Ten Great NJ Activities To Do During Your Baby's First Summer

If you're a new mom, you've probably noticed that the "lazy days of summer" aren't quite as relaxing as they once were. Beach bags stocked with little more than sunscreen and a good book have been replaced with wagons full of swim diapers and baby gear. Finding things to do that are fun for both mom and baby on a hot, sticky summer day can be tough. Luckily, we've come up with a list of great activities that will make your babies first summer a memorable one.

  1. Head to the Bay. Even the state's smallest residents need to dip their toes in the sand this summer. Skip the crowded beaches, with their big waves and long stretches of sand, and head to one of NJ's great bay beaches. The bay offers calm, shallow waters, shorter beaches and a family-friendly atmosphere. Some of our favorites include Barnegat Bay Beach and the many bay beaches on Long Beach Island.
  2. Make your own fresh baby food. Hit the farmers markets and pick-your-own farms for some Jersey-fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a baby food cooking class at Hoboken's Give Peas a Chance, or follow these simple recipes.
  3. Take a swim class. Mommy & me swim classes are a great way to get your little one comfortable in the water. While your baby probably won't be doing the back stroke right away, a good swim class can lead to a lifelong love of swimming.
  4. Visit your local sprayground. Think your baby is too small for the splash park? Think again. Most of New Jersey's spraygrounds have great features for babies, including small water tables and ground level sprayers. If you want to avoid the bigger kids, get there early. On the flip side, watching children giggling and playing in the water provides some fun and free live entertainment.
  5. Take a trip to the state's many aquariums and zoos. These great, stroller-friendly, destinations aren't just for big kids. You'll be surprised how much babies love to gaze at large tanks of exotic fish and  enclosures filled with interesting animals. If you're just looking to escape the heat for a short amount of time, swing into your local pet shop. A free "mini zoo", pet shops are filled with plenty of cute critters for your baby to admire.
  6. Take a class. Escape the heat by heading indoors to a Mommy & Me class. From music classes to indoor gyms, NJ has tons of options for new moms to choose from. An added bonus, classes give moms the chance to socialize and make new "mommy friends".
  7. Take a hike. New Jersey has plenty of trails that will accommodate an all-terrain stroller. Looking for some company? Stroller Strides® is a stroller-based fitness program designed for moms with little ones. Their 60-minute total body workout incorporates power walking, strength training, music and activities. Find a class near you here
  8. Enjoy the simple things. Don't underestimate the power of a good bucket swing. Head to the nearest park and let your baby enjoy the sights and sounds of the world around her as she swings the afternoon away. Afterwards, find a shady spot and break out the giggle-inducing bubbles. In the near future your baby won't be so easily entertained by these simple pleasure. 
  9. Go shopping. We know it's not as easy to hit the stores now that you have to tow a baby and tons of gear. However, colorful displays and great lighting can keep mom and baby entertained. Plus, now you have a reason to stop in all of those great children's stores and shopping with a baby is a treat compared to shopping with a climbing, running toddler. Enjoy New Jersey's great shopping towns while your baby is still safely confined to his stroller.
  10. March in a Baby Parade. Both Ocean City and Wildwood host annual Baby Parades. Decorate your stroller, make a cute costume for baby and join in the fun. Prizes are awarded at each parade for everything from cuteness to overall presentation. If you have older children they can participate as well. Become a part of history by being part of this great Jersey Shore tradition.
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