New Jersey

Beat Winter Boredom with 8 Awesome STEM Activities

Winter days can leave families in need of fun indoor activities. We worked with Sylvan Learning, a leader in STEM education for kids, to develop ideas for a “boredom buster” jar full of STEM activities. Each fun project is super simple and includes concrete STEM educational tips to bring the learning home. That’s what we love about Sylvan EDGE programs; the educators at Sylvan Learning always make sure that the kids go home understanding important STEM concepts while having fun doing it.

To make your STEM activities boredom busters jar just print out the downloadable sheets, cut out the activity cards, fold and place in a jar or bowl. Any time the kids get restless or need a screen time break, just pull an activity out for some at-home fun. Note: Some of these activities do take some preparation, so make sure to gather your materials—including freezing your colored ice sculpture shapes—in advance so you are ready to go when boredom calls...or whines, as the case may be.

Weekday Fun in NJ: MLK Day, Story Times, Nature Hikes

This week kicks off with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—a day off from school and an opportunity for kids to volunteer their time. You can take part in various community projects as part of the Martin Luther King Day of Service, or skate your way through the day at MLK Day Skate & Play. Plus, it’s a great week for storytime freebies. Bring the little ones for story events, such as Uptown Storytime, Meet the Author: Fred Freda and Spot is Here. Read on for our best children's events the week of January 16–20, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and January GoList for even more wintry events and MLK Day activities.

Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Northern New Jersey

Neither flurries nor rain, nor heat nor cold should keep New Jersey children from enjoying a day of play—especially when there are so many awesome indoor play spaces in Northern Jersey. From toddler play dates to teen outings, we've compiled a list of the best indoor playgrounds in Northern New Jersey where kids can drop-in for play. No memberships needed! If you're looking for sites that are a bit farther south, check out this listing of Central Jersey play spaces.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events in NJ

Martin Luther King, Jr., the chief spokesperson for the Civil Rights Movement, is memorialized annually on the third Monday of January. This floating holiday has evolved into more than just a day off from school. Now deemed a National Day of Service, MLK Day encourages volunteers across the country to donate their time in order to make a difference. This day reminds us of hope, compassion, and the ongoing potential for social change. Many New Jersey towns are hosting local activities, and we've put together a list that includes both celebrations and service activities.

Family-Friendly Skiing and Snowboarding Spots Around NJ

If you want to help your kids develop a lifelong love of skiing, snowboarding, and other snowy sports, this is a good place to start. We've rounded up some nearby ski resorts where you and your family can enjoy time on the slopes with minimal time in the car. We've also included safety tips for skiing and snowboarding from respected professionals. If you're looking for winter fun that's a bit less strenuous, snow tubing might be just the thing. And for even more options, check out our Ski & Snow Guide.

Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Disney on Ice, Pinkalicious, MLK Day

We honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday on Monday, and that means school will be closed. If you're trying to figure out how to spend the long weekend, you've got plenty of options, whether you want to take in a performance featuring ice skating princesses, take part in a celebration of Dr. King, or pretty much anything in between. You can have breakfast with the animals at Jenkinson's Aquarium and learn all about the Fire Department Museum in Hoboken; you can cure cabin fever with outdoor options that include a maple sugaring demonstration and an MLK Day of Service opportunity for teens at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. If you'd rather stay warm and toasty, check out one of NJ's many indoor play spaces and fun zones. Still looking? Find more fun things to do in our Calendar of Events and January GoList

Indoor Water Parks and Pools for New Jersey Families

Winter certainly has its charms: building snowmen, sledding, skating, and hot cocoa are wonderful, but by mid-January you and your family might be looking to warm up in a more tropical environment. While it might be nice to board a plane to a sunny island destination, it’s not always possible or cost-effective. Luckily, you can enjoy some summertime fun even in the coldest months at a multitude of indoor water parks and pools in and around New Jersey. All of these destinations can be reached in about three hours or less by car, give or take your starting address and traffic, of course. Go dig out your bathing suit from behind your coats and mittens, and get ready to take the plunge at one of these exciting parks!

See National Parks for Free in 2017 on These Free Entrance Days

A trip to one of our nation's incredible national parks may already be on your family travel to-do list for 2017. Whether it is or not, you may want to check out the just released FREE admission days at some of the country's largest parks. Courtesy of the National Park Service, the 10 FREE days all take place on easy-for-planning weekends, school breaks, and national holidays at select parks.

While many parks have free admission every day of the year, more than 100 of them, including some of the most popular destinations, charge $15 per person or more. Those waiving admission for these 10 holidays include some of those iconic, bucket list spots like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Harpers Ferry, Everglades National Park, and the Cape Cod Seashore. The freebies also extend to a few historical sites under the National Park Service's purview, like the New York home of celebrated American president Franklin D. Roosevelt and national historic parks like Morristown National Historic Park, the scene of an American Revolutionary War battle.

Mark your calendars as the first FREE admission day is coming up this month, Monday, January 19, Martin Luther King Day; and now, read on to find out the rest of the FREE days, and get a peek at some of the kid-friendly parks that are waiving admission. 

Weekday Fun in NJ: Toddler Trek, Tot Tour, LEGO Challenge

Just because it’s January doesn’t mean the little ones need to be cooped up indoors. Winter nature programs are in the spotlight this week. Bundle up, and check out Toddler Trek: Tricky Tracks and Little Explorers Winter Nature Program. It’s also a great week for young LEGO fans. Morris Museum hosts a Winter Fun Tot Tour that includes its LEGO exhibit, while pre-teens and teens can try the LEGO League Challenge at Old Bridge Library.

Read on for our best children's events the week of January 9–13, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and January GoList for even more wintry events.

Family-Friendly Bowling Alleys in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a fun, indoor activity that will appeal to the whole family, bowling may be right up your alley! (Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.) Here in New Jersey, there are plenty of bowling facilities that offer year-round fun: small-town/neighborhood bowling alleys that offer traditional games with modern touches, such as automatic scoring and gutter bumpers; and newer, flashier bowling alleys that feature high-tech bells and whistles like interactive games, video walls, and glow ball. In addition, fun centers throughout the state often include bowling alongside laser tag and video arcades. And bowling alleys are an ideal spot for low-maintenance birthday parties, play dates, and weekend day trips.

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