Leesylvania State Park 2015 Event Calendar

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Published: 05/03/2015
Leesylvania State Park always has a series of fun events for summer!! Join them outside for some great fun in the sun! Whether it's Naitonal Kids to Park Day or Music at the Marina, it'll be a fun (and low-cost!) time! 


2015 Leesylvania State Park Kids Fishing Tournaments

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Published: 04/30/2015
Leesylvania State Park hosts monthly fishing tournaments! Join them for some fun for ages 2-15.  The program is free, but there is a fee to park.

2015 Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park

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Published: 04/20/2015
Our Junior Ranger program is back for another exciting year!! Each day we cover new topics, and introduce fun educational activities that help keep things fun and interesting. It is a great way for you and your child to learn about the rich history and nature that is in your own backyard.  There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.

Giveaway: Peter Yarrow at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Published: 04/01/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Peter Yarrow!! 



Peter Yarrow
April 12, 2015 at 2 pm
Folk musician, songwriter, and children’s author Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Center for a fun and interactive musical performance that combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages. This American music legend and Grammy Award winner is perhaps best known for his career with the beloved folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary; yet he is also a spirited activist who now uses his music to educate children about the effects of bullying. In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow performs “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness, and respect, as well as some of iconic folk songs from throughout his career, including “If I Had a Hammer,”  “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 

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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Freedom Egg-Stravaganza 2015!!

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Published: 03/02/2015





Giveaway: Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland at the Hylton Center

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Published: 02/18/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Alice in Wonderland!! 



Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland
February 28, 2015 at 11 am and 2 pm
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Guest Post: Snow Days Can be ‘Grow’ Days

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Published: 01/23/2015
Snow Days Can be ‘Grow’ Days
By Eugenia Cole and Robin Banford-Geisler
Winter Break is officially over, but the winter season will likely provide a few more mini-breaks before spring arrives.  Last year, Prince William County Public Schools lost 13 days to snow--almost 3 weeks of instruction time. Although snow days can provide a welcomed break from the normal routine for parents, students, and teachers, they can also provide boundless opportunities for intentional conversation and learning at home.  
A good example of the impact even trivial communication moments have on little listeners is a conversation Mrs. Cole recently had with a kindergarten student. The young lady informed Mrs. Cole that she would soon be attending “Reading Workshop” (an after-school reading enrichment program) on Mondays, instead of her normal Thursday time.  Mrs. Cole hadn’t heard anything from the parents regarding the change, but, based on her experience with the student and her family, Mrs. Cole knew this information was something that the girl’s parents had communicated with her and the young student remembered. 
While that example of a young student’s attention to and retention of information shared in conversation may seem minute, it goes to show how responsible and responsive our younger learners can be when provided the opportunity. Often times, questions asked to kindergartners regarding real-life matters are met with shrugs and “I don’t know.” This response is not because our children are too simple or young to be aware, but simply because parents don’t often communicate with them regarding what they consider to be irrelevant topics for children. 
The difference between students who are included in higher-level discussion at home and those who are not becomes evident in classroom discussion and learning time, where a distinction emerges between which students are having things explained to them and which ones are simply having things done for them.  The simple act of regular and intentional dialogue with a kindergartner can permit high-level return in the classroom. While, understandably, parent work schedules contribute to a lack of time for intentional communication, snow days can provide a convenient opportunity to have purposeful family interaction time.
While even kindergartners are as tempted to attach themselves to their electronics as we prove to be, days off from school, prompted by winter weather, can be full of personal interaction & conversational learning for our students. These mini-breaks are a wonderful opportunity to intentionally focus on strengthening your young child’s communication skills by including them in every-day discussion. Use the together-time to help your learner build towards a successful second half of the year and beyond!  
As teachers of a younger audience, we package our learning objectives into fun and interactive lessons in order to engage kindergartners. While electronics and technology may rule our day, there is still opportunity to be creative in how you engage your kindergartner on snow days.  The right kind of game can help him/her strengthen foundational skills, such as following directions, pre-reading (making a guess about topic based on pictures, clues, etc) and working together. Below is an explanation of three great offline, or non-electronic, activities that can help your kindergartner build a solid learning foundation for 2015.
  • Indoor Games:
Brain Games are an example of activities that can help exercise and develop memory. Additionally, parentfurther.com has a list of information processing activities that are worth considering, including the 30 Second Spotlight game, in which participants pick a family related topic, take turns, and talk about the topic for 30 seconds of uninterrupted time.  This game is a great one for your student because it aims to help your kindergartner strengthen his/her listening and responding skills.
If you are already using games as a learning tool, be encouraged that your efforts are foundational. Continue to establish such routine interactions with your kindergartner during snow days and add additional games to work on new skills. 

