Laurie Rein

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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.

Winter Break Weekday Fun in NJ: Art Studio, Dance Camp, New Year's Party

Monday is a banner day for New Jersey families. Not only is it Christmas, but it's also the first official day of winter break! A week off from school means a week of digging for entertainment for the little ones. Luckily, Mommy Poppins NJ has a full roster of winter break activities throughout the state.

Make Christmas last all week, with holiday adventures like Cranbury Christmas Lights, Adventure Aquarium's Christmas Underwater, and Jenkinson's Sea of Lights. Plus, stay warm with hands-on museum fun at New Jersey State Museum's Winter Break Art Studio, Morris Museum's Winter Vacation Celebration, and Newark Museum's Holiday Fun Days. And get ready for the New Year at Lawrence Library's New Year's Eve Party for Families.  

Read on for our best children's events the week of Dec 25-29, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and December GoList for even more end-of-the-year happenings.

25 Things to Do with New Jersey Kids Over Holiday Break

The lazy days of December break may be the best time to take part in New Jersey's family-friendly holiday activities—especially if you have visiting relatives to entertain. From spectacular light displays to cold-weather fun, there's plenty to do during the days off from school. 

Most New Jersey schools are closed from Friday, December 22 through Monday, January 1, allowing plenty of time to experience some of the holiday highlights you may have missed in the hectic run-up to Christmas. It's also the perfect time to check out an indoor play space, museum, or fun zone. In my family, ice skating and movies always top the December vacation must-do list.

Be sure to check out our December GoList and Holiday Fun Guide for more great ideas. Happy Holidays, NJ!

Where To Enjoy High Tea in New Jersey with Kids

If your little sweetie loves the finer things in life—and has the patience to make it through a sit-down meal—he or she may be ready to enjoy an afternoon at one of NJ's many local tea rooms. And, with International Tea Day coming up on December 15, now is the perfect time to try a new tradition!

From the fine china and finger sandwiches to the tempting sweets, your little one will be enchanted during this special one-on-one mommy time. Many host sweet birthday parties, and several offer special holiday events.

Thanksgiving Weekend for New Jersey Kids: Santa, Lights, Festivals

Bring on Turkey Day, tree lightings, and Santa visits! It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season on this long, festive weekend. 

On Black Friday, skip the mall and kick off the weekend at holiday celebrations in Red Bank, Rahway, Nutley, and Princeton. Santa makes his rounds in New Jersey at events like Country Christmas with Santa, Santa’s Arrival Celebration, Christmas Festival at Morristown Green, and even the Jersey Shore Christmas Comic Book Show.

This weekend, you can also catch performances of The Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Annie, and other holiday shows. Have breakfast with Santa, or take a drive to see some spectacular holiday lights!

For even more options, check out our Event Calendar and Holiday Guide. Happy Thanksgiving!

15 Stores That Offer Free and Cheap Classes for NJ Kids

Extracurricular activities create enriching experiences for kids, but they can also take a toll on your wallet. While kids are encouraged to explore their passions, the price tag on sports teams, dance classes, and art lessons can be overwhelming.

The good news is that stores throughout the state offer free—and nearly free—classes that allow you to save money while developing your family’s interests. These low- or no-cost classes, crafts, storytimes, and other activities are great ways to fill in schedule gaps without busting your budget.

Many stores have various locations, so be sure to check the websites for local schedules.

25+ Free Events for New Jersey Kids in October

The best things in life really are free, especially when it comes to family activities. In this new monthly feature, Mommy Poppins NJ presents the best FREE events happening in the upcoming weeks. This month, you can look forward to plenty of free storytimes and festivals, and, of course, a ton of Halloween fun. And speaking of that haunting holiday, check out our list of 30 Free Halloween Events and Parades for NJ Kids for even more ways to celebrate without cracking open your wallet.

Read on for this month's picks, and don't forget to check out our Event Calendar and October GoList for more free and low-cost fall fun.

Weekday Fun: Great Pumpkin Festival, Read & Pick, Storytimes

October kicks off with lots of pumpkin-centric fun. Head over to a ginormous celebration at Heaven Hill Farm’s Great Pumpkin Festival; read all about pumpkins and then grab your own at Terhune Orchards’ Read & Pick; and explore the mazes and pumpkin patch at Stony Hill Farms' Corn Maze and Fun Park. Plus, enjoy some storytime freebies this week, including Monday Morning Playtime, Children’s Story Hour, Kids! Fire Truck Visit, and First Friday Storytime.

Read on for our best children's events the week of October 2–6, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar and October GoList for even more fall happenings.