Westchester Family - December 2022

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Check out our Education GuidE! Holiday Gifts Toys (for the Littles) and Things for Tweens & Teens Snap! Our experts share on how to take a great family pic December 2022 WestchesterFamily.com
Lace
and skate
to
Ice as we transform
for the holiday season! Visit Santa at Ridge Hill for a magical experience and create memories to cherish for a lifetime.  For details on all holiday happenings at Ridge Hill, visit RidgeHill.com  Now through January 29th Now through December 24th Reservations available to book online.  Experience Holiday Magic at Ridge Hill this season!  @ShopRidgeHill
up
over
Ridge Hill On
The Town Square Lawn into an outdoor ice rink
December 2022 | Westchester Family 3 100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804 Thornton-Donovan School Individually Focused, Globally Engaged Co-Ed • Grades K-12 Thornton-Donovan will Embark on Travel for 2022-23: Rome, Israel, & Jordan OPEN HOUSE December 1st 6:30PM - 8:30PM and December 3rd 2:00PM - 4:00PM
4 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022 December 2022 WestchesterFamily.com contents FE atu RES 12 | cover New York Family contributing photographers share how to take a great family photo 14 | education Understanding NY Schools: A Parent’s Guide 20 | Family Fun 40 cool things to do this winter in Westchester 24 | h oliday h ighlights Start planning your seasonal celebrations 30 | h oliday Gifts Check out our gift guide of toys and items for kids StoRiES & column S 6 | editor’s letter 8 | m om h acks Flying with a toddler? Here is what you should pack! 10 | s potlight Westchester Meet Julie Rosenberg, creator of the coolest custom hand-painted guitars 28 | travel Family-friendly ski resorts 38 | m om stories An NYF editor shares a seasonal reminder on why there’s no such thing as a perfect picture Family F un 36 | c alendar All the fun events and activities for November d i RE cto R i ES 16 | education listings on the cover Photo: Greer Goldenberg | greergoldenbergphoto.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Produced by: Donna Duarte Ladd pg. 12 pg. 14 pg. 20 pg. 30

Bright Lights

We’re at the end of the year and while we all process how this year went crazy fast, let’s focus on how we got through it.

So much can happen in one year. Whether you had triumphs, disappointments, or a mixed bag of both, you are stronger from all of it and let’s remember this.

Speaking of healthy vibes, our deputy editor, Jeannine Cintron, is done with social media comparisons and shares this in her piece on (page 38) Instagram vs. Reality: Holiday Edition.

If you ever scratch your head wondering

how many school offerings New York has, we broke it down for you in A Parent’s Guide to NY Schools (page 14.)

Also, hello, it’s the holidays and we have 40 Cool Things to Do in Westchester (page 20) for you to work through this season and our Gift Guide (page 30) for the kiddos. As always, we thank you for being part of our community and wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

xo, Donna

get in touch

Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York! Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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6 WestchesterFamily.com |
editor’s note
December 2022
2021
n ina Gallo Photography
December 2022 | Westchester Family 7 “a new free rink’S in
s+3 Your Skating optionS JuSt ExpandEd. icE rink at thE SEaport. BEtwEEn piErS 16 & 17. #OnlyAtTheSeaport
town.”

Flying with a Toddler?

What parents should pack

Traveling on a plane can be uncomfortable and boring as an adult, so just imagine what it feels like for a toddler. Flying with a little one can be tough, but what you pack in their carry-on bag can make all the difference. The items you bring with you on the plane can be powerful tools to keep your toddler settled, happy, and less likely to disrupt the experience for other travelers. Let’s run through some of the most helpful items you should pack in your carry-on bag for your toddler.

Healthy Snacks

Let’s face it, it’s unlikely you’ll get beyond the first 30 minutes of the flight without your toddler requesting a snack. It can be tempting to pack a bunch of sweet, bagged treats. After all, they’re prepackaged and can keep your toddler content for a little while. But having food with a lot of sugar can spell disaster, particularly later on in the flight. Snacks high in sugar may also make it difficult for your child to sleep, and could lead to restlessness and frustration. Here are some low or no sugar ideas:

• Crackers with minimal ingredients like Simple Mills Sea Salt Almond Flour crackers

• Packaged cheese for their little fingers to open like Babybel cheese

• Protein-packed options like Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas or Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame

• Homemade trail mix filled with pistachios, cashews, dried cherries, and dark chocolate chips

• Freeze-dried fruit with no additional ingredients like Natierra Organic Bananas or Organic Strawberries

• Homemade treats like the Feeding Our Toddlers Spinach Banana Mini Muffins or Date Chocolate Chip Cookies

All of these snack ideas tend to travel well and can take care of your toddler’s appetite in a healthy, sustainable way. Plus, it’s a lot of little items that will take them a while

to eat and keep their little fingers busy. Pro tip: fill a pill organizer or a lunchbox with pre-designated sections with these snacks so you don’t have to carry a million different packages!

Travel-Friendly Activities

It’s possible that toddlers may take a nap if the flight is particularly long, or they are especially exhausted, however, sleep is never guaranteed. Regardless of the length of the flight you will likely need to entertain your toddler for most of the time. For this reason, it’s best to come prepared with several travelfriendly activities. Here are some ideas for easy-to-pack toys and activities:

• A screen-free drawing tablet

• Mess-free markers and coloring pages

• Their favorite picture or story books

• Travel sticker books

• Water-reveal books

If it’s a long (or overnight) flight, you might also want to bring some items that remind them of bedtime. A favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, and even a pillow will be a huge help to get them in the frame of mind for rest.

Technology

Each parent has their own opinions when it comes to toddlers and tech. While most

would agree that it’s always important to limit screen time, packing a portable device might prove to be a worthwhile distraction during a flight. Whether you own a kidfriendly tablet or will be letting them use yours, it’s a good idea to preload the device with shows and games you know they love.

This doesn’t mean you need to set your toddler in front of a device for the entire flight. You can implement periods of use in much the same way you’d regulate it at home. Just be sure to also set them up with some kid-friendly, noise-canceling headphones so that they don’t disturb other passengers. Many are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity that will eliminate tangled wires and make it easier for your kid to sit still.

Necessities

When you’re braving air travel with a toddler it’s important to remember that mishaps are bound to happen. It’s a good idea to pack wipes, Band-Aids, and hand sanitizer. You should also bring a change of clothes for your toddler (and yourself!) along with some resealable bags—if there’s a spill or accident you’ll want to keep soiled items away from everything else in your bag.

This story was originally posted on our sister site mommybites.com

8 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
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spotlight Meet Julie Rosenberg

Creator of the coolest custom hand-painted guitars

Looking for the perfect gift for the music lover in your life? Look no further than a custom hand-painted guitar from artist Julie Rosenberg! Julie has been painting guitars since college. The process is intricate and detailed that takes around 14-weeks to complete. Learn more about this process, Julie, and how to get one of these beauties for yourself or your child!

Westchester Family: We love your beautiful hand-painted guitars! What inspired you to start doing this?

Julie Rosenberg: It was on the heels of my college graduation when I sat down to paint my first two guitar bodies. I needed a creative outlet. As a guitarist and visual artist, painting the guitar body, using it as my canvas, was a natural thing for me to do. Growing up, the electric guitar always represented a work of art to me. From the beauty in its form to the music it makes, I couldn’t keep my eyes or my hands off of my electric guitar.

How long does the process take you? What does it look like when working with different people/preferences?

From start-to-finish, a finished guitar takes around 14-weeks to complete. There are a few phases. My painting phase takes 6-8 weeks, and before I even get to work on it, there is the prep phase to render the unfinished wood surface sanded and sealed to accept my paint. The clear coat protects the artwork and produces a high gloss finish. Finally, the assembly and set-up phase takes another couple of weeks.

When I design a guitar to sell in my online store, I make decisions based on preferences that I have for what I want the finished product to look and sound like. When I create a guitar on commission, I take into consideration any preferences my customer may have in hardware and pickups,

parts, etc. The question I ask is if there is a guitar of mine that speaks to the customer, a design that inspires or reflects their taste.

I’d also tell them not to copy designs, be it my own or someone else’s. The dialogue en sues. We exchange emails, phone calls. Once we are on the same page, I begin the process of gathering direction, visualizing the design. I send pics along the way and will post on so cial media only once I give my customer the first-look. It is important to me to have their first reaction before I send out to thousands of people. I am fulfilled when I honor the preferences in my customer while still being true to my own artistic style and sensibility.

Do you sell them locally in Westchester?

My customers are from all over the United States. As a life-long resident of Westchester County, I have lots of musician and artist friends, collectors, etc., and do plan to get the guitars showcased and sold locally.

Why is music/art important to you?

Music and art have always been my lifeline. Meaning, no matter what is going on in my world, I can get lost in playing music. When I play guitar and I’m alone, all previous thoughts, worries, etc., disappear.

It is a sublime “time out.” I’m transported into a pocket of musical bliss. It is like being

inside of an abstract painting. And also, I love the way it connects me to my favorite musicians. Queuing up a song and playing along to a Carole King tune or Led Zeppelin, is something I am grateful to have at my fingertips. When, I play music with others, I get a sense of pure connection that flows between us. Playing music, for me, equals happiness and love, which is very fulfilling and also lots of fun.

