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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "parents"

Tips for teaching children with disabilities and attention difficulties while home schooling

Westlake Legal Group tips-for-teaching-children-with-disabilities-and-attention-difficulties-while-home-schooling Tips for teaching children with disabilities and attention difficulties while home schooling school parents Parenting Tips parenting mental health home schooling home school Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus children's health children
Westlake Legal Group child-working-on-laptop Tips for teaching children with disabilities and attention difficulties while home schooling school parents Parenting Tips parenting mental health home schooling home school Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus children's health children
Photo by Annie Spratt

While most schools are offering online support and educational resources to students, it can be difficult for children to adjust to this new change and even more overwhelming for parents of children with attention and learning disorders. According to the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities, parents of students with disabilities that are educated in full-time virtual settings spend more time supporting their child’s day-to-day online learning than parents of students in blended settings, even though few parents report having expertise in providing special education services.

This can be a daunting task for parents and to help provide them with additional support, Dr. Laura Kenealy, a neuropsychologist and Dr. Hayley Loblein, a postdoctoral fellow, both at Children’s National Hospital, share some tips for parents helping children with learning disabilities and attention difficulties learn from home.

Check-in with your child’s teacher and/or education teams

Your child’s teacher is an expert in how your child learns and can offer invaluable advice about what works well and changes that can be made to the curriculum. Dr. Kenealy advises parents to check in with their child’s teacher and ask them the following:

  • What strategies work well with their child?
  • What is the expectation of parent involvement?
  • Are there certain accommodations that can be implemented?

If your child has a 504 plan or an IEP, ask to have a virtual meeting with the education team to see what services, accommodations or modifications can be provided remotely. Your child continues to have the legal right to an appropriate eduction during this time. If certain services cannot be provided now, ask the team to document the unmet need and a plan to provide compensatory services at a later time.

Create a learning space

Create a learning space for your child. As parents working from home for the first time may realize, it’s hard to be as productive at home due to the increased distractions. Creating a learning space helps to separate learning/school time and family/home time and is a good first step to helping with focus. This can be done by creating a quiet and clutter-free environment. Remove any distractions and, if possible, limit access to distracting websites. Try to avoid letting your child work in their bed, because this can disrupt sleep.

Keep regular routines

Kids thrive with structure, and routines help them feel safe. Parents should aim to be consistent when it comes to their child’s sleep schedule and daily routine. While times can be adjusted for adolescents (for example, starting at a later time), Dr. Loblein suggests that parents keep their child’s schedule consistent and have the same bed time each night, even on weekends. Visual schedules can also be helpful to maintain routines. Timers and alarms can be helpful reminders to log into online classes. Schedule time for movement/exercise breaks and be sure to mix up preferred and non-preferred activities. (Don’t leave all of the difficult tasks for the end of the day!)

Use available technology

There are many free technology resources for kids with attention and learning challenges. If your child struggles with reading, audiobooks and text-to-speech software are readily available. Graphic organizers can help with writing organization and dictation software can help if your child struggles with spelling or handwriting. Use everyday household items (e.g., crayons, coins) as manipulatives to help with math. Finally, use technology to your advantage: adjust the speed of videos, turn on closed captions and suggest different response modes (for example, can your child record a video instead of writing a response?).

Stay positive and manage expectations

Celebrate the small victories.For example, did your child attend two online classes instead of just one? If so, that’s great! Focus on what is going well and “catch” your child being good by offering immediate, labeled praise. Remember, you are a parent first. Try to not let learning struggles increase family conflict.

Promote parent self-care

Caregivers tend to put their needs aside to help their children, but this can lead to stress and burnout. Ultimately, this can interfere with how well they can help their children.

Dr. Kenealy encourages parents to meet their physical, emotional and social needs and direct them to support as needed. There are several good online communities for parents who are struggling to help their child learn at home. Once parents and families are able to get their needs met, they will be equipped to help their children.

