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Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 15 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

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. 

20 Best Things To Do with Tweens in New Jersey

Your tweens may be too big for bouncy houses and tea parties, yet too young for solo outings with friends. But they still love family fun (even if they won't always admit it). To keep those in-betweeners happy and engaged, find an activity that sparks their curiosity or stretches their growing limbs. When a trip to your local playground is met with eye-rolling instead of cheering, it's time to check out these amazing activities for older kids in New Jersey. The good news? You may genuinely enjoy competing with your tween in bowling and mini golf, tackling the fast slides at a water park, or seeing a play or concert. Read on for 20 ideas that are cool enough for big kids. 

New Jersey Playgrounds Cool Enough for Big Kids

Playgrounds are the perfect destination for a warm, sunny day in New Jersey. Your kids get fresh air and exercise...for FREE! But what happens when your school-aged children decide they’re too cool for their once-favorite neighborhood parks? My 8-year-old former playground-enthusiasts have recently begun to turn their noses up at the local swings and slides. And if I do talk them into a playground visit, we last about five minutes.

Playground moms—don’t give up yet. I haven’t! There are some destination playgrounds in New Jersey with features and contraptions novel enough to satisfy even the pickiest playground cynics. These play areas include zip lines, crazy slides, Spiderman-type climbers, and other structures that will challenge the ages 7-and-up crowd. We've rounded up some of our top picks across the state, and please note: these playgrounds all feature plenty to entertain the younger siblings as well.

New Jersey Art Studios that Encourage Kids To Play with Glass

Broken glass at home often leads to warnings of keep back and be careful, but at a number of art studios across the state, kids are encouraged to play with the stuff. Don't worry, cuts and scratches are not involved. In these studios, kids (and adults) can cut, glue, blow, and fuse colorful bits and pieces of glass to make sun catchers, jewelry, picture frames, and other unique designs—often with the help of trained studio artists. We've searched out some spots with open studio times and classes where kids and adults can express their inner Chihuly.

Drop-In Arts and Crafts for Kids at New Jersey Art Studios

Like the idea of crafting with your kid but cringe at the thought of paint and glitter all over your house? Lucky for us, New Jersey is home to a variety of drop-in art studios that offer your spontaneous painter, potter, glassmaker, and jeweler the chance to get their craft on. The perfect destinations for a cold winter day, these craft-tastic spaces let you skip the mess at home while catering to your budding artist's creative impulses.  

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. 

Top Birthday Party Places for Preschoolers in New Jersey

While big-kid birthday party places often offer options for little kids, sometimes even those choices can be a bit too grown-up. So, when it comes to planning a party for a younger child, one option is to host the celebration at home. But if you'd rather not have a gaggle of cake-fueled little ones running wild at your house (no judgment), we’ve compiled a list of places around New Jersey that specialize is hosting parties for the preschool and toddler set. 

We've found cool play spaces, play cafes, kiddie gyms, and even an animal-centric option. So read on for 10 great preschool party spots.

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.

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