Category Archives: Teens

Review: A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage



Whenever I write a review of show for the blog, I always feel like prefacing it with a reminder that I am not a professional theatre critic. I love going to the theatre and the whole experience of it — seeing stories brought to life on stage, admiring the talent and courage of actors, appreciating the set design and stage direction, and just losing myself in a (hopefully) good production for a while.

But when it comes to writing about theatre… I’m no expert. That said, I always hope I can at least convey a good sense of what a show is about, make age recommendations, and give readers an idea of whether it’s something they want to experience with (or without) their kids.

I feel compelled to say this because my lack of expertise may not always do a show justice, especially one as outstanding A Raisin in the Sun, currently running at Arena Stage. There are some productions that nail it on many levels, and to me, this is one of them.

Written by Lorraine Hansberry and first performed on Broadway in 1959, the play follows a 1950’s African American family as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it when they receive a windfall from a life insurance policy. The Youngers — Ruth and Walter, their son Travis, Walter’s mother Lena, and his sister Beneatha — all live together, but have differing views on what will make for a better life and how they will attain it.

Their diverging dreams are sources of conflict within the family and, at times, within the characters themselves that are played out brilliantly by the cast. Especially stellar is Lizan Mitchell in the role of Lena. Her emotion is palpable, and you can almost physically feel it watching her tremble with a mix of frustration, yearning, and a deep love for her family. It’s this love, plus a steadfast pride in who they are, that maintain a strong family bond despite their differences.

The show is poignant, hopeful, and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. And taking place on the Fichandler Stage, the intimate theatre-in-the-round setting is just right for this production, almost making you feel like a guest in the Younger’s living room.

As for age recommendations, I think kids about middle school ages and up could appreciate the story and performances (my friend who joined me for the show agrees). However, it’s a long production — nearly three hours including a 15-minute intermission — something to keep in mind for young theatre-goers who might get antsy. Of course, this would make for a nice KidFree outing, too.

A Raisin in the Sun is running at Arena Stage through May 7. Tickets are $40-111. And if you love theatre, I highly recommend considering a subscription to Arena Stage, which are now available for the 2017-18 season — more details are available here.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to A Raisin in the Sun from Arena Stage, 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 2017, Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Middle Schoolers, Parents, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

Auditions Coming Up for the National Children’s Chorus

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Does your child have musical ability and a desire to be part of a premiere youth choral group? The National Children’s Chorus in Washington, DC, is holding auditions this month for girls and boys ages 5 to 14, offering musically talented children the opportunity to learn and grow in an extraordinary environment.

The finest instructors work with students weekly to develop their vocal skills from the most basic concepts through the college level. Tone quality, breath support, and musical expression are cultivated within the individual singers, while working together as an ensemble culminates in world-class performances. With a spectacular musicianship curriculum to accompany its first-rate vocal training, the National Children’s Chorus is an unparalleled educational resource for children who love to sing! If child has musical ability, don’t waste another minute!

Auditions will take place on Thursday, April 27, at National City Christian Church. Children ages 5 to 14 are invited to apply. Set up an audition today!

For more information, visit the National Children’s Chorus website.


This post is sponsored by the National Children’s Chorus, 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, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Music, Sponsored Post, Spring, Teens, Tweens

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

Guest Post: Invisalign Teen – The Clear Alternative to Braces

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[Note: This is a sponsored post contributed by Dr. Bob Kumra of Kumra Orthondontics. As previously mentioned, I’ll be sprinkling in content that addresses topics applicable to many of us parents as our kids grow. Among that, a monthly post from Dr. Kumra on orthodontia. Kumra Orthodontics has locations in Washington, DC, and Stafford, VA.]

Dr. Bob Kumra and the team at Kumra Orthodontics offers their patients in the DC area Invisalign Teen, a clear and removable orthodontic treatment meant just for their teenagepatients. Invisalign Teen aligner trays are made of a clear thermoplastic material that arecustom made to fit over the teeth. They gently exert pressure on misaligned teeth to bring them into a more natural, functional, and attractive position. Invisalign Teen is the clear alternative to traditional braces.

Clear
No wires, no brackets, and no rubber bands are used with Invisalign Teen. A clear plastictray that fits snugly over the teeth are all that is involved in treatment with Invisalign. Invisalign Teen lets teens keep their appearance intact while gently improving their smiles.

Removable
Invisalign Teen can be removed by the wearer for eating, drinking, brushing, flossing, and cleaning the trays. They are discreet to wear and easy to remove when they need tobe, such as when participating in sports or playing a musical instrument. Teens don’t need to be self-conscious about wearing Invisalign. The clear aligners must be worn to be effective, however, and should be worn 23 hours per day to achieve the best results.