For more parenting tips during COVID-19, subscribe to our Family and Education newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

9 live animal cams in the DMV your kids will love

Westlake Legal Group 9-live-animal-cams-in-the-dmv-your-kids-will-love 9 live animal cams in the DMV your kids will love zoo virtual events Things to Do teens parents livestreams live events kids family friendly Family Features Family families Events children cameras camera at-home entertainment Aquariums aquarium Animals animal

Finding balance between school time and playtime can be tough for most Northern Virginia families right now. And, in those rare moments when we find a kid-friendly resource that provides both entertainment and education at the same time, it feels like a big win. 

Lucky for you, several institutions throughout the DMV are making it easy for kids to get their science fix through livestream footage of jellyfish, Blacktip Reef sharks, bald eagles and more. Plus, a few include virtual games that keep kiddos occupied searching for their favorite animals for hours on end. Find details about them all below.   

National Aquarium 

Blacktip Reef
Visiting the Blacktip Reef virtually gives shark lovers an up-close-and-personal look at how they spend their days underneath the water. In addition to the sharks, which get their name from the characteristic black tips on their dorsal and caudal fins, you’ll see colorful creatures of the reef like a whiptail ray slide past the camera too.  

Jellies Invasion
The Baltimore-based National Aquarium has one of the largest and most exquisite collections of jellyfish in the country. Through its live camera, the aquarium showcases the blue blubber jelly, typically found in the coastal waters of eastern and northern Australia, the Pacific sea nettle and so much more. Plus, there’s a witty, jellies-focused word search available online for young learners who want to discover more.   

Pacific Coral Reef
The Pacific Coral Reef livestream is the perfect resource for youngsters studying the ecosystem, as it features a variety of reef fishes and colorful coral to explore. From the percula clownfish to the banggai cardinalfish, there’s a lot to see.  

Smithsonian National Zoo

Cheetah Cub Cam
On April 8, the National Zoo’s cheetah, Echo, gave birth to four cubs. Now, the babies are being raised in Front Royal at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, and you have the chance to witness them grow each day. 

Naked Mole-Rat Cam
While small, naked mole-rats are complex creatures who spend most of their lives in large colonies with a single breeding female. Now in their new home at the National Zoo, you can witness them climb through 16 underground chambers and 25 feet of winding tunnels.  

Lion Cam
At the National Zoo, two lions roam their enclosure on a daily basis. While they sometimes retreat inside for food and proper care, you can witness them lounging atop the grass on a sunny day. 

Giant Panda Cam
While you may not be able to see world-famous Tian Tiann and Mei Xiang in person right now, the National Zoo’s two live cams are the next best thing. Whether they’re eating bamboo or resting, the two giant pandas look incredibly cute no matter what. 

Elephant Cam
The National Zoo is home to six Asian elephants: Spike, Shanthi, Bozie, Kamala, Swarna and Maharani. On any given day, you can witness them playing with their toys outside, spraying each other with water or laying down to catch some rays. 

U.S. National Arboretum 

At the DC-based National Arboretum, you’ll find Mr. President and The First Lady—the two bald eagles who live on the grounds. Through two livestreams, you can watch the birds rest in their nest or sit atop nearby trees, observing the vast land below.

For more ways to keep your family entertained and educated at home, subscribe to our newsletters. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long

Westlake Legal Group how-to-keep-your-kids-brains-active-all-summer-long How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long Things to Do summer slide summer learning Summer Students school parents parenting kids Family Education children academic
Westlake Legal Group preschooler-playing How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long Things to Do summer slide summer learning Summer Students school parents parenting kids Family Education children academic
©Krakenimages.com/adobestock.com

While summer vacation is a time that kiddos young and old look forward to, the idea of summer learning loss—also known as “summer slide”—tends to worry parents.

According to Oxford Learning, the equivalent of one month of learning is often lost after summer vacation as a result of students not practicing the skills they learned in the previous academic year. The good news? There are many ways to keep your child engaged throughout the summer, keeping them on track for when they return to the classroom come fall. Here, we share a few ideas for children of all ages.

Westlake Legal Group museums How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long Things to Do summer slide summer learning Summer Students school parents parenting kids Family Education children academic
©Pavel Losevsky/adobestock.com (National Museum of the American Indian)

Take Advantage of Your Surroundings

Summer is a great time to embrace the outdoors with your kids. And for those who live in Northern Virginia—a region surrounded by nature-filled mountains and parks, as well as museums and monuments that define the nation—it’s even better.

According to research from Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, unstructured outdoor play has several benefits for growing children, including cognitive and social development, improvement of sensory skills, increase of attention span and strengthening of the immune system. So this season, take at least an hour out of your day to explore hiking trails and walking paths, or even play an organized sport like basketball in the driveway with your little one.

In an effort to maintain a routine as experts recommend while also ensuring your kids are engaged, try planning a trip into DC once every two weeks. This way, your kids can choose which museums they want to visit and enrich their minds with. The Smithsonian Institute is just about 15 miles from central Northern Virginia, giving you and your family direct access to dinosaur fossils, Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a few of the first airplanes to ever take flight and so much more. Plus, the National Mall (lined with food trucks almost daily) is a great place for a family picnic on a breezy summer’s day.

Listen Up: Three Podcasts to Keep the Curious Content

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
Does your little one constantly ask you questions surrounding topics small and large? Well, thanks to this podcast from Vermont Public Radio, you don’t have to be the one sharing all the answers. You send in the questions, and the experts will tackle it all each week on this show.

Greeking Out
This series from National Geographic Kids shares some of the greatest Greek myths ever told, from how Zeus gained his strength to how Athena utilizes her wisdom.

Stuff You Missed in History Class
Tweens and teens will dive deep into weird events, overlooked stories and underrepresented groups of the past with this history-focused podcast from iHeartRadio. The series also ties recent events into its triweekly episodes, including an episode on what it’s like to live through an event you know will be historically significant.

Westlake Legal Group teen-reading-book How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long Things to Do summer slide summer learning Summer Students school parents parenting kids Family Education children academic
©Brocreative/Adobestock.com

Embrace Your Inner Bookworm

This one isn’t exactly a shocker, as we are consistently told how important reading is for the growing brain. In fact, studies show that reading four to five books over the summer has a positive impact comparable to summer school enrollment.

If reading doesn’t sound appealing to your little one, make it more fun by creating a reward system for finishing chapters or books, bringing books with you on your summer adventures (think the beach or the park) and even reading as an entire family on a warm, summer afternoon. Plus, finding the right book for your kiddo’s unique mind always helps.

Must Reads for Every Age Group

Newborn to age 3: The Good Egg by Jory John; The Serious Goose by Jimmy Kimmel; Where’s The Astronaut? Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Ages 3 to 8: National Parks of the U.S.A. by Kate Siber; The Little Boy (Or Girl) Who Lost Their Name, personalized book by Wonderbly; Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko

Ages 8 to 10: Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord; Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai; Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Ages 11 to 14: Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Sophisticated teens: Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai; Tweet Cute by Emma Lord; The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor (release date: May 26)

Westlake Legal Group cooking How to keep your kids’ brains active all summer long Things to Do summer slide summer learning Summer Students school parents parenting kids Family Education children academic
©Kirill Grekov/adobestock.com

Think Outside the Box

Learning doesn’t always have to follow the traditional format of practice tests and vocabulary quizzes. This summer, get creative as an entire family through innovative projects that are as fun as they are stimulating. Find a few ideas to inspire you, below:

  • Buy a journal for your kids and encourage daily writing.
  • Fill your home with board games (which you can bring outside in nice weather too!) such as Code Names, Scrabble and Guess Who?, all of which help kids practice essential skills like memory recall and spelling.
  • Teach them to cook or bake! Whether you have a 5-year-old or a 15-year-old, everyone will enjoy creating something different as an entire family—and it will taste good too.

Sweet Dreams

Sleep is an essential part of your child’s routine, even in the summer months. Here’s how many hours the National Sleep Foundation recommends your kiddos (and you!) get.

Ages 6 to 13: 9-11 hours

Ages 14 to 17: 8-10 hours

Adults ages 26 to 64: 7-9 hours

This post originally appeared in our May 2020 print issue. For more education tips and tricks, subscribe to our Family and Education newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Do your kids love parks? Now they can be virtual junior rangers

Westlake Legal Group junior-park-rangers Do your kids love parks? Now they can be virtual junior rangers virtual thing to do virtual events Things to Do parks and rec parents parenting nps national park servie kids junior ranger programs junior ranger Family Features Family children at-home entertainment at-home activities At Home
© Colorfuel Studio / stock.adobe.com

Parks serve as a reprieve from the outside, often stressful world, but during the time of the pandemic many are skipping their visits to local parks to avoid crowded trails and playgrounds.

