Tag Archives: Fun Things to do with Kids in the Washington DC Area

The Weekend: March 13-15


If you visited this page hoping to find information about events and activities happening around DC this weekend, you’re going to be very disappointed. I had a whole Weekend Round-Up all ready to go, but it’s been scrapped.

Not only have many events been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus, my conscience is weighing in, too. With all that we now know about coronavirus, I believe that exercising caution and proactively preventing the spread of the disease should be of utmost importance at this time. No, I am not a health expert (though I did discuss this with one), but I am a concerned human, and I just wouldn’t feel right encouraging my readers in any way to put themselves (and others) in potentially risky health situations. This isn’t panic; it’s just taking these unique circumstances very seriously.


If you still want to get out of the house, consider outdoor activities that still allow for social distancing like hiking, a bike ride, or even a shark tooth hunting adventure.

I’m still sharing my planned *MORE GOOD STUFF* section with a mix of relevant, informative, and fun links, plus some more recommendations for activities in lieu of large public events.

Thanks for your understanding of this decision. Stay healthy and safe.

And, as always, Happy Weekend!

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* The DC government set up a central website for local coronavirus updates.
* The Washington Post also has Live Updates.
* Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo are still open as of now, but all public events through May 3 are canceled.
* All shows scheduled at the 9:30 Club, Lincoln Theatre, and The Anthem through March 31 are being postponed.
* How the coronavirus hijacks your cells.
* Some National Cherry Blossom Festival events have been canceled, including the Kite Festival, and there may be even more.
* The cherry blossom peak has been revised to March 21-24, and these tips for viewing them include places to go without the crowds.
* My friend Darcy always has the best recommendations for reading, watching, and listening.
* The second season of My Brilliant Friend, based on the wonderful books by Elena Ferrante, premieres Monday!
* I love a good protest.

*FUN & GAMES AT HOME WITH KIDS*
* Fatherly has some good suggestions for DIY activities with kiddos.
* Here are some good ideas from The Cut.
* 10 Kid-Friendly Card Games.
* Some of our favorite family games: Rummikub, Anomia, Scrabble, and Catan.
* A KFDC reader shared this fun website with me.

*MORE TO WATCH* (With and without kids)
* A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood seems like a good one to see now for something uplifting and, because, Tom Hanks.
* In case you didn’t (or did) see Frozen 2 in the theater, you can rent it now.
* Sing Street is one of our family’s favorite movies.
* Sasha and I just watched Legally Blonde together — her first time seeing and enjoying it — and I loved it all over again.
* The Outsider on HBO is so creepy and compelling.
* Owen (age 14) is really into this anime series.
* I’m with Hillary on Hulu!
* Levi and I just watched Swallow, a super bizarre movie.
* I mentioned Love is Blind last week, and I’m suggesting it again because it’s a perfect binge.
* Contagion apparently has had a resurgence in popularity (wonder why?).

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Filed under 2020, DC, Maryland, Spring, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2020)

[Note: This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom. Also, I realize that coronavirus may be a factor as you make plans to see the flowers; however, I am not a health expert, but know that KFDC has an audience of smart, discerning parents, so I will leave those judgements up to you.]

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is NOT recommended to go see the cherry blossoms, especially at the Tidal Basin and on the National Mall, as it is NOT conducive to social distancing. Instead, view them virtually from home or just wait to set them next year.

🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸

Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 27-30 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s spring agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it ishard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro — it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the Tidal Basin for the blossom scene. Another good option is the bus — the DC Circulator will run between Eastern Market and L’Enfant Plaza, a convenient route with even more to do on both ends. And the 32, 34, and 36 routes of Metrobus stop at the National Mall close to the Washington Monument. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take the Cherry Blossom Shuttle ($1/person) to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin. There is also a parking garage at L’Enfant Plaza. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. You can ensure yourself a spot with Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service that lets you search for and reserve garage spaces in advance.

Flying amid the flowers

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson back in my kids’ baby days on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration, the Blossom Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri among them, and there are many non-official festival happenings as well. Most events take place nearby the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. Peak bloom is expected to occur mid-Festival this year, so you can enjoy blossom-inspired activities and the efflorescent trees at the same time. This post has details on the best cherry blossom season celebrations and activities for families.

Get a view of the blossoms from a paddle boat

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Right now you can find great deals with Washington Marina National Ferry Corp, Capitol River Cruises, and Boomerang Boat Tours. Potomac Riverboat Company and DC Water Taxi are a couple more to check out. You can also opt for a paddling excursion and navigate the waters yourself.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual blossoms only add to it. And Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has a lovely collection of cherry trees, too.

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the memorials are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos



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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 9-13

Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian


Monday – Take advantage of the 70-degree sunny day at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Little ones will have a blast playing in the delightful Children’s Garden, and you’ll all love exploring the grounds. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. And for more places to opt outside, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Tuesday – Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian through a variety of exhibits and hands-on activities. Check out kayaks and canoes and totem poles in the stunning atrium, then head upstairs to the imagiNATIONS space especially for kids. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Plan on lunch or a snack in the Mitsitam Cafe, where you can enjoy the indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, imagiNATIONs 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. There are nearby trails for walks in the woods. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center — guests are welcome to stop by the stables, though pony rides are not offered this time of year. Read more about Rock Creek Park in this KFDC post.

