Tuesday's snow day was a pleasant surprise, but don't forget there's another long weekend coming up for you and your kids. Don't let the extra hours with your kids go to waste — Instead, keep the rest of your week and weekend full with these events and activities in the West Orange area and beyond.
This week’s list of “Things to do with Kids” is brought to you by The Goddard School, an early childhood education franchise coming soon to West Orange.
Fun for the Whole Family...
Connect to Your Shadow During “Halfway Days”
Now that we’re halfway between the start of winter and the first day of spring, it’s time to take advantage of the winter during the days you have left. Light a fire at home for cozy moments together, go ice skating or participate in some winter-y activity you haven’t had the chance to do yet, or take a page out of Tinkgarten’s book and have fun with your shadow while the hours of daylight are at the ideal time to do so.
Tinkergarten, whose mission is to elevate childhood by providing high-quality learning outdoors, has THIS SPECIAL GUIDE to teach you and your kids how to use sunlight and shadows to help them develop body, mind and spirit as they move, play and experiment.
50% Off for First Timers at FunTime Junction
Never been to FunTime Junction in Fairfield? When you download the free FunTime Junction App, you and your family will get 50 percent off your first visit to the award-winning indoor play arena featuring everything you need to occupy your kids for hours.
Although FunTime is known for throwing the best birthday parties around, walk-in open play is held daily for use of attractions like the multi-level climbscape, laser tag, an updated arcade and video games, a helicopter ride, the Beam interactive floor projection game and a “build-a-buddy” activity.
Imagine That! Children’s Museum in Florham Park is hosting a two-day event on Feb. 18 and 19, where kids can create a picture of their favorite president to take home while enjoying the museum’s mainstay exhibits including the pirate ship, pretend restaurant and enchanted castle. More information can be found at www.imaginethatmuseum.com or by calling 973-966-8000.
The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is also hosting extended hours during Presidents Day weekend, where you can check out science-themed programs including Animal Encounter, Story Time: The Human Body, Kid Construction, Nikola Tesla Lightning Show and more. Visit www.lsc.org for more info or call 201-200-1000.
The Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland is hosting a Presidents Day “The Leader I Can Be” outdoor team-building program for children ages 5 and up at 1 p.m. that will allow participants to explore challenge by choice and team-building exercises on the forest trails in Roseland, and discuss and develop the skills that make a virtuous leader. Advance registration is required by calling 973-228-8776.
Public Skating Sessions at Codey Arena are another great way to make memories together right here in town. Public Skate Sessions are typically held five out of seven days a week. A calendar of available times can be found HERE.
Coming up in the Schools…
Regional High School Stepping Championship — Saturday, Feb. 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
During Presidents Day Weekend, West Orange High School will play host to the 2019 New Jersey Regional High School Stepping Championship after school on Feb. 16. See some of the best step teams in the region, including our very own West Orange boys/girls step teams, compete at the Youth Step USA Inc. Championships!
18th Annual Music Faculty Scholarship Concert — Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Rescheduled from Feb. 12, West Orange Public Schools’ 18th Annual Music Faculty Scholarship Concert will now be held on Feb. 19 at Liberty Middle School, where members of the district faculty will perform vocal, instrumental and group performances spanning contemporary, classical and Broadway music. Donations will be accepted and will go toward scholarships for graduating seniors that plan to pursue a degree in music.
West Orange High School Dance Performance — Thursday, Feb. 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The community is invited to come out and experience the amazing talents of the West Orange High School dancers during the Second Annual WOHS Dance Performance to be held in the auditorium. The theme of this free community event is "Diverse Voices," as the members of the WOHS dance classes decided they wanted to represent “Culture, Viewpoints and Community” through their dances in the concert. This year, dance teacher Melissa Sande said the concert is going to follow an evening length format, “where the dances run continuously into one another much like you would see at a professional dance concert.”
Educational Events for the Kids…
Babies and Books Storytime — Thursday, Feb. 14 from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
Infants up to 24 months and their caregivers are invited to a 20-minute West Orange Public Library program to introduce babies to language skills through stories, songs and rhymes. Registration for this event can be found HERE.
African American History Month Celebration — Saturday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Members of the West Orange community are invited to the West Orange Public Library on Saturday to learn about the ancient civilizations that existed without the influence of Western civilizations during this special weekend event.
Storytime and Activities at Barnes & Noble Livingston
Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Livingston Mall Barnes & Noble, children will learn how to keep themselves happy when everyone else around them is rotten, and how being happy might just be the best choice when they read “The Good Egg” and “The Bad Seed” by Jory John and Pete Oswald. B&N Livingston will follow this up with a Storytime for Kids event on Tuesday at 10 a.m., where storytime experts will embark on an exciting reading adventure with kids.
Fresh Winter Air Activities for Everyone...
Little Explorers Winter Nature Program — Various Times for Various ages
This child-caregiver class at the Essex Count Environmental Center in Roseland is for children ages 2 to 5 and uses stories, walks and crafts to develop an awareness and appreciation for science and nature for the child as well as the caregiver. Each week, a different nature or science topic is covered. This week’s dates include Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. for 2 year olds; Thursday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. for 3 year olds; and Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 3:30 p.m. or Thursday, Feb. 21 at 9:30 a.m. for 4 and 5 year olds. Advance registration and payment are required by calling 973-228-8776.
3-Day Short Course on Basic Beekeeping for Older Kids & Teens
Adults and children ages 12 and older can enjoy a short course presented by the Essex County Beekeepers Society, with head instructor/coordinator Master Beekeeper Landi Simone at the Essex County Environmental Center. The course—which will be held on Saturdays, Feb. 16 and 21 with the final class being a hands-on field day in April at various apiaries—covers everything beginning beekeepers need to know, from purchasing equipment to harvesting honey and the basics of disease and mite management.
Build a Bird House Together — Saturday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.
Participants in this program for adults and children ages 8 and older will build a home that encourages breeding birds and other wildlife to take residence. According to the Essex County Environmental Center, where the event will be held, putting out a birdhouse now creates a good chance of having a nesting pair of songbirds in the garden by spring. Advance registration is required by calling 973-228-8776.
Things to do at home…
Arts & Crafts are a fun, simple way to have fun at home. Need some ideas?
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of all kinds of love…and that includes love between friends! Grab your markers and go to town by having your children make some DIY Valentines for every kid in the class. Check out this list of 75 Easy Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids of all ages, from toddlers to tweens, to create for their classmates or family members.
Write a letter to your current president, or a thank you card to an old one. On Tuesday, the township closed its municipal offices in celebration of Abe Lincoln’s birthday, and on Monday, Feb. 18, kids will take a quick break from school in honor of all our nation’s presidents. George Washington was so beloved that his February birthday warranted a federal holiday that is held on the third Monday of the month to this day. Take the time to explain the holiday to your kids, and have them do something creative to celebrate.
You can also discover the “Book of the Day” at the West Orange Public Library to see if it’s the right fit for you to read along with your kids whenever you see fit.