  • Learning With Snow
Snow is fun to play with, but can also be fun to learn with.  Sledding, snow-ball fights, and snow man/fort building are all fun activities during snow days.  Author Jean Warren shares on preschoolexpress.com that snow, as a learning material, presents the opportunity for children to work on Thinking skills, Coordination Skills, Art Skills, Math Skills, Music Skills, Language Skills, Science Skills and Concept Skills. With a little intentionality, you can turn those and other activities into unique learning opportunities.
One example of a specific, fun snow activity that Jean Warren recommends is “Rolling and Throwing,” as explained below. 
ROLLING AND THROWING
Children naturally love to roll snow into large balls and throw smaller snowballs.  Encourage rolling and throwing.  Both of these activities help your child develop their coordination skills.  Instead of throwing balls at people, help your child set up a row of plastic bottles to knock over or a tire to throw through.
You can learn more about this activity at http://www.preschoolexpress.com/learning-station09/learning-with-snow-december.shtml.  Although this article is geared towards preschoolers, these activities can be beneficial for your kindergartner as well!

  • Experimenting
The third important opportunity we highly encourage you to take advantage of is providing times for experimenting. One of those things very obvious in the classroom is the difference between students who are not allowed to experiment, for parental fear of inaccuracy, and those who are challenged to develop independence and find a way to do things on their own.  
A practical example of how student experimenting provides advancements in independent thinking comes from a summer camp situation. During those days filled with heat, we like to offer the students a treat of ice cream in little cups that usually have wooden spoons attached for convenient scooping.  However, one time, the wooden spoons were not included with the ice cream cups.  We had kindergartners begin to cry because they could not figure out how to eat the ice cream without the little spoons.  This presented an opportunity for the kindergartners to problem solve and use reasoning skills to figure out how to eat the ice cream without the relied-upon spoon.  We began to experiment with the students to figure out (non-messy) ways to eat the ice cream, like taking the time to lick the ice cream, squeezing the cup to get the ice cream out, or folding up the lid to make it into a spoon in order to scoop the ice cream out. While exercises in experimenting open doors to less than perfect results, they establish skills in solving problems, encouraging creativity, and rewarding diligence. 
Take time during the snow days to experiment and create opportunities for your young student to practice problem solving and reasoning skills. Intentionally create scenarios in which normal tools are not available to accomplish a task and guide your child toward figuring out how to overcome the challenge faced.  
All of the above-mentioned opportunities, and others like them, can not only create new, important life-skills for your young student, but they can also serve the double benefit of building their self-esteem and sense of security.  Engaging your kindergartner in any of these simple, offline activities will allow your student to more fully and effectively engage in the classroom, more prepared to learn and grow during the second half of the school year.  

If you have any questions related to Kindergarten please send an email to Bcitizen@christchapel.org 

CCA’s next Open House is January 24th from 1pm-3pm.

Authors:
Robin Banford-Geisler 
BS/Early Childhood & Elementary Education; Masters/ Reading Literacy, George Mason University
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School
Eugenia Cole 
BS/ Christian Elementary Education, Virginia Baptist College
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School
Christ Chapel Academy is dedicated to unleashing the leadership potential within each student. Academically rigorous programs, a vibrant Christ-centered community, and a unique multicultural learning environment make CCA a great option for parents who want a smaller school but don’t want to sacrifice big opportunities for their student(s). 
Christ Chapel Academy was voted as the “Best Private School” in Prince William County in 2014, by Prince William Today readers. 

