Tag Archives: DC Family Activiies

Love is in the DC Air

Making a Valentine for a special someone at last year's Postal Museum event

Making a Valentine for a special someone at last year’s Postal Museum event

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, events and activities that embrace the spirit are popping up on the children’s activities radar. If you and your kids heart the holiday, here are a bunch of V-Day-themed events happening around the area that you’re all sure to love.

DIY Valentines
Where: National Postal Museum
When: February 7, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Love is in the details at the Postal Museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop. We’ve attended this event several times, so I can tell you firsthand it’s love-ly. They’ll have pretty papers and neat valentine-themed stamps, all you need to bring is your creativity to decorate your card. Visit the museum’s stamp store and send the cards to your loved ones with a special Postal Museum postmark. And for more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: City of Fairfax
When: February 7 & 8
Admission: Depends on activities

Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand-in-hand, so certainly the timing of this sweet event is not a coincidence. The City of Fairfax presents its annual festival centered around one of the most wonderful things in the world: chocolate. There will be all kinds of activities for all ages throughout the weekend, both chocolate and non-chocolate themed — tastings, story time, puppet shows, face painting, chocolate challenges, a chocolate caper mock trial, and much more. The events list on the website has details.

Family Valentine Crafts
Where: Michael’s
When: February 7, 10am – 12pm & 1-4pm
Admission: $2/string art, $10/Valentine box

Head to a Michael’s location for some Valentine’s crafting. In the morning, drop in with little makers for string art valentines with yarn (for ages 3 and up). Later on, bring the whole family to create something special for next weekend’s holiday: Decorate a Valentine’s Day mailbox to hold cards from classmates, friends, and sweethearts. Cost for both activities includes supplies.

Valentine Prints
Where: Local Blick Stores
When: February 12, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Stop by the art supply store to create some art for the holiday. Blick locations around the country are hosting a one-day hand block printing event, where customers can make their own Valentine’s prints or cards in the store — for free! There is a Blick in DC at 1250 I Street NW.

Take Flight
Where: Flight Trampoline Park
When: February 14
Admission: $20 for two people/hour

Whether it’s best friends or significant others, couples can get a discount at the Springfield jump spot on Valentine’s Day — that’s $5 off the regular price per person. For more about Flight, read this KFDC post.

SweetARTS & Valentines
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: February 13, 11:30am – 7pm
Admission: Free

Need something special for your sweetie? Looking for a fun card to send to your BFF? Tired of the same ol’ Valentine’s Day options? Look no further –American Art has what you need. Stop by the Kogod Courtyard to make the perfect, personalized card. They’ll supply all the necessary materials at no cost. If you are feeling fancy, horticulturists from Smithsonian Gardens can help you make an orchid corsage for a $10 materials fee.

Be My Valentine Fest
Where: Village at Leesburg
When: February 13, 5-9pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate VALentines Day with the Village at Leesburg. Evening horse drawn carriage rides, strolling musicians, VALentines characters, and more will be among the festivities and entertainment.

Brunch Box
Where: H Street Country Club
When: February 14, 10am
Admission: $23/ages 9 and up, Free for 8 and under

Bring the whole family for some Valentine’s Day amusement at this pop-up brunch from the host of the DC area’s Baby Loves Disco events. Along with a buffet of brunch fare, admission includes entertainment by DJ Louie Flaco and Premiere Dance DC, photo booth fun, balloon art, face painting, and the venue’s awesome indoor DC-themed mini golf and shuffleboard.

Be My Valentine Tour and Workshop
Where: Tudor House
When: February 14, 10:30-11:30am & 1:30-2:30pm
Admission: $7/members, $10/non-members (parents free)

Celebrate love and creativity at Tudor Place! Children ages 5 and up are invited to tour the historic mansion in search of historic Valentine’s Day cards from the Tudor Place Archive. These cards then serve as inspiration for their own Valentine’s card creations to take home.

Build & Grow
Where: Area Lowe’s Locations
When: February 14, 10am
Admission: Free

The home improvement store hosts free bimonthly workshops for kids, and this session will bring some Valentine’s Day spirit as guests construct a Sweetheart Picture Holder. Bring the kids into any Lowe’s store to make the free wooden project (with parent help). Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit upon completion of their project. Go here to register.

Love in Every Language
Where: Free|Sackler Gallery
When: February 14 & 15
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to enjoy a digital slideshow of images of love in Asian art from the Freer|Sackler collections. In the classroom, use prints that say “love” in more than a dozen Asian languages to create a Valentine’s Day card to take home, and learn how to fold heart-shaped origami.

Valentine's Day Project for Kids

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Class, DC, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

The Big Build: A Huge Day of Hands-On Fun at the National Building Museum


There’s a lot of good stuff going on this coming weekend, but there’s one event in particular I highly recommend clearing some time for: The Big Build at the National Building Museum.

On Saturday from 10am to 4pm, the annual festival will give budding builders an opportunity to start honing their skills as they work alongside professionals, including architects, designers, builders, artisans, and trades people. The Great Hall will be full of different work stations where guests of all ages aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to try their hands at all kinds of construction techniques.


We are big fans of The Big Build, having been a few times over the years. It’s one of those events where kids (and grown-ups!) can spend hours engaged in various activities and discovering new things. We’ve built sculptures from pipes, carved stones, practiced spackling, created mosaic tiles, learned how to use a variety of tools, and so much more.



The interactive building fun continues this year with plenty of ways guests can get their build on. They can climb aboard cranes and tractors, build a brick wall and a log cabin, plant a tree and autumn plants, carve stone, compete in a nail driving contest, and create a hardware wind chime to take home. And new this year are a scavenger hunt, a chance to create a sidewalk chalk cityscape, a children’s play, and a book reading and signing of Urban Animals of Washington, D.C. by author Isabel Hill.


To top it all off, there are always goodies to bring home, too. Along with crafts they design, guests can pick up “hard” hats (they’re actually plastic), stickers, and other building-themed tokens from the day.

The Big Build takes place this Saturday, September 21, from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit the National Building Museum website.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the National Building Museum, however, I only promote activities, events, and services that I sincerely enjoy and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Weekend

Join the Club at Nationals Park

MVP Jr. Kids Club Member sportin' his Nats swag

MVP Jr. Kids Club Member sportin’ his Nats swag

Owen went to his first Nats game when he was about three months old. It was the year after Major League Baseball returned to DC, when the team still played at RFK. I was still on maternity leave from my job at the time, so with our tiny babies nestled in their Bjorns, a few other new moms in my neighborhood and I walked down to the stadium and took in a mid-week afternoon game on a beautiful spring day. I don’t even remember who they played or the outcome of the game, but I do recall it being a really nice, fun, easy day — sitting in the stands, enjoying the sports entertainment on the field, occasionally breastfeeding, maybe having a beer.

Obviously, Owen wasn’t even aware that he was at a baseball game (or much of anything else except his food source, for that matter), but I like to think that great day at the ballpark somehow stuck in his baby brain, helping make him the baseball fan he is today.

We’ve been to many, many Nats games since then. In fact, I first wrote about taking kids to ballgames shortly after I began this blog over three years ago and recommend them regularly during the season. And while catching a game now isn’t nearly as carefree as it felt that first day over seven years ago (there’s a lot more up and down for snacks and playground time and potty breaks), it’s still a good time and, dare I say, even more fun in its own way.

Rootin' for the home team

Rootin’ for the home team

Part of that has to do with the fact that Owen is a legit fan now and genuinely interested in the games. He knows the rules, players, and ballpark traditions. And Sasha, while not as fixated on the sports aspect, likes knowing the whole drill and the excitement of the experience.

And then there’s their new status as MVP members of the Jr. Nationals Kids Club. Open to kids 12 and under, the Kids Club not only makes them feel like VIP’s, membership includes all kinds of great benefits: a free meal at the ballpark, an opportunity to watch batting practice from the field, meet and greets, a special line for Kids Run the Bases on Sundays, a coupon for buy one get one free tickets, Nats swag, and even more.

The Red Porch, a great place to cool off on a hot day and get a good view of the game

The Red Porch, a great place to cool off on a hot day and get a good view of the game

I purchased the memberships online early in the season, and the next time we were at a game, we picked up their kits, a Nats bag containing a book of coupons for all of the experiences, plus a Kids Club badge and lanyard, passport to be stamped for each game attended, a little stuffed Screech toy, and a bracelet. Both Owen and Sasha now bring their kits to every game.

This only cost $15 each (and it’s apparently a $400 value), which I think is a fantastic deal. There is also an option to sign up for a free Rookie membership that includes a membership card and lanyard, meet and greets, and special email offers. (2014 Update: Membership is now $20.)

The kids have already enjoyed some of the benefits, though have yet to take advantage of the Kids Run the Bases line — both Sundays we’ve been since they became Kids Club members, the loop around the infield has been canceled. But there will be many more opportunities to try it.

For more information about the Jr. Nationals Kids Club and to purchase memberships, visit the Washington Nationals website.

And let me note that there’s no disclosure to include with this post; I haven’t been compensated for this in any way. It’s simply a great offer that I think any little baseball fan — and parent of one — will appreciate.


Filed under DC, Deal, Free, Outdoor, Sports, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Step Up to the KazokuFit Family Obstacle Course Challenge

Kids take on the KazokuFit challenge

Kids take on the KazokuFit challenge

Obstacle courses are all the rage these days. Mud runs and other races that involve physical challenges along the way seem to take place all the time now. In fact, I did one of those mud runs with a group of girlfriends last summer and registered months ago to do it again this July. And I remember when I told Owen exactly what it involved — scaling walls, slogging through mud pits, crawling under gates, navigating webs of rope, whizzing down a slide into a giant puddle, climbing up a lofty net — the first thing out of his mouth was, “Can I do one? That sounds so fun!” He was right, it was so fun, but I had to give him the ol’, “Sorry, kiddo, it’s for grown-ups only.” Because at the time, there wasn’t anything like it for kids around here.

But that’s about to change thanks to KazokuFit, a new company that produces obstacle courses and adventure races with all ages in mind. DC’s first-ever family obstacle course challenge is happening this Saturday, May 18, at American University. KazokuFit founders Polina Gregory and Mark Shafer came up with the idea because they wanted their own kids to experience an obstacle course challenge — and they wanted to be able to join them.


The race is designed for families to do together, and with “We have no sidelines” as their tagline, families are encouraged to run, jump, crawl, and climb their way through it. The course is a half-mile long with obstacles specifically created to challenge family members of all ages. It can be repeated multiple times, and they actually want to see how many times racers can do it. Kids ages 6-14 can race with or without a parent (they are highly encouraged to join, though), while younger children must have an adult on the course with them.

There will be heats at 10am, 10:45am, 1:45pm, and 2:30pm. Cost is $25 for a single participant, $45/team of 2, $60/team of 3, $70/team of 4. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the charity Journey 4 a Cure, a pediatric cancer foundation. You can register your family on the website.

And if you can’t make it this weekend, you’ll have another opportunity for a family obstacle course challenge on June 29 at the Brambleton Town Center in Virginia.


Events take place rain or shine, and there’s a chance of getting wet at the Brambleton event even if the sun is out. Sponsors Honest Tea, Drink More Water, and Whole Foods will provide healthy drinks and snacks, but there will not be other food/drink for purchase. The DC course will be located at the American University field at Massachusetts Avenue and 45th Street NW.

Oh, and they’ve created a pledge, which I really dig (especially the part about whining).

We will be our best selves.
We will embrace challenges.
We will give it our all.
We will forget how to whine.
We will not care if we get dirty, wet or tired.
Most importantly, we will do it as a family and have fun.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by KazokuFit, however, I only promote activities, events, and services that I sincerely enjoy and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under Competition, DC, Gradeschoolers, Outdoor, Preschoolers, Preteens, Sports, Spring, Summer, Teens, Weekend

The Kennedy Center is Playing it Cool

A ship of shirts is the centerpiece of the Hall of States

A ship of shirts is the centerpiece of the Hall of States

I didn’t waste any time getting over to the Kennedy Center for Nordic Cool 2013, the month-long festival celebrating the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and nearby islands. Many of the exhibits opened to the public yesterday, and some of the offerings for children — a LEGO play space and mobile games — sounded especially fun, so Sasha and I headed over straight from school to be there for day one.

I knew that there would be many exhibits on display beyond those designed just for kids. (There actually will be 750 performances, exhibits, talks, demos, and more over the next month.) What I didn’t expect was just how cool the exhibits would be, nor just how many of them kids would find interesting, too. What was intended to be an afternoon of LEGO and game play, turned out to be an experience full of art, discovery, and fun — all of it free. Here’s a look at some of it…


The play space is easily a highlight for little kids, with LEGO Duplo tables and bricks especially for children ages 1-5. And there’s more for older kids, too: iPads loaded with games created by Nordic developers are available throughout the area offering guests a chance to try them (including Angry Birds, created by the Finnish company Rovio Entertainment). LEGO murals on the walls and a couple of sculptures are also fun to check out.



The art starts outdoors, where several wooden elk sculptures created by an artist from the Aland Islands have been erected. These lofty structures are used as hunting towers and environmental art to make the landscape fun and alive.


We encountered one of the most breathtaking works as soon as we walked into the Hall of States. A “boat” made of men’s oxford shirts (which we were told came from over 1,000 people in DC) spans much of the space. You have to see it from every angle, including from inside between the two ends, to truly appreciate it in its entirety.


In order to reach the LEGO play space upstairs, you have to walk through a few other interesting exhibits, including a showcase of Nordic design and its relationship to nature, technology, and heritage. Furniture, kayaks, a bike with child bucket in front, and other products are on display in the Northern Atrium Foyer. In the next room, decorated to look like a snowy landscape, mannequins don fashions by Nordic designers.



Beyond that is the “New-Nordic Architecture and Identity” exhibit, where five dwellings built by Nordic architects are on display. You can actually walk into and through a few of them, which was a thrill for Sasha. One even had small meandering hallways, kind of like a little maze. Dioramas by different artists from all over the Nordic region line the perimeters of the exhibit, showcasing cultural personalities from the various countries.




An entire room is dedicated to Iceland’s waterfalls, which are disappearing throughout the country, with an installation that strikes the senses. Large images of cascades slide out from a big steel frame. When you pull one out, the audio recorded as the photograph was taken plays, too, so you can hear the waterfall’s sounds. I have to warn: It’s loud and frightened Sasha, but I found it rather spectacular.



Large plywood sculptures dominate the Hall of Nations. Plywood was apparently invented in Sweden, however, these structures were created by a Norwegian architectural firm.


There are even more exhibits in the Grand Foyer — colorful glass birds dangling in windows and a display about the Nobel Prize. And there’s one you don’t even have to be at the venue to see: Northern Lights. Every night from 5:30-11pm, the facade of the Kennedy Center will be illuminated to recreate the effect of the aurora borelias — wow!

And these are just the exhibits. There are numerous other ways to experience Nordic Cool 2013 — music, theatre, and dance performances; food tastings and demos; forums; workshops; and more. You can view the schedules for all of them and purchase tickets on the website.

LEGO Brand Retail

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Movies, Music, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter