Exploring the exhibits in imagiNATIONS at the National Museum of the American Indian
Tuesday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Wednesday – Join Step Arika! for a special storytime for toddlers that combines reading and creative movement. The 10:30am session at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library is part of Step Xplosion!, a tour of all 8 Wards to kick off their new season. Admission is free. (Note: This also takes place on Thursday at 4pm at Mount Pleasant Library.)
Thursday – Enjoy a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. Explore a new mansion room or garden each week through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this three-session Fanciful Heroes-themed series, children will hunt for dragons, make a hero’s cape, and explore a fantastical world of adventure. The series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult (($25 member; $18 additional adults), or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on September 8, 15, and 22.
Friday – Discover American Indian culture with all kinds of interactive pursuits at imagiNATIONS, the family activity center in the National Museum of the American Indian. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee and models of native dwellings, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
*Want to cool off in the sprays? With expected high temps this coming week, DC DPR announced that operations will continue at public spray parks in the District through September 11! Hours are 10am – 7pm daily. You can also find a list of other spraygrounds in the area here.
The U.S. Botanic Garden, an inviting spot any time of year
Tuesday – Attend Mommy & Me (& Daddy Too!), the Rockville Town Square’s free monthly program for kids. Storytime, interactive movement, arts & crafts, and merchant sponsored activities are part of the active learning and creative play. The session will take place in the first floor conference room of the Rockville Memorial Library, and Curious George will be making a special appearance during storytime! The program runs 10am – 12pm on the third Tuesday of every month. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden and feel like you’re outdoors in the comfort of a beautiful, warm venue. Tour the plant collections and stop in the “Plants in Culture” exhibit, where little ones will have fun sniffing the aromas of various plants and learning about their everyday uses. If weather permits, take a stroll through the National Garden outside, too. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – Head to the Kennedy Center for LEGOS and gaming (yes, that did say Kennedy Center)! LEGO sculptures and play stations as well as mobile games are part of the interactive space at Nordic Cool 2013, the month-long festival highlighting the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and nearby islands. The LEGOS and games are among the 750 offerings — performances, exhibits, talks, and demos — that guests can enjoy through mid-March. Opens at 10am, admission is free. Parking costs extra — visit the website for options and fees.
Friday – Catch a free screening of One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure at the Einstein Planetarium in the National Air & Space Museum. Showtime is 10:30am every Friday (and Sunday, plus the first Saturday of every month). It only lasts about 20 minutes, so check out the exhibits and How Things Fly, a discovery room full of hands-on activities, while you’re there.
Critiquing First Ladies’ dresses at the American History Museum
Monday – Show the kiddos relics from your childhood at the National Museum of American History, where collections include some of the best toys and games of our days of yore. While you’re there, check out some of the other exhibits, like the First Ladies’ ball gowns and America on the Move, a history of transportation in the U.S. featuring some of the earliest automobiles, a train car, and an old street car that guests can actually climb aboard. The museum is open from 10am – 5:30pm.
Tuesday – Go play at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Wednesday – Venture up to Baltimore for a Wonderful Wednesday at Port Discovery. Dedicated to children from age birth to 6, the day includes special art, music, and literacy programs for little ones (see the website for the full schedule of activities). While you’re there, be sure to check out the new Wizard of Oz exhibit. Hours are 9:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is $13.95/ages 2 and up, free for under 2 and members.
Thursday –Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Boogie Babes and The Singing Lizard at Union Market! It’s the first time the music show for little ones will take place at the new, hip venue in northeast DC. Showtime is 10:30am, and admission is $5/child (free for siblings 6 months and under). Get there early for coffee — Peregrine opens at 8am. Stay after for a bite from one of many eateries and food stalls that will be open by lunchtime.
Friday – Catch a performance of Brother Bear at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Imagination Stage is bringing their popular show across town, so more audiences can watch as Brother and Sister Bear experience a full year of glorious seasons. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am, and tickets are $8. The show will be at the Atlas February 13-18.
One of several vehicles to board at the National Postal Museum
Monday – Explore the history of mail at the National Postal Museum. It’s a perfect outing with little ones — the museum isn’t very big and overwhelming, and there are numerous interactive exhibits to keep young guests engaged. Plus, it’s conveniently located next to Union Station, so you can also grab lunch and get there easily via Metro. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, admission is free.
Tuesday – Head to the National Building Museum for play and story time. The Book of the Month literacy program will take place in the Building Zone at 10:30am and 11:30am with readings of Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Admission is $3/person for non-members, with timed entry on the hour. Visit the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit while you’re at the museum to let the kids romp in the Imagination Playground and build with foam blocks and Lincoln Logs ($8/adult, $5/child for non-members or look for a Certifikid deal here).
Wednesday – Romp on the playground and enjoy some Potomac River scenery at Jones Point Park in Alexandria. Preparing for Peanut has a great write-up about the locale just off the George Washington Parkway under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Open dawn to dusk, admission is free.
Thursday – Let the kids take the wheel at the Washington Auto Show. The annual event showcasing the newest models of cars and trucks will be at the Washington Convention Center through the weekend. Kids (and adults) can sit in the driver’s seat, pretend to cruise around, check out dashboard details, and more. Hours are 12-9pm Monday – Thursday (12-10pm on Friday). Admission is $12/adult, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under. Read more about what to expect in this post from last year.
Friday – Learn about the area’s wildlife and enjoy hands-on activities at the Rock Creek Nature Center. With all kinds of animal and plant exhibits, plus a Discovery Room full of books and toys, there is plenty to keep kids engaged. If weather permits, hike a trail on the grounds around the center, too. Open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.