From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.
Perhaps you are a new parent trying to find a yoga class to take with your child. Maybe you don’t have kids, but your sister and her toddler are coming to town for the weekend and you’re trying to find the nearest playground.
Now, there’s an app for that. Jeff Ingram has spent the last nine months combing the city for fun activities for children ages zero to five, and recently launched the DCtots, a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.
What’s in the App?
The DCtots app database includes 100-plus playgrounds, 60-plus locations offering early development classes, 30-plus venues for free story and music times — and dozens of yoga studios, theaters and indoor pools and play spaces with programming for kids under age five in the District. DCtots also has a blog, calendar and directory with helpful information for children’s caregivers.
Ingram got the idea for the project after he and his wife, Audrey, became parents to their first child, Isabel, in 2011. When Isabel was five-months-old, he left his job in marketing to take care of her full time. It was then that Ingram started thinking about creating a resource for DC parents.
Avoiding a Steep Learning Curve
“I didn’t want other new parents to go through the same steep learning curve that my wife and I did,” says Ingram. “There are a lot of resources out there for parents in the suburban areas, but there are so many more young families here now, especially in this downtown area. When I first moved to the Borderstan area in 1999, you definitely didn’t see many strollers. And I’m hoping that five, 10 years from now there will be a lot of adolescents around.”
Jeff will be working on updating the app in the next few weeks with kids’ pools and splash playgrounds, and will spend the summer taking updated photos of playgrounds and making some improvements to the app’s interface. If you have any suggestions or ideas, especially for the family dining section, please send him an email: editor at dctots dot com.
DCtots is a free download, and Jeff hopes the app will be advertising-driven. “I think there are a lot of great service providers out there who have services to offer families who will hopefully see the value in advertising,” he says. “In our first week there were 1,000 downloads, which I think is a good indication that there is a demand for this. But at the end of the day if it is a free project that’s there as a resource for people, it’s something I am proud to have put together.”