Category Archives: Spring

PTO Playoffs: The Ultimate Fundraising Competition Where Every School Wins!


Time to put your game face on! Parents, teachers, and administrators — you understand the fight to raise money for your school. Well, PTO Playoffs is the ultimate way! Raise thousands of dollars. Get dirty. Run a relay. Test your wits. Unleash your inner athlete. Walk (or limp) away with money to support your school!

Public, private, and charter school parent teacher organizations and associations (PTOs and PTAs) will compete in a series of outdoor games & challenges for a grand prize of $10,000. In addition to the opportunity to win a large cash prize, teams can raise money for their schools through individual donations and corporate sponsorship. So every school wins!

The mission of PTO Playoffs is to:
* Provide a spirited way for schools to raise funds to support programming needs
* Model teamwork and positive play for students
* Promote exercise and interactive play
* Build camaraderie among parent teacher organizations and associations

PTO Playoffs will take place May 20, 2017 at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC. PTOs and PTAs interested in signing up to compete must complete the short questionnaire ASAP and submit a pitch video by November 12, 2016, like the one below from Anne Beers Elementary School. Schools selected to participate will be notified by December 1, 2016.

Click Image to View Anne Beers Elementary School PTO Playoffs Pitch!

Click Image to View Anne Beers Elementary School PTO Playoffs Pitch!

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

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Competition, Contest, DC, DC Public Schools, Fundraiser, Outdoor, Parents, Schools, Sponsored Post, Sports, Spring, Weekend

Camping and Hiking and Bears (Oh, My!) in Shenandoah National Park


There are plenty of great destinations for camping with kids within an easy drive from DC, and one of the best is Shenandoah National Park. At nearly 200,000 acres, you really feel immersed in its glorious nature. There are woods and streams, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, lofty waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, and lots of wildlife sightings. And it’s all easily accessible from the city — about a 75-minute drive to the park’s entrance, and not much farther to the nearest campground area.


Four campgrounds in the park welcome parties of all sizes, and there is one more for groups of seven or more. Earlier this summer, we pitched our tents at Matthew’s Arm, the closest one at mile 22. It’s all car camping, making it easy with kids, plus there are facilities within the area and a general store just a few miles away pretty well stocked with basic groceries, firewood, and souvenirs. We somehow lucked out and snagged a group spot, which accommodated our party of two families nicely, even though we booked it just days ahead. Usually you need to reserve much farther in advance, especially for summer weekends.



Picnic tables and a fire pit at the campsite made mealtimes convenient. And while we’d bought a cord of firewood at the store, we easily found more in the surrounding woods to keep a fire going well past s’mores time until we were ready to hit the sleeping bags.



Like all of the campground areas, there is access to nice hiking trails, including one to Overall Run Falls. The hike there and back is about three miles through the lovely woods.


But it’s what we saw along the way that made it most interesting: Bears!



We had indication that at least one was nearby before seeing them — scat on the trail that my friend Jody determine was fresh after examining it with a stick (bears do poop on the woods!). Not long after that we saw one on our hike to the waterfall. Then two more on the way back. (And a fourth as we were driving out of the park to head home.)



Black bear sightings are common in Shenandoah (though I’d never seen them on my many previous visits), and there are a lot of signs and warnings of them in park brochures with tips on encountering them safely. We made noise, kept our distance, and didn’t linger too long. And at the campsite, we made sure to clean food up well and lock it up in the bear-proof bin.


If you can’t swing an overnight at Shenandoah, it’s still close enough for a day trip. With over 500 miles of trails, there are walks in the woods to suit all ages and hiking levels. You can also just find a great area to hang out and have a picnic or take in the beautiful scenery from your car along Skyline Drive.


Campgrounds in Shenandoah open in the spring, operating on a first-come, first-served basis until early May, when you can start reserving some sites in advance. Along with campsites, there are also cabins and lodges available. Rates for campsites start at $15/night and can be reserved through


Shenandoah National Park is located in Virginia, 75 miles from Washington, DC. Hours vary at facilities, so see the website for details. Admission to the park is $20/vehicle and valid for a week. An annual Shenandoah Pass is $40.

