The kids are treating your sofa like a bouncy house? Smithsonian play areas let them burn off energy while learning.
In the National Air and Space Museum’s How Things Fly gallery, children can look at fabulous flying machines—with-out pesky rules about not touching. There are knobs, levers, wheels, and more to touch while learning about the physics of flight—plus educators who explain the hows and whys of air travel. Independence Ave. and Sixth St., SW; 202-633-2214.
The Q?rius room at the National Museum of Natural History, targeted at teens, is a hands-on lab filled with specimens and artifacts they can handle or examine under microscopes and other high-tech devices. Five-through-11 types can hit the Q?rius Jr., with fossils and items to touch, draw, examine, and learn about. Constitution Ave. and Tenth St., NW; 202-633-1000.
In the imagiNATIONS Activity Center at the National Museum of the American Indian, kids can hang out in a replica tepee, weave a giant basket, build a foam-block igloo, demo a skateboard, read about Native cultures, and make a craft. Independence Ave. and Fourth St., SW; 202-633-1000.
In Wegmans Wonderplace at the National Museum of American History, kids up to age six can shop at a mini-market and cook in the play kitchen. A crawling area is for babies, and upright kids can climb a boat-shaped structure. Next door is the Draper Spark!Lab, where ages 6 to 12 can create circuits; experiment with magnets; and build, design, and invent to their heart’s content. 1300 Constitution Ave., NW; 202-633-1000.
This article appears in our January 2019 issue of Washingtonian.