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Want to embark on an adventure that is as active and challenging and as it is fun and rewarding?

The Kids Obstacle Challenge is the nation’s premier obstacle course race series for kids ages 5-16 — and it’s coming to the DC area this summer! The family-friendly event will be charging into Centreville, VA, at the Bull Run Special Events Center on June 29. This unique venue, located near routes 66 and 29, features grassy areas and wide open space, a perfect setting for families to enjoy a one-of-a-kind adventure in the great outdoors.

The course is a fun and challenging 1.5-2 miles, specially made for this DC kids event. It includes 13 to 15 distinctive obstacles that range in difficulty, so KOC is just as fun for a 5-year-old as it is for a 16-year-old — and, of course, for parents. Families will enjoy traversing rock walls, army crawling through mud pits, rope swinging over water, scaling up rugged cargo nets, and much more.

​Parents and caregivers are encouraged to get out and active alongside their kids, so two parents/legal guardians can join the Kids Obstacle Challenge for free with their child(ren). It’s a great opportunity to show kids the importance of an active lifestyle by participating with them, all while having a blast and spending quality time as a family.

The cost per child to the Kids Obstacle Challenge is $44 for early bird sign up (spots are going fast) or $52 regular fee — register online here. And you can get 15% off with the code BEBRAVE. As mentioned, two parents/legal guardians can participate for free. You can also try to win entry for two children through the giveaway below.

Get dirty. Have fun. Be a family. Brave Your Adventure together!

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Giveaway: For a chance to win two tickets (entry for two children) to the Kids Obstacle Challenge at the Bull Run Special Events Center in Sully, VA, on July 29, 2019, simply leave a comment below telling me what kind of obstacle your child is most excited to conquer. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through June 9, 2019, then a winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Kids Obstacle Challenge, however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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There’s no more exciting place to be than Smithsonian Summer Camp, now in its 50th year. Where else can campers blast into space or take center stage, create a masterpiece or invent a fantasy world, relive history or learn to shape the future of the planet?

The rich and exciting world of the Smithsonian is all theirs to discover in these one-of-a-kind learning experiences that spark the imagination—and offer plenty of great fun. A limited number of summer camps are still available!

Camps for children in kindergarten through ninth grade are held from June 17 through August 16 at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. Camps take place Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4:3pm. Before-camp (8am to 9am) and after-camp (4:30pm to 6pm) activities are also available.

Smithsonian Summer Camp is also looking for responsible and highly motivated teens to assist camp instructors. Students entering ninth grade this fall or who are 14 years old can learn the skills needed to become an outstanding future Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA) in a one-week intensive training program. Participants learn how to successfully work with young campers, build a toolkit of games and activities, practice navigating busy Smithsonian museums with groups, and gather other practical tips to help campers get the most out of their experience. Completing the boot camp offers applicants a priority for YTA selection the following summer.

Call 202.633.3030 for more information or visit SmithsonianAssociates.org/Camp.

This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Associates, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Don’t just dream about adventure on a summer night, have one! Imagine rolling out your sleeping bag beneath a 50-foot whale, at the home of the Star-Spangled Banner, in the shadow of the space shuttle Discovery, or near the portraits of presidents and visionaries. That’s exactly what kids and their chaperones can do when they attend a Smithsonian Sleepover.

The American History Museum, Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, and the National Portrait Gallery are all yours during a night of fun that features tours, games, crafts, and more. Which adventure will you choose?

National Museum of Natural History Sleepovers
Tonight, one of the world’s most popular museum is yours to explore. Join a small group of fellow adventurers and wander into the newly opened Fossil Hall, where dinosaurs cast giant shadows; explore the ocean’s aquatic wonders; walk softly pass mysterious mammals—did that one blink? Swap stories while enjoying hands-on crafts projects and games. And then, as the lights dim, roll out your sleeping bag and dream away, knowing that Phoenix the whale is keeping watch throughout your night in the museum. Sleepovers at Natural History will be held June 21, June 28, July 19, July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug. 9.

National Museum of American History Sleepovers
Solve a Smithsonian mystery of historic proportions! The devious diva Miss Rose has stolen six valuable objects from the National Museum of American History—and you need to discover what’s missing before evening’s end. Become a detective and roam through the museum’s galleries. Use your cunning and skills to collect clues that guide you to the crime scene. Along the way, take part in some great games, experiments, and craft projects—and even become a presidential candidate. After you have solved the crime, roll out your bag and sleep soundly knowing that you’ve protected some of America’s treasures—and had plenty of fun. Sleepovers at American History will be held May 24, June 15 and July 5.