If you and your family are missing your time spent at parks, consider the recently launched Virtual Junior Ranger program, created by the National Park Service for children ages 5 to 11-plus. The program offers online activities to help your little ones complete their Junior Ranger missions from home, resulting in a virtual badge and certificate.

To gain the badge and certificate, kids aged 5 to 7 must complete two or more activities, ages 8 to 10 must complete three or more and children from ages 11 and up must complete four or more.

Activities include identifying park symbols; learning about rocks, erosion and weathering; reading stories from the Ojibwa native tribe about the moon, the Northern Lights, Bigfoot and more; exploring the natural environment with the five senses; writing nature poems; and becoming “web detectives” using the NPS website to learn more about national parks and animals.

To see all activities and to learn more, visit nps.gov.

For more family-friendly activities, subscribe to our weekly Family newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

National Children’s Museum CEO on what to do with your kids during quarantine

Westlake Legal Group childrens-musem-exterior National Children’s Museum CEO on what to do with your kids during quarantine Things to Do parents parenting National Children's Museum Museums kids home schooling Family Features Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus children
Photo courtesy of National Children’s Museum

Parents, let’s be real: You’re exhausted. While the stay-at-home order seems like it’s going on forever, parents across the region are having to find ways to keep their children entertained—all while keeping up with their classwork. 

Feel like you’re falling short on creative ideas on fun, educational things to do with your kids? We’ve spoken to multiple experts in the region on parenting during a pandemic, and this week, we spoke with Crystal Bowyer, the CEO of DC’s National Children’s Museum. See highlights from our conversation below.

This can be a hard time for parents trying to take care of their kids and work from home at the same time. What is your biggest tip to keep the home structured?

It is definitely a new juggle for working parents. Our son, Preston, is 6 years old, so we are teaching his kindergarten lessons along with working. First, I should say that I have an amazing partner co-parenting with me every day. My husband is a director at Capital One and is also remarkably busy, but he makes time for Preston. We have been very good about sticking to our standard routines—waking up early, getting dressed, having a schedule, etc. I think having designated spaces for your activities is important. My son knows when he sits down at the little desk we set up for him, it is time to focus. Each day we are trying to accomplish a lot. I always like to set high goals to see what we can achieve, but if we don’t check every box, that’s OK too. We are doing our best!

With playtime, do you think it is better for it to be structured or to give children free play right now? What are your favorite educational yet fun activities for kids?

Kids really need structure. It’s an important element of the school day that they are missing right now, so we try to keep some semblance of that at home too. When my son finishes a school activity, he gets free time just like he would at school—but the activities are educational as they would be at school. We’ve always limited screen time, so he has never had his own iPad, but during quarantine we have reset the settings on our iPad to allow him to use it safely on his own. The apps we have loaded for him are Khan Academy, DreamBox, Spotify Kids, and ABCmouse. He loves to put on his headphones and listen to his own Spotify Kids music while he plays the educational games. The songs available are curated by actual people with backgrounds in music therapy and education, so you know they are age appropriate. 

Instead of sitting kids in front of the TV or their tablets, what’s a great self-play game, toy or method that parents could use to “distract” their child as they get some work done?

Our son loves LEGOS, building marble runs or drawing. We adore the learn-to-draw books by Ed Emberley. He was an amazing children’s book illustrator in the ’60s to the ’80s, and my son feels so accomplished when he can make an amazing picture by following the steps laid out in the books.

Westlake Legal Group dc-mural National Children’s Museum CEO on what to do with your kids during quarantine Things to Do parents parenting National Children's Museum Museums kids home schooling Family Features Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus children
Photo courtesy of National Children’s Museum

Cabin fever is ramping up for all ages. How can parents help to combat those feelings with their kids to get the jitters out?

