Westchester

NYC Summer Camps for Preschoolers: Half-Day and Partial Week Junior Summer Programs

Summer camp is more than just a fun and enriching experience for young children. It also marks an important step in their development as they get to test out their independence and, in the case of commuter camps, travel outside the city to enjoy outdoor activities in nature.

As exciting as that first-time camp experience is, it can also be scary (perhaps more so for parents than kids) since it's outside everyone's comfort zone. Even if you find a program that offers a safe and stimulating environment for younger kids, parents may worry than their preschoolers aren't yet ready for full days or weeks of camp.

Every summer, readers email us asking if we know about summer programs that offer short days or sessions where tots can try out day camp and see how they like it. We asked our friends at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey to recommend some camps that fit the bill. If you need more information, the ACA of NY and NJ also offers free camp consultations with their experts.

You can find out about other awesome summer programs in our Camp Guide.

Special Needs Dance Classes for NYC Kids

A few weeks ago I wrote about special needs music classes for kids in the five boroughs. Today I'm spotlighting dance programs for children with special needs in NYC.

Just as organizations like Daniel’s Music Foundation changed my son’s life and allowed him to be able to get up on stage in front of people and sing, there are dance programs that help children with special needs do the same with dance. There are a variety of dance classes and summer camps throughout NYC for children with special needs. Here are some of our favorites:

Introducing Mommy Poppins Westchester and Hudson Valley!

After a long time talking about it (and readers begging for it), Mommy Poppins is proud to announce the birth of our Westchester site. Now you can find out about the best things to do, see and experience with kids in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley in posts written by local moms, as well as browse our carefully curated Westchester Event Calendar. You can also sign up for our Westchester newsletter to stay on top of all the great things going on in the region.

Visit the Farms of Westchester

If you enjoyed our post on the farms of Long Island, you may be excited to hear that there are also farms in Westchester that you can visit with kids. Seriously, less than an hour from New York City your kids can be gamboling with sheep, rounding up chickens, and milking cows.

Geocaching with Kids: Scavenger Hunts Wherever You Roam

If you've got a smartphone, get ready to change your ringtone to the Indiana Jones theme; the adventure of geocaching is within your grasp, and it's one of technology's greatest gifts to modern parents. A free activity that can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime, geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt open to anyone with a GPS device or smartphone. Have half an hour to kill and a kid who's climbing the walls? There's probably a treasure hidden within walking distance of where you are. Need an activity that gets the whole family outside for the day? Pick a spot in the hills and hike there in search of secret booty. Either way, you won't be hearing anyone say, "I'm bored!"

Rye Playland Amusement Park in Westchester

There really is no place quite like Rye Playland Amusement Park in Westchester. So close to New York City, Playland is more than an amusement park—there's also a beach on the Long Island Sound, a pool, a lake with pedal boats, a boardwalk, mini-golf, an indoor skating rink, daily entertainment and more. All those amenities just add an extra layer of fun to a day spent riding roller coasters, the log flume, the Ferris wheel, Super Flight, plus all the kiddie rides in Kiddieland.

6 Remarkable Summer Day Camps for Preschoolers

[UPDATED: February 24, 2013]  What to do with preschoolers during the summer can be even harder to figure out than for older kids. Especially if you have older kids who are in day camp, entertaining toddlers and children that are too young for most day camps can be challenging.

You might want to start by looking at the summer programs offered by preschools in your neighborhood, but we've found a few interesting summer camps for preschoolers that offer something a little different than the average preschool summer program.

Farm Camps Give City Kids a Taste of Country Life

How often do NYC kids get to hang out with pigs? Well, real pigs. At two New York summer camps, NYC kids can get a taste of real farm life with real animal chores and hands-on gardening experience. There are two different farm day camp experiences NYC kids can try that take them to a world completely outside of NYC, even if they are in NYC.

Bald Eagle Viewing in NYC: Winter Nature Fun for Kids

[UPDATED: DECEMBER 31, 2012]

Seeing a bald eagle in the wild is an incredible experience. I can still vividly remember my encounter with the majestic bird at Umbagog Lake State Park in New Hampshire back in August 2001. With their striking white heads and tails, and massive wingspans, mature bald eagles are an impressive and unforgettable sight.

Like most birds, bald eagles fly south for the winter and pass right through our neck of the woods by soaring down the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. They begin their migration in December, with the highest concentration of eagles visible during the months of January and February.

Eagle viewing is a popular winter activity for bird and nature lovers in and near New York City. We've got the scoop on how your family can marvel at our national bird, either by joining an organized event or heading out on your own.

Apple Picking Near NYC Especially for Families with Toddlers

[UPDATED: August 11, 2012]

With apple- and pumpkin-picking season closing in, and the fall weather approaching, how best to include the little ones? We went looking for some of the best places to go apple picking within one hour of New York City that are good for families with toddlers. These spots have small trees with low-hanging fruit so that little ones can reach the apples, plus other fun stuff for kids like hay rides, petting zoos and more.

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