New Jersey schools are closed November 6th and 7th for the annual New Jersey Education Association convention. Still have to work and wondering what to do with the kids for the day? Or just hoping to keep them occupied? We’ve got the skinny on ten fabulous camps and programs for NJ kids, whether they’re artsy, outdoorsy or athletic. And if you're planning to take the day off too, visit our NJ Staycation post to find lots of fun ideas for local adventures.
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.
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.
A preschool tour is the best opportunity for parents to get a feel for a school before tackling the admissions process. Hopefully, you see the school in action, or at least check out what the classrooms look like. Keep your eyes open for important details. What type of student work is on display? Do the kids seem happy and engaged? How do the teachers interact with them?
When you're on the tour, don't be shy about asking questions. This is your chance! "Parents should ask as many questions as they want to help understand and grasp our program's philosophy," says Lisa Pacheco, center director at Children’s Creative Learning Center. Jennifer Jones of Battery Park Montessori and the Pine Street School adds, "I encourage parents to ask questions based on their personal priorities for their children. For example, if the child is physically active and the parents are concerned about it, they should ask how the school will satisfy the child's need for physical expression." Open-ended questions are best, as they tend to reveal more about the school. For example, "How do you support literacy?" is better than, "When do you teach the alphabet?"
Here are the top 10 topics to ask about when you're visiting preschools.
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!
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.
Trick-or-Treat! Kids of all ages love reciting those magic words and receiving bags full of goodies. However, walking through the streets and knocking on strangers’ doors may not be the best option for toddlers and preschoolers. Luckily, New Jersey offers plenty of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating in controlled environments. From malls to museums to community events, experience all the fun of trick-or-treat, without the worry, at these structured, family-friendly happenings. See individual links for dates and times. For everything Halloween, visit Mommy Poppins New Jersey Halloween Guide.
A recent study estimates that the average adult spends about an hour a day waiting for something—the bathroom, the cashier, the bus, you name it. But parents seem to wait around even more than that. Plus we get the added bonus of hearing our kids whine, "I'm bored!" and beg incessantly for our smartphones.
But waiting with your kids doesn't have to be dull. You can turn that downtime into quality family time by finding ways to play together (and no, we're not talking about Candy Crush). Inspired by our series of SUMMER OF PLAY posts, here are 10 no-tech activities to try when you're stuck waiting somewhere—hopefully you won't be there long enough blow through all of them in one go!
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.
Last weekend, Mommy Poppins sponsored a preschool fair in New York City where families were able to meet dozens of directors from neighborhood preschool programs. Parents said it was immensely helpful to talk to NYC preschool directors in person because it demystified the often fraught admissions process. It’s understandable that applying to preschool is nerve-racking: It’s one of the first decisions you make for your child’s education. But at Mommy Poppins, we believe that applying to preschool can be a sane experience, and we want to do what we can to dispel some of the anxiety. So we're sharing the inside scoop from our preschool fair, including expert tips from directors about the admissions process. After all, who knows it better than the people who make the decisions?
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?