Mega Guide to Local Virtual Events

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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 Mom Collective, we want to provide perspectives and information that can make the day a bit easier for you and your family. This month, we cannot offer a guide to our area’s family-friendly events. However, we have highlighted a few 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.

Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

ANIMALS

National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is scheduled to reopen on July 1, with new protocols. 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.

National Zoo
The National Zoo may be closed, but it is committed to supporting teachers, students, and families around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. They are actively developing new materials to help learners of all ages respond to this challenging period, so check their website frequently. 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
Let your kids exercise their imagination and submit their artwork to this monthly art challenge. Themes change every month. One winner will be selected from each grade category: pre-K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Winners will receive a NASA certificate and be featured on its Facebook page. The challenge for July is “Mars.”

DC Public Library
Enjoy the DC Public Library wherever you are. Get your library card online and access extended privileges to digital resources during social distancing. Your family can enjoy thousands of movies, eBooks, streaming music, and more for free! 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. Stay up to date on DCPL events through its website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. DCPL also has organized a civic engagement arts contest for teens called “Know Your Power.” The contest is for kids between 13 and 19 and runs from May 18.  Check out DCPL’s list of distance learning resources to help families during this challenging time. Beginning June 29th, DC Library locations will begin expanding service on weekdays as part of Phase Two.

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE)
Explore More: Home Edition is based on GRACE’s exhibition programs. It is a self-guided program for kids and families normally taking place in the gallery. The Home Edition is designed for you and your family to explore art and making from your home. The program is free, but please consider making a donation or becoming a GRACE member so GRACE can continue to provide fun and creative activities for your youngest up and coming artists.

The Kennedy Center
Yo-Yo Ma and Mo Willems offer a series of playful experiments that show how art and music inspire each other. They have also created a special playlist of songs to listen to while you doodle! Watch, listen or even join in from home with paper and doodling implements!It has also archived Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. This incredibly popular event allowed learners worldwide to draw, doodle, and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually for fifteen sessions. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. 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.

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.” 
For his two-year term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, DC local Jason Reynolds has planned to visit small towns across America to have meaningful discussions with young people. 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.” Reynolds wants to share his passion for storytelling while discussing topics like creativity, connection, and imagination. 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.

The Phillips Collection
The museum has compiled resources so that its art and exhibitions can 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.

Politics & Prose
Like other fantastic independent booksellers in our area, Politics & Prose has had to shut down their stores during this crisis, however they intend to reopen in early July. They have remained connected to the community by offering online and interpersonal phone sales, curbside pick-up, and live streaming some of their scheduled author talks (the P&P Live! Series). On July 7th, P&P Live! will present Hillary and Chelsea Clinton for a live reading of their first picture book together, Grandma’s Gardens, a celebration of family, tradition and discovery, and an ode to mothers, grandmothers, and the children they love (register on the website). Check their site regularly for updated P&P Live events.

HISTORY

Lincoln’s Great Words Challenge
Ford’s Theatre
In Lincoln’s words, we find comfort, inspiration, and clarity of purpose, all of which we dearly need in this moment. Explore Lincoln’s words and submit a video of yourself speaking them. This challenge runs June 8th through July 31st. This program is open to the general public and it is recommended for ages 10 and up. Participants under 10 are encouraged to watch with an adult to support their understanding of the content.

Gunston Hall
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 at Gunston Hall are scheduled to reopen on July 3rd, while the mansion, visitor center, and museum shop should reopen on August 3rd.

Mount Vernon
Every Monday through Friday at 12:00 pm, tune in on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube to see a live broadcast following these daily themes: Mansion Mondays (explore different areas of the mansion); Teaching Tuesdays (for K-12 students, teachers, and parents); Washington Wednesdays (dive into a different piece of Washington history); Tranquil Thursdays (enjoy the sights & sounds of Mount Vernon); and Casual Fridays (something new & different each week)! Be sure to check the full schedule special Member Monday live streams, the Washington Library’s Tuesday Book Talks, Trivia Thursdays in May, and occasional Workshop Wednesdays!

FOOD

Foublie
Foublie is a pediatrician-approved guide to feed your family. Everything you see at Foublie is evidence-based and mom tested. During this crisis, it is helping out parents with kids ages 2 to 4 by providing free weekly activity guides released every Friday. These guides have been designed by child health, nutrition, and development experts and tested by its favorite threenagers. Its cook + play + learn activities are taking on COVID-19 stay-ins with some food fun. Each week, Foible will send you an email with food-based play, learning, and cooking ideas. Check out this link for more information and to sign up for the guides. Foublie’s library of free activities is at this link.

MUSEUMS

National Children’s Museum
The National Children’s Museum is still closed but it continues to offer programming to spark creativity and ignite curiosity. Its STEAMwork Live Series aims to inspire children to care about and change the world through activities exploring science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Starting July 1, join the Museum at 3pm Monday through Friday on Facebook and IGTV as it repremieres its more than 75 classic STEAMwork videos. Videos include Design and Build activities, Nature Spotlight, Sensory Play, Science Exploration, Community Connection, and Climate Action Challenge.

