Tag Archives: Stories in Art

Keep Your Cool this Weekend

Pretend play at it best

Yowza, it’s hot out!  And it’s going to continue into the weekend, with chances of storms to boot. Here’s where you can stay cool and dry, along with a few suggestions for outdoor recreation if you dare brave the heat (sunblock, hats, and shade recommended).  Happy Weekend!

The Inside ScoopIt seems only appropriate that these ideas for indoor fun top this round-up of weekend activities.  Enjoy the AC!

Living Earth FestivalThe National Museum of the American Indian is celebrating indigenous contributions to environmental sustainability, knowledge, and activism.  The three-day event has tons for families. Hands-on activities include pottery and cornhusk dragonfly art projects, Hawaiian games, and hula lessons. Enjoy craft demonstrators, music, dancers, and festival activities throughout the museum. At a Farmer’s Market, children may receive something to plant in their own garden, and you can shop for local produce, meat, and traditional dishes.  There will also be a cook-off featuring Native and local Chefs, and on Saturday guests can hear a free concert at 5pm on the Welcome Plaza.

Mars DayTaking place today, Friday, the National Air and Space Museum celebrates the Red Planet with a variety of educational and fun family activities. Visitors can see a real meteorite that came from Mars, view the surface of Mars in 3-D with red/blue glasses. Learn about the latest missions and discoveries, talk to scientists active in Mars research, and more.  The free event takes place from 10am – 3pm.

Destination Asia  – Explore the heritage of Asia at George Mason University this weekend at the 8th Annual Asian Festival. Enjoy everything from traditional performances and cultural exhibitions to authentic cuisine and over 200 retails shops selling Asian products.  The event runs on Saturday 10am – 10pm and Sunday 11am – 6pm.  Admission is free.

Kids Farm CelebrationIn case you haven’t yet heard, the Kids’ Farm at the National Zoo will remain open thanks to a generous donation by State Farm. The public is invited to celebrate the good news on Sunday from 11am – 2pm.  Guests can enjoy arts & crafts, animal demos, and visits with their furry friends, of course. Just like entrance to the Zoo, this event is free of charge.

Make a Splash – If you’re going to be outside this weekend, access to water will be a good thing, and I don’t just mean the kind you drink.  Get wet and stay cool at a spray park or outdoor pool—find links to public pools and spraygrounds in this post about summer fun. Or, go play in the fountains at The Yards Park.

The Wizard of Oz x 2 – You can catch two different productions of the classic show starting this weekend.  The Puppet Co. presents their version on July 22 – September 4 with several show times this weekend. You can also see the play performed by people, The Act III Theatre Company, at Encore Stage and Studio in Arlington. Tickets are still available for all of the weekend performances.

Theatre in the Woods This week’s performers at Wolf Trap’s summer theatre series are Bob Brown Puppets and the band Recess Monkey.  While outdoors, the venue is shaded by a lovely canopy of trees, and the 10am showtime will get it all started before the day really heats up.  Read of review of our Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods experience.

Family Films –  Catch one of the movie series especially for families that run on the weekends.  The Atlas Performing Arts Center hosts its Family Series on Saturdays at 5pm.  This week’s showing will be “Babe.”  While tickets are free, there is a $2 per ticket booking fee.  For a screening under the stars, head to National Harbor on Sunday for its free Movies on the Potomac series. This week, see “Shrek Forever After,” starting just after sunset.

Stories in ArtOn Sunday, the National Gallery of Art’s summer drop-in program welcomes kids ages 4-7 to explore Dutch art through storytelling, gallery tours, and hands-on projects. Sessions are hourly starting at 11:30am. Sign-up begins at 11am in the West Building Rotunda, and space is limited.  Read a review of our experience at a session last summer.  And for more details on this summer’s program and tips on signing up, see this post.

Portrait Story DaysDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday from 1-4pm and Sunday from 2-5pm, to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Sequoyah, who created the Cherokee writing system.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 11-15

Long, lazy summer days sound wonderful in theory, but when you add energetic, curious kids to the mix, they are few and far between. Luckily, there are always plenty of options for weekday recreation around DC or within an easy drive; it’s just a matter of figuring out where they are.

Well, I’m going to do some of the guesswork for you by offering suggestions of what to do with the kids each week.  This is an idea inspired by the Go Out & Play blog, which highlights an activity, mostly in northern Virginia, for little ones every weekday. (FYI – Arlington Mama always recommends a great selection of unique outings for young children.)

My Monday to Friday picks will mix up the locales and age groups a bit, but the goal of a good time will be a constant throughout.

Here are my suggestions for this week, July 11-15:

Monday – By the time this post is live, much of the day will be over, but you can still get in some good swim time at an outdoor pool. DC public pools remain open until 8pm, many Alexandria pools until 7pm, and until 8pm in Montgomery County.

Tuesday – The National Gallery of Art is hosting its Stories in Art drop-in program tomorrow.  Four hourly time slots are available starting at 10:30am.

Wednesday – Catch a movie with the kids for free, just a buck, or with a baby in tow. There are several special movies series going on that cater to kids or moms who have brand new ones. Read about them all here.  (And note that some run on Tuesday as well.)