I love how playing guitar is both physical and mental. It is as creative a stimulation for my mind, as much as it is for my hands. You can’t help but draw-in muscle memory, but mental (visual) memory is active in the background, as it configures shapes of chords and scales, fretboard positions and patterns and more. Playing music gives an outlet for my inner rhythm. I am a huge listener of music and enjoy many genres.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue an artistic/musical life?

First and foremost, I’d say: go for it! If music beats within your every waking and non-waking moments as it does for me, if your life force frequency vibrates in a musical or artistic fashion, then you must express that language as it is essential to your own wellbeing. Choosing to play music and choosing it as a profession may be two

10 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022

different things.

I played music in my youth and when I went into college as a BFA Jazz Guitar major, I quickly found out that it wasn’t the career choice for me. At that time, the study of music, the theory classes and all I was required to take in the music conservatory, felt stifling. It wasn’t until I was older that I was able to appreciate that “second language.” Today, I am reconnected with my musical roots, theory and all, and very happy about that.

What do you enjoy doing in Westchester?

I love going to art and music events. I love walk and hike the beautiful land trusts and open land preserves of Northern Westchester. I enjoy cycling hour scenic roads, and dining out at our local restaurants. I have lots of family and friends in Westchester and love spending time with them!

Anything else to add?

It can take a person many years to listen to and follow the beat of their own drum. As a kid who grew up with a flair for art,

music and sports, I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have the freedom and support to fully explore my own interests and gifts. I am grateful to my parents for saying “yes” to allowing the guitars and amplifiers, drum kits, and jam sessions with screeching loud feedback in our house.

To all parents of musical and artistic kids, I would say to nurture those qualities in your

child. I thank my parents for realizing that academics is not the only language there is to learn and master and that art and music are invaluable tools to help a child in their development on so many levels.

julie@julierosenberg.com

For more information visit, www.julierosenberg. com or follow her on Instagram.

December 2022 | Westchester Family 11

Snap Shot!

Tips from top photographers for taking kid & family photos

Ever wonder why our covers look so good? This is because we have the best photographers who shoot for us. We also do a lot to get a great pic, especially with kids. I have personally done somersaults, worn silly hats, and begged and pleaded for a great photo. But there are also times our crew does something crazy- we let kids be kids , and we take the pics as they live in the moment. Whether you want to take a great family photo or take keepsakes of your littles, we have tips from our amazing contributing photogra phers on how to get it. Take the pic and make sure you get pictures where you are in it, mama!

Move it, move it: Take a group picture while you’re all walking towards the camera, swaying, singing, yelling something (“happy Halloween” offers good mouth shapes), or do anything that has your body moving naturally. This will always give you a more authentic picture full of life. If you’re taking a photo of your kid, have them run toward you, spin in a circle or do some kind of action, maybe a jumping jack, try a high five and these photos will look more casual and more natural than a grip-and-grin.

Set the scene, call action (toddlers): For a young toddler, first, back them up against a blank wall (as plain as you can find!) Then have a friend sit beside you and call “ACTION!” make them dance and sing and do ridiculous stuff right above the phone or camera, maybe with a toy, with their voice, or anything that uses the element of surprise (and delight). Just go crazy! A toddler will at least briefly stand there and smile and laugh against a perfect

plain backdrop.

The Hail Mary: For older kids who are just too ‘cool’ to participate, find ample floor

space and tell them to lie down and go to sleep. Now put their heads together, legs straight out in front of them, arranged in so that their bodies are making a little pinwheel shape. Just put a blanket over all of their heads and then whisk it away, playing silly hide and seek or “don’t you smile!” games and even though they’re old and way too cool, they can’t help but smile if you’re playing with them from overhead. Then you can offer to switch and you lay down on the ground and they look down over the top of you, maybe do a little ring around the Rosie action and you’ll take pictures from down below with all their hair flying over the camera and it’s very silly and an awesome photo.

My iPhone upside-down trick! Simply hold your pointer finger on the up-volume button on your iPhone with the camera open, flip the phone upside down and hold the camera close to the ground or kitchen counter. Fire away, taking photos upside down! Your subjects may be so intrigued with what you’re doing that they will want to participate. Foolproof!

12 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
Photo of Yumi Matsuo by Greer Goldenberg

Greer Goldenberg

greergoldenbergphoto.com

Let kids be kids: Shoot kids as they are. Sometimes kids, especially younger ones, are not in the mood to get their picture taken or smile. That’s ok!

A great portrait captures kids in the moment of being silly or mad, etc. So roll with it! Chances are you can get them to laugh or crack a smile by just letting them be them.

Vibe with them: Get on their level, set your shutter speed fast and be ready to run! A great way to capture active kids is to get them to run towards you or catch you. When you are down on their level you get all the amazing expressions that come with the joys of mo tion. Just make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to avoid blurry pictures!

michellerosephoto.com

It’s all about that light: To get professional-looking photos indoors, turn off your overhead lights. Try to use as much natural light as possible and take photos by a window.

Feed the models: Be sure to have snacks with you during a photoshoot in case anyone gets hungry. No one wants their photos taken when they are feeling Hangry! Non-messy snacks are best, a bottle for the little ones (bring a bib!), pouches for the older ones, and something easy/not messy to eat like soft gummies as a treat for older kids. Avoid chocolate and crumbly snacks.

Babies: For little babies (non-newborns) I have a really simple trick I use to get a smile. I stand in front of a baby, hold eye contact, put a huge smile on my face and sweetly sing-song say “HI” (like hiiiigggghhhheeeee) a bunch of times until I get my smile. For shyer children I say it more quietly with a big smile in order to not scare them. Try it!

When in doubt, do a lift! There’s almost

no child (best for after the age of four months) that doesn’t LOVE to be lifted up in the air! It makes for the sweetest photos.

Bribes: There’s no shame in the bribe game — I personally prefer a lollipop bribe at the end of a session; however, the promise of a special toy, activity or extra episode of a show are fan favorites. Generally, the promise of anything the child really loves tends to do the trick!

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Have fun with us at the Shames JCC’s Hanukkah Celebration on 12/18 (as featured in Westchester Family’s “Holiday Fun” article!) shamesjcc.org/camps
Now is the perfect time to plan your child’s summer!

education A Parent’s Guide to NY Schools

Plus an educational glossary

Every parent wants the best for their child and a key aspect is education. But in a state with many types of schools, the options can seem endless and can boggle the most organized parent. Each school has its unique opportunities, so it’s a matter of finding what works best for your family. That’s why we put together this guide to simplify navigating the school search for your child. Read on to find out what each school offers and terms you should know as you research and tours!

Public Schools

What They Are: Public schools are open to all students if they meet local residency requirements.

Tuition: The schools are free to all students.

What They Offer: Public schools are typically larger than the average private school. They offer a wide range of AP and IB courses for your child. as well as a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. These schools not only provide an opportunity for personal growth but for your child to make friends who live nearby within your community. Public schools also have several special education and multilingual learning programs to make education accessible to everyone.

Charter Schools

What They Are: Charter Schools are independently operated public schools for advancing student achievement. They serve about 15% of NYC’s public school children.

Tuition: Charter schools are free to all students.

What They Offer: Charter schools also offer all students an equal chance of being enrolled with a lottery system of choosing prospective students. Charter schools are independent from the NYC Department of Education and can be closed if they don’t meet certain student achievement

standards. However, being independent from DOE gives these schools a chance to explore methods of teaching and learning beyond the DOE standards.

Private Schools

What They Are: Private schools are an independent organization run by private entities.

Tuition: These schools are funded through charging tuition and receiving donations from alumni and the student’s parents. Even if tuition seems expensive, do not worry! These schools offer financial-aid programs and many different scholarships to assist with tuition costs.

What They Offer: Despite the smaller size of these schools, the teachers at private schools can provide more 1:1 help, make classes more student-focused, and give their students more responsibility. Private

schools also offer state-of-the-art facilities, incredible resources, and opportunities through their alumni network.

Boarding Schools

What They Are: Boarding schools provide a learning community where students live within the premises and have more rigorous requirements to prepare them for life after school. There are several boarding schools in and near NY state.

Tuition: Boarding schools are afforded through tuition and are more expensive than typical private schools because tuition includes meals, housing, educational costs, and more. However, they still offer financial aid to students to make the cost more affordable.

What They Offer: Boarding schools offer a wide array of types to consider for your child’s exact needs. These schools

14 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022

Terms To Know

NY education can get very confusing. It can feel overwhelming when you’re on a school tour and lots of terms are being thrown around. Here are some terms to know as you embark on your school search.

District: A geographical unit for the local administration of elementary or secondary schools. This is the large area on the map that holds many zones within itself.

Zone: The roadways immediately adjacent to the school. This is the small area outlining the school on the map.

Gifted & Talented: Programs for highperforming students with accelerated curriculums and rigorous instructional strategies. Students may begin to apply from kindergarten to third grade and must pass tests to be eligible.

