Edited: The August class is FULL, but there is still room in September and October.

Do you have a kid who likes to get creative?  Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro is hosting a series of fun teacher led art groups for 2 – 5 year-olds, beginning Monday, August 15th at 4:30pm.  Led by Nicole, an Arlington art educator, the classes will include stories, movement, and songs followed by an art project related to the class theme.  The experienced group leader will provide all the materials and direction for your child to make one-of-a-kind artwork.  Artistic experience is not necessary as lessons are geared towards all skills levels & are modified based on the child.

While your child is busy creating, parents have the option of taking part in a wine tasting featuring some of Twisted Vine’s hottest wines on the market.

After the class, Twisted Vines will be offering a special family night with a kid-friendly menu and of course, great food & drinks for the adults.

Classes are $15 per child with the option of an additional $5 for the wine tasting.  Reservations can be made with Nicole at

Classes will be held August through October.  August’s theme is Make a splash with art!  This water-themed art project will combine watercolors and collage materials.  September’s class- Picture me creative, will feature a unique picture frame with paint and collage materials. You can bring in a photo of your child for the picture frame.  In October’s class themed, My little monster, your children will create a wearable mask with paint, glue, and lots of fun collage materials.


I am very passionate about theatre and creating opportunities for children to experience the arts, and am always looking for ways to introduce the arts to my 2.5 year old, K.  However, I have also learned the hard way that it is important that the performance or event matches my daughter’s attention span and comprehension level.  It is just too easy to try to push K into things that I “think” she is ready for, only to learn that she just quite isn’t there yet.  Because of this, I was very excited to learn about a new theater group called Arts on the Horizon in Alexandria that focuses on theater classes and performances for young children– from 18 months to 6 years old!

The theater before the show- it ended up being a full house!

K and I were invited to come and see their first performance, Drumming with Dishes.  We loved it!  We also brought along a friend with a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old, and even the 18-month-old was entertained.  The length of the show was 30 minutes, and seemed to be the perfect length for the target audience (the show is geared towards children 2 – 5 years old).  

Our friend, G, and the show's actors

The show is about an adventurous toddler as she introduces her imaginary friend to a very special kitchen, where instead of food, they cook up beautiful music.  There is no talking, and the only sounds come from the “music” that the actors make with pots, pans, boxes of beans and noodles, and cooking utensils.  They are accompanied by a guitar player, who added a lot of fun and whimsy to the show.  With his guitar he built up anticipation, created excitement, added to the suspense, and played along to songs that the other actors signed- like Itsy Bitsy Spider.

The girls watching the guitarist, Billy Finn

The show does a great job of activating the audience’s imagination.  Playing in the kitchen is something that most of our kids have done many times, and it allows them a view into one child’s adventure.  It engages them in activities they see around them everyday, and gives them an opportunity to place themselves in the shoes of someone else.  

I also loved that it was non-verbal.  It really helped the children observe the reactions of the actors- from their fears, excitement, joy, and frustration- the children were able to easily see the emotions across the faces of the actors.  They also encouraged audience participation- from a little wave to bring the imaginary friend on stage to clapping or making suggestions, it kept the audience engaged in the show.

Actors Betsy Rosen and Caitlin Shea

Arts on the Horizon also has classes that are very affordable and seem like they would be a lot of fun.  The next classes begin in June and are for ages 18 months to 3 years.   In addition to the classes, there are Summer Camps for ages 3 – 5 and 5 – 7 beginning in July and August.  Contact Caitlin McAndrew for more information.

Definitely check out this show- it runs until June 5th, and shows are during the week and on weekends.  The performances are at Landmark Mall in Alexandria.  If you get there early, there is a play area for the kids while you wait.  

The Play Area

The Play Area

Tickets are $8 for children and adults, children under 12 months are admitted free of charge.  You can also get a Family 4-pack for $25.  Click here for tickets.  

If you go or have already been, let me know what you think!


Believe it or not, it might actually feel like Spring this week!  There will be a little rain, but it is April after all.  Check out these ideas to get you out of the  house!


Monday, April 4th    Garden Sprouts: Dirt Dwellers

11am @ Green Spring Gardens Park, Alexandria

Get dirty and learn more about dirt and how the things that live in dirt help gardens grow.  Kids will create their own dirt farm to take home.  Ages 3 – 6.

Click here for more info.



Tuesday, April 5th    Book of the Month

10:30am & 11:30am @ Building Zone, National Building Museum, Washington, DC

Come to the Building Zone for an interactive reading of Deb Pilutti’s, The City Kid & The Suburb Kid.  See what happens when two kids, one from the city and one from the suburbs, change places with each other for a day.  There are two readings- one at 10:30am and another at 11:30am.  This is a free program!  It is recommended for ages 3 to 5.


Wednesday, April 6th    Get Out and Explore: Going with the Wind

4 – 5pm @ Bluemont Park Caboose, on the W&OD Trail near Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester St

Experience and discover nature through simple activities guided by Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. Stop by and explore trees, insects, wildflowers, and birds in Bluemont Park. This free program is for adults, families, and children of all ages and will focus on time to play, learn, and discover in the natural world. The program will take place rain or shine. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  The Bluemont Park Caboose is located on the W&OD trail near the intersections of Wilson Blvd. and N. Manchester Street. There is parking available near the tennis pavilion accessible from N. Manchester Street.  The caboose is located across the stream from the Ranger Station and tennis courts.  Click here for a map of the park.  For more info call 703-228-6427 or


Wednesday, April 6th    Hans Christian Anderson Storytime

4:00 – 4:45pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Celebrate Han’s Christian Anderson’s birthday as you read some of his classic tales.  For children ages 3 and up.  This is a free event!  Call 703-228-6535 for more info.


Thursday, April 7th    Spring Excitement

10am & 3:30pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

It’s Spring, and you can learn about all the exciting things happening outside at Gulf Branch.  For ages 3 – 5.


Friday, April 8th    Rascally Rabbits Campfire

6:30 – 7:45pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Come with the whole family at the Gulf Branch fire ring for lots of old-fashioned fun. There will be stories, special animal guests, games, songs and s’mores.  Call 703-228-3403 for more info.  There is a $5 fee per person, or $20 max per family- payable at the program.


What to do this week?  Here are some ideas to get you out of the house!


Tuesday, March 22nd    Annual Pachyderm Parade

Approximately 2pm @ downtown Washington, DC

To launch the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, the elephants will be parading through downtown.  Check out my post for more info….



Wednesday, March 23rd    Stroller Happy Hour

3-5pm @ Twisted Vines, Arlington

Come hang out with other Moms and Dads for a kid-friendly meet & greet at Twisted Vines on Columbia Pike! Twisted Vines has toys out to entertain the kids while the adults can hang out.  Snacks for the kids will be provided. Twisted Vines says to feel free to have them bring their favorite toys to share with the others.


Thursday, March 24th    Nature Detectives – Backyard Birds

10am @ Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria

Learn more about Virginia’s birds through a story, activity, and craft.  For ages 3 – 6.

Click here to register.



Friday, March 25th    Very Hungry Caterpillar Storytime

10:30am @  Hooray for Books!, Alexandria

Come for a special Wee Ones storytime with the Very Hungry Caterpillar to celebrate Very Hungry Caterpillar Day.  The caterpillar will be costumed!

The Spring Arlington County class catalog is now available online, and registration starts online at March 29th at 8am.  Non-residents can register beginning April 12.  Click here for more info.

We have been taking the tumbling class, Tumbling for Toddlers, for the last 3 semesters.  K really enjoys it.  It is great exercise for their little legs and arms, and K always takes a good nap after the class! The kids go through different circuits for around 15 minutes each section.  There is a floor area with balance beams, shaped mats for climbing, and inclines for somersaults; a second area with a long trampoline, several types of bars, rings, and a rope swing; and the third contains an obstacle course and foam pit for jumping and sliding.  The 2-year-old class requires that the parent be on the floor with their child, and take part in the running and lifting.  In the 3-year-old (and older) class, the parents go to the observation area after warm-up.  The semester is usually 11 sessions, but Spring is either 7 or 8 sessions.

We have also taken Abrakadoodle: Twoosy Doodlers at the Carver Center.  I was not as impressed with this class.  The tables and chairs are adult sized, so it made it difficult for the kids to do the projects.  The art projects were not that fun or inspiring.  K loves to paint so she enjoyed many of them, but they were typically done in 10-15 minutes.  The rest of the class was spent explaining what they would be doing, washing hands, and circle time at the end where they took turns “talking”about their project.  We could have done these projects at home for 1/4 of the cost.

We also took Kindermusik when K was around 1.  They are great classes with some movement, sign language, and lots of music.

I have heard great things about the Go Bananas dance classes.  I plan to register K for the Dance with the Animals or Creative movement classes in the fall.  According to the website, the focus on the classes is Exercise, Learning & Fun!  Each class gives kids the oppportunity to exercise from head to toe and get the large muscle activity that is so critical to their development. Any of the Go Bananas classes are fantastic- they go up to age 6.  They also has been offering many of these classes in Falls Church.

