New Jersey

40 Free Things To Do with New Jersey Kids in September

Are you feeling the end-of-summer blues? We'll turn that frown upside down with a roster full of free events taking place this month in New Jersey! September is off to a promising start with Labor Day freebies, like Riverdale's Annual Labor Day Street Fair, St. Bartholomew Italian Festival, and Rutherford Labor Day Street Fair. Street fairs continue throughout the month in Red Bank, North Haledon, Fanwood, and Jersey City

Back-to-school time is the perfect time to indulge in literature at the Annual New Jersey Storytelling Festival and Princeton Children's Book Festival. 

As summer transitions to fall, get in the autumn spirit at admission-free seasonal events, including Hopewell Harvest Fair, Edison Fall Family Spectacular, Bergen County Fall Harvest Festival, and Westfield FestiFall. Get back to nature at  the26th Annual Insect Festival, New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo, and Kids' Story Hour at Rutgers Landscape & Nursery

Read on for this month's picks! For more free and low-cost fun, check out our Event Calendar, as well as the Best Fall Fairs and Festivals for NJ Families in September. 

Labor Day Weekend Events for New Jersey Kids

The hustle and bustle of September is just around the corner! Before diving into school and busy schedules, make the most of this unofficial last weekend of the summer. Choose from a variety of fairs and festivals, including St. Bart's Italian Festival in Scotch Plains and the Scandinavian Festival in Budd Lake. Make it a carnival weekend at the Boonton Fire Department Labor Day Carnival and the Mendham Annual Labor Day Carnival.

For a last blast of summer fun, squeeze in a trip to the Jersey Shore before the beaches officially close after Labor Day, cool off at one of the state's awesome family water parks, or spend a day at the lake. Just get there early, as parking lots are likely to overflow on the holiday weekend! Of course, the many Jersey theme parks, including those best for our youngest kids remain open this holiday weekend, too. 

If you're after an early taste of fall, head to the apple orchard: NJ's trees are already brimming with apples, and many farms like the popular Alstede and Stony Hill farms kick off fall fun this weekend with corn mazes, hayrides, and other family entertainment. 

For even more options, take a look at our full Event Calendar and Summer Fun Guide. In a back-to-school state of mind? Check out our NJ Classes Guide to find something new to do this fall.

How to Pick a Daycare That You Actually Love

Whether it's your first child or your third, finding the best daycare option for your family comes with its share of challenges. Most parents are looking at factors like cost, hours, location, safety, and child-teacher ratio, but of course, another major requirement is an environment that's warm, inviting, and family-friendly. While trying to find the perfect daycare can make any parent anxious, the relationships and beautiful memories you'll create as a family will make all the effort worthwhile.

To help guide your search for the right daycare, we reached out to childcare program directors, Mommy Poppins editors, teachers, and professional moms to collect their stories and consolidate their advice. These daycare veterans have had time to reflect on their choices, and are ready to share their wisdom and lessons learned, which, together with your area's Daycare Listings, can help you pick a daycare that you actually love.

Best Fall Fairs and Festivals for NJ Families in September

As the carefree days of summer draw to a close, NJ families can look forward to plenty of fun in the Garden State this fall. Explore nature at the NJ Wild Outdoor Expo, chow down on delicious seafood at the Atlantic City Seafood Festival, or listen to some exciting tales at the NJ Storytelling Festival.

Check out the 13 awesome festivals below, and visit our Events Calendar for more fabulous fall ideas! And sign up for our FREE newsletters to get the best local events and reviews delivered right to your inbox.

Best Pick-Your-Own Apple Farms and Orchards in New Jersey

There's a chill in the air, the kids are headed back to school, and you know what that means... That's right, it’s finally apple picking time! No matter where you live in New Jersey, there's bound to be a u-pick farm nearby, many of which also offer fun activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and petting zoos.

So grab a few baskets and head out to one of these great farms this fall. 

12 Fun Things To Do in NJ Before Your Baby's First Birthday

Welcome to year one, moms and dads! You’re officially “in it”—and even though you’ll have quite a few occasions where you’ll want time to fly by (e.g., those first few nights your infant sleeps in his/her crib for the first time), remember, this year will be over in a flash. So, on top of all the daily snuggle fests and snapshots of motor milestones, do your best to make the most of these first 12 months with fun activities and family outings.

We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do with your infant, whether it’s a day trip to the park or a visit to one of Jersey’s best themed eateries to practice eating those solids.

Read on for 12 things to do in New Jersey before your baby turns 1 (plus one to grow on)!

Weekend Fun: Seafarers' Weekend, Chocolate & Vanilla Festival, Teddy Bear Day

As August comes to a close, soak in all the summer sun and fun you can on this final weekend of the month. Whet your appetite at tasty food festivals, from ice cream treats at the Chocolate & Vanilla Family Festival to Caribbean cuisine at Hub City Sounds: 3rd Annual Caribbean Festival and food trucks galore at the Warinanco Food Festival.

Go back in time at historical-themed celebrations this weekend, including Industrial Crafts Day, Seafarers' Weekend at Historic Cold Springs Village, and Archaeology Day at Morven.

Young stuffed-animal fanatics will enjoy Teddy Bear Day at Space Farms, while car enthusiasts will want to check out Model T Ford Day at Fosterfields. And music lovers of all ages won't want to miss the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival.

Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids for more options for family fun, including day trips to Family-Friendly Walkable Towns in NJ and our list of 100+ FREE Things To Do with Kids in NJ This Summer. Find ways to beat the heat with a visit to a water park or local splash pad. And look to our August GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Stargazing in NJ: Best Views, Observatories, Astronomy Clubs

If you have a little Galileo on your hands, you're in luck: New Jersey is home to a myriad of majestic outdoor stargazing locations, as well as many public observatories and astronomy clubs for the truly dedicated. With the proper equipment, information, and planning, your family can get an up-close look at planets, star clusters, and the moon. 

Continue your celestial exploration at area planetariums, including those at Liberty Science Center and the Newark Museum

Happy stargazing, NJ!

25 Fun Things to do in San Francisco with Kids

With its famously steep hills, iconic sights, and many kid-friendly attractions, San Francisco is chock full of family fun. Unique thrills like a ride on the clanging cable cars, a ferry trip across the bay to visit a fabled island prison, amazing experiential food spots are some of the only-in-San Francisco experiences that kids and adults will love. Hands-on museums, a bayside aquarium, and enormous parks round out the family fun.

Read on to discover our best bets for family fun on a trip to San Francisco. And for more Bay Area fun, check out our list of things to do in Silicon Valley with kids

Special Needs Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids

As we learn more about how kids develop and play, it has become evident that one size does not fit all. Parents of children with special needs often face a great challenge in finding after-school and weekend recreational and enrichment programs; most community-based programs are not designed to accommodate a range of abilities. Yet extracurricular programs that promote socialization, friendship building, and other enrichment opportunities can be of great benefit to children with autism, developmental disabilities, social challenges, or sensory sensitivities.

Luckily, we live in a very inclusive state that offers many classes, social skills groups, and enrichment programs that provide structured, supportive, and judgment-free environments where children with special needs can grow and learn while having fun. Here, we've compiled a list of special spots and activities where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are!


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