November is always a busy month. From starting to plan for Thanksgiving to finding things to do to keep your kids busy – we’ve got you covered to keep busy in Livingston and the surrounding area You and your family can enjoy An Afternoon of Song with the NJ Men’s Gay Chorus at the Livingston Library, participate in Santa's Flight Academy at the Short Hills Mall, go Behind the Scenes at the Giraffe Tours at the Zoo, make a Christmas Tree Stand Box at Home Depot, take a Family Yoga class and so much more. Your little kids will enjoy a Movement Class, a Nature Club, some storytimes and more. Kids in grades K-5 and teens might want to check out the Kids Yoga class at the Livingston Library, participate in the Afterschool at the Turtle Back Zoo Club, have Breakfast with The Gibbons at Turtle Back Zoo, participate in Dungeons and Dragons, book clubs and more. And, adults have a few fun Thanksgiving cooking opportunities and more to choose from. In addition, National Philanthropy Day is on Nov. 15. There are some great ideas for celebrating the holidays with kids below.
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 email@example.com. In addition, please send any events you’d like added to this column to the same email address.
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.
Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Nov. 16 and 17, 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.
Pie Contest at West Orange Farmers Market on Nov. 16 from 9 am to 2 pm at 80 Main Street Parking Lot (North End)
Guests will enjoy fresh produce, local eggs and honey, artisanal cheeses, delicious baked goods, fresh juice, local flowers, vegan goods, upcycled crafts, lunch options, and much more. There will be nearly 60 vendors, many of which cater to children with crafts, products, and books. This week’s special event: Pie Contest. Register here.
Christmas Tree Stand Box on Nov. 16 at 10 am at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)
Think inside the box with this fashionable alternative to a tree skirt. Learn to use a circular saw to cut pieces of board and then create the basic frame and decorative elements. Paint or stain the wooden pieces before final assembly. With help from a Store Associates, use a brad nailer to stabilize your project. In less than an hour, you’ll have a modern, on-trend decorative accessory that can be quickly disassembled for off-season storage. The Home Depot Workshops are designed to provide a mix of associate led instruction, demonstration and some hands-on learning. Materials can be purchased to make your own project.
Family Yoga on Nov. 16 at 11 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland)
People ages 5 and up are invited to participate in this class where they will share and enjoy an adventure of calming breath, fun asanas/poses, and gentle stretches with your nearest and dearest in a friendly, go-with-the flow atmosphere. Advance registration is required. Call 973-228-8776. Fee: $10 per child, $12 per adult.
Sensory Santa on Nov. 24 from 9-10:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Families with special needs are invited to Sensory Santa. This sensory-friendly holiday event allows families with all spectrums of special needs to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa in a comforting environment prior to public hours. Accommodations are made to support the sensory, physical, and developmental needs of this special audience. While visits with Santa are welcome and always free, Santa photo packages will be available for purchase. Space is limited and RSVP is required to attend. This Sensory-Friendly Santa Experience is held in partnership with Cherry Hill Programs and Autism Speaks.
Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon at Liberty State Park (222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ)
Come explore LSC’s newest premium exhibition, Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon. Based on the popular games, the exhibition takes guests of all ages into the world of Angry Birds for interactive adventures, both physically challenging and mentally stimulating. Explore different concepts in science, tech, engineering, arts, and math in an extreme hands-on environment! Buy tickets here.
FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS
Tiny Toddlers Ages 12-23 Months on Nov. 13 at 10:15 am, at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
Toddlers ages 12-23 months and caregivers are invited to enjoy this program that is developmentally designed for "waddlers."
Monica + Andy Movement Class with the Little Moving Artist on Nov. 13 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. 14 and 19 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.
Little Explorers Fall Nature Program on Nov. 14 and 19 (see other dates below) from 10-11 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, 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. Each week, a different nature or science topic is covered. Advance registration and payment are required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $12 per child/session.
