Parents are facing innumerable challenges as we strive to educate, entertain, feed, comfort, and care for our kids in our current reality. Here at the DC Area Moms, we want to provide perspectives and information that can make the day a bit easier for you and your family. As such, we have highlighted some virtual events and offerings by LOCAL organizations.
We are incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful community resources accessible from our homes. Most are free, but some do cost to enjoy. (They’re trying to keep their businesses afloat!). Available resources are constantly changing as organizations assess how to best provide access to families. We will add to this list as we learn of additional offerings. If you would like to share information with us about local virtual events or classes, please share in the comments below.
The National Aquarium is open with COVID protocols, but if a visit is still not possible for your family, there’s still plenty of Aquarium fun to experience from inside your home. Check out the aquatic activities such as word searches and downloadable coloring pages. Don’t forget to tune in to the aquarium’s live streams for an up-close look at the Blacktip Reef exhibit, blue blubber jellies, and residents of a Pacific coral reef. The Aquarium has also has created several fun backgrounds for all those Zoom meetings.
The National Zoo is closed, however it is still committed to supporting teachers, students, and families around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. They have developed new materials to help learners of all ages respond to this challenging period. Currently, they offer resources to engage learners in grades pre-K to 12 with science, the natural world, wildlife, and conservation. Some of the activities offered are games, a virtual tour of the zoo, and webcams that allow you to check in on the pandas, mole rats, lions, and elephants from your home.
ART AND READING
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Art Challenge
The Goddard Center may be closed, but your budding astronomers will love the virtual experiences that it offers. An on-going event is its Sunday Experiment Series which celebrates major science missions that are managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center and set to launch in the near future. Each month a different mission will be highlighted with fun demonstrations and activities that you can do anywhere. You can also find Skywatching Tips and learn how to spot the International Space Station.
DC Public Library
Participate in the Winter Challenge to stay active and engaged all winter long with the DCPL and the Washington Wizards! From Jan 1st – Mar 31st, school-aged children and teens (Ages 5-19) can sign up and earn badges that encourage reading for pleasure, joining interactive virtual events, sharing and connecting with the library community, and finding fun ways to be physically active. DCPL also has everything your student needs to stay engaged with learning and have a great school year, whether they are entering kindergarten or starting their senior year of high school. Join the Library for DC Family Reads (a family literacy program) and a variety of other virtual events to entertain and educate family members of all ages. The upcoming schedule includes virtual Story Time, learning ASL, a live cooking demonstration for all ages, a yoga class, and more. Also, remember to check the website regularly to stay up to date as DCPL reopens locations and services.
In Fall 2020, Glen Echo Park brought back some of its classes onsite, but it will continue to provide virtual programming for all ages. Check out its website for weekly Saturday Art Explorers projects. You can also access booklists, a Spotify playlist, and at-home activities compiled by its PAGE program (a preschool program for 1-4 year olds).
The Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center has cancelled programming through the April 25, 2021. Additionally, much of the late spring and early summer touring programs have been canceled. However, it has made a wide variety of programming available digitally. Visit Kennedy [email protected] to enjoy free videos of extraordinary live and on-demand performances and educational activities to do at home, with new releases daily. It has also archived Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. You can purchase a Digital Subscription to Performances for Young Audiences, which will give you access to digital content from previously announced programs. Tune in for theater, dance, music, and more. Furthermore, [email protected] is a digital series aimed at bringing the energy and joy of the Moonshot Studio to people in their homes. Widely available materials and engaging prompts are used to spark at-home, off-screen creative adventures for people of all ages.
National Book Festival
The 20th annual, National Book Festival, hosted by the Library of Congress, was held live virtually in September. However, you can still access author presentations and activities at the Virtual Festival Platform.
Library of Congress
Resources for Family Engagement
Check out “Dav Pilkey at Home” to watch the author and illustrator share drawing tips and hear him read aloud from his work in this series of videos, produced in collaboration with Scholastic. You can also find great Dav Pilkey content at Scholastic’s webpage where, each Friday, you can get creative and have fun with some of your favorite characters from Dog Man and Captain Underpants! New activities, exciting videos, and more will be posted each week. The Library of Congress has also put together Activity Kits for kids so that they may become inspired by an item in the Library’s collections then create artworks, mini-books, and more.
Library of Congress
“Write. Right. Rite.”
The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, DC local Jason Reynolds, has created two digital features that fall under his “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” platform: a video series titled “Write. Right. Rite.” and a blog series titled “GRAB THE MIC Newsletter.” At the end of each video, Reynolds will share a prompt that encourages young people to work toward a specific idea. The activities are fun-filled and some are more challenging than others, but Reynolds always makes sure to include brainstorming “get-you-going” questions.
MuralsDC was created in 2007 to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, revitalize sites within communities in DC, and to teach young, aspiring artists the art of aerosol painting. One hundred thirty-three murals are scattered across 70 DC neighborhoods. You can tour these murals virtually, or hit the pavement, using the mural locator as your guide. There are two curated tours including the U Street Corridor Walking Tour and the MuralsDC51 Tour (which highlights murals supporting DC statehood).
The Phillips Collection
The museum is closed again due to temporary Emergency Orders issued in DC, but its art and exhibitions can still be explored from home. Families can try #MuseumAtHome activities such as a printable Discovery Pack to learn about the Phillip’s collection, directions for how to make a maraca, sketching activities, and more. There are also opportunities to re-create Phillips masterworks and to create your own art based on Jacob Lawrence’s powerful 60-panel Migration series.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Frederick Douglass’ historic DC home is closed, but you can still virtually tour the site. Additionally, your child can become a Junior Ranger by downloading the Junior Ranger activity book. Mail the book in once 8 activities have been completed to receive the Junior Ranger badge.
George Mason’s home, Gunston Hall, is offering engaging activities, projects, and chances to expand your horizons from within your own home. They have provided free activities related to cooking and gardening. There are also directions about how to make 18th-century kids activities such as a kite and a whirligig. The grounds, visitor center, and museum shop are now reopened.
The Estate and Gardens have reopened, but there still are plenty of online activities available to educate and entertain your little history buff. There is a virtual tour of the estate and gardens. There is also a compiled list of kids activities to explore including crafts (such as making berry ink or homemade butter), worksheets, games (including online interactives), quizzes, videos, and more.
National Children’s Museum
The National Children’s Museum is still closed but it continues to offer programming to spark creativity and ignite curiosity. Right now, you can learn about clouds with the Head in the Clouds Virtual Field Trip. You and your family can take a virtual tour of the Museum. Its STEAMwork video programs provide STEAM experiments and projects you can do at home. STEAM Daydream is the Museum’s monthly podcast where children interview STEAM innovators from across the country. Check out its website for more information about these and other STEAM programs.
Children’s Science Center
Join the Center every Monday at 11:30am on its Facebook page for Budding Bookworms, where a new book is read each week followed by an activity for you to print out and explore along with your child at home. Visit their YouTube channel for more book readings and other experiments to enjoy. The Center also offers virtual paid programming including STEM Enrichment Series and STEM Fun Club.
Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens
Virtual Family Tour
Embark on an adventure around the world as you explore Hillwood’s art from home via live video chat. Enjoy playful activities led by a museum educator and have the opportunity to ask your questions in real time. This virtual art tour for families is suggested for children ages 3-10 and their adults, but children of any age are welcome to participate. This virtual family tour is presented live online via Zoom. A link will be emailed to registered participants prior to the program. It costs $5 (free for members). Register online.
International Spy Museum
The museum is has opened, but there are several ways families can enjoy the International Spy Museum from home. Take your next family or friend Zoom gathering to a new level of cool with a live, action-packed game night called Covert Couch Challenge. Check out the museum’s YouTube channel for engaging video content including author debriefings, discussions of current events, interviews with former spies, DIY workshops, and more. Each week, it offers a new free SpyCast featuring interviews and programs with ex-spies, intelligence experts, and espionage scholars. Additionally, it provides free classroom lessons, resources, and activities that support traditional curriculum. The activities range from code-breaking to designing a spy gadget. A reading list is also provided.
The Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center is open for visitors, but it also offers a variety of online activities and events to bring a bit of the science center to your home. Try one of its Science At Home Activities, join them for new online events every week, and more!
National Geographic Museum
The museum is closed, but National Geographic has curated collections of learning activities for grades K-12 to implement at home. It also offers Learn Through Play activities that challenge families and students to learn through play by problem-solving, thinking creatively, and having fun. There are many more lessons about issues ranging from maps, explorers, natural wonders, photography, and more.
The Smithsonian is offering an enormous variety of programming to educate and enlighten family members of all ages. It has compiled Fun Stuff for Kids and Teens including a lot of games and activities related to a wide range of subjects. The Museums have also provided access to its vast collections through Online Exhibitions, Online Events, and Digital Content. The Online Exhibitions allow users to virtually explore museum exhibits. Many featured Online Exhibitions include additional resources to augment the learning experience. There are also many Online Events offered, including online Storytime and Young Portrait Explorers from the National Portrait Gallery, Aerial America Facebook Watch Parties, Smithsonian Social Studies Online, and much more. Some events require online pre-registration.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. Learn more about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and genocide through a variety of resources provided by the museum. Listen to podcasts and other audio recordings and watch videos that explore the experiences of Holocaust survivors, the Museum’s collections, and Holocaust history. A wide variety of online teaching tools are available including online lectures, online versions of past and current exhibitions, and even a Virtual Field Trip that allows students to virtually experience the US Holocaust Memorial Museum using Google Expeditions.
The Kennedy Center Couch Concerts
The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage is bringing a new series of live performances streamed to you. Watch talented artists perform their work and help us inspire, grieve, heal, and move forward as a nation. Performances will stream live from artists’ homes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 pm. Check out past concerts and the future schedule on the website. Don’t forget to visit Kennedy [email protected] to enjoy free videos of extraordinary live and on-demand performances and educational activities to do at home, with new releases daily.
Meadowlark Music Lessons for Babies and Toddlers
Meadowlark is a local business, owned and operated in Washington DC. Fall classes for babies and toddlers will be held online, using Zoom. They hope to be a bright musical spot in your day and lives as we navigate this challenging time together. You can register for classes online.
SPORTS AND PLAY
If you can’t get to a game in November, your little DC United fan can get a soccer fix on the DC United website. The team has posted several Throwback Matches, workout suggestions in Talon’s Workout Tapes featuring Steven Birnbaum, and an “Ask Me Anything” interview with Donovan Pines. Check the website regularly for updated content.
Join the knowledgeable Labyrinth staff for a variety of virtual events. Join other kids and teens to play Dungeons and Dragons. Learn about Pokémon Trading Cards and join a Pokémon Online Tournament. Check out the website for all of their upcoming events. Participants are asked to pay what they can to participate in many events, while others have a fixed price. Also, don’t forget that Labyrinth has made many of their products available for online sales for pickup or shipping.
The Mystics have created #TogetherDC At Home, a place to keep up with everything that the Mystics, DC, MD, and VA are doing to fight the spread of COVID-19. They have also provided at-home activities such as a STEM workbook, coloring pages, and a variety of fun family fitness challenges (in partnership with MedStar Health). To relive their championship run, check out the documentary Run It Back: Mystics Journey to a Championship.
To help with continued learning, the Nats are sharing free, online activities for kids in grades 1-6. The team has provided fun, short activities and baseball themed tutorials focused on reading, STEM, and being physically active. So step up to the plate, keep your head in the game, touch all the bases and have some fun!
THEATER AND FILM
The Theater is offering spring online theater classes for elementary age kids, as well as online summer camp classes.
American Film Institute (AFI) Movie Club
AFI Movie Club aims to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together, even while we are apart. AFI selects an iconic movie each day for the world to watch together, creating a communal viewing experience. Audiences can “gather” at AFI.com/MovieClub to view the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. You can join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points, and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience. You can catch up on films already featured including The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, North by Northwest, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Up, and many more.
The theater offers a number of educational classes for kids and families. The online classes for 4th through 8th graders include acting, hip-hop dance, fashion design, and a mini musical. It also offers a Sign and Song class wherein students will learn their favorite songs in American Sign Language, focusing on vocabulary, language structure, and even some of the culture of Deaf people in America. Families can sign up for a Family Creativity workshop where, using theater games, visual art, and imagination, family members will build connections while they explore what makes their family unique. This workshop is open to participants ages 5 to adult.
The Discovery Theater has a list of digital resources available for teachers and parents. They have also compiled Learning Guides from their most recent performances. The guides include information on the subject matter of a specific play, topical hands-on projects, and discussion questions. Recent performances centered on subjects such as hoops and circles as symbols in Native American life, the ABC’s of percussion, and African American adventurers and explorers. All resources are free.
Folger Shakespeare Library
Believing that it is never too early to discover Shakespeare, the Folger has pulled together fun and informative resources for kids and for Shakespeare beginners. Become an expert about Shakespeare’s life and work, play games, learn barbs, and read play scripts.
The National Theater
For 40 years, the Saturday Morning Live! At The National program has delighted children with performances designed to engage and inspire the young mind. The performances have gone virtual, but nationally known educators and artists will encourage children to look outside their communities and discover a world of wonder. New episodes premiere every other Saturday at 9:30am via Facebook Premiere. This programming is best suited for children 4-10 years, but siblings and friends of other ages are always welcome to join the fun. Check Facebook for the current show and schedule.
The Round House Education department released a number of age-appropriate Theatre Education Challenges. These challenges keep students busy with the same methods of creating theatre that they teach at Round House: acting, movement, design, and play-making. You can watch archived videos on their website and videos will also be shared on their Facebook page.
Hello fellow Moms! While at home many people have been turning to dance to lift their spirits. Our dance studio has adapted to bring dance classes to you at home virtually! We have an Absolute Beginner Online Dance Series with different classes for the whole family!
Puzzle Programs is offering a online public speaking summer camp for grades 3-12 on June 1-5. Learn more at http://www.puzzleprograms.com
Would love to see the National Children’s Museum’s STEAMwork video series featured on your site. They have produced over 65 free science, technology, engineering, arts and math videos for kids 12 and under.
Hi DC moms! Confetti Play Cafe offers a Virtual Summer Camp from 1pm-4pm M-F with weekly themes. Kids explore Puzzle escape rooms, Language learning through Rosetta Stone, Hands-on science, art, and cooking projects, Fitness challenges, and more! Learn more at https://www.confettiplaycafe.com/summercamps
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