We know Westchester is one of the best places to raise a family, and our Mommy Poppins readers are the ones who help make it that way. We asked you to weigh in on the best enrichment programs, family fun and parenting resources in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley for our Bestie Awards. We presented an extremely competitive crop of choices, and the people have spoken!
A special thank you to our Bestie Sponsors, Great Wolf Lodge and Quassy Amusement Park and Water Park.
Without further ado, here is your guide to the best of family-friendly Westchester, the 2017 Westchester Besties!
Best Family Fun Winners | Best Enrichment Programs Winners
Best Parenting Resources
Best Birthday Party Entertainer: JoJo's Party Pals
With clowns, magicians, balloon twisters and more, JoJo’s Party Pals is a creative addition to any in-home birthday party. Party-goers can expect gags, dancing and face painting in these one-of-a-kind performances—even the costume color can be booked in advance! Parents take note: There’s even a “lite” clown version for any kids who prefer a scaled-down appearance.
Best Local Kids' Dentist or Group: Scarsdale Pediatric Dental Associates
The dentists at Scarsdale Pediatric Dental Associates aren’t just “used” to kids—they truly enjoy having them as patients. The office serves as an environment that makes nervous children feel more comfortable, with an open treatment area and a friendly and patient staff. Scarsdale Pediatric Dental Associates covers the gamut of childhood dentistry needs, from first visits to orthodontics.
Best Place to Shop for Books and Toys: Miller's
Oh to be a kid again! Miller’s is well known in Westchester as being the spot where many children get their very first bikes, a point of pride for the current owners. In addition to bikes and backyard toys, Miller’s sells high-quality toys, game tables, pinball machines, and even shoes and clothes.
Best Place to Shop for Kids' Clothes and Baby Gear: Once Upon a Child Scarsdale
Whether you’re buying or selling gently used clothing for kids, the offering at Once Upon a Child can’t be beat. Parents can find everything from daily casual wear, to dress-up clothes, to Halloween costumes, all with trusted brand names. It also sells an amazing collection of toys, games and baby gear—with kids growing so quickly, gently used is the way to go!
Best Preschool or Alternative Program: Mazel Tots Early Childhood Program
Mazel Tots sets the stage for a lifetime of successful schooling with its warm and enriching preschool program. Featuring a play-based curriculum with child-centered activities, the school fosters the growth of the entire child: social, emotional, physical and intellectual. It also helps children develop spiritual growth with the study of Judaism.
Best Social Media Mom or Dad in the 'hood: Westchester NY Moms
A newcomer to our area in 2011, Melissa Krochek formed Westchester NY Moms as a way to share her parenting experiences with other local moms and dads. Its extremely active Facebook group currently has more than 10,000 members, all local parents who have the opportunity to share valuable advice and form long-lasting friendships. In addition to hosting meetups, reviewing local businesses and posting events, Westchester NY Moms takes time to celebrate and connect momtrepreneurs.
Best Way to Learn How to Swim: White Plains YMCA
Countless children in Westchester have taken their first strokes at the White Plains YMCA, which introduces water safety and instruction in a fun and attentive environment. Babies as young as 6 months can enroll in parent/child classes to “get their feet wet,” while older, more accomplished fish can try out for the Y’s competitive team, the Riptides.
Favorite Baby and Me Class: Music Together at Starlight Starbright Music
It’s not just nursery rhymes here! Music Together is a research-based international program that incorporates singing, movement and instruments to create interactive classes for children. A multitude of music styles is offered, including blues, folk and boogie, all of which ensure parents will see those first gummy grins appear at one of the classes at Starbright Music. There’s even a Baby class for children 6 months and younger that focuses exclusively on music development in infants.