Birthday party planning is never simple. Throw in the added fun of planning a party during the holidays and busy parents might lose their minds. Unfortunately, it's all too easy for November and December birthdays to get lost among all of the other holiday celebrations. Luckily, New Jersey offers some great ways to make your little one's birthday special no matter when it is. We have some great birthday ideas that will make your kids happy to celebrate their special day during the holiday season. For more great year round birthday party ideas check out our Birthday Party Guide.
So often we are pulled in so many different directions from work to school to social activities, family togetherness gets put onto the back burner. It's awesome to do holiday activities together, but one sure way to help stay connected during the holidays is for parents and kids to volunteer for community projects. Not only will volunteering create a positive learning experience, but will teach compassion, create a sense of pride and foster the value of community service.
The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, and as always it's one of New York City's top seasonal attractions for families. Little electric trains go whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries and leaves. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's No. 52 on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.
For this edition of the annual spectacle, visitors will find more trains than ever before (nearly a quarter-mile of track!), a new slate of kids' activities and other enhancements. We've got great pics, important tips and the overall scoop on everything there is to see and do at the 2014 Holiday Train Show, which opens Saturday, November 15, plus info on other seasonal train exhibits in NYC. You can find even more fun in our Holiday Fun Guide.
Turkey trots and turkey races are a fun activity for Thanksgiving Day morning. Before you sit down to that delicious Thanksgiving meal, take the family out and trot like a turkey! Running is a sport everyone can participate in…it encourages health and fitness, can benefit a charity and doesn’t require great skill or practice. There are many “Turkey Trots” across the state of New Jersey, all of which are family friendly. Check out one close to you and burn some calories before you add more.
Thanksgiving dinner is a big undertaking. There’s the turkey, the stuffing and all that dessert! And let’s not forget about the massive after-dinner cleanup. It’s hard enough to be a mom, work and take care of the kids -- let alone get a complex and time-consuming holiday dinner on the table. Luckily, you don’t have to! Be thankful, because there are lots of restaurants open in NJ on Turkey Day. So, sit back and enjoy the party… don’t worry, they won’t make you do the dishes. And if you’d rather be home, but don’t want the hassle of cooking, make some Thanksgiving crafts with the family and try one of these places for turkey takeout!
While we make it a point to encourage our readers to buy local whenever possible, we realize that doing holiday shopping online helps you avoid crowds and stress-while staying in your PJs. In addition to offering cool incentives like discounts and free shipping, many online retailers also give back to those in need during the holiday season by donating a portion of their proceeds to various charities. The opportunities to "shop for a cause" at this time of year are almost limitless, so we've highlighted nine favorites we think are particularly great for families. So go ahead and spoil the ones you love and feel good about it!
If you’re looking for a New Jersey town full of history, natural beauty and family-friendly fun, look no further than Monmouth County’s Matawan, my own hometown. Take a stroll down Main Street in Matawan and discover landscape and architecture of 19th century New Jersey, alongside contemporary shops and restaurants. History buffs may associate Matawan Creek as the site of a 1916 vicious shark attack- subject of several documentaries, and, legend has it, an inspiration for Jaws. Over 30 years ago, a portion of Matawan became Aberdeen Township, and the neighboring towns share a zip code, school system and a sense of community.
Today, Matawan and Aberdeen boast a taste of the past plus modern restaurants and stores. The area’s natural beauty is evident in its lakes, parks and beaches. Its proximity to both New York City and the Jersey Shore make for an ideal day trip. So hop on Jersey Transit, or the Parkway, and visit Matawan and Aberdeen. And if you’re traveling to Monmouth County, check out our Great Small Town post on Red Bank.
Disney is really on a roll. After the amazing success of Frozen last winter, the studio has created another lovable animated movie that is sure to be a huge hit with kids and adults alike.
Big Hero 6 is the story of a boy, Hiro, and his robot Baymax, a charming plus-size goof turned butt-kicking justice machine. Along with their band of faithful friends, Hiro and Baymax embark on an action-packed adventure to solve a life-changing mystery.
There's a lot to love about Big Hero 6. Mommy Poppins partnered with the New York International Children's Film Festival on a pre-screening and you can see the enthusiastic reactions of some of the school-aged kids in this video. But parents should also use caution before taking little kids as the film definitely earns its PG rating. Here’s what you need to know to decide if Big Hero 6 is right for your family.
It's been an exciting year in baseball. The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series, and here in the tri-state area we got to witness the retirement of Derek Jeter, one of the games most beloved players. Unfortunately, the end of the Fall Classic generally means baseball season is over for the year. With opening day six months away, parents and kids are looking for ways to keep their head in the game. Luckily, New Jersey kids have more than a few options when it comes to playing baseball and softball during the cold winter months. We've put together a list of great New Jersey baseball schools that offer indoor lessons, leagues and clinics all year long. For even more fun indoor activities be sure to check out our Indoor Play and Activity Guide.
Whilst we are busy being thankful, it’s also ok to plan. It leaves more time for thankfulness on Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever cooked a giant meal without a plan, you know that you weren’t as thankful on that day. You were more sweaty and unkempt and feeding people from the stovetop, than filled with gratitude. To avoid any future appreciation pit-falls, we’ve assembled a handy guide to help you get your meal on the table, and be happy about it. And for more holiday how-to's, check out our Holiday Guide.
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