Learn more about Christ Chapel Academy at christchapelacademy.org

Review: Peace of Pottery

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Published: 01/19/2015

 I love this kid.  He's awesome.  He's funny and smart and he does hilarious voices and impersonations.  He's the first person to comfort someone who feels left out or scared, and he's just an all around great person.  He's also the middle kid, so that makes getting alone time all the more special to him.  We had some time on Saturday to hang out, just the two of us.  I decided that we'd grab lunch and visit Peace of Pottery- which is located at 9838 Libera Ave in Manassas just across from the car wash.
 If you've never been to a paint your own pottery establishment, this one works pretty much the same way all of them do.  When you come in there are a large variety of plain white pottery pieces for you to choose from.  Little statues of animals, plates, bowls, tea pots, big small, inbetween.  Each piece has a different price, so be sure to set a budget before you go in.  Peace of Pottery also charges a $6 studio fee on top of the price of the pottery (some studios include this fee in the price of the piece, others charge it separately- either way you're paying it).
 There are plenty of tables, you can sit and enjoy a quiet afternoon or you can host a party (scout troop, large family, etc). Logan and I each picked a mug.  Mine had polka dots and Logan opted for a mug with a "mouth" for cookies. The first step is to wash your piece of pottery and then you pick out glaze colors.  To get an even, non-streaky finish, the owner recommended three coats of glaze, which takes a little bit of time, but getting on base colors is pretty mindless work and we had a lot of fun chatting while we worked.
I didn't get a picture of my finished mug, but I thought that Logan's minion mug turned out really cute.  He's planning to make some banana cookies to eat with his tea when we get it back on Saturday (firing turnaround is about a week).

Peace of Pottery is a lovely, inviting space.  It's not a cheap afternoon- we spent $45.92 for two mugs, so it was perfect for a one-on-one day, but isn't something I'd just do on the spur of the moment with all three kids (which would have put me closer to $100 assuming they'd all picked mugs and not something bigger).  Pottery parties, on the other hand, start at $19 per person, so if you have a large group of kids you'd like to take, that could be a great way to keep your costs a little lower.

We definitely had a fun time and enjoyed the laid back, peaceful atmosphere.  I'd definitely recommend Peace of Pottery for a fun afternoon or a great venue for a party if you've got a kid with a little artistic flair!


Disclaimer: We just went to Peace of Pottery.  Nobody invited us or asked for a review.  All opinions are our own.

New Years Eve 2014

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Published: 12/29/2014


Prince William County doesn't have a First Night Celebration, although I did talk with our county supervisor about the process at one point.  But, there are a few family-friendly options for folks in PWC (okay, and I'll include first nights that are close by!)


Pump it Up of Manassas will be offering NYE festivities a day EARLY on December 30th with open playtime, DJ, Karaoke, Glow, Pizza, a NY Countdown and a balloon drop.  This is not drop off and last year it sold out! Times are 12-2pm and 5-7pm.  They will also have events on the 31st.





Skate N Fun Zone will host a New Years Eve Skate on December 31st with Balloon Drops at 2pm and Midnight.  You can read about our review of their NYE party here.












Pump it Up of Manassas will have a drop-off event for kids on December 31st from 5-8pm Looking for some one to watch the kids while you celebrate ringing in the New Year? Let Pump It Up take care of the kids for a few hours. They will enjoy GLOW, Karaoke, Sparkling cider and ring in the new year with our balloon drop and we'll even feed them dinner! *This is a DROP-OFF event.*

Kids N Motion will offer a NYE party with sleepover option.  It's $30 (I'm not clear on if that's per kid or for two kids, the website says "$30 per siblings") and includes pizza, a movie, donuts and milk for breakfast, and lots of bouncing.  There's a balloon drop at 10pm, and you're able to pick your children up after that or leave them for the night.

Christ Chapel will offer a 10pm New Years Eve Service

FOR FIRST NIGHT CELEBRATIONS:
Alexandria
Annapolis
Vienna
Falls Church 
Winchester



Start your New Year off right with a 5k with the Freedom Center on January 1st! 
Leesylvania State Park will offer a first day hike from 1-2:30pm.  It's a 90 minute 2 mile hike led by Jim Klakowicz.  

Kid Ornament Ideas

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Published: 12/09/2014
Remember that time that my husband didn't set up the Christmas tree correctly and it fell over and all my ornaments broke?

(Yes that really happened)

(Okay, fine, and yes, I'm just sharing that story because so many of you agreed that they're just towels....but it happened!)

Ever since that incident, homemade Christmas ornaments are some of my favorite things to get! Luckily PwcGrammy is amazing and frequently when the kiddos hang out with her they come home with presents for me! These ideas are all very simple and would be great for your house, or as presents to send to family and friends!

 Rudolph and Frosty here are super simple.  They're just made from 1.5 inch terra cotta pots that you can buy at Michael's! You'll need ribbon, white paint, brown paint, sharpie markers (black, orange, and pink), ribbon, brown pipe cleaners, goggly eyes, and pompoms.  You can use regular glue and let it set up, or if you have older kids, you can use the hot glue gun while they supervise- but you might still burn yourself....or maybe that's just me.

Paint your pot brown for Rudolph or white for Frosty.  Then, just let your child decorate! We added antlers and a red nose for our reindeer and ear muffs for frosty.  Use ribbon to make a loop to hang your ornament. If you're using regular glue or craft glue, be sure to allow enough time to fully dry before hanging.  Hot glue will basically dry instantly.
 Okay, so this guy is not so cute when you're looking at him like this....but....
HE HAS A LIGHT UP NOSE!! These are just tea lights wrapped with a ribbon scarf and decorated with sharpies.  I found the tiny tiny top hats on Amazon.  They're actually totally cute :) You could draw circles for coal or even regular facial features.  Be sure that when you buy your tea lights they already have the batteries in them.  You can find REALLY cheap packages of them, but then you have to buy and install all the tiny batteries, so just save yourself the hassle and buy them with batteries inside :)

Enjoy!

Giveaway: Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical @The Hylton Center

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Published: 11/12/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss the Berenstain Bears!!! 



Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical
November 22, 2014 at 11 am and 2 pm
Come on down to Bear Country for this enchanting adaptation of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved children’s series. Fresh from its sold-out off-Broadway run this heartwarming musical based on three of the Berenstain Bears most popular books. Brother Bear’s grades are slipping, Sister Bear still has a few things to learn about making new friends, and Papa Bear can’t stop eating junk food – but thankfully, they – and we – can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to set things right. Filled with original songs, fun dancing, and important life lessons, this humorous and heartfelt theatrical experience gives parents the opportunity to share these treasured tales they enjoyed as children with their own young cubs! “Like honey for little kids!” (Mommy Poppins)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children



Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Giveaway: Girls on the Run 5K

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Published: 10/30/2014
Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia has an upcoming PWC Race! (Plus their colors are fantastic!)






Pfitzner (Potomac Nationals) Stadium
Woodbridge, VA
Saturday November 22, 2014
8:30am Race Start 



Runners of All Ages and Abilities are Welcome
5K shirts for all registered participants. 
Medals for all race finishers.


Come run, walk, skip, or roll across the finish line with us and support 2,000 girls in Northern Virginia as they achieve their goal to complete a 5K.  It's all about setting a personal goal and doing our best to achieve it! 


Want to join the fun? Enter to win Free race entry for you and your running buddy, plus a swag bag of Girls on the Run branded merchandise! Can't wait to win? Register online HERE. 


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As always, our giveaways are provided by the sponsor and governed by our giveaway rules, which you agree to by virtue of entering to win. 

FREE Family Events at Freedom!

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Published: 10/18/2014

Giveaway: John Tartaglia: Imagine Ocean @The Hylton Center

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Published: 10/15/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss ImaginOcean!! 



John Tartaglia: ImaginOcean 
October 26, 2014 at 2 pm and 4 pm
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia takes young audiences on a magical under-the-sea adventure in this one-of-a-kind live glow-in-the-dark musical! Fishy friends Tank, Bubbles, and Dorsel discover a treasure map, thus beginning their remarkable journey of underwater discovery. Jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, this charming story appeals to audiences of all ages and is a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye! Celebrated puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia got his start working on Sesame Streetas a teenager, and later starred in Broadway’s Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and created and performed in Disney’s television hit Johnny and the Sprites. “A whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.” (Back Stage)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children




Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Anniversary of the Potomac Blockade 2014 Living History

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Published: 09/20/2014

Join Leesylvania State Park for a Living History with a civil war encampment with costumed historians to learn about the soldiers' lives.  Cannon Firing will occur on the hour between 11am and 4pm, Musket Firing will take place at the visitor's center, and you can sample and purchase Civil War Era foods.  September 27 and 28 from 11am-4pm each day. 