We try to get our son outside every day to practice a sport. He likes bike riding, scooting, playing soccer, practicing baseball and basketball. Some days he joins me and we stream yoga for a little exercise and meditation. His favorite thing though is a 5 p.m. dance party to celebrate the end of the day. That always gets the jitters out for both of us! 

What have you been implementing at your own home to entertain your kids right now? How are you able to get work done remotely while parenting?

My family and I have been home together since March 13. I find that between parenting and meetings during the day, I spend more nights working after my son goes to bed. It is difficult because my son has school obligations, but he is too young to do the work on his own. Sometimes his kindergarten Zoom calls run over and then I am late for my next call, but that’s where we are right now. I don’t expect anyone to apologize if their child pops on-screen or needs them during a meeting. This is the new reality, and we need to be supportive of the children in our lives that are dealing with so much change and anxiety already.   

Do you have any other tips for parents right now during this unprecedented time?

I think being patient with children and talking to them about how they are feeling is so important right now. In the mornings, I sometimes ask my son if he remembers what he dreamt about, and two times last week he dreamt about outings with his friends. It was so sweet, but it also broke my heart. This is such a hard time for children, being away from school, friends, parks, sports, etc. Being kind and acknowledging their feelings is the first step, and then extra hugs and support always makes things better. 

How is the National Children’s Museum handling the pandemic right now?  

National Children’s Museum is navigating this challenging time by doubling down on our mission. For all the reasons I’ve just talked about, we know it’s more important than ever to inspire children and ignite curiosity. To continue supporting families, we’ve quickly pivoted to launching several digital resources, including a daily STEAMwork series, as well as developing at-home curriculum and a virtual field trip for educators and students, which are all available on our website. I truly believe that one thing that will come out of this crisis will be a generation of innovators that turn to science to solve the world’s problems. We owe it to these children to provide that guidance, spark curiosity and hopefully bring them a little joy.

For more tips on parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic, subscribe to our weekly Family newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons

Westlake Legal Group georgetown-based-little-birdies-boutique-opens-second-location-in-tysons Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Westlake Legal Group ownner-of-little-birdies Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Shanlee Johnson (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

Since 2014, Shanlee Johnnson’s Little Birdies boutique has been the place for Georgetown mommies and daddies to find charming, Southern-influenced outfits and accessories for their newborns and young ones (up to size 10). But thanks to the recent debut of her second spot at Tysons Galleria, NoVA parents can shop Johnson’s well-curated, unique goods in their own store too.

Westlake Legal Group babies-in-yellow-clothing Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Busy Bee romper, $98 and Jon Jon, $72, The Proper Peony. (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

“Most of our brands are smaller boutique [labels] that aren’t available in the area,” says Johnson, who chose Tysons for her second space due to her familiarity with the destination (the retail maven helped open Tory Burch’s boutique there in 2010) and to support NoVA clients—busy moms and families who don’t often have the time to trek into Georgetown. “We don’t have any crossover brands with department stores [at Tysons], and Jacadi Paris is the only other children’s store, which [solely] carries its own collection.” Johnson’s playful-but-modern, 850-square-foot space is a little larger than the first and is open until 9 p.m. (She’ll split her time between both shops.)

Westlake Legal Group flamingo-outfits-for-kids Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Pink Flamingo dress, Pineapple Sunshine, $58. (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

The Tysons outpost is outfitted with pieces from The Proper Peony, Little English, Patachou, Petite Plume, Isabel Garretón and Rachel Riley; baby accessories from Little Unicorn and Loulou LOLLIPOP (she says it makes the “cutest blankets and teethers”) and, of course, her own Pineapple Sunshine label.

Westlake Legal Group kids-outfit Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Dino bib, $14; Jogger, $34; and Kimono onesie, $36, Pineapple Sunshine. (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

The collection continues to grow; it’s sold not only at Little Birdies but also wholesale to stores across the country. She’s also expanded the line into bigger sizes (up to 6 years) with more styles.

Westlake Legal Group pink-kid-shoes Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Pink-Scalloped Mary Janes, Zimmerman Shoes, $68. (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

So, why did Johnson turn to kids fashion? It allowed her to do something more specialized than womenswear, which she says is oversaturated. She would know: The Memphis native (who lives in DC’s Palisades neighborhood) attended Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC (for her application, she designed a ballerina-inspired ensemble, then photographed it in an indoor pool, with the tulle floating to the surface) and later worked with high-profile designers like Catherine Malandrino.

