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 Parenting Resources Winners
Best Enrichment Programs
Best Dance Studio for Kids: Magical Movements
This studio helps children as young as 2 years old develop a lifelong love of dance. Programs range the gamut—from Mommy & Me to private instruction—with ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater and more. In addition to classes, kids can enroll in mini camps and workshops, while week-long intensives are available for tweens and teens.
Best Place for Kids’ Art Classes: Katonah Art Center
Whether a budding Picasso or Pollock, Cassall or Kahlo, the Katonah Art Center has a program that can nurture the inner artist in all families. Classes, workshops, camps and even birthday parties explore the visual arts in a supportive, creative and dynamic environment. The KAC opened a new location last year, and now offers more than 100 classes for beginners and pros alike.
Best Place to Learn a New Language: French-American School of New York
This international day school in Mamaroneck prides itself on its bilingual immersion program, low student/teacher ratios, and extremely diverse student body. The student and staff body represents more than 50 nationalities, with FASNY emphasizing an extremely inclusive atmosphere. The school educates students from nursery school through 12th grade.
Best Place to Learn How to Play an Instrument: Larchmont Music Academy
The LMA hosts a wide range of learning opportunities for nearly all ages with nearly all instruments. Whether parents are seeking private instruction, chamber ensembles or string choirs for their children’s instruction, they’re sure to find a fit at this musical institution. As children get older, they can delve deeper into their musical education with theory and composition classes, and the LMA even offers an Academy Honors Pre-College Prep program. Lessons and classes are held seven days week.
Best Sports Program or Class: World Cup Gymnastics
With a state-of-the-art facility and professional instructors, kids enrolled at World Cup Gymnastics can reach new heights—both figuratively and literally! In addition to nurturing growth, confidence and maturity, World Cup also places a strong emphasis on having fun. It offers parent/child classes for infants, rec programs for kids, and competitive teams for serious gymnasts. There’s also a program for children with special needs.
Best STEM Program: Mad Science Westchester
Mad Science parties last about an hour with all sorts of engaging, hands–on experiments that include things like tornado tubes, electricity experiments, chemical reactions that produce light, air pressure activities, indoor fireworks and tons more great demonstrations. All parties end with a Mad Science chemistry take home for every child. Our parties are ideal for children turning 5-10 years old.
Best Summer Day Camp: Kiwi Country Day Camp
Kiwi Country Day Camp emphasizes the most important thing about a kid’s summer: having fun! Campers ages 3 through 15 get to experience a wide variety of activities that aim to boost their self-achievement, including sports, games, swimming, creative arts, music, science and more. There’s something for nearly every child at Camp Kiwi, as well as for nearly every parent: Both five-day and three-day per week programs are available for sessions ranging from four to eight weeks.
Best Theater Class for Aspiring Actors: The Play Group Theatre
Committed to serving as “an artistic haven” to its students, the Play Group Theatre focuses on helping kids develop a love of the craft. This non-profit offers classes, school programs and summer programs. It also has an ongoing performance calendar, providing students the opportunity to perform all year long.
HAIRSPRAY at The Play Group Theatre - photo by Douglas Schneider