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center Sleepovers
There’s no more perfect setting for dreams of flight than the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Its two huge hangars display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery. Sleepover guests are on a mission to explore the whole world of flight, from its pioneering days through the era of commercial aviation to the excitement of today’s space program. Grab your flight checklist and take off for a night that includes plenty of games, art activities, and close-up looks at some of the most historic and fascinating craft ever to take to the skies. Udvar-Hazy Center staff are on hand to offer lots of great information and insights about the aviation treasures on view. Start the countdown to a one-of-a-kind adventure! Sleepovers at the Udvar-Hazy Center will be held May 18, July 13 and Aug. 17.

National Portrait Gallery Sleepovers
Spend the night in the Smithsonian museum that tells the stories of America through the people who have shaped our nation, from pre-colonial times to today. Discover the poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose portraits fill the galleries’ walls. Experience the roles of the artist, art critic, and storyteller in this unique sleepover for kids aged 10 to 14. Inspired by a variety of visual art mediums, games, and an immersive guided journey through the museum, sleepover guests create their own portfolios and display their work in a one-night-only gallery exhibition. A sleepover at the National Portrait Gallery will be held Aug. 23.


Ages: Children ages 8 to 14 may participate in sleepovers at American History, Natural History and the Udvar-Hazy Center. Children ages 10 to 14 may participate in sleepovers at the National Portrait Gallery. There must be at least one adult (21 and over) for every three children in any group that registers for the Natural History, American History and Udvar-Hazy Center Sleepovers, and one adult to every four children for the Portrait Gallery Sleepover. Chaperones must be 21 years or older. No adults without children.

Tickets: Ticket prices are $135 for general admission and $125 for Smithsonian Associate members. The price includes exclusive access and activities in the museum, an evening snack, interactive exploration, arts and crafts activities and a light breakfast. T-shirts are available for purchase while at the sleepover.

Groups: Reduced rates may be available for groups of 20 or more. Call 202-633-3030 for more information.

For Military Families: A reduced rate is available for active-duty U.S. military personnel and their families. Please call 202-633-3030 and mention Promo Code 240808 to receive Military Promotion pricing.

FAQ: Information on what to bring, activities, rules, and the required release form for each sleepover location are available online. Additional questions? Email us at info@SmithsonianSleepovers.org.

Call 202-633-3030 to reserve your adventure. For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.SmithsonianSleepovers.org.

This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Associates, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Since 2001, SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young has been working with children and teens who stutter and their families, offering innovative programs addressing the physical, social, and emotional impacts of stuttering. SAY believes every child has the ability to be a great communicator.

SAY invites kids and teens who stutter to attend a FREE Day Camp in Washington, DC, on April 27 and 28, 2019. It’s the perfect opportunity for kids and teens (ages 8-18) to meet new friends who stutter and participate in exciting activities that help build confidence.

This two-day event will take place in DC at the historic and inspiring United States Chamber of Commerce. On both days, Camp will be from 9am to 5pm, and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Parents/caregivers are encouraged to attend camp to meet and mingle with other parents of children who stutter. They can also join an educational parent group, hosted by experts in working with young people who stutter and their families.

This event is free, but space is limited and registration is required, so sign up your child who stutters today. Questions? Contact DC@SAY.org

This post is sponsored by SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Want to serve up some summer fun for your kids? Sign them up for a camp that they are sure to love! RDUTennis launched in the DC area just a few summers ago and has since grown into one of the area’s premiere tennis programs for kids, with instruction now offered during aftercare at many local schools along with their seasonal camps.

Once again, tennis camps will be offered for ages 5-14 at American, Catholic, and Trinity Washington Universities throughout the summer. Both full-day and half-day camps will be available at all three locations — and the American University location is the only tennis camp in Northwest DC to run from 8:30am – 5:30pm (and that doesn’t include aftercare).

While tennis is the main focus of camp, kids can enjoy a variety of other activities, too. Campers can participate in soccer, basketball, arts & crafts, and swimming. And for the first time this year, swimming will be offered everyday for full-day campers as well as for half-day participants at the AU location.

Also if you’re still looking for Spring Break activities for your kids, camp is being held April 15-18 at Trinity Washington University — a great opportunity to experience RDUTennis ahead of the summer sessions.

For more camp details, including descriptions, pricing, schedules, and registration, visit the RDUTennis website. Inquiries can also be addressed to Brian Rosenthal at brian@rdutennis.net.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a week of camp with RDUTennis at the American University location this summer, simply leave a comment below, telling me your child’s (or your) favorite pro tennis player — past or currently playing. To be eligible, be sure to follow RDUTennis on Facebook. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page. This giveaway will run through Wednesday, April 17, 2019, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by RDUTennis LLC, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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National Theatre has had a stellar line-up of shows this winter, and it’s continuing into spring with another Broadway hit. A Bronx Tale is coming to the stage March 26-31, and KFDC readers have a chance to win a pair of tickets to see it!

