Category Archives: Gradeschoolers

Hunt for Harry Potter in the National Gallery of Art with Watson Adventures

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

A couple of wizards at work on their clues



I love discovering new ways to explore old favorites. Like many Washingtonians, we’d been to the National Gallery of Art countless times, but never on a scavenger hunt, nor with Harry Potter as inspiration for a tour.

When I first learned about Watson Adventures’ Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, I was immediately intrigued. Not only does our crew love a good clue-driven search, we’re also big Harry Potter fans. Not to mention it takes place at a magnificent museum, where wandering through the galleries even without a purpose is fantastic.

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

This scavenger hunt is also a competition, adding a whole other fun and challenging element to the adventure. You sign up as a team, which can be a family/youth or all-adult, and compete against other groups. You’re all on a mission to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies in search of answers to 24 questions. There are clever Harry Potter-themed clues to help you locate each one, but many of them are tricky to decipher and take some sleuthing and careful examination of the art to figure out!

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Every team has the same questions, but ordered differently for each group to stay spread out, though we did run into other teams searching for the same art a couple of times. You have 90 minutes to complete the hunt, which takes place throughout most of the West Wing of the NGA. And that hour and a half goes by quickly — we were scrambling for those last few clues to finish before the hunt time was up!

The search covers a lot of museum ground

The search covers a lot of museum ground

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (Alexander Hamilton)

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (My name is Alexander Hamilton…)

One point is given for every question answered correctly. The team that comes up with the most creative name also gets points. And you lose points if you’re not back to the starting place before the hunt time is up. The teams (one family/youth, one all-adult) that have the most points win.

Someone is feeling stumped

Someone is feeling stumped

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

As the Hogwarts crew might say, this adventure is bloody brilliant! It’s unique, fun, and exciting, and something the whole family can do together. All four of us contributed to the effort, and while we didn’t win, we had such a great time together completing the task. On top of that, we all agreed that it made us take a much closer look at some of the art that we often casually stroll by, something we’ll keep in mind on our next visit.

Want to see the clues?  Go sign up!

Want to see the clues? Go sign up!



So, is your family ready to prove yourselves wizards among muggles? If so, here’s what you need to know about Watson Adventures:

* The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt is hosted monthly at the National Gallery of Art. The next one takes place Saturday, April 8, at 2pm. Sign up here.
* Cost is $17.50/ages 17 and under, and $19.50/adults
* While the website recommends this for ages 10 and up, I’d say about ages 8 and up can enjoy it. Sasha (8) loved it, and a couple of her 2nd grade classmates were there and had a great time, too.
* Watson Adventures also hosts scavenger hunts with other themes at different locations. Most are geared toward adults (think KidFree!), but Secrets of Georgetown is also for teens.
* Scavenger hunts are hosted in other cities, too. Visit the website to see where.


Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission for the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt from Watson Adventures, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Art, Competition, DC, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Parents, Preteens, Teens, Tweens, Weekend

Kids Can Program Their Way to Fun at Generation Code Summer Camps

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Does your child have an interest in computer programming? Are you looking for a summer activity that is engaging, educational, and a lot of fun?

Generation Code summer camps are immersive programming bootcamps that take an innovative approach to teaching computer science. Your child can advance his or her coding skills rapidly — and without sacrificing the fun of summer! In just one to three short weeks, campers can create something amazing as they work closely with experts and their peers. They’ll make new friends, gain valuable skills, and most importantly, have a great time.

Each Generation Code camp is hands-on, collaborative, and creative as it helps build kids’ coding skills quickly. The offerings this summer range from animation and robotics to game design to Android app development. Campers learn crucial coding skills and in-demand languages, like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Java while building their critical thinking and collaborative skills. Every day of camp, students learn from each other and express their creativity through code.

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The Generation Code Difference

Fast Skills: With expert instructors as guides, your child or teen can complete full levels of the curriculum in just one to three weeks. The immersive program helps kids develop skills rapidly, increasing retention of everything they’ve learned.

Hands-On: Whether enjoying on- or off-screen activities, Generation Code campers are constantly building and creating, working on shareable projects like websites, animations, games, and robots.

Collaborative: Peers are great teachers. Campers learn from each other while developing their social and team-building skills. They collaborate on both short-term and long-term projects, and engage in paired-programming and mini-activities during each lesson.

Creative: Coding is a form of expression. It’s creative and strategic, and the camps offer students the benefits of choosing their own coding adventure in a structured, effective environment. The more campers explore, the more self-confidence they gain along with the ability to innovate and lead.

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Generation Code 2017 Camps

*Scratch Animation & Design | Ages 7-10 | 1 week
*Scratch Game Design | Ages 7-10 | 1 week
*Exploring Hardware & Robotics| Ages 9-11 | 1 week
*Web Development | Ages 11-17 | 1-2 weeks
*Game Development with Java | Ages 13-17 | 2 weeks
*Android App Development | Ages 13-17 | 3 weeks
*Girl Power! Generation Code offers girls-only sessions of Scratch Animation & Design as well as Web Development 1.

Mother watching daughter assembling electronics at science center

Generation Code camps are offered in Downtown DC and Vienna, VA. For more information, including session dates and rates, visit the website. And be sure to ask about discounts on camp packages when you register!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Generation Code, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Camp, Class, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Preteens, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

MoCo Students Invited to Show Their Love for Trees in an Arbor Day Video Contest!

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Calling all 3rd to 5th grade students in Montgomery County schools! In celebration of Arbor Day, Montgomery Parks invites you to participate in an Arbor Day Video Contest for a chance to host an Arbor Day Celebration at your school this April. It’s a great opportunity to exercise creativity, highlight local nature, and have fun!

The 2016 Arbor Day contest winner

The 2016 Arbor Day contest winner

To enter:
Create a short video expressing why “We Love Trees in Montgomery County.” Submissions must be received by March 30, 2017 and submitted with the Arbor Day Video Contest Submission Form. The winning student or classroom will be selected March 31, 2017, and the winning school will be notified by April 03, 2017. The school with the winning entry will host Montgomery Parks’ Arbor Day Celebration!

Last year's Arbor Day Celebration at Travilah Elementary School

Last year’s Arbor Day Celebration at Travilah Elementary School

For more information, contest rules, and to submit entries, visit the Arbor Day Celebration web page. Now, go get your cameras rolling and get your videos in!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Montgomery Parks, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Annual, Art, Competition, Contest, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Nature, Schools, Sponsored Post

My Gym Bethesda & My Gym Potomac: Open House & Giveaway!

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Are you looking for a class to add some active fun in your child’s schedule this spring? My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda are gearing up for a new season of programs for ages 3 months to 10 years. Not only are they hosting an event for families to check them out, the children’s play and fitness centers are also giving away a session — that’s eight weeks of enrollment — to one lucky KFDC reader for their child to enjoy!

You can get a preview of My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda’s offerings for kids at a free Open House on February 24 from 4-7pm. It’s a great opportunity to meet our teachers and sample the programs — there are Mommy and Me movement and music classes for babies and preschoolers, and tumbling, sports, and parkour classes for older children. The evening will include games and activities, plus discounts on registration!

My Gym Bethesda is located at 5110 Ridgefield Road and My Gym Potomac is located at 11325 Seven Locks Road.

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Giveaway: Want a chance to win eight weeks of enrollment for one child in a class at My Gym Potomac or My Gym Bethesda (value of $279)? Simply leave a comment below telling me what activity you’ve enjoyed most this winter so far. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook page, too! The prize includes Lifetime Membership and Unlimited practice and play (free play) during the enrollment period. The winner must start classes by April 31, 2017. Classes are consecutive and pending space available. Contest is open to non-members of My Gym only. This giveaway will run through February 28, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by My Gym Bethesda and My Gym Potomac, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, Babies, Class, Free, Giveaway, Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Maryland, Play, Preschoolers, Sponsored Post, Toddlers, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Open House Events at Creative Minds International Public Charter School

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The DC public school lottery is currently open, and many District parents are exploring the selection of educational options for their children. And as a parent who has been through it more than once, I highly recommend taking advantage of opportunities to attend Open House events. It’s a great way to get a better feel for a school — you can get a look at the facilities, ask specific questions, and meet some of the people who will potentially be part of your child’s life.

Coming up in the next few weeks, Creative Minds International Public Charter School, which serves students from preschool to middle school, will be hosting two Open House events. The first will be held on Wednesday, February 8, at 6:15pm. And if you can’t make it on a weekday evening, there will be another Saturday, February 25, at 3pm.

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Founded five years ago by Golnar Abedin, Ph.D., Creative Minds initially launched with preschool and elementary programs, and they’ve been such a success that Abedin expanded the school into 6th grade this year, and will add on 7th grade next year, continuing with 8th after that. The school strikes a unique balance in education by taking a global approach to learning, while always maintaining focus and attention on the individual student.

The global component is one that Abedin believes to be important in an international city like Washington, DC. Through the lens of this type of curriculum, students gain an understanding, appreciation, and respect for differences of all kinds, making them confident, culturally aware individuals capable of succeeding in a diverse and global society.

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Creative Minds has designed an engaging program based on an international, project, and arts-based curriculum that includes foreign language instruction as well as standards-based literacy and mathematics. Students receive a well-rounded education that integrates both the arts and STEAM, all under the instruction of passionate teachers dedicated to the social, emotional, and academic success of their students.

More information about Creative Minds International Public Charter School is available on their website. And, of course, you can get even more insight at one of the Open House events.

Creative Minds International is located within the historic Sherman Building at 3700 North Capitol Street, NW.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Creative Minds International Public Charter School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, DC Public Schools, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Preschoolers, Sponsored Post, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter