From National Chocolate Chip Day (May 15) and World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day (May 19) to playing Pokemon, storytimes, music, craft-making and cooking activities – the third week in May seems to be chock full of a lot of fun! If you are looking to participate in fun activities and more this week, please enjoy this list of “Things to Do with Kids” in and around town, brought to you by The Goddard School in West Orange.

Note: If you attend any of these events, partake in any of the craft or cooking ideas shared below, or just have a great picture of your kids that you’d like featured, please send photos to jackie.eventscolumn@gmail.com.

 

IN THE SCHOOLS...

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District-wide Pajama Party (Pre-K to Grade 5) on May 17 from 6-8 pm at Liberty Middle School (1 Kelly Dr, West Orange)

Kids in grades pre-k to 5th are invited to attend the annual West Orange School District's reading pajama party. This year's theme is "Come join the Circus.” Pajamas are not mandatory but encouraged. The event is FREE and will feature an evening of storytime fun. Refreshments will be served along with surprises for all children attending. All children attending must be accompanied by an adult. To participate, send an email to msolimo@westorangeschools.org.

 

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY…

 

Books & Buttons Youth Appreciation Week Event on May 15 at 3 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

As part of Youth Appreciation Week, the Livingston Public Library invites children and teens to stop by the Youth Department for an afternoon of crafting and conversation. Guests will tell a librarian what they're reading, and then make a custom button of their own design.

Night Moves at the Turtle Back Zoo on May 16 at 7:30-9:30 pm at 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange

Participants will take a unique look at the zoo at night and see its nocturnal animal collection. Night Moves provides a guided evening tour of zoo exhibits where guests will learn about different animal senses and adaptations. Participants should arrive at the Zoo's Main Gate at least 10 minutes before their scheduled tour time. Tours leave every 10 minutes starting at 7:30pm; the last tour leaves at approximately 8:10pm. Gates close at 8:15pm. The departure of one’s ticketed tour time may vary slightly. Tours last approximately 1 hour. To help with safety, guests are encouraged to bring their own flashlights and wear appropriate footwear. There is no flash photography. As a benefit of being an Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Member, discount codes for Night Moves tours are available upon request. Discount codes only cover the people listed on the membership. Membership ID required. Reciprocal Zoo Memberships are not eligible for this program. Call #973-731-5800 x241 to request the current discount code. Refund Policy: Cancellations may be made up to 7 days prior to the originally scheduled tour date and time; no refunds will be offered less than 7 days prior to the originally scheduled tour date and time. Weather Policy: In the case of extreme weather, tour cancellations will be called by 12 pm noon the day of the tour. Full refunds will be given if another date isn’t suitable. Register here.

Verona Park Fishing Derby on May 16 from 5-7:45 pm at Verona Park (Bloomfield Ave and Lakeside Avenue, Verona)

The free fishing derby, for kids ages 15 and under, is an excellent opportunity for children to enjoy the historic Essex County Park System in a different and fun way. Participants will have a great time creating their own ‘big fish’ stories and spending some quality time with friends and families in some of the most beautiful parks in the area. Guests are invited to come out, cast their lines, experience Essex and take a look at the improvements being done to revitalize the parks. Guests will also be able to win prizes. Children should bring their own fishing poles, bait, chairs, buckets and family. Registration begins at 5 pm; Derby begins at 6 pm; and Award presentations begin at 7:45 pm. (Derby will not be made up due to inclement weather. Cancellations will be posted on the website.)

Free Family Fun Extravaganza on May 18 from 10 am to 10 pm at the Oval at Livingston High School in Livingston (30 Robert Harp Drive, Livingston, NJ)

The Township of Livingston officially kicked off its annual week-long Youth Appreciation Week celebration on Saturday, to celebrate Livingston’s youngest residents by hosting a multitude of events and activities. Here is a link to an article on the events and below is information on Family Fun Day.

This Family Fun Day extravaganza will include face painters, a DJ, a Girl Scout Craft Tent, a balloon artist, Food Day Tent with healthy nutrition, child ID and car seat inspections with the Livingston Police Department, a Livingston Robotics Club exhibition, Adopt-a-Pet Tent, Aqua Extreme obstacle course and Sea Monster soft play maze and competition. Other activities will include the Chalk Walk, blow up slides, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, GAGA pit, games with the YMCA, Force Homestead Tours and outer space-themed games and crafts with the Livingston Young Families Club. In addition, children will be able to explore a fire truck, an ambulance and a Public Work trucks during Touch-A-Truck. The Robotics Club will also be selling food. The evening will conclude with The Lego Movie 2 and the town-wide camp out (must pre-register at livingstonnj.org through Community Pass for camp out). Click HERE to read about last year's Family Festival Day. 

West Orange Arts Council B.Y.O.E. Pop-up Art Exhibit on May 18, All Day, at the Township of West Orange Municipal Building (66 Main Street, West Orange)

B.Y.O.E. (Bring Your Own Easel) is a unique art event where artists can bring their own easels and display their work for the community to view. The event will feature local painters, sculptors and photographers.

West Orange Farmers Market on May 18 from 9 am to 2 pm at 80 Main Street Parking Lot (North End)

The West Orange farmers market is returning with a new day and time. Fresh produce, local eggs and honey, artisanal cheeses, delicious baked goods, fresh juice, local flowers, vegan goods, upcycled crafts, lunch options, and much more can be found at the West Orange Farmers Market.

Forest Gnomes Education and Craft Event on May 18 from 10:30 am to 12 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Families are invited to come and uncover the legend of forest gnomes by exploring the mystery and folklore of these mythical creatures. They will design homes with natural materials to attract these fun friends and make their very own felt gnome hats. Advance registration required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $30 per family (up to two adults and two children) or $10 per child, $12 per adult.

Hans & Friends Band on May 18 from 2-4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

The Hans and Friends Band will be playing different Haitian genres including: Toubadoo, Zouk and Kompa.

Family Gaming at the Library on May 18 from 2-4 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Families are invited to play tournament-style Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch. Children ages 12 and under must have a parent/caregiver accompanying them. 

TaikoZoku Japanese Drumming Show on May 19 from 4-6 pm at the Essex County Presby Memorial Iris Gardens (474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair)

Guests are invited to hear the sound of Japanese Taiko drumming reverberating through the gardens.

New Jersey Wood Turners on May 20 from 7-9:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Adults and children ages 3 and up are invited to come and learn to turn with the NJ Woodturners Association. They will discover the wonders of creating art from found pieces of wood. Call Gualberto Malave at 908.310.3557 for details. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Fee: $10 per adult, free for NJWA members.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS…

 

Spanish Stories Storytime on May 15 at 4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Come and listen to stories read in Spanish. This program is great for Spanish speakers and Spanish learners of all ages! Ven a escuchar cuentos en Español. Para todas edades de hispanohablantes y personas aprendiendo Español!

Storytime at IndigoKids – May 16 and 21 at 11 a.m. at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Your kids will be thrilled when you take a break from shopping at the Short Hills Mall and stop by IndigoKids for storytime.

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on May 16 at 10 am and May 18 and 21 at 11 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Your kids will embark on an exciting adventure as they are introduced to some of your childhood favorites, as well as some you may not have heard before.

Babies and Books Storytime on May 16 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Infants up to 24 months and their caregivers are invited to partake in a fun storytime session where they will enjoy books, songs and rhymes, while being introduced to language skills.

Terrific Toddlers Storytime on May 16 at 11:30 at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 2 to 3 ½ and their caretakers will be entertained by puppets, stories, songs and fingerplay.

Little Moving Artist Class at Monica + Andy on May 16 and 17 from 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Bring your little ones, ages 2-4, to participate in a Movement Class with The Little Moving Artist. Children will enjoy this whimsical and imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. Children will ice skate on paper plates, tap dance on bubble wrap, take part in an ultimate snowball fight, bug hunt, fly with super hero capes and wings, freeze dance, and more. Drop in fee: $10.

Rockness Pop Up Family Jam at Monica + Andy on May 18 from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Bring the little ones to a Popup Family Jam with Rockness Music, where charged with energy, the stage disappears during shows and everyone is a part of the action. The children participate in sing-a-longs, movement, educational activities and dramatic play.

Indigokids Presents: The Very Impatient Caterpillar Storytime and Book Signing on May 18 from 1-2 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

The public is invited to join author Ross Burach as he reads and hosts an interactive drawing demonstration for his newest book, The Very Impatient Caterpillar; book signing to follow.  

Special Event, Children's Event (Children's) on May 18 at 2 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children and their caregivers are invited to a Kids' Book Hangout where they will discover their next favorite book PopularMMOs Presents a Hole New World, by PopularMMOs. Attendees will enjoy games, activities, and giveaways, save 20% on featured books and receive a coupon for a $1 Blondie Bar at the B&N Café.

Adventurous Storytime at Monica + Andy on May 21 from 12:30-1 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Shop till you drop and then stop in at Monica + Andy with your little ones to enjoy a few fun and interactive reads from some favorite children's books. Free event.

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS…

 

Frog Pond Science Club on May 15 from 4-5 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Children ages 5-9 will uncover and discover ecosystem interactions at the frog pond. They will explore with nets, magnifiers and microscopes to investigate what lives at the pond and learn from a naturalist what can be done to protect and conserve the pond inhabitants. Advance registration required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session.

