Super Size Edition: Parent's COVID Survival Guide; 20+ Kid-Friendly Activities to Save Your Sanity
A continuing series about awesome social distance activities in DC to keep you entertained during the outbreak and inspired to keep daydreaming about your next adventure in the Nation's capital.
Are the kids are treating your sofa like a bouncy house? Help is just a click away!
We've curated a *super-sized* parents' COVID survival guide, with more than 20 kid-friendly DC-focused activities to keep the littles entertained and your sanity in check. The guide is jam-packed with fun things to do like story time with former First Lady Michelle Obama and astronauts in space, workouts with the Nationals, virtual dance classes, DIY pizza and dessert kits, and more.
Why let them have all the fun? Take a work break and get in on the funtivities, too!
1. Enjoy story hour with Former First Lady Michelle Obama
It’s happening! Former First Lady Michelle Obama holds a virtual story hour every Monday. She’s partnered with Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books and PBS KIDS for a four-week series of videos that feature her reading a book to young people at noon ET every Monday beginning April 20 and ending May 11. The videos will livestream to PBS KIDS’ Facebook page and YouTube channel each Monday and on Penguin Random House’s Facebook page.
2. Ready, set ... architectural design scavenger hunts
Turn everyday surroundings into a design scavenger hunt with these architectural challenges from the DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects . It’s a wonderfully creative way to get out and explore your neighborhood!
3. Get artsy with Hirshhorn
The Hirshhorn has introduced #HirshhornInsideOut, a way to experience the art museum while their doors are temporarily closed. This includes art prompts for all ages, like an online version of their Maker sessions, and creative ideas for kids at home -- all that relate to their exhibits and pieces from the collections.
4. Create masterpieces with ArtJamz
Unleash their artistic sides with a private or guided virtual painting lesson with ArtJamz. Need art supplies? A at-home kit is available for pick-up or delivery.
5. Color in the lines (or not) with US Botanic Gardens coloring book
Explore the plants at the US Botanic Gardens through the pages of the USBG coloring book. The PDF can be downloaded for printing out to color, or can be opened in your favorite coloring app for digital coloring. All of the artwork was created by the U.S. Botanic Garden and is free to download and use.
6. Plant a garden
Speaking of plants and flowers, local gardening business Hortiki Plants has dozens of options for small-space gardening kits that allow you and little ones connect with the outdoors with some dirt under your fingernails. All items are free to ship.
7. Celebrate National Park Week
Celebrate National Park Week (April 18 to 26) with a variety of special programs and events with a focus on digital experiences in 2020. There are also special days during the week to highlight the different ways everyone can enjoy national parks. Everybody's National Parks also has some fun suggestions for young park rangers.
8. Swing batta, batta with the Nationals
Show your Natitude with the Nationals' “Home and Away” program with includes workouts with 3rd Base Coach Chip Hale and Pitching Coach Paul Menhart, and STEM tutorials from World Series champion PA announcer Jerome Hruska. Check the Nats website regularly for updated content.
9. Go undercover with the International Spy Museum
Explore exhibits, learn to talk like a spy and deeper dive into the world of espionage with virtual activities at the International Spy Museum.
10. Fun STEAM activities to try
National Children’s Museum provides STEAM video activities in science, community, nature, sensory play, and story time, like making invisible ink, growing plants using everyday items in the pantry and designing and building your own marble run!
11. Plie and jete at virtual dance classes
Join Tippi Toes, a dance company for children, for virtual dance classes. Have them dress up in a costume and be the star of the show! Tippi Toes is offering ballet, tap and jazz classes for children of all ages.
12. Go geocaching
Try geocaching. You and your kids use a smartphone app to locate hidden caches (usually small containers) in your neighborhood parks, out on trails and in many other locations where others in the geocaching community have hidden them. When you get home, log your find online and make a note so you can go back when it’s safe again to sign the logbook and see what kind of interesting schwag the cache has inside. Geocaching.com has details on where to get the app, how to use it and where you can find caches near you. You can also learn more about geocaching in this REI article How to Get Started Geocaching with Kids.