There are several Fee Free days throughout the year, a few still to come in 2016:
August 25-28 – National Park Service Birthday Weekend
September 24 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veterans Day

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Fall, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 13-17

Roam around the Franciscan Monastery grounds in Brookland

Roam around the Franciscan Monastery grounds in Brookland

NORDSTROM - Shop Kids' Summer Shoes from Top Brands

Monday – Spend the beautiful day outdoors at Burke Lake Park. Hike the trails, go for a spin on the carousel ($2), take a ride on the miniature steam engine ($3), romp on one of the playgrounds, and enjoy more fun in the fresh air. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free on weekdays.

Tuesday – Explore the lovely grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the “Oasis of Peace” welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 10am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Go to Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter, where they are welcoming little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library. The weekly series runs through September 28. Starts at 10:30am, and admission is free.

Thursday – Venture up to Baltimore to see some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Friday – Rock out with local kids’ fave Rocknocerous at Jammin’ Java. Plan to eat while you’re there — the full lunch menu will be available. Showtime is 10:30am, doors open at 10am. Tickets are $5.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: June 10-12

Fun comes in all forms around DC!

Fun comes in all forms around DC!

There’s a great mix of special events and activities to enjoy around the area over the next few days. And for even more ideas for family outings, check out this compilation of the best outdoor places and this big list of indoor pursuits. Happy Weekend!

Seize the Season
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Enjoy summer fun with a host of activities that only occur this time of year. Catch an open-air concert at one of several series in the area. Stay cool at an outdoor pool, sprayground, or water park. See a movie under the stars. Check out a seasonal exhibit. Go berry picking. Ride mini-trains and carousels at local parks. And much, much more. Check the Summer 2016 guide for details on all of these great pursuits.

Celebrate Fairfax!
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: $12/adult, $5/youth, free for 2 and under

The annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has something for everyone — live music (Plain White T’s, B-52’s, and Living Colour among the performers), carnival rides, children’s activities, art, food vendors, and much more to keep guests entertained throughout the weekend. For more details, along with the full musical line-up, see the Celebrate Fairfax website.

Astronomy Festival
Where: National Mall, 15th & Constitution NW
When: Friday, 6-11pm
Admission: Free

Get an eyeful of the night sky at the 7th Annual Astronomy Festival. This free public stargazing event will feature solar, optical, and radio telescope observations of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn; hands-on activities, demonstrations, hand-outs, posters, banners, and videos; a planetarium show with a portable blow-up dome, speakers from scientific and educational organization, and a chance to mingle with astronomers.

Nats vs. Phillies
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket Prices Vary

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Phillies. There are games tonight, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday late afternoon. Check for special promos here. And before you go, get some KFDC tips on doing Nats game without breaking the bank.

Capital Pride
Where: Northwest DC & Pennsylvania Ave.
When: Saturday, 4:30-7:30pm & Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate gay pride in our nation’s capitol at the 41st annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival that are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people. The procession on Saturday kicks off at 4:30pm at 22nd & P Streets NW and will wind its way through Dupont, Logan, and other areas of NW. It’s sure to be a spectacular extravaganza of ornate floats, street performers, music and dancing, glitter and beads, and plenty of reveling. Sunday’s family-friendly festival will feature three stages of live entertainment and will host 300 exhibitors, including local and community groups, national sponsors, local businesses, and food vendors. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTA community and join the celebration.

Air Force Cycling Classic
Where: Clarendon & Crystal City
When: Saturday, 11:30am & Sunday, 11:15am
Admission: Free

The official race is for adults, but kids ages 9 and under can get in on the cycling, too – there are special races just for them along with the main event. The Ethan Klancnik Memorial Kids Race to support the Tay-Sachs Awareness and Prevention Organization will be raced in honor of Ethan Klancnik, who lost his battle with the disease. The Saturday kids races will take place in Clarendon at 11:30am, and Sunday’s will be held in Crystal City around 12:25pm. Multiple heats for different age groups will vary in distance; the older the kids, the further they ride. Participants must bring their own helmets and bikes, and trikes are welcome, too. For details and to register online, visit the Air Force Cycling Classic website.

