Category Archives: Virtual Programs

A Musical Theatre Summer Experience Like No Other with Young Artists of America

 

You may have heard of Young Artists of America before. They’ve been voted as a top summer camp by Washington City Paper and Bethesda Magazine readers for many years in a row. Their productions have won Regional Emmys, and their year-round programming was named “Best Youth Music Program” (Bethesda Magazine’s Best of Bethesda 2020) and “Best Performing Arts Education for Young Artists” (MD Theater Guide 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards).

With the pandemic, they have been pivoting quickly, thinking creatively with safety first – offering virtual classes as well as fully-staged digital musical theatre productions that include filmed, in-person performances and virtual performances edited together. They were recently featured on Fox5 for one of these productions, their upcoming presentation of Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS, partially performed literally in the woods!

So, if you are looking for a summer program for your performing arts tween or teen, check out what YAA is offering! They have two different programs this summer:

Conservatories is a full-day, on-campus or hybrid model that focuses on the artistic process plus applied training in Acting, Dance and Voice, culminating in a fully-staged digital musical theatre production (RENT, Cabaret, The Little Mermaid, Jr., and Madagascar, Jr.) at the end of each session. They run from June 25 – July 9 and July 9-23

Academies is a half-day, all virtual model called that focuses on the artistic process to educate aspiring young performers of all levels in the many disciplines of musical theatre. Both of these models have programming for students ranging from 5th grade to college freshmen at all levels. Sessions run from June 28 – July 9 and July 12-23.

You can learn more about both programs here.

If your summer is booked, be sure to check out their year-round programming as well. They offer spring and fall semester training for singers, actors, dancers and instrumentalists as well, and even have one-off workshops (sometimes free!). No matter the program, YAA is known for one-of-a-kind opportunities, truly nothing like anything in the area.

Students learn from top teaching faculty as well as teaching artists, oftentimes right from Broadway. Their students have had the opportunity to work directly with such Broadway legends as Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), Tim Rice (Lion King), and performers the likes of Kristin Chenoweth, Julie Andrews, and Eleasha Gamble, Anthony McGill, and countless others.

In normal times, they produce full-staged, symphonic productions and perform them on state-of-the-art stages like the Music Center at Strathmore and The Clarice. Check out highlights from Les Miserables, one of their last fully-staged productions before the pandemic:

Even more, Young Artists of America has generously offered KFDC readers $100 off registration for new students depending on the program! Use promo code KF100 at check out when you register on their website.

 

This post is sponsored by Young Artists of America, however, I only promote programs, services, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Camp, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Seasonal, Summer, Teens, Tweens, Virtual Programs, Weekdays

Inspire and Engage with STEM at Boolean Girl Summer Camps — In Person & Virtually!

 

We all need a little inspiration in our lives — especially our kids.  So, get ready for Boolean Girl Summer Camps!  The nonprofit offers both in person and virtual camps that are designed to inspire kids to code, build, invent, and animate.  

Both girls-only and coed camps are offered.  What’s more, they will be safe!  In-person safety measures will include masks, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, and campers can switch from in-person to virtual, or vice versa, to suit their comfort levels.

Why Boolean Girl camps?  Here are 5 reasons!

  1. The camps are fun. At least that’s according to 96% of students who say they would recommend coding camps to a friend and want to take another one.
  2. The instructors are great.  They are female college students majoring in STEM from some of the best universities. 
  3. Kids love the camps.  At least that’s what the 4.8 out of 5 rating indicates.
  4. Parents will tell you.  Some comments from moms and dads:  “Just great instruction!  My daughter loves the class! We love that the ‘all girl’ option is offered, and the experience has really changed my daughter’s mind from not liking coding to LOVING it!”  & “This was the perfect level for my 3rd grader.  She was really engaged with the hands-on activity.”
  5. Why not?  They are flexible.  If  you don’t want to join in person, there are also online camps all summer long that complement the in-person camps.  These camps are taught by the same rockstar instructors and cover the same materials.  You can mix and match in-person and on-line courses. 

 

Now the Details…

Who:
Kids ages 8-13.  All experience levels welcome. Both girls-only and co-ed camps are available.

When:
In DC: Camps for grades 3-6, June 12-16, August 2-6, August 9-13
In VA: Camps for grades 3-8, all summer long
Online camp: all summer long

Where:
Washington, DC:  The Hill Center on Capitol Hill |
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (one block from the Capitol Hill Metro).
Arlington, VA:  Marymount University | 1000 Glebe Road
Alexandria, VA:  Burgundy Farms (must register on the Burgundy Farms website)
For all others, sign up here.

 

 

The Small-ish Print:
Boolean Girl will host in-person camps for Summer 2021 if it is deemed safe by the federal, state, and local authorities, and they are taking reservations now. If forced to close camps due to COVID, they will refund every penny of tuition to you. Read more about their COVID response here.

Camps will implement all recommended safety measures, including masks and social distancing. If you register and change your mind before May 30, you can receive a full refund. After May 30, you can change dates or get a refund, less the non-refundable $50 deposit, up to two weeks before the start of camp. Two weeks before the start of camp there are no refunds, but you may switch to an online camp.

 

This post is sponsored by Boolean Girl, however, I only promote programs, services, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Camp, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Summer, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekdays

The Best Family Activities to Celebrate the 2021 Cherry Blossom Season

 

Cherry blossom season is one of the best times of the year to be in DC.  Not only is the city at its prettiest when the iconic flowers are in bloom, there usually are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all.  It’s also when I share my tips for viewing the famous flowers, an annual post that I love and have been updating since 2011 that others seem to enjoy as well (it’s always very highly viewed and shared).

For obvious reasons, so much about cherry blossom season is different this year.  It still remains to be seen what kind of access to the Tidal Basin the National Park Service will allow to see the peak bloom, which is predicted to occur April 2-5.  Big, beloved in-person events like the Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri have been cancelled  along with museum programs that used to be IRL.  And my annual viewing tips… well, much of them apply to seeing them at the Tidal Basin, so they may not get a redux this spring.

However, there still are some fantastic ways to celebrate cherry blossom season!  The National Cherry Blossom Festival (NCBF), running March 20 – April 11, has reimagined many of its events as at-home or virtual activities to present them safely for Covid.  And even though we may not be able to experience the bloom at its best near the National Mall, there are other spots to enjoy the pink and white brilliance around the area.  I’ve highlighted the best of all of it for families to help you plan for a peak experience. Happy Spring!

 

Peak bloom in Stanton Park

Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DMV
When: Late March – Early April
Admission: Free

Viewing the cherry blossoms is the top thing to do during the season. As we’re still awaiting guidelines for viewing at the Tidal Basin this year, here’s a tip that comes straight from my annual post from previous years: Seek out other spots to see the bloom. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays.  The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to enjoy them. National Harbor has 200 trees planted on it grounds.  Stanton Park on Capitol Hill flourishes with pick and white come spring. Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has a lovely collection of cherry trees.  In Northern Virginia, Green Spring Gardens and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens have some of the pretty trees to see, too.  (Thinking I should just put together a whole post about viewing sites…) In the meantime, check out these scenes from a peak bloom past.

Renewal 2121
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 15 – September 6
Admission: $24/adult, $17/age 4-15, free/under 4

ARTECHOUSE introduces a new exhibit every season, and spring is always inspired by the cherry blossoms in some way. Here’s the description of year’s show, Renewal 2121: “Transporting us 100 years into the future, it immerses us in an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis. This is a future that will arrive if humanity continues unchecked at its current pace. However, there is a hopeful message to be discovered as blossoms are seen peeking through the plastic, concrete and neon lights, ready to renew the season with the help of those willing to take action.”

National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
Where: Online
When: March 20, 6pm
Admission: Free

The Festival’s signature Opening Ceremony, an artistic celebration of the 1912 gift of trees from Tokyo to DC is also an annual tribute to the longstanding friendship between Japan and the United States. Watch a livestream of the event that will feature special performances from acclaimed artists with ties to both countries.

Petal Porch Parade
Where: At home & around the DC area
When: March 20 – April 11
Admission: Free

Since we can’t have a big parade, locals are invited to get creative and show their cherry blossom spirit by decorating their porches, yards, or windows — and spread joy to neighbors and connect communities across the region! The National Cherry Blossom Festival will produce a virtual map with locations of all registered Petal Porches, so you can plan a walk or drive to see and share in the celebration of spring.  On the weekend of April 10-11, a Petal Procession will drive through select Petal Porch Parade neighborhoods in and around DC. So, get your neighbors to register and join in the springtime celebration to increase your chances of having the Petal Procession cruise through your ‘hood!

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: March 20 – April 11
Admission: Free

Celebrate spring and the blossoms at the The Wharf. Bloomaroo will bring nearly a month of cherry blossom-themed art installations, and specialty cocktails. Anime Movie Days will have 13 anime movie screenings, including the newest Sonic the Hedgehog movie, from March 26 through April 11 — all films will be dubbed in English. Check out a special mural created by ARTECHOUSE, too. Restaurants at the waterfront destination will have cherry blossom-inspired menus, and keep an eye out for special samplings, beer dinners, and more. Ride the Wharf Jitney or hop on the Water Taxi for an up-close look at DC’s favorite landmarks — the cherry trees. For more about The Wharf, see this KFDC post.

Book Hill in Bloom
Where: Book Hill Community | Georgetown, DC
When: March 20 – April 11
Admission: Free

Georgetown is celebrating cherry blossom season at its Book Hill community. More than 25 small businesses on upper Wisconsin Avenue are participating by decorating their storefronts with pink and cherry blossom-themed decorations, offering special promotions, and donating prizes for an enter-to-win drawing.

 

Art in Bloom on Capitol Hill

Art in Bloom
Where: Around the DC area
When: March 20-31
Admission: Free
This visual arts exhibition spanning all eight wards of DC, plus a few areas in Maryland and Virginia, radiates the spirit of spring! Go on a Blossom Hunt to find 26 oversized cherry blossom statues painted by local artists and share on Instagram or Twitter with the #artinbloom tag. The NCB will randomly select winners of Festival prize packages.

Sakura Sundays
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Sundays during the Festival
Admission: Free

With in-person Sakura Matsuri, the annual Japanese street fair presented during the Festival, off this year, National Harbor is stepping in. Free cultural activities, including Japanese inspired art creations, culinary classes, in person or virtual, and much more will be offered there.  See what else will be at National Harbor during the season.

Virtual Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: American Art Museum | Online
When: March 20, 10am
Admission: Free

Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for a virtual program full of springtime fun for the whole family. Enjoy a lively performance of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming by the group Nen Daiko. Then learn more as the group demonstrates how they plan their performances and design their own instruments. Explore art, nature, and color with SAAM‘s docents in the new virtual edition of our popular Art Cart series. For more activities, check out their ongoing Family Zone for seasonal crafts, coloring pages, videos, and more. Register here.

ChalkWalk
Where: Alley off 7th St NW (btwn H & G) | Gallery Place, DC
When: March 20 – April 30
Admission: Free

Visit DowntownDC’s ChalkWalk to step into an immersive spring art experience.  It will be a unique, Instagrammy, and cherry blossom-inspired 3D art installation backdrop to celebrate spring in the city. Share your photos using the hashtag #ChalkWalkDC for a chance to win prizes from the DowntownDC BID.

Pop-Up Street Theater
Where: Locales around Arlington, VA
When: March 21 & 28 April 4 & 11 | 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Synetic Theatre, which presents some of the most innovative shows around, will be clowning around with pop-up performances all around Arlington during the Festival. To work with these social distancing times, they are bringing back street theater as a pair of improv actors make appearances at the Art Wall in Virginia Highlands Park, the Crystal City Water Park, and the Long Bridge Park Esplanade.

Blossom Kite Fly
Where: Your backyard or local park
When: March 27-28
Admission: Free

The annual Kite Festival on the Mall — one of the best events of the NCBF (& anytime in DC, for that matter) —  is not happening this year. Instead, the Festival encourages all to take part in the kite-flying tradition on their own — but with the help of workshops and demos. Find more information about registering here.

Celebrating Cherry Blossoms
Where: National Museum of Asian Art | Online
When: March 27, 10-10:45am
Admission: Free

Just in time for peak bloom, ring in the arrival of spring with the art doctors in this online Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop. From paintings to Japanese tea bowls, discover how Smithsonian conservators preserve these colorful artworks. Then try your hand at making your own cherry blossom-inspired creation. Designed for ages 3-8 and caretakers. Register in advance, one per family, and a Zoom link and list of suggested materials will be sent to participants 24–48 hours in advance of the workshop.

Blossoms & Baseball Drive-in
Where: Akridge Lot | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 2 & 3, 7pm
Admission: $20/car

The Capitol Riverfront BID is welcoming the spring season back to the neighborhood during MLB Opening Day Weekend with cherry blossom cheer and baseball-themed movies featuring 42: The True Story of an American Legend and A League of Their Own.

Kimono for Kids
Where: GWU & Textile Museum | Online
When: April 3, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Kids can enjoy an interactive discussion of Japanese traditional clothing, plus a simple craft project made from materials found at home and inspired by Japanese textiles in this program led by staff from the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Be sure to register to get the program link.

Virtual Sakura Matsuri
Where: Online
When: April 3, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

Join Japan-America Society of Washington DC for the Sakura Matsuri – Virtual Community Gathering. Enjoy stage performances and the opportunity to interact live with many of your favorite Sakura Matsuri exhibitors, vendors and participants.

* Do you know of a great cherry blossom event that’s not listed here?  Let us all know in the comments!

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Exhibit, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 5-7

The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden – between the Hirshhorn and the Arts & Industry Building 

 

Happy Weekend!

Sunny Days
Where: Around the area
When Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

The weather app is showing bright little suns all weekend, so layer up and plan on some outdoor adventures! Find loads of ideas for things to do and places to hang in The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, a perennial go-to KFDC post.

Joyful Friday
Where: NMAAHC | Online
When: Friday, 11am
Admission: Free

Now through July, the National Museum of African American History & Culture presents Joyful Fridays with programs based on projects and activities featured in their new Joyful ABC Activity Books. Families and educators with kids ages 4-8 can registerer a free spot in these weekly Zoom classes led by museum educators. During this  G is for Grateful session, participants will paint or draw gratitude art.

Shop the District x International Women’s Day
Where: Union Market District, DC
When: Friday – Monday
Admission: Free

DC is one of the top cities in the US for female entrepreneurs. At Union Market District, A The Union Market District is a destination that is a creative economic platform for culture, food, art, music and everything that makes Washington, DC, unique. Forty percent of the businesses there are proudly women-owned, and they’re celebrating female change makers with a weekend of shopping, activations, and art to applaud and support them.

Drive-In Flicks
Where: Alexandria Drive-In Movie Theater | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 7pm & Saturday, 6:30pm, 9:30pm
Admission: $40/car

Drive-In movies are back for 2021 at the theater in Alexandria. Catching a flick from the comfort of your car is an ideal way to enjoy some entertainment out of the house and social distance. On the ticket this weekend: Jurassic Park on Friday, the n Despicable Me and Fast & Furious on Saturday. Food trucks will be there both nights offering savory and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd! Purchase movie tickets in advance!

Garden Tour
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

You can make a day of it exploring the outdoor areas of the museums on the National Mall. Both the Hirshhorn (10am – 4:30pm) and National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens (11am – 4pm) have reopened again. Plus, the Enid A. Haupt Garden, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Pollinator Garden, and more small Smithsonian gardens are all welcoming visitors.

Pop-Up Consignment Shop
Where: The Lane Social Club | Ivy City, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Shop Picklesdc’s collection of thoughtfully curated children’s consignment at The Lane Social Club. In addition to gently used children’s clothing, shoes, and toys from brands you love (mini Boden, Tea, Hanna Andersson, Patagonia), there will be a bounce house for little ones to enjoy — ALL OUTDOORS! (PS: The Lane just started offering Open Play again on weekends!)

