The playgrounds are still frozen, and the South Orange pool won’t re-open for another five months, so parents and young children alike are beginning to experience cabin fever. If you’re able to get little ones into their buntings, puffy jackets, hats and mittens without too much resistance, here are some fun remedies to consider.
At the Children’s Room of the South Orange Public Library, friendly smiles from behind the librarian’s desk welcome children and caregivers. Child-sized chairs painted by children, a paper tree and shark and an original South Orange gaslight adorn the room.
Various children’s programs are offered in a spacious adjoining room:
Starting Jan. 20, story time for toddlers is on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. for ages 2 to 4. Ms. Keisha, one of the Children’s Room librarians, leads the story and craft session. Starting Jan. 21 on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., story time will be held for babies through 2 1/2-year-olds, incorporating songs for little ones. And starting Feb. 5 and continuing on the first Thursday of each month at 10 a.m., there will be a Songs & Stories session.
Other story times include a family session on Thursdays at 2 p.m., starting Jan. 22, geared toward 4- and 5-year olds, and Seton Stories, a story and craft program coordinated by Seton Hall students for kids of all ages on Fridays at 10 a.m., starting Jan. 23. To celebrate Chinese New Year, a special drop-in crafts event is scheduled for Jan. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration isn’t required for any of the programs. For information, call the library at 973-762-0230.
The Kaleidoscope Center for the Arts, home of The Messy Artist and the South Orange location of Music Together with Kelly Heinze, is also the venue for Parteaz Workshops.
Parteaz, a company founded by Susan Donlan that provides unique parties for children, offers monthly workshops for 3- to 8-year-olds. Next up is a Valentine’s Tea, scheduled for Feb. 12 and 13 with two times: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Three-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult, but the event is a drop-off for older children. The workshops are $25 per child and involve dressing up, theme-related crafts, stories, and decorating or creating treats for the tea party.
Parteaz's phone number is 973-447-0616, and the entrance to the Kaleidoscope Center for the Arts is at the back of 60 Valley St.; it has two spacious studios and a fully-equipped party room.
If you’re simply looking to relax outside the home, there's an array of eateries and bakeries that not only satisfy the taste buds but warm the body and soul. Step inside Cait & Abby’s Daily Bread on 15 Sloan St., adjacent to the train station entrance. The aroma draws you to pastry cases offering everything from bagels, breads, muffins and scones to cupcakes, cookies and brownies. Grab a cup of coffee for yourself and a cookie for the little one and sit at one of the café tables to do some people-watching.
For Starbucks lovers, there’s one next door to Cait & Abby’s with ample seating. And nearby on South Orange Avenue are Dunkin' Donuts and Hot Bagels Abroad, which offers mini bagels for little bellies.