Mother Nature has been having some mood swings... but warm or cold, rain or shine, there's never a shortage of things to do with your children in and around West Orange. 

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…

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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. 

Public Skating Sessions at Codey Arena 

Make memories together right here in town during Essex County Codey Arena's Public Skate Sessions, held five out of seven days a week. A calendar of available times can be found HERE

Upcoming Sporting Events Not to Miss...

National Girls and Women in Sports Day — Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.

West Orange Public Schools will honor and recognize female student athletes and coaches as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. More than 300 people are expected to pack the Tarnoff Gymnasium at West Orange High School for this celebration, which has been rescheduled from Friday.

The event will include halftime games for kids, dedications, concessions, and more. The West Orange girls basketball team will host Great Bridge Christian Academy during the event. Tickets are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids and can be purchased at the door.

West Orange High School Ice Hockey — Saturday, Feb 9 at 5:45 p.m.

Before or after your family skate session at Codey Arena, stay near the ice to see the Mountaineers take on East Side in the upcoming ice hockey tournament. The game begins at 5:45 p.m., with Public Skate Sessions being held from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. that day.

Education Through Storytime…

Babies and Books Storytime — Thursday, Feb. 7 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.

Book Hangout and Activities at Barnes & Noble Livingston — Saturday, Feb. 9

In the book version of “All You Need is Love,” the beloved Beatles song comes to life to show that “if we follow the music, we will see there is indeed love all around us,” according to the staff at the Livingston Mall Barnes & Noble. Kids can enjoy a special reading of John Lennon’s lyrics while also enjoying a cookie-coloring activity while supplies last on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m.

Later that afternoon, beginning at 2 p.m., kids can also enjoy a “Kids’ Book Hangout,” where the young participants are invited to come discover their next favorite book for 20% off while also enjoying games and activities as well as some free “book swag.”

Elementary Storytime — Sunday, Feb. 10 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kids between kindergarten and 3rd grade can “read like a scientist” during this 30-minute program featuring stories sprinkled with science-themed activities.

Terrific Toddlers Storytime — Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Puppets, stores, songs and fingerplays entertain toddlers between ages 2 to 3 ½ and their caregivers during this 30-minute program.

Learning to Ask Good Questions...

Visit Mayor Parisi’s Office Hours — Thursday, Feb. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Expose your family to how local government works by visiting Mayor Robert Parisi during his open office hours. Children have some of the most creative minds in our community, and yours might have some great ideas for how to better our community. There is no appointment necessary to stop by the mayor’s office to chat about ideas and concerns.

Fresh Winter Air Activities...

Little Explorers Winter Nature Program — Thursday, Feb. 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Each week at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland, this child-caregiver class uses stories, walks and crafts to develop an awareness and appreciation for science and nature for the child as well as the caregiver. A program is being held for 3 year olds (tots) on Feb. 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Advance registration and payment of $12 per child per session is required by calling 973-228-8776.

Winter Wonderland Club for ages 4-8 — Saturday, Feb. 9 at 9 a.m.

Children ages 4-8 can enjoy the winter landscape and outdoor activities on Saturday mornings at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland. This is an exploratory club with open, focused exploration that highlights areas of participant interest. Warm mint tea and a book reading after outdoor activities may be occasionally held indoors. Limited space is available, so call 973-228-8776 ASAP for more information.

Nature Adventures: Family Nature Club — Sunday, Feb. 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

The Turtle Back Zoo invites families to get up and moving while exploring and learning about local nature and conservation. Nature Adventurers is open for all ages and all abilities, but recommended for ages 4 and up. Contact Nature Play Leader Sarah Burroughs at 973-731-5800 ext. 236 or tbzsburroughs@gmail.com for more information, or click HERE to register.  

Bug Club for ages 6-10 — Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 4 p.m.

The Bug Club at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland is devoted to children who want to explore the wonders of insects through field walks, games, stories and crafts. The cost is $10 per child per session. Advance registration, payment and minimum number of participants are required. For information, call 973-228-8776.

Exercise for a Good Cause...

Community Options Enterprises 5K Race — Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In conjunction with the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Community Options, Inc., the new West Orange business invites runners, walkers, and rollers (baby strollers and wheelchairs) to help raise funds to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities by participating in the annual Cupid’s Chase 5K to be held at the Turtle Back ZooFor more information, contact cupidschase@comop.org, or register for the race at imatter.comop.org

Celebrating Music Throughout West Orange…

Free Fun Family Concert: Love for the Oranges — Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m.

Bring the whole family to South Orange Symphony's Free Fun Family Concert, where the orchestra will play the music of Beethoven, Leroy Anderson, Holst, Rimsky-Korakov, Prokofiev and more. In addition to some special guests, a musical instrument petting zoo will be featured during intermission.

Black History Month Celebration — Sunday, Feb. 10 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Stories and musical selections celebrating the contributions of black musicians to American classical and Broadway music will be a highlight of a Black History Month celebration being held at the library called “Black History Month Through the Eyes of a Cello.” This will include music by black composers Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington, The Broadway shows “Showboat,” “Porgy and Bess'” and more.

18th Annual Music Faculty Scholarship Concert — Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.

West Orange Public Schools will hold its 18th Annual Music Faculty at Liberty Middle School, where members of the West Orange School 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.

More Support for West Orange Students….

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!

Things to do at home…

Arts & Crafts are a fun, simple way to have fun at home. Need some ideas?

Don’t forget about Valentine’s Day. Grab your markers and go to town by having your kid make some DIY Valentines for every kid in the class.

Write a letter to your current president, or a thank you card to an old one. On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the township will celebrate Abe Lincoln’s birthday by closing all municipal offices, 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.

Speaking of Our Next Long Weekend… Don't wait to make plans that will keep your kids entertained all weekend. 

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.

Need a night to yourself? Attend the next Ladies of West Orange Social being held at Total Wine & More on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Click HERE to learn more or to register.