Ready, Set… Hike!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It’ll be a great weekend to hit the trail for a hike. Enjoy the very beginning buds of spring flowers, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor some time outdoors together. This post has a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods (and other places) with the kids.  Some specific recs: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Turkey Run ParkSugarloaf Mountain, Patapsco Valley State Park, and Prince William Forest Park.

Nature Hunt
Where: Black Hills Nature Program | Boyds, MD
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Take “I Spy” to the next level in the great outdoors. Drop by the visitor center to pick up a scavenger hunt sheet, get some helpful hints, and then head out on your hunt for natural treasures! When you’ve finished, head back to the visitor center to get a prize. Stop in anytime during program hours. Intended for ages 1+.

Fairfax Parks Programs
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Take a Family Woodcock Walk at Huntley Meadows. Join a Geocaching Working at Lake Fairfax Park. Enjoy Nature Your Way at Hidden Oaks. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

MoCo March Park Picks
Where: Parks in Montgomery County, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies

Montgomery Parks is marking Women’s History Month by highlighting five of their parks named for local leaders, scientists, farmers, and educators. Follow the link to read about their contributions, then plan a visit to the places that honor them.

Sisterhood of Spies: A Virtual Girl Scout Event
Where: International Spy Museum | Online
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $12/Girl Scout

Celebrate Women’s History Month with the International Spy Museum and learn about the Sisterhood of Spies. Girl Scouts will test their spy skills and learn tricks of the trade. They will meet Sonia Purnell, author of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II to learn about Virginia Hall; former Chief of Disguise of the CIA Jonna Mendez for a gadget workshop; Liza Mundy, author of Code Girls: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codes in World War II to discuss female code breakers; and Tracy Walder, former CIA and FBI and author of The Unexpected Spy.  Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. Designed for Brownies through Senior Girl Scouts.

Inside IRL
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

While there are virtual activities being offered, the International Spy Museum and many more area places are welcoming visitors in person again. This post lists reopened venues around the area, and all of them have extra safety protocols in place for Covid.

The Magic Tree
Where: InterAct Story Theatre | Online
When: Saturday, 11am & Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

A funny, uplifting story adapted from a Zambian folk tale, performed by actor and teaching artist Khaleshia Thorpe-Price. The animals of the grasslands are in terrible trouble—it hasn’t rained in ages, and everyone is hungry and thirsty! Their only hope is to find out how to get the fruit from a mysterious magic tree, but they must journey across the land to learn how…and they have to remember the secret on the long journey back! Suitable for ages 3 and up.

Dance Themed Storytime
Where: Noyes Children’s Library Foundation | Online
When: Saturday & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Children’s book author and modern dancer Jocelyn E. Cox will read her book, Jocelyn Learns to Dance, in a special storytime event with the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation. The virtual event will also include an interview of Jocelyn by Karen Vincent, a DC stage actor and Kensington mom. Both will be available on the Noyes Foundation’s Facebook page. Recommended for ages 10 and under.

Free Community Day
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts | WDC
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free, but must reserve

The National Museum of Women in the Arts just reopened, and the first and third Sundays of every month are a great opportunity to explore it when admission is FREE! Works span the centuries, from the 16th to the present in a variety of mediums, highlighting women artists all over the world. If tickets aren’t available, plan to go another day — the admission fee is worth it!

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The Phillips Collection reopens Saturday, March 6! It’s sold out for this weekend, but tickets for March 11-14 will be released on March 8 at 10am for members and 12pm for general admission.
* This sounds amazing, and tickets go on sale today, Friday, at 12pm.
* New book by two local parents: Working with Worry gives parents practical tools to support their children in today’s increasingly stressful world.
* And JoAnn Hill, a DC area writer and educator, shares five off-the-beaten path places to explore in this new post that offers a preview of her upcoming book, Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
* I mentioned Imperfect Foods recently…if you’re interested and want to try it out, you can now get $20 towards a box through my referral link.
* Made me LOL because I actually experienced this recently (it’s real)!

 

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekend, Winter