Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: ImaginOcean, ARToberfest, Hands-on Film Festival and More Oct. 18-19

A lot is happening in the world of cinema this weekend in Westchester: the YoFi Fest - Yonkers Film Festival is a weekend-long cinematic sensation, which includes special activities just for kids. In the spirit of Halloween, you can introduce your kids to old-school movies at Cartoon Cereal Party: Halloween Edition and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.


The Halloween fun is on the rise this weekend with the addition of Jay Ghoul's House of Curiosities, plus the continuation of The Legend Behind the 'Legend'Horseman's HollowScared by the Sound and Lasdon Park Halloween Haunted House & Train Show (see also our guide to local haunted houses). Many of the ticketed events sell out early, so be sure to pounce on anything you’re dying to do!


The much-anticipated Westchester Children’s Museum is hosting Explore-a-Thon, a big FREE event on Saturday that will surely whet your appetite for when it officially opens in Rye. Also on Saturday are two appealing performances, both in different veins: John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean and Oktoberfest of Music: A Night in Germany. For a different spin on Oktoberfest, try ARToberfest earlier in the day.


Sunday is a big day for fall festivals: There’s Sheldrake's Annual Fall Festival, Autumn Celebration, the Bronxville Children's Halloween Festival and Halloween Carnival and Ragamuffin Parade (see also our roundup of other ragamuffin parades happening in our area).


Believe it or not, that’s not all! Read on for our top weekend picks, visit our Event Calendar and check out our October Go List for our top picks for the rest of the month!

10 Questions To Ask During a Preschool Tour

A preschool tour is the best opportunity for parents to get a feel for a school before tackling the admissions process. Hopefully, you see the school in action, or at least check out what the classrooms look like. Keep your eyes open for important details. What type of student work is on display? Do the kids seem happy and engaged? How do the teachers interact with them?

When you're on the tour, don't be shy about asking questions. This is your chance! "Parents should ask as many questions as they want to help understand and grasp our program's philosophy," says Lisa Pacheco, center director at Children’s Creative Learning Center. Jennifer Jones of Battery Park Montessori and the Pine Street School adds, "I encourage parents to ask questions based on their personal priorities for their children. For example, if the child is physically active and the parents are concerned about it, they should ask how the school will satisfy the child's need for physical expression." Open-ended questions are best, as they tend to reveal more about the school. For example, "How do you support literacy?" is better than, "When do you teach the alphabet?"

Here are the top 10 topics to ask about when you're visiting preschools.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze, Applefest, Family Campout and More, Oct. 4-5

With October comes the beginning of Halloween season, and all month long there are parties, festivals, parades and haunted houses throughout Westchester and the Hudson Valley. We’ve populated our Event Calendarwith a ton of these festivities (as well as a variety of non-Halloween events for when you crave diversity), so take a peak and plan ahead. There’s a lot to take in!


The Rivertowns, with the strong association with Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” go all out for Halloween, with month-long events that start this weekend like The Great Jack O Lantern Blaze and The Legend Behind the 'Legend'. For the older kids there are plenty of haunted happenings including Horseman’s Hollow and Scared by the Sound.


The season of fall festivals continues with Harvest Fest, as well as Warwick Applefest, which returns for an all-day celebration of apples—and much more! If instead of apples you’re in a pumpkin kind of mood, try All Things Pumpkin. Or, while you’re soaking up the remaining days of warm weather, indulge in a Family Campout. Also consult our guide for scenic autumn drives to enjoy the splendor of the season.


Read on for our top weekend picks. Looking for more options? Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and beyond.

Westchester Kids Will Have a Summer to Remember at Gate Hill Day Camp

Now that my boys are getting older, I’m looking more seriously at summer day camps as not only a way to keep them occupied when school is out, but also as a place where they can explore their interests, try new things and, of course, have fun with friends. After reading about our sponsor Gate Hill Day Camp and its variety of programs, I'm sad they're not in my area (I'm on Long Island). Because whether your children want to spend their summer improving their athletic skills, learning to cook, or exploring the arts and sciences, there is something for most kids ages 3-15.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Children's Book Festival, Arts Fest, Free Museum Day and More, Sept. 27-28

This weekend, skip the NYC museums and theaters in favor of all the great opportunities there are to enjoy the arts in Westchester and the Hudson Valley--many of which are FREE. Choose from the New Rochelle Arts Fest, the Rhinebeck Arts Festival and Smithsonian Museum Day Live!. A bilingual production of The Brave Calf also takes place on Saturday, as part of Hispanic Day Celebration.