Seed Stomp Volunteers Wanted!

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Published: 09/12/2014
Join Leesylvania State Park on October 4th from 11am-1pm at the Lee's Woods Trailhead to help establish a field of wildflowers while having fun at the same time! Questions, call 703-583-6904 or email genevieve.white@dcr.virginia.gov

Touch a Truck (and a Giveaway!!)

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Published: 09/10/2014

Discovery Junction children's museum is hosting a Touch a Truck on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-2pm at NOVA Manassas! Admission is $5/child, the first 100 children will get a free diecast vehicle, and there will be vehicles, kid-friendly activities, food, demos, and more! Join the fun!

Want to win a family four pack? We'll pick two winners!

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Prize provided by Discovery Junction.  By entering you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

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Published: 08/27/2014
Our friends at Christ Chapel Academy have some tips for all of you getting ready to send off a Kindergartner!


Robin Banford-Geisler and Genia Cole have worked together teaching kindergarten classes at CCA for the past five years.  Last school year, they were chosen co-teachers of the year at the annual teacher recognition luncheon held on June 12th.  Each teacher is an amazing teacher in her own right, sharing her passion for education, and love for learning with her students.  They both understand that the early years of school are foundational to helping students to become confident life-long learners.  Each of them models Christ to their students, supporting self-discipline and positive character development. Working together, however, they have been able to challenge their young students to discover and develop their unique gifts and talents. 

In the video, Robin and Genia share tips that can help you get your new kindergartner off to a great start!




Feel free to share any additional tips that you have learned that can be helpful to other parents reading this blog. 


Credentials:
Robin Banford-Geisler BS/Early Childhood & Elementary Education; Masters/ Reading Literacy, George Mason University
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School

Eugenia Cole BS/ Christian Elementary Education, Virginia Baptist College
Kindergarten Teacher
Elementary School


Christ Chapel Academy is dedicated to unleashing the leadership potential within each student.  Academically rigorous programs, a vibrant christ-centered community, and a unique multicultural learning environmentmake CCA a great option for parents who want a smaller school but don’t want to sacrifice big opportunities for their student(s).  \

Christ Chapel Academy was voted as the “Best Private School” in Prince William County in 2014, by Prince William Today readers. 

Learn more about Christ Chapel Academy at christchapelacademy.org

Giveaway: The Music Box

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Published: 08/01/2014
As part of their ongoing Hylton Family Series, the Hylton Performing Arts Center will be hosting  The Music Box:

Synetic Theater presents The Music Box

  • August 6, 2014 at 11:00 am
Merchant Hall
Embrace your inner eccentric! The Music Box is a magnificent collection of comedic short stories set to music and brought to life in Synetic Theater’s unique movement theater style. Audience members journey into the wonderful world of storytelling through pantomime, imagination, illusions and physical comedy. Where an average day becomes extraordinary when a surly janitor and an uptight businessman discover a magical mask that tricks or teases whoever discovers it, two cowboys in the wild west tame a bull on the loose, two road workers try to catch a butterfly in an attempt to capture the heart of a girl, and—not to be missed—the classic invisible wall. Synetic Theater is D.C.’s premiere physical theater company producing world-class performing arts for more than a decade and winning 24 Helen Hayes Awards.
These performances are appropriate for children ages 5 to 12 years old.
$15: Adults
$5: Children

Want to win a family 4 pack of tickets? Check out the Rafflecopter below!

Good Luck!

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Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules

Giveaway: Kids N Motion

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Published: 07/30/2014
Ah, Kids N Motion.  We have spent some serious birthday party time there!! My oldest son used to have the "if you want to invite one person you must invite the class" mandate, which meant everyone was not going to fit into our townhouse- but they'd definitely fit (and need a nap) after Kids N Motion.  My daughter actually decided to have her birthday party there this year, which was fantastic because it was the week before Silver Sparkles and I didn't have to do a thing except send an evite and pick up the cake.

In addition to birthday parties that will fit your entire class, Kids N Motion also offers open play, parents night out, a preschool program, and a drop-in Summer Fitness Program, which is fantastic if you need a morning off-duty but don't want to pay for a week of camp, or if you have an appointment to get to.

