If you have children, you know the hours between 4pm and 6pm are particularly difficult. Referred to as "the witching hours" by many parents, this stretch of time (after naptime, but before dinner and bath time) can be hard to fill, leading to bored, whiny kids and grouchy moms and dads. If you're tired of wracking your brain for late afternoon activities, it might be time to take advantage of your local eateries Happy Hour specials. Enjoy a cocktail and some kid-friendly appetizers with a few friends. The kids will love the change of scenery and parents will enjoy the discounted treats and time to socialize. We've put together a great list of family-friendly restaurants where you can turn the "witching hour" into a happy hour for the entire family.
One of the biggest pleasures of fall is watching the leaves turn a variety of vibrant colors. While you can see gorgeous fall foliage all over the Northeast, from New York City to New Jersey and beyond, the Delaware Water Gap is one of the best spots around for hue-filled hikes for families.
Located on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Delaware Water Gap is less than a two-hour drive from NYC so it's close enough to make a great autumn daycation. To find the best family-friendly hiking trails in the area, we turned to the experts: local parents Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert, who regularly blog about their excursions at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Kids Outdoors New York City, a FREE online community for families featuring alfresco activities in the tri-state area. The trees should start changing any day now so keep these outings in mind for the upcoming school holidays like Columbus Day weekend.
My kids are water park fanatics, so when we were invited to check out the new and improved Splashplex in East Hanover, they had their goggles on faster than you can say "cascading waterfall pool". And the Splashplex upgrade did not disappoint--read on for Mommy Poppins New Jersey's review of the newly-expanded summer companion to one of our favorite indoor amusement parks, the Funplex.
New Jersey has fairs and festivals galore this August. Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, hang out with the firefighters in Manasquan or indulge in carnival rides and games at a classic county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be super packed all month long. Read on for our top picks, and squeeze in as many as possible—Labor Day is just around the corner! For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.
Summer vacation just isn't complete without water adventures to keep you cool. Beaches and lakes are always a sure bet, but water parks top many a kid's bucket list. We've written about Great Wolf Lodge and other indoor water parks close to home, but now we're happy to review the opening of another nearby water park and hotel option: the Poconos' Kalahari Resorts.
Just down the road from Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari offers an immersive, African-safari-themed experience with both indoor and outdoor water parks, a massive family entertainment area and so much more. The creators of Kalahari were inspired by the African philosophy of Ubunto, a belief that everyone's humanity is connected and that each person's actions affect the entire world. The notion of preservation is pervasive and, despite its grand scale, Kalahari offered an intimate, friendly and low-pressure vibe, which makes for a relaxing family experience.
Whether you're a mom, a dad, a guardian, or a babysitter, one thing's for certain--it can be hard to meet other caretakers in a comfortable social setting. Suddenly, you turn shy and wonder if you're saying the wrong things; it feels like high school all over again! I've been there. When my daughter was born, I hesitated to make new mom friends because I was scared they'd judge me. I ended up meeting some wonderful local parents, and you will too! Below is a helpful listing of parenting groups for all new and not-so-new parents out there in New Jersey.
English is a tricky language with a lot of words and a whole heck of a lot of crazy rules (and exceptions to rules) about how things should be spelled. When I watch a kid learning the English language I honestly don't know how any of us do it. It's truly amazing that any of us learn how to read and spell.
Parents can support their kids learning to spell and write in school by spending time with them at home, reading and playing word games. Word games can help early writers just learning how to spell, as well as more advanced writers to increase their vocabularies. I've picked out a few word games that help kids with spelling words and tried them out with my seven year old. Not only have I been impressed with his growing ability and comfort (sometimes that's the most important thing) with spelling words, but we've had a lot of fun too. And great warm up for back to school.
It's back to school time and so we are thinking about all those little details of preparing for the school year. Making healthy school lunches and snacks is a big one. We asked the moms of Mommy Poppins what their best tips for easy healthy snack options and school lunch recipes were and they came up with a bunch of really original school lunch box ideas, as well as some old standbys.
Read on to find out what we're putting in our kids' lunch boxes for school lunch and snacks:
Last week there was an article in the NY Times, “Watch How You Hold That Crayon,” about OT and handwriting. In the article Anthony DiCarlo, a Principal stated, “In the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t have the strength in their hands to wield scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which in turn prepares them for writing."
He goes on to say that while many kids head back to school with accomplishments like music, yoga and sports classes, they may not have logged enough time in open-ended play. “I’m all for academic rigor,” he said, “but these days I tell parents that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds important school-readiness skills, too.”
Granola bars are a snack that kids love and parents can feel good about giving their kids - or so the ads say. But many granola bars aren't much better than candy bars and are loaded with sugar, fat, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I found a really easy recipe for granola bars on AllRecipes and I've been making our own ever since. We whip up a batch every weekend for the upcoming week - perfect for back to school time. You could also make more and freeze them. The kids love them and love making them. It's fun for them to eat healthy snacks they've made themselves.
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?