Westlake Legal Group boy-in-jumpsuit Georgetown-based Little Birdies boutique opens second location in Tysons store opening shopping parents parent new store new mompreneur Little Birdies kids' clothes kids jumpsuits Family families entrepreneur clothing clothes children
Hippo Jon Jenn, The Proper Peony, $72. (Photo courtesy of Little Birdies)

But she stresses the importance of being multifaceted—no matter what kind of clothing you’re peddling—by having a brick-and-mortar spot and a strong online presence. It’s why she’s building on Little Birdies’ existing website with more looks and sizes, adding a warehouse to fulfill orders and researching new markets—maybe even a beach store so she can “get a little sunshine while on work trips,” she says with a laugh. Her picks for summer certainly will brighten your little birdie’s day too. // 1770 International Drive, Tysons Galleria

This post originally appeared in our May 2020 print issue. For more style news, subscribe to our weekly Shopping newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group 19-ways-to-stay-entertained-while-stuck-at-home-in-nova 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Westlake Legal Group person-making-cocktails 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
© raw pixel.com / stock.adobe.com

1. Make a cocktail at home with help from Alexandria’s The Hour. The vintage barware and glassware seller is offering virtual cocktail-making tutorials through its YouTube channel, and providing recipes on its sister site, The Modern Home Bar, so you don’t have to miss out on happy hour any longer.

Westlake Legal Group kids-playing-hockey 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
© LUCKYBUSINESS / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

2. Sports arenas may be empty, but you can still get your sports fix of hometown teams with virtual simulations of NBA and NHL games. Both the Wizards and Capitals recently faced off for a series of virtual games against teams they were scheduled to play during the season, and you can rewatch the games online.

Westlake Legal Group cookie-kit 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Photo courtesy of Fran’s Cake and Candy Supplies

3. Local one-stop shop Fran’s Cake and Candy Supplies is offering DIY cookie kits for those looking to do some baking from home. While one comes with pre-baked cookies, the other is for baking aficionados, complete with cookie cutters, food coloring, icing and piping bags. The best part? Staff will bring the goods right to your car window.

Westlake Legal Group kid-on-computer 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Courtesy of the Smithsonian

4. Parents in search of lesson plans for their children (as well as lifelong learners) should look to the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Students can find more than 1.7 million resources from the DC-based institution’s 19 museums and the National Zoo. Look for everything from 3D dino models and virtual travel to deep dives into American history.

Westlake Legal Group panda-on-tree 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
© ANATOLY KOLODEY / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

5. While the National Zoo may be closed, you can still observe giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang chomp on bamboo, tumble in the grass and roam their enclosure with the zoo’s 24/7 live Panda Cam. The footage is used by trained volunteers to collect behavioral data, but for us, it simply brings a little joy.

6. Remember all of that time you wished you had when Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo made waves? Now you have it. Get a few boxes and start going through your closets, storage areas and more with the family, and you might just be surprised at what you find. We could all use a little more joy.

Westlake Legal Group man-next-to-sculpture 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
CUBOCTOHEDRON BY SAMUEL EZRA FISCH, 3 MUSKETEERS BY MICHAEL BEDNAR, CONCON BY MATT AMANTE

 

Westlake Legal Group sculpture 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Courtesy of artist

 

Westlake Legal Group sculpture-red-claw 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Courtesy of artist

7. Step away from the TV and get outside to breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the arts with a sculpture walk around downtown Fredericksburg. Take the family or the dogs to visit all six sculptures in one day or spread your visits out throughout the month. // Downtown Fredericksburg: various locations

Westlake Legal Group mountn-vernnon 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

8. Say hi to George and Martha and take a tour of their estate with virtual tours around George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The virtual tours give new perspectives to the mansion, outbuildings, gardens and grounds. Plus, every weekday at noon, the Mount Vernon team discusses a different aspect of Mount Vernon on YouTube and Facebook Live.