- Toddlers (age 2) – Tuesdays— November 19, at 10 - 11 am
- Tots (age 3) – Thursdays— November 14, 21, at 1 - 2 pm
- Pre-K (ages 4-5) – Tuesdays — November 19, at 1 - 2 pm OR Thursdays—November 14, 21 10 - 11 am
Forest Friends Club on Nov. 14 at 4 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland)
Children ages 5 years and up are invited to come and explore the forest using nets, binoculars, magnifiers, and microscopes to investigate nature in our wooded wetland habitat. Together we hope to foster an ethic of stewardship and offer an opportunity to take part in hands-on conservation projects.
Advance registration is required. Please call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session.
Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Abby (Sesame Street Friends) on Nov. 17 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
During this Baby & Me Storytime for caregivers and children 0-24 months old, guests will enjoy a book and participating in activities featuring sensory growth for little ones.
Little Listeners Storytime, on Nov. 18, at 4 pm, at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
Children ages 2-5 and caregivers will enjoy this drop-in class of stories, songs, and American Sign Language.
FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS
Little Bookworms, on Nov. 13, at 4 pm, at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
Children in grades K-1 will participate in Halloween-based stories and a STEM activity involving the making of slime.
Intro to Chess for Kids in Grades 3-5 on Nov. 14 at 4 – 5 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
Children will learn the basics of chess including the names of chess pieces, how chess pieces move, and basic strategy such as forks, pins, and skewers. Registration is required.
Afterschool at the Turtle Back Zoo Club, on Nov. 15, at 3 pm (Berson Education Center, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)
Turtle Back Zoo is an amazing classroom! This Out of School at the Zoo: Zoo Club for kids in grades 1-5 offers students an opportunity to participate in animal and conservation themed programs and projects that facilitate scientific literacy and life-long environmental stewardship. The program includes a visit into the Zoo or South Mountain Reservation as weather permits and a live animal presentation. Session 4: Animals in your backyard – When you look out your window, what do you see? Birds chirping, squirrels climbing trees, and people going about their business. But there is more to your community than meets the eye. Join us as we take a look at the lives of our animal neighbors and how they interact with our community and each other. Register here.
Breakfast with The Gibbons at Turtle Back Zoo on Nov. 17 at 8:30 am (Berson Education Center, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)
Children ages 6 and up, with their caretakers, are invited to swing over to the zoo to participate in a conservation breakfast program featuring our White-cheeked Gibbons! You’ll learn about these most agile apes and meet our extended family. Together we’ll explore the complex world of primate sociality and behavior and discuss some simple actions you can take to help protect them. Come with an appetite because breakfast is delicious! The event includes a special meet and greet at the gibbon exhibit. Register here. Ticket of $30/person general admission, $24/ person for Zoological Society members includes: Hot breakfast, Education program, Up-close introductions to some ambassador animals, Activity, Meet and greet with Gibbons and Keepers, and Admission to the zoo for the day (for non-Zoological Society members).
Storytime featuring Jack Frost vs. the Abominable Snowman on Nov. 16 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
A thrilling adventure awaits as your kids, ages 4-7, pick their path and decide how the story Jack Frost vs. the Abominable Snowman unfolds! The big day has arrived, and the racers are set. Will they follow Jack Frost, the mischievous racer with magical winter powers? Or will they follow Abe, the lovable Abominable Snowman with a few surprises up his sleeve?
Kids Yoga on Nov. 19 from 4-4:30 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
Children in grades 3-5 will explore Yoga poses, breathing exercises, visual imagery and relaxation techniques. Children will learn lessons in self-expression, body image, social skills and positive thinking.
Dress for movement. The library will have some mats available or you are welcome to bring your own.
FUN FOR TEENS
YA Book Club on Nov. 14 at 7 pm at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
These YA Book Club discussions will happen on the second Thursday of every month to explore compelling stories and characters. The November selection is The Fountains of Silence, by Ruta Sepstys, a ripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets in postwar Spain.
FUN FOR ADULTS
Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Today Show Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 13 at 6:30 pm
Williams Sonoma has teamed up with the TODAY Show to create a delicious Thanksgiving menu – from the starters and side dishes to the turkey and dessert! Enjoy an exciting class showcasing recipes from some of your favorite TODAY Show personalities. The complimentary class includes the new TODAY Show Thanksgiving Guide to take home. Please call (973) 467-3641 to reserve your spot.
Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Thanksgiving in an Instant on Nov. 14 at 6:30 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Want to learn how to use your Instant Pot to make crowd-pleasing side dishes for Thanksgiving? This is the class for you! You’ll be making Zesty Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Herbed Baby Potatoes that are a cinch to make with the best-selling Instant Pot. Cost of $30 per person includes the Comfort in an Instant Cookbook. To register your spot, please call (973) 467-3641.
Williams Sonoma Technique Class: No Fail Sides on Nov. 17 at 11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Thanksgiving Starts Here! Introducing some new Thanksgiving side dish recipes that are going to take your Thanksgiving game to the next level. You'll make Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and crowd-pleasing Sweet Potatoes, along with a Thanksgiving Stuffing Blend, a favorite Thanksgiving time-saver. Cost of $40 per person includes a Williams Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Quarter-Sheet Roasting Set. To reserve your spot, please call (973) 467-3641.
An Afternoon of Song on Nov. 17 from 2-3 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)
The show will feature a selection of well-known tunes and classic favorites and will also offer a preview of their upcoming concert pieces for the 2019-2020 season. For the past 25 years, the New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus has been comprised of volunteers from New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. They have been involved with Jersey Pride in Asbury Park, Worlds Aid Day and participated in “Sing for the Cure” at Carnegie Hall. Their mission is to “inspire pride, empowerment, equality, and acceptance to all through extraordinary music and actions.”
Baby Sign Language at Monica + Andy on Nov. 18, at 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Join Monica + Andy for an intro class on baby sign language with Meghan Warshauer, on Thursdays from 12 - 1 p.m. Jump start communication with basic American Sign Language through a fun combination of music, books, and engaging activities for baby. Caregivers will learn to help babies express their needs before they are able to convey them verbally. This program will teach signs for both daily routine and fun things that motivate baby to communicate. Sign language accelerates verbal development, strengthens cognitive skills, reduces frustration and tantrums, increases self-esteem, and enhances child-caregiver bonding. Get ready to learn, have fun, and make new friends.
HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY
National Philanthropy Day is on Nov. 15
According to the official National Philanthropy Day website, “On National Philanthropy Day (NPD), we celebrate the extraordinary change that fundraising and philanthropy have helped to create in our world!” The site also says, “The purpose of this day is to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—to the enrichment of our world.” While many people view Philanthropy as making a monetary contribution, it can also be done through volunteering. There are many ways to celebrate this day. If you have little extra money, you can contribute to a cause you believe in. You can also participate in a fundraiser. In addition, you can also teach your kids about being Philanthropic, by helping them set up a lemonade stand or something similar, telling them about causes they might relate to and care about, and then helping them to make a donation.
- Help your kids learn about Philanthropy at Philanthropy Kids, an organization that celebrates and inspires philanthropy in youth
- Enjoy these 10 Book-Themed Fundraising Ideas for kids, from a blog by Amanda Lonergan
- Check out these 30+ Family-Friendly Fundraising Ideas for Kids of All Ages, courtesy of funds2orgs.com
- Here is information on How to Have a Lemonade Stand, from Alexslemonade.org
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.
- 11/13/1927 – The Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River opened to the public, connecting New York City and New Jersey.
- 11/13/1942 – The minimum draft age was lowered from 21 to 18.
- 11/14/1832 – The first streetcar went into operation.
- 11/14/1968 – Yale University went Co-ed.
- 11/15/1777 – The Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation.
- 11/18/1928 – Disney's Steamship Willie premiered, and “Mickey Mouse” was born.
- 11/19/1863 – Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.