Specialized: There are 9 specialized high schools for NYC’s highest-performing students. 8 schools require students in 8th or 9th grade to perform exceptionally well on the Specialized High School Admission

Test, only offered one weekend in the fall. The other has a competitive audition.

Technically Focused: Student’s work towards a Regents Diploma in a specialized skill focused on a “handson” career skill. Such programs focus on skills such as film, engineering, and construction, and offer students job shadowing to gain work experience.

Individualized Education Program: An evaluation of the student’s needs for special needs care. Families work with the DOE to set academic goals and ensure the correct accommodations are made for their child.

Special Education: Special needs students have specific accommodations made for them with their families and the DOE. NY public schools have individualized programs for families of kids with special needs, but you can also seek a private school.

Dual Language: Also known as dual immersion instruction, students will develop academic skills in their own language while building those skills in

another language. This instruction aims to add a new language for students while not extinguishing a minority language.

Alternative High School: Schools for students aged 15-21. These schools serve as an opportunity for students behind on credits or those who have dropped out to catch up and graduate.

Young Adult Borough Centers: These centers offer evening classes. They are designed for students with adult responsibilities during the daytime.

Montessori: The Montessori method is a unique way of teaching that develops children’s independence, initiative, and citizenship. Education is adjusted to each student’s interests and needs. There are lots of Montessori schools in and near NY, even preschools and daycares for early education.

Common Core: NY state preschool-12th grade internationally benchmarked and evidence-based standards. The standards are a set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do at each grade level.

include college preparatory, military, fine arts, sports, religious, therapeutic, and junior. They also have smaller class sizes allowing more teacher-student connection, a safe environment with an immersive community, and a heightened focus on developing your child to be ready for life after school.

Bilingual Schools

What They Are: Bilingual schools are designed to teach students two languages and the students become fully immersed in both languages.

Tuition: Bilingual schools also have tuition costs, and they can cost around the same as the average private school.

What They Offer: Bilingual schools are unique because they teach everything in two languages. Your child will not only be immersed in another language but another culture, which will encourage a diverse, global perspective. NY bilingual schools include the following languages: Arabic,

Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish.

Catholic Schools

What They Are: Catholic schools are preprimary through secondary institutions under the aegis or in association with the Catholic Church.

Tuition: These schools charge tuition and the cost can be lower than typical private schools.

What They Offer: Catholic schools excel in education and many have outperformed NY public schools in performance growth. However, these schools offer much more than education. Community is the foundation and students feel like family to the teachers and staff.

Daycare/Nursery

What They Offer: Daycare is high-quality childcare that keeps children safe and healthy. Nurseries are schools that offer

education to children up to age 4.

Tuition: Daycare for ages 3-5 can average around $12,000-$23,000 per year, compared to nurseries which can charge around $16,000 per year. However, costs vary greatly and much of this depends on the schedule you choose. Thankfully there are fantastic daycare and nursery options in New York to consider.

What They Offer: These institutions aim to provide supervision and childcare for parents while they work. Parents who send their children to daycares and nurseries often find their children have improved language development, developed increased cognitive abilities, and form better relationships with peers. There are many types of daycares in NY, ranging from part-time to full-time care, infant to toddler care, and even in-home daycares that are run from the personal home of a child care provider. So be sure to ask about the number of days per week, age range, caregiver-to-child ratio, and more!

December 2022 | Westchester Family 15

a child’s Dream 10 Mill Road, New Rochelle 914-633-4332 achildsdreamnursery.com A Child’s Dream goal is to create a secure and structured environment where your child will enjoy socializing and interacting with other children while learning. The curriculum includes, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Developing Motor and Social Skills. They offer Morning Sessions from 9am-11:30am for 2 and 3 year olds and 9am-12PM for 4 year olds. They also offer an afternoon session. Lunch Bunch and Enrichment Classes Available; Art, Soccer and Movement. Now Registering for the 2023/2024 school year!

h udson country m ontessori school 340 Quaker Ridge Road, New Rochelle, NY 914-636-6202 info@hudsoncountry.org Hudson Country Montessori School inspires and promotes

innate curiosity and a love of learning through its progressive Montessori pedagogy. HCMS also strives to help children grow into respectful, socially-adept and compassionate leaders. The curriculum empowers students to become independent, creative thinkers and confident achievers. Private, co-educational school, toddlers (18 months) through 8th grade. Schedule a private tour today!

John c ardinal o ’ connor school 16 North Broadway, Irvington 914-591-9330 Jcoschool.org admissions@ johncardinaloconnorschool.org The John Cardinal O’Connor School is a Catholic school dedicated to providing an affordable,languagebased,academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with mild Learning Disabilities (LD), Speech or Language Impairments (SPL), or other

Health Impairments (OHI). Students are taught by certified special education teachers in small classes. Teachers utilize multisensory instructional techniques to help children succeed academically and socially.

kehillah school for e arly learning 1000 Pinebrook Boulevard, New Rochelle NY 10804 914- 637-3808 Kehillah@tinr.org KehillahSchool.org

Temple Israel’s Kehillah School provides care for children ages 6 weeks through Kindergarten Preparation, using Reggio Emilia approach to education. Our educational objective is to provide our children with a love of learning, a forum for curiosity, respect for individual spirit, and a foundation of Jewish ethics, morals, and values. We offer a developmentally appropriate curriculum, which balances emergent and

child-initiated approaches to learning through play, utilizing authentic experiences with nature, the arts, and music to nurture the whole child. Contact the Kehillah School Director, Jen Pennucci, to schedule a tour of our conveniently located Westchester location.

m ontessori children’s center (mcc ) 220 Westchester Ave., West Harrison 914-607-7600

ktkorngold@cmteny.com montessorichildrensctr.com

Award-winning, year-round, full-time Montessori childcare facility, The Montessori Children’s Center (MCC) offers authentic Montessori programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, ages 3 months to 5 years old. Montessori-certified head teachers and well-trained, supervised staff provide excellent care and the highest quality Montessori education. Breakfast, two snacks, and

Come See the Difference

Come See the Difference

Come See the Difference

Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months to 5 years of age in beautifully designed Montessori environments. Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. Openings now.

Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months to 5 years of age in beautifully designed Montessori environments. Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. Openings now.

Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months designed Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. Openings now.

Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months to 5 years of age in beautifully designed Montessori environments. Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. Openings now.

Experienced, trained Montessori teachers provide supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning and development during your child’s important early years.

Experienced, trained Montessori teachers provide supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning and development during your child’s important early years.

Experienced, trained Montessori teachers provide supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning and development during your child’s important early years.

Experienced, trained Montessori teachers supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning important early years.

Experienced,

Please call for more information or to schedule a visit.

K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600 220 Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com

Please call for more information or to schedule a visit.

Please call for more information or to schedule a visit.

K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600 220 Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com

K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600 220 Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com

K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600 220 Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com

A full AMS member school licensed by NYOCFS

A full AMS member school licensed by NYOCFS

A full AMS member school licensed by NYOCFS

NYOCFS

A full AMS member school licensed by NYOCFS

16 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022 Education d i RE cto R y | Special Advertising Supplement A Child’s Dream, LLC. Where your child’s dreams are discovered Nursery & Pre-K 10 Mill Rd. New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 633-4332 Now Registering for 2023/2024! Experienced Teachers and Staff Director: Tiffany Amaya Curriculum includes: Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Developing Motor Skills, and Social Skills. Our goal is to create a secure and structured environment where your child enjoys socializing and interacting with other children while learning. Come See the Difference Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months to 5 years of age in beautifully designed Montessori environments. Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. Openings now. A full AMS member school licensed by NYOCFS Experienced, trained Montessori teachers provide supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning and development during your child’s important early years. Please call for more information or to schedule a visit. K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600 220 Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com Year-round, full-time Montessori childcare for children from 3 months to 5 years of age in beautifully designed Montessori environments. Infants, Toddlers, and Early Childhood classrooms. A full AMS member school licensed by
220
trained Montessori teachers provide supportive, joyful, and nurturing classrooms for learning and development during your child’s important years. Please call for more information or to schedule a visit. K.T. Korngold, Director 914-607-7600
Westchester Ave, West Harrison, NY 10604 www.montessorichildrensctr.com Come See the Difference
December 2022 | Westchester Family 17 Do You Know a Child with Learning Disabilities? The John Cardinal O’Connor School helps children who learn differently thrive. Call the school at (914) 591-9330 or email admissions@johncardinaloconnorschool.org to make an appointment today! The John Cardinal O’Connor School invites parents to learn about our affordable language-based academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments or other health impairments. Our certified special-education teachers use multi-sensory teaching techniques and blended learning in small classes to help children thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially in our supportive school community. JCOS is a Catholic elementary school that welcomes children of all faiths. ����������������������������� Give Your Child the Best in Early Childhood Education 1415 Pelhamdale Ave. (at Shore Rd.) • Pelham, NY 914.738.1127 • montessorischoolpelhamny.com MONTESSORI - AGES 3-6 • TODDLERS - AGES 2-3 Register Now for 2023/2024 Call for Open House Dates MONTESSORI SCHOOL in PELHAM A Tradition of Excellence since 1973 MONTESSORISCHOO L ofNewRochelle inPelham, Inc. Contact Jen Pennucci, Director of Kehillah School for Early Learning 914.637.3808 | Kehillah@tinr.org 1000 Pinebrook Boulevard, New Rochelle NY 10804 Visit www.KehillahSchool.org A quality early learning program, nurturing and safe, developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum, infusing Jewish values and community for children ages 6 weeks through kindergarten preparation. Including Preschool & Kindergarten Preparation Curriculum using Reggio Emilia approach to education.

milk are included in tuition. Hot lunch is available. Looking for a great place to work? We have openings if you’d like to join our team for a fun and satisfying career in early education! Hours: 8 am – 5:30 pm. Call Today to meet with our beloved Director, K.T. Korngold.

m ontessori s chool of Pelham m anor 1415 Pelhamdale Avenue, Bronx, New York 914-738-1127 pelhammontessori@gmail. com montessorischoolpelhamny. com

Upholding a “tradition of excellence” for over 36 years, this school firmly holds to the principles of child development devised by Dr. Maria Montessori. Children ages 3 to 5 work with apparatus in a prepared environment progressing at their own rate, developing the confidence and love of learning that is the hallmark

of Montessori. Our small class sizes make it easy for our instructors to find out how to best cater to your child’s unique learning needs. Prepare your child for a lifetime of learning

thornton-Donovan school 100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle 914-632-8836 ttd.edu

Thornton-Donovan, a boutique-like K - 12 school in a bucolic-like setting, continues to offer education in the old-fashioned way. Its five homes, located on five acres, are all loaded with tech, and its small class size average of 10, makes it very much like home schooling. T-D is a K-12 120 year-old independent and international day school with a tuition of $25,000.00.

OPEN HOUSE: Thursday December 1st, 6:30 - 8:30PM & Saturday December 3rd, 2:00 - 4:00PM

18 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022 Education d i RE cto R y | Special Advertising Supplement
WEBINARS PRESENTS Sleepaway Camps Meet & Greet – Everything You Need to Know Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 at 1:00 PM Finding the right Sleepaway camp can be a daunting task. Let New York Family help by introducing you to 5 amazing Sleepaway camps. Our panel of camp directors will introduce their camps and tell you about the fun options in store for your child this summer. Moderated Q & A session to follow the webinar. www.SchnepsMedia.com/webinars Sign up now. Space is limited. Your online resource for all things parenting WestchesterFamily.com provides a rich array of local resources, useful content, directories and interactive tools to help families meet and celebrate the challenges of parenting. Visit us online today ! WestchesterFamily.com
December 2022 | Westchester Family 19 Westchester Parents... Your Favorite Family-Friendly Local Spots and Businesses in Westchester Family’s Family Favorites Awards! westchesterfamily.com/vote2022 • Family Fun • Health & Wellness • Style & Shopping • Food • Activities & Learning Vote Now WESTCHESTERFAMILY.COM

40 cool thinGS

In & Around Westchester this Winter

The event of the year brings on so much excitement in the air. From holiday events to visits with Santa to illuminated experiences, there’s no shortage of magical memories to make this season. On top of that, Westchester offers some great ways to enjoy the area with tons of family hikes, skiing, ice skating, maple sugaring, snow tubing, and indoor play options. Read on to check out some of these coolest experiences to enjoy with your family this winter!

1. Experience Westchester’s Winter Wonder land Drive-Thru Holiday Light Extravaganz a: Enjoy this magical drive-through experience with 1.2 miles of colorful holiday lights, holi day animations, holiday music, and greetings from a live Santa. The drive-thru experience is around 25-30 minutes. You and your kids will see tons of attractions, such as the Fireside For est, Winter Winds Way, Dove Drive, Christmas Tree Plaza with two thirty-foot snowflakes, Land of Packages, Magical Woods, Elf Disco, and the colorful 100-feet tunnel with swirling colors that will transport you into the holiday season. Bring a mug of hot chocolate and your favorite cozy snacks as you experience this holi day favorite from the warmth of your car. The holiday magic starts on Friday November 25th at 6:00pm and takes place for five consecutive weeks until January 1, 2023. Tickets are $25 per car on weekdays, $35 per car on weekends. Westchester Winter Wonderland, Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Pkwy Rd, Valhalla, NY 10595. wwinterwonderland.com

2. Visit Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Ex perience : Walk through Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights to see the world of creatures and moments from the “Harry Potter™ and Fantastic Beasts™” films unfold before your eyes. Illuminated by a collection of colors as well as mist and sounds from the movies. Along the way you’ll see a larger-thanlife model of Hagrid, Hippogriffs, Centaurs, Unicorns, Nifflers, and Arthur Weasley’s flying

car. There are interactive elements as well where kids can conjure a Patronus and have a wand duel. The experience takes place from now until January 2023. All ages. Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, 2957 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. hpforbiddenfor estexperience.com

3. View the Beautiful Holidays on the Hill Train Show : Experience more than 5,000+ square feet of indoor and outdoor fun at the Holidays on the Hill Annual Train Show at Lasdon Park. You’ll see an assortment of trains going through 12 multi-level tracks, bridges, ramps, tunnels, under waterfalls, and by holi day scenes as well as colorful seasonal flowers, plants, and decorations! Enjoy holiday music in the background as well as snowmen and more. Your kids can also see Santa during your visit who will be in attendance from Thursday-Sun day at various times. Tickets are $10 per child (ages 2-10) and $20 per adult. Children up to 24 months are free. Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial, 2610 Route 35 Katonah, New York 10536. 914-864-7263. lasdonpark. org/hoh22

4. Experience the Amaze Light Festival : This immersive storybook experience takes guests through an enchanting experience filled with festive food, thematic adventures and

an ultimate light show. This unique outdoor experience immerses visitors in an illuminous experience as they stroll through five-themed worlds of displays with millions of state-of-theart lights, 3D-illuminated decor, and Arctic Express train rides. Tickets for the Amaze Light Festival start at $44 for adults and $36 for children. Open from November 19, 2022- Janu ary 8, 2023; open Wednesday- Sunday from 4:00pm-10:00pm. Citi Field ,41 Seaver Way, Queens, NY 11368. amazelightfestival.com/ newyork

5. Walk through LUMAGICA at Harvest Moon & Orchard. Enjoy this fun holiday walkthrough experience filled with illuminated sculptures and larger-than-life animals. The half-mile experience will take you and your kids through six spectacular trails, such as Sparkling Light, Into the Wonderland, Magical Trees, A Great Celebration, Treats and Sweets, and Beyond the Forest. This includes a visual wonderland of over 750,000 LED lights, deco rations, whimsical creatures, and tons more! Held from November 18th – December 30th, tickets are $31 per person; children ages 3-12 are $28 per person, and children under two years old are free. Harvest Moon and Orchard, 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY 10560. harvestmoonfarmandorchard.com/lumagicalight-show

6. Visit Santa’s Village at American Christ mas. Enjoy a magical holiday experience like no other with an illuminated walk-through of Santa’s Village at American Christmas. This includes a 10,000-square-foot breathtaking walk-through experience of Santa’s Village with larger-than-life displays, several Dickens interactive vignettes, 50 mesmerizing anima tronics, illuminated scenes, massive Christmas trees, and a section for a seated photo oppor tunity, which will include visits from Santa on some days. Don’t forget to stop by their Outlet before you go to score vintage decor such as bulbs to giant nutcrackers to massive wreaths at a discounted price. All tickets are $10 per per son with 100% of the profits being donated to

20 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
t he nutcracker, new York city Ballet

local charities, such as Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, North East STEM Academy, and The Youth Community Outreach Program (YCOP). Open from now until December 23rd, various times. American Christmas, 30 Warren Place, Mount Vernon, NY 10550, tinyurl.com/ santas-village.

7. Go Skiing : Take a day trip or enjoy a week end away by going skiing! The closest places to go skiing near Westchester include Thunder Ridge with its 22 trails, three chairlifts, and four magic carpets. They offer both seasonal and daily lessons for kids over age four. Six week lessons are a great way for Westchester kids to learn once a week. They also have Mommy (or Daddy) and me lessons for kids ages 4-5. In this program, kids learn more about the sport as well as engage in play and fun while getting comfortable on the snow. This ski area also has a slopeside lodge with cafeteria and pub. Thunder Ridge Ski Area, 137 Birch Hill Rd, Patterson, NY 12563. 845-878-4100, thunderridgeski.com. Another nearby ski area for Westchester residents, the Victor Constant Ski Area opened in 1939 and is the Army’s oldest ski area. Ski lessons are

offered for potty-trained kids. They will learn how to use ski equipment, balance, agility, edges and stopping. Older skiers will learn how to change direction, linked turns, match the skis, maneuver over varied terrain, and ride the chairlift. Victor Constant Ski Area, 732 Victor Constant Road, West Point, NY 10996, westpoint.armymwr.com/programs/victorconstant-ski-area

8.

See the Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo.

