Thanksgiving is finally here! After spending some quality time with family and friends on Thursday, you may be looking for some fun activities for your children and family. You are in luck because there’s a lot happening in and around town. You and your family can attend Santa's Flight Academy at the Short Hills Mall, shop at the Holiday Bazaar in West Orange at the High School, get a photo taken with Santa or spend time with Caring Santa at the Livingston Mall, go behind the scenes for Giraffe Tours at the Turtle Back Zoo and much more. Your little ones are invited to participate in Yoga Bootcamp (YoBOO, attend some storytimes, a fun movement class meet a book author and more. Kids in kindergarten through the teenage years may like participating in a stocking ornament workshop at Home Depot. Adults may want to take in a comedy show or do some painting and sipping at A Sip of Art.

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.

Toys for Tots Collection Program in Livingston (items are being collected until Dec. 13, drop off locations are listed below)

Join the community in collecting toys for children in need this Holiday Season by donating a new, unwrapped toy. Collection Boxes are located at the Senior/Community Center, upper and lower levels, Town Hall, Heritage Middle School, Riker Hill Elementary School & Livingston Public Library

It's Santa Photo Time at the Livingston Mall from Nov. 28 to Dec. 24 (click the link below for available days and times) at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) (RSVP below for details)

Reserve your FastPass and skip the line to see Santa here.

Holiday Music Series from Nov. 29 to Dec. 24 from 1-4 pm, every Sat and Sun. at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Shop to the festive sounds of the season during The Mall at Short Hills' Holiday Music Series. Enjoy performances from pianists and long-time favorite March of the Wooden Soldiers and Cobblestone Carolers strolling the center.

Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 30 from 8:30 to 4:30 pm at West Orange High School (51 Conforti Ave., West Orange)

The public is invited to come start the holiday shopping early by attending WOHS’s Holiday Bazaar where 90 vendors will be offering handmade and other types of gift items. There will also be activities for kids and food.

Disney Junior Holiday Fun at the Livingston Mall on Nov. 30 from 2-4 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) Event Location: Lower Level Center Court in front of Lord & Taylor

Celebrate the season with family and festive activities inspired by favorite Disney Junior pals. The first 100 attendees will receive an Exclusive Character Card. Participate in all 4 Play Dates to collect them all! Note: Disney character appearances are not part of this event.

Holiday Lights at the Zoo from Nov 30 and Dec. 1, 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.

Caring Santa Photo Experience on Dec. 1 at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ) (RSVP below for details)

The Livingston Mall is holding a private photo experience for children with special needs and their families. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their photo taken with him. The Mall will make the necessary adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event. Caring Santa will be held during private mall hours. RSVP here.

Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 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.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS

 

Monica + Andy Movement Class with the Little Moving Artist on Nov. 27 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. 28 and Dec. 3 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. 

Celebrate Small Business Saturday in West Orange on Nov. 30 all day long

The public is invited to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Check out some favorite businesses or try some new ones. When you shop local, you are helping local businesses thrive.

Kids Event: Picture Book Author Mike Malbrough: "Marigold Finds the Magic Words" on Nov. 30 at 10:30 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert Harp. Dr., Livingston, NJ)

Picture book author Mike Malbrough, author of “Marigold Finds the Magic Words: A Please and Thank You Book,” will read his book and then do a craft with children ages 4-8.

Storytime and Activities Featuring Dear Santa and Cookies for Santa on Nov. 30 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children are invited to enjoy Storytime and activities featuring two books about cherished holiday traditions for families.

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Baby Shark: Meet Baby Shark on Dec. 1 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children ages 0-2 and their caregivers are invited for Baby & Me Storytime, where they will enjoy a book and participate in activities featuring sensory growth for little ones. Guests will receive a coupon for a free tall, hot or iced Starbucks coffee.

Little Listeners Storytime, on Dec. 2, 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.

Yoga Bootcamp (YoBOO) for Kids on Dec. 3 at 11 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

YoBOOTM is a unique take on fitness, combining the aerobic fun of bootcamp with the powerful breathing techniques of yoga to take the children ages 2-5 on an energy roller coaster.

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS

 

Make a Stocking Ornament – Kids Workshop on Nov. 30 from 9 am to 12 pm at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids will have fun making their own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in this kit, they will learn to nail a frame to the inside of their ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from parents and Store Associates, participants can paint their creation to make it truly unique. They will add stickers for a final special touch. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids will get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin, while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

 

FUN FOR TEENS

 

Make a Stocking Ornament – Kids Workshop on Nov. 30 from 9 am to 12 pm at Home Depot (902 Murray Rd, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids will have fun making their own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in this kit, they will learn to nail a frame to the inside of their ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from parents and Store Associates, participants can paint their creation to make it truly unique. They will add stickers for a final special touch. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids will get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin, while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS

 

Comedy Show at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood on Nov. 27 from 7-10 pm (10 Durand Road, Maplewood)

Gordon Baker-Bone, Kate Nichols, Brett Druck, KL Martin, Ryan Rummell and Matt Nedostup are coming to SOMA to celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving with a great stand-up show! $20.00 includes tickets and drinks, so come on out and have some fun. Tickets can be purchased here; tickets will also be sold at the door while they last.

Paint and Sip at A Sip of Art on Nov. 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 1 (8-10 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 28th is Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to think about what you are grateful for, relax, spend time with family, watch some football and enjoy a huge feast. In addition to celebrating the holiday in these ways, you might want to do some crafts or cooking related to the holiday. You can also explain the significance of the holiday to your kids by reading a book or watching a movie about the first Thanksgiving, which was celebrated in 1621. You can also talk to them about gratitude and ask them when they are thankful for, and then go around the dinner table letting one another know what you are grateful for.

 

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. 28, 1935 – The "Grande Ole Opry" debuted on radio.
  • On Nov. 30, 1782 – The United Stated and Great Britain signed a peace treaty in Paris, formally ending the Revolutionary War.
  • On Nov. 1, 1887 – Sherlock Holmes appeared for the first time in print in, "A Study in Scarlet."
  • On Nov. 1, 1955 – Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat in the front section of a bus.
  • On Nov. 2, 1891 – The toilet paper roll was patented.
  • On Nov. 2, 1982 – Barney B. Clark received the world's first artificial heart transplant.