Looking to keep your little one busy this summer? Check out this list of super fun, toddler-friendly activities in and around DC that will put a smile on everyone’s face!
Involve your child by taking a photo of your little one at each of landmark as part of your scavenger hunt. Later, increase your little one’s vocabulary and conversational skills as you talk about all of your adventures while looking at your photos. “Remember when we went to… Look, here you are with… What did you like doing when we were at…” Have Fun! Use #DCMBSummer19 on social media to share what you’ve checked off your list! We may feature you on our Instagram Account (with your permission, of course!).
Inside the Museum of American History, you’ll find a huge space designed for little ones to explore with a large pretend kitchen, climbing structure, life-size tugboat, and more. In addition, there’s even a separate space for the tiniest babies to crawl around on a padded floor, check themselves out in mirrors, and play with new friends. Be sure to take a picture of your little one preparing a meal or sailing the high seas!
Just across the street from Union Station is a hidden treasure, the National Postal Museum. Downstairs you’ll find many exhibits designed to keep your little one busy! Drive a big rig truck, sort mail inside a railway train car, or throw packages into sorting bins. They’ll love looking at the life-size airplanes soaring above their heads. You can even get there for a story time on Mondays too. Be sure to take a picture of your little one meeting Olney, a very special postal pooch!
Right in the heart of the city is a place filled with hands-on play your little one will not want to leave! The Building Zone was designed just for little ones who want to construct the world around them. Put on construction gear, build with lots of different materials, “shop” in the new hardware store, play pretend inside child-sized buildings, and explore lots of toys centered around open-ended play. Be sure to take a photo of your little one busy building new memories!
Storytimes in Great Places
Climb aboard an original streetcar over 100 years old! Your little one will have a blast as you take a trolley ride through the forest. Their summer program has themed story times and crafts to make your trip extra fun. Be sure to take a photo of your little one on a trolley!
Since so many local libraries offer amazing and engaging storytimes, I couldn’t list them all here, but a favorite is in the Library of Congress. Each week, librarians choose stories specifically for infants and toddlers to enjoy. Be sure to take a picture of your little one surrounded by books!
Bring your little astronaut to either Air and Space museum location (DC or Chantilly) this summer for this space-themed story time. Each week a story about aviators, flying machines, out-of-this-world creatures, or space life is shared along with an activity. Check out their website for other family days and movies designed for little ones too. Be sure to take a photo of your little one blasting off with fun!
Who knew you could meet an Emu in Ellicott City, MD? At Clark’s Elioak Farm your little one will have a non-stop day of fun as they meet a variety of farm animals. Go on a pony ride or taste farm fresh foods. They also have an Enchanted Forest filled with storybook inspired structures where they can run/crawl, climb, slide, and more. Be sure to take a photo of your little one meeting one of the farm animals!
Become a farmer for the day in Fairfax, VA! Your little one can help care for farm animals, learn how crops grow, go on a wagon ride, and help with farm chores. They can even milk a cow! Check out all of their special events happening throughout the summer designed just for little ones. Be sure to take a photo of your little one’s favorite part of the farm!
Music & Theater
While your little one may not be ready to enjoy a full-length movie, this may be a great activity to attend with older siblings. Enjoy the air-conditioning as you enjoy a family-friendly movie together. (Another idea: go during naptime so you can catch up on a new release yourself!) Be sure to take a picture of them inside the theater!
Glen Echo Park has so much to keep little ones entertained this summer, but don’t forget to make it to a puppet show. Your little one will be mesmerized as these marionette puppets come to life right before their eyes. There are specific shows designed for the littlest audiences with shorter length programs, lighted room, and lower levels of noise. Be sure to take photos of your little one meeting a puppet after the show!
Enjoy the magic of live theater with your little one this summer. With the My First Imagination Stage productions, your little one will love interacting with shows designed for young audiences. They also have weekend classes and workshops that bring stories to life using music, movement, and visual arts. Be sure to take a photo of your little one near the stage!
Each week Wolf Trap has a different live show designed to capture your little one’s eyes and ears. From rock, jazz, African drumming, and Bollywood to puppets, bubbles, magic, and dance, there is so much to enjoy! Many performances also have additional workshops after the performance where your little one can meet the performers and participate with hands-on experiences. Be sure to take a photo of your little one’s face captivated by the show!
Strathmore has tons of shows, classes, and storytimes designed for the super young audience member. They encourage kids of all ages to join in the fun in their own way in the Backyard Theater productions. Many offerings include special adaptations for children with sensory sensitivities. Be sure to take a photo of your little one in front of the Mansion!
Did you know there is a free outdoor concert every night of the week on the Capitol lawns? Bring a picnic dinner and listen to each military branch’s band perform this summer. While the start time may past bedtime for some, these concerts may be a great date night for parents. (Imagine your little one being serenaded to sleep in their stroller/carrier.) Be sure to take a photo of your little one with the band or Capitol in the background!
Inside this Columbia, MD or Chantilly, VA warehouse is a playground superstore. And the best part? You and your little one can play on everything! There are tons of playground structures to keep your little ones crawling, climbing, swinging, and sliding. Bounce around on all of the trampolines or challenge another kid at heart to air hockey, foosball, or basketball. Be sure to take a photo of your little one climbing, swinging, or sliding into fun!
Whether you’re in Falls Church, VA or Chevy Chase, MD, your little one will have a ton of fun as they climb, spin, swing, and more in this indoor play center. This place was specially designed for people under 48″. So many ways to move and have fun! Be sure to take a photo of your little one as busy as a bee!
Who knew you could be loud in a library? At Storyville, your little one can pretend and play as loud as they want inside two local library centers. They can pretend to shop for groceries, put on a show, or build with blocks. Maybe they want to play with puppets, work in a construction zone, or sort the mail. Another great feature is a separate infant/toddler section with just as many fun things to do. Be sure to take a photo of your little one’s favorite place to play!
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Did you know DC is surrounded by minor league teams? Whether your closer to the Bowie Baysox, the Fredrick Keys, or the Potomac Nationals, your little one will love experiencing a game. Check each team’s website to find out when kids can eat for free, run the bases, or play catch in the outfield too. Be sure to get a photo of your little one rooting for the home team!
If you love cheering on the Nats, your little one will love visiting the Nats stadium. Kids can get moving in the activity zone and run the bases after Sunday home games. You can bring the whole family on Pups In The Park special games. Need a break from it all? Cool off in their nursing lounge which has diaper changing stations, outlets for pumping, quiet and dim areas; never miss a minute of the game with their flat screens broadcasting the live action. Check out our tips for taking kids to a ball game here. Be sure to take a photo of your little one in the stands or on the field!
Need More Ideas? Check Our Other Posts:
- Spray and Splash Park Guide
- Favorite Ice Cream Shops
- Favorite DMV Playgrounds
- Exploring the Outdoors
- Epic DC Summer Adventure Bucket List: 55 Free (or cheap!) Outings for kids and families
- Organizing your Summer Days so Everyone Stays Chill
Have other fun, toddler-friendly activities your little one will love this summer? Comment below and we’ll add it to the list! Share your summer memories here too, we’d love to see what your little one enjoyed!