So that was fast – July is over! While there’s only one more month of summer to go – there are still many things left to do. This week, through August 6th, you and your family can enjoy an old-fashioned drive-in movie, a Harry Potter Costume party, Buzzfest, Downtown Thursday, National Night Out and of course – National Ice Cream Sandwich Day on August 2. There are even more fun things to do to choose from below!

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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Wednesday Night Under the Lights – Community Races on July 31 at 7 pm at West Orange High School Suriano Track (51 Conforti Ave, West Orange, NJ)

People ages 6 and up through adult, are invited to participate in races on Wed. nights. There are many divisions: 6 & under, 7-10, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+ and medals will be awarded to the Top 3 in each division. Fee: $5 per race. Registration starts at each night at 6:15 pm and the first race starts at 7 pm. July 24th races include a 1-mile run, 100m dash and 800m run. July 31st races include a 400m dash, 1-mile run, and 200m dash.

Harry Potter Program and Costume Contest on July 31 from 7-8:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

The public is invited to attend the fourth annual Harry Potter-themed summer program and costume contest, chock full of activities and tasty snacks. Attendees will meet other Harry Potter fans and discuss the beloved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book.

ZOO-VIES at Turtle Back Zoo on July 31 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, Aquaman, 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.

Craft Club on August 1 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.

Family Night at the Turtle Back Zoo on August 1 & 7 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.

Behind the Scenes with Penguins, on August 1 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.

Downtown Thursdays – at PNC Bank (30 Main St., West Orange) on August 1 from 6-8 pm

Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants in the Valley section of the downtown corridor or grab take-out and visit tables and chairs that will be set up in front of PNC Bank in St. Marks Square for some free entertainment and kids activities. 

West Orange Farmers Market – Kids Day – on August 3 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.

Raise the Grade: Life Skills for Tweens and Teens on August 3 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.

Buzzfest on August 3 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Buzzfest is for people of all ages. Have you ever wondered how honey goes from hive to jar? Come join a local beekeeper as he extracts honey from a real hive! You’ll even get a sample taste. There will be crafts, games, an observation hive and more. Learn about bees, their current challenges, and how we can help. Advanced registration is required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $5 per person for ages 2 and up.

Drive-In-Movie Night featuring Grease on August 3 from 8-10:30 pm at West Orange High School, 51 Conforti Ave. (Conforti Parking Lot)

Experience an old-fashioned drive-in-movie night featuring classic film, Grease, with your family and friends. All cars must enter from Pleasant Valley Way and exit from Conforti Ave. Fee: $5 per car- CASH only. The snack bar will be open. Weather hotline: 973-243-1115.

Livingston's National Night Out on August 6 from 5:30 – 10 pm at Livingston High School (30 Robert Harp Drive, Livingston, NJ)

The public is invited to attend National Night Out in Livingston, an annual event designed to strengthen neighborhoods through police-community partnerships. The goal is to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, build support and participation in local anti-crime programs and, most importantly, it represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination that is helping to make many neighborhoods safer places to live. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better. Emergency personnel from many law enforcement and public safety entities will be on hand to showcase their equipment. The event will offer participants the following free-of-charge: food and soft drinks, rides, face painting, balloons and carnival games for children, giveaways, a live band, a DJ, anti-drug activities, exhibits, safety demonstrations, youth events and more. Click here for details. 




Tiny Toddlers Storytime on July 31 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.

Spanish Stories Storytime on July 31 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 1 & 6 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 1 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 1 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 August 1 from 11-11:45 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.

Saturday Storytimes at the West Orange Library on August 3 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.

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Busy Bees: Who Goes Roar? On August 4 at 11 am at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Babies 0-24 months and caregivers are invited to Baby & Me Storytime featuring Busy Bees: Who Goes Roar by Shannon Hays, where they will also participate in activities featuring sensory growth. Guests will also receive a free Starbucks tall, hot or iced coffee.

Musical Storytime with Guitar Joe on August 5 from 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Join Guitar Joe for a magnificent medley of music and storytelling: songs, picture books, puppet shows, dance parties, multimedia presentations, drum circles, egg-shaker jams, and so much more! For children ages 2 to 5 years, and their caregivers. No registration required.

Terrific Toddlers Storytime on August 6 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 6 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.

Lego Club on August 6 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

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




Storytime and Activities Featuring The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! On August 3 at 11 am at the Barnes and Noble at Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Barnes and Noble is kicking off its Kindergarten series where kids will enjoy fun activities related to Mo Williams’ The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! to prepare them as they begin a new adventure. They will also receive a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4.

Fin-tastic Friendship Fest Featuring The Tail of Emily Windsnap on August 3 at 2 pm at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Kids ages 8-12 are invited to a Fin-tastic Friendship Fest, Featuring The Tail of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler that will include games and activities all about Emily, Shona, friendship, and more.

Reading Buddies on August 5 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.

Creature Comfort: Practice Reading with a Therapy Dog on August 5 from 4:30 - 5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Kids will have a chance to practice their reading skills by reading to friendly therapy dogs.

Alien Stuffed Animal Workshop on August 5 from 7-8 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in Pre-K to 3rd grade are invited to participate in a Noah's Arc Alien Babies Workshop where they will hand stuff a plush extraterrestrial pal, wish on a star, and name their new friend.

Lego Club on August 6 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

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




Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on August 2 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!




Gonzo’s Funky Family at McCloone’s Boathouse on August 2 from 8:30 – 11:30 pm (9 Cherry Hill Lane, West Orange, NJ)

Guests will enjoy hearing everything from Chaka Kahn to BB&D, Squeeze, Tears for Fears, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire, SLY, James Brown and Prince to Stevie Wonder and more! No cover.



National Ice Cream Sandwich Day is on August 2

Since it’s pretty hot in July and August, it’s really no surprise that there are a few special days celebrating ice cream in one way or another including one for National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Ice cream sandwiches have been around since the early 1900s. While vanilla, chocolate and a combination of the two are the most popular types of ice cream sandwiches – you can really incorporate a combination of any flavor of ice cream and any type of cookie, cake, muffin, waffle, and toppings to make an ice cream sandwich you and your family will love.

While you can certainly buy delicious ice cream sandwiches at the store or an ice cream shop – you and your little ones can also make them together. Purchase your favorite ice cream flavors, cookies, and toppings and have an ice cream sandwich making party. Make a variety of types of ice cream sandwiches and then have a contest to see which ones you like best.



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 31, 1969 – Mariner 6 flew past Mars.
  • On August 1, 1790 – The first U.S. Census was completed showing there were four million people in the U.S.
  • On August 2, 1876 – Wild Bill Hickock was killed during a poker game. He was holding a Dead Man's Hand – two pair aces and 8's.
  • On August 3, 1958 – The Nautilus, a nuclear-powered submarine was the first submarine to cross the North Pole underwater.
  • On August 4, 1693 – Champagne was invented by Dom Perignon.
  • On August 5, 1924 – The Little Orphan Annie comic strip debuted.
  • On August 6, 1890 - Murderer John Hart was the first person to be executed in an electric chair.
  • On August 6, 1890 – Cy Young pitched his first professional game and it was a win against the Chicago White Sox.
  • On August 6, 1945 – The Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by the U.S.