Enjoy this outdoor experience with your kids with 360 wildlife lanterns/90 species, includ ing 70 new lanterns and 30 new species. The experience features six lantern trails featuring scenes from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, oceans, and the Forest of Color. They are also hosting special events during the winter, such as a Pajama Party Weekend from December 2nd-4th; professional holiday carol ers from December 26th-30th; New Year’s Eve will include a family-friendly new year count down; and Schiff Hall will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind Illuminated Playground January 6-8. December 29th will be a special sensory-inclusive night designed for guests who thrive in a sensory-supportive environment. During this special evening, guests can expect the same Holiday Lights experience with some modifications. Holiday Lights can be viewed from November 18th-January 8th. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are date specific. Tickets are $39.95 for ages 13 and up and $24.95 for kids ages 3-12 years old. Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460. bronxzoo.com/holiday-lights

9. See Santa and Live Reindeer at the 14th An nual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s

Workshop. The magical wonder of Christmas is alive at the 14th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop. Held at Sam Bridge Nursery, families can visit the “The North Pole on North Street” to take pictures with Santa, meet the reindeer, and experi ence Santa’s Workshop with letter writing and a reindeer coloring station. The nursery is also your one-stop shop for Christmas trees, lights, ornaments and more. Free admission. Now – December 24th. A portion of all photos with Santa will be donated to Kids In Crisis, a Greenwich-CT non- profit organization. Pho tos with Santa are held from Monday-Friday, 12:00pm-6:00pm and Saturday, 9:00am6:00pm. Free parking. Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, 437 North Street Greenwich, CT 06830. GreenwichReindeerFestival.com

10. See The Nutcracker Performed by Westchester Ballet Theater. See Westchester Ballet Company’s production of “The Nut cracker” at Lehman Center for the Perform ing Arts. This production features incredible choreography, stunning costumes, and fun special effects. Various times. Tickets range from $24-$55 per person. Friday, December 16th-December 18th, various times. Lehman Center for Performing Arts, Concert Hall, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W, The Bronx, NY 10468. thenutcrackerwestchesterballet.com

11. Enjoy The Nutcracker Performed by New York Theatre Ballet : See this hour-long production of “The Nutcracker” performed by New York Theater Ballet. This production was created for younger audiences, offering a great way to introduce kids to the show while also being sophisticated enough for adults. Sunday, December 18th at 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Tar rytown Music Hall, 13 Main Street, Floor 2, Tarrytown, NY tickets.tarrytownmusichall.org

12. See the Menorah Lighting at the Cross County Center. Visit the Cross County Center on Monday, December 19th from 6:00pm8:00pm to light the menorah. Plus, live music, dancing, and delicious treats for Chanukah. Cross County Center, 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers, NY 10704. crosscountycenter.com

13. See The Nutcracker: Short and Sweet. “The Nutcracker, Short and Sweet” is a perfect introduction to this classic show for kids ages three and older. Performed by dancers from the Hudson Valley and narrated from the point of view of Clara, this one-hour produc tion will keep the attention of the youngest audience members. Paramount Hudson Valley,

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top : Westchester Winter Wonderland left: American christmas

1008 Brown Street, Peekskill NY 10566. para mounthudsonvalley.com

14. Central Park Dance Presents The Nut cracker. Enjoy a production of “The Nutcrack er” from Central Park Dance. This beloved classic features over 100 dancers from Central Park Dance and surrounding Westchester com munities. Featuring Luciana Paris, soloist with ABT and Jose Sebastian Corps and Director of ABT Incubator. Tickets range from $34.00$129.00 per person. Children under age three are free if they are able to sit on a parent’s lap. The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Ave, Port Chester, NY 10573. thecapitoltheatre.com

15. Try a New Art Class : There are so many places for your kids to try a new art class this winter. Check out the Katonah Art Center (40 Radio Cir Dr, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, katonahartcenter.com) , The Blue Door Art Center (13 Riverdale Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701, bluedoorartcenter.org) , Scribble Art Workshop (63 Main St, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522, scrib bleartworkshop.com) , Westchester Art Studio (197 Manville Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570, westchesterartstudio.com) , or the Railyard Arts Studio (621 NY-22, Croton Falls, NY 10519, railyardartsstudio.com)

16. Visit the Katonah Museum of Art for Fam ily Day : Visit the museum on December 3rd at 12:00pm for an afternoon centered around the art of Jerry Pinkney. Families can create with illustrators Bryan Collier (collage) and Eric Velasquez (watercolor), plus enjoy book readings and gallery activities. $12 for adults; $6 for kids under 12. Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street Katonah, NY 10536, 914-232-9555, katonahmuseum.org

17. Have Breakfast with Santa at Neiman Marcus : Enjoy breakfast with Santa at Neiman Marcus. Breakfast is $65 per adult and $55 for kids ages 3-12. Enjoy delicious breakfast items like brioche French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, winter fruit compote, and more. Nei man Marcus, 2 Maple Avenue White Plains, NY 10601. eventbrite.com

18. Take a Family Art Class. Pelham Art Center offers many cool family classes that you can check out with your kids, such as Family Holiday Card Making, Art Games, Photoshop Fun, Family Mug Making, and more. Various prices. Pelham Art Center, 155 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803. pelhamartcenter.org

19. Experience the NY Botanical Garden’s

Holiday Train Show. The famous NY Botani cal Garden’s Holiday Train Show is always a treat to enjoy with your family. See model trains in an enchanting display of more than 190 replicas of New York landmarks. Incred ibly, they are all re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, lotus pods, and cinnamon sticks. You can also enjoy NYBG GLOW, an outdoor holiday light experience with thousands of dazzling lights and whimsi cal, picture-perfect installations. A limited number of visitors will be admitted to the Holiday Train Show every 15 minutes. You may arrive at the Garden up to one hour before your ticketed entry time and must be in line at the Conservatory at the time printed on your ticket. Tickets are $35 per person (ages 13-64); $20 per child (ages 2-12); and free for kids under age 2. NYBG, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458. nybg.org

20. Take the Santa Express : For a very dif ferent holiday train experience, take a road trip to Thomaston, CT for their annual Santa Express. During this experience, families can hop on board for the opportunity to visit with Santa Claus. As the trains travel through the wilderness, passengers will be able to visit with Santa and play with his Elves. Every child on the train gets a special gift from Santa’s toy bag. The train is also beautifully decorated where you will be able to sit in a 1920s or 1940s train car. Each car offers different levels of service and amenities during the 1 hour and 20 minute ride. Coach is $20 per adult/children; Lounge is $54.50 per adult/children; Tavern-Lounge No. 43 is $95 per adult/children, and the Observa tion-Lounge Hickory Creek is $149 per adult/ children. Parking is free. Thomaston Station, 242 East Main Street, Thomaston, CT. rmne.org

21. Experience the Holiday Train Show Green burgh Nature Center : Enjoy a 12x18-foot display of model trains traveling through countryside scenes at the Greenburgh Nature Center Holiday Train Show. The display also includes a train tunnel, a ravine with a train

trestle crossing over it, a stream, a model village, railroad crossings, and much more to view. Manor House at the Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583. greenburghnaturecenter.org

22. See a screening of ELF : Interactive Movie Screening at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. Watch this beloved classic about Buddy who learns of his true identity as a human, embarks on a journey to New York City to find his biological father. This interactive screening allows your kids’ to participate and connect with the movie by throwing snowballs, calling out lines, and having hot chocolate. December 18th from 3:00pm-5:00pm. $10-15 per person. Chappaqua PAC, 480 Bedford Road Chappaqua, NY 10514.chappaquapac.org

23. Participate in a Family Wheel Night.

The Clay Arts Center offers many classes and workshops, including family clay workshops. The Family Wheel Night is a fun way to enjoy art with your kids (ages 10 and up) as you learn to use the potter’s wheel. Beginners are wel come and no previous experience is necessary! Materials and firing costs are included. $50 per person.Other workshops include Saturday Clay for kids age six and older. Clay Arts Center, 40 Beech Street, Port Chester, NY 10573, 914-9372047, clayartcenter.org

24. Attend Light Up Larchmont : Enjoy a fun day in Larchmont for their annual holiday cel ebration. Activities include horse-drawn car riage rides, pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, appearances from Elsa & Olaf, a Tree Lighting, and holiday shopping. One Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont, NY 10538. larchmontchamber10538. org/holidays

25. Find a Gift from a Local Westchester Maker at the White Plains Holiday Market. In partnership with the White Plains BID, the City of White Plains and 914PopUps, this holiday market features over 50 vendors and artisans located in individual open-air booths located on Court Street and Renaissance Plaza in downtown White Plains. Open from December 9th-December 13th from 12:00pm7:00pm. White Plains Holiday Market, Court Street between Main Street and Martine Avenue, White Plains, NY. wpbid.com

26. Take the Holiday Trolley. This music-filled merry trolley will run through Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, and Hastings-on-Hudson to bring you and your family to some Rivertowns shopping areas on Saturday, December 10th

22 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
Winter Fun
Yonkers with Kids

from 11:00am-5:00pm. Holiday Trolley, 131 Southside Avenue Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706, eventbrite.com

27. See the Winter Wonderland: A Very Merry Holiday Show. Enjoy this fun seasonal show led by the Clauses themselves and their North Pole friends! Held on Saturday, December 10th at 11:00am. Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, 480 North Bedford Road Chappaqua, NY 10514. eventbrite.com

28. Shop the African Artisan Market at Luangisa African Gallery : Shop a collection of handmade, artisan-made goods curated from Africa. Sourced over the past 26 years, you can find handmade jewelry, African art and artifacts, items for the home, bags, fashion, ac cessories, and more. Free admission. December 4th and 5th from 10:00am-6:00pm. Luangisa African Gallery 374 Hawthorne Terrace, Mount Vernon, NY 10552. Luangisa.com.

