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Picking the Perfect New Jersey Preschool for Your Child

Selecting the best preschool for your child is no easy task. You can lose sleep over finding an environment that's just right for your little one. The questions are seemingly endless: Will the teachers prepare my child for the academic rigors that lie ahead? Will she be given the proper outlets to express her creativity and independence? Will his transition to preschool be smooth, and will he make friends? Will she nap and eat properly?

The process can be a bit less overwhelming if you first identify a school philosophy that you feel works best for your child, and go from there. To help you get started, we've laid out six of the most popular approaches, from co-ops and Montessori and Reggio Emilia to full immersion programs, along with some examples of New Jersey preschools that follow them. 

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.

Play Spaces with Drop-In Hours for Central New Jersey Kids

You don't need a beautiful spring day to go to the playground. Chilly and rainy days are perfect for visiting an indoor playgound. Central Jersey is home to lots of them, whether the focus is bouncy rooms, arcades, rock walls, or imaginative play. From tots to teens, cabin fever is no longer a danger with these fun play spaces.

Note that many facilities are socks-only, have height requirements, or require waivers. Check with each facility about their rules and schedules for open play.

Small Town Christmas Celebrations in New Jersey

If you're looking for a quaint holiday experience this year, we recommend skipping the mall and heading to one of New Jersey's charming small towns. You’ll find boutiques and specialty shops that are filled with one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list. Plus, many small towns go the extra mile by sponsoring events and entertainment for the entire family. Check out our roundup below for some great small-town fun. 

Best Places to Take Pictures with Santa in New Jersey

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he's ready for his close-up. From simple setups to elaborate events, there's no shortage of opportunities for your little elves to pose with the big guy. We've rounded up our favorites, and there's something for every budget. Want more QT with jolly St. Nick? Book a breakfast with Santa. And for even more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

New NJ Sports Facility Caters to the Needs of All Kids

How’s this wish list for a kids' recreational class: great instructors, top-notch facilities, supportive staff, and diverse offerings for kids of all ages and abilities. When husband-and-wife duo Jonathan and Shannon Schafer decided to create the 37,800-square-foot Schafer Sports Center, these items were among their “must-haves."

My family recently visited the Schafer Sports Center in Ewing Township to check out their offerings, and it didn’t disappoint. There's something for everyone at this immaculate facility.

5 Revolutionary War Sites in New Jersey to Visit with Kids

In certain parts of New Jersey, it seems like you can’t walk more than a few feet without stumbling upon a spot where George Washington and the Continental Army made history during the Revolutionary War. Indeed, New Jersey is known as “The Crossroads of the American Revolution,” and Washington spent more time in our strategically located state than anywhere else during the war. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it: the Revolutionary War happened all around us.

Whether you're looking to put a little educational spin on your next family day trip or your child is suddenly turning into a budding historian, a visit to one of these historic spots can make a great way to spend a morning or afternoon in New Jersey. You'll see old barracks and monuments, hike along nature trails, and even enjoy hands-on activities and demonstrations at places like the Princeton Battlefield State Park. 

Read on for five of the best sites in NJ for kids to soak up a little American history.

Harvest Festivals, Hayrides and Fall Fair Fun in New Jersey

Summer festivals may be retired for the year, but lucky us, it's harvest time! We've already celebrated a number of great family fairs in New Jersey this September, but the real-deal harvest celebrations are just gearing up.

From hayrides to pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests to scarecrow-building, live animals to live music, these local fall-tastic fairs offer something for everyone in the family. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun. Read on for nearly 20 great harvest fests in New Jersey, including the Harvest Home Festival at the Historic Longstreet Farm, a Pumpkin Palooza in Cherry Hill, and the annual Hoboken Harvest Festival.

For an unconventional fall adventure on wheels, be sure to check out our list of Halloween and Fall Train Rides, as well as our Fall Fun Guide for more seasonal activities around the Garden State.

Best Events This Fall for New Jersey Preschoolers

As sad as it is to say goodbye to summer, fall is an amazing time of year for all, including New Jersey’s youngest residents. Get outside with your preschoolers, and enjoy the beautiful weather and colors at events like Terhune Orchards’ Fall Family Weekends and Hefty Harvest and Scary Scarecrows at Camden Children’s Garden. Catch big names at these preschool-friendly performances: Peppa Pig’s Big SplashSesame Street Live!, the Wiggles, and Octonauts Live

So, read on for almost two dozen great fall 2016 events all over NJ that are perfect for the preschool set. And don't forget to check out our Fall Fun Guide and Events Calendar to find even more great things to do. 

Organic Apple Picking in NJ? Where to Find Low-Spray Farms

I don't know about you, but as soon as that first crisp autumn breeze arrives, my family is ready for a day of apple picking in New Jersey. In addition to hayrides, hot cider, and barnyard animals, we decided that this year, we wanted to pick juicy, ripe, organic apples. After doing a little research, we learned that the woodsy (and buggy) climate here in Jersey can make organic apple farming a challenge. But that doesn’t mean local farmers aren’t doing their best to reduce the use of pesticides, using low-spray methods, and low-impact family farming practices.

Spend a perfect fall day at one of these four New Jersey farms and bring home a bushel of local, responsibly-farmed fruit.

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