Thursday – Catch a performance of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats at Adventure Theatre. Showtimes are at 10am and 12pm, and tickets are $20.50. If weather permits, stay at Glen Eco Park to let the kids romp on the playground after the show.

Friday – Roam free at the enchanting gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown while you still can — the no entry fee period ends after March 14! The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park, where admission is also free, or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit.


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Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: March 6-8

Where will your DC adventures take you this weekend?


Happy Weekend!

Story Time | La Hora de Cuento
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Head to the museum for an English & Spanish story time. Together you’ll read a book aloud, move, and play. All ages are welcome, especially the youngest visitors and nursing parents. The featured children’s book will be read in both English and Spanish. This will take place in the East Building Atrium (the modern side with the big, blue rooster on the roof). Afterward, plan to stay and explore the museum!

Parents’ Night Out
Where: The Lane Social Club | Ivy City, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: $50

Looking for a stress free night out without the kids? Is that even a question? Of course you are! Drop the kids off for creative and playful night of fun at The Lane so you can hit the town. Parents Night Out is organized and staffed by their friends at Kidovation Stage. Participating kids must be 3 or older. Price includes pizza, parfait bar, crafts and lots of fun.

Wizardry
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday & Sunday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start $10

Kick off and wind down the weekend with some basketball! The Wizards are hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Friday evening and the Miami Heat on Sunday. Plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Carmine’s, Jaleo, Pi Pizzeria, Cava Grill, and Shake Shack. Before you get tickets, learn about the Wizards Kids Club that offers some great perks for young fans as well as their Jr. Wizards Basektball Camps!

Travel & Adventure Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $16/adults, free/children

Get travel inspiration, experience culture, and have fun! A big expo like this might sound like a grown-up affair, but a bunch of cool pursuits will thrill the kids, too. Besides hundreds of travel providers and destinations featured, there will be cultural performances, virtual reality experiences, and much more family fun.

Washington Justice for All
Where: The Anthem | Southwest DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Tickets start at $30/day

The Washington Justice is back at The Anthem for another weekend of esports. “Huh?” you ask. Esports are, essentially, professional video gaming competitions — and I hear they’re quite popular and fun. There are several matches throughout the weekend, and both kids and adults can enjoy them.

#OptOutside
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:Varies by Locale

It looks like it’ll be great weather to get outdoors! You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Take an urban hike among the memorials, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of inspiration for fun in the sun.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12:30-2:30pm
Admission: Free

Don your green and line the streets of Old Town Alexandria to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a bit early at the 38th annual parade! Go early for the Fun Dog Show on Market Square as more than 30 costumed dogs will compete in a range of categories. The procession kicks off at 12:30pm at Alfred and King Streets, then winds through Old Town, showcasing elected officials, Irish Ambassadors, military commanders, scout troops, high school bands, and local celebrities.

123 Andrés
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 11am & 1:30pm | Sunday, 1:30pm & 4pm
Admission: $20

Catch a highly interactive and bilingual event that will delight children ages 3-8 and their families. Before each concert, kids may explore the instruments that the artists willl be playing during the show.

DC United vs. Inter Miami CF
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 3:30pm
Admission: Tickets start at $29

Enjoy the afternoon at a DC United match, their second of this season. Get to Audi Field early and take the kids to the new Kick Zone when gates open! The family-friendly area will be full of fun games, a mini soccer field, and other outdoor activities. Find it all in the Southwest corner of the stadium near Gate B.

Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Thumbelina is making a big impression on the Imagination Stage.
* Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth is also a hit at the Bethesda theatre
* Beauty and the Beast is the Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And really little ones will enjoy Magic Toyshop, Saturday’s Tiny Tots performance there
* Spend Saturday morning laughing with The Great Zucchini at Jammin Java
* Make it a date night for Celia and Fidel at Arena Stage

Full STEAM Ahead
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10.95/age 1+

The National Children’s Museum is the newest cool place for kids, with an array of STEAM-inspired exhibits that offer fun and interesting ways to engage, learn, and exercise creativity. It’s geared toward kids up to age 12, and there are areas especially for littles. Tickets are timed entry, so it’s a good idea to reserve yours in advance!

Moonshot Studio Art Adventures
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The Moonshot Studio at The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s expansion offering more ways to experience the arts, welcomes weekend drop-ins. Offering activities especially for families, you can learn to draw like Mo Willems, explore the words and ideals of JFK, and have fun at the Mixmaster Station creating mixes using sounds, rhythms, and beats. The Studio is open every Saturday and Sunday, and it’s always free to pop in.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks throughout 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. Go nature snooping at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Join an Astronomy Festival at Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Enjoy an All Things Frozen Tea Party at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Details and registration for these and more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Ethiopia Day CANCELLED!
Where: KID. Museum | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $12/child (includes 2 adults)

Celebrate the culture, crafts, and flavors of Ethiopia as you explore traditional forms of making, experience Ethiopian art and music, take part in cultural rituals, enjoy performances, sample traditional Ethiopian foods, and more! Drop in any time and stay as long as you like. Same day tickets may be purchased at the front desk.

International Women’s Day Celebration
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 12–5 p.m.
Admission: Free

Celebrate International Women’s Day at at the museum dedicated to women’s art! They’ll be hosting their signature Fierce Women and #5WomenArtists tours, hands-on activities for young learners, special offers in the museum shop, and more. The Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, usually only open on weekdays, will also welcome visitors. See the calendar on the website for more details about tour times and programs.

Purim Carnival
Where: Agudas Achim Congregation | Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 1:30pm
Admission: $25/all you can play or $1/game ticket

Agudas Achim Sisterhood invites you to join in fun, games, hamentaschen ,and falafel at the annual Purim Carnival on Sunday. The youngest set (ages 0-5) are welcome for a special preview and play hour, 10:30-11:30am. Check out lots of new new games and have lots of fun! Get your tickets online in advance or at the door: All you can play and bounce wristband: $25; individual game tickets: $1.

Tunes 4 Tots Kids Sing Along
Where: Steadfast Supply | Navy Yard, DC
When: Sunday, 10-10:30am
Admission: $16

Join a half hour Tunes 4 Tots class where little ones will learn fundamental music concepts through song, movement, and play! Tunes 4 Tots is designed for children ages 6 and under along with a participating adult. Make a day of it and enjoy lunch, shopping, ice cream, and more at The Yards!

Harambee w/ Baba Ras D
Where: Capitol Cider House | Petworth, DC
When: Sunday, 10:30am
Admission: $7-10

Baba Ras D’s session is a morning jolt of inspiration for parents, caregivers and children alike. Harambee, which means “all pull together” in Swahili, is the practice of hope, possibility and compassion – basically, all the things that happen when we all come together. Little ones can express their voices (into a microphone), dance, play a drum or percussion instrument, shout or sing-along to songs that build character, confidence and community. Tickets required for all ages. Adult ticket holders will be able to enjoy our normal weekday happy hour – $4 pours of house cider, $5 craft beer, $6 local wine & $7 cocktails – from 10am-12pm.

Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Persian New Year at the annual Nowruz celebration! Free attractions and activities for all ages include storytelling, hands-on art projects, live music, film screenings, calligraphy, food, and the featured exhibitions Engaging the Senses, Feast Your Eyes, and Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran.

Yarn Storming
Where: Adkins Arborteum | Eastern Shore, MD
When: Sunday, 2-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $2/age 6-18, free/5 & under

Day trip out to the Eastern Shore to enjoy unique art and the outdoors. Also known as yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting, and graffiti knitting, yarn storming is a street art that employs knitted or crocheted yarn in place of paint or chalk. Through early April, Adkins Arboretum will be decked out in colorful and whimsical “sweaters” created by local yarn artists. The public is welcome to attend the opening reception of the exhibit on Sunday. Discount: When you arrive at the visitor center, mention that you heard about Adkins on KFDC, and get one adult admission FREE!

Kid’s Hamentasch Bake
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 2-3pm
Admission: $10/child, $25/family

Get ready for Purim and join Chabad DC at the Hill Center for an awesome Hamentasch Bake! Roll, shape, and fill your own hamentaschen with an assortment of fillings, then bring home to bake and share with your family and friends!

Washington Justice for All
Where: The Anthem | Southwest DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Washington Justice is back at The Anthem for another round of esports matches. “Huh?” you ask. This is a league of professional video gamers, and apparently gets a big following. There are several matches throughout the weekend, and both kids and adults can enjoy them!

Icing on the Skate
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

The outdoor ice skating season is winding down, and there are only a couple of weekends left to enjoy gliding al fresco. It’s a great way to take advantage of both the season and the nice, sunny weather. See this post about local rinks for details on where you can skate under the sky.

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 beginning 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 a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods (and other places) with the kids.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Coronavirus prevention advice. You’ve likely seen a version of this, but it doesn’t hurt to look again.
* A comic about it for kids.
* Goldstar has pre-sale tickets for Hamilton at the Kennedy Center this summer!
* I have 20 “Admit 4” passes up for grabs to see a promo screening of Spies in Disguise at Mazza Gallerie on Saturday at 11am. Snag them here.
* Enter for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters!
* The public will soon be able to go inside the Mormon Temple. (You know, the big palace-like place you can see from the Beltway near Kensington, where there used to be the “Surrender Dorothy” sign). Get a peek here.
* Say cheese.😄
* Have I mentioned yet that Emilie’s is awesome?
* Love is Blind was the best worst thing I’ve seen in awhile. Anyone else???


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter