It seems to happen overnight. One day your kid is thrilled when you take her to open bounce time at your local bouncy house, and the next day she looks at you as if you're crazy for even suggesting it. When kids hit those tween years it can be tough to think of fun things to do with them. Fortunately for parents, your tween's sophisticated new attitude also means that they are mature enough to do things that you can really enjoy with them. Check out our list below for some great tween friendly activities. If your kids are on the younger side, be sure to check out our list of 25 Things to do with Preschoolers before they turn 5. And for some excellent Halloween fun for kids of all ages, be sure to check out our New Jersey Halloween Guide.
The countdown to trick-or-treat is on! If you’re not ready to send your little goblins door-to-door, bring them store-to-store at one of New Jersey’s thrilling downtown trick-or-treat events. Collecting goodies from your favorite local retailers is a safe, organized alternative to traditional trick-or-treating and a great way to support local businesses. Take a stroll downtown for these free, family-friendly Halloween festivities. Maybe you can sneak in a little shopping while you’re there. And if you’re heading to the shore, pile on the treats at a boardwalk Halloween event. For more Halloween fun, visit Mommy Poppins New Jersey Halloween Guide.
While my friends who still find time to read grown-up books argue over the merits of the film version of Gone Girl, I've been worried about a completely different page-to-screen adaptation: Disney's live-action take on Judith Viorst's 1972 kids' classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG). I know from experience that sweet and slim picture books often become stale and bloated family movies. Yet my nine-year-old still insists on seeing pretty much every one of them, especially when they're based on a beloved book like Alexander, which she read so many times its spine finally gave out.
But though the title is tailor-made for bad reviews, Alexander is far from terrible, horrible and all those other negative adjectives. The film cleverly expands on the premise and moral of the book—that we all have bad days—by making every member of Alexander's family suffer the same kind of rotten luck and humiliation he usually does. My daughter and I laughed out loud several times during the brisk 80-minute movie, though often at different things. And looking around the New York International Children's Film Festival preview screening we attended, most families seemed to have a similar experience. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about the movie—afterward, a bunch of them shared their hilarious reactions on video.
Yes, it's the spookiest month of the year--and October is also chock-full of fun family activities all over our great state! Forget that door-to-door treat-trolling and try something different this year: take your family to an NJ zoo. It's always an enjoyable way to spend a family day, but add some candy, costumes and fun activities and your little NJ ghouls will be having a blast in no time! And don't forget to check out our Halloween Activities Guide.
For those who like a good fright before Halloween night, check out some of New Jersey's best haunted establishments. There are plenty of night-time haunts to please the older kids, some creepy walking tours to see an entire (possibly) haunted town, a scaredy-cat amusement park and even a few scare-free zones where kids can just trick or treat. And for more creepy/fun choices, check out our NJ Halloween Guide.
Boo! Halloween and hayrides go hand-in-hand, but you may not have heard of a Halloween train. Adding a creepy factor to a train ride really enhances the whole spooky vibe of Halloween. Throughout New Jersey, various railroads can take your entire family on an adventure. Read below for some great ones; some are scary, some just take you to a pumpkin farm but, regardless, these trains bring on the fun!
Things that go bump, bump, bump in the night… It’s the season for shivering and quivering; howling and frowling (that's not a real word, but it should be). Take your love-to-be-scared tweens and teens and hayride through the darkness full of wicked witches and the undead. And if you make it out alive, take a deep breath and take on the haunted houses and spooky trails in these five great New Jersey haunts.
Halloween is a time of year when we search for new and fun things to do with our NJ kids. There are plenty of spooky events, but why not try something unique this year? Sling a pumpkin with the family, go on a hunt with Scooby-Doo, settle in for some classic ghostly tales or grab a flashlight and search out the mighty T-Rex…in the dark! If you are in the mood for something different this Halloween, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of “off the beaten path” Halloween events for NJ kids and families.
Named for its location at the top of the Watchung Mountains, the town of Summit, NJ is definitely worth the climb. The six square miles that make up this great town offer the perfect mix of city chic and outdoor fun. Summit boasts an eclectic downtown that is home to more than 200 unique boutiques and restaurants. In addition, the town's great parks, recreational facilities and unique outdoor attractions make for a fun day trip for the entire family. Check out some of our favorite Summit destinations below. For even more great North Jersey towns check out our Guide to Great Small Towns in Northern NJ or our posts on Bernardsville and Chester.
We sit through three meals a day, seven days a week. So sometimes we just need to shake it up a bit and do something out of the house that promises fun along with the food. From knights and horses to magicians to locomotives, from Northern NJ all the way down to the Shore, there are many ‘interactive’ dining experiences for the entire family. Bon appetit!
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