AUGUST 2019 

In This Issue:
August is National Children's Eye Health & Safety Month
Help Your Autistic Child Make Friends: What Worked for My Son and Me
10 Ways to Build Independence 
3 Autism-Friendly Party Themes You Need To Know
August Things to Do in New Jersey Top Ten 2019 
Creamy Corn Chowder Recipe
August Family Fun Activities
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August is National Children's Eye Health & Safety Month

As the end of the summer approaches, back-to-school time is top of mind for many parents. One of the most important ways to ensure a successful school year is to make your child's sight a priority. To help raise awareness, Prevent Blindess has declared August as  Children's Eye Health and Safety Awareness month and is offering a series of programs to help save children's sight. Read on to learn some of the topics covered and how you can get involved:

Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Lazy eye, also called  Amblyopia, is decreased vision that results from abnormal visual development in infancy and early childhood and is the leading cause of decreased vision among children. This condition develops when nerve pathways between the brain and the eye aren't properly stimulated. As a result, the brain favors one eye, usually due to poor vision in the other eye causing the brain to ignore signals from the other eye. Treatment includes eye patches, eyedrops, and glasses or contacts, or sometimes surgical treatment. The Eye Patch Clubis a program geared towards children with this condition and membership includes a kit with special calendars and stickers.

Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
Crossed eyes, also called  strabismus, is a condition in which your eyes do not line up properly. If your child has this disorder, his or her eyes would look in different directions, with each eye focusing on a different object. It is very common, affecting four percent of children age 6 and younger. Nobody knows why some children are born with this condition, but it does tend to run in families. Crossed eyes can usually be corrected with eyeglasses and/or surgery.

Sports Safety
Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States and most of those  injuries are sports-related. Protective eyewear is the key to sports eye safety as ninety percent of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear. Even if your child's sports league does not require eyewear, you as a parent have a right to insist on protecting your child's eyesight.

Affordable Care Act and Children's Vision
Through the Affordable Care Act , parents can now sign up for health insurance plans that will provide their children with full coverage for childhood comprehensive eye exams and glasses or contact lenses for correcting vision. As of last year, vision care for children will be covered by many health plans as an essential benefit, no longer standing alone in separate vision plans.

Eye Safety Programs
One of the resources provided by Prevent Blindness America is the  Eye Spy eye health and safety education program. It's a series of interactive games where kids can learn the parts of the eye, how the eye works and what to do to protect their eyes. Another is the  Star Pupils Eye Health and Safety Curriculum which provides teachers with interactive materials to help students learn about the importance and mechanics of sight.

Good vision is key to a child's physical development, school success and well-being. By setting up a comprehensive eye exam for your child this month, you can get them on the right track for a happy and healthy school year. If you're curious about getting contacts for your child, read our  article on the subject. Or, if you're looking for a new eye doctor, use our   Find an Eye Doctor tool.

Help Your Autistic Child Make Friends: What Worked for My Son and Me
Updated on April 30, 2019
By McKenna Meyers

Like Many Parents of Autistic Kids, I Wondered: Would My Child Ever Have a Friend?
Like so many parents of autistic children, I worried about my son's future:
  • Would he be able to attend regular school?
  • Would he be able to play on sports teams and join Boy Scouts?
  • Would he one day be able to get a job, have a wife, and start a family?
But the question that weighed heaviest on my mind and in my heart was: Would he ever have a friend?

Many children with autism find it difficult to make friends in a large group setting such as school.
One-on-one play dates let kids with similar interests develop meaningful bonds.
 | Source-Pixbay(Modified)

Your Child's Flat Affect Can Make Bonding Difficult

I knew there was something not quite right with my little boy. As a first-time mom at age 35, though, I was so thrilled to have a child of my own after years of teaching other people's kids that I pushed it aside. I retreated into denial mode. Having worked with young children for years, I felt confident that I had this parenting gig in the bag, and I didn't want needless worry to ruin it.

Yet, my enthusiasm and optimism for motherhood soon got replaced by exhaustion and frustration. I wasn't just experiencing the typical wariness that comes from not getting enough sleep, stressing over a crying infant, or changing yet another soiled diaper. I was exerting so much energy and enthusiasm with my boy-speaking in a high-pitched voice, playing peek-a-boo, tickling his toes, singing him silly songs, reading him books-but got no smiles, giggles, or squeals of delight in return.

His lack of responsiveness to my attempts at bonding were making me feel like a bad mother. Without yet realizing it, I was in the early stages of experiencing what it's like to be the parent of an autistic child. It was the beginning of our journey as I wondered whether my son and I would ever form a close bond and whether he'd ever be capable of making a friend.

What Is "Flat Affect?"

Some children with autism have "flat affect," a lack of emotion characterized by little or no facial expression, vocal inflection, and expressive gestures. They may not react at all to situations that elicit strong emotions in others.

Be Mindful of Your Child's Uniqueness and Need for Time Alone

My son's flat affect made me feel like a performer bombing in front of an unappreciative crowd. He preferred playing alone at his train table-walking around and around it for hours on end, guiding his Thomas the Tank Engine along the track. Our lives were becoming more isolated, but I was the only one who seemed to care.

I had hosted a weekly play group at our home for years-ever since the children were 6-months-old. As they grew into toddlers and then preschoolers, the kids began to interact more with each other. They were meeting at one another's houses for play dates. Moms and kids were getting together in the park for picnics, at the pool for swimming, and at the ice cream parlor for treats. No invitations, though, came our way.

The preschool co-op my son attended three mornings a week wasn't the cure-all that I had so desperately wanted. While I adored his teacher and the hubbub of activity, I gradually realized it wasn't a good fit for my son with his sensitivities to noise, light, and touch. He seemed overwhelmed there and wasn't making friends.

Because autism is a spectrum disorder-meaning it affects each child differently-I became convinced that I needed to develop a unique plan to fit my child's unique needs. My son is now a teenager-thriving at public school-and enjoying a strong social life with a small group of buddies. When he goes out to meet his friends, I stop and reflect on a time in my life when I didn't think that would ever happen. I don't ever take it for granted like most parents do. Helping my child build friendships took a lot of time and effort, but it was so worth it.

Why Is Autism Called a "Spectrum Disorder?"

A spectrum disorder refers to a group of disorders with similar characteristics but wide-ranging intensity. One person may have mild symptoms while another has severe ones. The three different types of autism spectrum disorders are 1. "classic" autism 2. Asperger syndrome and 3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS).

8 Strategies for Helping Your Autistic Child Make Friends

1. Focus on Quality Friendships, Not Quantity

Even if your child has only one buddy, this is a reason to celebrate. Foster that relationship in any way you can. My son had only one pal for many years, but it became a strong, meaningful friendship that built the foundation for future ones. It showed him that other kids were fun and that was HUGE.

Dr. Cindy Ariel, a psychologist who counsels families with children on the autism spectrum, says moms and dads shouldn't fret if their youngsters aren't popular like they were as kids. She tells parents to embrace them as they are. Don't compare them to anyone else and don't expect them to duplicate their childhood experience. She explains, "Many people are fine with only one or two close friends and feel much more comfortable living this way."

2. Appreciate the Enormous Value of Play Dates

Setting up regular play dates for my son with a carefully chosen friend was critical for promoting his social skills. It required a lot of effort on my part but was well worth it. These one-on-one get-togethers helped my boy make close connections that weren't being formed at preschool nor at our weekly play group.

Sylvia Ford, an early childhood consultant, says "the parent needs to make an investment in the play date for it to succeed." She advises moms and dads to plan an activity in advance so the kids' time together is optimized. Whether it's  whipping up a batch of play dough, picking out a craft for them to make, or pulling the blocks and Hot Wheels out of the closet, it's important to be prepared.

3. Have Games That Stimulate Conversation

Like many children on the autism spectrum, my son would have played for hours each day on the computer if I had let him. He would have played video games during play dates, barely exchanging a word with his friend, if that was permitted. That's why I enforced a strict rule (always stated in advance) that there would be no technology when friends were over at our home.

Instead, this time was set aside to improve my son's communication abilities as well as his social skills. Having the kids play games was an excellent way to achieve both these goals. When they were preschoolers and kindergartners, my son and his friends needed games with simple rules that required little or no reading and worked well with two players. Favorites included: Don't Break the Ice, Hi-Ho Cheerio, Pop-Up Pirate, and Don't Spill the Beans (these are all great for promoting fine motor skills, too). When he and his buddies were in elementary school, good games involved conversation, strategy, and problem-solving. Favorites included: Monopoly, Blokus, Clue, Checkers, Battleship, and Risk.

