Happy New Year! January is off to a slow start as far as local activities are concerned but there are still many fun things to do with your families and kids.

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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Lego Club on Jan. 7 at 4 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 Jan. 3-4 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.




Toddler Time on Jan. 7 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 Jan. 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.

Monica + Andy Movement Class with the Little Moving Artist on Jan. 8 at 10:30 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Monica + Andy invites kids from ages 2-4 years to a Movement Class with The Little Moving Artist, every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Get ready for the silliest, most energetic movement class around! Join the Little Moving Artist team in this 45-minute whimsical, imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. Your child 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. They promise lots of smiles and happy exhaustion! Drop-ins: $10, Family: $15.

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on Jan. 2 and 7 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. 

Storytime and Activities Featuring Grumpy Monkey on Jan. 4 at 11 am at Barnes and Noble at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Jim the chimpanzee is in a terrible mood and has a bit of a meltdown when everyone starts giving him advice as to what makes THEM happy. Sometimes everyone just needs a day to be GRUMPY! This book shows kids they are allowed to demonstrate their feelings without hurting others in the process. Activities to follow!

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 Tuesdays, January 7, 14, 21; February 4, 11, 18, 25 (10 to 11 am)
  • Tots (age 3) on Thursdays, January 9, 16, 23; February 6, 13, 20, 27 (1 to 2 pm)
  • Pre-K (ages 4-5) on Tuesdays, January 7, 14, 21; February 4, 11, 18, 25 (1 to 2 pm) OR Thursdays, Dec. 5, 12, 19; January 9, 16, 23; February 6, 13, 20, 27 (10 to 11 am)




Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on Jan. 3 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! 




Williams Sonoma Technique Class: The New Juice on Jan. 5 at 11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Kick-start the New Year with fresh, healthy fruit and veggie juices. Join Williams Sonoma as they cover everything you need to know about juicing – from which machine is right for you – to the best recipes for at-home juicing. Cost of $50 per person includes a credit towards the Juicer of your choice. Call to reserve your spot (973) 467-3641

Williams Sonoma Cookbook Club: Body Love Every Day on Jan. 8 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Discover your own path to food freedom as you make a few recipes from Kelly LeVeque’s newest book. Learn to make Coconut Cauliflower Rice with Sweet Coconut Chicken and Broccoli and a Cookies and Cream Fab Four Smoothie. Cost of $35 per person includes a copy of Body Love Every Day. Call to reserve your spot (973) 467-3641.

Indigo in Conversation: Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Jan. 8 at 6:30 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Join author and ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, as she discusses her new book The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter - One Month at a Time. Book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public; individuals must have purchased one copy of the 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 photos are allowed.




National Spaghetti Day is on Jan. 4

Who doesn’t love spaghetti? With over 600 shapes of pasta available, there is sure to be one for everyone. In fact, Americans consume about 20 pounds of pasta per person per year. There are many ways to celebrate this holiday from making pasta and sauces at home with your family to enjoying some at your favorite restaurant.



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 Jan. 1, 1735 – Paul Revere was born.
  • On Jan. 1, 1878 – Emma M. Nutt became the first woman telephone operator.
  • On Jan. 1, 1908 – The ball was first dropped at Times Square in New York City.
  • On Jan. 3, 1870 – Construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • On Jan. 6, 1838 – Samuel Morse demonstrated the telegraph.
  • On Jan. 7, 1610 – Astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered four of Jupiter's moons.