Before they grow up and want to go to sleepaway camp with their BFFs, preschoolers can get a taste of summer camp in a program created just for them. New Jersey is home to some wonderful day camps for the under-5 crowd, and we've rounded up more than a dozen of our favorites. In addition to low camper-counselor ratios, these programs offer developmentally appropriate fun for every interest, whether you want your little one to experience the great outdoors, bounce and tumble at a cool indoor spot, or delve into subjects like robotics, film, and fashion.
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There are tons of kid-friendly performances this month, including mr. RAY, The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites and Dino-Light. And there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, including Family Date Night at Jenkinson's and a My Little Man and Me party at Liberty Hall Museum.
For a full list of happenings, don't forget to check out our Event Calendar. Happy February, NJ!
While the world binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and my social media feeds filled up with photos of freshly organized sock drawers, I didn't bother tuning in. After all, I'm already a Very Organized Person—the kind of mom who sorts her kids' toys according to category, and who may have an addiction to The Container Store. What could I possibly have to learn?
Then an image sprang to mind of me, huffily sorting papers on the kitchen counter while a hundred other urgent matters vie for my attention. When things get hectic, the piles of mail, magazines, kids' artwork, school forms, and other random papers crowding our countertops suddenly seem like a five-alarm fire. My husband calls it "angry organizing."
The Hudson Valley's newest celebrity resident is a redheaded blogger/farm girl who's 18 inches tall. Meet Blaire Wilson, American Girl's 2019 "Girl of the Year."
Blaire, American Girl's first-ever doll set in the Hudson Valley, lives with her family on a sustainable farm and bed and breakfast in Bluefield, a fictional town set in the real Ulster County, NY. She made her debut on January 1.
Woodland Indoor Playground, the brand-new play space in Cedar Grove, looks like my fantasy of a child's play room—the one I envisioned before I had kids, and plastic toys with blinking lights and annoying sounds took over my house. Quite unlike my living room, Woodland is a clean, modern, Scandanavian-inspired space stocked with beautiful wooden toys that promote imaginative, sensory play—including a farmer's market food truck, chicken coop, playhouse with slides, sensory sandbox, train table, building blocks, and lots more.
This charming spot, founded by two Montclair moms and geared toward ages 0–5, opened on December 12—perfect timing for a new play space where cooped-up tots can drop in and burn some energy on a winter day. And Woodland is more than just a pretty space—all of the toys and materials are eco-friendly and non-toxic, and a portion of each entry fee supports the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. (Also, there's coffee, and it's good!)
No ice skating skills? No problem. You can still have tons of fun on the ice at Ocean Ice Palace in Brick, NJ, home of the state's first ice bumper cars. This hot (or should we say cool?) new trend has been popping up at ice rinks across the country over the past year or so, including one in Providence, Rhode Island, but you don't have to travel to New England to experience it for yourself.
For those who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is hardly complete without a trip to visit Santa. Lucky for us, there's no shortage of places in Westchester and the Hudson Valley where kids can have a meet-and-greet with the big guy, and we’ve rounded them up for you here.
Last week, Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers opened a brand-new, free play area, the centerpiece of which is the area's first Luckey Climber.
The outdoor climbing structure—part jungle gym, part work of art—was designed by Hartford, CT–based "kid architect" Spencer Luckey, whose distinctive climbers can be found in public spaces and private institutions around the world, including Liberty Science Center in Newark, NJ; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City, NY.