New Jersey

Weekend Fun: Disney on Ice, Mermaids, Mutts Gone Nuts

This weekend's lineup includes ice skating princesses, swimming mermaids, and performing pooches.

But wait, there's more! You can catch a performance of Junie B. Jones the Musical or School House Rock Live! Jr.; build and program robots at the Monmouth Museum; or take in the fall foliage at Liberty State Park.  For a mega-dose of fun, head to Play Fair at the Javits Center in NYC—or check out Ocean Citys' Quiet Festival for something a little more mellow.  

Find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, including fall day trips, family hikes, and more. And be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

15 Stores That Offer Free and Cheap Classes for NJ Kids

Extracurricular activities create enriching experiences for kids, but they can also take a toll on your wallet. While kids are encouraged to explore their passions, the price tag on sports teams, dance classes, and art lessons can be overwhelming.

The good news is that stores throughout the state offer free—and nearly free—classes that allow you to save money while developing your family’s interests. These low- or no-cost classes, crafts, storytimes, and other activities are great ways to fill in schedule gaps without busting your budget.

Many stores have various locations, so be sure to check the websites for local schedules.

Weekday Fun: Halloween, Great Pumpkin Sail, Disney on Ice

Halloween week is here, and for many that means dressing up in fancy or scary costumes and indulging in tasty treats. The Mommy Poppins Halloween guide is packed with great ways to celebrate, including the Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods in NJ and 30 Free Events and Parades that are frightfully fun. If you have little ones, don't miss the Best Halloween Events for NJ Preschoolers

After Halloween, watch your favorite princesses glide and sing at Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream, have a mommy-and-me date at Chocolate Works, make amazing LEGO creations, and more. And take advantage of the mild temperatures to continue exploring the beauty of autumn with activities such as corn mazes, fall hikes, and other seasonal fun.

Read on for our best children's events the week of October 30 – November 3, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and November GoList for even more fall happenings.

November GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

Ready or not, here comes the holiday season! 

This month, celebrate Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm and the Historic Village at Allaire. And it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with the start of holiday train rides and holiday light shows like the ones at Skylands Stadium and Turtle Back Zoo. Santa Claus is coming to town, too, with celebrations of his arrival at Storybook Land and Camden Children's Garden.

November is also packed with exciting live performances, including Disney on Ice, Annie, and the National Acrobats and Martial Artists of China, as well as holiday shows like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical and A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage. Beloved annual traditions return for another year, including the Mermaids at Adventure Aquarium and the 60th annual Model Railroad Show in North Haledon. And if you're looking for a New York City day trip, don't miss Play Fair at the Javits Center November 4-5.

Read on for more than 25 can't-miss events coming up in November, and for even more family-friendly choices, be sure to check out our Event Calendar, updated daily with new happenings. Happy (beginning of the) Holidays, New Jersey!

Sweet Ways to Donate Your Halloween Haul to Those in Need

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are eight charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

NJ Doughnut Crawl: These 10 Shops Are Tops for a Family Treat

After a long week, there’s no better treat for a lazy, never get-out-of-your-pajamas weekend morning than a box of fresh, hot doughnuts. Luckily, New Jersey is chock-full of out-of-this-world doughy wonders. We (gladly) did the tireless research of combing the state's doughnut shops and bakeries for the best doughnuts for kids of all ages.

These 10 spots have taken fried dough to a whole new level. From shops selling candy-covered delights to brunch food–inspired delicacies—plus doughnuts featuring local ingredients and flavors—here’s where you can score delectable doughnuts that will delight everyone in the family. 

If you're looking for more sweet treats, check out our roundups of fun ice cream joints, sweet shops, and spots where kids can make their own candy and sweets

Halloween Weekend Fun for New Jersey Kids

Get your Halloween pre-game on this weekend with tons of holiday-themed events. You can see stunning pumpkins at the Mount Holly Pumpkin Festival, go trick-or-treating at Storybook Land, take a haunted train ride, and much more. 

There's so much going on, we couldn't fit it all here—so be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of the weekend's Halloween happenings. Find even more holiday fun in our roundup of FREE Halloween events and parades, the best Halloween events for preschoolers, and our Ultimate Halloween Guide for NJ Kids.

Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast this weekend. You may want to call, or check the venue's website, before heading to outdoor events and parades.

Happy trick-or-treat, NJ!

Play Fair Returns to Javits Center with New Toys and Interactive Fun

The holidays are coming up fast, and your kids are eager to get to work on their wish lists (of course). But before anyone decides which gifts make the final cut, consider a trip to Play Fair, where the whole family can get hands on with the gotta-have-'em toys and new-to-the-market goodies that'll make this season one for the books!

Play Fair, which returns to the Javits Center on November 4 and 5 after its fun-filled debut last year, offers toy lovers of all ages an action-packed day filled with memorable performances by kid-approved favorites, special movie screenings, character appearances (including Chase and Marshall of Paw Patrol fame), tons of interactive games, and most importantly a chance to play with and buy the toys of tomorrow today. And as if that wasn't reason enough to snag tickets for your family, we have a special discount for Mommy Poppins readers.

New Hot Spots for New Jersey Kids and Families

These recently opened destinations for kids and families in New Jersey deserve a place on your family’s bucket list.

Two Essex County playgrounds have recently undergone major transformations, with brand-spankin’-new play equipment just waiting for your kids to try out before the weather turns cold. If you're looking for a birthday gift, skip the big-box store on the highway and shop local at a cool toy store in Maplewood. Read the day away in a cozy children’s indie bookstore, like the one you’ll find in Bayonne, and when your family is ready for some action, head to Woodbridge for the grand opening of NJ's first Dave & Buster’s. Or get the kiddos out of the house on a rainy day and burn off some serious energy at a new indoor trampoline park in Milltown.

And here's one that's worth a trip into the city: American Girl's flagship Midtown store is relocating to a new location on November 11, just in time for the holidays.

Read on to learn more about these new NJ hot spots, and find even more things to do in our Fall Fun Guide.

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