Family Arts, Crafts and Nature Events

Check out Clay Cafe’s two NoVa locations and upcoming Nature Center events.

By Katie Bowles 

Spotlight on Clay Café: Pottery, Painting and Glass

Decorative plate made by a first-time Clay Cafe visitor. Photo courtesy Katie Bowles.

Looking for a local store that both you and the kids will enjoy visiting? Check out Clay Café, a child-friendly pottery studio with locations in Chantilly and Falls Church.

Stop by and purchase ready-made bowls, plates, night lights and pieces of jewelry, or spend an hour or so there and create your own. For a $6 flat studio fee (which includes crafting materials), you and your children can paint your own pieces of pottery.

Once you’re finished crafting, the studio glazes and fires your pottery at no charge (price of pottery is extra). For a cheaper option, try glass fusing, which has no studio fee: glue colorful fragments of glass to glassware and jewelry, and Clay Café uses its kiln to melt the pieces together.

The studio takes about a week to glaze and fire the pottery and fuse the glass, and then it’s ready to be picked up and put on display in your home. For those wanting immediate results, try the recently-added canvas painting option (only available at the Falls Church location). Let budding Michelangelos paint to their heart’s content, then take finished products home that same day ($22.95 for a 9×22 inch canvas).

Clay Café is open seven days a  week and offers party options, after-school and scout programs and a summer camp, CLAYMAGINATION©. Weekly specials are also available: take advantage of 2-for-1 Tuesday (one studio fee for two people—Falls Church, half-priced studio fees—Chantilly), Saturday 1/2 price night (half-price studio fee after 6 p.m.) or Sunday Family All-4-1 ($15 flat studio fee for up to 4 people in a family).

Clay Café Falls Church: 101 N. Maple Ave. 703-534-7600

Clay Café Chantilly: 13894 Metrotech Dr.  703-817-1051



This week, check out these events offered at three of Northern Virginia’s Nature Centers—they’re sure to bring out the scientist in your child.

1/26: Australia Day Celebration at Hidden Oaks Nature Center (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

Children of all ages can come celebrate Australia Day and learn more about our friends down under. Hear songs and stories, try Australian food and meet an animal native to the area.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 7701 Royce Street, Annandale. $7 for county residents, $9 for non-county residents.  Register here.


1/29: “Geysers-Nature’s Natural Fountains” at Gulf Branch Nature Center (4 to 5 p.m.)

Kids ages 6 through 11 can come learn about geysers and other geothermal features, then take home their own geyser kit.

Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 N. Military Road, Arlington. $7 fee due at registration. Register here.


2/1: Guided Winter Hike at Motts Run Nature Center (9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

Enjoy hot cocoa and learn how to make a simple bird feeder before embarking on a guided trail hike around Motts Run.

6600 River Road, Fredericksburg. $6 for one person, or $20 family fee for up to 5 people.  Register here.