There are a lot of great activities happening this week into next including many MLK Jr. Day activities that can be found listed below. There are also some camp fairs coming up as well as vacation day camps.

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 British Swim School. #ThingstodowithKidsLivingston

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

 

Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Jan. 18-19 and 25-26, 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.

The Green Planet Concert on Jan. 18 at 3 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

The Green Planet is a family band comprises teen/tween siblings Kylee, Tyler, and Anna, along with Mama Lisa. It started with an elementary school talent show and has grown to be a credible professional rock act with strong vocals by the kids and lead guitar work from Mama. They do music by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Journey, Neil Diamond, Buddy Holly, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, and others, and have been a big hit at numerous events. The Green Planet strives to bring awareness to keep the Earth healthy and clean. The logo comprises Recycling Arrows.

Golda Och Academy’s High School Musical: The Drowsy Chaperone on Jan. 18 at 7 pm, Jan. 19 at 8 pm and Jan. 19 at 1 pm at the Maurice Levin Theater at the JCC MetroWest (760 Northfield Ave in West Orange).  

Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, The Drowsy Chaperone is a loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical, featuring one show-stopping song and dance number after another. With the houselights down, a man in a chair appears on stage and puts on his favorite record: the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The recording comes to life and The Drowsy Chaperone begins as the man in the chair looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theater producer, a not-so-bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated chaperone, and you have the ingredients for an evening of madcap delight. Advance tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students; all tickets are $18 at the door. Tickets can be purchased here.

Stand-up Comedy Magic Show on Jan. 22 at 7 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp Dr.)

The public is invited for a Stand-up Comedy Magic Show with magician Tom Yurasits. Prepare to be both dazzled amazed with tricks that are committed to making you laugh. While this program is primarily geared towards adults, families of all ages are welcome. 

 

CAMP FAIRS

 

NJ Camp Fairs, Happening on Weekends from Jan. 18 To Feb. 22, 2020

Families looking for a summer camp for their children have the opportunity to attend a host of camp fairs sponsored by njcampfairs.com in collaboration with The American Camp Association. These are free events featuring many day, overnight and travel camps. The fairs will feature general camps and those that specialize in sports, adventure, STEM, pre-college, performing arts, special needs, and more. While at a camp fair, families will be able to talk with camp directors and other members of leadership teams to determine what camps are right for their children. Attending one of these camp fairs is a great way for families to do research and learn about many camp offerings at one time in one location.  FREE admission. The fairs, which all boast free parking are free, and attendees will walk away with gifts, giveaways, DVDs, raffle prizes and more. Those who register here will receive a gift at the fair they choose to attend.

Camp Fair Dates and Locations:

  • 1/18: Bergen County (Bergen Town Center, Paramus)
  • 1/19: Mercer County (Quaker Bridge Mall, Lawrenceville)
  • 1/25: Essex County (Livingston Mall, Livingston)
  • 1/26: Union County (The Grand Summit Hotel, Summit)
  • 02/08: Bergen County (Village of Ridgewood, Ridgewood)
  • 02/09: Essex County (Montclair Art Museum, Montclair)
  • 02/22: Middlesex County (Menlo Park Mall, Edison)

 

JAN. 20 HOLIDAY CAMPS

 

Vacation Art Camp Full Day at A Sip of Art on Jan. 20 from 9 am – 5 pm (235 Prospect Ave., West Orange, NJ)

Kids ages 5-12 are invited to participate in the Sip of Art Vacation Art Camp where they will paint, draw, craft and play the day away. Camp runs from 9 am to 5 pm with an hour for lunch from 12-1 pm. Full-day campers should bring a nut-free snack, water and nut-free lunch. Register here.

Wintertime at the Zoo January Mini-Camp on Jan. 20 at Turtle Back Zoo from 9 am – 4 pm (Berson Education Center, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

Many people don’t visit zoos during the winter, but there’s a lot going on! For this mini-camp day, campers will discover what the animals are doing when it’s cold outside. TBZ will also be hosting Zoo Camp on February 17 and for Spring Break. Visit the Zoo Camps home page for more information and register here. Spring Break Camp information and registration will be available in early March. Fee: $85.00.

