Tag Archives: Color Me Mine

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

The Building Zone at the National Building Museum is a great rainy day play option for little ones


Note: This list has been updated. Find a bigger, better version here.

Looking for activities for the kids on a foul-weather day?  Here are some ideas…

1.  Let them burn some energy at an indoor gymThis is a good list to get you started.

2.  Take in a show at Glen Echo Park — see what’s currently on stages at The Puppet Co. and Adventure Theatre.

3.  Head to the National Building Museum for some play time in the Building Zone or other activities in the Great Hall. (Note: linked post contains info about past events, as well as a description of what’s currently there).

4.  Check out your local library.

5.  Catch an IMAX like Born to Be Wild 3D or one of several other great films currently playing at the Smithsonian IMAX Theaters.  See the Smithsonian website for details.

6.  Visit a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall (or elsewhere in the city). They are free, fantastic places to stay dry.

7.   Take a tour of Tudor Place, and be sure to check the calendar for special events.

8.  See an exhibit or a few at the National Geographic Museum.

9.  Go ice skating at the Kettler Iceplex, in College Park, or at Cabin John Ice Rink.

10.  Shake your thang with the Boogie Babes. They bring children’s musicians to Eastern Market every Thursday morning and to the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.

11.  Let imaginations run wild with pretend play at the Playseum. Locations are in Capitol Hill and Bethesda.

12.  Explore space at a planetarium. The Albert Einstein Planetarium at the Air & Space is open every day.  The Rock Creek Park Planetarium has free shows on weekends and Wednesdays at 4pm.  And the David M. Brown Planetarium is in Arlington, though open only during the school year.

13.  Jump in at an indoor pool. (Note: DC DPR closes aquatic centers if there is thunder).

14.  Romp in the play area and ride the Express Train at Tysons Corner Center.

15.  Wing it at the College Park Aviation Museum.

16.  Paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, All Fired Up, or Clay Cafe.

17.  Rock out at a Jammin’ Java kids show.

18.  Get in touch with nature at the U.S. Botanic Garden, where many of the plant collections make you feel like you’re not just outdoors, but in a whole other region altogether.

19.  Nuture the next 007 at the International Spy Museum. (Best for about ages 6 and up.)

20.  Go below the surface, literally and figuratively, at the National Aquarium in DC, located in the lower level of the Department of Commerce Building.

21.  Have a blast at Port Discovery in Baltimore.

22.  And speaking of Baltimore and aquariums, the National Aquarium in Fells Point gets its own spot on this list.

23.  As does the Maryland Science Center, also on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Visit the new traveling bug exhibit along with a host of cool permanent collections.

24.  Deliver on fun at the National Postal Museum, where lots of interactive exhibits and an easy-to-explore space make it a perfect outing for little ones.

25.  Watch a movie screening especially for kids or parents with brand new ones. Read about special movie series in the area.

26.  Explore imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at that National Museum of the American Indian.

27.  Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young, the new program for little audiences at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

28.  Get your game on at Labyrinth, the Capitol Hill shop specializing in games and puzzles for all ages. Demo a few at tables set up in back for just that purpose.

29. Experience the outdoors inside at a nature center. Find one near you with the help of  The Natural Capital blog.

30. Frolic in the new 1,200-square-foot play area at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, Va. (And while you’re there, do a little outlet shopping, too!)

REI Outlet Just Reduced!


Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Play, Theatre, Weekend

Day of the Deal

Wow, what a day for DC-area deals!  They cover the savings spectrum, from bargains on family activities to produce delivery and sweet treats for a steal to great discounts on date nights.  Here’s where you can get in on all of the budget-friendly offers.

Fun With The Kids

– Plum District:  $13 for Two Skating Passes Plus Skate Rentals in Reston

– Wow.com: $20 for $40 Worth of Pottery Painting at Claytime Café in Manassas

– LivingSocial Family:  $10 for $30 Worth of Ceramics and Painting in G-burg

It’s All About Balance…

– LivingSocial DC: $22 for a One-Month Membership to Arganica Farm Club

– Eversave: $15 for a Dozen Delicious Cupcakes from Cupcake Dropoff

Book the Babysitter!

– DealOn:  $25 or Less for $50 in Food and Drinks at Zengo

– Groupon: $25 Worth of Fresh, Sustainable Seafod and Drinks at Hook


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Filed under Art, Deal, Eats, Shop

Where’s the Party?

Before I had kids, I swore I wouldn’t be that mom who obsessed about birthday parties and went over the top for the perfect celebration.  I vowed to keep them low-key and in control with just a few friends and limited presents. Then, I had kids. And like many pre-child ideas I had about the kind of parent I would be, that one went straight out the window.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy excessive about parties, but I do put a lot of thought into them, trying to come up with the right venue, at least a loose theme, fun activities, and a nod to the party guests’ parents (hello, beer and wine!).  And I’m well aware that some eyes are rolling now (ooh, she’s that mom), but I can deal.

