Tag Archives: Bethesda MD

At-Home Toys Inspired by The Little Towns Children’s Museum

[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 here, herehere, and here.]

 

If you’re not ready to venture back into the DC area’s indoor play spaces, this post will bring one of my family’s favorite places to you. The Little Towns Children’s Museum opened during the pandemic and was somewhat of a secret until recently, with play sessions now filling up. The play space, designed for kids ages 6 months to 8 years, is modeled after a real town — and actual local businesses — with every storefront a child could imagine

Little Towns is more modern and impeccably detailed than some of the other mini town play places you may have been to. And the space is large yet contained, making it conducive to lots of independent play. You can follow your children around, or enjoy a moment of solitude in the café space. Along with limited capacity, Covid protocols include temperature checks, mask requirements, and sanitation between play sessions.

However, if you are keeping your activities to outdoor-only, I’ve highlighted our favorite features of the space below, along with at-home items they’ve inspired. Whether you’re ready to start your holiday shopping extra early, or just need more independent play — like asap — this list is for you.

 

The bakery, modeled after Georgetown Cupcake, is always the first place my kids go, and the one place they return to again before leaving.

At-Home: This Cupcake Party Game has been a long-standing hit in our home. My kids don’t actually play the game, they just put together the cupcakes—over and over and over again.

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After the bakery, my daughter always heads to the fire station to put on one of the complete firefighter ensembles.

At-Home: Dress-up has been an activity with the longest shelf life (pun intended) in my house. Mix up the princess dresses with dress up sets like this.

 

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The beauty salon is modeled after Drybar, and you’ll find little ones “styling” hair there with brushes, clips, and rollers for a surprisingly long amount of time.

At-Home: We paired this Elsa Styling Head with this Hair Salon Toy Kit to get lots of kid-initiated, independent play. The battery-operated, blowing hair dryer is a favorite.

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The kid-operated vehicles at Little Towns are my son’s favorite. He loops around and around the town until it’s time to let another patiently waiting kid have a turn.

At-Home: If you have a loop of open floor space in your home, I highly recommend an indoor-only vehicle. My best purchase of the year may be our plasma car, used for this purpose.

 

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The diner is the newest room at Little Towns and is so well done. Kids love to reverse roles here and serve their grown-ups—a nice change of pace, even if it is just pretend!

At-Home: Pretend food that kids can “cut” has been a winner for us, and is still one of our go-to quiet time activities. We have a fruit and veggie set; this set is fun too.

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A do-it-yourself grocery shopping experience is always a hit with little kids, and the grocery store at Little Towns is as real as the pretend ones get.

At-Home: Toy shopping carts have been a favorite of both of my kids at one point or another, more so than any other push toy. This pairs well with the pretend food mentioned above.

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The dance party room set-up for dancing and pretend DJing, takes the excitement up a notch—and is just so darn cool.

At-Home: We’ve had this kids microphone for several years and the magic of Bluetooth in a toy never gets old. This one with LED lights is great for older kids.

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Every kid must be the veterinarian at some point during their visit to Little Towns. They love to dress up and attend to one of the toy animals in the cages.

At-Home: Vet kits are maybe better for independent play than doctor kits, since grown-ups tend to be the patients for doctor check-ups. Stuffed animals can get endless check-ups!

 

What’s your child’s favorite pretend play activity? Share with us in the comments!