MLK Day: Forest Animals Winter Survival-One Day Camp on Jan. 20 9:30 - 3:30 pm Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland) 

Kids ages 5-10 are invited to attend this one-day camp where they will look at Winter habitats and how New Jersey nature survives the cold season. Children will explore winter wetlands and do indoor activities that are both fun and educational. Campers should wear good footwear and outerwear, so they can fully enjoy the seasonal discoveries. Fee: $75 per child.

 

FUN FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

 

NEW: Sensory Storytime on Jan. 23 at 1:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 2-10, with autism, developmental challenges or sensory sensitivities and a caregiver are invited for some interactive storytime at the library.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS

 

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on Jan. 21 and 23 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. 

Books n' Babies Storytime on Jan.23 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Infants up to 24 months and caregivers will enjoy stories, songs and rhymes introducing babies to language skills.

Saturday Storytimes and Crafts on Jan. 17 at 10 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 0-5 are invited for stories and crafts on Saturday mornings.

Monica + Andy Movement Class with the Little Moving Artist on Jan. 18 at 10:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Children ages 2-4 are invited to join the Little Moving Artist team in this 45-minute whimsical, imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. They 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. There will be lots of smiles and happy exhaustion! Fees: Drop-ins: $10, family: $15.

Storytime and Activities Featuring Nobody Hugs a Cactus on Jan. 18 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world, and everyone stays away from him. But he is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. Children ages 4-8 are invited for storytime and activities featuring, Nobody Hugs a Cactus, by Carter Goodrich.

Sibling Story Time on Jan. 20 at 11 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Calling all brothers and sisters! Join us for a special storytime: babies, toddlers, and preschoolers with older (and younger!) siblings. Brother or sister not required.

Toddler Time on Jan. 21 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Toddlers ages 2 – 3 1/2 and their caregivers will be entertained by puppets, stories, songs, and fingerplay.

Raising Readers on Jan. 21 at 11:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 3 1/2 – 5 and their caregivers will enjoy stories, songs and games.

Musical Storytime on Jan. 23 at 4 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp Dr.)

Kids ages 2-5 and their caregivers will enjoy a Guitar Joe medley of music and storytelling including songs, picture books, puppet shows, dance parties, multimedia presentations, drum circles, egg-shaker jams, and so much more!

Storytime and Activities Featuring How to Catch a Dragon on Jan. 25 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children ages 4-8 and invited to come and celebrate Lunar New Year with this fun Storytime! The wily dragon in How to Catch a Dragon (How to Catch... Series), by Adam Wallace, will have to avoid trap after trap as the kids run through paper lanterns, red envelopes, fireworks, and more. Guests will also color a paper lantern to take home.

Little Explorers Winter Nature Program for Kids ages 2 to 5 (See schedule below) at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland) 

Children love to explore nature and observe all the natural wonders around them. Participants will take magnifiers and their imaginations into the wooded wetland to investigate what winter means to the forest plants and animals around the Environmental Center. Participants should come dressed for the weather since they will be spending time outside. Advance registration is required. Please call 973.228.8776. The fee is $12 per child/session.

See schedule below:

  • Toddlers (age 2): on Tuesdays, January 21; February 4, 11, 18, 25 (10 to 11 am)
  • Tots (age 3) on Thursdays, January 23; February 6, 13, 20, 27 (1 to 2 pm)
  • Pre-K (ages 4-5) on Tuesdays, January 21; February 4, 11, 18, 25 (1 to 2 pm) OR Thursdays, January 23; February 6, 13, 20, 27 (10 to 11 am)

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS

 

Storytime and Activities Featuring Nobody Hugs a Cactus on Jan. 18 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world, and everyone stays away from him. But he is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. Children ages 4-8 are invited for storytime and activities featuring, Nobody Hugs a Cactus, by Carter Goodrich.

PAWs to Read on Jan. 18 at 10:30 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp Dr.)

Kids in grades K-1 are invited to read to therapy dog Hunter. This program is a great way to promote and encourage emergent and beginning readers to work on their fluency and stamina while in a comfortable one-on-one environment. Please call the Children's desk at 973-992-4600 x270 to reserve a 15-min time slot.

