Kids need fresh air and outdoor play year-round -- and not just when the weather is picture-perfect. In December, the giant sand pit at Discovery Creek Children's Museum is open, and the pails and shovels are set out for kids to play in the sand or snow. Bundle up the children and tell them to go play "beach." They should be happy for at least an hour.

While you're at Discovery Creek, drop by the family program between 10 and 3 Saturday and Sunday. This weekend's theme is "Nature's Sacred Spot: The Rain Forest." Cost is $5 per person, $3 for age 65 and older, and free for age 2 and younger. The program, at the Stable at Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, is best suited for ages 4 through 8, museum spokeswoman Jessica Fraser says.

Families will take a hike to compare a D.C. forest setting to that of a rain forest. Children will search for rain forest scents, such as vanilla bean, that have been placed in the woods. Kids can make a frog puppet or a camouflage butterfly. And they will have a mini-lesson about the various layers of the rain forest, do the "rain forest stretch," hear stories and see live creatures when a museum worker introduces them to a giant millipede, hissing cockroach, toad, tarantula or corn snake. For more information, call 202-337-5111 or visit discoverycreek.org. Call 301-320-2330 for weather-related cancellation information.