Thursday – If the forecast holds out, we should have cooler temps by the end of the week, perfect for Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap, where Baba Jamal Koram and SteveSongs are performing this week. Read a KFDC review of the summer theatre series.

Friday – Go check out a new playground. This brand spanking new blog already has a couple of great reviews of local outdoor play spaces.  And here’s a bonus recommendation: The Friday Concert series at the Yards Park is great for all ages — fountain play for kids; music, food, and fun for everyone.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Play, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia

Weekend Hits

Turtle spotting at Huntley Meadows Park

Baseball, theatre, and museum programs are heavy hitters in the special events arena this weekend. Indoor play, folklife, and berry picking make a showing too. Here’s the scoop on all of them, plus links to even more ideas for ongoing family recreation.  Happy Weekend!

Nationals Baseball Family DayThe National Portrait Gallery is hosting the fifth annual Baseball Family Day with the Washington Nationals Baseball Club from 11:30am – 2pm in the Kogod Courtyard. Guests can get photo ops with ball players from 12-1pm and enjoy activities, crafts, and musical performances throughout the free event.

Nationals Game DaysThe Nats are busy guys this weekend!  Not only will they be greeting guests at the museum, they’re also hosting the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Tickets are still available for both games.

Portrait Story DaysThe baseball theme continues at the National Portrait Gallery as they host their ongoing program for kids. Drop in to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. On Saturday and Sunday from 2-5pm, learn about baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

Stories in ArtOne of my favorite museum programs for children begins on Sunday.  The National Gallery of Art’s summer drop-in program welcomes kids ages 4-7 to explore Dutch art through storytelling, gallery tours, and hands-on projects. Sessions are hourly starting at 11:30am. Sign-up begins at 11am in the West Building Rotunda, and space is limited.  For more details on the program and tips on signing up, see this post from earlier in the week.

Come Play on Capitol Hill – The Playseum is coming to DC!  Yes, Barracks Row on Capitol Hill is getting another new business that families will love. Doors open on Saturday for a sneak peak (the Grand Opening is July 14), and all are welcome to check out the new space from 9am – 5pm. Admission will be free all day, though there will be small fees for other optional activities and crafts. The new location is at 545 8th Street SE. While you’re on the corridor, stop by thew new Hello Cupcake or 32 Below for a sweet treat.

Hiking at Huntley Meadows – Our family visited Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria for the first time last weekend and had a fantastic time exploring the woods and wetlands. Wildlife sightings were abundant as we hiked along the paved, dirt, and boardwalk trails.  Spotting turtles of all sizes became a game for the kids, and we also saw frogs, great blue herons, cardinals, and a variety of other birds.  The entire hike is just over a mile, but we stopped at lookouts and benches to snack along the way to make it a few hours’ outing.  A longer review of the park will come soon, but the gist is that I highly recommend it.  Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and water, as there’s no shade through the wetlands section of the park. Get directions to the Huntley Meadows here.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods – If you can’t make it to Wolf Trap’s wonderful summer theatre series during the week, you can catch it Saturdays at 10am.  This week Hobey Ford’s Golden Rod Puppets and Robbie Schaefer will take the outdoor stage.  Tickets are $8/ages 3 and up (free for 2 an under) and include both shows.  Read a review of the series posted earlier this week.

Celebrate Folklife – The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is continuing its celebration on the National Mall through July 11. Enjoy exhibits, activities, demos, and workshops that focus on the nature of Colombia, 50 years of the Peace Corps, and Rhythm & Blues music in the United States. Festival hours are 11am – 5:30pm with special performances taking place later most evenings.

Theatre Fun for the Littlest Ones – Imagination Stage hosts Sunday Fun-Days for kids ages 1-5 at 10:30am.  The lessons in multi-sensory play are centered around children’s books, this week is “What Makes a Rainbow.”  Sessions are $10, register in advance online. The Puppet Co. will also have performances for the youngest audiences (ages 0-4) at their Tiny Tots series this weekend. Penguins Playground is will be performed on Saturday, and Old MacDonald Farm on Sunday.  Showtime for both is 10am. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase online or at the box office.

Take Your PickHead to a local farm to harvest some summer produce. Berries and peaches are the main crops ready for picking, but other fruits and veggies are available at a few spots.  This post lists local farms that welcome visitors to pick their own, and it doesn’t hurt to check websites or call ahead to make sure you’re favorites are ripe.

Family Recreation Staples – Check out these posts for ongoing family fun:
Joys of Summer
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids 
Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)
Family Entertainment

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Outdoor, Play, Seasonal, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Weekend

Drop in at the National Gallery for Summer Art Programs

One of my favorite museum programs for children is about to begin! The National Gallery of Art’s summer drop-in series starts this weekend with art sessions for kids that are both educational and fun.

