There’s lots to do this week including a night hike, nature walk, being behind the scenes with penguins, going to the ZOO-VIES, storytimes, book clubs, crafting and more. You can also celebrate National S’mores Day on August 10 and create some of the recipes below. And, there are some fun activities for adults listed here too.

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 The Goddard School in West Orange.

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 In addition, please send any events you’d like added to this column to the same address. 

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ZOO-VIES at Turtle Back Zoo on August 7 from 8-10 pm (Rooftop of Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The public is invited to enjoy a free blockbuster movie, Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verseunder the stars on the rooftop of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck. Guests should bring their own chairs. Films begin at dusk. If it rains, the event will be canceled. ZOO-VIES will take place every Wed. night through Aug. 28. No Zoo admission is necessary.

Craft Club on August 8 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children of all ages are invited to come and work on crafts.

Behind the Scenes with Penguins, on August 8 for a 6 and 7 pm tour at the Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

Travel all the way to the Shores of Africa for a Behind the Scenes look at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo’s state-of-the-art African penguin exhibit. Meet with a TBZ Educator and Keeper to discover why African penguins are so endangered and how TBZ is aiding their survival as a species. Guests will enjoy learning all about the zoo’s “waddle” of penguins, their daily care, and the new exhibit. This Behind the Scenes Tour takes place during the zoo’s weekly summer Late Nights on Thursdays. Attendees must be 6 years old or over; all children under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult. It is about a 10-minute walk from the Reptile House to the Penguin entrance. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear; some locations may have a wet floor, or you may be inadvertently splashed. Your Behind-the-Scenes ticket gives you Zoo admission for any time on the day of the tour (for Zoo non-members), but tour attendees must meet Tour Staff 15 minutes prior (5:45 pm) to the start of the tour at the entrance to the Reptile House. Tours start promptly at the agreed-upon time; late arrivals may lose part of the tour by being late or lose the entire tour without refund. Tours will commence regardless of weather unless canceled by the Zoo due to unsafe conditions for our Animals, Staff, or Tour Attendees. If a tour is canceled due to weather, the zoo will notify you as soon as possible and will try to reschedule a date and time. Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions and for walking the Zoo. Some behind the scenes areas are snug or smell of fish; if you have questions or concerns about accessibility please contact the zoo so that it may better address your needs at 973-731-5800 ext.103.

Night Hike on August 8 from 6:30-8 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

All ages are welcome. Discover what lives at the Environmental Center after the sun goes down. First, you will make your own natural insect repellant and then you’ll wander in the wooded wetland to look for ‘whoooo’ might be awake. Advanced registration is required. Call 973.228.8776. Fee: $30 per family (up to two adults and two children) or $10 per child; $12 per adult.

Night Moves at the Turtle Back Zoo on August 8 from 8-10 pm (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ)

The public is invited to come to for a unique look at the zoo and its nocturnal animal collection. Night Moves offers a guided evening tour of zoo exhibits where guests will learn about different animal senses and adaptations. Please arrive at the Zoo's Main Gate at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Tours leave every 10 minutes starting at 8 pm; the last tour leaves at approximately 8:40 pm. Gates close at 8:30 pm. The departure of ticketed tour times may vary slightly. Tours last approximately 1 hour. To help with your safety, guests are encouraged to bring a flashlight and wear appropriate footwear. There is no flash photography. NOTE: As a benefit of being an Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Member, discount codes for Night Moves tours are available upon request. Discount codes only cover the people listed on the membership. Guests will be asked to show membership IDs. Reciprocal Zoo Memberships are not eligible for this program. Call #973-731-5800 x241 to request the current discount code. In the case of extreme weather, tour cancellations will be called by 12 pm noon the day of the scheduled tour. Full refunds will be given to those unable to transfer to another date. More dates for the summer season to come! Register here.

Raise the Grade: Life Skills for Tweens and Teens on August 10 from 11 am – 12 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in grades 5 - 8 are invited to attend this workshop, Raise the Grade: Life Skills for Tweens and Teens, which is a part of a series of FREE interactive workshops presented by the Michael Aymar Foundation. Takeaways to include practical knowledge and tasty baked treats. Parents and parental guardians are encouraged to attend with their child.

Nature Adventurers Family Nature Club on August 11 from 1-3 pm at Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ)

Members of the public are invited to come play and learn together in nature as a family with the Zoo’s new nature club, Nature Adventurers. Worried you or your kids don’t spend enough time outside or together? Come harness the power of gaming to get families up and moving while exploring and learning about local nature and conservation. There’s something for everybody- teens and adults are invited and encouraged to join in the fun, not just little ones. Each ticket includes a Family Nature Club water bottle. Meet at the entrance to the Cherry Lane fields and forest, which are located directly across from the Regatta Playground at the South Mountain Reservoir. Look for the Nature Adventurer’s sign and your Nature Play Leader, who will be wearing a green shirt and blue backpack! Please arrive 10 minutes prior (12:50 pm) at the Berson Education Center lobby, then the group will walk to a nearby natural area as a group. The group will not be entering the zoo. Nature Adventurers is for all ages and all abilities, though recommended for 6+. Those with accessibility concerns, please contact your Nature Play Leader, Sarah Burroughs at 973-731-5800 ext.236 or What to bring: Reusable water bottle; sunscreen, bug-spray, raincoat, poncho, or other seasonal or weather gear, Epi-pens, inhalers, or any other necessary medications for anyone in your family, a camera to capture the memories; and your imagination and eagerness to have fun. What not to bring: Anything you don’t want to get dirty, wet, broken, or lost; electronic devices you might get glued to (phones are ok if you’re just taking pictures). The plan is to unplug. NEW! Nature Adventurers Backpacks Available: Drawstring, water-resistant backpacks available with your own starter kit of adventuring supplies! These are not required but recommended if you intend to come often or go on your own adventures outside of our meetups (or both!). Inside you’ll find: a reusable water bottle; a telescoping net; a blank nature journal; colored pencils and sharpener; a laminated copy of the Nature Adventurers Handbook; a guide for Nature Play Resources that we recommend including books, websites, and apps; a water-resistant pencil case; 3 animal print adhesive bandages; a small bug jar with magnifying lid; 2 Nature Adventurers stickers; and a kit to make your own paracord pace counter. These are while supplies last. The color themes are Magenta, Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Lime Green/Black, Forest Green, Teal/Bright Orange, Light Blue, Royal Blue. When purchasing a ticket with a backpack, please indicate what color(s) you would like. If you do not select a color or we run out of that color, we will select one for you.

West Orange Farmers Market on August 10 from 9 am to 2 pm at 80 Main Street Parking Lot (North End)

It’s Kids Day at the West Orange farmers market. 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 also be kids activities.




Tiny Toddlers Storytime on August 7 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.

Sing and Play Musical Event on August 7 from 10:30 – 11 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 1-5 will love this interactive musical event.

Spanish Stories Storytime on August 7 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 August 8 & 13 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 Open Play – for Newborn-23 months on August 8 from 10:15-11:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Caregivers with newborns to 23-month-old babies are invited for a drop-in open play session.

Babies and Books Storytime on Aug 8 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.

Pool Story Time at Ginny Duenkel Pool on August 8 at 2:30 pm (601/2 Cherry St, West Orange, NJ) 

Children will enjoy storytime at the pool.

Music Together Preschool Music Event on August 9 from 10:30-11 am and 11:15 am – 12 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children entering Pre-K will love this Music Together Preschool Music Event.

Saturday Storytimes at the West Orange Library on August 10 from 10-10:30 am (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children and ages 0 – 5 and their caretakers are invited to come and listen to stories and work on a craft.

Storytime and Activities Featuring Dear Girl, and Dear Boy on August 10 at 11 am at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children will love this storytime event and activities featuring Dear Girl and Dear Boy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. These lovely books are a reminder that everyone holds a valuable place in the world. Guests will receive a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4.

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring ABCs of Engineering on August 11 at 11 am at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Baby & Me Storytime continues for caregivers and children 0-24 months old. Guests will enjoy a book on the ABCs of Engineering by Chris Ferrie and participating in activities featuring sensory growth. Attendees will receive a Starbucks tall, hot or iced coffee.

Terrific Toddlers Storytime on August 13 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 Story Time on August 13 at 11:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Preschoolers are invited to hear stories and songs and play games providing interactive fun. Parents must remain in the library during this program.




Barnes & Noble Kids' Book Hangout on August 10 at 2 pm at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Kids ages 6-12 are invited to join the Kids' Book Hangout and discover their next favorite books. They will also enjoy games, activities, and giveaways and receive a coupon for a $1 Blondie Bar. Call for details 973-758-1310 details. 

Crater Creations on August 12 from 2-3 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children up to grade 5 will love learning about meteorites, how craters are made, and more with the Rutgers Geology Museum. Children will have a chance to make and measure their own crater.

Reading Buddies on August 12 from 3-4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children building their reading skills will practice with teen mentors to gain confidence.

Barnes & Noble Book Club Featuring The Nickel Boys on August 13 at 7 pm at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Kids ages 11-13 will enjoy the Book Club selection, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, a brilliant and blistering story of two boys from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad.



YA Book Club on August 8 at 7 pm at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Those interested, are invited to participate in a YA Book Club. This week, Wilder Girls by Rory Power will be discussed. This is a feminist Lord of the Flies story about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel, unlike anything you've read before. Sign up here.

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on August 9 from 3:15-5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, Livingston)

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 roleplaying, storytelling, on-the-spot strategic thinking, math skills, problem-solving, and teamwork all rolled into one!




Indigo in Conversation: Taffy Brodesser-Akner And Lisa Taddeo on August 8 at 7 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Join New York Times journalist and best-selling author Taffy Brodesser Akner along with best-selling author Lisa Taddeo as they discuss their new books, Fleishman is in Trouble and Three Women; with a book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public; individuals must have purchased one copy of either book to be in the book signing lineup; proof of purchase required from Indigo; seating and signing line-up will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; candid and posed photos are allowed.

Mama Wellness Workshop at Monica + Andy on August 13 from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Join Monica + Andy for a complimentary morning that’s all about you. Learning to care for yourself is one of the hardest lessons, but it’s crucial for all mamas. Wellness coach Stephanie Sackerman will be talking through and teaching quick and simple ways to nurture your whole self so you can find balance, feel nourished, and be happy pre- and postpartum.



August 10 is National S’mores Day

Sticky and gooey, full of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows, S'mores are always a delicious treat for people of all ages. Since they are a favorite campsite treat, it’s quite appropriate that the holiday is observed in August, which is campfire season. However, S'mores can be enjoyed all year, as they and can also be baked in the oven, or microwaved.

It is believed that S'mores date back to the 1920s, with the recipe having been created by the Campfire Girls. S'mores folklore suggests that S'mores got its name right by the campfire, when, after eating one, some young kids chanted "gimme some more!"

S’mores are fun to make with kids. Grab some graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate, heat them up in the oven or via the microwave and enjoy! Try other ingredients too – chocolate chips, colorful Peeps, sprinkles and more.

36 S'mores Recipes That Will Make Your Kids Go (Graham) Crackers



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 August 7, 1789 – Through an Act of Congress, the Federal Government took over the creation and maintenance of the nations' lighthouses.
  • On August 8, 1890 – The Daughters of the American Revolution organization was created.
  • On August 8, 1845 – The USSR declared war against Japan.
  • On August 9, 1930 – Animated cartoon Dizzy Dishes premiered, with new star Betty Boop.
  • On August 9, 1974 – President Richard M. Nixon became the first and only president to resign while in office.
  • On August 10, 1883 – The village of Chicago was incorporated.
  • On August 10, 1948 – Allen Funt's, "Smile, You're on Candid Camera," debuted.
  • On August 11, 1966 – The Beatles began their last US concert tour.
  • On August 12, 1898 – The US annexed Hawaii.
  • On August 13, 1521 – The Spanish defeated the Aztec Indians and conquered Mexico City.