This week into next, families will enjoy reading to therapy dogs, attending camp Open Houses, Holi & Purim activities, partaking in a Kids Pokémon Paint & Card Exchange, storytimes and more. Teens will enjoy playing D&D, Teen Open Mic Night: Featuring Songs by Female Artists in celebration of Black history month and more. There is also a fun activity for adults listed below. In addition, I Want You to be Happy Day is being celebrated on March 3. Below are a few ideas for enjoying the day.

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. #ThingstodowithKidsGoddardSchoolWONJ

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

Grand Opening of Jumping Beans Cafè on Feb. 29 at 12 pm (615 S. Livingston Ave Suite 5 Livingston)

The public is invited to come and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee “Bean to cup” at the grand opening of Jumping Beans Play Café. Parents will enjoy a lux atmosphere and relax on the couch while their little ones enjoy the play and interaction with other children.

Creature Comforts on March 2, from 4:30 - 5:30 PM at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

People of all ages are invited to practice reading to a trained therapy dog.

Lego Club on March 3 at 4:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

People of all ages are invited to come build with Legos and make new friends.

Behind the Scenes Giraffe Tours, on Feb. 29 and March 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.

CAMP OPEN HOUSES/FAIRS

Summer Camp Open House on Feb. 29 from 11 am – 2 pm at Turtle Back Zoo (Berson Education Center, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The public is invited to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo’s Annual Summer Camp Open House to check out what’s new and fun at camp for Summer 2020. Turtle Back Zoo hosts week-long, fun, science-based summer camps for ages 5 to 14. Teacher-guided lessons, behind-the-scenes experiences, up-close animal encounters, fun crafts, and time in the Zoo make this camp a must-do on your summer fun list. Attendees will meet some camp counselors, learn about the science-based curriculum, try a camp-styled activity, and say hello to a few of the Camp Animal Ambassadors. There will be several activity stations to visit and record on an Open House Passport. This is a free event and guests are asked to register in advance, but day-of walk-ups will be welcome. Register here.

Camp Fair at the Geyer Family Y on March 1 from 2-4 pm (159 Glenridge Ave, Montclair)

The public is invited to attend a Camp Fair to learn about the 12 camp options, ask questions and to sign up to secure your child’s spot. Click here for the camp guide.

Open House for Prospective Camp Families at Meadowbrook Country Day Camp on March 1 from 11 am – 3 pm (73 East Valley Brook Road in Long Valley)

Meadowbrook Country Day Camp is inviting all prospective camp families to attend an Open House. Guests will be welcomed via an information session with the camp’s directors and leadership team prior to embarking on a heated bus tour of the campus. Games and crafts will be offered for the children.

FUN FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Sensory Storytime on March 5 at 1:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 2-10, with autism, developmental challenges or sensory sensitivities and a caregiver are invited for some interactive storytime at the library.

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS

Storytime and Activities Celebrating Dr. Seuss! On Feb. 29 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Kids and their caregivers are invited to attend a very Seussical Storytime with fun activities.

Get a Clue! Event on Feb. 29 at 2 pm at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Barnes and Noble is introducing the InvestiGators, a new graphic novel series about super spies who uncover clues and crack cases, which is perfect for fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Kids will enjoy activities, a mystery game, and giveaways.

Toddler Time on March 3 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Toddlers ages 2 – 3 1/2 and their caregivers will be entertained by puppets, stories, songs, and fingerplay.

Raising Readers on March 3 at 11:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 3 1/2 – 5 and their caregivers will enjoy stories, songs and games.

Holi & Purim Toddler Crafts on March 4 from 10:30 – 11:30 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Kids ages 2-5 are invited to enjoy crafts designed for toddlers and parents to do together to celebrate the holidays of Holi & Purim. Guests should dress for a mess as there will be finger painting.

Little Explorers Winter Nature Program for Kids ages 2 to 5 (See schedule below) at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Ave, Roseland) 

Children love to explore nature and observe all the natural wonders around them. Participants will take magnifiers and their imaginations into the wooded wetland to investigate what winter means to the forest plants and animals around the Environmental Center. Participants should come dressed for the weather since they will be spending time outside. Advance registration is required. Please call 973.228.8776. The fee is $12 per child/session.

See schedule below:

  • Toddlers (age 2): on March 4 (10 to 11 am)
  • Tots (age 3) on March 6 (1 to 2 pm)
  • Pre-K (ages 4-5) on Tues., March 4 at 1 pm; March 6 at 10 am

Jumpin' Jamie at Monica + Andy on Mar 4 at 1 pm, at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

This class for babies and waddlers, ages 2-6, will include live music, puppets, bubbles, movement scarves, toy instruments, limbo, and parachutes. Interactivity is encouraged between the child and their guardian to do things like "jumping," "riding the choo-choo train," and "taking the elevator." The fee is $15.

Books n' Babies Storytime on March 5 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Infants up to 24 months and caregivers will enjoy stories, songs and rhymes introducing babies to language skills.

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS

Kids Pokémon Paint & Card Exchange on March 1 from 12 – 1 pm at A Sip of Art (235 Prospect Ave, West Orange)

Pikachu fans ages 5 and up are invited for a card exchange with other Pokemon fans and a paint session! Attendees should bring their Pokemon cards.

FUN FOR TEENS

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on Feb. 28, from 3:15-5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

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

Teen Advisory Group on March 4 at 7 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Kids in grades 9 and up are invited to get involved at the library and earn community service hours for coming to TAG meetings! You can share your ideas and help plan awesome library activities.

Teen Open Mic Night: Featuring Songs by Female Artists on March 5 from 7-8 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Teens are invited to come and express themselves at a special March Teen Open Mic Night that is honoring Women's History Month. Choose a spoken word piece or song to perform by a woman artist, support your friends, and have a blast!

FUN FOR ADULTS

Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Air Fryer Favorites on March 1 from 11 am – 12 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Air Fryers have quickly become one of the most popular kitchen appliances and for good reason. You can cook food evenly and quickly with little to no added fat. In this class, you'll learn how to make brunch favorites in the Air Fryer, including delicious Egg Bites. The cost of $30 per person includes Air Fryer Loaf + Egg Bite Tools. Call (973) 467-3641 to register.

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY!

I Want You to be Happy Day is Celebrated on March 3

While it is important to let people know they are appreciated every day, it is especially important to do so on "I Want You to be Happy Day." This is a day for us to wish happiness upon others that we care for or love. It is the perfect excuse to focus on happiness. You can celebrate by doing even more than making sure someone is happy by doing something nice for them. I Want You to be Happy Day is also a great opportunity for you to teach your kids how to do nice things for others and to verbalize how they feel about them and why they appreciate them. They can do so for siblings, parents, grandparents, other family members, friends, teachers, coaches and more. The day can be celebrated by simply making a phone call, making positive compliments, cooking a special meal, making a nice gift, visiting a nursing home and more. The goal is simple – put a smile on someone else’s face.

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 Feb. 28, 1692 – The Salem Witch Hunts began
  • On Feb. 28, 1983 – The final episode of M.A.S.H. aired.
  • On Feb. 29, 1872 – Yellowstone became the first National Park.
  • On March 2, 1836 – Texas declared its independence from Mexico.
  • On March 2, 1962 – Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors scored 100 points in a basketball game.
  • On March 3, 1931 – The Star-Spangled Banner became the National Anthem.
  • On March 4, 1789 – The Constitution of the United States of America went into effect.
  • On March 4, 1930 – Mrs. Charles Fahning of Buffalo N.Y. was recognized as the first woman to bowl a perfect 300 game.
  • On March 5, 1770 – The Boston Massacre occurred.
  • On March 6, 1950 – Silly putty was invented.
  • On March 6, 1981 – Walter Cronkite signed off as anchorman of the CBS Evening News.