This week, as many families get together to celebrate Good Friday and Passover on April 19 and Easter on April 21, it’s the perfect time to do some fun holiday cooking and crafts with kids. In addition, a few other national holidays like National Jelly Bean Day (April 22) and National Zucchini Bread Day (April 23), lend themselves to fun activities too. If you are looking for ways to enjoy egg hunts, visits with the Bunny, spring break, storytimes and more, please enjoy this list of Things to Do with Kids in and around town, brought to you by The Goddard School in West Orange.
Note: If you attend any of these events, or partake in any of the craft or cooking ideas shared below, please send pictures of your child(ren) participating to email@example.com to be featured in the next column.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY…
West Orange Spring Fling/Meet the Bunny Event on April 18 (Indoor Event- Rain or Shine) starting at 6 pm at the Liberty Middle School Auditorium (1 Kelly Dr., West Orange, NJ)
Families are invited to enjoy this West Orange Recreation Dept. sponsored event that includes: Great Scott Magic Show (6 pm), Craft Project (7:15 pm), Meet the Bunny (bring your camera) (7:30 pm). Fee: $2 per person.
Egg Painting Eggs-Travaganza at Macys on April 20 at 11 am - 5 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Artists of all ages are invited to Macy's Egg Painting Eggs-Travaganza where they will take a turn hand-painting eggs to take home - the yolk's definitely on hue!
Bagels, Crafts and More with the Bunny at the Livingston Mall on April 20 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Livingston Mall (in front of Lord and Taylor, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
Kids of all ages will enjoy bagels, refreshments, Easter crafts, activities, giveaways, games and more with the Easter Bunny.
Storytime with the Easter Bunny at the Turtle Back Zoo on April 20 and 21 at 10, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)
Hop on over to the Zoo where the staff will read two stories. Little ones will meet the Easter Bunny and receive a takeaway photo. There will also be an animal presentation. All children must be accompanied by a paying adult. Event is recommended for children ages 12 and younger. Children under two are free but should register for an ‘Under 2-years-old’ ticket. Space is limited and registration is required. If any tickets are still available, guests can purchase the day of the event at the Education Center lobby desk.
Easter Bunny Breakfast at Alstede Farms on April 19 – Seatings: 10 am, 11:30 am, and 1 pm (1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester)
Pick-your-own favorite Alstede Farms has an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet (three seating times) with the Easter Bunny, where guests will enjoy French toast, sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and more. Admission includes access to all activities in the Festival Area, including hayrides, continuous egg hunts (five eggs per child plus a golden egg), a moon bounce, pony rides, and more. There's also a campfire with four complimentary marshmallows per kid, free apple cider, a walk-through reading of the book Jelly Bean and the Unbreakable Egg, and games where top prizes include a family day pass. Reservations are required. Price: Adult $26.99; child 12 and under $29.99
27th Annual Easter Bunny Express on April 20 from 1-4 pm at the Whippany Railway Museum (1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany)
Your family is invited to hop aboard the Easter Bunny Express with the Easter Bunny for a 45-minute round trip train ride along the Morris & Erie Whippanong Trail. The train departs on the hour from 1 pm to 4 pm. Purchasing tickets online in advance here is recommended.
Creating Art from Found Pieces with the NJ Wood Turners on April 22 from 7-9:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)
Adults and children ages 3+ will earn how to turn with the NJ Woodturners Association. They will discover the wonders of creating art from found pieces of wood. Call Gualberto Malave at 908.310.3557 for details. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Fee: $10 per adult, free for NJWA members.
FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS…
Tiny Toddlers Storytime on April 17 at 10:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)
Stories, songs, and fun for tiny toddlers ages 12-23 months! This program is developmentally designed for "waddlers." Drop in, registration is not required.
Build with LEGO® at IndigoKids on April 17 at 11 am - 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Children ages 5+ will help LEGO® puppies build their home! They will pick a LEGO® puppy pal and then build a LEGO® Puppy's Playhouse to take home. They will also have a chance to see what else they can build with DK building inspiration cards
Spanish Stories Storytime on April 17 at 4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Come and listen to stories read in Spanish. This program is great for Spanish speakers and Spanish learners of all ages! Ven a escuchar cuentos en Español. Para todas edades de hispanohablantes y personas aprendiendo Español!
Storytime at Barnes and Noble on April 18 and 24 at 10 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
Your kids 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 Open Play on April 18 at 10:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)
An open play session for newborn to 23-month-olds and their caregivers.
Babies and Books Storytime on April 18 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Infants up to 24 months and their caregivers are invited to partake in a fun storytime session where they will enjoy books, songs and rhymes, while being introduced to language skills.
