You and your kid crew have no reason to stay cooped up in the house this weekend. Nearly every nabe in the district has something cool going on for families. Gaithersburg’s annual book festival returns with even more lit-events for the littles than last year. Reston will be rockin’ and rollin’ with a cookie-filled jazz concert and a family-friendly art festival. And the racing dragon boats descending on D.C.’s Potomac River are a must-see for everyone in your brood. Sleeping in just isn’t an option.



Mega Story Time: Gaithersburg Book Festival
Celebrate Children’s Book Week (and score some great deals on kiddie lit) at this annual book festival in Gaithersburg. In addition to cool literary events for grown-ups like readings and signings by top authors, you’ll find free interactive writing workshops, a Children’s Village, and on-site new book sales by Politics & Prose. Sat, 10 am-6 pm. Gaithersburg. Free. Event details.

Spring On Ice
Just when you thought you’ve seen the last of the ice, the Cabin John Ice Rink opens its doors to the public for its annual Spring skating showcase. Kiddie and grown-up figure skaters will be at the center of the ice showing off their skills. You and your ice-loving bunch can sit back and enjoy the flips, twists, and lifts. And if the show doesn’t give you the cold fix you need, swing back by the rink any time—it’s open year-round. Sat, 6:30 pm. Rockville. Free. Event details.

Northern Virginia

A Music and Munchies Jazz Concert
Live music and milk chocolate chip cookies? It’s the perfect duet at the 16th annual Jazz Dessert Concert, featuring the South Lakes High School Jazz Hawks and the Langston Hughes Middle School Jazz Ensemble. Bring the entire family for a lively evening of jazz and delicious desserts that go to benefit the South Lakes Band Program…and more dessert next year. Fri, 7:30 pm. Reston. $15/adults; $8/students; free/kids under 5. Event details.

Family Art Park at NoVa Fine Arts Festival
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is the furthest thing from a stuffy, grown-ups-only art showcase. It’s a totally kid-friendly shindig ,with Reston Town Square Park being transformed into a Family Art Park that includes a Children’s Art Tent, a Public Art project, face painting, and a family “Chill-Out” tent. Hands-on art activities include Magnetic Painting, Wacky Mobile, Fun Architecture and Spinny Tops. Keep your eyes peeled for the jula hoopers, jugglers and unicyclers. Sat-Sun, 10 am-5 pm. Reston. Free. Event details.


Les P’tits Gourmands: Kiddie Cooking Class in French
Little gourmands learn how to cook and bake with Asmae Otmani, author and illustrator of picture books, and food blogger at Otmani offers entertaining and innovative cooking workshops, during which children cook and bake culinary delights inspired by their very own literature. Children will learn to make the classic French macaron using the traditional techniques used in French bakeries. Sorry parents, only kids are allowed at this workshop! Sat, 2 pm-4 pm. Kalorama. $55. Event details.

A Day With the Dragons
On your marks…get set…GO! Celebrate Asian culture at this family-friendly event featuring dragon boat teams (their boats are literally shaped and designed to look like the mythical creatures)  from along the east coast competing in various races throughout the day. Between heats, check out one of the hands-on activities, including brushing painting, calligraphy, paper cutting, Xian-bao (sachet) making, and Kungfu. Sat-Sun, 8 am-5 pm. Georgetown. Free. Event details.

How will get out of the house this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Photo courtesy of Gaithersburg Book Festival via Facebook