Christmas gifts and events for kids traveling to DC and kids that travel

If you are traveling with kids to DC to see the holiday decorations or if you just have kids that travel, DC has plenty of ideas for your holiday Photo: The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse / AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent or friend, finding the right holiday gift for a kid who loves to travel can be a challenge.   These fun ideas — all based in and around Washington, D.C. — make shopping for savvy kids easy. 

From an overnight in an historic Washington, D.C. hotel to horseback riding lessons in Virginia to a Thomas Jefferson-approved toy, we’ve got you covered.

Winter wonderland by day or overnight at National Harbor

ICE! returns to National Harbor this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.  More than two million pounds of ice were used to create this year’s life-sized carvings for ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Train rides, scavenger hunts, and brunch with Santa are a few of the highlights.  

Tickets to ICE! start at $27 for adults and $19 for kids three and up.  An overnight package, which includes a room with balcony overlooking the festivities, unlimited anytime access to ICE!, a souvenir family photo and $100 resort credit starts at $269. 

Kid-centric baking lessons

Give the sweetest gift of all with baking lessons tailored to kids at the Zagat-rated Bistro Poplar located in the heart of the historic waterfront town of Cambridge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Pastry chef Emily Salisbury will spend the afternoon with a small group of children teaching them how to make holiday treats. Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1pm. $25 per child. 410-228-4884. (This event sells out every year, so it’s wise to reserve early.)

Let them eat cake

It doesn’t get any sweeter for kids who love exploring the islands of the Chesapeake Bay.  Order kids their very own baby Smith Island cake, the ten-layered concoction that is the official cake of Maryland.   The Smith Island Baking Company makes a six-inch miniature cake in several flavors like chocolate, red velvet and strawberries and cream. $29.50 

Thomas Jefferson’s favorite toys

For travelers with fond memories of visits to Monticello, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation offers two well-priced, old-fashioned games that make irresistible presents.  Both are crafted from wood and utilize simple glass marbles to mark the action. The Fox and Geese Travel Game, a game of strategy, runs $19.95, while Jefferson’s Cypher Wheel Secret Decoder, a must for your would-be spy, runs $22.95. 

Battery-free toys at indie shop

The adorable indie children’s store called Dancing Bear Toys & Gifts  in downtown Frederick has a stash of travel-related toys, like magnetic games for trips such as “Travel Magic Forest” and wooden geography puzzles.  If you can’t stop by the store, you can call in your order and have it shipped. 301-631-9300. 

Kid-Friendly Overnight in D.C.

The Jefferson, a boutique hotel in the heart of Washington, is offering a family package, which includes Thomas and Martha Jefferson stuffed dolls and a picture book on Thomas Jefferson’s achievements from his clever inventions to becoming President of the United States.  Kids get to choose a special toy to keep from the retro Radio Flyer wagon in the lobby for the holidays and will also be greeted to the sight of a colorful wooden toaster, well appointed with two tasty pop-tarts as a special treat.  A kid-friendly map to historic sites in the city makes for fun family touring. 

Learn to ride in Virginia’s horse country

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting to go riding than Virginia horse country.  The new Salamander Resort in Middleburg has one of the most significant equestrian programs on the East Coast.  Horse-loving kids will love a visit to the stables, where they can take a riding lesson or do a trail ride through nearby forests and fields (both run $125). Kids as young as two can mount a pony for a safe and gentle 15-minute ride ($25).  And children interested in learning more about communicating, grooming and leading horses can book an hour-long Horses 101 class. ($125). 

Gifts for every season

The M29 LIFESTYLE shop inside the Four Seasons in Georgetown is a treasure trove of travel-savvy kids gifts.  From colorful LOLO luggage tags ($25) to Kiki crayon sets with their own travel case ($12.50) to activity card decks, like 52 Fun Things to Do in a Car ($7), this boutique has you covered.


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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

Andrea is also mother to Maxine, who was adopted from Vietnam in 2006, and is the inspiration for The Red Thread column on adoption at The Washington Times Communities.   Andrea is currently at work on a book on international adoption.

In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

Find Andrea at andpoe@Twitter, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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