Yakety Yak Book Club on Jan. 20 at 4:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

2nd and 3rd graders are invited to participate in this book club discussion. Stop by the library to pick up this month's book, The Bolds, by Julian Clary.

Lunar New Year - Learn How to Play Korean Game Yut-Nori on Jan. 21 at 4:30 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp Dr.)

Do you love board games? Kids in grades 3-5 are invited to come celebrate Lunar New Year by learning how to play the Korean family board game Yut-Nori. Each child will make their own version to take home. Registration is required. Priority will be given to Livingston residents.

Frog Pond Club on Jan. 22 at 4 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland) 

Children ages 5 through 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. Call to register 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session.

Youth Yoga & Mindfulness Adventure on Jan. 22 at 4 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp Dr.)

Kids in grades 3-5 are invited to bend, stretch, pose and breathe their way through this 45-minute class. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and bring their own yoga mat because the library has limited mats available. Register here.

Storytime and Activities Featuring How to Catch a Dragon on Jan. 25 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children ages 4-8 and invited to come and celebrate Lunar New Year with this fun Storytime! The wily dragon in How to Catch a Dragon (How to Catch... Series), by Adam Wallace, will have to avoid trap after trap as the kids run through paper lanterns, red envelopes, fireworks, and more. Guests will also color a paper lantern to take home.

Winter Wonderland Club on Jan. 25 at 11 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland)

Children ages 5-12 will enjoy this winter landscape and outdoor activity every Saturday through February. Drop off your grade-school child for a fun adventure. This is an exploratory club with open focused exploration that highlights areas of participant interest. Sometimes, they will enjoy warm mint tea and a book reading after outdoor activities that will be held indoors. Kids should dress warmly, in layers and wear good boots. If extreme weather prohibits an outdoor experience, the club will be canceled for safety. Register by calling 973.228.8776, There is a fee of $10 per child, per session.

IndigoKids Presents: Elbow Grease Vs. Motozilla on Jan. 26 at 11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills  

Children ages 3-7 are invited to join Indigo for a storytime and fun-filled activity featuring John Cena's book, Elbow Grease.

 

FUN FOR TEENS

 

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on Jan. 17 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! 

Manga Club at A Sip of Art West Orange on Jan. 17 at 5 pm (235 Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ)

If your child aged 12-15 is into Japanese Anime, loves to sketch or is just interested in the Manga genre, then the Manga Club is the place to be. It is a fun artistic outlet for preteens and teens to be themselves and a place where they can hang out having fun collaborating with their peers, sketching live cosplay models, and being inspired by fantastic guest speakers who are working artists in the industry.

Teen Advisory Group New Year Party on Jan. 22 at 6:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Teens are invited to attend the Teen Advisory Group New Year Party.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS

 

Brews & Culture on Jan. 18 at Four City Brewing Company (55 S. Essex Ave., Orange, NJ)

The public is invited to a Brews & Culture Party for some brews and reggae featuring Steady Sound System.

Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Smoothie School on Jan. 25 at 10 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills  

Smoothie School is in session with smoothie tips and tricks from Kelly LeVeque of @bewellbykelly. Kelly is a certified holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, and celebrity health coach. This class will focus on three of Kelly’s “Fab Four” smoothies that will provide energy all throughout the day! Class is taught by a Williams Sonoma Culinary Specialist. Cost of $10 per person includes a credit towards the Juicer or Blender of your choice. Call (973) 467-3641 to reserve your spot.

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY!

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Celebrated on Jan. 20 (the third Monday in January)

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest Social Activists the world has ever known. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while making a speech from the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. His birthday became a National Holiday by an act of Congress in 1983. As a leader of the civil rights movement, we honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory, life and legacy on the third Monday in January. Many consider this a day to serve the community, providing a great opportunity to get kids to volunteer and give back to the local community.

Below is a list of activities that families can enjoy participating in on the 20th.

