Yonkers

8 Parks in Westchester Great for Birthday Parties

The warm weather is here, which makes it a great time to host an outdoor birthday party. But what if you don’t want the inconvenience, or don’t have the space, to host a bunch of high-energy kids at your house? One of our local parks can be a great option.

Whether you’re looking to have a small party or a big bash, there are lots of parks in the area to accommodate your needs—and many have tons of fun amenities too, from splash pads to playgrounds to soccer fields. Here, we’ve rounded up six of our favorite.

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Where to Host a Baby Shower in Westchester—That’s Kid-Friendly

When looking to host a baby shower in Westchester, there are lots of options throughout the county, from high-end halls to outdoor venues with a more casual vibe. But what if the shower is for a soon-to-be-parent who’s hoping for the event to be more of a family affair? Whether the invite list includes siblings, younger cousins or friends’ little ones, there are a number of places that are great for both adults and kids—and ensure everyone will have a good time.

Here, we’ve rounded up a few restaurants that fit the bill. And if you’re looking for even more restaurants where you can take the whole family, check out our Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.

FREE Bilingual Story Times for Westchester Kids

Because a public library’s mission is to serve the varying interests of its community, it’s fitting that many offer bilingual programming for children, especially in towns with diverse communities. Bilingual programming for Westchester families, however, is often attended not only by native speakers but also by those wishing to expose their children to a second language from an early age. One local mom we know strategically hired a Spanish-speaking nanny for her toddler and brought him to Spanish story time to increase this exposure.

Beyond the 30 to 60 minutes of weekly immersion, these programs can also provide a cultural hub—an opportunity for families to connect with others from their heritage and socialize both within and outside of the library setting. And since most are intended for young learners accompanied by a caregiver, you're sure to pick up some new phrases yourself!

We’ve explored the bilingual programs offered by Westchester libraries to round up some highlights. Though Spanish-language programs are the most abundant, a variety of languages are in focus—and one in particular offers a smattering of more than 20 languages, from Dutch to Urdu and Ashanti! One note: Although we confirmed with the libraries that these are ongoing programs, be sure to check before you go because dates can change.

Ninjago City Play Area Debuts at Legoland Westchester

Ninjas and Legos in Yonkers? Yep! The Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester recently added a new attraction: Ninjago City Adventure in preparation for the next epic bricktacular film that's slated for this fall, The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Your little ones might already be familiar with the Ninjago animated TV series, or its Lego characters—Lloyd, Kai, Jay, Cole, Nya, and Zane—but even if they aren't, there are loads of opportunities to build and play, from a climbing wall to the various building tables at this new addition to our local Legoland.

Located in the Ridge Hill shopping center in Yonkers, I visited Ninjago City Adventure on opening day with my 6-year-old Lego expert. Read on for our review, and if you're looking for more fun in the area, sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook!

6 FREE Chess Clubs for Westchester Kids

“Life is a kind of chess,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in his 1786 essay on “The Morals of Chess.” Chess teaches foresight, circumspection and caution, as well as not to be “discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs,” he wrote.

Fast forward a couple hundred years, and it's believed there's a positive effect on cognitive development in children who play chess. In addition to offering intellectual stimulation, chess crosses cultural and socioeconomic boundaries, bridging gaps in a disparate population.

Fortunately, numerous opportunities for Westchester children to play chess exist. In addition to schools often offering extracurricular play, we previously rounded up chess camp options and have now compiled FREE chess clubs and classes available at Westchester libraries. Whether your child is a novice or a Bobby Fischer, there’s something for everyone—in fact, there’s at least one option for each weekday.

Keep tabs on our Event Calendar, as programs are often added or repeated. Read on and go for checkmate!

Best Spots for Irish Breakfast with Kids in Westchester County

You've set your leprechaun traps, baked your soda bread, and dug out all the green clothing from your closet. In other words, you're ready for St. Patrick's Day. While there are a number of family-friendly activities for St. Patrick's Day in Westchester County, you can also get your Irish on by taking your wee lads and lasses to a proper Irish breakfast.

Ireland's signature dish has something for everyone: eggs, beans, grilled tomato, and enough pork products to last a lifetime. So if you're thinking of skipping the St. Patrick's Day parade and heading straight to a kid-friendly brunch, these are the best spots in Westchester to settle in for the top o' the mornin'.

Rockin' Jump Ridge Hill: Where Kids can Jump and Climb the Walls

It's beginning to feel a bit more like spring, but that doesn't mean every day will be sunshine and roses (there's still March and its whole lion/lamb thing to endure). When the kids are bouncing off the walls, the best thing to do is bring them somewhere it's encouraged—like an indoor trampoline park!  

We previously told you all about our visit to Mount Kisco’s Rockin’ Jump, and since then another Westchester outpost of this franchise opened at Ridge Hill in Yonkers, near Legoland Discovery Center. We recently hopped on over to the newer—and larger—Rockin’ Jump to size it up.

Looking for more things to do when the weather is cruddy? Sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook

February Winter Break Camps for Westchester Kids

It seems as if we've finally adjusted to being back from holiday break when it's time to start planning for the next week off from school! Whether you need to work or are just having a Westchester staycation, a school-break camp can be a great way for kids to spend their week off from the grind. 

Whether your child enjoys sports or art (or both), Westchester is full of choices, and we've rounded up some of our favorites here. Be sure to sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the latest events, classes, news and more happening in Westchester, and follow us on Facebook

Where to Celebrate Black History Month with Westchester Kids

February is Black History Month and Westchester is bustling with ways to learn about and celebrate African-American heritage. 

The origin of Black History Month can be traced to back to 1926, when it was founded by Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now ASALH) as a week-long event. Woodson, who selected February because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, was troubled by the inequality in black education. The event was expanded into a month-long honor in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, and, since then, every U.S. president has issued Black History Month proclamations. (We will see if our new president follows suit.) 

All month long throughout Westchester, you'll find family-friendly ways to learn about and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans throughout our country's history. Below are some of of our favorite Black History Month events, almost all of which are FREE. Read on, and then visit our Event Calendar for other great happenings throughout Westchester this month!

Hanukkah Fun and Celebrations for Kids in Westchester and Putnam

Followers of the Jewish calendar know that our holidays seem to float from year to year. This winter, in an unusual and somewhat convenient twist of fate, the Jewish Festival of Lights runs December 24, 2016, to January 1, 2017, dovetailing with both Christmas and New Year's Day. No matter how you spell it—Chanukah, Chanuka, Hanukka, Hanukkah—this month spells fun with holiday celebrations throughout Westchester.

We’ve collected some of the most family-friendly activities occurring in Westchester and Putnam counties. For more fun outings this month, be sure to check out our Holiday Fun Guide and Event Calendar, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook

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