Bring them to Congressional to learn in a unique setting!
If your kids are interested in geology, analyze the different types of stones and how they weather.
Biology? Our headstones have fascinating clusters of biological staining, crusts, and lichen.
Our site has many statues and memorials that would be inspiring to sketch for artistic prodigies.
For the little ones just learning their numbers, how many cenotaphs sit in a line? And for the more math-savvy child, can they figure out how old someone was using the dates on the memorials?
It’s probably obvious that we have connections to historical figures and the history of our nation.
But what about the stories “written in stone?” Look at the symbols on headstones and think about what that broken rose bud, hourglass, or snake biting its tail might have meant to the family of the deceased.
An excellent book for exploring cemeteries with children was just published in 2014 by Teresa Straley Lambert. In The ABCs of Gravestone Symbols, Lambert alphabetically describes iconography with photographs and rhymes that appeal to both adults and youngsters. The Congressional Cemetery gift shop will soon have copies of this book for purchase, or you can order now at http://www.abcsofgravestonesymbols.com/. Use the book as a guide for a scavenger hunt and see how many you can find at the cemetery.
Congressional Cemetery is essentially an outdoor museum. With thousands of headstones serving as cultural resources, you could spend all day studying the headstones and gaining insight into the lives of founding fathers, influential women, military heroes, adventurers, architects, and your typical 18th through 21st century Washingtonian.