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Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park!); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey

Nothing screams springtime in the Garden State like getting your hands dirty picking strawberries. Heading to a pick-your-own farm is an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward—what kid (or grown-up) doesn’t love red, ripe strawberries? Whether this is your child’s first time at the berry patch or you’re looking to fill pies, jam jars, smoothies, and shortcakes for months to come, we’ve rounded up more than 20 farms and festivals around the state where your sweeties can their hands on bushels full of juicy red berries.

Check out our May GoList and Spring Fun Guide to find more events and activities to enjoy with your kids this season.

Kids' Classes and Fun Family Activities at NJ Community Colleges

Your child might not be old enough to head off to college, but there are plenty of offerings for kids at New Jersey's many community colleges. There are about 20 community colleges throughout the state, and they offer everything from music programs to STEM classes. We've put together a list of some of the best classes and enrichment activities for tots to teens. Some summer camps are noted, but for a longer list of options, be sure to check out our Summer Camp Guide.

Top Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in NJ

Looking for an outdoor winter activity for the whole family? There are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks in NJ where you can take a skating lesson, play hockey, or just grab a hot chocolate and skate during a public session. Of course, if you feel like staying indoors, you can always check out our list of the Best Indoor Ice Skating Rinks in NJ. And for more wintry sports, try our Ski & Snow Guide.

Top Birthday Party Places for Kids in New Jersey

It's time to party, New Jersey! We've rounded up 15 of our favorite places to celebrate in the Garden State. Whether your birthday kid is into cooking, laser tagging, bouncing, or crafting, there's a place that's perfect for hosting your next bash. And if you're looking for more specific ideas—for a first birthday, perhaps, or the best spots for preschoolers' parties—be sure to check out our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Ideas Guide

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.

New Jersey's Got Talent at These Performing Arts Summer Camps

Do you have an emerging star at home (and a long summer vacation ahead)? Try one of the many theater camps New Jersey has to offer. Whether your child is a shy newbie who just wants to build social skills or a junior Lin-Manuel Miranda who's aiming for Broadway, there are a myriad of choices in the Garden State. The following camps offer instruction in acting technique, musical theater, playwriting, improv, Shakespeare, and beyond. You can find more New Jersey summer camps in our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings

Break a leg, New Jersey! 

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. 

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