Tag Archives: Free Kids Activities in DC

Regularly Occurring Museum Programs for Kids Around the DC Area

Make your own art at the National Gallery of Art

 

Not only are we so lucky to have a wealth of world class museums right here in DC, many also offer special programs to explore them even more.  Among them are sessions especially for kids that take place on a regular basis — monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, and a couple even more often.  There are story times, art activities, and all kinds of opportunities to discover the museums’ collections and related topics in new, fun ways.  So, if you’re looking for a weekday activity with little ones or something for the whole family on the weekend, there are a bunch of great options.  Even better, just about all of them are free. Here are details… and be sure to bookmark, too!

 

Get inspired at the National Portrait Gallery

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Where: 8th & F Strets NW | Penn Quarter, DC

Weekend Workshops
When: Most Saturdays & Sundays, 11:30am – 3pm
All ages are welcome to drop in and get creative at these workshops. Learn about artists and change-makers, then create art inspired by their stories.

Storytime in the Explore! Family Space
When: Mondays, 1:30-2pm
Admission: Free

Immerse in tales of artists, presidents, inventors, athletes and more! Plan for a longer visit in the family space before or after story time to play and learn about portraiture. Read more about the Explore! space here.

National Portrait Gallery Kids
When: Select Mondays, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Children and families are invited to learn, play, and create at the Portrait Gallery!  Join educators to explore topics like colors, emotions, STEM, and history through art viewing, hands-on activities, music, and movement. This program is a fun way to engage with art and each other.

Teen Conversation Circles
When: Every other Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Teen English language learners ages 13-19 are invited to join NPG educators and friends all over the world in person and via ZOOM. Together, use portraiture to learn about U.S. art, history and culture. Meet new friends and learn about different cultures while practicing English. Note that some sessions are virtual.

 

 

Say hello to fun at the Postal Museum

NATIONAL POSTAL MUSEUM
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE | National Mall, DC

Hello, Museo
When: Every other Tuesday, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

This bilingual program features music, stories, crafts, and gallery exploration. It’s designed for children ages 1-3 and their caregivers, but all are welcome! Read more about the National Postal Museum in this KFDC post.

 

 

Explore natural history on a Play Date

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Where: 1000 Madison Drive | National Mall, DC

Playdate at NMNH
When: Tuesdays, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Early learners and their caregivers are invited to explore elements of nature with museum educators, usually in the Q?rius activity space or the Explorer Theatre in the Sant Ocean Hall.

 

 

Tinker away in the Spark!Lab

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Where: | National Mall, DC

Spark!Lab
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 4pm

While this isn’t a special program, the activity center is a special space within the museum where kids ages 6-12 are invited to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. STEM activities are integrated with art, museum, and creativity.

Wegmans Wonderplace
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Again, this is not a special program, but the space for children ages 0-6 is full of features that cater to curious young visitors, incorporating play and learning in the museum’s American history context. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

 

 

Take kiddos for storytime and more at the Hirshhorn

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM
Where: 7th & Independence SW | National Mall, DC

Storytime (ON BREAK FOR SUMMER)
When: Wednesdays, 10-11am
Admission: Free

The Hirshhorn’s one-of-a-kind storytime experience offers a fun and fresh theme for kids (from birth to age 8) and their caregivers. They encourage everyone to get hands-on with their art maker projects inspired by the museum’s collection, plus enjoy read-alouds filled with music, tales, and lots of movement.

Art Cart
When: Saturdays, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Drop in with little ones on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm to make art inspired by Hirshhorn works on view. The Art Cart offers young artists a hands-on maker experience with a fresh and fun theme inspired by an artwork on display, an artmaking activity to do in the museum, and projects to extend the fun at home.

 

Hear stories about air and space

NATIONAL AIR & SPACE MUSEUM
Where: 6th & Independence SW | National Mall, DC

Story Time 
When: Thursdays, 11am
Admission: Free

Bring little ones to hear a children’s story that’s related to air and space. Some sessions include hands-on activities and play time, too. Note that the same story is repeated throughout the month.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
When: Thursdays & Sundays, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Join Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from “Zhima Jie,” the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They also journey to Zhima Jie to learn about the similarities in our view of the sky.Note that it’s always the same show, but kids can pop in now and then and maybe discover something they previously missed.

