I have a one-year-old child. It is winter. What do I do with him?


Okay, alright. Busted. So I am using this post as an opportunity to share a picture of my adorable son. (And with such a charming, handsome father, it should be no surprise how adorable he is.) I am the Lord of Petworth…I can do this if I want to.

So I need some help from my fellow procreators out there.

Having a little kid in the summer is easy. Parks. Zoo. Fort Reno. Outdoor festivals. There is lots of stuff to do.

So now we are facing our first winter with an active child. So…what are we supposed to do with him? He isn’t old enough to get much out of museums and it seems like everywhere we go–I see tons of coughing children and all I can think about is germs.

Help me parents. What are some good activities for young children during the cold months?

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  • Put him in a stroller and take him to a bar. We love that.

  • Cold does not equal germs. Your kid is tough. Make him tougher by getting him sick otherwise he’ll end up with allegories to everything.

  • Freeze him and thaw him out in the spring.

  • First, stop being afraid of germs — he’s gonna get sick a lot and it’s arguably good for his immune system (better a few colds than a toddlerhood as a hermit). Then bundle him up & take him outside despite the cold. The construction on Georgia Ave can keep my son entertained for hours!

    If you’re looking for weekday activities, there’s Sticky Fingers every other Wed morning and the Petworth library story times on Tues and Thurs at 10:30. I also do a lot of indoor playdates with friends during the colder weather. On the weekends we take hikes as a family in Rock Creek.

    I’ve heard the Pope Center has an indoor play area, but I’ve never checked it out and am not sure how to find it.

  • Half a benadryl + crib, repeat daily.

  • Go to the library. The zoo is still open, just bundle him up. Go get a bunch of cheap supplies at michaels or walmart/target for art projects at home. Make hilarious (to you and your family, no one else really finds them that awesome) home videos of your son doing whatever he does and post on you-tube. I’m sure there are lots of over-priced baby yoga and baby music classes out there too.

  • Arboretum and Zoo come to mind.

  • National Building Museum play area. Indoor exhibits at National Zoo (the invertebrates are a particular favorite.) Great Kid’s Village in Silver Spring (Georgia Avenue) or The Family Room on Capitol Hill (if he is walking.) Brief trip to the Walter Pierce playground on Adams Mill Road, followed by stroller ride to Tryst or Starbucks, followed by naptime or more playground action at Kalorama playground on Columbia Road.
    Check out the blog KidFriendlyDC (and of course DC Urban Moms)

    • I was going to mention National Building Museum. take him there and let’em run wild. But, this Sat. is the R/C planes and model airplane show. It’s neat to see, but no fun for the tiny ones and no space. Any other time is great for them. They even have play blocks, a cafe, and everything you need.

  • Also: Cleveland Park library, petshop, Firehook bakery and that transcendental toy store on Connecticut makes a nice outing.
    Always get your check when your order arrives so you can hightail it out if a meltdown occurs.

  • Botanical Garden!

  • The Building Museum, 5th and F NW. Massive open carpeted first floor with a fountain and a coffee shop for the adults. They put out MegaBlocks for kids to play with in the main area and have a separated Building Zone with a play house, trains and tracks, those big cardboard bricks, big trucks, etc. Awesome place for toddlers.

    You might be surprised at how much fun he has someplace like the Natural History Museum – there is a lot of stuff to look at.

    The Wilson Pool in Tenleytown – free for DC residents, great kiddie pool. Go early, it gets crowded.

    Definitely the zoo – there are enough indoor exhibits that you can warm up if it’s cold.

    • + 1000 on the Building Museum. Best play room in the city, and it’s free.

      Also, a lot of the public libraries have programs for the little ones. Shaw is a good example, but most of the others are just as good or better.

  • A lot of yoga studios have Itsy Bitsy Yoga or other Baby/Toddler and Me yoga programs.

  • John Paul II Cultural Center on Harewood. They have a cool interactive play area on the lower level, and a great building. Heathens permitted, but $5 suggested donation regardless of belief system.

  • They have a nice Baby & me yoga class at Yoga Chai, and a few other places – Lil’ Omm, Circle Yoga, etc.

  • Doesn’t the YMCA still offer “mommy and me”/ “daddy and me” classes?

    Also, there are some cute paint by number pottery places — I think there’s one in Adams Morgan.

    Not to mention organizing a play group/crafting/whatever day with local kids the same age group.

  • Building Museum is good for 2+… not so much for the babies.

    The zoo is great in winter. Short walks between indoor exhibits.

    Get to the Botanical Gardens before they take the trains down.

    Find an indoor pool.

    Take him to Ikea, let him climb around on all the display furniture. It’s usually bolted down. Plan to spend at least a couple hours there.

    • Yeah, lots of families at Ikea on any given Saturday. Bonus–cheap breakfast and lunch in their cafeteria.

    • I disagree. I’ve been taking my son since he was 8 months old and we’ve always had fun. Now that he’s 18 months old it’s perfect for him!

  • Bundle him up and get outdoors. Kids don’t get cold as quick as you’d think. A couple tips: wool socks for toddlers are worth investing in, but surprisingly hard to find. Second, a snow suit is another key to staying warm. Plastic cover for your stroller, also.

    A couple destinations: National Geographic, the postal museum, botanical gardens, the horse barns and nature center in rock creek park, DC indoor pools, carousel has no lines, kids like the sculpture gardens. There are the puppet shows at Glenn Echo.

    And yes,loud bars and cafes. Go ahead. Annoying the hipsters validates their identity, and ours as well. 25% tip to your server.

  • Can he walk? Go to Walmart and get some plastic skis. Let him get the feel of wearing skis early on. Then bring him to the bar for some whiskey shots.

    Bode Miller Jr. in training.

  • Oh, if you’re doing anything on the Mall, have lunch in the basement of the National Gallery. Food’s lame and spendy, but one is the PERFECT age for staring openmouthed at the fountain/waterfall window.

    • Yes! My son (10 months) LOVES that waterfall. And the walkway between east and west wings. We could likely go back and forth on the moving walkway for a couple of hours if I had the patience for that. Plus, the gift shop is next to the cafeteria and has a great hands-on kids section

  • I can’t believe no one mentioned the Children’s Museum! Imagine room after room of the best toys/climbing things/dress up ever. Plus it’s great for all ages. There’s even a room dedicated solely to bubbles!

    Also, aquariums are great for toddlers.

  • What children’s museum? Capital Children’s Museum has been closed for years. Will reopen as National Children’s Museum at Washington Harbor in a few years. Or never if funding isn’t secured.

    • That’s totally heart breaking. That was one of my favorite places as a kid, and then a great place to take my nephews when they came to town.

  • I think it’s time to organize a PoP stroller-only happy hour.

    Wonderland here we come, hipsters!

  • Home Depot – stay away from the saws and screws aisles and he can play with most stuff without damage. Plumbing is good. And totally the zoo – Amazonia with the giant fish. Just have an easy-on easy-off jacket and a stroller to put it in and all the indoor buildings are good.

  • houseintherear

    P.A.L. (People Animals Love) does a reading-to-dogs night every Wednesday at the Chevy Chase Library on Connecticut Ave. My dog is one of the therapy dogs– it’s super fun. There is a group book reading, then kids (and parents) can read to the dogs and then make a craft to take home.

  • I miss PoP

  • We LOVE the library, and also taking short walks to stop somewhere like a coffee shop or bakery – 20 minutes of cold strolling, then 30 minutes of people watching and donut or fruit eating. Errands in the morning take up hours it seems.

    I also love to give my kid large-ish baskets of stuff; that keeps him busy for 20 minutes at a time. Clean, non-messy stuff is key. So…big legos, little pieces of paper, stickers, fabric swatches, or sometimes the entire DVD collection.

    We tend to move from room to room (and we have a small house) throughout the day, so that he stays entertained each “new” place. I work from home, and ALL that I ask for is a solid naptime and a few 20-minute-moments of independent play for emails and short tasks.


  • The son of the Lord of Petworth is styled the Earl of Park View, correct?

    I want his crown.

  • If you say Lord of Petworth one more time I am going to scream.

  • From birth until we started school, my mom took us to the museums, particularly the NGA, almost every day. She’d tell us stories about the works of art: either make stuff up about the subjects, or tell biographical/historical info about the artist. So you have to be creative for the first part and have to do some studying for the second.

    Even if the new children’s museum opens, it’s still totally inaccessible to anyone without a car.

  • I suggest to put it in the closet with a jar of peanut butter and check on it again in mid-May.

  • I haven’t been yet but our nanny swears by the National Building Museum. I think we’re going to try it out this weekend, along with Natural History.

    Seriously though, get a toddler-size Bundle Me (http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=125661&RN=7034&amp😉 and just get out of the house.

  • Join a group of parents like the meetup.com group NW DC Moms. We do stuff with the kids all the time! Also, puppet shows at Glen Echo, building museum, natural history museum lets people into the butterfly exhibit for free on Tuesdays, Toddler Tuesdays at the DC national aquarium (yes, it’s not great but toddlers still love it), sing along lunch at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda, the nature center at Rock Creek Park entertained my 18 month old for hours even though I thought it was only okay, and Sing along at Sticky Fingers on alternate Wednesdays (it gets very crowded so get there early!) etc. etc. etc.

  • It’s a concept, but, what if you read aloud to him? At home. Just the two of you. He won’t care if it’s Dr. Seuss or Karl Marx or Harry Potter or the Bible. Replicate Calvin’s snowmen in mashed potatoes. Get out the watercolors and paint the cat. Turn on the opera or MTV and dance together. Show him how to push the “record” button on your camera and post the result on YouTube. Be yourself WITH him.

  • Postal Museum. It’s nearly always empty and has Owney the mail dog, a plane, a stagecoach and lots of buttons to push. Plus Cap City is next door.

  • Rock Creek Nature Center. Room to wander, fun playrooms, free planetariam (sp?), frogs and turtles to look at. Also – the Rock Creek stables are right next door, so you can go look at the horses.

  • Take him to the playground even it its cold. Last year, with my one year old and almost three year old, I always thought it was funny that I’d be at the Walter Pierce playground and all the other parents there would be speaking Swedish, German, Polish.

    Building museum. The transportation exhibit at the American History Museum, indoor zoo exhibits, Wilson Pool, Ikea (if you have a car and need for something for you house) playdates, invite a couple other families with little kids over for bagels and coffee on Saturday morning. We’re all awake anyway, so we might as well hang out together.

  • indoor activities our little one liked: fill up a pan with soapy water and wash plastic toys; finger painting; set up bowls with different textures: beans, cotton balls to scoop and play with; decorate a big cardboard box with stickers and cutouts from magazines then use it as a fort; cut open paper grocery bags, tape them to the floor and then draw on them–make a city or a zoo; hide and seek. Great games for little kids (maybe 2yrs) are zingo and hulabaloo

  • Love http://www.boogiebabes, Shaw Library Rockalong with Casey and Itsy Bitsy Yoga. Getting outside is best though, if the weather allows!

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