What to Do After School

We found interesting after-school and weekend programs for kids throughout the Washington area. Read on for where to sign up for art classes, music lessons, dance and theater, and more.

By: Abby Holekamp

Back to School Guide

Tips From the Pros
Greening Your Back-to-School Shopping List
What to Do After School
Back to School 2.0: Gadgets for Students
Great First Day Clothes for Girls
Great First Day Clothes for Boys
Spicing Up Brown Bag Lunches
Getting In To Top Colleges

Budding Artists

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh St., SE; 202-547-6839. The workshop’s Youth Arts Program, which starts August 24, runs for 17 weeks and is geared toward kids ages 5 to 14. Students can design a weekly schedule of classes covering topics from mosaics and ceramics to photography and Adobe Illustrator. The semester ends with a gallery show and performance for parents. Classes meet Monday through Thursday from 4 to 5 and from 5 to 6, Friday from 4 to 5:30.

Loudoun Academy of the Arts, 222 South King St., Leesburg; 703-777-8043. These weekly, monthlong classes are suitable for all ages. The usual suspects are part of the roster—think drawing and painting—but so are some unusual classes, such as “Anime and More” for budding cartoonists and “Let’s Have Fun With Color” for three- to five-year-olds. Several classes are held on Saturday.

Monart Drawing Studio, 12116 Darnestown Rd., Suite L-4, North Potomac; 301-987-0377. This studio offers classes in drawing and clay modeling for a range of ages, from youngsters to adults. Classes typically meet once a week, and fall classes start September 7.

Mini-Mozarts

Levine School of Music, 2801 Upton St., NW; 202-686-8000. The Levine School offers private instruction for various instruments and classes in subjects such as jazz improvisation and music history. Music-making classes are offered for kids as young as four months. Fall private lessons begin September 9, and group classes begin September 21. Other campuses in North Bethesda, Arlington, and Southeast DC.

Paul Green School of Rock Music, 20660 Ashburn Rd., Ashburn; 703-858-0820. Paul Green School of Rock teaches kids how to become real-life guitar heros. Students can take private lessons for guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, or vocals and participate in a once-a-week rock-group rehearsal. Lessons culminate in a themed performance, such as a Led Zeppelin tribute show or a hair-metal-themed performance. Admission is on a rolling basis, so students can start rocking anytime. Other locations in Vienna and Silver Spring.

Academy of Music
, 8451 Helgerman Ct., Gaithersburg; 301-947-9705. In addition to private lessons, the Academy holds music-theory and early-childhood music classes. If your kid’s not into music, there are also standup comedy and acting classes for a variety of age levels. Right now the school is offering 20 percent off selected fall classes, which start September 8.

Born to Perform

Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St., NE; 202-269-1600. This Brookland community arts center offers classes in ballet, tap, hip-hop, and more. There’s also a tumbling class, where kids can learn basic gymnastics moves on mats and a miniature trampoline. Dance Place offers partial scholarships to children ages 3 to 13, with preference given to children living in DC’s Ward 5.

Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater, 1900 Elkin St., Suite 225, Alexandria; 703-360-0686. Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater performs several productions each year with all-children casts. Auditions are open to everyone who falls within the theater’s age range (typically 8 to 18). Last year’s productions included a musical version of Dr. Dolittle.

CityDance Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman La., North Bethesda; 301-581-5204. There are classes at CityDance for almost every age and ability, and genres run the gamut from ballet to jazz to hip-hop to modern. Fall classes start September 14, and most meet once a week.

Whiz Kids

Hiking Along, 240-893-1347. Hiking Along takes the science set out of the lab and onto the trails. The two-mile, science-oriented hikes, which happen throughout Washington, have included a trip to DC’s Rock Creek Park to learn about the ecosystem of a deciduous forest and one to the Northwest Branch Trail in Silver Spring that focused on how animals learn to adapt to their environments. Hiking Along will work with groups to organize environmental service projects such as tree planting and litter cleanup days.

Curiosity Zone, 43135 Broadlands Center Plaza, Suite 123, Ashburn; 703-723-9949. Young kids can explore science and math in hands-on, weekly classes. Science classes emphasize lab experiments, and math classes use music, games, puzzles, and other activities to teach concepts and problem solving. Fall classes start September 8.

Jabberu, 4926 Del Ray Ave., Bethesda; 888-951-1119. Jabberu, which also has locations in Gaithersburg and Ashburn, offers weekly foreign-language classes for children as young as six months in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and Arabic (though not all languages are offered at every age level). Discounts are available for siblings. Fall classes begin September 8.

All-Star Athletes

Rock Creek Horse Center, 5100 Glover Rd., NW; 202-362-0117. For horse lovers, Rock Creek Park barn holds group trail-riding sessions weekday afternoons and evenings and on weekends. Private and group instruction is also available for all levels. Most classes teach English-style riding, though there are some Western-style classes.

Arlington County Parks & Recreation, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 414, Arlington; 703-228-1801. Arlington County Parks & Recreation offers something for almost every athlete—in addition to football, tennis, and basketball, there’s boxing, cheerleading, and swimming. The Web site has the full details for each sport, including contact information for the leagues.

Kidball, 10809 Hob Nail Ct., Potomac; 301-983-0543. Parental involvement is a key element of Kidball sports leagues, which include baseball, flag football, and basketball. It’s geared toward younger kids—3½-year-olds through middle-schoolers—and parents are asked to participate in at least 20 minutes of each practice session. Games and practices are held at area parks and schools. Registration is currently open for all sports.

Other Activities

U.S. Chess Center, 1501 M St., NW; 202-857-4922. Saturday lessons are offered for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. The center also sponsors an elementary-school team league and several youth tournaments throughout the school year.

Sportrock Climbing Centers
, 5308 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria; 703-212-7625. On Friday nights from 6:30 to 8, kids between 6 and 14 can hit the climbing wall and try out their rock-climbing skills under the guidance of an instructor. Kids’ Nite costs $20 and includes gear rental. Classes are capped at five participants, so register in advance here.

Young Chefs Academy, 5626 Randolph Rd., Rockville; 301-816-2433. This kid-friendly cooking school offers weekly classes for a variety of ages. The 90-minute sessions revolve around a monthly theme, such as a particular cuisine or recipes from famous chefs. Kids can participate in workshops on kitchen basics or sign up for single cooking classes. Packages of classes are also available with membership.