9. Keep the creative juices flowing by taking a virtual art class with Wine & Design. Pick out your paint kit design online and stop by the store to pick up all of your materials for the night’s livesteam class. // Wine & Design; $35

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10. Enjoy the beautiful weather and treat Mom to a special Mother’s Day (May 10) with a picnic in the backyard. Grab a plush blanket and pack your picnic basket full of yummy homemade treats for a day under the sun.

11. Can you solve a murder mystery? That’s the question Murder Mystery in a Box asks you when it delivers a monthly, mysterious package to your doorstep. Inside, you’ll find curated items and clues to help you investigate and catch the killer.

Westlake Legal Group fibre-space-knit-kit 19 ways to stay entertained while stuck at home in NoVA virtual events Things to Do Features Things to Do parents nova in 19 may calendar May local businesses kids Hobbies families Events COVID-19 coronavirus children Calendar At Home activities
Courtesy of fibre space

12. It’s easier than ever to get crafty from the comfort of your own home, thanks to local businesses fibre space and AR Workshop. The two havens for creatives are offering DIY take-home kits full of knitting needles, yarn, wooden planks, paint and more, making it easy to pick up a new hobby.

13. Story time! Mo Willems, author of beloved children’s books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (and current Education Artist in Residence at The Kennedy Center) is offering Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems every weekday at 1 p.m. Let your kids log on and learn how to draw in the author’s signature style.

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14. Make some space in your living room and get moving. Local studios have moved their classes online to make sure you can still get your blood flowing and heart pumping, even if you’re not at the gym. Rent a stationary bike, roll out your yoga mat or squeeze in some cardio

15. Enjoy your weekly watch parties with friends from a safe distance at your home. Netflix Party, a new virtual feature from the popular streaming site, allows users to add group chats and synchronized video playbacks to shows and movies. Customize your party with user icons, nicknames, emojis and GIFS too.

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16. You might have caught 2019’s favorite breakout star Lizzo doing meditations with her flute on Instagram, but if you’ve run out of ways to keep your mantras and maintain your deep breathing, check out Homegrown Power Yoga on Facebook. Not only has the studio transitioned all classes online (minus the heat), founder Alison Adams has offered several meditation videos for you to watch any time.

17. Book club will read on! Although Books & Brews can’t be enjoyed in person this month, pour yourself a pint at home and join a Zoom call to discuss Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. What better excuse is there to socialize, drink and read a good book?

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© ALEXANDR VASILYEV / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

18. Grab a magnifying glass and have your kids become detectives by creating a fun scavenger hunt in your yard. Create a list of household items and things found in your yard for the ultimate afternoon outdoors. Add a little incentive by rewarding a completed hunt with a special treat.

19. Keep up with your culture. The Met in New York City is offering streaming shows of its world-renowned operas on a nightly basis. Even if you’ve never been an opera fan, this is a great new way to dip your toes into that world.

This piece was originally published in our May 2020 print issue. For more entertaining ways to spend your days in Northern Virginia, subscribe to our e-newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How to turn your backyard into the ultimate campground

Westlake Legal Group how-to-turn-your-backyard-into-the-ultimate-campground How to turn your backyard into the ultimate campground vacation Things to Do Potomac Overlook Regional Park parents parenting NoVA parks kids Family Features Family Events COVID-19 coroanvirus children camping backyard camping at-home entertainment At Home
Westlake Legal Group child-in-tent How to turn your backyard into the ultimate campground vacation Things to Do Potomac Overlook Regional Park parents parenting NoVA parks kids Family Features Family Events COVID-19 coroanvirus children camping backyard camping at-home entertainment At Home
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With spring in full bloom and vacations being canceled across the region for the foreseeable future, families are scrambling to find a way to entertain their kids while stuck at home. Luckily, a classic camping trip can be done almost anywhere. With a little planning, many people can transform their yard into an amazing camping space for some quality family time outside. Rachel Doody, park manager at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, shared some tips for parents on how families can take their annual camping trips to the backyard.

How can parents recreate their canceled camping trip in their backyard?

I think part of it is going to be starting with what equipment they have, if there was anything they were planning on renting or getting from a facility that they might have been going to, like a tent, a sleeping bag, sleeping pads, anything like that. 

