our kids

There is a nip in the air, leaves are falling and days are shorter – winter’s hint that autumn is ending. It’s time to put away the shin-guards, football pads and baseball gloves, and shake the mothballs from the long johns, mittens and coats.


kindergarteners and 1st graders

Our mission for the Elements Flurries is to provide a creative and nurturing environment for young children to explore and be inspired by the natural play spaces in our local woods. We will cultivate each Flurry’s spirit of exploration and inquisitiveness with loosely structured activities and self-directed discovery time. The winter elements of leafless trees, cold, babbling brooks and nippy temperatures are the perfect backdrop for an hour of adventure. The Flurries will leave Elements with rosy cheeks and twinkles in their eyes!

Some examples of our Flurry fun:

  • Climbing, crawling, and crossing logs and streams
  • Pretending to be explorers and trekking to the farthest reaches of the park sometimes on trail and other times ‘back-country’.
  • Collecting cool woodland items to tuck into the Treasure Tree
  • Story-telling paired with sweet, Ele’mint tea

*The activities that we engage in at Elements may not be appropriate for children with certain physical, medical or behavioral conditions or issues. Contact the Elements Director if you have questions about the suitability of the Elements program for your child.


2nd to 5th graders

The ELEMENTS Blizzards are comprised of adventurous kids who want to do cool stuff outside in winter.  The school day is so structured thus our Element’s time  unfolds in an organic way. We let our kids and the woods guide our adventure. That said, here are some examples of our Element’s activities.

  • Elements Expeditions: A great way to master our frozen winter terrain by simulating The Appalachian Trail and it’s west coast compadre, the Pacific Coast Trail.
  • Shelter Building:We learn about surviving in the winter elements and create winter forts out of  found natural materials.
  • National Parks: We celebrate Theodore and Franklin D Roosevelt, the inspiration behind our National Parks and the conservation of our woods. We give back to that land which has given us so much; collecting trash, clearing branches, looking and listening too.
  • Elements Idita-Run: Football is not the only American pasttime. At Elements we learn about the annual Alaskan Iditarod and then test our own strength with our own exciting Elements Idita-Run.

*The activities that we engage in at Elements may not be appropriate for children with certain physical, medical or behavioral conditions or issues. Contact the Elements Director if you have questions about the suitability of the Elements program for your child.


ELEMENTS 4 KIDS: JUNIOR CREW (new offering for 2018)

(AKA Our Wintry Mix)
7th and 8th graders. We will consider 6th graders (email mrietano@theelementsdc.com) who are Elements alums

JC’s  are curious and up-and-coming leaders who want to take the first step to learn how to supervise youth in the winter woods. JC’s will shadow Crew Members and assist in program implementation. They will also tap into their inner Blizzard and have a heck of a lot of fun and experience all the positive benefits of an afternoon in the wintry woods!.

Guidelines for the JC Program

  • Parents register a JC for the Elements 8 week program. Parents pay a reduced fee:   $200
  • We realize that 7th and 8th graders can often  have busy after-school schedules With that in mind, we allow JC’s to attend as many (but at least one) sessions per week that work for their schedule.
  • JC’s and parents will receive a “logistics letter’ (In December) with details regarding our locations and daily offerings.
  • We invite JC’s to arrive to the daily sessions at 4pm for Crew Brief but if transportation is dependent on a sibling’s arrival (by 4:30) we understand.

Program Highlights

  • JC’s will have the opportunity for enrichment. We will base the annual JC program on certain themes such as; age appropriate wilderness first aid,  survival skills, unique explorers and their adventure stories, skills of a leader. . . .
  • JC’s are invited (but not required) to attend Crew training on Saturday, December 2nd from 9am to 12pm.
  • JC’s will have an Elements Season End celebration.  
  • JC’s who complete the eight week program will receive evaluations and a certificate stating completion of the program.



us mamas, papas and big folks

We deal. We deal with all the things that life throws at us, whether it’s work, or traffic, or parenting or being bombarded with sirens and city. We hold our heads high and carry on with a smile on our face. Until. . . .you realize that your shoulders are unnecessarily crunched up to your ears or you feel a tweak in you back or you’ve padded on a few extra pounds or you can’t shake that exhausted feeling. If you can take off for a relaxing vacation – go for it! But sometimes you need a ‘fix’ without having to leave town. Elements 4 Adults offers just the thing. Join our reBOOTS and Elements will get you in the woods for some heart-pumping hikes and nature therapy. We have  partnered with amazing practitioners (nutritionists, yoga instructor, massage therapist,  personal chef ) to provide for a spa-like ‘staycation’. No need to take time off from work or family. Save on travel expenses and dreaded re-entry stress. Stick around and savor one of our Elements reBOOTs in  May and September!
But if you do need a quick escape than check out the details on our reTREATS. We venture out of town for varsity hikes paired with incredible accommodations, delicious food, pre-hike yoga and post-hike pampering. Whether it is a reBOOT or a reTREAT, we can promise great conversation, community and camaraderie.
For details, schedules, cost, registration click on  “Elements 4 Adults”



* We are hiring for 2018! If interested in joining this amazing crew, check out our available jobs page

At Elements we seek to hire the most professional and outgoing crew. Each year we have college and high-school- students. We also hire paid interns from our partner non-profit, City Kids Wilderness Project. What ties us all together is our love of the outdoors and kids. Our applicants go through a rigorous application process and Elements training. We are especially pleased that each year, on average, 65% of our crew are returning applicants. Rest assured – our crew are the cream of the crop!




ELEMENTS Founder ’07 and Director/Site Leader

In the winter of 2007, Margaret started ELEMENTS so that her four kids and friends could get outdoors in winter.  They were delighted to be amongst a group of friends, exploring the winter woods, playing new games and experiencing activities that don’t happen in ‘organized sports’. Margaret  puts together a team of the most capable and informed instructors so that all involved will have fun, be safe, and reap the rewards of time spent in the great outdoors.

Margaret spent much of her childhood and many a summer day working on a family farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She acclimated to the colder climes during her years at the University of Vermont where she worked on Shelburne Farms and then went on to earn a degree in Landscape Design at George Washington University. It was through these experiences and parenting her four children that she realized the importance and impact of outdoor and experiential learning. She is Wilderness First Aid trained and certified. She lives in NW Washington with her husband and four kids.


ELEMENTS Assistant to Director and Site Leader

Fran was born and raised in the wilds of Maine, was a camp counselor, NOLS graduate, mother of 2 and avid runner. Fran has logged many a mile on the woodland trails of Washington DC and knows them like the back of her hand. She is passionate about getting kids into the outdoors for fresh air, exercise and play.

Questions? email us: mrietano@theelementsdc.com


Cold Loves Company!

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