Stories in Art, geared toward ages 4-7, is a fantastic program that introduces kids to art and encourages them to use their imaginations as they discover different works. (Read about our experience at the program last summer.) This summer session will explore the Netherlands, using storytelling, gallery tours, and hands-on projects to teach kids about Dutch art.  Workshops are at various times on Sundays, Mondays, and occasional Tuesdays. This is a free series, and there is a limit to the number of children in each class.  Sign-in will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am on weekdays and at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled. Visit the National Gallery of Art website for more details and the complete schedule.

Artful Conversations is for ages 8-11 and will take place on Sundays and Wednesdays starting July 17.  Designed for children and adults to participate in together, the program uses observation and discussion to explore works of art in the collection. Led by museum educators, each session includes looking at one work of art in the galleries, accompanied by a sketching activity.  Sign-in will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 12:30pm on Sundays and 12pm on Wednesdays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.  More details and the full schedule are available on the NGA website.

Note: The sessions fill up quickly, especially on weekends, so plan accordingly. Even if you get there early, you might have to sign up for a later session, so it’s a good idea to have another activity planned or museum exhibit to explore while you wait.

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Filed under Art, DC, Educational, Free, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Summer

Weekend Picks

The museums are heavy on special family activities this weekend, but with the glorious weather forecast for the next few days, I’ve got several suggestions to get you outdoors, too.   Happy Weekend!

Family Day: Kites of AsiaGo fly a kite! And make one, too. This free event at the National Air & Space Museum on Saturday welcomes guests to discover the artistry of kites from across Asia. Indoor kite flying, story telling, and hands-on art activities, kite-making included, are on the day’s agenda.  The event runs from 10am – 3pm.

Take a Hike – It’s going to be excellent weather for tramping in the woods, though be choosy about where you go — I heard the line of cars waiting to get into the Maryland side of Great Falls last weekend was all the way out to MacArthur Boulevard.  For more suggestions on where to walk in the woods, including several that don’t attract large crowds, check out this post about good area hikes with kids.

Goya: Awakened in a DreamThe National Gallery of Art’s Film Program for Children and Teens presents a movie about the artist Goya this week. Recommended for ages 7 and up, the screening will take place in the East Building Concourse auditorium at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday.  The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Everyone’s PlaygroundEnjoy the sunshine and one of the best playgrounds in the area. If you have young children, and you haven’t been to Clemyjontri Park, I highly recommend taking them there.  The play possibilities will seem endless to little ones.  The carousel doesn’t open for another couple of weeks, but kids will be so enchanted with other parts of the park, they won’t miss riding the wooden horses.

Mail FemalesDiscover the history of women who have played important roles in the nation’s mail service.  The National Postal Museum is hosting Women’s History Month Family Day from 11am – 3pm on Saturday.  Guests can hear stories about postal women and try their hand at some of the jobs they performed.

DC United Opening DayKick off the start of the soccer season at RFK on Saturday evening.  Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm game, including a couple of packages that come with freebies when you buy at least four tickets.  For more information, see this post from a couple of days ago.

Reptile & Amphibian DayLearn about reptiles and their important role in the ecosystem at this annual event at the National Aquarium. On Sunday from 10am – 4pm, guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including storytime and fun crafts.  Aquarium staff will be on hand to answer questions and give talks throughout the day. Special highlights: The alligator exhibit and a shark feeding at 2pm. The event is free with admission – $9.95/ages 11 and up, 4.95/ages 3-11, children under 3 are free.

Picnic, Play, & PlanesHave you been to Gravelly Point, the small park along the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport?  The beautiful spot along the river is nice place to spread out a picnic, people watch, and kick around a soccer ball  — if you really like airplanes.  I have to warn about this one:  it’s hit or miss with kids (and adults, for that matter).  The park is located just beyond the airport runway, so planes take off or land (depending on which way they are going that day) literally right overhead. That’s the hit or miss part.  It’s loud and potentially scary for those who don’t like the looks of a plane coming right at them, but quite exciting for those that love a thrill.

Portrait Story DaysDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery anytime from 1-4pm on Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. Rachel Carson, founder of the modern environmental movement, will be the subject this weekend.

CHAW Artday Concert – Catch a free Singing Lizard concert on Saturday morning at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. The Singing Lizard’s live shows are fast-paced, fun, and full of exciting songs that both kids and adults enjoy. The concert is from 10-11am in CHAW’s Black Box Theater.

On the Big Screen – Rain or shine, an IMAX film is great entertainment. Both the Johnson IMAX Theater at the Natural History Museum and Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Air & Space Museum have several movies playing all weekend.  For a couple of reviews, see my post about Arabia 3D and another one about Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D.

Live Entertainment – A few new theater and musical shows recently opened on local stages.  This post about spring entertainment from last week has info on what and who’s playing and where.  Also be sure to check this post from a couple of months ago listing winter productions, several of which are still running.

Stories in ArtSculptor David Smith is again the subject for this week’s children’s program at the National Gallery of Art. The workshop will start with a reading of “Half of the Elephant,” about an elephant on a humorous journey to find his missing half.. From there, the group will explore the work of David Smith, then build a sculpture with wood and metal. Hour-long sessions begin at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm on Sunday. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am that day and will continue until all spaces are filled.  No admission fee required.

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