Even in the summer there are rainy days that make indoor play spaces the perfect outing for Bethesda kids. In fact, there are lots of great indoor play spaces in Montgomery County and Washington DC that you should check out. No doubt there are a few places on this list that the whole family will enjoy.
Be With Me Playseum
The Playseum is designed as a scaled-down replica of a real-life town, featuring 12 themed rooms like a grocery store, bakery, pizza parlor, art supply store, and pet store. Children up to age 11 can let their imaginations run free by pretending to be cooks, grocers, doctors, and shopkeepers. In case you need some more suggestions on play relevant to the theme, each room also contains a few books to give you more ideas! YOu might also want to purchase Playseummoney in advance for special themed activities (paint ceramics in the art room, have your nails painted in the salon, or decorate a cupcake in the bakery).
7000 Wisconsin Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
Cost: $9/person (free/under 11 months)
Open: Mon, Weds, Fri, 10 am – 5 pm; Tues, Thurs, 10 am – 4 pm; Sat, 9 am – 7 pm
Kidville is very popular for all the classes that it offers. From a construction-themed art class and hip-hop dance to a railroad-inspired music class and high energy obstacle course fun, there’s something to attract the attentions of every itty bitty in your family. At certain times throughout the week, they transform their gym area into a supervised indoor playspace for littles to run climb and jump around.
Kidville offers a space, the Sit n’ Snack cafe, for you to relax once your children are settled into a class. As the name suggests, you can settle in, grab a snack and check your text messages.
4825 Bethesda Ave., (Bethesda, Md)
Cost: Varies depending on drop-in/class
SkillZone sparks kids’ (ages 0-6) creativity with play-inspired learning. The creators, who are also parents, achieve their goal with super=curated stations–think: an indoor wooden play structure, an indoor water table, and toys that require interaction and imagination. All activities and classes (i.e. sign language, baby hip hop, friendship workshop) are designed to boost development and social skills.
Be sure to read some of the print-outs located throughout SkillZone that detail the importance of play for parents and enjoy a cup of coffee as you watch your children enjoy the space.
709 8th St., SE (Capitol Hill)
National Building Museum
The National Building Museum features two perfectly-appointed play spaces for kids. The Building Zone caters to children under six years old and features blocks and LEGOs, costumes, a Book Nook, a new “hardware store”, and a custom-built, life-size “green” house. The Play Work Build exhibit lets kids get busy building structures with Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Bumpalow House, and Ringa-Majigs. Kids can also build—and knock down—their own structures virtually using an interactive digital wall. Make sure to swing by the museum’s gift shop after the play is done to check out the cool toys, stationary and home goods! Even the atrium is great for letting off steam or counting the columns – and having a picnic lunch.
401 F Street NW, Washington, DC
Cost: admission to museum (including Building Zone and Play Work Build): $10/adults; $7/kids 3-17; free/under 2
Open: Mon – Sat, 10 am – 4 pm; Sun, 11 am – 4 pm
ImagiNATIONS Activity Center at the National Museum of the American Indian
ImagiNATIONS Activity Center at the National Museum of the American Indian is a open play space which allows kids to explore native culture and lifestyle. Your children can weave a huge basket, surf a virtual river in a tippy kayak, or explore the inside of a real teepee. There is a library and kiddie craft center for less raucous play.
Be sure to check out the museum’s Mitsitam Cafe, which serves native foods from around the Americas. Mitsitam Cafe is one of the best place to eat on the Mall, offering delicious foods from around the world rather than just the usual museum fare of hamburgers and pizza.
Fourth St. at Independence Ave., SW (National Mall)
Open: Monday 10 AM–1 PM; Tuesday through Sunday 10 AM–5 PM