Category Archives: Tweens

Get Kids into the Act at Adventure Theatre Summer Camp

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There are so many options for summer camps in the DC area, and my kids have been to a variety of them over the years. But there’s one that consistently has been a part of our summer: Adventure Theatre’s acting camp.

The program is a fantastic opportunity for kids going into grades 1 – 6 to experience musical theatre in a fun, full-day camp. They work alongside accomplished DC-area theater professionals and teaching artists during daily rehearsals in dancing, singing, and acting. With props and costumes, singing and scene-work, sessions culminate in a performance of a full-scale show for family and friends. And this is all with one of the best children’s theatres around!

Sasha on stage in the 'Camp Runamuk' performance last summer

Sasha on stage in the ‘Camp Runamuk’ performance last summer



Owen started our family trend with the camp, participating in the two-week sessions for several summers. Sasha began carrying on the tradition last year and loved it so much she’s signed up again. I truly adore the program, too. The kids really learn an incredible amount about acting and the inner workings of the theatre, and the production at the end is such a treat. It’s so impressive to see just how much they get out of classes, and knowing how much fun they have in the process makes it even better.

Adventure Theatre Summer Camp is held at both Glen Echo Park and in the District at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. All sessions run for two weeks everyday from 9am – 4pm with before and after care available.

For more information, including rates, registration, and the shows being performed this summer, visit the Adventure Theatre website:
Camp at Glen Echo Park
Camp at the Atlas


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Adventure Theatre MTC, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2017, Camp, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Summer, Theatre, Tweens, Weekdays

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

Journey with Earth Explorers at the National Geographic Museum

An Earth Explorer journal entry

An Earth Explorer journal entry



Want to witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse in the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, or gear up for a polar expedition? These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the National Geographic Museum’s newest exhibition.

An explorer greeting at the entrance

An explorer greeting at the entrance

Earth Explorers takes you on a journey around the globe, offering a glimpse into the work and passion of real explorers in the field. Hands-on displays, interactive installations, and Nat Geo’s signature stunning visuals are your guides in this informative, inspiring, and fun experience.

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

The exhibit features six stations covering different regions and types of explorations: Base Camp, Oceans, Rain Forests, Mountains and Caves, African Savannah, and Polar Regions. Each area provides a sense of the work environment in its particular setting. Video footage and photos let you see the places and wildlife that exists there. Gear on display shows you the equipment needed to do the work. And field journals from the explorers provide insight into their work — how they got started, how they approach expeditions, what impels them to probe the unknown, and advice for future explorers.

Journals reveal more about each explorer

Journals reveal more about each explorer

The view from the sub

The view from the sub

Get a bird's eye view of the African savannah

Get a bird’s eye view of the African savannah

Guests can get even more of a feel for the work in immersive installations that replicate the experiences of the explorers. Delve into the ocean in a submarine, take an aerial survey of the African savannah from a hot air balloon, study ecosystems under a tent in the rain forest, check out an Arctic cabin and learn how scientists study polar animals, and ride in an off road vehicle used in the field. These are just some of the larger interactive elements. Smaller ones, like touchscreen displays and fun, wall-mounted trivia games, abound.

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Interactives are fun and educational

Interactives are fun and educational

There are so many neat details to the exhibit that you’ll feel like an explorer yourself as you go through it. You don’t want to miss something that might provide key insight into a particular region or expedition or discovery. And a unique supplement is an interactive digital experience that utilizes an advanced technology, augmented reality (AR), to bring various animals inside the exhibit to life on your iOS or Android device.

Tropical trivia

Tropical trivia

Earth Explorers is also an exhibit with all-ages appeal. While probably best for about ages 8-13 — there is quite a bit of reading and information that older kids will digest more easily — younger children will love the hands-on and immersive parts along with striking and playful imagery and video. No matter what age, it’s meant to inspire and get kids to think about what they might want to be when they grow up.

It’s given me all kinds of ideas! 😉

Earth Explorers is on view at the National Geographic Museum through September 10, 2017. Tickets are $15/adult, $12/seniors, student, & military, $10/ages 5-12, free for under 5. Museum hours are 10am – 6pm.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Nature, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend