Labor Day Weekend Events for New Jersey Kids

The hustle and bustle of September is just around the corner! Before diving into school and busy schedules, make the most of this unofficial last weekend of the summer. Choose from a variety of fairs and festivals, including St. Bart's Italian Festival in Scotch Plains and the Scandinavian Festival in Budd Lake. Make it a carnival weekend at the Boonton Fire Department Labor Day Carnival and the Mendham Annual Labor Day Carnival.

For a last blast of summer fun, squeeze in a trip to the Jersey Shore before the beaches officially close after Labor Day, cool off at one of the state's awesome family water parks, or spend a day at the lake. Just get there early, as parking lots are likely to overflow on the holiday weekend! Of course, the many Jersey theme parks, including those best for our youngest kids remain open this holiday weekend, too. 

If you're after an early taste of fall, head to the apple orchard: NJ's trees are already brimming with apples, and many farms like the popular Alstede and Stony Hill farms kick off fall fun this weekend with corn mazes, hayrides, and other family entertainment. 

For even more options, take a look at our full Event Calendar and Summer Fun Guide. In a back-to-school state of mind? Check out our NJ Classes Guide to find something new to do this fall.

Unique Independent Bookstores to Visit With Houston Kids

We love our local library, but sometimes we find a book that we love so much that it just has to be purchased and added to our at home collection. Big retail stores can be fun to explore when shopping for books, but there is something to be said for getting lost surfing the shelves of a local shop. Personalized service, author readings, and storytimes make shopping at a local bookstore a delightful experience to share with little ones. These stores are unlike any others in the city. You never know what you might find tucked away in the shelves or what local author you might bump into at these quaint shops. 

How to Pick a Daycare That You Actually Love

Whether it's your first child or your third, finding the best daycare option for your family comes with its share of challenges. Most parents are looking at factors like cost, hours, location, safety, and child-teacher ratio, but of course, another major requirement is an environment that's warm, inviting, and family-friendly. While trying to find the perfect daycare can make any parent anxious, the relationships and beautiful memories you'll create as a family will make all the effort worthwhile.

To help guide your search for the right daycare, we reached out to childcare program directors, Mommy Poppins editors, teachers, and professional moms to collect their stories and consolidate their advice. These daycare veterans have had time to reflect on their choices, and are ready to share their wisdom and lessons learned, which, together with your area's Daycare Listings, can help you pick a daycare that you actually love.

Color Factory in Soho: A Peek Inside NYC's Most Colorful Pop-Up

The Big Apple is one of the most colorful cities in the world: Its beautiful spectrum of diversity is reflected in all the city's sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. And now you can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch your way through a rainbow of NYC-inspired installations at the Color Factory, an interactive art experience in Soho. Based on the popular exhibit of the same name that ran in San Francisco last year, NYC's Color Factory opened to the public on August 20, and is currently selling tickets through September 30.

Photo-ops abound at almost every turn as different color-filled environments invite you to shake your groove thing, create a sound vibe, find your soul color, and more. Each installation flows into the next, ultimately leading to the grand finale, which features illustrations by Tamara Shopsin and a massive ball pit filled with 500,000 sky blue balls, where visitors can dive and play. My daughter and I visited right around opening day: Read on for a sneak peek inside this delightful display of color.

10 Fall Festivals in Boston You Don't Want to Miss

It’s not officially autumn yet, but it will be soon and that means it’s time for fall festivals. There are so many in the Boston area that it can be hard to know which ones are good for families. We took the guesswork out of it by narrowing the field down to our favorites. You’ll find good food, fun activities, music, performances, and much more at these 10 fall festivities in Boston that are perfect for both parents and kids.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: September GoList

Just because the kids are heading back to school doesn't mean the fun has to stop. In fact, September is one of the best months for FREE outdoor fun. There are a slew of alfresco festivals for families, including Brooklyn's biggest street fair, Atlantic Antic; the perfect-for-preschoolers West Side County Fair; the loopy NYC Unicycle Festival on Governors Island; and there's farm fun at Historic Richmond Town's old-fashioned County Fair, as well as the Queens County Fair.

Other September highlights include fun on the water with the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition. And we haven't even mentioned one of our annual favorites: The Maker Faire New York takes over the grounds of the New York Hall of Science on September 22-23.

It's also the last chance to take a dip at one of NYC's FREE outdoor public pools and beaches, many of which are staying open through Sunday, September 9.

Plus, tickets go on sale September 4 for the Hudson Valley's best Halloween activity, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze. (If you want to see Blaze, it is best to get your tickets now.)

Pick Your Own Apple Farms for Families on Long Island

With summer winding down, it’s time to plan some fun fall activities you and your kids can do together. How about heading to the East End for a day of apple picking? 

From small farm stands to orchards with dwarf trees sized just right for little hands, to other family-friendly venues, there are plenty of places to choose from, and we've rounded them up for you.

Apple-picking season can begin as early as the end of August and continue through October. Be sure to check out each farm’s website for hours and bounty updates. Happy picking this fall.

Find more pick-your-own fun in our Long Island Farm Guide, including where to pick peaches or pumpkins, or feed the goats and sheep at area petting zoos and barnyards.

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