Little Moving Artist Class at Monica + Andy on April 18 from 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Bring your little ones, ages 2-4, to participate in a Movement Class with The Little Moving Artist. Children will enjoy this whimsical and imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. Children will ice skate on paper plates, tap dance on bubble wrap, take part in an ultimate snowball fight, bug hunt, fly with super hero capes and wings, freeze dance, and more. Drop in fee: $10.
Arts & Crafts at IndigoKids on April 18 at 11 am - 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Children ages 5+ will enjoy a slime-tacular day with ORB where they will get creative and make their favorite slime desserts with ORB Slimi Cafe™ and test out all the newest ORBSlimy™ slime! Plus, they will find Waldo in a Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt.
Storytime and Activities Featuring “Fresh Princess” at Barnes and Noble on April 20 at 11 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)
Children will delight in the Denene Millner’s story, Fresh Princess, where Destiny, the “Fresh Princess” is faced with challenges when moving to a new neighborhood that looks nothing like her old one. With help from her family, she creates a plan and jumps right in. Attendees will receive a coupon from the B&N Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4!
Terrific Toddlers Storytime on April 18 at 11:30; April 23 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Children ages 2 to 3 ½ and their caretakers will be entertained by puppets, stories, songs and fingerplay.
Preschool Pals at IndigoKids on April 19 at 11 am - 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Children ages 3+ will help save the day with Rubble's Ultimate Construction Vehicle! Plus, they will make their own time capsule with Peppa Pig.
Little Listeners Storytime on April 22 at 4-4:30 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)
Children ages 2-5 and their caregivers will have fun enjoying stories, songs and sign-language.
Storytime at Pottery Barn on April 23 at 11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Take a breather from shopping and treat your little ones to a weekly storytime session at Pottery Barn that includes readings, activities and more. Those who become Pottery Barn Book Club Members will receive a special surprise after attending five events.
Preschool Page Turners Storytime – April 23 at 11:30 am (West Orange Public Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange, NJ)
Bring preschool-aged children for an interactive fun time of stories, songs and games.
Adventurous Storytime at Monica + Andy on April 23 from 12:30 pm to 1 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)
Shop till you drop and then stop in at Monica + Andy with your little ones to enjoy a few fun and interactive reads from some favorite children's books. Free event.
Spring Camp on April 16-18 (or April 23-25) from 12:30pm - 4:30pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)
Children ages 1-5 will have the opportunity to explore nature at the Essex County Environmental Center. For details/registration call 973.228.8776. Fees: $160 per child for all 3 days OR $60 per child/per day.
FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS…
Frog Pond Science Club on April 17 from 4-5 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)
Children ages 5 – 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 required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session.
Origami DIY and Craft Event on April 18 from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Kids in grades 2+ will get creative and learn the art of paper folding! They will work on their own cool project at the library. This is a great way to bust stress.
Elementary Science Storytime on April 22 at 4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Kids in kindergarten to 3rd grade will learn to think like scientists, while hearing stories sprinkled with science-themed activities.
S.T.E.A.M. Club- Electronic Circuits on April 23 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Kids ages 8-12 will partake in activities and challenges to help spark interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and math presented by the WOHS Technology and Engineering Department.
FUN FOR TEENS…
Teen Movie Night: Black Panther on April 17 from 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)
Wakanda Forever! Watch an all-star cast bring Marvel's rich Black Panther comic universe to life. You won't want to miss this chance to see one of the most talked about films of 2018 for FREE at the library – with your friends. Bring your own snacks. Rated PG-13.
FUN FOR ADULTS…
Mom's Night Out: Self-Care: Wine & Chocolate on April 19 at 7:30 – 10 pm at Whole Mother Village (18 Lindsley Ave., West Orange)
Attendees will enjoy wine, chocolates and other treats, while learning about self-care modalities.
Howlin' Poets at SuzyQue’s BBQ and Bar on April 19 at 9 pm (34 S. Valley Rd., West Orange)
Guests will enjoy a night of Funtacular live music, with some special guests. Family friendly. No cover.
West Orange Women's Club Interest Meeting on April 23 from 7-8:30 pm at Cambria Hotel (12 Rooney Circle, West Orange)
Representatives from the NJ State Federation of Women's Clubs will be at this networking event to speak about how to re-instate or reincorporate the West Orange Women's Club.
HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS…
PASSOVER STARTS ON APRIL 19
As Jewish families get together to celebrate the holiday, here are some activities and recipes to be enjoyed with children.
- 8 Passover Activities to Do with Your Kids, courtesy of My Kids Adventures.
- 9 Kid Friendly Passover Recipes, courtesy of Momtastic.
EASTER STARTS ON APRIL 21
In honor of Easter, below are some fun activities and recipes to enjoy with kids.