The crowd-pleasing production takes you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s, where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Bursting with high, energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes, A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family. Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Tony winner Jerry Zaks direct this streetwise musical, based on Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story.

A Bronx Tale is recommended for ages 12 and up due to strong language and gunshot effects. Run time is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one intermission.

Tickets prices range from $54-114 and can be purchased online. Of course, you can also try to win them through the giveaway below.

A Bronx Tale - National Theatre - YouTube

Giveaway: For a chance to win a pair of tickets to A Bronx Tale at National Theatre on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below naming your favorite movie that has been adapted for the stage or your favorite stage production that has been made into a film. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through March 17, 2019, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!

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This post is sponsored by CityDance, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda, MD.]

My 4 year old amazes me — what she knows and is capable of doing. I am also amazed at how often she is insistent about something and is 100% wrong, a great reminder of how young she is in her development as a human being.

We’ve seen the push and pull around when to introduce academics to children. While the trend was younger and younger, there has been significant research showing that play-based education is best for social/emotional development, building executive functions, and developing the imagination. One recent study warns about the likelihood of an early ADHD diagnosis when the child is probably just developmentally unprepared for the curriculum.

A similar debate swirls around the use of technology in schools. Some fear that without the most advanced technology at a young age, their child might lag behind. However, not knowing what the future will bring, it is essential that we give our children the inner tools to master whatever is to come. Notable Silicon Valley leaders send their children to Waldorf schools where technology is restricted until later grades.

The Waldorf teaching philosophy is almost 100 years old and is grounded in the careful observation of each child, providing pedagogical tools for teaching the child according to their developmental stage. Waldorf educates the whole child – head, heart, and hands.

The Washington Waldorf School has served DC Metro area families for almost 50 years, providing:

    – Early Childhood education grounded in imaginative play and outdoor time – including an outdoor Kindergarten option.
    – A rich Lower School (1-8) curriculum with deep roots in the humanities, arts, and sciences.
    – The introduction of technology in the classroom in 6th grade with a focus on creating responsible digital citizens.
    – A High School where graduates matriculate at distinguished colleges and go on to a wide range of professions.
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A pre-show photo op with Long Way Down author Jason Reynolds



This past weekend, Owen and I caught a performance of Long Way Down at the Kennedy Center. Based on the award winning novel by Jason Reynolds, the show presents the story of Will, a 15-year-old boy who is about to seek revenge for his older brother’s murder. Riding down the eight floors of his apartment building, his brother’s gun tucked in his waistband, Will at first is just thinking about The Rules: 1) No Crying 2) No Snitching 3) Get Revenge. That is, until he encounters a few people from his past on the way down.

The characters who join Will in the elevator have died, each of them killed by gun violence at some point during Will’s life. But they return as the people they would be now — the age they would be and with a perspective of what happened to them. There is Uncle Buck, childhood friend Dani, Uncle Mark, his father, Buck’s killer Frick, and, finally, his brother, Shawn.

One of the most amazing things about the show is that all of the characters are played by just one actor. Justin Weaks does a superb job bringing them all to life (literally, in a way). For over an hour, it was just him on stage, and he had us all mesmerized the entire time.

As Will interacts with every person, and we learn more about each of their lives and deaths, we also get a peek inside Will’s mind — his grief, anger, frustration, heartache — as he contemplates all that has happened and what he is about to do. He begins to question his intent to follow The Rules. And as the elevator doors finally open, and Shawn asks, “You coming?” it’s almost as if there’s a collective gasp as everyone in the audience holds their breath.

Needless to say, this production is immensely powerful and riveting. I highly recommend it for about ages 12+ and have to note that this is just as much for adults as it is the YA audience for whom it was written. (Owen had read and really enjoyed the book already. While I hadn’t read it yet, he told me what it was about, so I knew what to expect going in. Either way, and even without knowledge of the book, it’s a very compelling show.)

Long Way Down is running at the Kennedy Center, with several shows remaining from Thursday 11/1 – Sunday, 11/4, and there are still some tickets available for just about all of them.

And as shown in the photo above, Jason Reynolds was there for that first performance to sign books and take photos before the show. He also spoke afterward and noted that the story isn’t just about gun violence, but about “humanizing the people that feel this kind of pain.”

His book and this production convey that brilliantly.

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