Overnight Camp-Ins: Museum Sleepovers and More for New Jersey Families

Imagine an overnight camping adventure without the worries of bugs and bad weather.  Our list of camp-in destinations offers memorable adventures that are sure to please the entire family.  From sleeping with sharks to bunking on a real battleship, these overnight getaways will create memories that will last a lifetime.  For even more nearby camp-in destinations, check out our post on Museum Sleepovers in Long Island.

NYC Labor Day Weekend Trips: 8 Car-Free Family Getaways Near New York City

The (unofficial) final weekend of summer is just a few days away and with the kids going back to school, the three-day holiday is the perfect time for one last family getaway.

Over on our Travel site, we posted about a bunch of cool last-minute travel deals, most involving plane or car rides. But for those looking to vacation without having to hit an airport or rent a vehicle, we've rounded up some of our favorite family destinations that are less than three hours from New York City and accessible via public transportation. From gorgeous beaches to ride-filled amusement parks to out-of-town culture spots, here are eight great Labor Day weekend trips for NYC families.

Ultimate Summer Play List: 100 Fun Activities for Kids

To help you get summer started, we've come up with the ultimate summer play list: 100 (mostly) FREE ways you can pack more play into your day. These ideas aren't just for the kids—they're fun and engaging activities for the whole family. After all, grown-ups need time to play, too.

Check out our roundup of creative games, crafts, experiments and other activities below, and if you make your way through all of these, try our list of '70s Outdoor Games, our 25 Water Games, our ideas for Games from Children's Books, and 10 Cool Car Games to play on the way. Not to boast, but summer really is our forte.

Now, set aside school, work and stress; it's time to focus on 100 ways to play with kids this summer.

Parties with a Purpose: Kids' Volunteering Birthday Bash To Help Those in Need

Kids' birthday parties should be a blast, but they don't necessarily need to be two hours of lavish expense resulting in a mountain of under-appreciated gifts. Just as you can organize an at-home volunteering project during a playdate, it's easy to throw a party with a purpose. This goes beyond encouraging guests to donate to charity in lieu of presents (which is great, too). We've rounded up fun and easy things kids can do to help those in need that can be incorporated into many themes, and all of our ideas can be done at home. Make sure you have a brief discussion with the kids before you get started about why you've chosen to host a party with a purpose, and who will benefit from their generosity. That way the children not only understand the concept, they can feel good about giving to others. Isn't that the greatest birthday gift of all?

Memorial Day Weekend Getaways: 5 Fun Day Trips for NYC Families

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. And while there are plenty of fun things to do in NYC—beaches, Governors Island and Victorian Gardens amusement park all open for the season—the three-day vacation is a great time to skip town and enjoy a quick getaway. After all, you have three more months to experience all the summer fun the city has to offer.

We've rounded up five cool family destinations that are all two hours or less by car from midtown Manhattan. From farm fun to creative festivals to The Crayola Experience, here are five great day trips for NYC families this Memorial Day weekend. You can find more travel inspiration in our NYC Day Trips Guide and on our Travel site.

5 Fun Winter Birthday Party Ideas for Kids in New Jersey

Sometimes it's hard to plan parties for our winter babies. I actually had a party in December at my house (GASP!). It was successful but what was I thinking having sugar-crazed 7-year olds in my home the week before Christmas?! It's February and I'm still finding candy canes in the couch and glitter in places no one wants to find glitter. Needless to say, I'm already thinking about how to avoid that experience next year, so here are 5 awesome, off-the-beaten-path winter birthday venues. For more great, year-round party options, visit our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Ideas Guide.


Ski All Over PA: Deals and Details of the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association

Whether you jump the moguls like an Olympiad or hang on for dear life traversing the bunny hill, 'tis the season for all things skiing, and Pennsylvania just happens to be an entire state of amazing resorts. We love to let you know about cool stuff, and the incredible travel and winter recreation opportunities of the 21 sports areas in the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA) fit the bill; from a special program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski for free with their parents, to midweek skiing deals, read on to find out about all the locations and opportunities in the Keystone State!

Volunteer From Home: Host a Playdate with a Purpose

Children of all ages from toddlers to tweens love getting together with friends for playdates. And you love hosting them—except when the kids complain about being bored (yes, even with all those games and activity kits spilling out of the closet). The next time your child asks to have pals over, consider organizing a simple and fun service project that can be done at home to help people in need. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained while teaching them the importance of giving back to their community—and reminding them of how lucky they are to have a room overflowing with toys!

Whether you connect the project to something personal, like your child's birthday, or highlight a difficult social issue like homelessness, a service-focused playdate is a gentle way to incorporate helping others into your everyday lives. And of course, doing it with friends makes it feel all the more special.

Here's a list of easy projects for all ages that can be done at home, as well as charities that would love to accept your donations. Always remember to include a handmade card—a sweet personal message from a child can brighten anyone's day.

Food Factory Tours: Go Behind the Scenes at 5 Treat Spots

Ever since my kids saw the stop-motion animated film Chicken Run set in a very tightly-run chicken coop, they’ve been obsessed with factory tours. The precision and organization of a factory assembly line is fun to watch and, despite the repetition, doesn't get tedious (unless you happen to work there). Going behind the scenes and seeing how products are made is always interesting, though I admit my family is partial to food factory tours that culminate in sampling the finished product.

Here is a list of six sweet (and salty) food factory tours that are fun and educational for kids, all located in the Northeast. Some are easy day trips from the tri-state area. Others require a weekend and make great destinations for any upcoming school breaks.

6 Cheap & Easy DIY Halloween Decoration Crafts To Do with Kids

Who's ready to spook down the house? If your family loves Halloween, it's time to show the neighbors - all over your lawn, balcony, front steps, or whatever bits of outdoor space you command. We've got a few ideas for Halloween decorations that don't involve a shopping spree at a Halloween store; in fact most of the ideas below are made entirely out of things you're likely to have at home already (and may even be looking to recycle). The best part is a spooky decorating frenzy makes for quality family time - turning a happy home into a haunted one. (Looking for even more ideas? Our Boston site has some way-cool DIY Halloween decorations, too!)


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