Activity Rocket: Your One-Stop Shop for Classes and Camps


You can find a lot of great things to do with the kiddos here on my blog (I hope, anyway!), but what I don’t cover very comprehensively are classes and camps. There are just so many options in the area, that I can’t possibly keep up with them all.

Luckily, there’s a fantastic website that is a convenient one-stop for that: Activity Rocket. If you haven’t checked it out, try this new widget (also located on the right, where it will stay).

Just type in a category of interest — soccer, drama, Spanish, tutoring, holiday, Mommy/Daddy & Me, swimming, piano plus 230 more activity types! The widget will launch you to a search results page where you can filter by other key criteria like your zip code, the age of your child, and even the activity or camp start date.

And not only can you find the best classes and camps for your kids, you can register for ALL of them one-stop. No more filling out multiple registration forms for every single camp or class you sign your kids up for throughout the year. Your registration form lives in your Rocket account and you can reuse it each time you sign your kids up for something new (which feels like every other month, right?). And did I mention that you can sign up multiple kids for multiple activities and check out in one secure shopping cart? Think of all the checks and time you will save!

With all the fall/winter school days off, it’s a great time to start searching for and booking kids classes and camps to keep them entertained, especially with Activity Rocket sending you $20 cash back (while supplies last) when you sign up with them. Even better, Rocket membership is FREE, so sign up today and start finding and booking your classes the easy way!

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Filed under All ages, Camp, Class, DC, Educational, Free, Maryland, Professional Service, Sports, Virginia

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 20-24

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

Monday - Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public (it’s closed Tuesday – Thursday). Tour the plant collections, check out the Washington Youth Garden and play in the natural playground, romp at the old Capitol columns, see the details of the bonzais. There are acres upon acres to explore! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

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 meet on the Square, and the program runs 10am – 12pm on the third Tuesday of every month. Admission is free, but you are asked to register in advance.

Wednesday - Enjoy a musical morning with the Boogie Babes as they bring kiddie entertainment to Union Market at 10:30am. Admission is $5/child, and siblings 6 months and under are free. Get there early for coffee and a snack or stay after for a bite — the vendors offer plenty of great lunch options! (FYI: You can also catch a Boogie Babes show at Eastern Market on Thursdays and the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.)

Thursday - Take a hike at Turkey Run Park. Located right off the GW Parkway near 495, it contains nearly 700 acres of woods, easy trails that ramble along the Potomac, streams that flow down from the woods to the river, great views from the shoreline, and a variety of wildlife (though sightings aren’t guaranteed). Hours are 6am -10pm. Admission is free.

Friday - Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.


Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Fall, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: October 18-19

It's a big match and Fan Appreciation Day for DC United on Saturday

It’s a big match and Fan Appreciation Day for DC United on Saturday

With the leaves beginning to turn colors, seasonal celebrations in full swing, Halloween creeping up, and crisp, cool weather in the forecast, this weekend practically screams autumn. Immerse in it all at one of many events that embrace fall or just enjoy the season as a backdrop to another fun activity — you’ve certainly got your pick of ‘em. Happy Weekend!

White House Fall Garden Tours
Where: White House
When: Friday & Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free

It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy autumn at the White House! The annual Fall Garden and Grounds Tours are being held this weekend. The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn will be on view to guests. The public is invited, but every visitor, small children included, needs a ticket to tour. Starting at 8am on both days, tickets will be distributed at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion at 15th & E Streets NW on a first-come, first-served basis. Tour times are indicated on each ticket, so keep your day open if you hope to go.

Last Call for Merriment
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under

It’s the final weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the annual faire that recalls medieval times with an English Tudor village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. I highly, highly recommend going if you haven’t been yet. Huzzah!

DC United vs. Chicago Fire
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm (gates open at 5:30pm)
Admission: Tickets prices vary

There are two major things to know about this match: 1) They have a chance to clinch first place in the MLS Eastern Conference. 2) It’s Fan Appreciation Day, which means there are some special things going on, including discounts on United gear and special activities in the park (head to section 222 for face painting, moon bounces, a photo booth and more), and fireworks after the game.

18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $7/adult, $3/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under

Enjoy the splendor of fall at living history museum’s seasonal market fair! Colonial tradesmen and entertainers will amuse and educate guests of all ages… Learn to dip a candle or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe. Watch the blacksmith in action or be serenaded by the Ship’s Company Shantymen. See colonial farm family and community members in costume and character as well as turkeys, pigs, and other farm animals. Try crisp local apples, roast chicken, sausages, fruit pies, roasted olives and hearty breads. And for adults, there will be gravity pulled craft beer, authentic to the colonial period, as well as mulled wine and fresh ginger ale.

National Trademark Expo
Where: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This free, family-friendly event is designed to educate children, small business owners, and the general public about trademarks and their importance in the global marketplace. The Expo features children’s workshops, outdoor and indoor themed displays, interactive exhibits and activities, costumed characters, and inflatables showcasing federally-registered trademarks. Visitors may also visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located on-site and currently features the exhibit Exercising Ingenuity, highlighting inventions, patents and trademarks that have emerged from the fitness, nutrition and exercise industries. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is located at 600 Dulany Street in Alexandria.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* See a performance of The Night Fairy at Imagination Stage
* Catch Stuart Little at Adventure Theatre
* It’s opening weekend for The 3 Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co.
* And Old MacDonald’s Farm is the featured Tiny Tots show at the Glen Echo puppet theater
* Driving Miss Daisy still in its three-month run at Ford’s Theatre
* InterAct Story Theatre presents Not My Monkey at Gaithersburg Art Barn on Saturday (call 301.258.6394 with promo code MonkeyBiz1 for 50% off)
* The Cantate Chamber Singers are performing two kid-friendly concerts this weekend (bonus: kids 18 and under are free!)
* Molly Moores’ Midsummer Night’s Dream is this week’s free Saturday Morning at the National performance

FOOD: Our Global Kitchen
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $11/adult, $9/ages 5-9, free for 4 and under

Nat Geo is debuting a brand new exhibit this weekend focusing on FOOD. Through interactives that include tastings and virtual cooking, guests can “explore the complex and intricate food system that brings what we eat from farm to fork. In sections devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting, and celebrating, the exhibition illuminates how our world eats and the future of food.” Sounds good to me!

International Archaeology Day
Where: Freer Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Celebrate International Archaeology Day with the Smithsonian! Discover what it’s like to work on an archaeological dig in the remote deserts of Arabia. At 2pm, families are invited to explore the Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips exhibition, then participate in a hands-on learning project in the ImaginAsia classroom. At 3:15pm, meet archaeologist Zaydoon Zaid, who has led expeditions in Yemen and was an advisor for Unearthing Arabia.

Adams Morgan PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan Neighborhood
When: Saturday, 3-7pm
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and a few local businesses are transformed into intimate performance spaces to be enjoyed by anyone who happens to stroll by. Part of Cultural Tourism DC’s Art4All festival, the Adams Morgan PorchFest will create a family-friendly, neighborhood-based alternative to the nightclub music scene. Enjoy a range of musical styles from Brazilian, Irish, and jazz to indie rock, children’s music, and even Egyptian Nubian folkloric.

Kids Corner Fall Fair
Where: Mitchell Park, 23rd and S Streets NW DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free, but there are fees for activities

Enjoy a fun-filled day of food, children’s activities, and entertainment at the 8th Annual Kids Corner Fall Fair. It’s recommended for ages 5 and under, but all are welcome to do some pumpkin decorating, romp in a moon bounce, make crafts, go on wagon-led hayrides, and get their faces painted. There will also be live performances by the Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, 123 con Andres, FUNdamentals, and GroovyNate! (Rain location is Kids’ Corner Facilities around the block at 2200 California St, NW.)

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
Where: Montgomery Fair Grounds
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $10 ($8 in advance online), free for 12 and under

Get started on your holiday shopping and enjoy a family day out! More than 250 of the nation’s finest artisans will display and sell their handcrafted works at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival his weekend. Shop a stunning array of contemporary crafts in sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, wood, leather, metal, furniture, home accessories, photography and fine art – all handcrafted by American artists who have been jury-selected for the show. For kids, there will be live music, children’s entertainment, and delicious gourmet goodies available to sample and buy from dozens of specialty food. Plus, they can see firsthand the creative processes of master artisans during ongoing craft demonstrations.

World of Montgomery Festival
Where: Westfield Wheaton Plaza Mall parking lot
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

The 6th annual World of Montgomery Festival will celebrate this amazing diversity of Montgomery County and invites families to learn more about the many wonderful cultures that surround us every day. Experience it all through food, music, dance, traditional arts and hands-on projects for children. Exhibits will include culturally authentic arts demonstrations and activities aimed at promoting international and multi-cultural awareness.

Wicked Fun
Where: Around the DC Metro
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get the Halloween party started with activities and events that celebrate the spooky spirit. This post has details on where the tricks and treats are happening.

Take the Fall
Where: Around the DC Metro
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Celebrate the season on the farm — fall festivals are in full swing at locales all around the area! From pumpkin patches and apple picking to corn mazes and hayrides to giant slides and jumping pillows, there are activities GALORE to help folks embrace the autumn spirit.

Get Out
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

After all the wet days we had over the past week, the beautiful fall weekend in the forecast will be quite welcome. Take advantage of the crisp, sunny weather with some time outdoors — go on a hike, explore a garden, visit a farm, play in the trees, find a new playground. This post has an extensive list of places and ideas for al fresco fun.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The 7th Annual Kids Euro Festival Brings Free Cultural Adventures to DC!

From Estonia, it's "Aha! Fun with Science!"

From Estonia, it’s “Aha! Fun with Science!”

Want your kids to experience European culture and entertainment, but can’t make the trip across the pond? Good news: Europe is bringing it to them — for free! The 7th Annual Kids Euro Festival is returning to Washington with three weeks of free artistic adventures for children, thanks to the European-American Cultural Foundation, the 28 EU embassies, and more than 20 American cultural institutions.

From October 24 through November 9, the festival will present more than 100 FREE family-friendly, Euro-themed events all around the DC-metro area. Dancers, storytellers, musicians, opera singers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts on the schedule. DC embassies, The Kennedy Center, the Ronald Reagan Building, THEARC, public libraries, Goethe-Institut, La Maison Française, Strathmore, The Hill Center, and local schools are among the many performance venues.

The festival, designed for kids ages 2-12, is the largest of its kind in the country. All 28 countries in the European Union are represented in the shows that highlight national cultural traditions and art.

Some events require reservations, so be sure to visit the Kids Euro Festival website for details, including the complete schedule of performances, age recommendations, and registration info. You can also like the Facebook page and follow them on Twitter for updates on events.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 13-17


Monday - Take advantage of Tots Playtime at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm most weekdays, ALL kids can bowl for just $5, and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult)! Stay after for lunch — they have a kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.

Tuesday - Head to the National Mall for a close-up look of Out of Many One, a grand landscape portrait by Cuban American urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. Located between the World War II and Lincoln Memorials, you can walk through for an interactive experience or get a bird’s eye view from the Washington Monument.

Wednesday - Say “oui!” to a free French storytime with Bonjour Mama! Monthly sessions take place 10-10:30am in the Kensington Row Bookshop (3786 Howard Ave. in Kensington, Md).

Thursday - Jump the morning away at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, Va. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions for children 46″ tall & under from 10am – 12pm Monday through Friday. Admission is $10/hour.

Friday - Enjoy the start of autumn hues on the trail at Riverbend Park. Make that your starting point on a 2-mile hike to Great Falls, where you can take in magnificent vistas, visit the nature center, and have a picnic. Or just wander around Riverbend and enjoy the Visitor Center and views there. Park hours are 7am to dusk, Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Virginia, Weekdays