Also, I think camping outside is not quite the same if you don’t have a campfire, so finding a spot and really making sure that it is not around anything else. If a spark were to jump under a tree, are you by some brush? Just really finding a good location that the campfire and the tent can also be far enough away from each other.

What safety tips and guidance can you give for having a fire in the backyard?

I would say if you have a space on the ground, you definitely want to line it with rocks if you have the ability to. You don’t want to line it with logs or anything else that might actually catch fire. 

Sometimes wood will have a wetness to it that will make things pop and when they pop, often sparks will go off. Thankfully in Virginia, right now, we’ve had a plethora of rain water, so nobody’s lawn should be suffering at this moment, but just in case, keep an eye on it. Also a backyard fire shouldn’t be a bonfire, it should be something small and simple.

What are some activities that can transfer over to the backyard?

I’ve done a lot of travel around the U.S., going to national parks, and you get to see big, massive animals and things soaring above your head, but I don’t think everybody always realizes that there is still a little mini zoo just in the space in your backyard. 

One of the cool activities I have done in the past with kids is if you just have a hula hoop or something to mark off a space, the kids get a piece of paper and they have to sit and get down on the ground with a magnifying glass and search that little space in the backyard. It’s amazing how many different things and little critters and creepy-crawlies they might find just searching in that tiny space. 

How do you limit those at-home distractions and screen time while staying in the backyard?

It’s tough because here at our nature center one of the things we are having to start to realize is that technology is following us everywhere we go. We are trying to combine it a little bit, so it may be that you do have your phone, but you’re using your phone in a cool app that identifies plants.

If you’ve got to have your technology with you, find something that’s a more calming or educational way of using it and put it on airplane mode so nobody’s actually contacting you while you are using it for something else. The best would be to leave it inside if you can and find other ways to keep yourself entertained that don’t require a plug. 

Any extra tips for having a successful family camping trip at home?

Check the weather. That would be my No. 1 tip. It shouldn’t just be about the day. I think one of the worst things is there are these experiences where if you are not set up for success, especially on your first time, you are going to have the worst taste for that forever. 

Make that first experience as good as it can possibly be and if you look at the weather forecast and there is a chance of rain or thunderstorms, or the ground is all soggy or it is just going to be really cold that night, change it to a different day.

For more family activities to do during Virginia’s stay-at-home order, subscribe to our weekly Family newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

7 fun and educational science kits for all ages (adults too!)

Whether you are looking for a fun project for an at-home lesson with the kids or just need something to kick your boredom, these kits will keep everyone entertained for hours. Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Washington Nationals release baseball-themed educational resources online

Westlake Legal Group nats-stadium Washington Nationals release baseball-themed educational resources online washington nats Washington Nationals virtual learning Sports parents parenting online learning nats Learning. kids home schooling home school Family Education COVID-19 coronavirus Baseball
Photo by Sung Shin

Baseball season may be suspended indefinitely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include the Washington Nationals into your new normal. Now, you can add the beloved team to your home-schooling routine, as the Nats have created fun and educational content for kids.

The educational tools, aimed at first graders through sixth graders, include the Jr. Nationals Kids Club Fan Pages, featuring Nat Libs, word scrambles, trivia, and coloring pages, STEM lessons and reading resources.

The STEM lessons are taught by Nationals Park PA announcer Jerome Hruska, who teaches a variety of STEM topics through the game of baseball, like angular momentum as a way to learn how to round the bases as fast as possible, how to measure the strike zone and how to calculate fielding percentages.

The reading resources page includes reading activities in both English and Spanish, featuring Nationals pitchers Sean Doolittle and Aníbal Sánchez. Little baseball fans can also listen to a story time with Ryan Zimmerman and his daughter, Mackenzie, reading How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace. 

Another Nats educational tool is Summer Slugger. In partnership with EVERFI, Major League Baseball’s Summer Slugger program is designed for fourth and fifth graders and was developed to combat summer learning loss during vacation months. The program focuses on math and literacy skills and is free to use.

In addition to educational lessons, the Nats have also released instructional baseball videos and cooking demonstrations. To find out more, visit nationals.com/community.

For more educational tools for home schooling during the coronavirus pandemic, subscribe to our Family and Education newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com