Congratulations to everyone who has finished their holiday shopping, but I know there are still plenty of families who need to purchase last-minute Christmas and Hanukkah presents this week. Good news! There are plenty of places locally have have great options for your kids of all ages. Here’s a short-and-sweet sampling of presents to buy and places to shop.
Smithsonian SparkLab! Inventive Creativity Kit
The Smithsonian stores are perfect for parents who work near the Mall. Available in the National Museum of American History retail store. Price: $22.00 Winner of Academic’s Choice Brain Toy Award, these kits provide kids with a hands-on, engaging but also educational experience for curious minds and avid museum-goers. The Inventor’s Studio includes 120+ fun materials and a 3D idea starter to help you on your journey learning the process of invention.
National Geographic Books
This is a fabulous year to support National Geographic. Although you can certainly order online, you can also visit the retail store at the National Geographic Museum on 17th and M. We’re Nat Geo Insiders at The DC Moms, and here is a collection of our favorite Nat Geo books.
National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide U.S.A.: What better way to get your kids motivated to visit the outdoors than this beautiful and fascinating look at America’s greatest idea, the National Parks system. $14.99
Weird But True! 8: A steal at $7.99, this latest addition to the popular series will be read and re-read constantly by inquisitive kids who love bizarre and amazing facts (300, in fact) about topics from science, space, and weather to geography, food, and pop culture. A must-buy that works for multiple ages. Even my teen reads this one with his younger siblings.
Famous Fails!: This book’s tagline says it all — The Greatest Mistakes, Mess Ups & Mishaps of All Time. The book covers failures and flops in various industries — some which inadvertently led to a success (the Slinky) and others that just plain failed. There’s a “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” for each entry, so kids can see what came of the disastrous endeavor. $12.99
National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017: There’s something so satisfying about being reading reference books, and the new Nat Geo Kids Alamanac is jam-packed with facts and data that kids will be excited to read (and then share with you). A mix of photos, facts, stats, and more, one of my favorite features is the new special “17 Facts for 2017” feature in every chapter. $14.99
Books, Games & Toys at Child’s Play
I’ve shopped for toys and books around the entire D-M-V, and I think Child’s Play has the most knowledgeable and helpful staff and best-curated inventory of games, books, and toys in the area. In addition to shopping at Target, you should support a local business and let them help you find the ideal picks for any child (of any age) on your gift list. Various locations including Arlington, Chevy Chase D.C., McLean, and Rockville. Some of our favorite games: TENZI, Sleeping Queens, Ticket to Ride, and Spy Alley.
Movie Tickets to Fancy Theaters
These aren’t your run of the mill multiplexes; they have beautiful seats (in several cases, fully reclining ones), full cafes and well-chosen lineups of theatrical releases. I’ve been to each of these personally and can tell you they’re movie critic-approved.
- Angelika Film Center (Fairfax and D.C.)
- iPic Pike & Rose (North Bethesda)
- ArcLight Westfield Montgomery (Bethesda)
- AMC Westfield Wheaton (Wheaton)
- Landmark Atlantic Plumbing (D.C.)
- AMC Shirlington (Shirlington)
I didn’t receive any compensation fort this post, but I did receive a review sample of some of the games and books, several of which I donated to my church’s collection for local families in need.