 

 

Udvar-Hazy hosts story time and more

UDVAR-HAZY CENTER
Where: 14390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy | Chantilly, VA
Admission: Free, but note that parking is $15

Story Time
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11am & 11:30am
Admission: Free

Bring little ones to hear a children’s story that’s related to air and space. Some sessions include hands-on activities and play time, too. Note that the same story is repeated throughout the month.

Second Saturday Sungazing
When: Second Saturday of the month, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Become an astronomer and observe the sun safely with a filtered telescope. Join museum staff outside at the entrance to view a variety of features on the sun. Knowledgeable staff are there to answer questions and guide observing.

 

 

 

Get crafty at a First Saturday

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
Where: East Building, 4th & Constitution NW | National Mall, DC

First Saturday
When: First Saturday of the month, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The museum’s monthly program is a special day-long affair with multiple free programs for visitors of all ages. There is a morning story time for little ones, hands-on art projects, sometimes films especially for kids, a pop-up library, and activities centered around a new theme or exhibit each month.

 

 

 

Discover the art of Asia through museum kids’ programs

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ASIAN ART
Where: 1050 Independence Ave SW | National Mall, DC

Art & Me Workshops
When: Select Saturdays monthly, 11am – 12:30pm & 1-3:30pm
Admission: Free

This program is back in person, exploring works in the museum then returning to the ImaginAsia studio to learn more through a hands-on activity. There are currently workshops scheduled for January and February, but check back soon for more to be added to the schedule.

Discovery Days
When: Select Wednesdays monthly
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of discovery and experiential learning at the National Museum of Asian Art. Choose your own adventure and explore the galleries at your own pace — there will be activities and interactions with pop-up museum educators along the way. You can also select a time slot for a thirty-minute guided art activity. This would make a great field trip — a room for eating brown-bagged lunches can be arranged upon request as well as free bus transportation for DC public and public charter schools.

 

 

Enjoy STEAM fun in a stunning space

NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
Where: 401 F Street NW | Judiciary Square, DC

STEAM Saturday
When: Second Saturday of the month
Admission: Free with museum admission ($7/child, $10/adult)

Join the museum for STEAM activities. that challenges kids to think creatively and experimentally using principles of design thinking and engineering. The program is targeted towards 2nd-8th graders and their caregivers.

 

 

Drop in for play at the Zoo — and visit the animals, too!

NATIONAL ZOO
Where: | Woodley Park, DC

Little Critters Nature Play
When: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 9:30am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Little zoogoers can drop in to explore animals and nature through creative, free-choice activity stations, water play, and story times. Designed for kids ages 0-8.

 

Art to explore indoors and out at the Kreeger

KREEGER MUSEUM
Where: 2401 Foxhall Road NW | Foxhall, DC

First Studio: Art, Story, and Workshop
When: Select Saturdays monthly, 10-11am
Admission: $10

Young artists ages 3-5 and an adult companion are invited to use their imagination as they explore the paintings, sculpture, and architecture of The Kreeger Museum. Each program focuses on a theme supported by a story, works of art from the collection, and a hands-on art-making experience. Read more about the Kreeger Museum in this KFDC post.

 

A new story and theme every month

CAPITOL JEWISH MUSEUM
Where: 575 3rd Street NW | Judiciary Square area, DC

Story Time at CJM
When: Second Thursday of each month
Admission: Free

Playing is learning! Children and their caregivers are invited to join the museum for stories, songs, and exploratory play as a means of reinforcing early literacy skills. Each month features a different theme and book suited for children of all backgrounds as they learn about themselves and the world around them. Most appreciated by kids aged 5 and under.

 

Explore aviation through special programs

COLLEGE PARK AVIATION MUSEUM
Where: 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive | College Park, MD

Cub Corner
When: Third Saturday of the month, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: $5/adult, $2/child

Enjoy a short story and craft in the museum’s gallery. Designed for younger learners 5 & under.

Afternoon Aviators
When: Last Saturday of the month, 1-2pm
Explore a variety of STEM and aviation-themed sciences with a short lesson and hands-on activity. Ideal for learners ages 8-12.

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