Kids and Family Notebook

St. Nicholas Children's Mass at St. Patrick's On Sunday, Dec 9, 10:00 a.m. St. Patrick's Mass welcomes children and invites them to remember St. Nicholas and the “little ones” for whom he cared. Saint Patrick Catholic Church, 619 10th St. NW. 202-347-2713. Photo: Kids enjoying the special Mass. Photo: Courtesy of St. Patrick Catholic Church

Art Trails at the American Art Museum

On Saturday, Nov 10, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., lace up your favorite pair of comfy sneakers as you prepare to explore the galleries of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Pick up a themed scavenger hunt and begin your trek through time, through space, and through art. You’ll have to answer questions, solve puzzles, and look closely. Some curious characters might even be waiting for you along the way! It's free. American Art Museum (begin in the Kogod Courtyard), Eighth and F sts. NW.

Saturday Morning at the National Free Performances for Children

On Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. there are free live performances for children in the Helen Hayes Gallery. Tickets are required and distributed first come-first seated. Tickets are distributed 1/2 hour prior to performance. One ticket per person in line. The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 202-783-3372. Nov 17-The Frog Prince. Baltimore’s award-wining Black Cherry Puppet Theatre tells the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a beautiful princess, a talking frog, and the importance of keeping one’s promises. Beautiful handmade puppets and an original soundtrack tell the merry musical tale. Dec 1-Oh! Hanukkah! Nell and David Greenfieldboyce combine music, comedy and puppets to bring out the Hanukkah spirit in everyone! Two enchanting puppet tales of Jewish life in the old country combined with a novel retelling of the story of Hanukkah brings the seasonal tale of the “Festival of Lights” to life. Dec 8-Christmas Dreams from The Nutcracker. Saturday Morning at the National families eagerly await the annual presentation of the Virginia Ballet Company and School’s selections from Tchaikovsky’s glittering confection. Snowflakes and Sugar Plum Fairies fill the air in a dazzling presentation full of lovely costumes, lively dances and elegant holiday cheer. Dec 15-Chris Davis: A Christmas Carol. Join Tim Cratchitt (all grown up) and his blushing bride, Rose, in recreating Charles Dickens’s classic tale A Christmas Carol. Kids in the audience take roles in the show, playing Jacob Marley, Ghosts of Christmas, and the cantankerous old miser himself to the delight and merriment of all!

Read to a Four-Legged Friend

On Monday, Dec 3, 4 p.m., children will enjoy the company of dogs from People Animals Love (PAL) and their owners as they practice reading with a non-judgmental friend. This event is appropriate for all ages. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. 202-727-0321.

November 17 is National Family Volunteer Day

Kids are never too young to volunteer! See how your kids can make a difference at school and at home! Go to to find some great projects and ideas for volunteering.

Largest Playground Improvement Project in DC History

Mayor Gray, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Aguirre and Department of General Services Director Hanlon have announced that the District government would be undertaking the largest playground renovation project in its history. Mayor Gray prioritized this initiative and worked with his budget team to identify additional end-of-year capital funds to both add additional playgrounds to the project and accelerate the pace of renovations. As a result, a total of 32 playgrounds will now be renovated in Fiscal Year 2013.

Wards 1 and 2 playgrounds to be renovated are Harrison Playground, 1330 V St. NW; Banneker Playground, 2500 Georgia Ave. NW and Rose Park Playground, 2609 Dumbarton St. NW. Renovations are expected to start this fall, with completions during 2013.

Chancellor Henderson Announces Taskforce to Support School Libraries

In an effort to broaden access to reading for students, DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has announced a task force to better support school libraries. The DCPS Library Task Force will make recommendations for consideration and possible implementation in the 2013-2014 school year. The task force’s first meeting was this week.

Specifically, the task force will be asked to evaluate the current status of school libraries and library programs, including staffing levels, instruction provided and collections; evaluate the best practices for library instruction and programming; determine the basics of a quality school library system; develop recommendations to improve the quality of school libraries and library programs; and recommend any voluntary/community-based strategies designed to increase and improve school libraries, library programs and collection development.