Maryland Faerie Festival
Where: Darlington, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $5/ages 3-12, $15/ages 13-99

Indulge little faerie dreams at the annual festival inspired by faerie folklore and literature. Apparently, it’s kind of like Renn Fest on a much smaller scale with facets that will delight children, especially those who believe in faeries. Treasure hunts, craft projects, nature walks, and acrobats are some of the activities kids (and adults) will enjoy. Art, crafts, musical performances, and jewelry vendors will appeal to the bigger faeries in the crowd.

Family Day: Migration, My City
Where: Textile Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Textile Musuem in celebrating DC and the stories of how we arrived here. Create a watercolor city scene of Washington and enjoy a professional storytelling performance by Diane Macklin. Activities are fun for all ages and inspired by the exhibitions Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora and For the Record: The Art of Lily Spandorf.

National Parks Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Help the Postal Museum celebrate 100 years of our National Parks with a day of family fun! Visitors will have the chance to create their own stamp album, experience what it’s like on the mail mule train down the Grand Canyon, and so much more, including the chance to check out the new exhibit Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks .

Cherokee Days
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the NMAI for the 3rd annual Cherokee Days Festival on the National Mall. The three federally recognized Cherokee Tribes—the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians—will come together to celebrate their common heritage and showcase celebrated artists, storytellers, musicians, and dancers. Children’s make-and-take activities will delight little ones. And Tsa-La-Gi Dancers performing the Bear Dance, Bison Dance, Quail Dance, and Friendship Dance will entertain all ages.

Suncatcher Crafts
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: $5 (register ahead online)

Join a workshop at the Building Museum to celebrate the birthday of one of America’s favorite architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. Create a faux-stained glass suncatcher inspired by Wright’s geometric glass designs and take it home to hang a piece of architectural art in your own sunny window. Walk-up registration is based on availability, so sign up online to reserve a spot – registration for Musem programs closes at midnight the day before the scheduled program.

Strawberry Fields in Petworth
Where: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
When: Saturday, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

Okay, maybe not fields, but a Strawberry Festival is even better! St. Paul’s Episcopal Church welcomes all to enjoy free family to celebrate the season, including two bounce houses, face painting, crafts, pony rides, a rock climbing wall, and tours of Rock Creek Cemetery (where the church is located). Food, including strawberries and strawberry shortcakes, can be purchased there. St. Paul’s is located at 201 Alison Street NE.

Alice: A Wonderland Trip
Where: Fringe Theatre
When: Saturday & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20

ALICE: a Wonderland trip. Why does a girl need to create a Wonderland, and what happens there? This family dance and theater show offers a unique interpretation of a classic, starring young performers of Momentum Dance Theater’s Jazz Hip Hop Academy with professional performers in cameo roles.

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

– Reserve your free seats for Blue Sky Puppet Theatre’s
The Barker of Seville
, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
– Catch a performance of Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs at The Puppet Co.
– And mother Goose Caboose is the featured Tiny Tots show
– See Creative Cauldron’s production of The Wind in the Willows
– Encore Stage & Studio presents Cul de Sac, theatre by kids for kids
Gustafer Yellowgold, the friendly fellow who cam from the Sun is landing at Alden Theatre on Sunday

Woodlawn Opening
Where: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
When: Saturday, 12-4
Admission: Free

Watch history come alive as Montgomery Parks celebrates the opening of the Woodlawn Visitor Center. The opening ceremony will feature the Wahsington Revelers Jubilee Voices, and the festivities will continue with activities for kids, guided tours, blacksmith and farm demos, live music, and food truck fare.

Celebrate Mama
Where: Rockville Town Square
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

This free family event features live entertainment, giveaways, a fabulous vendor marketplace, and much more! And even though moms are the honorees by name, there will be tons of activities for kids, plus great local resources for the family.

Market Days
Where: North Bethesda Market
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

North Bethesda Market’s first Home and Garden Market is an outdoor event for the entire family on Saturdays through June. Shop for plants and fresh cut flowers, find decor to refresh your home and garden, and enjoy live music and a fresh grilled lunch al fresco. Whole Foods will offer gardening items just for kids, and you can get tips on flower arranging and creating a succulent garden during free weekly seminars.

