Michelle Vames's blog

Free Outdoor Summer Movies for New Jersey Families

If you like watching movies under the stars—for free!—as much as we do, you're in luck: New Jersey will be showing hundreds of free films in parks and on beaches throughout the state this summer. Pack your chairs and blankets, put the kids in their PJs, and get there early to snag a good spot. Depending on the venue, you can either pack your own snacks or buy them onsite. And some events include pre-show activities such as dance parties, games, and meet-and-greets with movie characters. Don't forget the bug spray!

Scroll to the bottom of the list to find a few free (and practically free) indoor flicks—many of them shown in the morning—for those days when you just want to cool off in a nice, dark theater.

For more summer awesomeness, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

New Jersey Summer Camps with Availability —Yes, Even Now!

Summer vacation may be staring you in the face, but there's no need to panic—several camps in and around New Jersey still have space. All of the camps listed below are still open for enrollment as of this publish date.

Whether you're looking for a day camp for your preschooler or a sleepaway camp for your tween, you'll find it here! Sign up for the whole summer, or just one week, depending on the camp and your needs. (After all, you might want to leave time to try some of our 100 things to do with kids in New Jersey before they grow up.) 

You can find even more camps in our NJ Summer Camp Guide, or in our NJ Summer Camp Directory.

June GoList: Best Things To Do with NJ Kids This Month

The school year is winding down, and summer fun is heating up. Most of NJ's amusement and water parks are now open for the season, and Jersey Shore beaches are ready for summer revelers.

June also brings a fresh crop of fairs and festivals, along with strawberry picking, Father's Day fun, and the start of free summer movies. You can camp out by a lake, celebrate fireflies and fairies, and step back in time to the Italian Renaissance and the American Civil War.

Of course, you can always find more fun in our daily Event Calendar.

Read on for a dozen of our favorite family events of the month. Enjoy the start of summer, and happy June!

Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 15 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

May GoList: Best Things To Do with NJ Kids This Month

May is bursting with springtime fun. It's the perfect month to fly a kite, celebrate moms, and check out the gazillion fairs and festivals happening across the state. You can celebrate New Jersey's amazing shore at Ocean Fun Days, or travel back in time to the Renaissance and the Wild West. When the weather's not cooperating, head indoors to see one of the many performances on NJ stages this month, including Alice in Wonderland, Annie, and Pete the Cat. It all culminates in Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of summer fun with the opening of many water parks and amusement parks, including the tot-friendly Land of Make Believe.

Also, don't forget that we're looking for your help, our Mommy Poppins readers and the most savvy parents we know, to pick New Jersey's BESTIES. Help us choose the best businesses in all categories, from pediatricians to play spaces. When you vote, you'll be entered to win one of two terrific prizes: a luxurious NYC getaway including a suite credit from Suiteness and a custom itinerary designed by Mommy Poppins herself, Anna Fader, or a two night stay for four at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains. Vote today!

Read on to see our top picks for the merry month of May. For even more things to do, be sure to check out our Event Calendar, with new activities and events added daily, as well as our Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids. Have a great May, NJ!

Weekend Getaway: Make a Splash at Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos

Nothing puts a damper on a weekend getaway more than bad weather. At Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, families can enjoy an indoor water park that is a balmy 84 degrees every day, even in the middle of winter. Who needs to fly to the Caribbean?

We visited Great Wolf Lodge for a two-night stay in early spring with our two boys, ages 2 and 5, and we soaked up just about all the fun this popular family resort has to offer. 

Storybook Land in New Jersey: A Magical Park for Preschoolers and Tots

If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. This charming spot, in operation since 1955, was created with younger children in mind—the rides and attractions are all geared toward the under-10 crowd, making it great for toddlers and big siblings alike.

Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children's stories, like Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. Even if you didn't go there as a kid, as many New Jerseyans did, you're sure to fall under its nostalgia-laced spell. 

My husband and I recently visited for the first time with our two boys, ages 5 and 2, and we all loved it and will definitely go back. Storybook Land is No. 1 on our list of 30 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers, with good reason. Read on for more about this sweet NJ gem.

April GoList: Best Things To Do with NJ Kids This Month

Grab your umbrella and head to one of the many awesome events happening throughout New Jersey this month. 

April is packed with celebrations of spring, including Daffodil Day at Reeves-Reed Arboretum, the Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival in Newark, and the Hindu festival of Holi in Jersey City. Storybook Land will reopen for the season on April 1 (and that's no joke), and the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum will host the grand opening of its Stone House Nature Center on April 22—which happens to be, fittingly, Earth Day

There's also plenty of Easter fun happening across the state, from egg hunts and bunny brunches to Easter-themed train rides.

If an indoor day is in order, you can catch performances of Peter and the Wolf, The Rainbow Fish, and The House at Pooh Corner. Dino fanaticsbudding ballerinas, and train enthusiasts will find a lot to love this month, too.

Read on to learn more about our top 16 picks for April. As always, you can find even more options in our Event Calendar, with new activities added daily. 

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