As we’ve surged into spring, birthday parties have been on my mind. (Is it just me, or is spring, like, birthday party season?  Something good must be happening nine months prior to this time of year.)  And I like to see what other parents do for their kids’ celebrations to get much-needed ideas for my own.  Birthday parties are a challenge for me for a few reasons:  1) I have two January babes, which means parties have to be indoors 2) We live in a typical DC rowhouse that doesn’t host 15 toddlers, plus siblings, plus parents very well (and we know this from fun-but-utterly-chaotic experience). 3) Parties out of the house sometimes have rules and limitations that aren’t so easy to heed (what, no beer at the zoo?!).

All that said, I’m always on the lookout for good party places and ideas, and surely I’m not alone in that endeavor.  So, I’ve compiled a list of places and ideas, both indoor and outdoor, to help with the party planning.  Some come from experience, some are recommendations from friends, others I’ve just read about.  And I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones, so feel free to add suggestions in the comments section.

Tumbling – If your kids are toddler age or older, you’ve likely been to a birthday party at Gymboree, Jonah’s Treehouse, JW Tumbles, or a similar place.  The great thing about these parties is that the work is done for you—party supplies are included, fun activities are planned and led by staff, and there’s no cleanup afterwards.  A party at Jonah’s Treehouse in Glover Park costs $395 for a 90-minute package, which includes just about everthing but the cake.  JW Tumbles, which has locations in Virginia, costs $320 for the same amount of time.  Gymboree costs $375.

FONZThe National Zoo hosts parties for childen ages 4-8 in one of three indoor decorated party rooms.  For $325 for up to 10 children (plus $20 for each additional child) two hours of party time includes a walking tour of selected zoo exhibits, zoo-themed goody bags, party supplies, and snacks (you supply the cake).  They also offer goodies like bagel platters for adults and Geogetown Cupcake delivery at extra cost.  Parties are at 10am on Saturdays and Sundays.  I hear they book up early, so be sure to reserve the date well in advance.

H Street Country Club –  We went to a party here this past winter and loved it.  This H Street Corrider establishment is popular among bar hoppers at night, but early in the day on weekends it’s all about kids.  After a good while of fun on a fantastic DC-themed minigolf course, kids feast on quesadillas, chicken tenders, and birthday cake while parents can mingle at the bar. The party continues with a piñata and more minigolf before wrapping up. Visit their website for details.

Lucky Strike Lanes – Who doesn’t love a bowling party?   Lucky Strike Lanes offers packages that are recommended for kids ages 3-4 and up.  You get your own party space, plus your own bowling lanes (which you can decorate). Costs depend on the size of the party and what you include, so give them a call for specifics.

Capitol Skyline Pool – This is for summer birthdays only, since the pool is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  We attended a super fun party here last year.  While they don’t have a set package for kids’ birthday parties, you can work with the manager to plan a bash.  Not only can guests splash around in the competition-sized pool, they can enjoy food, cake, and other birthday fun in a sectioned-off area by the restaurant.

National Building Museum – At select times on Saturdays and Sundays, the museum hosts birthday parties in the Building Zone and other museum rooms.  Activities include a walk around the upper level of the museum (acrophobes beware), building related stories and crafts, and free play in the Building Zone.  Costs run upwards of $400 for members and $480 for nonmembers.

Glen Echo Park – There are a couple of options for birthday parties at Glen Echo Park, a wonderful milieu of art, culture and amusement that kids love.  Kids can watch a play or puppet show then celebrate in a private room—facility rentals and party packages are available.  If you think the crowd will get too antsy for a production, rent the room for food and cake, then enjoy the carousel and other fun throughout the park.  Give them a call for costs and details.

Color Me Mine – The pottery painting place with a few locations in the area offers party packages for kids.  Packages may vary by locations.  At the Silver Spring store, the type of party depends on the age—Paint me a Story is for children 3-5, The Pottery Party is for ages 6 and up, and The Tile Party is for ages 10 and up.  Prices depend on the size of the party, but generally start at $100 for 12 people, plus about $8 for each piece of pottery.

Restaurant Party Room – Many area restaurants have private rooms where you can throw a party for little or no cost (for the room itself)—they figure the profit comes from all of the food and drinks ordered for guests. We went that avenue for Owen’s last birthday and reserved the upstairs at The Argonaut, a tavern on H Street NE, for his bash. The space was great with plenty of seating in the main room (we covered the tables with paper and let the kids color) and a couple of small rooms, including one that became a dance area for the kids.  It did turn a bit into happy hour for parents, but that can happen at 4pm on a cold winter Saturday, especially when there’s a bar in the room (kids drinks served, too!).  But, we avoided the hassle of cramming everyone into our house, pulled off a mean game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and the kids—young and old—had a blast. 


Filed under All ages