Summer Fun Giveaway: Beyond Rubik’s Cube and Clifford the Big Red Dog at Liberty Science Center

BY  |  Monday, Jul 28, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (18)

Rubik's Cube American Flag

Visitors solve cubes and add them to the mosaic!

WINNER: Congratulations to ldid220!

The Liberty Science Center has just what you need to break up the mid-summer slump with your kids. With its beautiful views of Manhattan and perennial must-dos like the Touch Tunnel and Pixelpalooza, not to mention walking the steel beams in the Skyscraper! exhibit, this Jersey City gem hardly needs to supplement its attractions. But it does!

Just in time for summer visits, the Liberty Science Center has two exhibits that make it easy for parents and children to connect with a new twist on old favorites. Beyond Rubik’s Cube will challenge and entertain with puzzles to solve and activities for younger children as well as older kids and adults. There is even a robot that can solve the Rubik’s Cube. Younger children will love exploring Birdwell Island with Clifford and all his friends in the Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog exhibit.

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Orange Reservoir at the South Mountain Recreation Complex is Overflowing With Fun

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

South Mountain Recreation ComplexFor a long time, the Orange Reservoir was just some water you saw on your way to the Turtle Back Zoo or Codey Arena. But one piece at a time, Essex County has transformed the reservoir area into the South Mountain Recreation Complex—and now it’s a place for a pretty full day of family fun.

In May of this year, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren cut the ribbon on the new 1.7-mile walkway around the reservoir. The freshly paved path has a pair of footbridges, nautically themed decorations and lighting, new landscaping, access to hiking trails, and lots of benches and Adirondack chairs for kicking back and enjoying the views across the water.

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Montclair Author Welcomes Summer with Quinny & Hopper, an Unlikely Friendship

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

quinny & hopperSummer vacation offers wonderful opportunities for friendships that break the routine kids often fall into during the school year. A new book from Montclair author and parent Adriana Brad Schanen takes advantage of school break dynamics to follow an unlikely pair of friends through an adventurous and joyful summer for two new friends, Quinny & Hopper.

Aimed at children ages 8-12, Quinny & Hopper will entertain both boys and girls with its silliness, “killer” chicken adventures, and familiar playground politics. The alternating points of view, between Quinny, a fast-talking and unwilling city transplant and Hopper, an introspective and cautious younger brother to twins, tell the story in an effortless way.  Young readers will appreciate the authentic voices that don’t try too hard to be kid-like; they really do seem like the kid next door.

One aspect of this chapter book that parents of elementary school children will especially appreciate is the realistic depiction of the social navigating grade school requires. Without condescending to the very real concerns children have, Quinny & Hopper presents a relationship that confronts, navigates, and survives the “rules” of growing up.

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Spring Break Vacation Activity Books: Dino Supersaurus

BY  |  Friday, Mar 28, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

uk-2000stickers-1 In just a short while, families around Baristaville will be getting ready to take some holiday time both afar or as stay-cations for spring break. And with the changeable weather we’ve had, chances are at least a day or two will need some assistance to keep fun and peace in the family. Stomping onto the amusement scene is a set of activity books from Parragon Books called New Dino City called Dino Supersaurus.

Three books, each with elements of graphic stories, sticker games, and activity workbooks, are sure to keep the kids happy during a trip or on a rainy day. Officially recommended for ages 6 – 12, Barista Kids believes that children on the higher end of the age scale will find it a bit simple, but still enjoyable. Parents should know that as fun and silly as the stories and drawings are, they are not babyish. The drawings have a sense of cartoonish dino-violence and even some potty humor, all greatly appreciated by children of a certain age.

The best part of these books is the combination of activities in each.

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Montclair in Miniature at the Montclair Art Museum

BY  |  Monday, Mar 10, 2014 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

build montclair in LEGO

Families and friends from all over Baristaville came to the Montclair Art Museum on Sunday afternoon to create a miniature Montclair using just LEGO and their ingenuity. Given photographs of historical buildings around town, teams of up to four people built Montclair from the tabletop up.

Designed by Livingston architect Stephen W. Schwartz, and co-sponsored with the Montclair Historical Society and Building Blocks Workshops, the annual Build Montclair in LEGO event was sold out. The full house created a bustling room of participants digging through over 60,000 LEGO building blocks looking for just the right size and color pieces. Sometimes creative license was called in to assist, and the results were fantastic and fun.