Meet a Ranger! Edison National Park Visits the Library on May 16 from 4:15 pm to 5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Meet a Ranger from the Edison National Park. 4th Graders can sign themselves and their families up for a free pass to ALL National Parks as a part of the 'Every Kid in A Park' Initiative.

Flour Shop Bitelet Party at Williams Sonoma on May 18 from 10-11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Kids ages 8-13 will learn to make delicious ‘bitelets” with plenty of tasting along the way. Williams Sonoma has teamed up with Flour Shop founder Amirah Kassem to create magical cakes and bitelets that can be made at home. Flour Shop’s rainbow explosion cakes are a colorful dessert that are equally yummy! Cost of $40 per child includes our Flour Shop bitelet pan.

Pokemon League on May 19 from 12-2 pm at New World Manga (93 E Mt Pleasant Ave, Livingston)

Kids ages 7 and up can play Pokemon on Sundays at New World Manga. Participating in these events is a great way to learn the game, make friends and be one of the first to find out when new decks are being released. They also have special events. Check here for more details.

 

FUN FOR TEENS…

 

Teen Game Night on April 15 at 7 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Teens in grades 6-12 will enjoy a fun evening of video games, board games, and more!

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on May 17 from 3-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, Livingston)

Teens ages 13+ are invited to join a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) adventure! Epic quests await teens who join the DnD club at the library! DnD features role-playing, storytelling, on- the-spot strategic thinking, math skills, problem solving, and team work all rolled into one!

 

FUN FOR ADULTS…

 

Live Bobbi Brown Webcast on May 16 at 10:15 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

PNC Bank is hosting a Bobbi Brown Webcast for the public on “How a Makeup Artist Built an Empire.” The world-renowned makeup artist, best-selling author, sought-after speaker and serial entrepreneur will discuss: How to Get Started, Networking for Success, Overcoming Moments of Helplessness, Pushing Through Adversity, How to Build a Brand and Mastering Time Management and more. Business owners registered for the event will be entered to win $25,000 and participate in a raffle for a basket donated by Bobbi Brown‼️ To register, send an email to: Harvetta.Lynch@PNC.com. Link to full article on the event: https://bit.ly/2Hf3Dih

Hans Lundy Art Reception on May 19 from 3-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Artist Hans Lundy’s artwork will be displayed from May 5th until to the end of the month. Lundy was born in Haiti and resides in East Orange. His works demonstrate an acute sensibility for all those to see.

The Power of Sprinkles Tour with Flour Shop's Amirah Kassem at Williams Sonoma on May 21 from 6-8 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

At this exciting event showcasing the new book and product collection of Amirah Kassem, founder of Soho's Flour Shop bakery, participants will learn to make a Flour Shop Explosion Cake from Kassem herself and take home a Flour Shop Explosion Cake Kit and signed copy of The Power of Sprinkles! Kassem will teach guests how to whip up her colorful signature cake and sign copies of her new book. In her book, Kassem, a modern-day Willy Wonka, reminds readers that joy can be found in creating something delightful and delicious. Attendees will be able to shop the colorful collections of cake mixes, frostings, sprinkles and more made in collaborations with Kassem, so they can make Flour Shop magic in their own kitchens. Class and book signing are separate with separate fees and reservations are required.

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

 

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day

National Chocolate Chip Day was started to celebrate the enjoyment of sweet, tasty chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are popular in cooking and baking and there are many recipes requiring chocolate chips.

Did you know that chocolate chips were created in 1937, at the same time chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe?

 

May 19 is World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day

World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day was created to help feed the hungry planet and encourage people to participate in the hobby of gardening. While this day is intended to create a vegetable garden, some people like to plant flower or herb gardens instead, or in addition to vegetable gardens. The date of May 19th was chosen because it is generally when the last frost date has passed for almost everyone in the northern hemisphere.

There are many ways to celebrate this holiday. From planting a vegetable garden, to enjoying a salad, cooking with vegetables or learning about nutrition – you can’t go wrong celebrating this holiday.

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…

The next time you sit down for a family dinner, toss out some of these facts to spark a lively and informative family conversation. After dinner, look up some of these dates and facts and explore the historical moments as a family.

  • On May 15, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln established the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • On May 15, 1918 – Regular airmail service started between New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC).
  • On May 16, 1866 – Charles Hires invented Root Beer.
  • On May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby was held at Churchill Downs.
  • On May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte became the Emperor of France.
  • On May 19, 1884 – The Ringling Brothers circus premiered.
  • On May 20, 1990 – The Hubble Space Telescope transmitted photographs from space.
  • On May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was formed.