4. Don't Get Discouraged If Parents Don't Reciprocate

When you have a child with autism, you must develop a thick skin and not let your foolish pride keep you from doing what's best for your youngster. I invited the same boys over for play dates again and again without their parents ever inviting my son to their homes. I naturally thought they weren't reciprocating because my son is autistic, and that made me resentful. It wasn't until the same thing happened with my younger son (who's not autistic) that I realized some parents just don't do play dates.

Keep inviting friends over to your house without ever expecting your child to get invited to theirs. Just keep your goal in mind-helping your child make friends. Don't let your hurt feelings get in the way.

5. Keep Your Friends and Your Child's Friends Separate

For convenience sake, some parents want their friends' children to become friends with their children. This rarely works-whether your child has autism or not. Let your youngster choose his own buddies-kids who share his interests and accept him for who he is.

In her article " Do People With Autism Connect Best With Each Other?" Lisa Jo Rudy says it just depends. If they have similar passions, it might be a match made in heaven. However, if one is an ardent fan of Star Wars and the other is devoted to dinosaurs, it could be a disaster.

What Is Parallel Play?
Parallel play is a normal stage of development that occurs when children are between 2 and 3 years old. It's when youngsters play next to one another but not with one another. Each is engaged in his own activity but shows interest in what the other one is doing. Older children engage in parallel play as well.

6. Don't Compare Your Child to You as a Kid

Let go of your preconceived ideas of how your child would be. Just because you were a social butterfly as a kid, doesn't mean your child will be the same. Your youngster with autism probably doesn't get nearly as much pleasure from interacting with others as you did. He may find it frustrating and draining. Big noisy events such as birthday parties and holiday gatherings may cause him undue stress. Let him go at his own pace and look for the warning signs that he's had enough before a meltdown occurs.

Don't panic if your child and his friends engage in parallel play during play dates. Remember your youngster may need a break from the intense social interaction, finding it overwhelming. Intervene if his buddy and him are not getting back together to play after 15 minutes. Keep play dates no longer than two hours because they can be exhausting for your kid.

Key To Me Therapy - Key To Me Therapy

7. Help Your Child Understand Non-Verbal Communication

Some children with autism have a difficult time with social communication. They're not always clued into the ways people convey their thoughts and feelings non-verbally through facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, posture, eye contact, and tone of voice. Play dates with only two children offer teachable moments when parents can point out examples of such communication. For example, they can say: Look at his face. His scowling on you. That means he's mad...Look at her signaling for you to come. She wants to play with you in the sandbox...He's stomping his feet. That means he's upset about losing the game.

Mark Hutten, a psychologist and parent coach, encourages moms and dads to teach their autistic kids about non-verbal communication in a clear and direct way. He writes, "Good communication is the foundation of any successful relationship- and nonverbal communication speaks the loudest... The ability to understand and use nonverbal communication is a powerful tool that can help children connect with others, express what they really mean, and build better relationships."

8. Read - Read - Read

Reading to a child every day-autistic or not-is a wonderful way to build their vocabulary, increase their comprehension, and talk about the character's emotions. Story time at preschool and the library can't compare to what parents can offer one-on-one at home when reading and snuggling with their child in bed or sitting outside under a shady tree and looking at books. Unlike the teacher and librarian, moms and dads have the huge advantage of being able to stop at any time to discuss the story and ask questions: What is that character feeling? Would you feel the same? What would you do in that situation? What do you think will happen next?

Parents also have the huge advantage of selecting books that speak to their youngster's unique interests. When my son was little, we had a whole shelf of books just about trains. With more children getting diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder,  there are now numerous books that address their experiences and those of their siblings, friends, and classmates. 

What do you think?

What do you think is key to a successful play date for children with autism?

According to a recent servey on this site

Ten Ways to Build Independence
Transition Tool Kit
September 2, 2018

This list from Autism Speaks Autism Response Team member Emily Mulligan provides information on how you can help your child increase his or her independence at home, at school and in the community. By introducing these skills early and building block by block, you can help your loved one with autism gain the tools that will allow him or her to be more independent throughout his or her life.