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. They also host Virtual Camps where their expert STEM Educators will facilitate hands-on activities, self-directed learning, STEM explorations, and group discussions. These sessions are geared for kids in rising grades 2-6. Each registration includes a kit full of supplies for 5 experiments/activities (1 for each day) in a Children’s Science Center drawstring bag available for curbside pick-up. It costs $175 for the week. Additional kits offered at $25 for siblings sharing a screen. Check out the website for an upcoming schedule.

Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens
Virtual Family Tour: Russian Royal Adventure
On July 22nd and 25th, enter a glamorous world of royal crowns and jeweled treasures 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 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. 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 has created 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! Also, the Center is scheduled to reopen on July 2nd.

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. Through its Citizen Science collection, we learn how everyone can be a scientist by learning how to collect data from the outdoors and share with the scientific community. There are many more lessons about issues ranging from maps, explorers, natural wonders, photography, and more.

Smithsonian Museums
The Smithsonian is offering an enormous variety of programming to educate and enlighten family members of all ages. It has provided access to its vast collections through Online Exhibitions, Online Events, and Digital Content. The Online Exhibitions allow users to explore exhibits such as Trailblazing: 100 Years of our National Parks; Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963; and more. 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.

MUSIC

The Kennedy Center Couch Concerts
The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage is bringing a new series of live performances streamed to you. It is in times like these that we need artists most. 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. Summer classes for babies and toddlers have been moved online, using Zoom. Teachers have conducted classes as such for the past few weeks of classes and it allows them to see students in real-time and interact with little ones and caregivers (which is super important to them!). 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.

Strathmore 
Strathmore provides vibrant performances for families throughout the year. We offer experiences that inspire the littlest audience members to learn, explore, and connect to their world and each other in new ways. The Strathmore offers a variety of virtual programming including Kids Art Camp, Step Classes, Virtual Kids Tour, and more.

Sunset Sessions at the Parks
Experience great musicians from home with a series of virtual events broadcast from The Great Lawn at The Parks at Walter Reed. Sunset Sessions at The Parks presents a series of five musical performances by some of DC’s most renowned musicians. Events are held Sundays at 5 pm. The upcoming schedule includes Beth Cannon, Imani Grace, Luke James Shaffer, Marcelle Pena, and James Zimmerman.

SPORTS AND PLAY

Breathing Space
Breathing Space supports healthy families through yoga and wellness education for all ages. It offers classes for the whole family that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Upcoming live online classes welcome the entire family to participate for a single class fee based on $12 per class tuition. While instruction will be tailored for the stated age, older and younger siblings are welcome to join in the fun. Replays will be available for a week after each class airs. Breathing Space recommends that parents participate in classes designed for children younger than 4 years. No previous yoga experience necessary; be prepared/dressed for movement. Register and pay online.

DC United
Kids soccer leagues may be on hiatus, but your little kicker 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.

Labyrinth
Join the knowledgeable Labyrinth staff for a variety of virtual events. Learn to play popular games such as Catan or Disney Villainous. 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.

Washington Mystics
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.

THEATER AND FILM

The Drive-In at Union Market
Watch great films under the stars two more Fridays this month. Enjoy delicious foods from market vendors. All films are shown with Closed Caption. For social distancing reasons, no walk-ups, bike-ups, or picnickers are allowed. All guests must be in their vehicle at all times. There is a $20 parking fee per car. The lot opens at 7:30pm and film begins at 9pm. The upcoming showings for July are Space Jam (July 17th) and The Lion King (July 24th). Make sure you know policies before you go.

Columbia Pike Drive-In Movie Nights
Pull up to the new Columbia Pike Drive-In Movie Nights at the Arlington Career Center for some free retro-style family fun. Movies will be shown on Fridays and will start at sunset (between 8 and 8:30 pm). They are shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Space is limited and new protocols are in place to keep everyone safe. Registration is required and details will be sent in our weekly newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, sign up today! Jurassic Park, The Secret Life of Bees, and Twister are scheduled for July.

American Film Institute (AFI) Movie Club
AFI Movie Club is a newly launched program created 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, Snow White, and many more. 

Discovery Theater
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.

Roundhouse Theater
The Round House Education department is releasing a weekly series of age-appropriate Theatre Education Challenges. These challenges will keep students busy with the same methods of creating theatre that they teach at Round House: acting, movement, design, and play-making. Check back each week to watch archived videos Videos will also be shared on their Facebook page. Each week, Roundhouse Theater will release new videos by the following schedule for each age group: Mondays (Grades K-3), Wednesdays (Grades 4-6), and Fridays (Teens).

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Julie is a proud born and bred Texan, but has called DC home since 2001. She studied at the University of Texas and then moved to DC to get her MPA at the George Washington University. Julie worked for ten years for a Member of Congress, where she loved working to impact public policy. In 2013, her world turned inside out when she gave birth to twins and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Currently Julie lives in the H Street Corridor with her husband, two kids, and their increasingly grouchy senior dog, Presley. Yes, please: movie dates with her husband, trying new restaurants, exploring DC with her kids, last minute road trips, being outdoors, festivals (of any kind), girls’ night out, and a rainy day with “Pride and Prejudice.” No, thank you: hot and humid summers, mistreating animals, Legos (ouch!), public speaking, laundry, raw fish

4 COMMENTS

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

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