Before I had children, I spent the weekends exploring the wildlife of Paramus malls (the Manolos, the Choos, the Louis Vuittons). Now that time is spent with my own wildlife, my kids, and at least one weekend a month we go to a state park. Why? One, because sticks and rocks can occupy my children longer than any toy we have in our house. And two, because there are so many beautiful state parks to explore in our little state. Most outsiders do not equate “New Jersey” with “beautiful state parks”, but exploring at least one of our 36 state parks and 13 state forests should be on your summer fun to-do list with your kids. They’re the perfect venue for a fun-filled day trip in New Jersey!
First and foremost Erica Hartman is a proud wife and mother of 2 little girls, Proud New Jerseyean, Google Certified Trainer/Teacher, technology integration consultant, shopaholic and proud New Jerseyean, P90X grad and mommy blogger @elh
Erica is a Google Certified Teacher/Trainer and an Educational Computer Specialist for the Morris School District. Prior to she was a 6th Grade Connections/Language Arts Teacher in Sparta, New Jersey for nine years. She was also a technology professional development instructor for the Sparta Township School District. In 2007 she completed her Master’s in Technology Education from New Jersey City University and a Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching at the University of Wisconsin.
Besides being a Google Certified Teacher, she is also a certified Trainer for the New Jersey Governor’s Internet Safety Initiative. Her professional presentations include the New Jersey Middle School Association Annual Conference, the Annual Turning on Learning Advance at Montclair State University, the Annual New Jersey Association for Educational Technology Conference at Georgian Court University, the NJEA Convention and the International Online Conference.
Erica also consults for the Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education at Rutgers University, Computer Using Educators, EdTechTeam and has presented at the Google Teacher Academy in Chicago, New York, and Boulder. Finally, Erica is also an instructor for both the Google Workshops for Educators and Administrators. Follow her blog at theitclassroom.blogspot.com.
You can also follow Erica on Google+.
Latest posts by Erica
No, we do not have a gambling problem and no, we're not the only Mommy Poppins family to bring kids to Atlantic City. My husband received a coupon for 2 free nights in Atlantic City and since we don't like to spend too much time away from our kids, we decided to make a family trip out of the offer and see just how “FREE” we could actually manage. So, we booked a stay at Bally’s, loaded up the car, and hit the parkway! Is Atlantic City kid-friendly? See for yourself!
If you have kids in the 7-18 age range, I'll bet you've heard of Minecraft. When I asked my daughter to define it, she said, "Mom, it's basically a game about placing blocks to build anything your brain can imagine." I was not sold right off the bat, but as she played, I saw that there could be educational benefits--as long as parents set playing guidelines. Here are some great classes, clubs and camps that will get you revved up for Minecraft Madness in New Jersey.
I have to admit that I'm a coupon queen and rarely spend full price on any piece of clothing for anyone in our family. However, Easter is the one time I splurge and dress my littles ones up to the "nines". I also have many friends with children making their first Communions in the next few months. Sure, you could go to a regular department store, but New Jersey is home to some fun Easter and Communion boutique finery, so why not make it special? And for more ideas for parties and special occasions, check out our Mommy Poppins New Jersey Birthday Party Ideas Guide.
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.
“We always want to go, but we always miss it!” Everyone says this about the Quik Chek Balloon Festival. This year, make sure you don’t miss out on one of New Jersey’s most highly anticipated family events of the summer. It has everything: beautiful hot air balloon ascensions, top notch performers, rides, freebies, great food, and a central New Jersey location. Balloon, balloons, everywhere!
"Mom, I'm bored!" is a phrase that strikes dread into the hearts of moms during the summer. Trying to think of some great day trips to fill the hours? Look no further than PEEC: Pocono Environmental Education Center. PEEC is only a 90 minute drive from NYC or most New Jersey counties. It is located within the 77,000 acres of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area along the Delaware River and offers hands-on activities for all ages.
What happens when Spring Break is not so much a spring-y warm break? Indoor family fun! This New Jersey family of four decided to venture right over the border to party in the Palisades. Read on after the jump about how we turned a chilly Spring Break day into an adventure in the Palisades region of New York that included an indoor trampoline romp, a 5 story ropes course, a ferris wheel and a kid-friendly dinner. I would also recommend this day trip for a rainy day!