Sure, the dog days of summer are here, but there’s always time to mix in a quick brain workout. Whether you’re into historical books, learning about different cultures, or trying out a new baking technique, these are the educational activities to sign up for this month.
July 12, 2-2:45 p.m.
Instead of another hour playing games, take your kids on a virtual trip to Planet Word. The virtual tour will feature a lesson on literal and nonliteral meanings through a matching game, drawings, and idiom-based humor, all from the comfort of your couch. free
July 15, 7-8 p.m.
Join author David Stewart for a discussion on the nation’s first president. Led by the work in his book George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father, see how Washington went from a disastrous military career in his 20s to the unanimous first president of the new country by his mid-50s and everything in between. George Washington’s Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon; free
July 17, 18 & 21, 10 a.m.
Travel back to 1861 for a look at the first Battle of Manassas. The three-day commemoration will feature tours of the battlefield, historic weapons demonstrations, and an author talks on the role of women during the battle and the struggle to keep the history preserved. Manassas National Battlefield Park: 6511 Sudley Rd., Manassas; free
July 17, 2-7 p.m.
Northern Virginia is full of different communities, so immerse yourself in the area’s diverse cultures as a part of Liberty Amendments Month. From Bolivian folk music to the Caribbean steel drum orchestra Pan Masters, enjoy sounds from around the world as you sample different cuisines, view vendor products, and learn about the communities around us. Freeman Store and Museum: 131 Church St., Vienna; free
July 18, 5-6:30 p.m.
Spending more time in your backyard? It might be time to take up bird watching. The best way to get those colorful beauties in your sights is with a bird feeder. Join NoVA Parks naturalist Matt Felperin to learn all about feeders, from foods to use to season considerations. $25-$30
July 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Enjoy a Thursday night out for a special tour of the iconic Alexandria home. Pack yourself a picnic dinner and grab a drink to get an up close view of the detailed building as the sun sets on the city. Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House: 9000 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria; $35
July 24, 7-9 p.m.
Immerse yourself in the Civil War tales of Ben Lomond. Used a Confederate Field Hospital after the Battle of First Manassas, tour goers will hear the stories of soldiers, doctors, and loved ones in the recreated hospital. Guided tours will start every 20 minutes. Ben Lomond Historic Site and Old Rose Garden: 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas; $10
Various dates from July 12 to September 29, 6-8:30 p.m.
Baking season will be here before you know it. Instead of sticking to the usual baked goods, become a master of macarons this summer. Learn the step-by-step process of meringue mixing, piping, and baking behind making the sweetest French treat. The Boardroom VA: 925 N. Garfield St., Arlington; $99
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