It’s almost Thanksgiving and things are slowing down a bit as people prepare for the holiday. However, there are still some fun activities happening in and around town. You and your family can take in the Holiday Lights at the Zoo, Take a Picture with Santa or have one of your pet taken at the Livingston Mall, visit with Sensory Santa at the Short Hills Mall, try a class of Yoga, Meditation and Zentangle at A Sip of Art and so much more. Your little kids will enjoy a Movement Class, a Nature Club, some storytimes and more. Kids in grades K-5 might want to visit the Frog Pond or Make Thankful Friendship Bracelets at the Essex Environmental Center, participate in the LEGO Frozen 2 Build Event at Barnes and Noble, celebrate the release of the new Disney film Frozen 2 at IndigoKids and more. And, adults have some options for a few fun activities too including taking a Paint and Sip class at A Sip of Art and a making a Light-Up Christmas Sign at Home Depot.

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

 

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.

Sensory Story Time: A Private Library Experience for Children of All Abilities on Nov. 23 from 9:15 – 9:45 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)

An inclusive, interactive and engaging program for children of all abilities and their families, scheduled before the library opens to offer private library time to attending families. Priority given to Livingston Residents. To be considerate of all attendants and possible allergies, food is not allowed. Register here.

Holiday Lights at the Zoo from Nov 22-24, 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.

Take a Picture with Santa at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) on Nov. 20, 21, 24, 25, 26 (starting at 11 am), Nov. 22, 23 (starting at 10 am)

Stop for the mall for some shopping and a visit with Santa.

Yoga, Meditation and Zentangle at A Sip of Art on Nov. 23 from 10 am to 12:30 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)

Certified Yogi and artist Anjanette McGrath will offer a Vinyasa class with a variety of postures leaving you feeling relaxed and energized. This class is for all levels, so even if you are new to yoga this class is for you. Anjanette will be stringing basic postures together, so that you move from one to another, seamlessly, using your breath. Guided Meditation will follow the yoga class where you will settle in and reap the benefits of your movements, calming the mind even further to bring you peace. The workshop will conclude by creating Zentangle, an art form that is a great way to help boost self-confidence, release anxiety, promote self-expression and help to cope with any type of trauma or grief. Each individual has a different experience, and each person will create their own Zentangle that will be unique. Please arrive 15 min before the event and remember to bring a yoga mat. Tea and light refreshments will be served. Register here. Class fee: $45.

Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Nov. 23 and 24, 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.

Pet Photos with Santa at the Livingston Mall on Nov. 24, from 7-8 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ)

Bring your furry friend for photos with Santa!

Learn to Turn with the New Jersey Woodturners on Nov. 25 from 7 – 9:30 pm at the Essex Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Children ages 3 and up and adults will learn to turn with the NJ Woodturners Association. They will discover the wonders of creating art from found pieces of wood. Fee: $10 per child, $12 per adult, free for NJWA members.

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.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS

 

Tiny Toddlers Ages 12-23 Months on Nov. 20 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. 20 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. 21 and 26 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. 

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Big Bird (Sesame Street Friends) on Nov. 24 at 11 am Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Caregivers and children 0-24 months old are invited to come enjoy a book and participating in activities featuring sensory growth.

Little Explorers Fall Nature Program on Nov. 21 (Tots (age 3) – at 1 - 2 pm) or Pre-K (ages 4-5) – 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.

Let’s Make Thankful Friendship Bracelets on Nov. 23 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm at the Essex Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Children ages 4 to 9 are invited to come and create a crafting memory with friends with nature-inspired, diffuser bracelets. Did you know essential oils can help children stay calm and focused? Jenn Forino, founder of plusoils.com, will teach a kid-friendly, mini-workshop on how essential oils can be powerful tools for overall health and wellness. Each child will make a set of diffuser bracelets (one for themselves and one to give a parent or friend they are thankful for). Additionally, each child will receive a roller bottle of therapeutic-grade essential oil, diluted so it is safe for them to apply to their diffuser bracelet. Advance registration is required. Please call 973.228.8776 to register. Fee: $25 per child/adult participant.

Little Listeners Storytime, on Nov. 25, 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. 20, 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.

Frog Pond Club on Nov. 20 from 4-5 pm at the Essex Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, 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. Advance registration is required. Call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session

Schedule:

  • Tuesday: December 10
  • Wednesday: December 18

Indigokids Presents: Frozen 2 on Nov. 23 from 11 am to 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Come celebrate the release of the new Disney film Frozen 2 with a themed storytime and coloring activities and test your knowledge of everything Frozen with a trivia challenge.

Let’s Make Thankful Friendship Bracelets on Nov. 23 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm at the Essex Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Children ages up to age 9 are invited to come and create a crafting memory with friends with nature-inspired, diffuser bracelets. Did you know essential oils can help children stay calm and focused? Jenn Forino, founder of plusoils.com, will teach a kid-friendly, mini-workshop on how essential oils can be powerful tools for overall health and wellness. Each child will make a set of diffuser bracelets (one for themselves and one to give a parent or friend they are thankful for). Additionally, each child will receive a roller bottle of therapeutic-grade essential oil, diluted so it is safe for them to apply to their diffuser bracelet. Advance registration is required. Please call 973.228.8776 to register. Fee: $25 per child/adult participant.

LEGO Frozen 2 Build Event on Nov. 23 at 2 pm at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children ages 8-12 are invited to return to Arendelle with this LEGO build event where they will build a castle from Frozen 2 to take home. Signup required by calling here: 973-758-1310.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS

 

Make a Light Up Christmas Sign on Nov. 21 from 6:30 – 8 pm at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)

Add to your holiday decor by creating a Light Up Christmas Sign. With the help of store associates, you’ll build a wooden frame using a circular saw and brad nailer. Apply your personal style when staining or painting your design. Complete the look by inserting string lights that illuminate the tree outline. Make your project a festive feature showcased on your mantel or anywhere in your home for the holidays. 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.

Paint and Sip at A Sip of Art on Nov. 20, 21, 22, 23 (8-10 pm) and 24 (12 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 24th is Evolution Day, which is also known as “All Our Uncles are Monkeys Day”

Nov. 24th is the anniversary of the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's book, “On the Origin of Species,” (also known as, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” or the “Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”), which is a work of scientific literature considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. It was and still is met with controversy. Ironically, this day has even more significance because it’s also the anniversary of the 1974 discovery of "Lucy," the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray, which is important in the study of evolution.

You can be as scientific or creative as you’d like when celebrating this holiday honoring our origins. You can explain the theory of evolution to your kids by sharing a child’s version of Darwin’s book with them, watching a video, or even by going to the zoo.

 

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. 20, 1959 – Ford quit making the unpopular Edsel.
  • On Nov. 22, 1963 – President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
  • On Nov. 23, 1835 – A patent was issued for the horseshoe manufacturing machine.
  • On Nov. 24, 1859 – Charles Darwin published, "On the Origin of the Species,” sparking great controversy.
  • On Nov. 26, 1716 – The first lion was exhibited in America.