29. Visit the Westchester Children’s Museum Enjoy some indoor interactive fun at the Westchester Children’s Museum. Enjoy Mak erSpace activities for all ages and interests and interactive exhibits that allows kids to build, explore, and create. Guests six months old-30 months old can also enjoy their Wednesday programming ‘Museum Minis,’ which features music, movement, stories, play, and fun!

Westchester Children’s Museum, 100 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580, discoverwcm.org

30. Go Ice Skating. The area offers many indoor (and outdoor arenas) where you can spend the time enjoying free skating, and or lessons. Some local arenas include the Brewster Ice Arena (63 Fields Lane, Brewster, NY 10509. brewstericearena.com) ; Ebersole Ice Rink (110 Lake Street, Delfino Park, White Plains, NY. 914422-1390. cityofwhiteplains.com) ; Murray’s Skat ing Center (348 Tuckahoe Road, Yonkers, NY 914-377-6469. yonkersny.gov) ; Ice Hutch Rink (655 Garden Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY. 914699-6787. Icehutch.com) ; and the Westchester Skating Academy (91 Fairview Park Drive, Elmsford, NY. 914-347-8232. skatewsa.com) .

31. Experience Bricktacular at Legoland Dis covery Center: Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester for their annual Brick tacular Winter Wonderland event. Held from November 25th-January 1st, the event includes bricktastic holiday-themed building activities, giant LEGO holiday big builds, MINILAND holiday scavenger hunt, hot chocolate bar, holiday dance parties, and tons more! Tickets

start at $27.99 (included with admission). Ridge Hill, 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710. egolanddiscoverycenter.com

32. Check out the Holiday Train Show in Chappaqua. Join the New Castle Historical Society for this annual family holiday tradition. Families can see this historic 19th-century summer residence of Horace Greeley that is decorated for the holidays with running train displays in each of their period rooms. Visit the holiday gift shop to purchase train-themed items, candy, and more! Admission is $10 for members; $15 for non-members; and $8 for children ages 8 and under. New Castle Histori cal Society - Horace Greeley House, 100 King Street, Chappaqua, NY 10514. eventbrite.com

33. See the 2022 Grand Holiday Illumina tion. Visit Untermyer Gardens for their annual Grand Holiday Illuminations. This free event features more than 10,000 lights in a fun walkthrough experience as you see the beautiful architecture of the Untermyer Gardens dressed up for the season. Running from December 9th at 5:30 pm-January 1st, from 4:30pm until 8:00pm. Untermyer Gardens, 945 North Broad way, Yonkers, NY 10701. untermyergardens.org

34. See the “Most Wonderful Time of The Year”. Listen to the magical holiday songs with your family as a part of “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” at White Plains Perform ing Arts Center. Enjoy classics and classic holiday songs from stage and screen and more. December 21st at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $43-50 per person. White Plains Performing Arts Center, 11 City Place, White Plains, NY 10601, wppac.com

35. Go Sledding and Snow Tubing. When the snow finally comes, get your sled for a fun afternoon with your kids. Some areas to try include Leonard Park; Sprain Lake Golf Course (290 East Grassy Sprain Road, Yonkers, NY 10710) ; Saxon Woods Golf Course (315 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583) ; Ward

Pound Ridge Conservation Center (Reservation Rd, Pound Ridge, NY 10576) , and Lasdon Park (2610 NY-35, Katonah, NY 10536) .

36. Take a Tour of the Victorian Christmas at the Octagon House. Celebrate the holiday season by taking a tour of The Armour-Stiner Octagon House. See this restored National Landmark with scenes from a Christmas in 1872, along with holiday wreaths, garlands, and ornaments. This one-hour long tour is only for kids (and their parents) ages 12 and up. $29 per person. The Armour Stiner Octagon House, 45 West Clinton Avenue, Irvington, New York 10533. armourstiner.com

37. Learn About Maple Sugaring at Muscoot Farm. Through this annual celebration, you and your kids learn how to turn sap into syrup, as well as the history of this trade, in a 30 min ute session. Pre-registration is required. $20 per family of four. Muscoot Farm, 51 NY-100, Katonah, NY 10536, muscootfarm.org

38. See Reggie Harris at Caramoor. Enjoy a live performance from musician, storyteller, and educator Reggie Harris for an uplifting concert about the Underground Railroad. Held on December 11th at 2:00pm and 4:00pm (4pm is sensory-friendly). Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, NY 10536. caramoor.org

39. Take a Family Hike. Get outdoors and enjoy the many cool walking trails and hikes in and around Westchester. Some favorites include Teatown Lake Reservation (1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining, NY 10562 ); Rye Nature Center, (873 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580) , Saxon Woods Park (1800 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605) , Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve (Yorktown Heights, NY 10598), Ward Pound Ridge (Reservation Rd, Pound Ridge, NY 10576) , and Cranberry Lake Preserve (1609 Old Orchard Street, West Harrison, NY 10604) . Don’t forget to pack hot chocolate and blankets for the ride home.

40. Try Indoor Climbing. Not feeling the cold? Let your kids run wide and practice their climbing skills at one of the many indoor climbing spaces in Westchester. Try Hapik (51 Market Street, Yonkers, NY 10710. hapik.us), The Cliffs at Valhalla (1 Commerce Street, Val halla, NY 10595. valhalla.thecliffsclimbing.com) , The Rock Club (130 Rhodes St, New Rochelle, NY 10801.pinebrookfitness.com) , or ROAM Further Athletics (333 N Bedford Rd, Mt Kisco, NY 10549. roamfurther.com)

December 2022 | Westchester Family 23
lumagica at harvest Moon

Holiday Fun In

Westchester and beyond!

Cue the hot chocolate, bring on a reindeer or two, and holiday lights for however you celebrate- it’s the holidays, and it is on. We are excited to share the events are amazing partners are holding this month, so dress warmly, remember to take a pic or two and happy holidays!

14th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop

Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses 437 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 203-869-3418

greenwichreindeerfestival.com Until to December 24th, 2022 Make it a daytripand head to this joyful event that will feature THREE LIVE REINDEER and PHOTOS WITH SANTA, all benefiting Kids In Crisis. Everyone who has their photo with Santa receives a gift bag.

Central Park Dance Presents The Nutcracker 2023

Performances at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester Box Office at 149 Westchester Avenue December 11th @12:30 & 5:00pm Featuring Special Guest Artist: Luciana Paris, soloist with American Ballet Theatre, Jose Sebastian, corps with American Ballet Theatre. Online Ticket Sale at thecapitoltheatre.com /

Community Hanukkah Celebration at the J - Westchester

Shames JCC on the Hudson 371 S. Broadway Tarrytown, NY

December 18, 10:00 am–2:00pm shamesjcc.org/event/hanukkah2022/ Visit the Shames JCC for a day full of events and celebrations for the festival of lights. En joy holiday shopping at the Hastings Flea; en tertain your children with the WonderSpark Puppets’ “Lost Latke” show and holiday crafts; indulge in tasty seasonal treats; and stay for the community menorah lighting!

Girl AGain Boutique

10 Church St. White Plains, NY 10601 914-358-1460

Extended Holiday shopping hours: 11am-7pm

Thursday, December 22 - Friday, December 23

December 17th 11am-12pm: Special Holiday Event for Children GirlAGain.com

Visit this sweet boutique for their Holiday sale. You will find a great selection of dolls, accessories, outfits, and stocking stuffers, perfect for the Holiday season. Regular Store Hours: Wed-Fri 11-5, Sat 10-5, Sun 11-4

Holiday Events at Cross County Center 8000 Mall Walk

Yonkers, NY 10704 914-968-9570 crosscountycenter.com

Cross County Center offers an action-packed lineup of holiday events for everyone! Stop by this holiday season and enjoy photos with Santa, a pop-up Ice Skating Rink, Holiday Food Truck Market and the largest Christmas Tree in Westchester that you can walk thru!

Holiday Train Show & NYBG GLOW The New York Botanical Garden

24 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022 sponsored content

2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx

Now until January 16

Featuring model trains zipping by miniature New York landmarks and dazzling choreographed light and sound installations. Buy Tickets online at nybg.org

Ice Rink at the Seaport Seaport Square between Piers 16 & 17, 89 South Street, New York, 10038

Through December theseaport.nyc/ice-rink/ A winter tradition with a downtown twist, the Ice Rink has returned to the Seaport for a season of winter festivities and complimentary skating along the East River. Skyline views continue to set the Ice Rink apart, and this year skaters can also take in the celestial sights of Aurora, an overheard light installation designed by Ithaca Studio.

