Routine is important for children – and, let’s be honest, adults – but sometimes you get a little extra free time that you’re not sure how to fill. Well, if that happens on a Wednesday, we’ve got you covered. Want to let Mother Nature be your guide? There’s a drop-in class for that. Need a yoga fix? Get one vicariously through your little one. There’s even an idea on this list of 14 Wednesday drop-in classes that’s geared toward grown-ups.
1. CryBaby Art Studio at Metamorphosis Art and Enrichment Center
The littlest kids can get their hands – and probably everything else – dirty during CryBaby Art Studio for kids ages 0 to 1. During this 90-minute class, offered in single or four-week sessions – parents learn watercolor techniques.
Ages: 0 to 1
When: Wednesdays, 1-2:30 p.m., Sept. 20-Oct. 11
Where: 1801 N. Quaker Ln. (Alexandria, Va)
2. Snakes, Turtles and Toads at Hidden Oaks Nature Center
At this nature center, Fairfax County’s first when it opened in 1969, up to 12 kiddos can learn about local reptile and amphibian characteristics and habitats through hands-on activities “safari” hikes, and spending time with live animals. While you’re there, check out the resource library and interactive woodlands exhibit.
Ages: 4 years, 11 months, to 9 years, 1 month
Cost: $44/Fairfax County residents, $46/out of county
When: Sept. 27, 4:15 p.m.
Where: 7701 Royce St. (Annandale, Va.)
3. Raptor Training at Meadowside Nature Center
Wednesdays bring lots of options to commune with nature here. For instance, on Oct. 11, head to the Black Hill Visitor Center for Time for Tots: Nuts to You! (10 to 11 a.m.) to hear a story, explore nature with a naturalist and make a craft. Note: Raptor Training (2 to 2:15 p.m.) is offered every Wednesday, giving attendees a chance to see how trainers teach raptors new behaviors through positive reinforcement (sound familiar, caregivers?!).
Ages: 2 and up
Cost: Some programs have fees of $5 or $6
When: Check website for times
Where:Meadowside, 5100 Meadowside Ln. (Rockville, Md); Black Hill, 20926 Lake Ridge Dr. (Boyds, Md)
4. Strawberry Pots and Seeds with the Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation Department
Learn why and how to save a seed garden (Oct. 4, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., ages 7 to 11, $5) using heirloom varieties. Participants take home some seeds. One more option: Make a seed ball (Oct. 18, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., ages 7 to 11, free for Vienna residents, $6 for nonresidents) to use in your garden in the spring.
Ages: 6 to 11
Cost: Some programs have fees of $5 or $6
When: Oct. 4 and 18, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Vienna Community Learning and Display Garden, 120 Cherry St., SE (Vienna, Va)
5. Milk a Cow at Frying Pan Farm Park
Cow milking demonstrations happen daily in one of the barns at the Kidwell Farm, which re-creates life in the 1920s-’50s. While you’re there, say hi to the pigs, goats, sheet, chickens and horses; take a spin on the carousel or bump your way around the park on a wagon ride.
When: Daily at 4 p.m.
Where: 2709 W. Ox Rd. (Herndon, Va)
6. Young Planetarium at Rock Creek Park
Get in touch with the great outdoors smack dab in the middle of D.C. The planetarium in Rock Creek Park offers 30- to 40-minute classes for little ones that encourage them to explore the night sky while listening to stories about stars.
Ages: 4 and up
When: Wednesdays, 4 p.m.
Where: 5200 Glover Rd., NW (Rock Creek Park)
7. Little Explorers at Historic St. Mary’s City
This series meets every other Wednesday to focus on a different topic such as farmers, sailors, painters and hunters. The hourlong classes include storytelling, crafts, songs and outdoor adventures. Bonus: The class fee includes full-day admission to the museum.
Ages: 3 to 5
When: Every other Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: 47621 Old Cove Rd. (Lexington Park)
8. Sign Language and Dance at SkillZone
Day passes are available so stop in for Sign Language Story Time, an interactive class that invites students to help finish the story while expanding their ASL vocabulary. Or shake it off at We Got the Beat, a dance class that focuses on teaching the basics of moving to the beat and incorporates hip-hop. Bonus: Parents can take advantage of free coffee, tea and Wi-Fi.
Ages: 6 and under
When: Storytime is 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., dance is 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 709 8th St., SE
Photo: Circle Yoga
9. Pre-Teen Yoga and Mindfulness at Circle Yoga
The tween set will practice yoga poses, breathing, movement, mindfulness – and games. It’s intended to be a time and place where kids at this awkward stage can feel accepted, welcome and free of judgment as they learn how to be present and relaxed.
Ages: 8 to 12
Cost: $22/class or $19/class with registration
When: Wednesdays, 5 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
Where: 3838 Northampton St., NW
10. Young Warriors Karate at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
This program teaches karate in the Shorin-ryu form. It focuses on teaching discipline, strength, coordination, confidence and respect. Drop-in classes are available at beginner and mixed levels.
Ages: 5 and up
When: Wednesdays through Dec. 20, 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., depending on level
Where: 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
11. Monthly Mini Build at the Lego Store
Build a different model each month (September is the Lego Dinosaur) and take it home for free. Registration is required and opens on the 15th of the prior month, so go open your calendar app and put in a reminder on Sept. 15 to sign up for the October session. Quantities are limited to about 120 per store, and up to four children per household may register.
Ages: 6 to 14
When: See website for dates
Where: See website for addresses of 5 area locations, including Tysons Corner Center and Arundel Mills
12. Play-based Parkour at Urban Evolution
Kids can get a jump-start on this obstacle-navigating workout in a play- and story-based environment. They learn movement and self-regulation that steeped in French military-training tradition. It’s the act of getting from point to point by making the most of the obstacles in your way
Ages: 4 to 5
When: Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m.
Where: 5505 Cherokee Ave., (Alexandria, Va)
13. Story Times at D.C. Public Library locations
Stop in for Wonderful Ones, Baby and Toddler Story Time, or Preschool Story Time at various locations. The classes include stories (duh), songs, fingerplays and movement. Be sure to check the website because some classes require students to get tickets in advance. Note: and also have great Wednesday story times.
Ages: 0 to 3
When: Wednesdays, times vary
Where: Check website for locations
14. Stroller Strides
This one is more for the moms than the kids, but kids get to have fun, too, watching Mom sweat it out. Get a full-body workout through power walking and strength training with exercise tubes, whatever is around and – you guessed it – the stroller.
Ages: Moms of any age, but kids must be in strollers
When: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.
Where: 329 N. Manchester St. (Arlington, Va)
What do you do with the kids on Wednesdays? Tell us in the comments below.