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Free Things to Do in NJ in January

Want to get the kids out of the house without digging through your wallet? We've got you covered.


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1. Have Fun at the Library

Hit Peapack & Gladstone Library from 4:30-5:30 pm on January 10 to build LEGO structures in the library. Every workshop has a different theme, so little builders will have to imagine their own designs and buildings within the theme. This event is for kids in grades K through 5. At Bridgewater Library on January 11 from 4:30-5:30 pm, participate in an all-ages drum circle. Your kids will come together with other families to create spontaneous music with the percussion instruments provided. No experience necessary. Circle Time! with Sukey Molloy is hitting Wood-Ridge Memorial Library on January 11 from 10-10:45 am. Her musical play activities are perfect for tots.

2. Check Out the North Jersey Orchid Show and Sale

Don’t miss the biggest and oldest orchid show in the state. The North Jersey Orchid Society is bringing thousands of gorgeous flowers grown all over the world to the Douglass Student Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from January 13-15. There will also be free educational workshops for growers and gardening enthusiasts. Come any time between 9 am and 4 pm.

3. Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Teach your kids about MLK and his teachings at this creative celebration at NJPAC in Newark on January 14 at 11 am. Enjoy dancing, music, spoken word, stories and other activities through the afternoon. There will also be family-oriented workshops for your crew to take part in.

4. Make the Most of Winter

Warm up with some delicious chili while taking in tons of professional and amateur ice carvings at the Fire and Ice Festival in Downtown Mount Holly. There’s plenty of food and entertainment for the entire family at this annual event taking place on January 28. On the 29th, you can wassail apple trees at Terhune Orchards in Princeton from 1-4 pm. Wassailing consists of putting cider-soaked bread onto various branches of the apple trees. The custom also typically calls for pouring cider over the tree’s roots and singing traditional songs. There will also be a bonfire, wagon rides (weather permitting) and live music. On January 14 from 10 am to noon, head to Jump! Immersion School in Edison for their winter wonderland celebration. Make snowflakes, conjure up some slime or paint with snow while sipping hot chocolate. Also at Jump! in Livingston at the same time on January 21.

5. Enjoy Cinderella, Cinderella

Trilogy Repertory presents this show at St. Luke's Church in Gladstone on January 21 from 1-1:45 pm, your kids can help Cinderella transform into a gorgeous princess. Registration required.

6. Get Out In Nature

On January 7 at Mountain Lakes Preserve in Princeton from 9:30-11:30 am, take the kids to explore the grounds. They'll learn how plants survive the cold weather, where animals store food and how they live. If the weather isn't too bad, they'll get to play the Hibernation Game. On January 16 from 11:30 am-2 pm at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary in Short Hills, you can take part in the hot chocolate open house. Learn about the classes, camps and events going on at the arboretum while sipping hot cocoa at fireside story time. 

7. Rock Out and Boogie Down

What's better than a Mommy and Me free music class? From January 9 through February 27, you can take your little rocker for a demo class at Preschool of Rock, especially for kids. This high-energy, interactive class will keep your little one engaged. Classes are 9:30-10:30 am. There are various locations throughout the state. Hit up Kiddie Academy of Hoboken on January 28 from 10 am-noon. Children of all ages are welcome to boogie down with friends old and new at this yearly celebration. This is a great way to show your little ones that exercise and staying healthy can be fun. 

8. Be a Part of a World Record Attempt 

Mountain Creek is hosting The World's Largest Ski and Snowboard Lesson on January 6 from 9 am-2:30 pm where snow bunnies ages 7 and up can learn to ski or snowboard at this famed Vernon resort. Get there between 9 am and noon to register for the 1 pm lesson. Your participation gets you one free beginner lift ticket, free rentals and a free 90-minute group lesson. Mountain Creek is trying to set the World Record for the largest multi-venue lessons ever taught, so be part of this history-making event.

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