The Inn at East Hill Farm Christmas on the Farm Day Sunday, December 18 Bring the whole family to The Inn at East Hill Farm for Christmas on the Farm

Sunday, December 18. Activities may include milking, patting the bunnies, pony grooming, arts & crafts, a campfire with s’mores, swimming in the indoor pool, a visit with Santa, and more! A buffet lunch is also included. Reservations are required. Prices for the day are $35 per adult; $25 per child (age 2-15). Overnight accommodations are available upon request. Please call 1-603242-6495, or visit www.east-hill-farm.com for more information.

Ridge Hill on Ice Town Square

One Ridge Hill Boulevard

Yonkers, NY 10710

ridgehill.com/events/ridge-hill-on-ice/ Facebook - fb.me/e/2oiR6en6X Walk into a winter wonderland and celebrate the holiday season with festive happenings at Ridge Hill! Lace up your skates and take a spin around the brand-new ice-skating rink, Ridge Hill on Ice, through January 29. After showing off your skills on the rink, secure your spot on the Nice List by paying a visit to Santa at Ridge Hill, now through December 24.

Yonkers Downtown Winter Market

Van Der Donck Park, 1 Larkin Plaza, Yonkers NY 10701

December 11th @ 11:00AM – 4:00PM Free Admission yonkersdowntown.com/wintermarket @yonkersdowntown

Yonkers Downtown Presents 2nd Annual Festive, Fun-Filled Winter Market on December 11th! Featuring A FREE IceSkating Rink, Mechanical Reindeer, Live Music, Food and Local Artisan Vendors. Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Business Improvement District is inviting everyone to skate (for free!) and shop at the 2nd Annual Winter Market hosted in Downtown Yonkers. Perfectly timed to ring in the holiday season, this festive, one-day special market is taking place on Sunday, December 11th from 11am to 4pm. This fun-filled event is perfect for the whole family, with an ice-skating rink, mechanical reindeer, food and local artisan vendors, and festive live entertainment. The heart of the Winter Market is the wide variety of 30+ local artisan vendors.

December 2022 | Westchester Family 25
@ YONKERSDOWNTOWN For More Info Please Visit www.yonkersdowntown.com VEMUSIC ANDMO ICESKATINGRINK PRESENTED BY: YONKERS IDA GREAT POINT STUDIOS MECHANICAL REINDEER PRESENTED BY: SUNDAY DECEMBER 11, 2022 11am to 4pm | FREE Entry VAN DER DONCK PARK (1 LARKIN PLAZA, YONKERS, NY 10701)

Visit Armonk for Holiday Shopping

Highlighting unique towns is our specialty, and Armonk is one of our favorites. Main street is the central hub where you’ll find shops and delicious eats on this and surrounding streets in Armonk. It’s perfect to shop when you live in Westchester or when looking for a day trip destination of a welcoming, close-knit town that feels like it is right out of a movie.

Hickory & Tweed Ski & Cyclery

410 Main Street, Armonk 914-273-3397

Not only is it the holidays- but it is also ski season, and at this family-owned awardwinning shop, you’ll find products and knowledgeable staff. A few of the many products the store carries include:

• Black crow skis

• Hand-made Northland ski brand

• Cool selects like the Norwegian brand Amundsen

• Outdoor activewear as well as Holden and Kjus skiwear.

We also appreciate that this destination includes service technicians that will tune your skis and bikes. The store now features a new Winterseiger (of Austria )automated ski-tuning machine that provides the ultimate high-quality ski tune-up. Website: HickoryandTweed.com.

Eye Designs Armonk

575 Main Street, Armonk 914 -273- 7337

When it comes to your eyes, you want to go to the experts. Eye Designs believe that the per- fect pair of glasses can change the way people look at you and the way you look at the world. Their designs are curated from their travels worldwide- searching for unique, unknown, and hardworking eyeglass designers. Their selections, along with an expansive inventory of eyeglasses, help families select the perfect frame. Website: eyedesignsofwestchester.com.

Lilies & Lace

400 Main Street, Armonk 914- 273-2253

Shopping local has never been so trés chic as it is at Lilies & Lace. The store’s hand-picked accessible price point collection of lingerie,

resort wear, and clothing is curated with care. Whether shopping for cozy wear or gifts for your best friend- or sending your partner screenshots(hint, hint) from Lilies & Lace Instagram- their selects are made of high-quality fabrics. They also include ethical sources and organic-made garments

when possible. Locals and visitors love this gem of a store, for there is something for grandmothers, mothers, and kids. At Lilies and Lace, you are treated to a one-on-one experience with exceptional customer service, something we all can appreciate. FB and Instagram: @liliesandlacearmonk.

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sponsored content
eye Designs lilies & l ace h ickory & tweed

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December 2022 | Westchester Family 27 ��

Family-Friendly Ski Resorts

Ready to hit the slops this winter with your family? We have you covered with our list of nearby ski areas where you can enjoy a weekend getaway, or a day trip with your family. They all also offer group and private lessons for kids as well as adaptive lessons for kids and adults with cognitive, visual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Check out these family skiing tips before you go.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center

A trip to Belleavre offers a fun adventure to the Central Catskill Mountains. Families can enjoy 64 trails including glades and parks as well as cross-country trails. They offer skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids ages 4-12 years old and lessons for teens and adults as well as private lessons. They also offer a kids’ camp, which includes four hours of ski lessons. You can also enjoy many events during your stay, such as a Holiday Bazaar on December 10th and 11th. Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, 181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY, 845-254-5600.

Catamount Mountain Resort

Enjoy skiing at Catamount Mountain Resort, a four-season resort near the New York and Massachusetts border that boasts 13 trails. They offer group and private lessons as well as a camp called the Mountain Cats for kids ages 3-13. Catamount Mountain Resort, Hillsdale, NY 12529, S. Egremont, MA 01258, 518-325-3200.

Campgaw Mountain Ski Area

The Campgaw Mountain Ski Area recently kicked off their season where you can enjoy skiing and group, semi-private and

private ski lessons, including adaptive lessons. Adaptive lessons run for 1.5 and are designed for children and adults who have cognitive, visual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Families can also enjoy night skiing, snow tubing, and more. Campgaw Mountain, 200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430. 201-327-7800.

Hunter Mountain Resort

This popular mountain and resort offers New York families access to four separate mountains for skiers of all ranges and abilities. Known for its 1,600-foot vertical drop, Hunter Mountain Resort offers ski and snowboaring lessons for kids ages 3-14 and lessons for teens over age 13. They have options for three-hour lessons as well as allday private lessons. Lodging options range from village condos to a mountain club and spa. Hunter Mountain, 64 Klein Avenue, Hunter, NY 12442. 518-263-4223.

Mohawk Mountain

Spend a day at Mohawk Mountain and enjoy tubing, racing, and lessons. They offer a parent-tot program for ages 3-4 years old and their parent as well as lessons for children ages 5-12. They have two dining options as well as an on-site store. Mohawk Mountain, 46 Great Hollow Road, Cornwall, Connecticut 06753. 860-672-6100.

Okemo Mountain Resort

Take a road trip to Vermont and stay at Okemo Mountain Resort. Okemo offers 121 trails, slopes, and glides with the highest vertical at 2,200 feet. Ski or snowboarding lessons are offered for kids ages 3-12 years old, which includes group and private lessons. After your long day of skiing fun, you can also enjoy many local eateries and places to stay. This includes

Jackson Gore Inn, Adams & Bixby House, Solitude Village, Winterplace, Mountain Lodge at Okemo, Kettle Brook, Okemo Trailside, Brookhaven, and Southface Village. Okemo Mountain Resort, 77 Okemo Ridge Road, Lud low, Vermont. 1-800-78-OKEMO (65366).

Plattekill Mountain

Enjoy access to 39 trails on Plattekill Mountain, including a two-mile trail. Lessons for kids are offered for ages 7-12 years old to help kids fine-tune their skills and prepare for advanced levels. Plattekill Mountain, 469 Plattekill Mountain Road, Roxbury, NY 12474.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Smugglers’ offers tons of programs for kids and families, including babysitting, a childcare center, and lessons. They also have an adaptive skiing program for children with special needs. When you’re not skiing, enjoy family games, nightly bonfires, glow tubing, and a pirate show as well as a teen center for

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tr Avel

kids ages 13-19 years old. Other winter sports on the property include ice skating, snowshoe adventures, snowcat rides, and more. Smug glers’ Notch Resort, 4323 Vermont Route 108 South, Jeffersonville, VT 05464. 802-332-6854.

Stratton Mountain

This resort has something for everyone with a shopping village, beautiful restaurants, and a mountain with three lifts and eight trails. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are offered everyday for kids over age three. Each ski lesson has a low student-to-instructor ratio to help kids learn and build their skills. Stratton Moun tain, 5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton Mountain, Vermont. 1-800-STRATTON (787-2886).

