Westchester

99 Sensory Activities for Any Child

All kids can be affected by sensory processing issues. Certain situations just make them freak. So it makes sense that exposing kids to a variety of sensory activities in a calm, playful manner can alleviate some of these problems.

In that spirit, we've put together this list of 99 sensory activities for any child. Though these activities involve sensory stimulation, they are great all-around activities for any child, from toddlers on up. Some are even good for babies. These sensory activities also can help you. My kids' school's occupational therapist once gave a seminar to parents on sensory balance and activities for maintaining a sensory-savvy schedule. I now realize my engine tends to run too low and I need to work harder at energizing myself throughout the day. I have incorporated some of these activities to keep my own energy up.

For more tips on dealing with sensory issues, see our posts on sensory savvy-snacks and OT-recommended toys.

Weekday Picks for Westchester Kids: Halloween, Day of the Dead, STEAM

What with all the Halloween build-up this month, the big question to resolve now is what to do on Halloween itself! While there are recommended numerous ways to spend the Big Day, we're zeroing in on Scared By the Sound. Since most younger kids will probably be out trick-or-treating, our focus is the older kids in search of a good fright fest.

On the heels of Halloween comes the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, and to celebrate you can attend one of the Day of the Dead activities we rounded up. This week is also a good time for STEAM events, like It's All About Chemistry!

These are just some of our top picks for the week—most of which are FREE. Read on for the rest and check out our hot-off-the-press November GoList for our top picks for the whole month. Our Event Calendar has many more options to choose from—every day of the week!

Happy Halloween!

STEM Party! 6 Places to Have a Lego or Robotics Birthday Party in Westchester

Have a young robot fan or STEM-minded kid with a birthday coming up? Sure, you could host a Minecraft party at your home with all of the kids fixated on their individual screens in a haze. But why not fuel his or her creativity with a robotics party at a high-tech hub?

We've gathered several ways you can help your child celebrate with science and robotics, either on location or in your home. Looking for more birthday ideas? Consult our Kids' Party Planner Guide

Scary Easy Ideas for a Spooktacular Halloween Party

It's never too late to organize a super simple Halloween Party. This year I hosted our fifth annual neighborhood party and tested out some frighteningly easy Halloween snack recipes. They must have been a hit, because my little ghosts and goblins didn’t let out a single boo in protest. Now that I have my fifth party under my (witch's) hat, here are a few tricks for how to host your own Halloween Party.

Halloween Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Parades, Festivals and More!

Eek! It’s the final weekend before Halloween! Westchester and the Hudson Valley crank up the fun, and below we’ve highlighted some of our faves.

In addition to all the large-scale events found in our Halloween guide, like Horseman’s Hollow and Jay Ghoul's House of Curiosities, a don’t-miss event is the annual Nyack Halloween Parade, whether you march in it or spectate. This is the second largest in New York State (second only to the Greenwich Village event). Preschoolers will enjoy the abundant offerings at Harvest Moon Festival, and Howlin' Halloween offers evening spookiness in an outdoor nature setting. Also for Halloween, we’ve rounded up fun ragamuffin parades, our favorite programs at Westchester nature centers and freebies at Westchester libraries.

Meanwhile, unrelated to Halloween, Bear Mountain Oktoberfest wraps up this weekend--last call for your fix of bratwurst and apple streudel! Other outing options include Survive, which dares tweens to overcome various challenges in nature—gasp!—without their electronic devices.

We can’t fit all the fun in our top picks, so be sure to visit our Event Calendar for all the Halloween happenings and much more!

Dia de los Muertos: Free Day of the Dead Events for Westchester Families

Halloween is fast approaching, and while you're counting down to the big day and enjoying all the fun haunted happenings around town, why not consider adding a multicultural flair into the mix? Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is technically not a Halloween event; however, it falls right around the same time of year and shares many similar customs and themes.

This Mexican tradition may sound somber and spooky, but it’s actually a joyous time of year, meant to honor family and friends who have passed on. Revelers prepare special foods, don colorful outfits, and create alters adorned with flowers, smiling skulls (calaveras) and candles to celebrate lost loved ones. Festivities include dancing, joyful skeletons (calacas), masks, plenty of candy, skulls made out of sugar, and marigolds, the traditional flor de los muertos (flower of the dead). Day of the Dead is observed on November 1 and 2, but events are already taking place. Read on for ways to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Westchester. The best part—all events are FREE.

Looking for more things to do? Consult our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters

Weekday Picks for Westchester Kids: Candy Corn Crafts, Spooky Tales

You might notice a theme in our top picks for weekday activities for Westchester families this week: It’s Halloween! Why wait for October 31, when there are so many spirited programs that set the mood?

Pull up a toadstool for some Spooky Tales, or show off your costume at the indoor Halloween Parade. And inspiration (and sugar) abounds at Candy Corn Crafts.

There are several really cool FREE Halloween programs happening throughout the week. And if you need a departure from holiday-themed activities, know that our Event Calendar has a varied assortment of other fun happening all week and beyond!

Quick No-Fly Getaways for Burned-Out Parents in the NYC Area

There comes a time in every parent’s life...when you’re afraid you’re going to lose your mind if you don’t get a break.

At first, the idea of leaving your newborn baby might seem impossibly out of the question. But as parenthood rolls on year after year, getting away becomes essential. A lengthy overseas vacation of your pre-kids years might be out of reach, but a quick overnight? Yesssss!

So when your mini-me is driving you up the wall, you feel the need for quiet to collect a thought or two, or you just want to reconnect with your partner, check out these seven destinations for those in the greater New York City metro area. No need to hop on a plane. These trips are all within a 2 1/2-hour drive of Midtown Manhattan, and several are reachable by public transportation. Many offer R&R perks, including in-house spas.

Find more weekend getaways, including those of the family variety, in our travel section, including Hudson Valley resorts for families.

6 Great Trick-or-Treating Routes in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley

Whether it’s because the homes are too spread out, or they’re lining a busy road or the neighbors are super cranky, some of us just don’t live in neighborhoods that are great for trick-or-treating. There are a few sites out there known for rating the best trick-or-treating in the country, but we’ve done a little of own local research. All kids deserve a safe and candy-filled Halloween, so check out some of these family-friendly areas if you need an alternative.

Know any other routes you want to share? Let us know in the comments below! For more Halloween-related fun, be sure to check out our Event Calendar.   

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