Westchester

100 Awesome Kids Crafts for Creative At-Home Fun

Did you know that plastic milk jugs make awesome fairy houses, or that sugar cubes are a fun substitute for Lego bricks? Sometimes we all need a little push to get the creative juices flowing. Here is a mega list of 100 art projects that you can do with your kids in the comfort of your own home. From paper crafts to slime, from STEM activities to boredom busters, this list has something for everyone.

August GoList: The Best Things to Do in Westchester with Kids

If the arrival of August causes panic because summer is halfway over, don’t despair: There’s still plenty of fun to pack in this month, and we’ve rounded up some great ways to do so right here in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

At the New York Renaissance Faire, Elizabethan England is recreated with a decided sense of humor and frivolity, along with rides, games, food, roving monarchs, and gads of entertainment. There are lots of other summer fairs and festivals to enjoy, including the sprawling and multi-faceted Dutchess County Fair. Abandon self-restraint at the Muddy Puddles Mess Fest, or slosh around 1,000 feet of slippery fun at Slide the City. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Family Shows provides outdoor theater intended for an all-age audience plus pre-show theater workshops for kids.

Be advised that the Otisville Country Fair will take place a bit earlier in the month than in the past, and the perennial From a Child's Perspective is not on the agenda for 2018.

Be sure to lean on Mommy Poppins to plan your staycation and all of August! Read on for our top picks for the month, and consult our Event Calendar and Summer Activity Guide for many more options.

Land of Make Believe: A Charming Family-Friendly Amusement Park in NJ

For more than 60 years, Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ, has entertained and amused families and kids of all ages. Designed as an amusement park where kids and adults can have fun together, there’s literally something for everyone. And the best part is that it’s affordable. The Pay-One-Price policy covers both the amusement park rides and water park, giving you the convenience to move from attraction to attraction without the hassle of endlessly having to reach into your pocket. Parking is also free, and you can even bring your own food and drinks to picnic right inside the park.

Perhaps you visited Land of Make Believe when you were a kid. I know I did. That’s why I was eager to talk a walk down memory lane and introduce my 5-year-old daughter to the thrills and adventures of my own youth. While I found that a lot has changed since then, the essence of this charming amusement park remains.

Read on to experience a bit of this magical-sounding amusement park for yourself.

Weekend Fun: Inflatable 5K, Putnam County Fair, Brassroots Festival

A bounty of festivals and other summer fun continues this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley families, with a mix of live performances, carnival action, and a few twists and jumps.

Held in a rural setting, the inaugural Hudson Valley Brassroots Festival offers a whopping nine hours of brass-band music, plus food, farm tours, and a bonfire. The price is reasonable.

Because we can’t get enough of summer fairs and festivals, we’re excited to highlight the Putnam County Fair, which has all the trappings of carnival amusement, live animals, and other fun stuff. The FREE Irish Heritage Celebration helps fill the long void between annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and if your family is into extreme anything, you won’t want to miss the Insane Inflatable 5K—not your toddler’s bouncy house, for sure!

Another top pick: We love that a local birthday-party venue is hosting its own birthday bash, and, turning the tables, the public is invited to be the guest for FREE (no present required!).

Read on for more details and more great options—then consult our Event Calendar for our daily selection of activities. Also check out our Summer Fun Guide, with ideas for every aspect of the season!

Canoe, Kayak, and Paddleboat Rentals for Westchester Families

Westchester County and the Hudson Valley boast plenty of pools and spray parks to keep kids and adults splashing their way through the sticky summer months. But for New York families seeking a more active outdoor adventure, paddling down one of the state's many natural local waterways can't be beat.

Novices can take guided tours or lessons offered by kayak companies, and children as young as 3 can help power a paddleboat with some of that energy they never seem to burn off. More adventurous paddlers can take on half-day tours of the Hudson River and its aquatic ecosystems or conquer stand-up paddleboarding.

Read on for nearby spots where you can flex those rowing arms with canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, rowboats, rafts, and more. And for even more water fun, check out our list of the best lakes and rivers for swimming in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

Why You Might Enjoy a Disney Cruise to Europe As Much As Your Kids

When my husband suggested a Disney cruise as a way to introduce our kids to Europe, I was doubtful. Our girls had yet to take a plane ride, and we were going to tackle the great cities of Rome, Barcelona, Cannes, Genoa, and others with them? Couldn't we just hit a theme park instead? Ultimately, though, I gave in, even as I imagined dragging a reluctant kindergartener through scenic city streets as she begged to watch "DuckTales" instead. 

Amusement Rides and Indoor Play Spaces Await at Palisades Center

I remember watching the Palisades Center being built from the ground up as I shuttled between Rockland and Westchester counties for various athletic meets and games in high school. At the time, I never imagined that 20 years later, I would be a parent seeking out that very mall to entertain and amuse my own child. But seek it out I do—and with good reason.

It's not just the shopping that makes the Palisades Center a destination spot for families (though, seriously, who can resist four full floors of restaurants and shops?). Palisades Center is also an entertainment complex that lures patrons of all ages. From indoor play spaces larger than many elementary schools to carnival rides and extreme ropes courses, this gigantic mall has something for kids with every interest—with plenty to entertain parents, as well. Read on for the highlights.

Looking for even more fun? Check out some other family-friendly spots

Weekend Fun: Jazz Festival, Dragon Boat Race, Hudson Valley Chalk Festival

Below we’ve listed eight of our top picks for the weekend, but several particularly stand out. The Hudson Valley Chalk Festival is a three-day affair, where professional artists elevate New Paltz's aesthetics with eye-popping artwork around town, and kids get to decorate a four-wheel vehicle with their own chalk creation. Other attractions are offered as well, and the whole kit ‘n caboodle is FREE.

Also of significance is the Dutchess Dragon Boat Race & Festival, loaded with assorted Chinese cultural attractions (art workshops among them) and, of course, the famed dragon boat race. Also FREE!

Not free but worth the price of admission is the high-caliber Jazz Festival, an annual day-long concert we’ve previously reviewed, presented at Caramoor in partnership with the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center (with appeal for kids, too). Other faves this weekend are the Arab-American Heritage Celebration and a performance by a magician and mind-reader.

Read on for more details and more picks—plus our Event Calendar includes other events you’ll want to review before choosing what to do. Don't forget to consult our July GoList for our favorite events for the rest of the month, and check out our Summer Activity Guide for things to do all summer long, including the best swimming lakes and rivers for Westchester families.

25 Fun (and Educational) Things to Do for Free with Kids this Summer

Summer is all about going to the beach, eating ice cream, exploring the outdoors, and having family-friendly fun—no "reading, writing, and arithmetic" allowed...Right? Well, it turns out that there's a whole world of educational fun to be had while your family enjoys summer, from exploring marine habitats at the beach to learning about science while making your own ice cream.

Whether your summer vacation takes you to the forests of Yosemite or the beaches of Mexico, here's a list of 25 ways to keep kids learning—while having fun—all through their school vacation.

15 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Westchester with Outdoor Dining

Beautiful weather practically begs for heading to one of these local kid-friendly dining spots with outdoor seating. We’ve got a roundup of 15 restaurants worth trying—with varying price points, atmospheres, and cuisines—where Westchester families can get their alfresco dining fix.

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