April 10, 2024
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April 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The World Is Your Classroom

School is back in session and no matter how old your children are—from the youngest preschoolers to college students—everyone has something that sparks their interest (even if they hate to admit it!). No matter what your child’s favorite subject is, educational experiences outside the classroom are never far away.

For the science lover…

If you have a budding inventor, what could be better than seeing the home and laboratory of one of the greatest inventors in history? Thomas Edison earned more than 1,000 US patents in his lifetime, most for inventions that were born right here in West Orange. At Thomas Edison National Historical Park, you can tour Edison’s complex of preserved laboratories that gave us key inventions such as the motion picture camera, sound recordings and movies. Before you go, visit the park’s website and print a Junior Ranger book. Kids ages 5 and up will enjoy completing the activities in the book as you tour the site, and can earn a Junior Ranger badge! Begin your visit at the Laboratory Complex Visitor Center, which offers orientation information. From here you can also get a vehicle pass for Glenmont, Edison’s estate where he and his wife entertained guests including Orville Wright, Helen Keller and Henry Ford. Tickets for house tours are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Glenmont is generally open Friday, Saturday and Sunday except during the winter. A ticketed tour is the only way to enter the house, though you may explore the laboratories on your own.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ • www.nps.gov/edis

For your aspiring author…

If there is a modern children’s author who merits a trip into New York City, it is Mo Willems, who brought us beloved characters such as Knuffle Bunny and Elephant & Piggie. The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems exhibition is at the New York Historical Society through September 25, bringing together original art, sketches and inspirational drawings from Willems’s books. The exhibit also includes animation cells, sculptures, a reading area and an audio guide just for kids. However, there are no interactive activities, so the exhibit may be more successful with children in elementary school than preschoolers. During the exhibit’s final weeks, there will be special events, including a reading and book signing with the author on Sunday, September 18. This event is free with museum admission, but requires a separate reading ticket; those interested should reserve tickets online or through the museum’s call center in advance, as they expect this to be a popular event. On Sunday, September 25, Elephant and Piggie themselves will be at the museum from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. to say goodbye before the exhibit closes.

The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems at the New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY • www.nyhistory.org

For your future Picasso…

While there are many places to try a guided painting class, Kayla’s Creative Art Studio in Berkeley Heights may be the most family-friendly. On many Sundays at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Kayla’s offers family painting classes. They provide the essentials—an 11”x14” canvas, paint and brushes, as well as step-by-step instructions to help each participant create a masterpiece. All ages are welcome to attend and paint; participants under the age of 6 must be assisted by an adult. You can check the calendar, preview the painting that will be taught and register online. If you are looking for something different to do with a group of friends, Kayla’s will also open for “play dates,” a creative way to engage children and their friends in age-appropriate art.

Kayla’s Creative Art Studio, 629 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ • www.kaylascreativeartstudio.com

By Rachel Jager

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