Check out the creativity in our slideshow of the event!:

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Winter Storm Survival with Books for Young Children

BY  |  Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

NoTwoAlike Are you as excited as I am about another snow storm? Yeah, I thought so. At least it’s March already, right?

Parents with very young children especially need some additional distractions during winter weather, and happily, there is no shortage of beautiful books that allow children and parents to get through cold, snowy days and nights. Two new children’s books are perfect for helping us appreciate the joys of winter and snuggling with family.

No Two Alike, by Keith Baker, follows two happy red birds through a detailed winter landscape as they explore their wintry world. Small children love repetition, and the text provides many opportunities for them to anticipate words and surprises. In addition, as the title No Two Alike implies, the birds discover many items — nests, leaves, roads, trees — that are almost, almost alike, but not quite.

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Tom Chapin’s The Incredible Flexible You: Emphasizing Social Cues with Music

BY  |  Wednesday, Nov 06, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Incredible Flexible YouTraveling in and around the world, we constantly interact with others with varying degrees of success. From a baby’s first grin at a great hovering face to being able to sense that someone wants to be left alone based on her facial cues, humans make decisions based on social cues we learn to both read and perform. However, some children and adults with various social learning challenges may find it difficult to exercise these types of signals.

The Incredible Flexible You by Tom Chapin is a quirky new CD, created as an accompaniment to a Social Thinking curriculum, which can serve as a fun and pressure-free tool for children frustrated by social expectations. Social Thinking is a curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner which “targets improving individual social thinking abilities, regardless of diagnostic label.” The CD is a catchy and fun collection of melodies that kids will love to sing-a-long to.

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Day Trip: Stony Hill Farms Corn Maze

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Stony Hill Farms

Before you enter the corn maze at Stony Hill Farms, the ticket-taker recommends that you use the bathroom first, and then points out the emergency phone number to call. You know, in case you get lost and they have to come find you.

They’re not kidding, either. The main maze at this farm in Chester, NJ, is 10 full acres of corn, with wrong turns, switchbacks and stalks so high it’s easy to imagine getting too turned around to find the exit. But it’s even easier to have a lot of fun at Stony Hill, because they really went the extra acre…errr, mile. The maze has stations strewn throughout with trivia for Kernel B. Cobb’s Word Game and iconic images for Cornelius Quest’s Picture Find—each kid gets a worksheet and crayon for the games, just in case they need a little extra motivation to navigate through the maze.

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Master Classes for Serious Young Musicians

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Modern Music AcademyIt’s not a parenting secret that getting kids involved in music is good for them. But what about when your kid is really interested in music and wants to know more about being a musician? The Modern Music Academy is giving local singers and players of all ages opportunities to engage with seasoned musical pros in a pair of master classes on June 8 and 17.

First up is Juan Mendoza, a Perth Amboy native and professional drummer who won the 2012 Guitar Center Drum-Off competition. He’ll be at Just Jake’s on Saturday, June 8, 11 am, for a Percussion Master Class. The event will begin with MMA students showing their drumming chops, and will be followed by Mendoza performing and teaching. “You can hear what Juan has to say and what Juan has to play,” says Jarrett Zellea, who started the Modern Music Academy with his wife Jenny. “He’ll share some of the awesome stuff he can play, and talk about how he got to where he is.”

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Teens: Get Free Yoga for One Year with a Scholarship from Garden State Yoga

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 27, 2012 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, I like to do better than yoga. (Okay, maybe one thing, but this is a family site!) I am happiest in upward dog. For me, joy is falling face first out of a handstand.

I started doing yoga to stay in shape–and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life–but I keep at it because it makes me calm, joyous and sane. Before every class, we take a moment to reflect on what’s important in life, and we learn to be happy about what we have right now. I don’t want to get all crunchy. The actual yoga moves are cool, too. I feel like I’m dancing. But thankfully, for everyone involved, I’m not dancing because I look ridiculous doing the pop and lock. Instead, I do yoga. Everyone can do yoga.

My favorite studio, Garden State Yoga, is offering a free one-year yoga scholarship to four enthusiastic local teenagers. GSY is the perfect place for young people: it’s athletic, it’s smells minty, and they use awesome playlists. The teachers motivate and inspire–and they literally stand on their heads for their students. One of my instructors, GSY director Erin Barry, knows a few special teens will get the awards.

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