Bo Obama Storytime
Where: Walls of Books
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Head to Petworth for storytime about the First Pet! Hear Heather Patterson read her children’s book “Passing the Bone: America’s Next POTUS” at Walls of Books. Bo Obama, Pup of the United States, shares the dos and don’ts of being the First Dog as he prepares to pass the bone to the next White House pup. The entire nation is wondering – Who will be the next POTUS? May the best dog win!

Yoga in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10-10:30am & 10:45-11:45am
Admission: $10/adult & child

Get outside and enjoy the benefits of yoga and and quality time together, while relaxing and experiencing nature. This class is filled with yoga postures, partner poses, yoga games, breath and relaxation techniques, and lots of smiles. The 10am class is for ages 3-5; the 10:45am class for 6 and up. Dress for the weather, bring a mat or beach towel and water bottle. No yoga experience necessary. Afterwards, stay and play in the park or enjoy the artLAB!

Paint with Me: Kids Edition
Where: ReCreative Spaces
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: $50

Join Imagination Station and Camilla Schaeffer as they present Paint With Me: Kids Edition! Parents, grandparents, or close friends — enjoy an opportunity to bond with a special child in your life during an afternoon of creating beach-themed art while enjoying some delicious snacks! This event will also feature vendors, raffles, and more!

Health and Safety Summit
Where: Girard and 14th St. NW Park
When: Saturday, 12-3:30pm
Admission: Free

ANC 1B is hosting this family friendly, interactive event where community members can talk with local government and community organizations and get their questions and concerns addressed. There will also be free health screenings, hands on CPR demos, and a fire engine and police car for kids to explore.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Calvert Road or Seneca Creek State Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. Read about one of our outings enjoying the Frisbe-golf combo here. We’ve also enjoyed it at Seneca Creek. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty parks with opportunities for more recreation at both.

Family Dance
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $5 ages 4 and up

Take the whole gang to a Family Dance with Eric Maring & Friends. The Folklore Society of Greater Washington offers social dance events and classes at Glen Echo Park, including one on Sundays that all ages are welcome to enjoy.

Gluten-Free Expo
Where: Doubletree Bethesda Hotel
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: $15/adult, $5/child

The Children’s National Health System Celiac Disease Program is hosting the sixth annual Gluten-Free Expo. The day-long event is aimed at educating children and families with celiac disease and gluten-free diets.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 6-10

Kids will love the play areas along with the dollhouses at the Small Stories exhibit

Kids will love the play areas along with the dollhouses at the Small Stories exhibit

Monday – 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 – 2pm Monday through Friday for $10/hour (includes accompanying adult).

Tuesday – Head to the National Building Museum for a couple of great programs. The monthly Little Builders Storytime takes place at 10:30am & 11:30am in the Building Zone ($3/person). You can also see the new Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse exhibit featuring many dollhouses that take you through London history, all of them beautiful with intricate details. Children will also enjoy areas that encourage pretend play with dress up and props inspired by some of the displays. ($10/adult, $7/child). Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission for members is free, and I highly recommend checking out membership options if you frequent the museum at least a few time per year.

Wednesday – Frolic on the playground and sprawling fields and do some light hiking at Montrose and Dumbarton Oaks Parks in Georgetown. Both are fun, easy places to enjoy a nice day with little ones (and big ones, for that matter). Admission at both locales is free. Plan to grab a bite at one of the many nearby eateries on M Street or Wisconsin Ave.

Thursday – Take a day trip out to Solomons, MD, to Annmarie Sculpture Gardens for an enchanting array of artistic delights. View eye-popping works, both indoors and out, hunt for fairy houses, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Trust me, it’s worth the hour-plus drive. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.

Friday – Get a glimpse of Rock Creek Park’s past a Peirce Mill. See the inner workings of a structure built before modern technology that actually still runs. Pack lunch for a riverside picnic — there are tables right next to the mill. Plan to do some hiking on nearby trails, too. Hours are 10am – 4pm, and admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays