22 Kid-Friendly Things To Do This Weekend


We’re hitting that mid-January lull, but things are heating up with seasonally fun activities for the family this weekend. Enjoy a cup of cocoa and greet alpacas along the way at The Alpaca Experience in Newfield, jump in a bounce house during the Winterpalooza Open House in Wayne, or go on a scavenger hunt during the celebration of New Year’s Traditions From Around The World in Plainsboro. And if you are looking for more cold weather things to do, check out winter activities in New Jersey. (featured photo credit: istock/Copyright)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)

Attracting Bluebirds
January 21 at 10 AM
Introduce your fam to birdwatching at this Bluebird Workshop, where you’ll learn how to attract bluebirds to your yard or nearby trails at this Bluebird Workshop. You will also learn how to build a bluebird box and become a citizen scientist by monitoring bluebird boxes.
Cost: Free
114 Route 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726

Sandy Hook Beach Cleanup
January 21 at 10 AM
Join Save Coastal Wildlife Nonprofit members to clean up and restore the bayside and ocean beach. Volunteers will collect tiny plastic debris and other trash items to help save coastal wildlife along the northern Jersey Shore. All ages are welcome; ages 12 and under need parental supervision.
Cost: Free
Visitor Center Parking, Hartshorne Drive, Sandy Hook, NJ 07732

New Jersey School Fair 2023
January 21 at 11 AM
Learn about local school choices at this Family Fun Day fair—parents can peruse vendors and get to know area school options, while kids can have a ball with face painting, balloon twisters, and a photo booth. There will also be refreshments, music, and a raffle.
Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 07083

The Alpaca Experience
January 21 and 28 at 1 PM
Meet and greet alpacas during this walking tour, where you can snap selfies, feed the fuzzy creatures, and enjoy a mug of cocoa or tea at the Greenhouse. While you’re there, choose one of three crafts to do.
Cost: $10 per person under three free
1302 Piney Hollow Road, Newfield, NJ 08344

Winterpalooza Open House for Families
January 21 at 12 PM
Join in on the winter fun festivities at Wayne YMCA, where the whole family can jump in a bounce house, play bubble soccer, start a “snowball” fight, play carnival games, and have a dance party with Bach 2 Rock. Eventgoers can also enjoy The Winter Farmers Market, which will also be onsite.
Cost: Free
1 Pike Dr, Wayne, NJ 07470

Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium
January 21 at 12 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM
Learn about astronomy, space, and planetary science through an interactive theatre experience. “Legends of the Night Sky: Orion” Experience the Aurora” plays at 3 PM. The Planetarium runs on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive 15 minutes before the start of the show. Food and drink are not allowed in the theater.
Cost: Free
49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102

American Youth Celebrate Chinese New Year
January 21 at 2 PM
Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at American Dream during this lively event featuring art, culture, music, dance, and more. 
Cost: Free
1 American Dream Wy, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Deptford Free Open Swim
January 21-22 at 1:30 PM
Enjoy an open swim in a 90-degree pool with family and friends. See the newly opened facility and learn more about the swim lessons available.
Cost: Free
1500 Almonesson Road, Deptford, NJ 08096

Great Swamp Maple Sugaring
January 21-March 5
Learn how to make the sweet stuff by identifying and tapping maple trees, collecting sap, and making real maple syrup over a wood-fired evaporator. Then taste the syrup too. This program will be held entirely outdoors, so dress for the weather. The syrup will be available for purchase while supplies last. Preregistration is required.
Cost: $6 per person
Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, 247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township, NJ 07928

Ice Bumper Cars
Now-February 26
Sign up for a 45-minutes of non-stop slippery fun on the ice without skates. Kids and adults will enjoy this bumper-style version of ice skating that requires no-skating skill.  
Cost: Starting at $20
Van Saun County Park, 216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652

Central Jersey Health and Wellness Expo
January 22 at 11 AM
Take your health to the next level with information, resources, and interactive activities for kids and adults. The event is free, but registration is requested. The first 100 pre-registered attendees will receive a complimentary gift bag.
Cost: Free
Market Fair, 3535 US-1, Princeton, NJ 08540

New Year’s Traditions from Around the World
January 22 at 2 PM
Head to the historic Wicoff House Museum to celebrate New Year’s traditions from around the world. Activities include games, crafts, and a museum scavenger hunt. All ages are welcome. Refreshments will be available.
Cost: Free
641 Plainsboro Road Plainsboro, NJ 08536

Hunterdon Art Museum 70th Anniversary Celebration
January 22 at 2 PM
Celebrate Hunterdon Art Museum’s 70th anniversary with art and music. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 2:00 PM. Your family can enjoy a special art project, birthday cupcakes, and live music by David Segarnick. The celebration will happen in conjunction with an opening reception for new exhibitions.
Cost: Free
7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, NJ 08809

Family Sundays at the Nature Center
January 22 at 1:30 PM
Bring your family to explore the wonders of nature with hands-on crafts about wildlife. Eventgoers make new creations monthly to decorate the nature center or bring home.
Cost: Free
157 Westcott Ave. Hamilton, NJ 08610

Ongoing Events

Winter Stargazing
January 21, 28
See the planets and constellations in this extended version of the popular night sky presentations. Educators will share the ancient story of the constellations, take you on a journey to distant planets and stars, and share the latest space news and discoveries. You’ll see something new each time you visit as aspiring and seasoned amateur astronomers learn how to discover the night skies from their backyard.
Cost: $3 and up
Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028

The 20th Annual Antique Toy Train Show 
Now-January 29
At this lively display, adults and kids can observe vintage trains from the 1930s, 40s, and ’50s. There will be collections of Lionel, Marx, and American Flyer engines with adjoining cars that will race on two platforms along with vintage buildings and landscapes. 
Cost: $3 for kids and $4 for adults 
138 Andaalaro Way, Deptford, NJ 08093

Bergen County’s Winter Wonderland at Van Saun Park
Now-February 24
Enjoy the fresh air with the family for open skate time at Van Saun Park. 
Cost: Starting at $10
Van Saun County Park, 216 Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652

Night Forms: Infinite Wave at Grounds For Sculpture
Now-April 2
The whole family will love to see the Grounds of Sculpture reimagined after hours, with a multi-sensory light and sound experience designed to engage with the art and horticulture collection. Spend the evening outdoors exploring the lighting, sound, and video projection mapping, and join the interactive exhibits, which will delight kids and adults. 
Cost: $22 and up
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619

RWJBarnabas Health Events

Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen
January 17, 24, and 31 at 4:30 PM
Come in person or join virtually for this hands-on cooking for ages 8-12. Your child will learn how to cook with nutritious ingredients, how to read a recipe, kitchen safety tips, measuring techniques, and learn knife skills.
Cost: Free
Online or Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center at Newark Beth Israel
Medical Center, 208 Lyons Ave., Newark, NJ 07112

Teen Takeover Cook-along: Healthy Ramen Noodle Bowls (hybrid)
January 18 at 6:30 PM
Join Ms. Jenn for a hands-on cooking class in our demonstration kitchen, where we’ll have fun making Ramen Noodle Bowls. Teens 11-17 years old are welcome to attend. Please email livewellcenter@rwjbh.org if you wish to attend virtually.
LiveWell Center, 200 Wyckoff Rd. Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724

Safe Sitter
January 21 at 9:30 AM
Safe Sitter® is designed to prepare students in grades 6-8 to be safe when alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. The class has fun games, guided discussions, and role-playing exercises. Students will learn safety, childcare, and life and business skills. Lunch or dinner will be provided to attendees. 
LiveWell Center, 200 Wyckoff Rd. Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724

Healthy Kids Cooking Class (in-person)
January 21 at 11 AM
Grab your apron and join Ms. Jenn in a hands-on cooking class at the LiveWell Center. Young chefs aged four and up are welcome to attend with an adult.
LiveWell Center, 200 Wyckoff Rd. Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.