13. Work it out with MyFITDC exercise classes
Burn off some of your kid’s energy with DC government’s free online workout classes for kids. Follow @MyFITDC on Twitter to see each new workout as it comes out, or to see the schedule for DCN (Channel 16).
14. Breathe deep with online yoga classes
Take a yoga break. Jen Mueller, the owner of the popular Breathing Space practice on Capitol Hill, is streaming a ton of yoga, mindfulness, and “brain-break” classes all week long on Zoom for littles ranging from babies to middle-schoolers. Classes are taught by a range of instructors, cost $12 and up, and are limited in size.
15. Blast off! Story time with astronauts in space
Do storytime with an astronaut. The Global Space Education Foundation sends children’s books to the International Space Stations—and astronauts read them aloud. All videos on the Story Time From Space library are catalogued here.
16. Make pizza with DIY kits
Build-Your-Own Pizza kit from Nicoletta’s Italian Kitchen. Get the restaurant’s dough, sauce, mozzarella, and basil delivered, along with instructions on how to make it all happen and two salads. You’ll be twirling that dough in the air before you know it. (Wednesday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m., $35 if you order via GrubHub, DoorDash, or UberEats; $30 for curbside pick up).
17. Practice cupcake decorating with at-home kits
Sprinkles Cupcakes is offering daily at-home cupcake kits that should occupy at least an hour or two. The sets come with four or 12 assorted, un-iced cupcakes plus frosting, sprinkles, and a spatula for you to do the edible artistry yourself. If you’d prefer to do the baking as well, you can order their retail set of cupcake mix, baking cups, and a Sprinkles spatula for $22.
18. Drawing and story time with "Captain Underpants" writer/illustrator Dav Pilkey
“Captain Underpants” Writer/Illustrator Dav Pilkey at Home presents fun and free content in partnership with the Library of Congress, including “how to draw” and read-aloud videos and downloadable activities. Feeling creative? Watch Dav draw popular Dog Man characters Petey and Grampa. Ready for a fun read-aloud? Listen to Dav reading from Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas.
And you can find more 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.
19. Learn to write and creativity activities with YA author Jason Reynolds
Watch a video series from bestselling YA author Jason Reynolds called “Write. Right. Rite.” with writing prompts and other creativity-boosting activities for kids in partnership with the Library of Congress.
20. Explore National Geographic's "Becoming Jane" exhibit
Discover the life and legacy of Dr. Jane Goodhall virtually in National Geographic’s newest exhibit “Becoming Jane.” Explore Dr. Goodall’s early years through iconic images and a multiscreen experience and venture on a 3D exploration of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park where she did her famous behavioral research on chimps. You’ll also see a life-size hologram of Dr. Goodall, enter a replica of her research tent.
21. Lights! Camera! Theatre challenges for young actors
Round House Theatre’s Education department is releasing a weekly series of age-appropriate Theatre Education Challenges that teach different things young actors would actually be taught in class: acting, movement, design, and play-making. Videos will be shared on their website and Facebook page. Each week, new videos will be released by the following schedule for each age group: Mondays (Grades K-3), Wednesdays (Grades 4-6), and Fridays (Teens).
22. Go on a family bike ride
If you're looking for outdoor activity on the weekend, go on a family walk or bike ride. Several roads are being closed to traffic for recreational use, including sections of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, Anacostia Park, Fort Davis Drive in Fort Dupont Park in DC, Beach Drive in Kensington, and more than a mile of Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. The Anacostia River Trail is another great trail for biking.
23. Take a history walk through DC neighborhoods
Consider Cultural Tourism D.C.’s neighborhood heritage trails (free). Since 2001, the organization has been establishing walking trails throughout the city’s many neighborhoods, allowing residents and visitors alike a self-guided, deeper look into the heart of the city, as opposed to the monuments and government buildings downtown. Follow the signs around each neighborhood to learn more about what it was once like to live there and how it has come to be what it is now.
24. Order your favorite books
Bookstores might be closed but you can still enjoy shelf-browsing at home. Most of DC's independent bookstores are now offering curbside pick-up, delivery and shipping of your favorite titles. Even better, some have special bundles that let you discover new authors and even genres!
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Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it