- Top 10 Easter Activities for Families, courtesy of Family Education.
- 50 Easter Recipes Grandkids Can Help Make, courtesy of Taste of Home.
NATIONAL JELLY BEAN DAY IS ON APRIL 22
It’s probably not a coincidence that National Jelly Bean Day falls near Easter, since many Easter baskets include Jelly Beans. Celebrating the day is easy – eat some delicious jelly beans! Below are some facts and an activity regarding jelly beans.
- It takes 7 to 21 days to make a single Jelly Belly jelly bean.
- Enough jelly beans were eaten in the last year to circle the earth more than five times.
- Very Cherry remained the most popular flavor of Jelly Belly beans for two decades until 1998, when Buttered Popcorn moved into first place. In 2003 Very Cherry moved back into top position by a mere 8 million beans.
- The original eight flavors of Jelly Belly beans were Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Licorice and Grape.
- The first jelly bean was created by an unknown American candy maker in the 1800s.
- An 1861 advertisement recommended sending jelly beans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
- Blueberry flavor was created for Ronald Reagan's presidential inauguration in 1981 when over three tons of Jelly Belly beans were consumed during the festivities.
- A portrait of President Ronald Reagan made from 10,000 Jelly Belly beans hangs in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
- During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Jelly Belly beans were served in the Oval Office and on Air Force One. A holder was designed for the plane so the jar of Jelly Belly beans would not spill during turbulence.
- Jelly Belly beans were the first jelly beans in outer space when President Reagan sent them on the 1983 flight of the space shuttle Challenge.
- Jelly Belly donated 288,000 jelly beans in 47 different flavors for the world's first jelly bean stop-motion animation music video "In Your Arms" by Kina Grannis; released November 2011.
Jelly Bean Day Activity
Play a blindfold tasting game. Place different flavors or jelly beans in separate containers. Blindfold each player and have them guess the flavors or the jellybeans. The player who guesses the most flavors correctly wins. The prize could be a basket of jelly beans.
NATIONAL ZUCCHINI BREAD DAY IS ON APRIL 23
While not all kids are adventurous eaters, here is a recipe they just might like called, My Kid's Favorite Zucchini Bread, from All Recipes.
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 April 17, 1961, a US-backed attempt to overthrow Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba failed in what is now called the Bay of Pigs.
- On April 17, 1989, the Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle, paving the way for the downfall of the Polish Communist Party.
- On April 18, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II of England signed the Canada Constitution Act of 1982 replacing the British North America Act of 1867, providing Canada with a new set of fundamental laws and civil rights.
- On April 18, 1857, American attorney Clarence Darrow was born in Kinsman, Ohio. He championed unpopular causes and is best known for the Scopes 'monkey trial' where he defended a teacher who taught the theory of evolution. He died in 1938.
- On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere made his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington, Ma., shouting "The Red Coats are coming," as the American Revolutionary War began.
- On April 18, 1906, The Great San Francisco earthquake hit, killing 700 people.
- On April 19, 1775, The Revolutionary War began.
- On April 19, 1993, after a 51 day siege in Waco, Texas, the Branch Dividian compound went up in flames, killing the cult members.
- On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.
- On April 20, 1999, two teenage boys go on a shooting rampage in Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado. One teacher and 12 students are killed. (1999)
- On April 21, 1918, during World War 1, the Red Baron (Manfred von Richtofen) was shot down and killed during the Battle of the Somme. He was credited with 80 kills in less than two years, while flying a red Fokker triplane. British pilots recovered his body and buried him with full military honors.
- On April 22, 1864, "In God We Trust" was included on all newly minted U.S. coins by an Act of Congress.
- On April 22, 1889, the Oklahoma land rush began at noon, with a single gunshot signaling the start of a mad dash by thousands of settlers. Participants were seeking to claim part of nearly two million acres made available by the federal government. The land originally belonged to Creek and Seminole Indian tribes.
- On April 22, 1870, Vladimir Lenin was born in Simbirsk, Russia. He led the Russian Revolution of October 1917, which toppled Czar Nicholas and paved the way for a harsh Communist regime. Following his death in 1924, his body was embalmed and placed on display in Moscow's Red Square, becoming a shrine that has been visited by millions.
- April 23 was established by Israel's Knesset as Holocaust Day in remembrance of the estimated six million Jews killed by Nazis.
- On April 23, 1564, William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-on-Avon, England. Considered as the most influential writer in the English language, he created 36 plays and 154 sonnets including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice.
- On April 23, 1791, James Buchanan, the 15th US President was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. He was the only life-long bachelor to occupy the White House, serving just one term from 1857 to 1861.