Margaret Hargrove

Margaret Hargrove

Latest posts by Margaret Hargrove

Theaters with Sensory-Friendly Performances for NJ Kids

Taking littles to the theater opens up opportunities for exposure to the arts, building social skills, and learning about appropriate audience behavior. For children with autism, developmental disabilities, or sensory sensitivities (such as difficulties with bright lights, loud noises and sudden, surprising bursts of volume or activity), the theater can be an intimidating place.

Luckily, NJ is home to several performing arts spaces that offer exclusive performances for kids with special needs, so the entire family can experience the arts together. These sensory-friendly performances often include accommodations such as lowered volume and raised lighting, the ability to move about the theater freely, dedicated quiet areas, and trained staff to lend a helping hand should the need arise.

Read on for a list of theaters and upcoming performances where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are. We hope you enjoy the show!

20 Art Studios with Drop-In Sessions for New Jersey Kids

Like the idea of crafting with your kid but cringe at the thought of paint and glitter all over your house? Lucky for us, New Jersey is home to a variety of drop-in art studios that offer your spontaneous painter, potter, glassmaker, and jeweler the chance to get their craft on. The perfect destinations for a cold winter day, these craft-tastic spaces let you skip the mess at home while catering to your budding artist's creative impulses.  

NJ's Imagine That!!! Museum and Play Space Reopens After Renovation

The popular children’s museum we know and love has just gotten a major overhaul. Following a five-month gut renovation, Imagine That!!! in Florham Park, New Jersey, has been transformed into a beautiful and bright 16,000-square-foot indoor play space that feels fun and inviting. The updated fun spot boasts brand-new play structures like an electronic sand table and an interactive, LED light board, plus new-and-improved versions of original attractions like the grocery store, dance studio, play maze, and more.

Imagine That!!!, which quietly reopened in December, will celebrate its grand reopening the weekend of January 13-14. Here's a sneak peak inside the new space and its awesome attractions.

50 Fun Things to Do with Kids Indoors in New Jersey: A Winter Survival Guide

Being stuck inside on a cold, blustery day with your kids climbing the walls is far from our idea of a good time. Lucky for us, New Jersey has no shortage of ways to keep young 'uns entertained and active this winter, from museums and indoor play spaces to bowling alleys, dine-in move theaters, and roller rinks.

Bundle up your little ones and hit the road to check out one of these 50 fun ideas. Kid-friendly shows, drop-in arts & crafts, and sporty fun zones are just some of our favorite indoor activities guaranteed to cure cabin fever.

Read on for our list of the best of what New Jersey has to offer for the whole family this winter season. And be sure to check out our January GoList and Events Calendar for even more great ideas. Stay warm, NJ!

Cheap Thrills: 20 Drop-in Play Spaces for NJ Kids That Cost $15 or Less

When it’s too cold for the playground, and another playdate at home seems dull (or, to be honest, too stressful), taking your kid to a warm indoor play space is a welcome respite for the whole family. 

New Jersey has no shortage of indoor playgrounds from North Jersey to South Jersey, plenty of which offer drop-in hours. Still, many of these hot spots require long-term memberships or pricey entrance fees that often run $20 to $25 per child for a single drop-in.

When you just need someplace clean, fun and warm for your kids to play—that's not your living room—we found 20 indoor gems, all for $15 per child or significantly less, and some that are absolutely free! Your kids still get out of the house to experience a play space where everything seems new to them, and you don't have to clean up after, or empty your wallet! 

And don't forget your nearby shopping mall, where you'll often find low-key indoor playgrounds where kids can work out the wiggles while you shop. 

Find more indoor fun spots in our local NJ guide, or try these at-home boredom busters for days when you just want to stay in. If you find yourself with a full day to fill and you're up for a little more adventure, plan a winter day trip.

Quaint and Quirky Holiday Celebrations for New Jersey Families

We all have our favorite family holiday traditions, whether it’s viewing an annual light display, cutting down a fresh Christmas tree, or having breakfast with Santa. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you’re looking to shake things up this year, try an experience you won't find at your local mega-mall.

One option is to go small: New Jersey’s charming small towns play host to a variety of quaint holiday happenings, from Dickens carolers to Christmas Candlelight House Tours.

If you're after something truly unique, NJ has plenty of that, too. You can celebrate Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium, get festive with the furry residents of Bluebird Farm Alpacas, or explore an animated wonderland at the Christmas Ice Caverns.

Who knows? One of these activities might become your family’s new holiday favorite. Check out our roundup below for some great small-town and off-the-beaten-path fun. For more ways to celebrate the festive holiday season, visit our Holiday Fun Guide.

2017 Long Island Bestie Guide

Long Island families, you have spoken! We asked you to weigh in on the Long Island's Besties—the best family businesses across 24 categories ranging from restaurants to party places, swim schools, and more. With all the great family fun experiences and resources on Long Island, it was hard to narrow down to just one winner per category, but you were up to the task. In the pages that follow, you will get to know our Besties, the most highly regarded Long Island businesses that live to serve, entertain, teach, and enrich the lives of your family.

We can't thank each of our 236 finalists and their fans enough for participating in our contest. We'd also like to extend a special thank you to our Besties Sponsors, and our congratulations to the four lucky voters who were picked at random to enjoy some amazing prizes. You made our contest awesome, and we love you.

And now, without further ado, Mommy Poppins proudly presents your guide to the best of family friendly Long Island, the 2017 Long Island Besties! Because 24 is a lot of winners, we've divided them into three groups: Family Fun, Parenting Resources, and Enrichment Programs. Enjoy!

Best Family Fun WinnersBest Parenting Resources Winners | Best Enrichment Programs Winners

NJ Doughnut Crawl: These 10 Shops Are Tops for a Family Treat

After a long week, there’s no better treat for a lazy, never get-out-of-your-pajamas weekend morning than a box of fresh, hot doughnuts. Luckily, New Jersey is chock-full of out-of-this-world doughy wonders. We (gladly) did the tireless research of combing the state's doughnut shops and bakeries for the best doughnuts for kids of all ages.

These 10 spots have taken fried dough to a whole new level. From shops selling candy-covered delights to brunch food–inspired delicacies—plus doughnuts featuring local ingredients and flavors—here’s where you can score delectable doughnuts that will delight everyone in the family. 

If you're looking for more sweet treats, check out our roundups of fun ice cream joints, sweet shops, and spots where kids can make their own candy and sweets

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