As a bonus for those of you with allergies, Kids N Motion is a peanut-free facility.  I know that is a concern for many of you on the page!  They also do school fundraisers.

For today's giveaway, Kids N Motion is offering a $50 gift card good for Parents Night, Open Plays, Parties, Preschool and Camps (anything they offer).  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

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Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules.  Gift Card is provided by KNM and any issues/liability/play-related difficulties should be directed to them upon claiming your prize. PwcMoms is further not responsible if your kids fall asleep in the car after open play and then wake up when you get to your house and won't go back to sleep and do the "I'm so cranky" thing all afternoon.  We've all been there, but it's not my bad. Good luck, have fun.

Children's Museum of Richmond Fredericksburg Location

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Published: 07/21/2014

Engineering for Kids STEM Discovery Center Grand Opening!

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Published: 06/10/2014
We've worked with Engineering for Kids before on some of their awesome STEM programs for children, and now they're going to have their own STEM Discovery Center! Join them this Saturday, June 14th from 9am-1pm, with a ribbon cutting at 10am, to tour the new space and enter some great giveaways! This is also a fantastic time to register for camps, classes, and parties!! For more information visit engineeringforkids.com


Join Engineering For Kids as we celebrate the grand opening of our brand new S.T.E.M. Discovery Center in Lakeridge, VA. All parents and children are invited to join us along side Congressman Rob Wittman and other local officials to cut the ceremonial ribbon and check out all the new activities we have to offer. 

Children will be able to participate in a variety of hands on activities at different stations in the center. Parents will be able to socialize and learn more about our new program offerings.

Date: Saturday, June 14th
Time: 9:00am - 1:00pm (ribbon cutting at 10:00am)
Location: 1243 Dillingham Square. Lakeridge, VA 22192


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Engineering for Kids. 

Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

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Published: 04/15/2014

Youth Orchestras of Prince William Announces Addition of Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

Woodbridge, VA (April 11, 2014) – The Youth Orchestras of Prince William(YOPW) is delighted to announce the addition of a Youth Chorus for the 2014-2015 season.  This treble voice choir will be open to both male and female students in grades 3 through 8.  The chorus will perform a variety of repertoire including classical, folk, and world music and collaborate with YOPW’s orchestras.
 
John Devlin, Music Director said, “YOPW’s mission is to serve the area’s youth by providing them with high-level musical opportunities. We saw a need for an excellent choral program that will bring together talented youth from around the region. Our unique position within the county allows YOPW to do this and will give the chorus the chance to perform with our instrumental ensembles.”
 
YOPW began incorporating choral collaborations into their performances in the 2012-2013 season.  These have proven to be successful learning opportunities for all of the students – orchestra members and singers – and YOPW is excited to expand these offerings. 
 
“Integrating a youth choir into our own offerings is an ideal channel for younger students that are interested in the choral arts. With us, they will grow into excellent ensemble members and enjoy the experience in the way that our instrumental students are currently able,” said Devlin.
Students interested in joining the new Youth Chorus will be required to complete a voice check.  Voice checks will give students the opportunity to meet with Chorus staff one-on-one and will last 5-7 minutes per student. 
 
Voice Checks will be held:
·      Monday, May 12th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
·      Monday, May 19th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Patriot High School
·      Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
 
Appointments can be made by contacting the YOPW Office at (703) 590-7083 or yopw@yopwva.org.

For more than 30 years, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William has provided exceptional instrumental education for the youth of the region. We offer opportunities for a wide spectrum of students, ranging from beginning string players and intermediate wind players to advanced students performing professional symphonic repertoire. YOPW enrolls approximately 275 students in three string orchestras, two symphony orchestras, a wind symphony, and a variety of chamber music ensembles. Our students are primarily from Prince William County, Virginia, but YOPW members come from all over Northern Virginia and North Central Virginia. For more information about the Youth Orchestras of Prince William visit our website: http://www.yopwva.org. 

2014/2015 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Published: 03/22/2014
If we ever get to move into our new house in Manassas, which I consider to be less and less likely every day, one of the things I'm most excited about is being closer to the Hylton Performing Arts Center.  My kids are big lovers of the arts- my middle son Logan is learning the violin and has become obsessed with classical and orchestra music, and all of them love live performances whenever we can make it to one.

