New Jersey

40+ Events This Winter for New Jersey Preschoolers

If being cooped up at home with an energetic preschooler isn't your idea of winter wonder, we offer you more than 40 excuses to get out of the house! From shows to storytimes to nature activities, there are events nearly every day this winter that are tailor-made for the under-5 set. 

Preschool fan-favorites take the stage this winter in kid-friendly productions of American Girl Live, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pete the Cat, and Cinderella. Frozen fans can chill out at A Very Frozen Event, Story Time with Queen Elsa, and Frozen Ball.

Storytimes are a perfect way to pass the time on a slow day (bonus: most are free!). Swing over to weekly events at Pottery Barn Kids, L.L. Bean, Hoboken Fire Department, and Lovin' Oven, and check out special happenings, like I Am Not a Fox Storytime and A Rescue-to-Royal Puppy Love Story.

Bundle up, and let the little ones explore nature at events like Nature Time Together Drop Ins, Winter Tales, First Friday Storytime, Groundhog Day Celebration, and A Winter's Day on the Farm

Read on for more than 40 preschooler-friendly events happening this winter, and check out even more ways to entertain kids this time of year in our New Jersey Winter Fun Guide, featuring 50+ Things to Do with Kids Indoors in the Winter

MLK Weekend Fun: Day of Service, American Girl Live, Train Show

The first three-day weekend of 2019 kicks off with cozy crafts and theater, then tops off with an important historical celebration. 

Catch the stage debut this weekend of American Girl Live in Morristown or Red Bank, and get ready to be amazed when Bubble Trouble bursts on the scene at Bergen PAC. There are plenty of weekend opportunities to get crafty, including the I Have a Dreamcatcher Craft, Valentine Pop-Up Cards, Free Crafts at Lakeshore Learning, and penguin-themed crafts and activities at Penguin Awareness Day.

On Monday, kids of all ages can honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service activities in Scotch Plains and Blackwood, or creative outlets in Summit and Forked River

Find even more weekend options in our Winter Guide, including 50 Things To Do with Kids Indoors in New Jersey. And look to our January GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

Top Dance Studios and Schools for New Jersey Kids

New Jersey parents have no shortage of dance programs to keep their little ones on their toes! Depending on your child's ages and interests—do they want to emulate Misty Copeland, be the next Beyoncé or dance to the beat of an African drum?—there's a class made just for them.

Luckily, NJ's close proximity to the cultural mecca known as New York City means there are many choreographers, former Broadway talent, and retired professional dancers from such elite companies as American Ballet Theatre who are ready and willing to help mold and shape the next generation of dancing stars. 

Whether your tots want to twirl, tap, or pop and lock, these local schools will get them to bust a move. Read on for our picks of some of the best dance studios for kids in New Jersey. Interested in other disciplines? Find more ideas in our Guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids!

25 Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Phoenix Area

At first glance, Phoenix might seem like just cactus and desert as far as the eye can see. Yet, there is so much more to this western city than scorching heat and golf. Families will find fantastic museums, unique attractions, such as a stunning desert botanical garden and a Butterfly Wonderland, as well as a fascinating history that makes this capital city come to life.

A trip to the Valley of the Sun makes a perfect winter getaway or spring break for sun seekers. There are water parks, pools, hiking, spas for the grown-ups and plenty of resorts from which to choose. We've already explored neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona, and now we want to take you on a tour of the 25 top things to do in Phoenix for families with kids. Whether you stay at a five-star resort or spend your vacation with family and friends, this gem of the Grand Canyon State has a little something for everyone.

35+ Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Northern NJ

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.

New NJ Laws That Can Impact Parents and Families in 2019

As 2019 gets underway, new laws impacting expectant and new moms, students, and parents may make life a little easier. From streamlining the application process for applying for pregnancy-related disability benefits to ensuring infants have access to breast milk and students in need are offered a breakfast once school's underway, these changes are welcome news for families. Take a look at the new laws and when they go into effect.

Best Winter Baby Clothes and Gear for Cold Weather Survival

It’s no secret that winter babies require more gear and baby clothing than their summer siblings, especially those born in northern climates, such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

New parents should prepare to do battle with snowdrifts, chilling wind gusts that leave faces and fingers raw, and otherwise icy and wet conditions on the way to daycare, playdates, the local library, or wherever. Stock up on some of our favorite stroller blankets, footmuffs, toddler mittens, adorable baby snowsuits, booties, and winter hats before the real storms hit.

Cold weather protection doesn’t stop at the baby phase, of course, especially for those navigating city streets outdoors. “NYC kids stay in their strollers a bit longer than suburban kids, because they have to deal with the elements a lot more,” explains Carol Adams, owner of Torly Kid, a popular kids clothing boutique in Manhattan, by email. “I know I kept my kids wrapped in their 7 A.M. Enfant footmuff and covered the stroller with a wind protector until they were almost 5!”

Read on for our top picks of baby winter clothes and gear for keeping newborns and toddlers toasty—no matter the temperature.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Volunteer and Celebrate with Kids 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.

Weekend Fun: Teddy Bear Tea, Pinkalicious, Winter Festival

It's play time this mid-January weekend! Load up your calendars with playful events that spotlight teddy bears, trains, and storytimes. Little ones can treat their favorite plush friends to a tea party at Morris Museum. Young train enthusiasts will be on board with The Museum of American History's Annual Antique Toy Train Show. And kids can grab free fun at Barnes & Noble and Hoboken Fire Department Museum storytimes.

Keep warm at indoor performances this weekend, including productions of The Phantom TollboothPinkalicious: The Musical, and a free, interactive show with Big Jeff Music. If you choose to brave the outdoors, enjoy rides and activities at Winter Festival Bonfire & Fireworks or search for hidden clues at the Family Arboretum Challenge. Learn more about outdoor fun at Garden State Outdoor Sports Show.

Find even more weekend options in our Winter Fun Guide, including a day trip to Yogi Berra Museum's new Basketball Exhibit. And look to our event calendar and January GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

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