Thanksgiving is finally here! After spending some quality time with family and friends on Thursday, you may be looking for some fun activities for your children and family. You are in luck because there’s a lot happening in and around town. You and your family can attend Santa's Flight Academy at the Short Hills Mall, shop at the WOHS Holiday Bazaar, get a photo taken with Santa or spend time with Caring Santa at the Livingston Mall, see Santa arrive by fire truck at the elementary schools in West Orange, donate to and help pack care packages for our troops, support the West Orange Mayor's Sunshine Fund Toy Drive, go behind the scenes for Giraffe Tours at the Turtle Back Zoo and much more. Your little ones are invited to participate in Yoga Bootcamp (YoBOO) at the West Orange Library, attend some storytimes, a fun movement class and more. There are also some fun activities for kids in kindergarten through the teenage years like reading to therapy dogs, participating in a stocking ornament workshop, or a Comic Book Club, playing D&D and more. Adults may want to take in a comedy show or do some painting and sipping at A Sip of Art.

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. #ThingstodowithKidsGoddardSchoolWONJ

Note: If you attend any of these events, partake in any of the ideas shared below, or just have a great picture of your kid(s) that you’d like featured, please send photos to jackie.eventscolumn@gmail.com. In addition, please send any events you’d like added to this column to the same email address.

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FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

 

Santa's Flight Academy from Nov. 7-Dec. 24 in Grand Court at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

The public is invited to come visit Santa at Santa’s Flight Academy, a personalized holiday adventure. Each visiting cadet receives a flight crew badge then, as an elite member of Santa’s flight crew, is fitted with a virtual flight suit. From there, the cadet partners with a helpful elf to inspect and power Santa’s sleigh using a series of interactive stations. The visit culminates with a snowfall dance party and, of course, time with Santa. Santa’s Flight Academy is free to all with a variety of optional photo packages to purchase. Each package includes a complimentary Lovepop card.

Mayor's Sunshine Fund Toy Drive 2019 is Running NOW- Through Dec. 13 from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm (see drop off details below)

The public is invited to donated new and unwrapped toys for children ages 10 and under. The toys will be donated to West Orange families in need during the holiday season. Please drop items off at Town Hall, Mayor's Office Room 106 or Senior Services Room 207 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. After hours, please drop toys off to Timothy Groves Police Substation, 92 Washington St., West Orange. For more information, please call Laura or Noelia at 973-325-4105.

It's Santa Photo Time at the Livingston Mall from Nov. 28 to Dec. 24 (click the link below for available days and times) at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) (RSVP below for details)

Reserve your FastPass and skip the line to see Santa here.

Holiday Music Series from Nov. 29 to Dec. 24 from 1-4 pm, every Sat and Sun. at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Shop to the festive sounds of the season during The Mall at Short Hills' Holiday Music Series. Enjoy performances from pianists and long-time favorite March of the Wooden Soldiers and Cobblestone Carolers strolling the center.

Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 30 from 8:30 to 4:30 pm at West Orange High School (51 Conforti Ave., West Orange)

The public is invited to come start the holiday shopping early by attending WOHS’s Holiday Bazaar where 90 vendors will be offering handmade and other types of gift items. There will also be activities for kids and food.

Disney Junior Holiday Fun at the Livingston Mall on Nov. 30 from 2-4 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) Event Location: Lower Level Center Court in front of Lord & Taylor

Celebrate the season with family and festive activities inspired by favorite Disney Junior pals. The first 100 attendees will receive an Exclusive Character Card. Participate in all 4 Play Dates to collect them all! Note: Disney character appearances are not part of this event.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town (West Orange) on Dec. 1 from 1-4 pm (see locations and specific times below)

Bring your children to meet Santa, who will be visiting the elementary schools in town via a firetruck. Schedule: Redwood (1:10 pm); Kelly (1:30 pm); Mt. Pleasant (2 pm); St. Cloud (2:30 pm); Gregory (2:50 pm); Hazel (3:10 pm); Washington (3:40 pm).

Holiday Lights at the Zoo from Nov 30 and Dec. 1, from 5 – 9 pm at Turtle Back Zoo (Berson Education Center, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The lights will be available for viewing throughout November and December. Click here for the full schedule.

Caring Santa Photo Experience on Dec. 1 at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) (RSVP below for details)

The Livingston Mall is holding a private photo experience for children with special needs and their families. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their photo taken with him. The Mall will make the necessary adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event. Caring Santa will be held during private mall hours. RSVP here.

Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at 2 pm, at The Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue West Orange NJ (Tours will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in November 2019)

The Behind the Scenes ticket provides guests with a 30 - 45 minute Behind the Scenes Tour in the Giraffe Barn; a meet and greet the Giraffe Keeper; and admission to the Zoo for the day (for non-Zoological Society members). The tours are for people ages 6 and above. Register here. The fee is $50 a person.

Support Our Troops Collection and Packing Program on Dec. 4 at the Roseland First Aid Squad Building on Eagle Rock Avenue between 12-7 pm (Items are being collected now at the Municipal Clerk's Office)

The public is invited to come help pack up care packages for our service men and women who will be stationed away from home during the holiday season. Send an email to cellomom144@aol.com for details or to help in any way. The items have been generously donated by the community. Those interested in donating items to fill the care packages can do so at the Municipal Clerk's Office. Financial donations to offset the shipping costs are also welcome. (Checks can be made out to Backpacks for Life with For Our Troops 2019). Teams, clubs or scout troops that would like to create cards or letters of support are asked to please not use glitter or pipe cleaners and to please refrain from religious sentiments. If you know a friend or loved one on active duty who is serving away from home, domestic or international, and would like to receive a care package, please send their address to the email address above. Participants would love to send them some holiday cheer and a great big thank you for their service to our country! Suggested items: Amazon gift cards, Halloween candy, hotel sized toiletries, feminine products, flushable wipes like Cottonelle, baby wipes, Q Tips, lip balm/Chapstick, foot powder Dr. Scholl’s, Gold Bond or Tinactin, hand sanitizers, playing cards and travel-size board games,  Cup o' Soup, Ramen Noodles, granola bars, Tic Tacs and breath mints, Chef Boyardee cans, canned or bagged tuna, Spam, microwave popcorn, protein bars, individual flavor packets for water bottles, Beef jerky, Slim Jim’s, Pop Tarts, cookie and cracker snack packs, hair accessories (clips, scrunched, etc.), laundry pods, dryer sheets, small puzzles and puzzle books. Thank you so much for supporting our military! This year, they are a part of the nonprofit Backpacks For Life, founded by a Marine veteran and former recipient of a holiday box. Thanks to the generosity of their donors, they were able to ship 165 boxes around the world last year.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS

 

Yoga Bootcamp (YoBOO) for Kids on Dec. 3 at 11 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

YoBOOTM is a unique take on fitness, combining the aerobic fun of bootcamp with the powerful breathing techniques of yoga to take the children ages 2-5 on an energy roller coaster.

Lego Club on Dec. 3 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Kids of all ages are invited to come build with Legos and make new friends.

Monica + Andy Movement Class with the Little Moving Artist on Nov. 27 at 10:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Monica + Andy invites kids from ages 2-4 years to a Movement Class with The Little Moving Artist, every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Get ready for the silliest, most energetic movement class around! Join the Little Moving Artist team in this 45-minute whimsical, imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. Your child will ice skate on paper plates, tap dance on bubble wrap, take part in an ultimate snowball fight, bug hunt, fly with superhero capes and wings, freeze dance, and more. They promise lots of smiles and happy exhaustion! Drop-ins: $10, Family: $15.

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on Nov. 28 and Dec. 3 at 10 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children 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. 

