Tag Archives: American Indian Museum

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 31-November 4

Happy Halloween!

Monday – Get little ones ready for the big night at a public library, where Halloween-themed story times and arts & crafts sessions are happening throughout the day at many locations.  Find out what’s on the schedule at one near you by checking calendars at these links: DC Public Library, Alexandria Public LibraryArlington Public Library, Fairfax County Public LibraryMontgomery Country Public Library, Howard County Library. And if you’re looking for an alternative to evening trick-or-treating, Tudor Place still has space left for its Historic Halloween Spooktacular.

Tuesday – The National Building Museum is hosting its Book of the Month program at 10:30am & 11:30am with readings of Urban Animals by Isabel Hill along with a hands-on activity. Get there early for play time in the Building Zone, as they now have timed entries that start on the hour. And don’t forget that admission is $3/person.

Wednesday –  Explore imagiNATIONS, the American Indian Museum’s new family activity center.  Weave a giant basket, build an igloo, check out models of native dwellings, read children’s books about American Indian culture, and more. This post from a couple of days ago has more details and photos of the new space.

Thursday – Take the kids to play at Clemyjontri, the brilliant, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Pack food for lunch in the picnic pavilion (the few vending machines only serve juice and water).  Admission is free, hours are 7am to dusk.

Friday – Engage in imaginative play in the various themed rooms and crafts areas at the Playseum. Admission is $6/person (siblings under 10 months are free) and is good for the whole day. Locations in Capitol Hill and Bethesda are convenient to many eateries for lunch before or after, depending on when you go. 

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Filed under Babies, DC, Educational, Free, Halloween, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Play, Preschoolers, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekdays

Explore imagiNATIONS and More at the American Indian Museum

The new imagiNATIONS activity center at the NMAI


I’m squeezing in a last second suggestion for a kids activity this weekend.  It’s a late addition for a couple of reasons: 1) I just learned about it yesterday, and 2) With foul weather upon us, it’s a nice indoor pursuit.

DCPS had a half-day yesterday, so with a free afternoon with both our big and little kids, a friend and I decided to take them to National Mall for a little fun.  After spending some time at the Botanic Garden, we stopped by the American Indian Museum for hot chocolate at the Mitsitam Cafe and to check out the new imagiNATIONS activity center. (And here I need to note that the hot chocolate was delish — a Mexican variety with a little spicy kick to it, thanks to the addition of peppers and cinnamon.  See the recipe for it here.)

Interactive trivia – educational and fun!

So, it turned out the imagiNATIONS activity center was closed for the day, but it was still fortuitous that we stopped by.  I got to have a peek at the space and talk to some of the staff, who let me know about some special activities taking place at the museum this weekend to celebrate today’s opening of the new exhibit A Song for the Horse Nation, which I hear is beautiful and fascinating.  And though the activity center was closed, the kids had a blast playing an interactive trivia game just outside the main area.

Despite only getting a glimpse of imagiNATIONS, I predict it’s going to be a popular place to bring kids.  First of all, it’s pretty large, stretching along an entire section of the third floor.  And the offerings inside look and sound just as good — there’s a giant basket to weave, an area with tables for hands-on crafts, interactive displays that teach about the culture and land, igloo building, Wii skateboarding (to demonstrate surfing that began with native Hawaiians), a model of various Indian dwellings, a library where story time takes place, and they told me a teepee was going to be set up this morning. Apparently, there is even more coming, and it will all be open to the public during museum hours.

As for this weekend’s special events, there will be activities, demos, and more for the whole family. Here’s a quick list of what you can enjoy both Saturday and Sunday:

Beading Demo:  10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Ledge Art and How to Dress to Dress a Horse Workshop: 10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Special Exhibition Tour: 10:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-3:30pm

Feed the family at Mitsitam Cafe

Plan your visit around lunch, because the Mitsitam Cafe adds to the museum experience, offering a variety of indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Five food stations have native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere — Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains. Each offer a special kids meal for smaller appetites. And be sure to top it all off with a cup of that hot chocolate!

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend