Westchester

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family

Everyone wants to raise their family in a healthy, safe, and yes, fun community. But, how do you go about finding the right corner of this country for your family? Trial and error perhaps, but WalletHub is also throwing a little data our way on just this subject. The credit report and personal finance site just released its ranking of the best and worst 50 states in which to raise kids.

It weighed a number of factors to determine the top family-friendly states, looking at schools, housing, crime, childcare costs and quality, parental leave options, salaries, and of course, the amount of family fun per capita, including access to parks and playgrounds.

Read on to find out how your state stacks up—and where you might want to consider relocating to with the kids!

MLK Weekend Fun: Winterfest, Volunteering, Kids' Film Festival

If you’re staying in town for the three-day weekend, get ready for lots to do in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, including many great options that are FREE.

Reinforce the meaning of MLK Day (“a day on, not a day off”) by investing time in the MLK Day of Service. Embrace the season with fun family activities at Hyde Park Winterfest, or learn All About Ice and its role in pre-refrigeration America. Find indoor fun at the Best of the New York International Children’s Film Festival, featuring short flicks from around the world, or with marionettes at the Annual Puppet Festival

There's more! Be sure to check our January GoList and our Event Calendar to plan your entire weekend—and beyond!

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

Free Perks That Come with Your Westchester Library Card

If your library card hasn’t left your wallet in a while, it may be time to pry it from its confines and put it to use.

More than a means to borrow books, your Westchester library card is your ticket to a host of privileges that you might not even know about. Put away the credit card and let this other piece of plastic save you money on admissions, shopping, and periodicals. In addition to checking out books, you can also borrow other media and even musical instruments, cooking supplies, and recreation equipment. Access technological services, learn a new language, support academic study, reserve a room. All this and more may be available, depending on the specific offerings of your local branch. Read on to see what you might be missing—not to mention all the books and free events, from storytimes to STEAM activities!

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Winter Day Trips: 9 Family Fun Spots Near NYC

Whether you prefer spending the winter months snuggling on the couch or frolicking in the snow, there's one thing we can all agree upon—sometimes, you just need to get out the city for a change of pace. So we pulled together a list of family-fun day trips that appeal to all sorts of interests, from budding naturalists to full-fledged ski bunnies. Best of all, these destinations are all two hours or less from New York City by car, and we think they're all worth the trip.

For more day trip ideas, check out our Day Trip and Weekend Getaway Guide. Happy trails!

25 Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Phoenix Area

At first glance, Phoenix might seem like just cactus and desert as far as the eye can see. Yet, there is so much more to this western city than scorching heat and golf. Families will find fantastic museums, unique attractions, such as a stunning desert botanical garden and a Butterfly Wonderland, as well as a fascinating history that makes this capital city come to life.

A trip to the Valley of the Sun makes a perfect winter getaway or spring break for sun seekers. There are water parks, pools, hiking, spas for the grown-ups and plenty of resorts from which to choose. We've already explored neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona, and now we want to take you on a tour of the 25 top things to do in Phoenix for families with kids. Whether you stay at a five-star resort or spend your vacation with family and friends, this gem of the Grand Canyon State has a little something for everyone.

Indoor Action Centers Where Westchester Kids Can Burn Energy

When cold and rain makes outdoor play impossible, it's good to know there are a number of fantastic indoor play options in Westchester where kids can burn off all that excess energy. We've rounded up the biggest and best places where kids can run, jump, bounce, climb, and play when outdoors just isn't an option.

Looking for more indoor ideas when inclement weather dampens outdoor fun? Check out our Guide to Indoor Fun and Play Spaces for Westchester Kids, and look to our Event Calendar for tons of fun indoor happenings all year long.

Best Winter Baby Clothes and Gear for Cold Weather Survival

It’s no secret that winter babies require more gear and baby clothing than their summer siblings, especially those born in northern climates, such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

New parents should prepare to do battle with snowdrifts, chilling wind gusts that leave faces and fingers raw, and otherwise icy and wet conditions on the way to daycare, playdates, the local library, or wherever. Stock up on some of our favorite stroller blankets, footmuffs, toddler mittens, adorable baby snowsuits, booties, and winter hats before the real storms hit.

Cold weather protection doesn’t stop at the baby phase, of course, especially for those navigating city streets outdoors. “NYC kids stay in their strollers a bit longer than suburban kids, because they have to deal with the elements a lot more,” explains Carol Adams, owner of Torly Kid, a popular kids clothing boutique in Manhattan, by email. “I know I kept my kids wrapped in their 7 A.M. Enfant footmuff and covered the stroller with a wind protector until they were almost 5!”

Read on for our top picks of baby winter clothes and gear for keeping newborns and toddlers toasty—no matter the temperature.

Weekend Fun: Free Family Swim, Winterfest, Paper Bag Players

Keep the fun going throughout January with any of the great programs we’ve identified for Westchester and Hudson Valley families this weekend. Whether you're looking for a performance, film, sports event, craft, winter festival, or a good deed, you've come to the right place.

Browse the collectibles at the Baseball Card Show or catch a screening that gets behind the scenes at an international, big-league Science Fair (way beyond the baking-soda volcano kit). More indoor fun can be had creating fashion for an American Girl doll, and you can embrace the season with fun activities that don’t break the bank at Hudson Valley Rail Trail WinterFest. Have you heard about the new swim school? There’ll be an open house with FREE family swimming.

There's more! Check out our hot-off-the-press roundup of 50 winter activities for kids and our Event Calendar to plan your entire weekend—and beyond!

2019 American Girl Doll Hails from the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley's newest celebrity resident is a redheaded blogger/farm girl who's 18 inches tall. Meet Blaire Wilson, American Girl's 2019 "Girl of the Year."

Blaire, American Girl's first-ever doll set in the Hudson Valley, lives with her family on a sustainable farm and bed and breakfast in Bluefield, a fictional town set in the real Ulster County, NY. She made her debut on January 1.

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