Our museums will be full of special events this weekend — good timing, as a blast of chilly weather is on its way (to be followed by a heat wave, I’m sure). For some off the Mall activities, there’s a health & fitness expo, several children’s theatre shows, a building workshop, free fun at CHAW, and plenty of mainstay pursuits all around the DC-metro. Happy Weekend!
Art Class at the National Gallery – One of my favorite museum programs for kids begins this weekend and will offer weekly classes throughout the winter. This Sunday, you can drop in for Stories in Art, a workshop designed for kids ages 4-7, to learn about Henri Matisse through storytelling, discussion, and an art project. The hour-long classes are free, and no registration is required, but there is a limit to the number of children in each class. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled in each of the four time slots at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. There is also a Family Workshop for kids ages 8-11 that is already full (but you can get on the waitlist here.) See this post for more information about both, as well as Artful Conversations, a class for older children that will take place starting next week.
Build & Grow at Lowe’s – Kids can be the kings (& queens) of their castles at the home improvement store this weekend. Lowe’s hosts free bimonthly workshops for kids, and the first of 2012 is this Saturday at 10am. During this session, the store will provide castle building kits and guidance on putting it together, along with other to take home. Go here to find your local Lowe’s and register for the workshop.
In Theatres Near You – Local stages will be full of kids’ entertainment this weekend. Catch Encore Stage & Studio’s Darius the Dragon & Rap-Punzel (read the KFDC review) before curtains close on Sunday. See a performance at Glen Echo — Peter & the Wolf is at The Puppet Co. and The Snowy Day at Adventure Theatre. Enjoy a Teddy Bear Concert at the Kennedy Center. Get more details about these shows and more in this post about winter entertainment.
Native Storytelling Festival – The weekend-long festival at the National Museum of the American Indian sounds like a special treat for Twihards, and a fun, fascinating activity for non-fans, too. Celebrating the exhibit Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves, Chris Morganroth, a Quileute elder, will tell traditional stories geared towards kids and families. He’ll also give an introduction to Quileute culture and discuss how the tribe is presented in the popular Twilight books and movies. Along with storytelling, there will be pow wow dances, drumming, and a totem pole unveiling. While you’re at the museum, be sure to check out imagiNATIONS, the family activity center full of interactive fun for kids.
To the Mountaintops – All weekend long, the National Museum of American History will honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a stirring and inspirational tribute. Actor Xavier Carnegie presents selections from some of Dr. King’s most powerful and compelling speeches and sermons in a combination of live performance, historic photographs, and audio recordings. Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the multitude of others who struggled and sacrificed so that this nation might become a more perfect union. The free presentation will take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm in the museum’s Flag Hall, 2nd floor.
NCM Honors MLK– In recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone is hosting a program honoring his life and accomplishments. Make your own I Have A Dream…Catcher and participate in their “Valentines for Veterans” service project in recognition of Dr. King’s commitment to service. Drop in from 11am – 4pm for this free event.
Health & Fitness Expo – NBC’s annual exposition will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center. There will be free health screenings, exercise and dance demos, opportunities to test out new sports, meet and greets with a couple of The Biggest Loser winners, giveaways, plus activities especially for kids. Young guests can be a meteorologist, test their skills at a Bike Safety Pavilion, score a goal at a soccer area, reach for the top of a climbing wall, show off some dance moves, learn some yoga, and more. Admission to the expo is free, and it’s open both Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. The Convention Center is located at 901 Mount Vernon Place, NW, and the expo takes place in halls B & C. Metered street parking and garages are nearby, and you can take the Metro’s yellow line to the Mount Vernon/th St-Convention Center station.
Stories and Art at the Portrait Gallery – On Saturday from 2-4pm, children ages 5 and up, with an accompanying adult, can explore portraiture in depth at the National Portrait Gallery. Participants will take a brief guided tour of the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, listen to a children’s story or short gallery talk, then create a piece of art using some of the same materials or concepts. The session is free, but registration is required. On Sunday, drop in for Portrait Story Days from 2-5pm for a story about Gertrude Stein and a related art project (no registration necessary).
CHAW Gratis – The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is continuing it 40th anniversary celebration with freebies galore. In the family-friendly vein this weekend, there is a mural painting recommended for ages 5-12 from 10am-12pm on Saturday – sign up online. There are also two concerts the whole brood can enjoy, the All Points West Chamber Music Ensemble at 11am and Bokamoso Youth in Performance at 6pm. More details for all three activities are available on the CHAW website.
The Wright Stuff – It’s Super Science Saturday, the monthly program at the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles. There will be demonstrations and hands-on activities that immerse children in science and technology topics related to aviation and space exploration. January’s theme is From the Wright Brothers to the Right Stuff.
Fee-Free at National Parks – In honor of MLK Day, all National Parks that usually charge entrance fees will waive admission from Saturday through Monday. It might be on the chilly side for a hike, but perhaps perfect for a scenic drive through Shenandoah or the George Washington National Forest.
Get Back to Nature – For some outdoor-inspired fun in the comfort of a warm place, head to nature center. See furry, feathery, and scaly critters and learn about their natural habitats in the environments surrounding them. In DC head to Rock Creek Nature Center. In Maryland, check out Watkins Nature Center, Meadowside Nature Center, or Brookside Nature Center. In Virginia, try Huntley Meadows, Long Branch Nature Center, or Riverbend Nature Center.
The Great Indoors – For a lengthy list of ideas for fun out of the cold, this post is full of recommendations for indoor fun.
Bundle Up and Get Out – It may be chilly, but the sun will be shining. Don some extra layers, a warm hat, and gloves, and check out this post with numerous recs for outdoor activities with kids.