Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
Sometimes the weather isn’t so nice in DC (especially in winter) and we’ve had to think of alternative ways of entertaining the kids. One day in the middle of last winter after we’ve exhausted trips to museums, and playgrounds were too frigid, my husband came up with the idea of just riding the DC Metrorail. So we bundled up our 2.5-year old twins and set off without a destination in mind since the adventure and process of riding the trains themselves were exciting enough for the kids. This would be a good activity even when the weather is nice but your toddler is restless and needs to leave the hotel room but you don’t have enough time to venture to a museum or visit the sights. You can just ride the metro for just a few stops and turn right around – a good way to entertain the kids for 1/2 hour or more.
The experience of riding the metro with kids is so fun and interactive. I have my kids pick up a metro map available at the entrance of each station. That way they have something to hold on to and play with. They also love putting coins into the ticket machine and taking the ticket that pops out to insert into the turnstiles. (But since you need the ticket again to exit the destination station I usually like to hold on to the ticket myself for the rest of the trip.)
The escalators are always fun to ride and the waiting platform of each station have lights that blink as trains approach, and there are digital signs that tell you which trains are due into the station in how many minutes – all fun stuff for kids to see. And when the wind starts blowing through the station and you hear the sound of a train approaching and the lights start blinking, it’s as if the place has suddenly turned into a great amusement park, the kids get that excited. The sliding doors, bells, announcements, the speed of the train, all turn the ordinary adult experience into an exciting treat for the kids. They’ll be excited to do it all again on your return trip. (You can’t just cross over to the opposite platform and must exit the station, buy another ticket back, and re-enter). Have fun!