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When you think of winters in D.C., hanging out on the waterfront may not be the first (or second) place that comes to mind. Yards Park is a summer hot spot (no pun intended) because of its giant splash pad and boardwalk. The Wharf is buzzing with its outdoor concerts and piers. However, the fun doesn’t cool off in the winter (pun definitely intended), and here’s why.

Photo: Lakeside

Ice Skating at Canal Park
Gather the entire family for a fun day on the ice or for the newbie, to take lessons. If your little penguin is celebrating a birthday during the winter months, the rink also offers a birthday party package. Open daily from through February, including Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Photo: Steadfast Supply DC

One-Stop Holiday Shopping
There are over 30 places to shop along the waterfront, with options for just about everyone in the family (including the dog!). You’ll find some well-known stores and some unique spots- like Steadfast Supply DC, which is a conceptual retail store that carries a number of independent creative brands from both local and national retailers. Grab something hot to drink from Philz Coffee to keep warm in between store stops.

Family-friendly events can be enjoyed throughout the year along the waterfront-especially in the winter. At the Wharf, enjoy a holiday lights boat parade and fireworks in early December, or Christmas Caroling closer to the holiday. Light Yards features two outdoor light installations, with this year’s installment inviting visitors to hop, skip and jump across interactive circular pads of light and to pose with five giant, neon-colored wings and halos (sounds so cool). The interactive sculptures can be enjoyed through Jan. 4. For more fun check out the Capitol Riverfront calendar here and the Wharf DC calendar here.

Photo: Ice Cream Jubilee

Food, Glorious Food
So, what does your family like to eat? Mexican, sandwiches, BBQ, or burgers? The waterfront is teeming with restaurants. For the child that isn’t deterred by the weather, Ice Cream Jubilee offers homemade, all-natural ice cream with seasonal flavors (think: Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookie and Maple Rye Pecan). Who am I kidding—adults love ice cream in the winter too!

—Yolanda Johnson

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Have a hard time getting your little one to eat her fruits and veggies? Why not offer them to her in a blended beverage or cup of juice? Juice and smoothie bars are popping up throughout the DMV; here are five that have been vetted by the toughest critics–kids! 

Photo: Carmine.shot via Flickr

Love ‘n Faith Community Cafe
Located in Columbia Heights, Love ‘n Faith is a community favorite with a sweet vibe. Their juices are “made fresh and served with love”. A bonus: if you need a quick pick me up after a long morning with your sweet pea, try a cup of their locally roasted espresso or coffee.

Kid Favorite: The Love Juice, made with Granny Smith Apples, Pineapples, Mango, Kale, Mint and Cilantro, brings fruit, and greens into a yummy beverage. Love is central to everything that they serve at Love ‘n Faith, so of course, there has to be drink with the name.!

2424 14th St. (Columbia Heights)

Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies
Robeks is not new to the juice game. Established in 1996, Robeks offers up a menu of fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices in fun flavors. Their menu includes an assortment of classic blends, like the tried and true Strawberry-Banana to superfood blends of flax seeds and cranberries. There is likely something on the menu for every member of the family.

Kid Favorite: If your kids aren’t big fans of ginger- which has tons of health benefits- try the G-Snap! The G-Snap includes orange and carrot, which tempers the ginger, and adds enough sweetness to make it a great tasting treat. 

Various Locations in Annapolis, and throughout DC and VA

Zia’s Cafe
Zia’s Cafe is not just a juice bar, but a full scale cafe that caters “to all eaters” including those with gluten sensitivities. For the food conscious, this place is just right and prides itself on serving items that don’t include any artificial ingredients, refined sugars, and on and on. You shouldn’t have to worry about your food sensitive kiddo- he’ll be able to find something to happily drink (and eat) here.

Kid Favorite: The Summer Breeze packs a lot of Vitamin C and no added sweeteners. Your little’s taste buds will dance with the grapefruit, orange, apple, pineapple and lemon that make up this juice. 

13 Allegheny Ave. (Towson, Md)

The Waterhole
Is your kid already a fresh juice pro? At the Waterhole, preparing fresh juices is their passion and your little one will be right at home. Using 100 percent organic produce is a part of what makes the Waterhole a special place. It can get busy, here, so come prepared to possibly make a friend, or two!

Kid Favorite: Just finished an intense outdoor play session? Rehydrate with an Island Thunder, made with coconut water, pineapple, and fresh ginger or try a simple orange and apple blend. Delicious!

4004 34th St. (Mt. Rainier, Md)

Ultimate Smoothie
So, not every kid is going to become a fresh juice lover right away. A smoothie may be the way to this one’s heart…and a smoothie that is as satisfying as ice cream, may be even better. Before you pass up this “sweet treat”, Ultimate Smoothie drinks are made with all natural ingredients and without added sugar- you and your slow-to-warm-up-to-fresh-juice squeeze can both drink happy here. You can also customize your drink- pick your fruit and choose greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt, or juice, and voila! Enjoy!

Kid Favorite: Put a spin on the classic Strawberry-Banana and go for the Peanut Butter Banana smoothie.

Lake Forest Mall
701 Russell Ave. (Gaithersburg, Md)

Do you have a favorite juice (or smoothie) spot? Do tell in the comments below. 

–Yolanda Johnson


14 Things to Do on a Tuesday

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Just when you thought the pinnacle moment of a Tuesday was the tacos for dinner (though those are great, too!), the DMV delivers all of these other fun activities for you and your kids to experience together. From museum mayhem to play place parties, there’s a little something for everyone…on a Tuesday. Scroll down for our top 14.

jokes for kids kids laughing happy funny puns and jokes for kidsPhoto: iStock

1. Chow down at Brookland Pint.
Parents have to eat, and kids have to eat. So why not let the kids eat for free?! Kids get gratis grub at Brookland Pint every Tuesday with the purchase of a burger, or entrée. Bonus: The kid’s menu is printed on a drawing of the beloved Brookland neighborhood and comes with a set of crayons. How awesome is that?

2. Play Date Junction on Tuesday
Who says that you can’t enjoy play spaces just as much as your little ones? On Tuesdays, Play Date Junction–located in central Maryland–sets up rad play dates for littles and their caretakers. 

3. Burn some energy at My Gym Bethesda.
Leaps, turns, and tumbles, oh my! At My Gym, kids get fit while having fun. No membership? Not a problem. Non-Members can visit during open gym (aka Practice and Play) at scheduled times throughout the week for $12. Practice and Play is from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

photo: Clintus via flickr

4. Jump out the sillies at Sky Zone.
Who doesn’t love flying; or at least getting high enough to feel like you are? Sky Zone opens up for children ages 5 and under during their Toddler Time from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. daily. The cost is reduced to $7 for tots, and parents can enter for free- unless they want to spread their wings too (go ahead, you know you want to!).

5. Swing, ride, and splash at Westminster Playground.
Just looking to go to a playground on a good weather Tuesday? Add Westminster to your list. This gem of a play space is tucked away in the Shaw neighborhood in NW. There are a ton of donated ride-on toys and a spray pad that is controlled by little hands…literally. #GuaranteedFun.

6. Enjoy a puppet show at Bloombars.
Bloombars is a community space located in Columbia Heights DC. While there are many cultural events for adults that take place, there are also daily children activities and performances. A puppet show happens every Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.. Check it out and then come back again on Wednesday for drumming and singing.

7. Choo-choo through the B&O Museum.
Does Junior like trains? Then, he will LOVE the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Going on the first Tuesday of the month will score you half-off the admission price. After walking around and inside model trains, go for a mile-long train ride, and let your mini have a ball in the toddler area.