Easy to care for
Invisalign Teen is easy to clean by brushing the trays with regular toothpaste and toothbrush, or even a rinse in denture cleanser will keep the tray clean and fresh. Because Invisalign Teen is removable, it can be kept clean even when the wearer is on the go. When a wearer brushes their teeth regularly, they clean the Invisalign clear aligner trays at the same time.

Effective
Invisalign Teen straightens teeth to a more functional and attractive position. Treatment with Invisalign typically takes the same amount of time as treatment with traditional braces. With conscientious application, the Invisalign Teen wearer can safely, gently, and almost invisibly correct important orthodontic issues with confidence and a minimum of effort. For teenagers, the idea of having to undergo orthodontic treatment can be stressful. Treatment with Invisalign Teen helps the wearer take the best school or team photos, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Confirmations, birthday party candids, and close-up selfies without worrying about the appearance of their smiles.

Dr. Bob Kumra and the Kumra Orthodontics professionals are sensitive to their teen patients’ needs and sensibilities. For more information, or to schedule a complimentary consultation at their orthodontist offices in Downtown DC or Stafford, VA, visit their website or call: (202) 785-8672 (DC) or (540) 602-7251 (VA).

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

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Filed under DC, Preteens, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Teens, Virginia

Indoor Soccer at the Fairfax Sportsplex: The most fun to be had inside this winter!

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Parents, don’t let your kids get cabin fever this winter – sign them up to play INDOOR SOCCER at the Fairfax Sportsplex! Conveniently located just inside the beltway in Springfield, VA, and spanning over an acre, the facility contains five indoor soccer fields where kids can have a blast!

Indoor soccer is a win/win: Kids love it because it’s fast paced and high scoring, and coaches love it because it develops players’ soccer skills with lots of touches on the ball.

Boys & girls teams, as well as individuals ages 5-18, can get in on the action and fun: Teams can enter with their own roster and coach, or you can sign up your child to be placed with other kids their age to form a team with a parent coach. There are no practices, just action-packed games each weekend.

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The Fairfax Sportplex has separate leagues for Recreation/House Level players, where the emphasis in on FUN! Even kids new to soccer can get a lot out of playing indoors — the ball doesn’t go out of bounds, so there is no waiting around for restarts. And the program provides kids with lots of touches on the ball, learning control and good technique, all while scoring goals and having fun playing the fantastic game of soccer!

There are three winter sessions:
Session 1: November 12 – December 18 (register by November 3)
Session 2: December 31 – February 5 (register by November 28)
Session 3: February 11 – March 26 (register by January 31)
Sign up online here!

Have a child younger than 5? The Fairfax Sportsplex also offers Tot Soccer Classes during the week for children ages 3-5!
Tot Soccer at the Sportsplex is a high energy, year-round soccer program designed specifically for young players. Children are encouraged to develop their physical, mental, and social abilities through creative soccer games and other activities taught by professionally licensed coaches. Players learn individual skills and teamwork and, most importantly, have fun while developing a love for the game. Tot Soccer emphasizes mastering basic coordination and agility with and without a soccer ball as well as providing an environment that builds confidence. Learn more here.

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The Fairfax Sportsplex has been in the business of soccer since 1992 and takes pride in supporting the soccer community. They have a professional staff that loves soccer and working with kids.

League Director Nicole Brower
Coach Brower has been organizing the Youth Soccer Leagues at the Sportsplex for 20 years, seeing the program grow into one of the largest in the area. She is a USSF “B” License Coach, Loudoun Soccer Club Coach, Tuscarora High School Coach and was named Washington Post Girls High School All Met Coach of the Year in 2016. Her favorite part of organizing leagues is seeing the same kids come back each year, excited to be able to play indoor again. “We’ve been around long enough, we are seeing past players who are now parents bring their kids to play, providing soccer for generations of players”

Tot Soccer Coach Bill Creswick
Coach Bill is a nationally licensed soccer coach with USSF and NSCAA accreditation. He served on the coaching staff of Marymount University (VA) women, and coached boys and girls soccer for James W. Robinson, Jr. Secondary School in Fairfax. Coach Bill is widely regarded for his ability with the very youngest soccer enthusiasts. Since 1996 he has led the Fairfax Sportsplex’s 3-6 year-old skill development program (Tot Soccer) combining sound soccer fundamentals with a special talent to engage young imaginations.

Have questions or want to learn more? Visit the Fairfax Sportsplex website or contact Nicole Brower at nicolebrower@verizon.net or 703.723.3490.

This post is sponsored by the Fairfax Sportsplex, 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 Fall, Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Preschoolers, Professional Service, Seasonal, Sports, Teens, Tweens, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter