Westchester

Weekend Fun: Very Hungry Caterpillar, Ice-Rink Festival, Escape Room

January winds down with no shortage of fun activities for Westchester and Hudson Valley families. Whether you're looking to embrace winter or dodge it, there's a variety of programming to choose from.

Several noteworthy stage performances take place this weekend, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites and a performance by The Maccabeats, whose claim to fame includes having performed at the White House. For winter-themed fun, learn about the Science of Snowflakes, or lace up for the theatrical Winter Festival at the rink, featuring multiple attractions beyond family ice skating. For  alternative indoor fun, test your wits at the Harry Potter Escape Room.

There's more where that came from, so read on for our top picks. Be sure to check out our Event Calendar for daily activities. If you haven't done so already, sign up for our newsletters to stay in the know! 

35 Best Winter Activities for Kids (and Their Grown-ups)

It's finally winter, and you know what that means as a parent, right? Get ready for soggy snow pants, slurping cocoa, building snowmen, taking the kids sledding, and all things cozy for the family.

But if the thought of another long winter spent hibernating indoors with the kids swinging from rafters, leaves you shivering in fear, we want to help. Whether you're planning fun indoor activities for a school snow day at home, or just looking to entertain the kids on another winter weekend, we've rounded up nearly three dozen fun things to do.

These super simple ideas (many of them FREE) will come in handy when cabin fever strikes and make it easy to avoid the indoor entertainment pitfalls of more screen time and complaints about boredom of which we're all so familiar. Get ready to turn the long, dark days of winter into a season the whole family can enjoy.

12 Stores That Offer Free and Low-Cost Classes for Westchester Kids

Keeping kids educated and entertained can cost a pretty penny, so we like to help our readers find ways to keep expenses from getting out of hand. That’s why we keep our eyes peeled for FREE and low-cost classes and activities for kids of all ages.

Below we’ve rounded up classes offered by local stores, which include STEM programs, crafting, fitness, and more. We’re big fans of the $0 price tag, but we’ve also included a few that allow for one-time visits up to about $30. Many stores have various locations, so be sure to check with these to confirm local schedules, offerings, and rates.

Looking for more? We’ve previously rounded up 60 FREE Places to Play, which include stores, nature centers, play spaces, and other venues. Of course, libraries are also a great resource, and many offer one-time and recurring classes in coding, 3D printing, yoga, Zumba, cooking, and more. Most importantly, keep tabs on our Event Calendar, where we curate the best local events with a heavy emphasis on FREE and inexpensive.

100 Things To Do in Chicago with Kids Before They Grow Up

Chicago is home to so many incredible parks, playgrounds, museums, and things to do with kids that one childhood doesn't seem like enough time to fit them all in—though who could blame you for trying? That's why we rounded up this list of great things to do with kids in Chi-town. Whether it's racing with your toddler through the sprinklers at Mary Bartelme Park, wowing your preschooler at the Field Museum, gliding with your grade-schooler on the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, or taking in engineering marvels with your tween at the Chicago Architecture Center, take advantage of everything this beautiful city has to offer kids of all ages. We're also big fans of FREE fun, so we included as much of that as possible.

Whether you're a local or a visitor to the Windy City, we hope you can use this list to make some great new memories with your kids. Now I'm off to scarf some Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo's.

Hudson Valley Indoor Play Places Worth the Trip

When it’s raining or freezing or simply a day that ends in Y, a good indoor play place can be a godsend for entertaining kids. We’ve already taken a look at some of the top indoor play places in Westchester, and now we’re going to turn our attention to the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley. These play spaces are all worth a trip across the bridge. 

Looking for more places to have fun when the weather's not cooperating? Check out our Guide to Indoor Fun & Play Spaces for Westchester Kids, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters!  

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!

Looking for more helpful insight that helps you stay in the know with all things kid-related? Sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook.

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!

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