The Little Olympians class is also supposed to be fun- the kids get to try different sports each week- t-ball, soccer, basketball, hockey, etc.  A great way to introduce your young kids to a wide variety of sports!

I have also heard good things about the Swimming classes.  The pools are a little on the cold side.  Warning- these fill up really quickly!

If you plan to register, be sure to log-in early on the 29th- many of the popular classes are full within the first 30 minutes!

Check out what’s happening in the area this week!

Monday, February 28th    Groovy Nate

3:30 – 4:30pm @ St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, Alexandria

Groovy Nate performs on the 4th Monday of each month at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.  There is no cover charge, but tipping is encouraged.  St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub is located at 2300 Mount Vernon Avenue (corner of Delray Ave.), in Alexandria.  The menu at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub offers a wide variety of coffees, teas, sandwiches and salads. 703.739.9268

Click here for more info

Tuesday, March 1st    AUMC Parenting Class

6:30pm – 7:30pm @ Arlington United Methodist Church, Arlington

AUMC is hosting a free parenting class starting March 1. The class will be held on Tuesdays, lead by Pastor Wes Arthur.  The class will be based on the award winning book “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & How to Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Faber and Mazlish.  Free childcare will be provided. Those under the age of 2 can go to the nursery, and kids ages 3 + will be able to sing, dance, play, do crafts and story time in the kids club with Miss Virginia, the church’s music minister.

Wednesday, March 2nd    Beautybeast

10am @ Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, Arlington

Aurora Opera Theatre’s production, Beautybeast, is a great show for kids!  The opera is approximately 45 minutes and it is the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, but set to some of Mozart’s best known music, The Magic Flute and Marriage of Figaro.  It was written specifically for young audiences and will be sung in English.  For more info, check out my post.

Thursday, March 3rd    Wood Frogs Preschool Program

10am @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

A preschool program about Wood Frogs and their amphibious friends.  Registration is required.  Cost is $5 per child ages 3 – 5.

Friday, March, 4th    In My Backyard Planetarium Show

7:30pm @ David M. Brown Planetarium, Alrlington

A program for young kids, ages 4-6.  The program first teaches about nature during the day as the season change.  Then the show moves to the night sky.  There will be singing, clapping, and poems, as kids get the chance to learn about planets, stars, constellations, and the moon.  Tickets are $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for children 12 and under.  Doors open 15 minutes before showtime and are closed and locked once the program begins.  Try to get there early!  Check out this post for more way to help save the planetarium.

Friday, March 4th    Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir

8pm @ The Cathedral of Saint Thomas More, Arlington

Come listen to Lenoir-Rhyne University’s feature touring ensemble.  Under the Direction of Rev. Dr. Paul Weber, the choir has toured nationally since 1951 and has traveled abroad. It is well known for its lyrical tone and for its performance of both concert and worship music repertoire.

HOT week ahead- here are some indoor and outdoor options for this week.  Go out and play!

Tuesday, May 25 Canal Boat Ride – 11am, 1:30pm, 3pm @ Georgetown & Great Falls — Ride along the historic C&O Canal in a boat pulled by mules, and experience rising 8 feet in a lock.  Park rangers in period clothing  will tell you about what life was like for the families that lived and worked on the canal.  Bring fruit or carrots to feed the mules after the ride.  $5.00 per person ages 4 and above (3 and under are free).  Seats are first come first served.  Wednesday through Sunday

Wednesday, May 26 Rocks and Minerals Class– 4pm – 5pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington, VA– For children ages 7-12, use Long Branch’s science kits to work with rocks and minerals.  Children will get to take home a rock specimen.  $6 fee, and registration is required. 703-228-6535

Thursday, May 27- Watch the Airplanes @ Gravelly Point Park, Arlington, VA- Bring balls, bikes, and a picnic and head to Gravelly Point to watch the planes take off and land from Reagan National.  The runway is just 400 yards away, and you can watch the ducks and enjoy the DC skyline along the Potomac.  Can only access it from Northbound George Washington Parkway.  .,1028013.html

Friday, May 28 Tidal Basin Paddle Boats & Einstein– 10am – 6pm, Washington, DC — Go ride the paddle boats and check out the monuments.  Cost is $10 per hr for a 2 passenger boat, and $18 per hr for a 4 passenger boat You can reserve online for times between 10am-4pm, and there is also walk-up business. Pre-registration guarantees boat rentals.   Life jackets fit kids over 25 pounds.  Walking paths surround the area and visitors are free to picnic along the shore.  Afterwards go climb on Einstein (across Constitution Avenue near 21st Street, NW).  The Albert Einstein Memorial is on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences.  The huge bronze statue is a fun place for kids to climb and play.

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