 

And if you’re up for out-of-the-house, in-person play…

The Little Towns Children’s Museum
Where: 4931 Wyaconda Road |North Bethesda, MD
When: Mon–Thurs, 9:30am–4:30pm; Fri–Sun, 9:30am – 7pm
Admission: $25/child for Open Play
*Reservations required (limited capacity); book in advance 

 

 

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Filed under Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Maryland, Preschoolers, Product, Shop, Toddlers

Learn About Washington Waldorf School at a Virtual Open House

 

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Preschoolers, Schools, Social Distancing, Virtual Programs

Ideas for At-Home Celebrations of Light in Dark Times, from the Washington Waldorf School

[Note:  This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School]

 

At this time of year, when the daylight hours are diminishing, there are many ways to celebrate light shining out in the darkness. This year in particular, our need to connect to our own inner light and that of our fellow creatures is palpable. As the days get shorter, we might also feel more restless as we hunker down at home. Participating in some type of festival can bring some balance, calm, and hope. Perhaps you have a traditional way of celebrating — maybe your family observed Diwali recently, you are steeped in Advent, or your family is preparing for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or Kwanzaa. Perhaps you don’t have a tradition to guide your celebrations, but the idea of taking time to contemplate light shining out in dark times appeals to you. 

At Waldorf schools, we do not teach any specific religion, but we honor the spiritual life and make space for our community to explore the grand themes of the human search for connection and purpose as well as the work of making our world a better place for all. In particular, we have a few ways that we celebrate light in dark times. Here, we share them with you in the hope that you may find something useful to help your family create new traditions, or enhance existing customs, as you find sparks of joy in these times and feel the glow of a hopeful heart.

 

Lantern Walk

This festival is held after dusk, when our lantern light breaks through the outer darkness of approaching winter. It marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Carrying a light into the darkness in the company of others – as we do during the Lantern Walk – can be reassuring. This can be a good socially distanced activity to do with a friend or neighbor with whom you want to maintain or build a connection.

Making a lantern can be a fun activity at home, and it will foster anticipation for the walk. If you aren’t able to make your own, don’t let that stop you! You can use whatever portable light source you have available to take a walk in the darkness and see what you find!

Lantern designs: Balloon Lantern | Waldorf Paper Lantern | Glass Decoupage Lantern | Paper Dodecahedron Lantern

 

Candle Craft

Decorating a candle and holder is a great project, and the result is a unique light that can be lit with intention and feel very special. Your family may choose to light it at meal times or a young child’s bed time.

Look for a 1-2” slice of a thick tree branch or a thin trunk (a Christmas tree lot near you might have extras from the ends of trees they’ve sold). Drill a hole in the center to hold a tall candle, or a wide candle can sit on the wood or even just a little plate. To find decorations, you can pick up a few pine cones, acorns, berries, greens, etc. as you walk around your neighborhood or a park. Perhaps you already have some small treasures at home — seashells, stones, ribbons, etc. You can also order thin decorating beeswax to make shapes that will stick to the sides of your candle when warmed a bit. 

 

Winter Spiral Walk

A beloved tradition in Waldorf schools is the winter spiral. Usually, it is a spiral walkway created from evergreen branches laid out on the floor and decorated with shells, crystals, and small figurines. At home, a simple pine garland or even a plain rope can be used to create a spiral. Lights in the room are kept low and at the heart of the spiral is a lit candle (the spiral can also be set up outside). Participants sit around the outside of the spiral and wait for their turn. In silence, or with soft musical accompaniment, each participant sits holding an unlit candle. Often the candles are set into apples as holders. On your turn, carry your candle to the center of the spiral, light the candle and then carry your light back out of the spiral into the world. We usually find a place along the spiral to set our lights so that, at the end of the walk, we can tangibly see how our lights combine to bring warmth and illumination to the space.   See examples on Instagram.

 

With our hope for your family’s well being and that you find moments of light in difficult days…
The Washington Waldorf School

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Founded in 1969, The Washington Waldorf School is a coed, PreK – 12 independent school in Bethesda, MD. Our teachers incorporate academic, artistic, and practical elements into every subject, creating memorable lessons, successful scholars, and strong individuals.

 

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Guest Post, Maryland, Schools, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Winter

Registration is Open for Summer Camp with Washington Waldorf School!



This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2020, Camp, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Preschoolers, Schools, Summer, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays

Visit the Washington Waldorf School for a Tour or Open House!


This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, Educational, Gradeschoolers, High Schoolers, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Schools, Teens, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter