Free Things to Do in NJ in May with the Kids
Want to get the kids out of the house without spending a ton (or any) money? It’s your lucky month. We’ve found fabulous, free things to do with kids in New Jersey in May.
Watch A Movie
Catch a free flick with the little ones on May 4. Head to a screening of Swim Team at Merck Allies for the Differently Abled in Kenilworth for a story about three young swimmers with autism. The film shows how their team brings about hope for the community. Tickets must be requested in advance. If you'd rather see Angry Birds, head to Ramsey Movie Night at the Ramsey Library. The kiddos will be quickly immersed in the adventures of Red, Chuck and Bomb in this animated film.
Make your way to the Palisades Indoor Farmers Market in Palisades, NY on May 6 to pick up fresh fruit, cheese, veggies and baked goods from local farms. There are also items like soap, lotion and ready-to-eat meals. Crafts and live music make it a fun Saturday morning for the kids, too. On the same day, you can head to the Gloucester County Craftsmen and Home Fair in Mullica Hill, where you can see the works of more than 100 artists and craftsmen from around the state, or the Secaucus Annual Green Festival to celebrate nature with kids activities, boat rides, animal meet-and-greets and more. There are tons of green product vendors and food stands, too. Montclair History Center's Annual Herb Sale is going on from May 11-13, where you can scour a wide range of vegetables and herbs with your gang. You can even score some freebies if you become a member of the center while there. On the 12-14, head to the Spring Flower Fair at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick. This plant sale supports the Rutgers Gardens Student Internship Program, which offers hands-on experience for more than a dozen students. Find unique, gorgeous flowers to decorate your home or cook with. On May 13, Lawrenceville's Mother Nature Festival will make you realize how beautiful the earth truly is. There will be plant sales, wildlife shows, kids activities, music and more.
Attend a Street Fair
There are TONS of street fairs and festivals to go to this month. Historic Smithville's Renaissance Faire will take you back to the old days of the English Renaissance with sword fights, knights, jesters and more on May 6-7. Also on the 6th, Clifton's Downtown Street Fair and Harrison Township Day both have tons for fair-goers of all ages to eat, drink and explore. From May 10-13, your crew can make the trip to Our Lady of Peace Country Fair in New Providence or Sparta Day. In New Providence, your kids will go wild with rides, games and gift tables. Grab some carnival fare and a drink at the beer garden, and don’t miss your shot at the giant 50/50 raffle. At Sparta's celebration, you can look through more than 125 vendors’ goods, plus enjoy live entertainment, chow down on food and watch your little ones go on inflatables. May 20-21 is the 40th Annual Bordentown Street Fair. Witness side streets completely transformed by crafters, food vendors and festival activities. Go shopping at a boutique stand while the little ones are at the kids’ corner having fun. If you're a car junkie, head to Kenilworth's Street Fair and Car Show on May 21. This is the local block party of the year. Check out more than 150 exhibitions, vendors and craftsmen while kids enjoy rides, ponies, a car show and tasty food. If you're looking for something more cultural, St. Anthony's Greek Festival in Vineland on May 25-28 should do the trick. Don’t miss this blowout event featuring Greek food, live traditional music, dancing, rides and raffles.
Warmer weather and brighter days are around the corner, so why not celebrate? The Spring Tide Festival in Stone Harbor on May 6 has crafters, beach fun, a beer and wine garden and live entertainment. There's also a farmers market to check out for fresh goods and retail booths. From May 10-13, your crew can visit Smithville's MAYFEST or the Center for Contemporary Art's Hooray for May in Bedminster. In Smithville, see the works over 100+ juried crafters before stopping at the international food court. Let the kids run wild at the many attractions and activities perfect for their age group, then soak in the sights and live entertainment. The family art day in Bedminster features tons of crafts, activities, gallery tours and refreshments. Don’t leave without grabbing a swag bag with a limited-edition T-shirt (bags given to first 50 guests). Finally, Atco's SpringFling 2017 on May 20 is sure to be a blast. Bring the whole crew out to browse vendors, shop for crafts, enjoy entertainment and munch on some delicious food. Rain date is May 21.
May 6 is the date of two exciting events for STEM and comic book nerds alike. North Plainfield Middle School is hosting Jr. First LEGO League Expo, where little builders can check out these elaborately-researched and constructed LEGO models. The project theme is animals, so kids are sure to love it. It's a great non-competitive opportunity for teams to show off their hard work. For those who love comics, superheroes and graphic novels, Free Comic Book Day is a dream. Comic book stores across the country will be handing out free comics to guests, while supplies last. Millions of comics will be given out in hopes of introducing a new generation of fans to the genre.
See a Show
Turtle Dance Music on May 3 at Hillsborough Library is perfect for kids on the spectrum, as it's a sensory-friendly performance. Kids will get a kick out of the music, bubbles and comedy. The audience gets involved in the show through hands-on interaction, movement, tech and song. On May 20, mini-magicians can head to Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick to join the beloved Steve Woyce for his high-energy magic show, chock-full of comedy and family-friendly tricks. Enjoy arts and crafts between shows.
Celebrate Memorial Day
Show your patriotism by attending one of these holiday events. On May 28, make your way to Alan Augustine Village Green in Scotch Plains for a Memorial Day Concert the kiddies will love. On May 29, make the trek to Knollwood School in Fair Haven for their annual parade, which will honor veterans and heroes with a reading of names, benediction and patriotic music. In Woodland Park, your brood can catch the Memorial Day Street Fair featuring everything from rides to a petting zoo to food vendors. Downtown Fanwood is also putting on a parade, so get there early to snag a good viewing spot.
'Tis the season for food festivals! On May 6, drive down to Toms River Food Fest on Washington Street to explore local food trucks, arts and crafts, vendors, kiddie rides and live entertainment. Emerson PTA Food Truck and Craft Fair Festival is sure to be a blast, too, featuring a wide range of grub and more than 40 craft vendors. Also on May 6 is the Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, which is sure to be a ball for beer nerds and foodies alike. There will be backyard games like volleyball and wiffleball for kids to enjoy. On May 20, try your hand at entering (or eating at) the Annual NJ State Chili and Salsa Cook Off. Bring your appetite for the chili-eating contest (there's a kids version!), then take the little ones on inflatable rides, get their faces painted and more. In Trenton on May 27, the Official 2017 Pork Roll Festival is sure to draw a big crowd. Snack on a Jersey gem, look at crafts and see the finale of the Pork Roll Queen Pageant.
There's tons in the realm of arts and crafts for your crew to do this month. On May 6, head to Ocean Grove for the Spring Fling Arts and Crafts Festival, chock full of crafters and food vendors to check out. That same day, Lincroft's Thompson Park Creative Arts Center is putting on the Creative Arts and Music Festival, where you can see an arts competition, look at handcrafted pottery and jewelry, listen to live music and snack on festival food. Fanwood is hosting a craft fair on May 13 at the train station in town that will have plenty of handmade goods for you to admire; you may even find the perfect piece to buy as a Mother's Day gift. Also on the 13th, there's a tie-dye craft for kids ages eight and up at Warren County Library in Hackettstown. Bring your own black t-shirt and transform it into a star-studded sky with bleach and fabric paint. You can also head to that library on May 16 for an adults-only craft with Miss Jody.