Due to a recent shift in my career path, I'm staying home with my kids this summer—all 10 weeks of it! There will be no camp to tire them out or nanny to occupy their time. Just one big SUMMER OF PLAY. And one thing that really works for summer play is water; those kids are going to want to get wet!
You may already be navigating your summer days using our SUMMER FUN LIST GENERATOR. Our family started a Boredom Busters jar: a painted Mason jar full of ideas to keep the kiddies busy. Anyone complaining of boredom can open it and pick out an activity. Many of the ideas come from the Mommy Poppins' 100 Summer Play Activities List. And many more are water-based, like the 25 cool and splishy-splashy water activities below.
New Jersey is home to many wonderful farms, perfect spots for a family-friendly outing anytime of year. But a few special locations offer visitors the unique opportunity to step back in time and experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These Living History farms give kids the chance to try their hand at everything from bottle-feeding lambs and gathering honey to collecting sap and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, historic farms are a great choice. Read on for the details on four terrific NJ spots that bring history to life. And for more unique day trip ideas, check out our post Unique NJ: Unusual Activities & Day Trips for Families.
It can be all too easy to start complaining about 90-degree temps and through-the-roof humidity with July upon us, but now is the time to savor the warm and lazy days of the season before it’s over! For some classic summer fun, head down the shore to the Ocean County Fair, take a guided tour of the NJ Botanical Gardens, or sign up for a Family Campfire & Moon Watch at Stony Brook-Millstone Reserve. And if you’re looking to duck inside away from the heat for a few hours, we’ve got you covered there too: take in a kid-friendly performance of Beauty and the Beast Jr. at Surflight Theatre or belt out "Let It Go" for the hundredth time during the Frozen Sing-a-Long at the Kelsey Theatre. Also, you can check out the full list of weekend activities on our Event Calendar.
A summer in New Jersey would not be complete without a trip to the Garden State's family-friendly, barrier island known as Long Beach Island. "The Island", as it is called by locals, is home to some of the best beaches on the east coast. When the family grows tired of playing in the sand, LBI is choc full of kid friendly destinations as well. From amusement parks to museums, Long Beach Island has something for everyone. Check out our list of "must-do" family attractions. For more barrier island fun, check out our posts on Seven Mile Island's small town, Stone Harbor.
Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s tasty, easily accessible and comes in varieties that’ll satisfy the pickiest palates. Pizza night at your favorite pizzeria makes for a fun and inexpensive family outing. With tomato sauce and perhaps a veggie topping, you can even count it as somewhat nutritious (I do). The following are family-friendly pizza joints in Central New Jersey. Aside from yummy pies, these places offer child-friendly options like kid portions, quick service or gimmicky fun, without noise being a factor. Grab a slice and enjoy!
What's better than a cool dip on a hot day? New Jersey is known for its outstanding beaches, but it also has some of the best lakes for swimming in the Northeast. This summer, if you're sick of the pounding waves, dive into the calm waters of one of these beautiful New Jersey lakes. For even more fun swimming alternatives, check out our post on Secret Natural Swimming Holes in New Jersey and for more water (and dry) summer fun, check out our NJ Kids Summer Activities Guide.
This season, we're partnering with KaBOOM! to promote a SUMMER OF PLAY. A few months back, KaBOOM!, the nonprofit dedicated to bringing play to all children, held a nationwide contest with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to find America's Most Playful Family. Families all over the country shared the different ways they like to play, often illustrating that you don't need lots of toys or organized activities to have a great time. Play ideas can come from people of all ages, even caring adults who ensure kids get the balanced and active play they need to thrive.
You can't help but be inspired by America's Most Playful Family contest winners, the Thomases from Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico. Even though they don't have playgrounds in their community or fancy playthings, they invent games that incorporate cultural traditions and all three generations of family. Watch the video family portrait that won them the title, and then read about some of their fun games that you can try at home—no batteries needed.
Fairs and festivals and feasts, oh my! It’s non-stop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose a favorite! With everything from county fairs to music and food festivals, there’s an activity to entertain every member of the family. Some highlights include the New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival (yum!) and City of Water Day. Mark the calendar now and have a blast all month long. For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.
Take a mini break from the beach and the pool and enjoy some family-friendly live theater this summer. Sometimes we need a little nudge (here's your nudge...) to remind us about the creative power of live performances. There are some great shows playing in July and August--be sure to check one out and sing along! And for even more summer fun, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.
Let's face it, "free fun" and "New Jersey" are not often uttered in the same breath. But truth be told, the Garden State has many offerings that families can enjoy without breaking the bank! From movies to concerts to festivals with a couple of zoos, nature centers and museums thrown in, there is much fun that will only cost you some gas to get there. Have an inexpensive and wonderful summer, New Jersey! And don't forget to check out all kinds of summer fun in The New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.
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?