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You can get the best of Out by Ten (and much, much more!) on Out by Ten's Facebook page "Family Friendly Prince George's."

I'm now a full-time work-outside-the-home mom and while we're still going on TONS of family adventures, making time for the adventures (verses making time for writing about them!) has taken priority in my life right now.

But have no fear! Our new Facebook page is a great resource for all the wonderful family-friendly stuff happening in Prince George's County and the greater Metro DC area. Be sure to check out the Out by Ten archives on the right for lots of great activities!

Head over and give me a like and I'll see you on your wall soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fun Outdoor Activities at Home

Photo via Skip to My Lou

It's the end of July and it seems like every family we know is either preparing to go on vacation or just returning from vacation. Add to that the heat and humidity and some days it is just nice to stick close to home. As tempting as it is to pop in a movie and stay in our jammies until lunchtime, it's still important to get up and moving in the morning or the entire day seems to slip away. In these dog days of summer, we like to take advantage of the slightly cooler morning temperatures to get outside and have some fun.

Here are some great outdoor activities from three bloggers really inspire me with their great kid-friendly activities.

Chalk Paint -- Lucas enjoys drawing on our front walk with sidewalk chalk but I think he'll love chalk paint even more.** Here's a super-easy recipe for making chalk paint via Skip To My Lou. Fill a spray bottle with water and you can double the fun--painting then spraying to wash it away. We're going to try it today!

Scavenger Hunt -- Or, even better, create a backyard alphabet hunt with these tips from Teach Mama.

Go Parachuting -- Er, rather, send your favorite stuffed animal (or in our case, small car!) on a fun parachute ride with these instructions from Flips Flops and Applesauce for making your own mini parachute.

Backyard Car Wash -- This one is my own. Sure you could always just pull out the hose and get wet but why not get some cleaning done, too? Get a bucket of soapy water and a couple of big sponges and create a car wash in your backyard! Wash the summer grime off that wagon, tricycle, little tykes coupe and, if you have a kid like Lucas, the many, many large plastic trucks that are in the yard on any given day. When you're finished rinse the vehicles and soapy kids with the hose! (Hmmm...does that count as a bath?!)

What are your favorite close-to-home summer activities?

**Updated to add: Chalk painting was a huge success! When mixing the paint, err on the side of too watery. When it is too thick, it is hard to spread on the sidewalk. Including the spray bottle was a good idea and Lucas enjoyed mixing the paint and then pouring the colors back and forth (with an ultimate result of brown, of course!) as much as anything else! We had fun hosing off ourselves as well as the sidewalk when we were finished. We wore old clothes but the food coloring we used did not stain.

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Visit a Farmers Market in honor of the Buy Local Challenge

This week is Maryland's annual Buy Local Challenge. Buying local is good for you, good for your local economy and good for the planet. If you want to commit to eating at least one local food item each day this week then take the challenge and make the pledge!

There's so much more I could say about buying local food, but this isn't a food blog, it's a blog about family friendly activities and ways to get out and about with your kids in Prince George's County. And farmers markets are not only your best source of fresh, local food, they are an awesome family-friendly activity!

Farmers markets are a great way to introduce your kids to a wide variety of produce and to help make the connection between the farmer and the food. I always find the vendors to be friendly and ready to answer questions about the best way to store and prepare what they are selling. If you think creatively, there are so many educational opportunities for your kids. Younger kids might have fun seeking out different color produce. Can they find something purple? Red? Orange? Older kids will love choosing which bag of peaches or ears of corn look most appetizing (and won't they be more likely to eat it if they helped choose it?!).

The Maryland Department of Agriculture lists ten weekly farmers markets in Prince George's County. Check one out this week in honor of the Buy Local Challenge!

Of course, I am biased here, but I strongly recommend you and your family come on over to Cheverly this weekend to check out the Cheverly Community Market! This is the second summer in a row that Cheverly has had their very own community market and it just keeps getting better. The market is a completely home-grown effort by a few incredibly dedicated volunteers who wanted close-to-home options for purchasing fresh, local--not to mention, delicious--food for their families.

Here are a few things I love about our market.

1) Neighbors. Even if I could accomplish my actual shopping in 30 minutes, I know I have to plan to spend at least an hour at the market. I see so many of our neighbors. Lucas always sees a few of his little buddies and they run around while Abel and I catch-up with our neighborhood friends.

