Summertime is here and this season’s best kids’ activities are just waiting for you to come and enjoy them. From all-day 4th of July festivities for families in West Orange and Livingston that include food trucks, bouncy houses, pony rides, music and more – to Zoovies and late night Family Nights at the Turtle Back Zoo, storytimes, cooking classes and more – there’s something for everyone to enjoy this week. In addition, July 9th is National Sugar Cookie day, and below are suggestions and recipes to help make celebrating the day fun for all!

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 craft or cooking 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 address.

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FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY…

 

Family Night at the Turtle Back Zoo on July 3 from 4:30 – 8 pm (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The public is invited to enjoy extended hours at the zoo when temperatures are cooler, and the workday is over.

 

ZOO-VIES at Turtle Back Zoo on July 3 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, How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, under 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. Zoovies will take place every Wed. night through Aug. 28. No Zoo admission is necessary.

 

Livingston’s 83rd Annual July 4th Celebration: All Day on the Oval at Livingston High School 30 Robert Harp Drive, Livingston, NJ) – starting at 9 am

For the 83rd year in a row, Livingston is hosting a fun-filled community celebration with something for everyone! The festivities on Memorial Oval (Robert Harp Drive) kick off at 9:00 am on Thursday, July 4, with the largest Auto Show in NJ. The day continues with a swim carnival, cricket game and exhibition, rides, and games, free pony rides, a Declaration of Independence reading, free 9-hole Mini Golf, Connect 4 game, Powerhouse Studios Kids ‘N Motion and Twisted Sports, and a free kids' ice cream-eating contest take place through the afternoon. Later in the day, guests will enjoy amusement rides, food trucks, an afternoon Beer & Wine Café featuring three bands, main stage entertainment at 7:45 pm (Bon Jovi tribute band Wanted DOA), followed by the annual fireworks spectacular at dusk. For the complete schedule, event sponsors, and more information view the July 4th Program Schedule (PDF).

 

3rd Annual Food Truck Festival on July 4 from 3-9 pm at West Orange High School – outside of Lincoln Field (655 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ)

Residents are invited to enjoy a fun-filled Food Truck festival, leading into the evening’s fireworks show.

 

4th of July Celebration at West Orange High School on July 4 starting at 4:30 pm (Rain Date July 6) at West Orange High School – outside of Lincoln Field (655 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ)

Residents are invited to enjoy Kids Zone activities from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm, with an ensuing firework show to follow at dusk. Attendees can bring blankets, but not chairs.
 

West Orange Farmers Market on July 6 from 9 am to 2 pm at 80 Main Street Parking Lot (North End)

The West Orange farmers market is returning with a new day and time. Fresh produce, local eggs and honey, artisanal cheeses, delicious baked goods, fresh juice, local flowers, vegan goods, upcycled crafts, lunch options, and much more can be found at the West Orange Farmers Market.

 

2019 Livingston Summer Concert Series on July 7 from 7-8:30 pm at Livingston High School – at Memorial Field (Robert Harp Dr., Livingston, NJ)

The public is invited to enjoy the first Sunday concert event of four with a performance by Epic Soul (soul and R&B pop hits).  If it rains, the concert will be held inside the school’s auditorium. Guests can bring blankets and chairs. The next concerts are as follows: July 14 – Joey Arminio & “The Family” (classic oldies); July 21 – Route 80’s (greatest hits of the 1980s); and July 28 – The B-Street Band (a tribute to the music of The Boss).

 

A Universe of Music on July 8 from 7-8 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

The City Winds Trio is presenting a family program of otherworldly music, from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to Mozart's Planets Symphony. This music, art, and movement program presents a chance to 'meet' the instruments. All ages welcome.

 

4-H Gardeners Club on July 9 from 10-11 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Have you ever wondered how vegetables and flowers grow? From where spaghetti sauce comes? How you can find a rainbow in a garden? The 4-H Young Gardener's Club for children in grades K to 12 can provide find the answers to these questions and more. Learning and fun happen all the time here. Call to 973.353.1337.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS…

 

Michaels Camp Creativity on July 3 and 5 from 10 am – 12 pm at Castle Ridge Shopping Center (410 State Rte 10, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids ages 3+ are invited to participate in a Retro-Cool Crafts class at the store. The fee is $3 per 30-minute session, supplies included. Sign up here.

 

Tiny Toddlers Storytime on July 3 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.

 

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on July 4 and 9 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.

 

Little Moving Artist Class at Monica + Andy on July 4 at 11 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 superhero capes and wings, freeze dance, and more. Drop in fee: $10.

 

Special Children’s Storytime Event on July 6 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Do your kids love dinosaurs? Children and their caretakers are invited to come and catch a prehistoric pal during storytime and ensuing activities regarding, How to Catch a Dinosaur, by Adam Wallace. Participants will receive a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4.

 

Saturday Storytimes at the West Orange Library on July 6 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.

 

Special Children’s Storytime Event on July 7 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Barnes and Noble is introducing a new Baby & Me Storytime for caregivers and children 0-24 months old. Participants will enjoy a hearing, Hello, World! My Body, by Jill McDonald, and participating in activities featuring sensory growth for little ones. Caregivers are invited to enjoy a free Starbucks tall, hot or iced coffee at the Café.

 

Michaels Camp Creativity on July 8, 10, 12 from 10 am - 12 pm at Castle Ridge Shopping Center (410 State Rte. 10, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids ages 3+ are invited to participate in a Space-Age Fun class at the store. The fee is $3 per 30-minute session, supplies included. Sign up here.

 

Terrific Toddlers Storytime on July 9 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 July 9 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.

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS…

 

Williams Sonoma Junior Chef Cooking Camp: Destination Italy from July 8-11 from 12-1 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Calling all Junior Chefs! This spring and summer, Williams Sonoma is hosting a series of fun cooking camps just for kids! Suitable for ages 8- 13. The next Junior Chef Destination Italy Cooking Camp is on July 8 - July 11. In this four-day cooking camp, junior chefs will explore the culinary delights of Italy, learning to make pizza, pasta, lasagna, and calzones. Buon Appetito! Cost of $125 per child includes an apron, spatula, and a copy of The Junior Chef Master Class Cookbook. Option #1 includes a copy of The Junior Chef Master Class Cookbook; option #2 includes a copy of The Complete Junior Chef Cookbook. Call (973) 467-3641 to reserve a spot.

 

Has Reading Gone to the Dogs? On July 8 at 4:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

New readers can practice their reading skills by reading to friendly therapy dogs at the West Orange Library.

 

Historical Fiction Book Author Visit on July 9 from 2-3 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Ms. Carter, an author of historical fiction books that examine social issues, bullying, and coming of age, will be visiting the library to discuss her works, which are geared to kids ages 8 – 12. Attendees will learn more about what it takes to be an author and enjoy activities related to her the author’s books.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS…

 

Williams Sonoma Technique Class: Cooking with Garlic on July 7 from 12-1 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

If you love garlic, Ina Garten’s Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic is the recipe for you! Learn how to make one of the Barefoot Contessa’s most popular dishes. Cost of $20 per person includes a Chef’n Garlic Cone. Call to reserve your spot (973) 467-3641.

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY…

 

National Sugar Cookie Day is on July 9

National Sugar Cookie Day is a day to satisfy one’s sweet tooth. Popular with people young and old – you really can’t go wrong with a sugar cookie. Spending the day is simple, bake some cookies with your little ones and let them use cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes to create the cookies. Then let them choose from all sorts of different toppings to decorate the cookies with including sprinkles. Once the cookies are baked, hurry up and pop them into your mouth while they are still warm. Yum! Don’t want to cook? Don’t worry – there are plenty of pre-packaged brands of sugar cookies to choose from. Buy a few boxes or bags and have a family taste-off! One thing’s for sure – no matter how you celebrate – you can’t go wrong because sugar cookies are always delicious! If you and your kids bake, please send over some pix!

 

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 July 3, 1806 – The first cultivated strawberry was displayed by Michael Kent.
  • On July 4, 1984 – After being displayed for over a century, the torch on the Statue of Liberty was removed so it could be replaced.
  • On July 5, 1937 – Baseball great Joe DiMAggio hit his first grand slam.
  • On July 5, 1946 – The bikini made its debut at a Paris fashion show.
  • On July 6, 1933 – In the very first All Star Baseball game, the American League won 5-2.
  • On July 7, 1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.
  • On July 8, 1796 – The U.S. State Department issued the first passport.
  • On July 9, 1956 – Dick Clark hosted American Bandstand for the very first time.