Making holiday memories sometimes involves navigating long lines and jostling crowds, which can push the limits of our youngest holiday revelers. Take a breath and pass around the candy canes—we've found the best activities geared toward the 5-and-under crowd. From decorating gingerbread houses to rocking out at a holiday concert, we've got plenty of ideas that the whole family can enjoy.
Latest posts by Dore Duhaime
Rocking out is encouraged at the new GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Strutting onstage, playing electronic instruments, and singing karaoke-style are part of the fun at this new museum celebrating pop music's biggest stars, including many with New Jersey roots. An electronic jam session may be the coolest way for kids to spend a rainy day.
Home sweet Hoboken. The small-town city where strollers, school kids, dogs and twenty-somethings come together is more vibrant than ever. With family-friendly parks, cafes, markets, and play spaces packed into this walkable city, it's no wonder so many young families love it. From kid-friendly entertainment and restaurants to festivals and museums, what's not to love about the Mile Square City? For small towns in New Jersey, Hoboken is tops. Read on for 40 of our favorite, mostly FREE, things to do in Hoboken.
With all of our modern technology and conveniences, today's kids (and grown-ups!) have a hard time imagining what life was like in the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries. Luckily, NJ kids don't have to learn about this long-ago time only from books—they can experience it firsthand at one of the state's many historic villages.
From working farms to blacksmith shops, general stores to cottages, these villages offer plenty to see for day-tripping families. Whether you are looking for an authentic old-school outing or an afternoon of quaint shopping, we've got you covered. This fall, unplug the family and step back in time at one of these historic New Jersey villages that are fun for kids and adults alike.
For more historical day trip inspiration, check out our list of Revolutionary War Sites To Visit with Kids.
Looking for a high-energy activity to keep older kids moving? Try laser tag or paintball, two amped-up versions of manhunt featuring running, hiding, and shooting at your opponents. Race through rough outdoor terrain to avoid the harsh splat of incoming paint pellets, or dart from cover to cover in a darkened arena trying to dodge laser beams. Either way, teens, tweens, and older kids will feel the rush of competition as their teams try to stay alive in the game. Both are great for older kids' birthday parties or family outings.
Most paintball venues allow players age 10 and up, while laser tag is appropriate for children as young as 5 or 6. Check websites for age limits, drop-in hours, party packages, equipment rentals, and reservations.
With majestic views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty, acres of sprawling green lawns, a riverfront walkway, picnic areas, and a huge playground, Liberty State Park in Jersey City is ideal for a memorable family outing. Spend a day exploring the park, or board a ferry to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. You can also head indoors for an afternoon at Liberty Science Center, followed by a bite at one of our favorite family-friendly restaurants in Downtown Jersey City.
Charming Cape May is one of the Jersey Shore's top family destinations for good reason. With its wide beaches, quaint boardwalk, mini-golf courses, arcades, and ice cream shops, Cape May can entertain kids of all ages. The shopping and family-friendly dining options can't be beat. Head down to Exit Zero, on the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, and enjoy all this town has to offer, from its fabulous beaches and amazing zoo to the historic lighthouse and blazing sunsets.
Read on for our list of 25 can't-miss things to do during your visit to Cape May. For even more fun at the shore, don't miss our summer fun guide.
Kick off the July 4th holiday early this weekend with classic carnival rides, Jersey-fresh berries, or a FREE art show. The NJ State Fair Meadowlands is in full swing with daily live music, a petting zoo, thrill rides, and food; ripe summer berries will be served with breakfast at Alstede Farms; and Bank of America is sponsoring free family museum days in NJ.
If your weekend stretches into Monday, check out our picks for weekday activities, including on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4. Plan a family picnic, or head out on a day trip to a favorite amusement park, water park, or spray ground. Then stake out your family's spot for fireworks at one of New Jersey's best July 4th celebrations.