* National Building Museum memberships get you all into exhibits and some programs free of charge, members-only birthday parties, advanced camp registration, preview invites, and more.  (Starts at $90/year for families).
* At the National Children’s Museum, get a year of free admission, invites to special programs, members-only hours, & 10% off in the gift shop. (Starts at $190) Read more about the museum and get a glimpse here.
* Sign kids up for their favorite sports team fan club that offers all kinds of fun benefits, for low cost or even free.  A few of our local pro sports team have them: Nats, Spirit, Wizards, Caps
* For adults who enjoy performing arts, the Kennedy Center  membership gets them ticket priority, special event invites, and discounts on parking, dining, and the gift shop.
* Teen gift?  Gym membership!  They all seem to be joining these days (at my gym, anyway).  I highly recommend OneLife Fitness (formerly Sport & Health and Results before that). Of course, this is can be a gift for an adult, too.


The gift of music lessons

Has your child expressed interest in a particular activity? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! Here are some recommendations.

Give the gift of music with lessons from the International School of Music.
* Let them act up with Imagination Stage theatre classes.
* And Synetic Theatre offers performing arts classes in Northern Virginia.
* Kids can kick it with DC Way‘s soccer offerings.
* Chess, anyone? Check (out) Magnus Chess Academy.



Sports fan gift?  Done!

The gift of sports is no-brainer for those who love them. Our local sports teams, pro and college, have experiences (ie, games) and merch that fans will cheer about when they receive them. Here are links for all of them, and note that some are offering special holiday packages, too!

* Washington Nationals (Holiday Packs | Merch)
* Washington Capitals (Tickets | Merch)
* Washington Mystics (Pandamonium Holiday Pack)
* Washington Wizards (Tickets | Merch)
* DC United
* Washington Spirit
* Washington Commanders
* University of Maryland Terrapins
* Georgetown Hoyas
* George Washington University Colonials
* Howard Bison
* American University Eagles
* George Mason Patriots
* Catholic University Cardinals



The Spy Museum shop is full of intriguing inventory

We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops — that are also online — echo the impressive collections with items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, gadgets, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. Just about all of the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo have wonderful gift shops. And I highly recommend browsing the shops of some of the other museums in town — I’ve purchased gifts over the years at every single one of these.
* International Spy Museum
* National Gallery of Art
* National Building Museum
* Planet Word
* Phillips Collection
* Library of Congress



A trove of games and puzzles at Labyrinth

Shop for unique gifts and support independent businesses around the city. Here are some of our go-tos for gift shopping close to home.

* Book it to one of these local, independent shops to find good reads for your giftees: East City Book Shop on Capitol Hill,  Solid State Books  on H Street NE, Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, Hurray for Books in Old Town Alexandria, Loyalty Bookstore in Petworth and Silver Spring, Politics & Prose at Union Market, The Wharf, and Northwest, and Capitol Hill Books, a legendary used books shop.
* Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill is the place to go for the best board games and puzzles. Period.
* The Pretzel Bakery is our hands down neighborhood fave for savory & sweet treats — locations on Capitol Hill & in Bethesda.
* But if it’s cupcakes you like, Sprinkles in Georgetown is our rec.
* Check the above bookstores for DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure by local author, JoAnn Hill — both are fantastic books, the former using clever clues to help you explore DC, and the latter filled with intriguing stories and interesting facts about the city.
* Give foodies a gift card for a local restaurant. Some faves: O-ku, La Collina, Maketto, Izakaya Seki, Albi, The Dabney
* Steadfast Supply is a great store to shop for maker-made and DC-inspired gifts.



Capture them (and their hearts) with this gift

How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like the last few years, I’m recommending just the right photographer for it. As mentioned in previous gift guides, I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, starting with her former blog, No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last several years, she’s launched her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her real-life, let-the-moment-seize-you approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s hilarious 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.



Give design guidance from a guru

If there’s someone in your life who wants an update to their home, but needs some guidance going about it, gift them the help of an expert.  Margaret Carroll is an architect and design consultant extraordinaire and, full disclosure,  a really great friend of mine. But that just means I know first hand that she has a keen eye for style and the sharpest aesthetic of anyone I know, from the perfectly picked tile in her bathrooms (and in mine!) to the pretty booties on her feet. Her own home was even just featured in Bethesda Magazine!



The best fire pit, cozy blankets, and more lifestyle enhancing things

These ideas are a divergence from the rest, as they began in 2020 when Covid prompted a pivot from my usual experience gift theme. But while not necessarily DC-centric, many of these will help with the enjoyment of area adventures — and a few others will enhance time at home.