Looking for more festivals? The Chappaqua Children's Book Festival returns with a huge selection of titles, a host of author and illustrator appearances and a surprising assortment of fun activities for families. There’s also the Fall Harvest Festival, which includes a Bungee Trampoline, and Bear Mountain Oktoberfest continues, with a different live band each day. For festivals beyond this coming weekend, check out our roundup of fall fests so you can plan ahead!

Enjoy the remaining warm days with some nature-focused events--bring a camera to Nature Photoscavenger Hunt or bring your fairy-lover to the Legends & Lore of the Little People, which should get an A for utter cuteness. If you’re up for apple picking, we’ve compiled a list of area orchards to visit.

Read on for more info and click through for additional details. Be sure to browse our Event Calendar for more events happening this weekend and beyond.

Dining in Rye: Kid-Friendly Restaurants & Dessert Spots for Westchester Families

This month our neighborhood spotlight is on Rye, and while you’re out and about enjoying our list of the top 25 things to do with your family, you and your little ones are likely to work up an appetite. Luckily, there is no shortage of fantastic dining options for family-friendly meals in this area. Whether it’s pizza, classic American fare, or even Cajun seafood the family is craving, Rye and Rye Brook have it all, from appetizers to dessert.

We've rounded up our favorite local dining and dessert spots in Rye. Looking for more dining options? Check out our Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide, full of options and reviews on the best places to eat with kids throughout Westchester. Keep checking back, as our guide is updated frequently.

Apple Picking with Kids in Orange and Dutchess Counties

Apple picking is a fall tradition in the northeast. In Westchester, we're lucky to have so many local orchards to choose from. In addition to options in Westchester and Rockland, Dutchess and Orange counties offer many more apple picking farms and orchards. Here we gathered our top 5 picks for a day of family fun.

In addition to apple and pumpkin picking, these orchards offer lots of activities including petting zoos, puppet shows, haunted houses, corn and apple mazes, rides, even wine tasting! In addition, some offer other pick-your-own options including nectarines, plums, eggplant and peppers.

For more seasonal fun, check out our September Go List and our roundup of local fall festivals

Smithsonian Museum Day Live: FREE Admission to Museums in Westchester and Hudson Valley

If you’ve ever visited Washington, D.C., you’ve probably felt the pang of jealousy that entry to the Smithsonian Institution is free. Who wouldn’t want to see great art and rotating exhibits without opening their wallet? Well, now’s your big chance. Saturday, September 27, marks the 10th annual Museum Day Live! On this day, hundreds of museums nationwide offer free admission to visitors, orchestrated by Smithsonian Magazine. Of course there are many fantastic NYC museums participating in this event but we are happy to report that there are also several museums throughout Westchester and the Hudson Valley that are also partaking--and we've got all the details! Read on to find out which museums are participating, how to get your FREE tickets and other fun perks.  

Preschool Directors Share How To Pick a 'Good Fit' Preschool

Applying to preschool is one of the most important (and potentially harrowing) experiences for young children and their parents. It’s the beginning of their education, their introduction to schooling and their foundation for a life of learning. In NYC, we are lucky to have many preschool choices available, but it can be a lot of work to figure out which one is best suited to your child.

We asked directors from participating preschools at one of our recent Preschool Fairs to share their insights about the admissions process and what parents should look for in a program. Who better to explain how to navigate this journey than these experts, who help families find the right schools for their kids every day? Read on for their top tips.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Welcome Autumn, Festivals Galore, Touch-a-Truck and More, Sept. 20-21

This weekend we officially welcome fall and the many seasonal events we can look forward to. Last week we noted the beginning of the fall-festival craze, and this weekend continues that trend. Take your pick among Fieldhome's Annual Fall Festival, the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival, the Peekskill Rotary Horse Show and Country Fair, the Hudson Valley Harvest Festival, the FDR Pow Wow and the ANDRUS Run for Kids Fall Festival. Additionally, the New York Renaissance Faire ends this weekend, and Bear Mountain Oktoberfest continues.

For alternative entertainment, little kids will enjoy the Junior League of Bronxville's Touch-A-Truck Event, which combines fun and a good cause (and not just trucks, either!). You can also take in a Family Concert, “let it go” at Fall Flicks or, if your kids are mature enough, catch a double feature of the first two Godfather movies at The Alamo Plays the Hits Film Series.

Read on for our top weekend picks. If you see something interesting, click through to the event listing to view full details. Looking for more options? Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more fun happening this weekend and all week long!


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