Family-Friendly DAR Christmas Open House

On Wednesday, Dec 5, 5:30-8 p.m., experience the elegance and Christmas splendor of Memorial Continental Hall, a Registered Historic Landmark and tour their 31 period rooms depicting scenes of early American life. You asre also welcome to explore the DAR Museum Gallery. Enjoy Christmas music from area choirs. For kids, Santa is taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the Open House. Coloring books and crayons will be given out to children. DAR Memorial Continental Hall, 17th and D sts. NW. 202-572-0563.

An American Girl Tea: Samantha and the Gilded Age (save the date)

On Dec 15, 10:30 a.m.-noon, learn what it was like to grow up during the Gilded Age at this family tea. After reading and discussing brief passages from the Samantha books, children will enjoy a tea party and design their own ornaments to take home. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Dolls are welcome! Reservations are required. $5. Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW. 202-785-2040.

Coyaba Dance Theater at Sitar Center

Coyaba Dance Theater will perform in Sitar's de Laski Theater on Nov 17, noon-1 p.m. This performance is free and open to the public. Sitar Arts Center 1700 Kalorama Rd. NW. 202-797-2145.

Sitar Arts Center brings its diverse community together to give underserved children and youth the opportunity to explore and study the visual and performing arts in an afterschool safe haven. The Center partners with local volunteer artists and arts organizations to provide comprehensive arts education, nurturing relationships and high expectations that enable young people to better know and express themselves as they discover and develop their artistic gifts.

"My Fair Lady" Parent-Child Tea and Family Fun Pack

On Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m., enjoy premium seats to the matinee performance of "My Fair Lady" followed by a traditional British Afternoon Tea. Tickets are $250 for an Adult and Youth pair; additional tickets are $125 each. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit or call 202-600-4025. All proceeds will benefit Arena Stage’s award-winning Community Engagement Programs.

Bring the whole family to Arena Stage to see “My Fair Lady,” through Jan 6. They have brought back the Family Fun Pack: four seats for $125. Must include a minimum of two patrons between ages 5 and 17 per Fun Pack; cannot be combined with any other offer or applied to previously purchased tickets; limit two Fun Packs per household. All standard fees apply. Must be purchased by phone or in person.

Former Webb School Awarded to KIPP DC

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education and the Department of General Services will recommend to the DC Council of the District of Columbia to award the former Webb Elementary School at 1375 Mt. Olivet Road NE to KIPP DC Public Charter Schools. KIPP DC will operate three programs for Pre-K through 8th grade at the site, which is located in Ward 5. Currently, KIPP DC operates 10 programs at three locations in the District. A long-term lease of the Webb school will allow KIPP DC to expand its high-quality offerings to students and families across the city. KIPP DC's programs are ranked Tier 1 under the Public Charter School Board’s Performance Management Framework.

Fall Harvest Scavenger Hunt at Brookside Gardens

On Nov 16, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., have some seasonal fun throughout Brookside Gardens. Start at the Visitors Center and follow the colorful leaf trail leading you to the conservatory and back again. Along the way, hunt for seasonal clues and participate in fun activities, exercises and crafts. Guided garden walks leave on the half hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. Last walk leaves at 12:30 p.m. An adult must walk with each child and assist in the activities. This event is designed for ages 2-6. $5 per child. Please register online at Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, MD. For more information, call 301-962-1400 or visit

DC Youth Orchestra Concert at the Kennedy Center

The DC Youth Orchestra Program launches its 53rd concert season with its Youth Orchestra's Fall Concert at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Terrace Theater on Saturday, Nov 17 at 2:00 pm. Led by Maestro Jesus Manuel Berard, the program includes "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" by Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Ives’ "Fugue" from his Symphony No.4 and Beethoven's Symphony No.8. The concert is free and open to the public, although tickets are required. Tickets are available at or through Eventbrite at

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