* I’ve recommended a Solo Stove in previous years, but this one is going on my list this year!
* Cozy blankets are perfect for outdoor fire pit hangs…and snuggling up indoors, too.  (A fun one for kids.)
* These bike lights are always a hit.
* But, first, get the bike!
* Ice skates are an ideal winter gift.
* Roller skates are great for any time of year.
* For those who love to hike, a good (and cute) daypack.
* A nice fleece for cool weather recreation: For her, for him, for kids.
For someone who digs on-the-water adventures, how about an SUP?
* Lawn games let you bring outdoor amusement anywhere (find recs for all ages via the link)
* Bubble umbrellas for rainy days are genius, and these are so pretty, your peops will want to stand under them when the sun’s out, too.
* Winter gear for kids from reliable brands: Snow bibs, boots, jackets, hats.
* Cute, comfy slips:  For her, for him, for kids.
* And Crocs are making a comeback with all the t(w)eens.
* Plus, Jibbitz to go with them, of course.
* The best PJ’s for kids (on super sale).
* A plush robe: For her, for him, for kids.
* Cashmere that’s nice and reasonably priced. (Splurge option.)
* Cookbooks…I have this one and want to get this new one.
* Other great gift books: This new this collection of poetry, an icon’s memoir, this beautiful book by one of the best writers, a funny read, this fun one I’m getting for Sasha, and this one I’m getting for Owen (that Sash will dig, too).
* Subscriptions keep the gifts coming: MasterClass, Washingtonian Magazine, National Geographic, The New YorkerBon Appetit, New York Times (just the Cooking and Games sections are great, too)
* Random fun stuff: A kids ukelele, a dreamy coloring project, an awesome mug (and more good ones), a family board game.
* Find more gift ideas for little kids here.



Glenstone Museum is a true, free treat!

Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions:

* A day at the recently reopened Air & Space Museum.
* A trip to the National Zoo.
* A unique indoor/outdoor art adventure for ages 12 and up at Glenstone.
* A fossil hunting adventure at the Purse Area in Nanjemoy, MD.
* A visit to the Wizard of Oz playground, Old Maryland Farm, and Nature Center at Watkins Regional Park
* A bike ride on the Anacostia River Trail or another great area route.
* A polka-dotted experience at Yayoi Kusama’s One with Enternity at the Hirshhorn.
* A visit to Planet Word, the fantastic, language-focused museum downtown.
* A geocaching excursion on an area hike.
* A family game of disc golf at a local course.
* A photo walk at Dumbarton Oaks in winter (when admission is free).
* A day of play at Beauvoir Playground.
* Find inspo for even more here and here!

* Perhaps the best gift of all is quality time with the people in our lives, so be sure to take advantage of it during the season. The 2022 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season Around DC is full of ideas for doing just that. Happy Holidays!

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Filed under 2022, DC, Holidays, Shop

Little Kid Gifts for Parents Who Don’t Want More Stuff

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.   She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them herehereherehere, here, and last year’s stocking stuffer ideas here.]


If anything is a reminder that less is more for kids this holiday season, it’s the 25 plastic spider rings my family acquired during spooky season. Enter this gift guide — created for anyone who adores kid gift-giving but also gets overwhelmed by the excessive kid “stuff” in their home.  These picks, recommended for preschool to early elementary ages, will be used over and over, will minimize clutter, and will delight kids and even the most minimalist parents. Don’t forget to share with Grandma and Grandpa!


Never-Ending Stories
The “no such thing as too many books” attitude is great until you hit at-home library status. I’ve reduced our collection to favorites and ones that my kids will keep going back to — and maybe learn something new each time they read them. (Paired with a good public library!) Here are a few good reads that make the cut.

See Inside How Things Work

My First Encyclopedia

What Should Danny Do? (also: School Day & Vacation)

Fairy Tales: A Timeless Collection of Favorite Fairy Tales

Paw Patrol Little Golden Book Collection


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Game Time
If you’ve put together Don’t Break the Ice for the 100th time, or have experienced the unnecessary complication of Mouse Trap and its 25 adjoining pieces, these game picks are for you. Easy set-up, simple concept, not a million little pieces, discreetly educational, and FUN.


Guess Who? (new easy-to-load frame!)

Disney Eye Found It!

Tenzi (ok, it’s a lot of dice – but only dice!)

Castle Logix


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Artistic Pursuits
Fostering a love of art knows no bounds. Some may not want “artwork” consuming their fridge, but parents will always enable the process. Here are reusable, long-lasting, well-contained, and lovable items for all pursuits, scribbling included.

Unicorn Doodle Board

Tabletop White Board/Chalkboard

Crayola Inspiration Art Case

Arts & Crafts Library

Kids Digital Camera


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Play Set Extensions
Is there one play set that rises to the top in your home? In our house, a Paw Patrol tower has decorated our living room for almost a year now while everything else went out of style. Magnetic tiles also have a permanent seat by the coffee table. Extend what works!

2022 Paw Patrol Vehicle (and the latest and greatest tower)

Magna-Tiles Stardust Set

LEGO Classic Bricks Set

Wooden Train Set Add-Ons: Crane & Bridge

18-Inch Doll Disney Clothes (for these dolls or the splurge ones)


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Practical Magic
These are those items that will just make everyone’s day better. Practical and pleasing — which equals magical. These gifts will get your kids to beg for bath time, brush their own teeth, and willingly put on a jacket — no negotiation tactics needed.

Animal Electric Toothbrush Set

Bath Bombs With Surprise Toys

Animal Shaped Bath Soap Bars

Hulk Sherpa Zip-Up Hoodie

Unicorn Sherpa Zip-Up Hoodie


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Organizational Fun
Getting a kid something organizational may seem like the most boring gift ever, but think outside the box for a moment. These ideas will provide surprising joy in your home. One of them was my daughter’s #1 gift request last year.

LEGO/DUPLO Storage Basket & Play Mat

Stuffed Animal Storage Bean Bag Chair

Barbie Store It All

Hot Wheels Mega Hauler

Kids Desk Supply Organizer

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