Celebrate Small Business Saturday in West Orange on Nov. 30 all day long

The public is invited to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Check out some favorite businesses or try some new ones. When you shop local, you are helping local businesses thrive.

Storytime and Activities Featuring Dear Santa and Cookies for Santa on Nov. 30 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children are invited to enjoy Storytime and activities featuring two books about cherished holiday traditions for families.

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Baby Shark: Meet Baby Shark on Dec. 1 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children ages 0-2 and their caregivers are invited for Baby & Me Storytime, where they will enjoy a book and participate in activities featuring sensory growth for little ones. Guests will receive a coupon for a free tall, hot or iced Starbucks coffee.

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS

 

Creature Comfort: Practice Reading with a Therapy Dog on Dec. 2 at 4:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children have a chance to practice their reading skills by reading to friendly therapy dogs in this program.

Make a Stocking Ornament – Kids Workshop on Nov. 30 from 9 am to 12 pm at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids will have fun making their own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in this kit, they will learn to nail a frame to the inside of their ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from parents and Store Associates, participants can paint their creation to make it truly unique. They will add stickers for a final special touch. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids will get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin, while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

 

FUN FOR TEENS

 

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on Nov. 29 from 3:15-5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

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 teamwork all rolled into one! 

Make a Stocking Ornament – Kids Workshop on Nov. 30 from 9 am to 12 pm at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids will have fun making their own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in this kit, they will learn to nail a frame to the inside of their ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from parents and Store Associates, participants can paint their creation to make it truly unique. They will add stickers for a final special touch. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids will get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin, while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

Comic Book Club on Dec. 2, 6:30-7:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Do you like comic books? Graphic novels? Superhero movies? Kids in grades 4-12 are invited to come talk about their favorite books, movie adaptations, or styles of art and work on a project of their own.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS

 

Comedy Show at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood on Nov. 27 from 7-10 pm (10 Durand Road, Maplewood)

Gordon Baker-Bone, Kate Nichols, Brett Druck, KL Martin, Ryan Rummell and Matt Nedostup are coming to SOMA to celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving with a great stand-up show! $20.00 includes tickets and drinks, so come on out and have some fun. Tickets can be purchased here; tickets will also be sold at the door while they last.

Paint and Sip at A Sip of Art on Nov. 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 1 (8-10 pm) (235 Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052 – in the Whole Foods Shopping Plaza located at the intersection of Prospect Ave and Eagle Rock Avenue. Located in the lower level next to MyGym)

Bring a friend, spouse, significant other – or just come by yourself for a fun and relaxing night of painting and sipping, or just painting – as that’s fine too. Not sure you can paint? No worries, there’s no previous painting skills needed. You will learn how to mix colors, what brushes to use and to how to paint – and, you will go home with a great painted memory of the experience. Choose your date and painting and register here. Prices range from $25 - $30 a class depending on painting chosen.

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY

 

November 28th is Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to think about what you are grateful for, relax, spend time with family, watch some football and enjoy a huge feast. In addition to celebrating the holiday in these ways, you might want to do some crafts or cooking related to the holiday. You can also explain the significance of the holiday to your kids by reading a book or watching a movie about the first Thanksgiving, which was celebrated in 1621. You can also talk to them about gratitude and ask them when they are thankful for, and then go around the dinner table letting one another know what you are grateful for.

 

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 Nov. 28, 1935 – The "Grande Ole Opry" debuted on radio.
  • On Nov. 30, 1782 – The United Stated and Great Britain signed a peace treaty in Paris, formally ending the Revolutionary War.
  • On Nov. 1, 1887 – Sherlock Holmes appeared for the first time in print in, "A Study in Scarlet."
  • On Nov. 1, 1955 – Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat in the front section of a bus.
  • On Nov. 2, 1891 – The toilet paper roll was patented.
  • On Nov. 2, 1982 – Barney B. Clark received the world's first artificial heart transplant.