2) Fresh, fresh food. A few weeks ago I purchased new potatoes which had been dug from the earth just the day before. In fact, the man I bought them from had most likely done the digging. When I was younger my mom's cousins owned a potato farm and would bring bags of freshly dug potatoes to our family reunion each summer. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a potato that is only a day or two out of the ground. Another time, I bought a half dozen peaches. Again, they had been picked just the day before. The sweet, sweet girl who sold them to me cautioned to wait two days before eating them. She wanted them to be at their prime for me. I was barely able to resist but am glad I did. Because on days 3, 4, 5 and 6 I thoroughly enjoyed taking big bites of peach as the juice drizzled down my chin.

3) Music. Our Cheverly Community Market has a house band! I love it when Lucas takes a few minutes to dance--solo or with other kids--at the market. With that great music playing, he just can't help himself.

This Saturday just so happens to be a Market Saturday. Come on over to Cheverly and check it out for yourself!

Additional Details:

The Cheverly Community Market takes place Saturday mornings (generally the second and fourth Saturdays of the month), 8:00am to noon , in the heart of Cheverly, Maryland, at the Cheverly Community Center, 6401 Forest Road. Complete list of dates here.


Visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture for a list of all Maryland farmers markets arranged by county.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Russian American Kids Circus at the Publick Playhouse

The Russian American Kids Circus is coming to the Prince George's Publick Playhouse!

The Russian American Kids Circus combines circus arts, dance, theatre and comedy into an amazing show performed by youth ages 5-17. The troupe is coming to the Prince George's Publick Playhouse July 21-July 25, but tickets are going fast. It is my understanding that the only two shows not yet sold out are the Tuesday, July 21 show at 12:30pm and the Saturday, July 25 show at 11am. Tickets are $10 each (with a $3 per order handling fee). Reserve yours today by calling the Public Playhouse box office at 301-277-1710.

Additional information:

Prince George's Public Playhouse
5445 Landover Road, Cheverly, MD 20784
Box Office 301-277-1710; TTY 301-277-0312

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Watkins Regional Park

We first discovered Watkins Regional Park through an article in the Washington Post several years ago about special parks in the region. I'm always on the lookout for great locals in Prince George's County and was pretty excited to see a Prince George's park listed among parks in Northern Virginia, DC and Montgomery County. Fast forward a few years and we've been to Watkins countless times. Lucas calls it the "big park" or "train park" but it is so much more than that. It truly is incredible. If you haven't been to Watkins before...GO!

Here are just a few highlights.

The Chesapeake Carousel

Who doesn't love taking a ride on a carousel? This beautiful, enclosed carousel was built in the early 1900s and has been at Watkins since 1977. The carousel runs Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-7pm. In September, it is open weekends only. It doesn't go too fast, but does offer a nice breeze on a sweltering summer day. Tickets are $1.25 (or $1 each if you purchase 10, a good bet because you use the same tickets for the carousel and the train).

The Miniature Train

Boy do we love the miniature train! The ride is a good length and takes you through the shaded forest, past the Old Maryland Farm where you'll spot goats, llamas, cows, chickens and all sorts of other animals. The good-natured conductors are happy to blow the whistle, to the delight of all on board.

The train runs Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7 pm. It is open weekends only in September. Tickets are $1.25 (or $1 each if you purchase 10, a good bet because you use the same tickets for the carousel and the train).

The Old Maryland Farm

After you ride by the Old Maryland Farm on your train ride, you'll just have to walk over to visit the animals or to let the kids have a pony ride. The old Maryland farm is large enough for your kids to enjoy, but small enough to ensure the entire family doesn't get exhausted from walking.

The Old Maryland Farm is open Tuesday–Friday from 9am-4 pm and Saturday 9pm–4:30pm. Closed many holidays, see website for details.

Watkins Nature Center

The Watkins Nature center offers kids up close and personal views of live animals such as owls, hawks, reptiles and insects. There are indoor and outdoor ponds to explore and a Discovery Cottage which gives kids a taste of live as a naturalist (not to be confused with life as a nudist!!)

The Nature Center is open Monday–Saturday 8:30am-5pm; Sundays & Holidays 11am–4pm.

All this goodness and I haven't even mentioned the awesome playground, great walking/biking trails, tennis bubble and open spaces for picnics. Don't forget that Watkins was also featured on my list of free summer outdoor concerts. They offer free concerts every Thursday evening through August 13. No wonder Watkins Park is one of our favorite destinations!

Additional Details:

Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

General Information: 301-218-6700; TTY 301-218-6768


Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!