West Orange Celebrates MLK Jr. Day on Jan. 20 from 9:30 am – 12 pm at West Orange High School

The public is invited to join the West Orange Human Relations Commission to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through fellowship, song, dance spoken word and vendors. The special guest speaker is Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett, Vice President of Inclusion & Culture at BSE Global (Barclays). A complimentary continental breakfast will be served.

2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Program on Jan. 20 from 11 am – 2 pm Livingston Senior and Community Center (lower level

The public is invited to participate in the Livingston Committee for Diversity and Inclusion’s (LCDI) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service. Each year, the LDCI urges residents to look at MLK Day as “a day on, not a day off,” by participating in various service projects benefiting numbers local causes. Following brunch provided by Ike's Bagel Café at 11 a.m., Mayor Rudy Fernandez and LCDI co-chair Billy Fine will deliver remarks around noon. Livingston resident Steve Delman will give a speech about MLK, and Brian O'Shea will recite some of Dr. King's speeches. During the event, the Livingston Kiwanis Club will be assembling kits to support veterans and others experiencing homelessness; Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors will be making PB&J sandwiches; and Troop 28 South Mountain, BPSA will be making animal toys for local animal shelters. Additional projects include voter registration by the Livingston League of Women Voters, an anti-bullying poster contest conducted by the Livingston Police Department, a robotics demo by the Livingston Robotics Club, on-site community surveys with the Vision 20/20 Committee, and much more. Boy Scout Troop 16 will assist with setup and cleanup, and the Livingston Girl Scouts will conduct their Scout Projects. The program will conclude with a march around the inside of the building, with all in attendance singing “We Shall Overcome.”

In addition, guests are invited to donate to the following projects:

  • The LCDI will collect food donations for CHOW;
  • Livingston Home/School Associations and Parent-Teacher Associations will collect new school supplies;
  • The West Essex YMCA will collect fleece blankets for seniors;
  • The Livingston Lions Club will collect eyeglasses (and provide vision screenings); and
  • Residents Charlotte and Jasmine Heilpern will collect donated items for the Livingston Animal Shelter.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Morris Museum on Jan. 20, from 11 am – 1 pm (6 Normandy Heights Rd, Morristown)

Guests will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by making a peace dove craft, which is free with museum admission.

Newark Museum - Martin Luther King Day Celebration: Lift Every Voice on Jan. 20, from 10 am – 5 pm (49 Washington St, Newark)

The museum is hosting a day-long event chock-full of hands-on activities, planetarium showings, music, and performances. MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be on loop in the Auditorium all day. There will also be a community post-it board in the Auditorium lobby that guests can write their dream on.

NJ State Museum - Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Event: Telling Our Story on Jan. 20, from 3- 5 pm (205 West State Street, Trenton)

The public is invited to this free event focusing on women leaders of the movement for civil rights and equal justice.

MLK Celebration at NJPAC - Stephanie Mills & The Whispers on Jan. 18 (1 Center St, Newark, NJ)

Stephanie Mills will perform hits from her five gold albums at this NJPAC annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Free Entrance to National Parks on Jan. 20

In honor of MLK Jr. Day, the National Park Service is offering fee-free days allowing families to visit nearby national parks. Some parks participating include:

  • Thomas Edison, Home & Laboratory, West Orange, NJ
  • Morristown National Historical Park, Washington’s Headquarters, Morristown, NJ
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, NJ
  • Gettysburg National Military Park, PA
  • Ellis Island National Monument, NY

 

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 Jan. 17, 1984 – The U.S. Supreme court ruled that taping on home VCRs does not violate copyright laws.
  • On Jan. 20, 1964 – The Beatles released, "Meet the Beatles,” their first album to the U.S., sparking a new "English invasion.”
  • On Jan. 20, 1981 – At 69 years, 349 days old, Ronald Reagan became the oldest person to become president.
  • On Jan. 21, 1799 – Edward Jenner introduced the smallpox vaccine, which eventually led to wiping out this deadly disease.
  • On Jan. 21, 1915 – The first Kiwanis club was formed in Detroit.
  • On Jan. 21, 1950 – Science fiction writer George Orwell died.
  • On Jan. 22, 1973 – The historic Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, legalized abortion.
  • On Jan. 23, 1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history struck Shansi, China, killing 830,000 people.