8. Catch a show at the Atlas Young Theatre.
Atlas Theatre presents a series of interactive performances for children throughout the year. The programs are geared towards toddlers and older children and are designed to make them laugh and to feel like they are a part of the show. Visit their website or call to learn more about upcoming Tuesday shows.

Photo: Creighton Hammond via flickr

9. Picnic at the National Cathedral.
Pack a picnic basket for dinner and enjoy the Bishop Garden, which is filled with native plants, flowers, and adorned with a fountain and a koi pond. If you can, stick around to listen to the cathedral bells that begin ringing every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

10. Explore new things at Q?rius and Q’rius Jr. at the Natural History Museum.
Have a curious child? Q’rius at the Natural History Museum will become one of his or her favorite places to visit. Here, kids can touch EVERYTHING in the exhibit room. Imagine microscopes, fossils, butterfly wings, and magnets. No need to thank us!

photo: James Di Loreto, Smithsonian

11. Get a closer look at some of the animals at the National Zoo.
Any day is a good day to visit the Zoo. But on Tuesdays, you can watch an elephant training demonstration at 11 a.m. or meet a farm animal at the Kid’s Farm at 1:30 p.m. Check the daily schedule for more activities.

12. Create a new world at Magic Ground.
This place is a kid’s paradise. It’s equipped with a gigantic climbing space, mega slides, a ball pit and more. Outside food is not allowed, but there is a café menu with kid-favorite dishes. The cool thing about visiting Magic Ground on a Tuesday (or any weekday) is that admission is at a minimum (the weekend prices are higher) and there’s less of a crowd. #winning

13. Use your imagination at Playseum Bethesda.
The Playseum always serves up a good time, allowing children to explore and use their imagination to no end. This summer, the Playseum is also serving up baked goods. Kids can make a cherry or strawberry turnover (yum!), pizza (Lunch? Done.) or a chicken pastry with cheese (sounds delightful!). Visit the website for the summertime baking schedule and costs.

14. Woodridge Library Pajama Story Time    
Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., the Woodridge Library invites its young patrons to gather around for songs and bedtime stories. Throw on some PJs and grab your kid’s favorite teddy and come out for an interactive learning time with other children and the librarian. The best part is that when you get home, Jr. is already dressed for bed. Sweet!

–Yolanda Johnson

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Does your kid save every apple seed and cherry pit with hopes of growing a garden of their own? Before their seed farm grows out of control, introduce Jr. to one of the many family-friendly community gardens in the DMV. In addition to developing an understanding of environmental sustainability, they’ll also learn important life-skills, develop a green thumb, and interact with other kids in a socially meaningful way. Plus, community gardening is inexpensive fun and gets littles up close and personal with Mother Nature. 

Photo: Washington Youth Garden

Washington Youth Garden
The Washington Youth Garden is a National Arboretum Program that mainly serves under-served, low-income schools and families northeast of the Capitol. However, anyone is welcome to check out the site’s Demonstration Garden, a fruit- and veggie-filled path perfect for a scenic stroll.

3501 New York Ave.

City Blossoms
City Blossoms is a non-profit organization committed to creating kid-driven green spaces for urban residents. City Blossoms offers several programs throughout the year, and there are certain times that the space is open to the public. Visiting times include free staff-led activities for curious kids.

16 Kennedy St., NW

D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
DPR has community gardens all over the DC area. Gardens are listed by wards–just contact the organizer of your local garden for info. Bonus: many of these gardens is located near playgrounds.

multiple locations

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources has compiled a list of “Natural Play Spaces”. While many of these spaces do not include a garden space to grow fruits and vegetables, they still provide children the opportunity to be close to nature and interact with other children in physically productive ways.

multiple locations

Teaching Garden
The Teaching Garden is a child-friendly space where lessons are provided on sustainable gardening practices. There is Children’s Garden and many plants that attract Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees- oh my!

9535 Linton Hall Rd. (Bristow, Va)

Is there a kid-friendly community garden that you love? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

–Yolanda Johnson