1. Strengthen Communication
If your child struggles with spoken language, a critical step for increasing independence is strengthening his or her ability to communicate by building skills and providing tools to help express preferences, desires and feelings. Consider introducing Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC) and visual supports. Common types of AAC include picture exchange communication systems (PECS), speech output devices (such as DynaVox, iPad, etc.) and sign language.

2. Introduce a Visual Schedule
Using a visual schedule with your child can help the transition from activity to activity with less prompting. Review each item on the schedule with your child and then remind him or her to check the schedule before every transition. Over time, he or she will be able to complete this task with increasing independence, practice decision making and pursue the activities that interest him or her. You can learn more about using visual supports by downloading the ATN/AIR-P Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder Tool Kit.

3. Work on Self-Care Skills
This is a good age to introduce self-care activities into your child's routine. Brushing teeth, combing hair and other activities of daily living (ADLs) are important life skills, and introducing them as early as possible can allow your child to master them down the line. Make sure to include these things on your child's schedule so he or she gets used to having them as part of the daily routine.

4. Teach Your Child to Ask for a Break
Make sure your child has a way to request a break - add a "Break" button on his or her communication device, a picture in his or her PECS book, etc. Identify an area that is quiet where your child can go when feeling overwhelmed. Alternatively, consider offering headphones or other tools to help regulate sensory input. Although it may seem like a simple thing, knowing how to ask for a break can allow your child to regain control over him or herself and his or her environment.

5. Work on Household Chores
Having children complete household chores can teach them responsibility, get them involved in family routines and impart useful skills to take with them as they get older. If you think your child may have trouble understanding how to complete a whole chore, you can consider using a task analysis. This is a method that involves breaking down large tasks into smaller steps. Be sure to model the steps yourself or provide prompts if your child has trouble at first! Also, try using My Job Chart: a great tool to help both kids and adults learn to complete tasks and manage time.

6. Practice Money Skills
Learning how to use money is a very important skill that can help your child become independent when out and about in the community. No matter what abilities your child currently has, there are ways that he or she can begin to learn money skills. At school, consider adding money skills to your child's IEP and when you are with your child in a store or supermarket, allow him and her to hand over the money to the cashier. Step by step, you can teach each part of this process. Your child can then begin using these skills in different settings in the community.

7. Teach Community Safety Skills
Safety is a big concern for many families, especially as children become more independent. Teach and practice travel training including pedestrian safety, identifying signs and other important safety markers; and becoming familiar with public transportation. The GET Going pocket guide has many useful tips to help individuals with autism navigate public transportation. Consider having your child carry an ID card which can be very helpful to provide his or her name, a brief explanation of his or her diagnosis, and a contact person. You can find examples of ID cards and other great safety materials.

8. Build Leisure Skills
Being able to engage in independent leisure and recreation is something that will serve your child well throughout his or her life. Many people with autism have special interests in one or two subjects; it can help to translate those interests into age appropriate recreational activities. The Autism Speaks Resource Guide contains activities that your child can get involved with in your community; including team sports, swim lessons, martial arts, music groups and more. For more information about participation in youth and community organizations, see the Autism Speaks Leading the Way: Autism-Friendly Youth Organizations guide.

9. Teach Self-Care during Adolescence
Entering adolescence and beginning puberty can bring many changes for a teen with autism, so this is an important time to introduce many hygiene and self-care skills. Getting your teens into the habit of self-care will set them up for success and allow them to become much more independent as they approach adulthood. Visual aids can be really useful to help your teen complete his or her personal hygiene routine each day. Consider making a checklist of activities to help your child keep track of what to do and post it in the bathroom. This can include items such as showering, washing face, putting on deodorant and brushing hair. To stay organized, you can put together a hygiene "kit" to keep everything your child needs in one place.

10. Work on Vocational Skills
Starting at age 14, your child should have some vocational skills included on his or her IEP. Make a list of his or her strengths, skills and interests and use them to guide the type of vocational activities that are included as objectives. This is also a time to start planning for the future. Consider all of the ways up to this point that you have been fostering your child's independence: communication abilities, self-care, interests and activities and goals for the future. The Community-based Skills Assessment (CSA) can help you evaluate your child's current skills and abilities to create an individualized transition plan.
Learn more about planning for the transition to adulthood in the Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit.

Credit: Jane Sandwood, Freelance Writer
Date: February 19, 2019

Research now shows that 1 in 59 children  are diagnosed with Autism. With the long process of getting  diagnosed and pursuing treatment, it's important not to lose sight of the simple things in life that every child should enjoy. The typical children's party can set off sensory issues and overwhelm kids on the spectrum, but that doesn't have to be the case. With a little extra-careful planning and selection of an appropriate party theme, your kiddo can have a fun party celebration while staying comfortable in their surroundings.

A Circus Party - With a Twist
A party  theme should be tailored to its guests, and for a child with autism, this likely means thinking of how you can tone down the usual noise associated with parties. This isn't just due to a sensory issue itself, but can also be caused by hyperacusis; a hearing disorder that is common in people diagnosed with ASD. Common themes like "Circus" can get pretty rowdy, so why not do a theme with a low-noise twist? Combining the usual thrills of circus clowns with mimes is a fun way to continue the theme, while also bumping down the volume. Mimes act things out instead of speaking, so be sure to provide the theme on your invites and let people know it's part of the fun - like charades! You can offer mime-style face painting, circus treat snacks, a big-top tent style decor, and even hire a mime performer. For instance, when things might still get a little overwhelming, having a pair or two of noise-cancelling headphones to use as needed can really help out.

Old McDonald Had a Farm - and So Can You
Rounding up circus animals isn't likely, so if your child likes animals, consider a farm theme instead. Barnyard animals are usually pretty low-key and gentle, not to mention fairly quiet, which makes them great for  people on the spectrum. They also don't demand physical affection, but will happily accept it. So if children want to pet it, great! If not, they don't mind that either, and won't force it. You don't even have to travel to an actual farm to have a day with Old McDonald; consider renting a couple of animals from a local petting zoo, many of which offer traveling services to bring them right to you. Having a celebration in a space that is familiar, like your backyard, can really help put a child with autism at ease. If you do want to have a party at a different location, try to introduce your child to it slowly, and well before the event. Take the time to have them visit the space beforehand, so they become more comfortably with the new area. You should also have plenty of seating and space to relax if a child is worked up- regardless of the theme.

Simple Summertime for Success
Sometimes the most successful party theme is a simple one that isn't overthought. With that said, consider a simple theme of summertime. Renting a picnic house at a park is great for food and sit-down activities, plus with the nearby play area and open grassy areas, there's plenty of space. Keeping things roomy can help prevent the buildup of noise, smells and other triggers. It also gives children lots of personal space, which is sometimes needed. Fun summertime foods, like watermelon balls and other picnic favorites are great additions. Blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing with various outdoor toys like frisbees; the  options for a summer park themed party are bountiful.

Parties don't have to be complicated, so focus on the most important aspect for your child and their guests and build the party around it. Themes for a autism-friendly party need to be a bit more creative and considerate of their sensitivities, but they can be every bit as fun.

Creamy Corn Chowder

8 ears of corn
2 Parmesan rinds (about 4 ounces; optional)
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, caps cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 Fresno chiles, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
Chopped parsley and crushed oyster crackers (for serving)
  • Cut kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. 
  • Place cobs in a medium pot and add Parmesan rinds(if using), mushroom stems, thyme, bay leaf, 2 tsp. salt, and 8 cups water. 
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth is fragrant and reduced by half, 40-50 minutes. 
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids and set broth aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 4 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high. 
  • Add corn kernels, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and juices have evaporated and browned on the bottom of the pot, 12-15 minutes. 
  • Reserve ½ cup corn for serving; transfer remaining corn to a medium bowl.
  • Add wine to pot and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Scrape into bowl with remaining corn. 
  • Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in same pot over medium and cook bacon until golden brown and fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. 
  • Add potatoes, shallots, leek, garlic, and chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but haven't taken on any color, 12-15 minutes. 
  • Add chiles and cook until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. 
  • Stir in flour and cook until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  • Add reserved broth, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10-15 minutes. 
  • Add cream and corn mixture and cook, stirring, until chowder has thickened, 5-10 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in marjoram. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
  • Divide chowder among bowls. Top with parsley, oyster crackers, and reserved ½ cup corn; season with pepper.

August Things to Do in New Jersey Top Ten 2019 
Seasonal Attractions and Places to Visit

You'll find lots of interesting things to do in New Jersey in August 2019. This is a great time of the year with warm summer weather still in effect and the end of the peak vacation season nearing the end.

It's also a great time to of the year to visit many of the cultural festivals.

Ocean City  is a Jersey Shore beach resort that sets itself apart from other beach front towns in going all out to insure that its reputation as " America's Greatest Family Resort" is true to its motto. This family resort destination has many attractions and accommodations that are family oriented and reasonably priced. Lodging including motels, bed and breakfasts, hotels, and vacation home rentals; family oriented restaurants, both sit in and take-out; shopping, including clothing, T-shirts, souvenirs, and antiques; and of course its beautiful beach and fun filled boardwalk.

Best Bike Trips - New Jersey has great terrain and scenery and offers a wide variety of trails for a wonderful cycling adventure for beginners to advanced cyclists. 
Some favorites include: Island Beach State Park - Ride adjacent the sea shore, dunes and wildlife sanctuary - 16 miles round trip - Easy
The Pine Barrens - Traverse pristine pine & oak forests, blueberry fields and cranberry bogs and 3 major rivers. - 43 miles - Easy

New Jersey Beach Information  - fees, facilities, and more
With 127 miles of beaches, the Jersey shore are a natural landscape of beauty, clean ocean water, refreshing breezes and beautiful, white sandy beaches, making the Jersey Shore one of the most desired vacation destinations on the east coast. The beaches in Cape May County are especially known for their wide, fine, powdery sand, and are considered to be among the best beaches on the Atlantic coast. 

  New Jersey fishing  is a huge opportunity to experience a wide variety of fishing experiences and fish species. From the spring migrations of striped bass on the Jersey shore, and the American shad in the Delaware River to the bay shores and the ocean along the Atlantic coastline, there's something for all anglers.

NJ with it's vast ocean coastline, bays, and rivers, offers anglers a wide variety of fishing experiences and fish species. Learn about tips on fishing, and where to go. 

  Batsto River - Hampton Furnace to Quaker Bridge - The lower Batsto River from Quaker Bridge to the lake at Batsto Village is a good paddle for all levels. Rentals available at Adams Canoe Rental 1005 Atsion Road, Atsion 609- 268 - 0189 
Merrill Creek Reservoir, Warren County - Paddle past the red pine and cedar-lined shore forests and fields amongst wildlife and water fowl, where you will find mergansers, king fishers, pileated woodpeckers, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, muskrat, hawks and herons.

NJ offers a wide variety of scenic and wildlife experiences, with a  range of water from easy flat water to the more intermediate, challenging rivers and beach areas.

offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy nearby attractions on a modest budget. For those who prefer not to wander far from the camp grounds, many of them have extensive family recreational facilities on the grounds. For others who enjoy a beer or glass of wine with their meal, they usually do not have restrictions on moderate alcohol use. 

Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival 
Saturday, August 24th, 2019; from 1 PM - 9 PM (Rain or Shine)
The Great Lawn on the Long Branch Promenade
Long Branch, NJ  Website
This music festival features a mix of strong national and local musicians performing live Jazz and blues on stage, kids activities, and food vendors with exotic and regional NJ food and crafts and Fireworks. 
Scheduled events:
1:00 PM National Anthem - Reanne Runge 
1:15-2:15 PM Damian & The DCQ 
2:30-3:30 PM Slidewinder Blues Band 
3:45-4:45 PM Jane Stuart 
5:00-6:00 PM The Shadetree Mechanics 
6:15-7:15 PM The Mikey Junior Band 
7:30 -9 PM Jeff Levine & Friends Featuring JT Bowen
Dusk Fireworks

New Jersey State Fair
  August 2nd - 11th, 2019
Sussex County Fairgrounds,  37 Plains Road,  Augusta, NJ  Website 
One of the more popular New Jersey family festivals, The New Jersey State Fair offers agricultural competitions and education, horse shows, 4-H, livestock and animals, rides and attractions, free entertainment, vendors, foods and much more. Animals, competitions and exhibits bring public attention to agriculture, education, youth advancement and the great things that Sussex County and New Jersey Have to offer.

 Peach picking
A popular New Jersey family activity. If you love peaches and enjoy getting out with the family for a fun activity, head on out to a pick your own peach farm and take home fresh, fully ripened, and flavorful peaches --- peaches that you aren't able to get at the local supermarket. 

Peach picking season begins in early July and runs to the middle of September, depending on varieties and weather conditions.

Assumption Festival 
August 10, 2019: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM 
Arbolino Park, Allen St 
Netcong, NJ
Contact Name: Joe Amendola 
Phone: 917-612-4808, Email: 
This traditional Italian family Feast, carried down to the fourth generation. features a night filled of fun with food, drinks, live music, fireworks, kids activities, a 50/50 and more.
A highlight of the evening is the awesome fireworks display at dusk. 

August Fun Family Activities 

August 1, 2019
Elf the Musical, Jr. presented by Voorhees Theatre Company
10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; August 2 at 7:30 p.m.; and August 3 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Reserved tickets for all performances are $11, and are available at Voorhees Middle School is located at 1000 Holly Oak Drive in Voorhees. Contact info. 856-206-3554
The performances are the culmination of the theater company's summer camp program,
involving 140 children from communities throughout South Jersey. Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf, a human raised as an elf at the North Pole, in his quest to find his true identity.

August 1, 2019
CHPL Girlfriends Night Out
6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.CHPL Girlfriends Night Out. Ladies, come enjoy an evening with the girls, as you take part in a truly fun fundraiser because primping, pampering and partying is always a good time. All proceeds will help provide additional Library programming for all patrons. Thank you for your support.
Early Registration - $15 each
Registration After July 18 - $20 each
Check for more information or contact Meredith Meyer at
or 856-903-1234

August 3, 2019
Kid's Safety Event - Hosted by Chili's Grill & Bar (Mount Laurel, NJ) and Mount Laurel Fire Department
12:00-3:00 PM
4162 Church Rd, Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054
Fun Kids' Activities, Photo ops with local Heroes, the Mt. Laurel Fire Department, Child ID Kit and more!
Plus tell your server you are here to support the Fire Department and we will donate 15% of the sales back to them! (see voucher in event posts)

August 04, 2019
Crowne Plaza- Cherry Hill
2349 Marlton Pike
Cherry Hill, NJ. 08002
$5 in advance, $10 at the door. OPEN to the Public
Indoor Art Show ~ Book Signings ~ Raffles/Drawings~ Spoken Word ~Live Band- Q & A Panel
Live Indoor Art Show, Live Band, Book Signings and Readings, (WE WELCOME ALL GENRES) Prizes and Drawings, Spoken Word, Music & Entertainment, Light refreshments and Cash Bar!

August 9, 2016
Pop Up Story Time in the Park with CHPL
10:00 AM
Stroll over to your local park for a special outdoor story time brought to you by Cherry Hill Recreation and Cherry Hill Public Library! Join us each week for stories and fun as your children's Librarians pop up throughout the city. Weather permitting. All ages.

August 13, 2019 at 03:00 pm
Kid Klub Bowl Free All Summer Long at The Big Event!
Kids ages 4-17 can enjoy 2 free games of bowling everyday from 3-9 pm starting May 1 - September 30th!. Just stop in and pick up the Big Event Rewards card, 1 card per family. 2 free games per day
The Big Event Entertainment Experience, 1536 Kings Hwy N, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034, Cherry Hill, NJ

August 21, 2019, 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM
South Jersey Kids Expo

August 24, 2019 2:00 PM
MTC Presents "Broadway Kids V"
Hope Community Church
235 West Main Street, Moorestown, NJ 08057
MTC's fifth all-pre-teen summer cast will present a new musical revue with songs from such favorite musicals as Aladdin, Beauty And The Beast, Finding Nemo, Frozen, The Greatest Showman, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Moana, Once On This Island, among many others.

We offer classes and story hours, animal programs and birthday parties, as well as special events throughout the year. All visitors enjoy and learn from many interactive exhibits and over 80 birds and animals housed here.
Paint a Treasure
615 Station Ave.
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
For ages 5 and up. Come in and get creative anytime during our normal walk in studio hours.  You choose how to play - Pottery Painting or Canvas Painting!  Reservations are suggested for groups of 4 or more.  
Wednesday:  10am - 5pm 
Thursday - 10am - 9pm
Friday:  10am - 9pm
Saturday:  10am - 9pm
Sunday: 12 - 5pm
 (Closed Mon. & Tues. for Private Event Bookings)
We Rock the Spectrum
3111 NJ-38, Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054, USA
We Rock the Spectrum Mount Laurel is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and fun environment to foster learning, exploration and safe sensory experiences. Through our nonprofit My Brother Rocks The Spectrum Foundation, we provide social skills groups and activities for children across the spectrum.
We Rock the Spectrum Mount Laurel 
provides children with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills. Our unique equipment assists all children in their neurological growth and development.

Miller Farms -Horseback Trail Rides & Lessons in Camden County!
Come enjoy the beautiful scenery at the only horseback/trail riding available in Camden County. Trail riding is offered Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm year round (Weather permitting). Children must be at least 7 years old to trail ride. Cost is $30/person for approximately an hour-long trail ride. Hand-led rides are also available for those younger than 7 and cost $5.
Reservations are strongly suggested.
We offer a great place for family fun, birthday parties, girl scouts and youth groups. Summer horse camp, riding lessons, and horse drawn wagon rides are also available.
1 Hour Trail Rides are $30 Per Person | Call for reservations | Trail Rides Sat and Sun Only | Open Year round
Miller Farms
134 N. Grove Street, Berlin, NJ 08009

ISC - ISC (International Sport, Skating & Fun Centre) Cherry Hill
650 Kresson Rd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Classes: Sports
Camps: All, Sports
HOURS: Our offices are open 9 AM - 5 PM daily. Give us a buzz for more information!
CALL: 856-428-8588  
MORE DETAILS: ISC (International Sport, Skating & Fun Centre) Cherry Hill is any family's destination for fun!
Located off of Kresson Road (behind the 7Eleven) in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we offer skating, a FunZone & Inflatable (10 & Under), and an arcade. Our facility also includes a cafè with pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, drinks and more!
ISC Cherry Hill offers activities for all ages, no matter the season.
Our youth & adult sports leagues run year round and include:
  • Soccer
  • Lacrosse
  • Field Hockey
  • Volleyball
  • Roller Hockey
ISC Cherry Hill also offers School & Summer Camp programs for ages 3 ½ through Grade 8. Call for more information!

Jellybean Jungle
Crispin Square Shopping Center  
230 North Maple Ave
Marlton, NJ 08053
Open Play Hours:
Monday - Wednesday 9:30 - 5:00  
Thursday 9:30 - 6:00  
Friday  9:30 - 8:00  
 Saturday  9:30 - 2:30  
Sunday - Closed for Private Parties  
Jellybean Jungle is a play and learn adventure that is exclusively for  children 5 and under. Our facility is a bright and stimulating environment  created just for your little ones.
Jellybean Jungle was designed by a New Jersey Early Childhood certified  teacher. Safe, age appropriate equipment has been selected for your  children's enjoyment. We offer a large variety of imaginative and  developmentally appropriate activities that will lead your child on an adventure  of social exploration! As your child plays, you will gain insight into their  development, as well as enjoy a great time of bonding.

Adventure Aquarium 
Mon. - Sun.: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
CALL:  (856) 365-3300  
1 Riverside Drive Camden, NJ 08103 PH: 844-474-FISH (3474)
Adventure Aquarium is just minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the  Camden Waterfront and features one-of-a-kind exhibits with more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. The Aquarium is home to the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only great hammerhead shark on exhibit in the United States, the only 
aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos, one of only six facilities in the US to have Little Blue penguins as permanent residents and exhibits the longest Shark Bridge in the world, a unique V-shaped rope suspension bridge just inches over Shark Realm. Adventure Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is held to the absolute highest standards in animal care and exhibition.

Sensory Friendly Movies at AMC
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie  showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theater listings for specific show times, and don't forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

Battleship New Jersey 
62 Battleship Pl, Camden, NJ 08103-3302
Located on the Camden Waterfront, NJ, across the Delaware River  from Center City Philadelphia the Battleship New Jersey Museum and  Memorial offers guided and self-guided tours. Climb inside the 16" gun  turrets, learn explore the captain's cabins and crew's quarters and  discover what life was like for a Battleship sailor. Group packages and  educational programs are available for school. You can rent space  aboard the Battleship for meetings and social events. Families and  youth groups can spend the night aboard the Battleship as part of the  overnight program. 

Would you like to make a difference in your community or an individual's life? 
Apply to New Behavioral Network today! 

We are now hiring . . .


Licensed Mobile Therapists

Behavior Interventionists

Behavioral Assistants



We offer competitive pay, flexible schedules, and a supportive work environment.

NBN Group
2 Pin Oak Lane
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
(856) 874-1616