I was so very fortunate to be invited to come out for the unveiling of the 2014-2015 Season, which has some really fun options for the whole family.

First, and most obvious, the center offers a "Hylton Family Series" each year.  I consider these to be targeted to a slightly younger crowd, PreK-2nd grade, perhaps? But you're the best judge for your child.  You can purchase individual performances for $10/adult or $5/child and you can also purchase a Hylton Family Series Subscription, which essentially gets you 3 performances at regular price and the fourth for $1. This year will feature:
ImaginOcean October 26th, 2014 at 2pm or 4pm.
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia takes young audiences on a magical under-the-sea adventure in this one-of-a-kind live glow-in-the-dark musical! Fishy friends Tank, Bubbles, and Dorsel discover a treasure map, thus beginning their remarkable journey of underwater discovery. Jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, this charming story appeals to audiences of all ages and is a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye! Celebrated puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia got his start working on Sesame Street as a teenager, and later starred in Broadway’s Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and created and performed in Disney’s television hit Johnny and the Sprites. “A whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.” (Back Stage)
Peter Yarrow April 12, 2015 at 2pm.
Folk musician, songwriter, and children’s author Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Center for a fun and interactive musical performance that combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages. This American music legend and Grammy Award winner is perhaps best known for his career with the beloved folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary; yet he is also a spirited activist who now uses his music to educate children about the effects of bullying. In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow performs “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness, and respect, as well as some of iconic folk songs from throughout his career, including “If I Had a Hammer,”  “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Pushcart Players Alice in Wonderland February 28, 2015 at 11am or 2pm.
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
The Berenstain Bears LIVE! Family Matters the Musical on November 22, 2014 at 11am or 2pm. 
Come on down to Bear Country for this enchanting adaptation of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved children’s series. Fresh from its sold-out off-Broadway run this heartwarming musical based on three of the Berenstain Bears most popular books. Brother Bear’s grades are slipping, Sister Bear still has a few things to learn about making new friends, and Papa Bear can’t stop eating junk food – but thankfully, they – and we – can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to set things right. Filled with original songs, fun dancing, and important life lessons, this humorous and heartfelt theatrical experience gives parents the opportunity to share these treasured tales they enjoyed as children with their own young cubs! “Like honey for little kids!” (Mommy Poppins)

Also available for families, several performances throughout the year are marked as "Family Friendly", which also comes with a youth discount.  Half price tickets are available to these performances for students through grade 12.  High Schoolers may attend without an adult chaperone present, but must present their student ID.  Children under high school age must have a paying adult with their party.  These performances can still be pricey, but some of them look really neat.  For 2014/2015 the schedule includes:
The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel ChoirOctober 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm
The National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China: Cirque PekingOctober 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm
American Festival Pops Orchestra: Holiday Pops: Songs of the SeasonDecember 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra: An Evening with Doc SeverinsenFebruary 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: Visions from Cape Breton and BeyondMarch 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Russian National Ballet Theatre: CinderellaMarch 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Popular Piano ClassicsApril 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

If it was up to me, I'd definitely hit the National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China....and Cinderella. 
Also worth mentioning, the Hylton Center also does a fairly extensive lineup for the Christmas Season, which would be fun for your family or if you have out of town visitors, too!



Disclosure: The Hylton Performing Arts Center invited me to come to their 2014/2015 Season unveiling as a media guest.  I got a free cake pop from Confections.  It was awesome.  No other compensation was provided, although I'll take free tickets anytime if someone from the Hylton Center is reading this.  Just sayin. 

US Science and Engineering Festival 2014!

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Published: 01/24/2014
The 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest science festival in the US, features nationwide contests and school programs, including our popular 'Nifty Fifty' science speaker program - presented by InfoComm International. The Festival culminates in a Grand Finale Expo on April 26-27, 2014, with the US News STEM Solutions Conference on April 23-25, and Sneak Peek Friday - presented by the Department of Defense - on April 25. New this year: X-STEM - presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation and MedImmune - an Extreme STEM Symposium for students on April 24.  Get your tickets HERE.

daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Children's National Health System - Just Right