The Property Brothers: Double the fun for D.C. preschoolers

August 7, 2013

Jonathan Scott, Drew Scott  and Education Secretary Arne Duncan read to hundreds of preschoolers at Tuesday’s “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” event at the National Building Museum. (Courtesy of Department of Education)

You can’t script preschoolers, which is what makes them so much fun. At an event designed to showcase the joys of reading and exercise, Jonathan and Drew Scott — a.k.a. The Property Brothers — quizzed the kids about their perfect home.

“Who knows what they want in their dream house?” Jonathan asked.

“Video games!” shouted one wildly enthusiastic couch potato.

Adorably off-message, but probably one of the most fun of the Department of Education’s “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” events this summer. For the final installment, Education Secretary Arne Duncan invited the HGTV stars to the National Building Museum Tuesday. Turns out the photogenic identical twins, 35, were naturals at this play date.


The Property Brothers draw a dream house. That’s a pool on the left, but where are the granite countertops? (Department of Education)

The Canadian natives (Jonathan is older by four minutes) were child entertainers and actors because their dad insisted they had to get a job. At age 7, they went to clown school and started working birthday parties and other kid-friendly events. “Our focus has always been on education and kids,” Jonathan told us.

They got into real estate when they were 18, bought their first house with a $250 down payment and made $50,000 profit when they sold it. They continued doing film and TV  roles (Drew appeared in “Smallville,” Jonathan in “X Files”) but it was their real estate business that eventually led to a hit HGTV series, which debuted three years ago.

“Usually I’m a little goofier,” said Jonathan. “Drew takes everything a little bit more seriously. But our whole premise is that we take the job seriously but not ourselves.”

Goofy and tall. Most celebrities are shorter in person: the Scott brothers seem much taller (both 6′ 5″) than they appear on television. They met Duncan (also 6′ 5″) last year playing in the NBA All-Star Celebrity basketball game; he invited them to come to Washington this week and teach the finer points of building (“Dig!” “Connect!” “Paint!”) to little kids.


Little new fans high-five the twins. (Department of Education)

The twins asked the children — most of them from local preschools and camps, all wearing yellow plastic construction hats — to draw their favorite house, then Duncan joined them on stage for a dramatic reading of “The House in the Meadow.” It quickly descended into sweet chaos (you try keeping hundreds of 5-year-olds quiet) and ended with everyone racing around the vast building. Less reading, more moving — but all good.

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Megan McDonough | August 6, 2013