Thunder Ridge Ski Area

The closest ski area to Westchester, Thunder Ridge offers 22 trails, three chairlifts, and four magic carpets. They offer both seasonal and daily lessons for kids over age four. Six week lessons are a great way for Westchester

kids to learn once a week. They also have Mommy (or Daddy) and me lessons for kids ages 4-5. In this program, kids learn more about the sport as well as engage in play and fun while getting comfortable on the snow. This ski area also has a slopeside lodge with cafeteria and pub. Thunder Ridge Ski Area, 137 Birch Hill Rd, Patterson, NY 12563. 845878-4100

Windham Mountain

Kids can take private or group lessons at Windham Mountain, which ranges from half-day to full-day lessons. The resort also features 285 skiable acres across 54 trails serviced by 11 lifts, six terrain parks, lodging, on-mountain dining, an Adventure Park, a full-service spa, and much more. Windham Mountain, 19 Resort Drivem Windham, NY 12496. 800-754-9463.

Victor Constant Ski Area at West Point

Another nearby ski area for Westchester residents, the Victor Constant Ski Area opened in 1939 and is the Army’s oldest ski area. Ski lessons are offered for pottytrained kids. They will learn how to use ski equipment, balance, agility, edges and stopping. Older skiers will learn how to change direction, linked turns, match the skis, maneuver over varied terrain, and ride the chairlift. Victor Constant Ski Area, 732 Victor Constant Road, West Point, NY 10996.

Whiteface Mountain

Home to 90 trails that stretch over 25 miles and three peaks, Whiteface offers tons of fun for families and first-time skiers. They offer a ski camp for kids ages 4-6 years old, a private adventurer camp for kids ages 7-12 years old, private lessons, and an adaptive snowsports program. Stay nearby at one of the many hotels, lodges, chalets, and B&Bs in the area. Whiteface Mountain, 5021 Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997. 518-946-2223.

December 2022 | Westchester Family 29
30 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
Check out some of our favorite toys and gifts for kids from age 0 to teenager that will (we hope!) make their holiday. And visit us online at westchesterfamily.com for all our gift guides!
Gift GuideH�liday

1. VTECH Level Up Gaming Chair

Kids will love this preschool game station complete with a swivel chair, joystick, pretend headphones, and Wi-Fi-free tablet for innovative, imaginary play. 18 months+; $33.74, target.com.

2. Melissa and Doug Pineapple Soft Stacker

Kids will love the different textures and sounds as they grasp, squeeze, shake, and stack this precious pineapple and parents will love that the stacker is an engaging way to help infants develop important sensory, fine motor, and problem-solving skills. 6+ months; $22.99, melissaanddoug.com.

3. Fischer-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats

Move and groove with this interactive dance partner of 75+ songs, sounds, and phrases that teach the alphabet, counting, colors, and more. Parents will love that it has 3 Smart Stages and lots of exciting bouncing action for their little loved one. 9 Months+; $30.99, amazon.com.

4. My Plush Hess Truck

Little ones will love this soft, train plush that is just right tiny hands and big hugs. Parents will love that there’s a night light feature with auto-shutoff for bedtime and a ‘Silent Mode’ setting for lights-only activation. Ages 0+; $34, hesstoytruck.com.

5. GUND Baby Fox

In Play mode, baby can tap anywhere on the box to coax the Fox out of the box and play interactive games such as peek-a-boo. In Song mode, Fox gradually emerges and sings a fun song for baby. Age 12 months+; $33, Qvc.com.

6. Hot Wheels® Racing Loops Tower by Little People

Kids will love the easy-lift ramp that sends cars zooming down and around the tracks for cool racing and stunt action, and the 50+ sounds and musical tunes that play as they launch their Wheelies cars. Ages 18+ months $31.99, target.com.

7. LeapFrog ® Wooden AlphaPup

Parents will love that this cute pup helps bring music and movement to the littlest walkers. They will also love that it is made with 100% FSC-certified wood that comes from well-managed forests. Age 1+; $22.49, target.com.

December 2022 | Westchester Family 31
FOR AGES 0�2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Dance & Play Bluey

In talking mode, Bluey says 55+ phrases. In dance mode, she can even stand on one leg and dance up a storm. In singing mode, she sings four songs, and plays three different games, including Statues, when a key word makes everyone freeze in their place. Ages 3+; $39.99, target.com.

2. Play-Doh Kitchen Creations

Ultimate Ice Cream Truck

Kids will love running their very own ice cream truck and making the menu of pretend play-doh creations using the soft serve station and customizing their creations with the sprinkle maker, 27 tools, and candy molds. Ages 3+ $79.99, amazon.com.

3. Squishmallows

Kids can cuddle and collect Squishmallows from all the collections, from HugMees to Squishville. Ages 0+ $48, amazon. com.

4. CoComelon Boo Boo JJ Plush

When JJ gets hurt the injured areas light up and kids can take out the Bandage Case, with three CoComelon-themed bandages, to come to his rescue. When JJ starts to cry, the bandage can be held over the lit up hurt area to cure the boo boo. Ages 2+; $34.99, target.com

5. Disney Junior Alice’s Wonderland Bakery Alice Doll & Magical Oven Set

This sweet set comes with Alice wearing her signature outfit from the show and the magical oven that lights up and plays cooking sounds, phrases, and “The Baking Song!” as they “bake.” Ages 3+, $39.99, target.com.

6. PAW Patrol Truck Stop HQ

In closed mode, the pups can jump into the command center, pull up and transform to reveal an over three foot wide HQ with a garage spot for each pup, a tune-up station, car wash station, vehicle launcher and lights and sounds. Ages 3+; $73, amazon.com.

7. Monster Jam Monster Garage Playset

Jam and play up to 20 Monster Jam trucks and features lights and sounds to bring the live action home. Ages 3+; $40-44.99, amazon.com.

FOR AGES 2�3

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1. LEGO Large Creative Brick Blocks

Kids will love to build to their hearts’ content with the big box of classic LEGO bricks featured in 33 different colors and a wide variety of windows and doors, along with other special pieces to spark bright imaginations. Ages 4+; $43, amazon.com.

2. The Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball

Everyone will love using the interactive spellcasting wand and special magic words to fill the crystal ball with mist as they make their Magic Mixie, giving it color, a voice, fortune telling powers. Ages 5+, $69.29 amazon.com.

3. Cra-Z_Art Shimmer ’n Sparkle Light Up Studio

A makeup and beauty essential kit to get glam, record tutorials with the clip on selfie light, and post beauty stories (with parent permission, of course). Kids can create their own original designs or simply follow the illustrated “Makeup Tutorial & Story Cards” included in the kit. Ages 8+; $29.97, walmart.com.

4. L.O.L. Surprise! Loves Mini Sweets™ Surprise-O-Matic Dolls

Your kids will love seeing their favorite sweets transform into these themed, delectable dolls and parents will love the interactive and fun unboxing with Surprise-O-Matic where the press of a button delivers each sweet surprise, including an outfit, shoes, bottle, accessories, or sticker. Ages 4+, $11.99, target.com.

5. RUKUSfx

Your aspiring DJ will can punch, swipe, twist, and flick they can loop, mix, and remix customized music tracks while LEDs flash and change color with every move they make. Ages 6+, $49.99, target.com.

6. Beyblade Burst Quadrive Interstellar Drop Battle Set

With this set kids can customize the battle on two levels: battle on the top level of the Beystadium, then remove the disc, drop through the Warp Hole, and take the battle to the drop level. Ages 8+; $59.99. amazon.com.

7. Cool Maker Stitch N’ Style Fashion Studio

Your fashion fan will adore this all-in-one fashion studio that has six easy to make projects like a sunglasses case, scrunchie, purse, and more. Kids can also customize designs with unique prints that are magically applied with water. Ages 8+; $29.99, amazon.com.

December 2022 | Westchester Family 33
FOR
1 2 5 3 4 6 7

1. LEGO Friends Emma’s Art School

This Toy Insider Top Holiday Toy winner art school consist of 844-pieces that include a spinning pottery wheel, a photography studio, landscape canvases, and other artthemed accessories. 8+, $69.99, walmart. com.

2. American Girl Claudie Doll, Book, and Accessories

Creative Claudie is quite chic in her 1920’s era look, although her Mary Jane shoes are pretty on trend for 2022! The 18” Claudie™ doll comes with all the accessories (an authentic-style 1920s Baby Ruth candy bar, knee-high socks are just a few gems). 8+, $151, americangirl.com.

3. Ultra Bionic Blaster

Kids who obsess over robotics will love this wearable, air-powered blaster glove. The cool part is they can also learn about pneumatic systems (a collection of interconnected components using compressed air to do work for automated equipment) and the physics of air. 10 +, $39.95, amazon.com.

4. Nintendo Switch Sports –Nintendo Switch

This game is perfect for your sporty kid. There are six games they can play: Soccer, Volleyball, Bowling, Tennis, Badminton and Chambara-so weekends and snow days, watch out as this will keep them active all day! 10+, $50, amazon.com.

5. Chicken Vs Hot Dog

This game by Big Potato Games is a gift for your eight-plus kid but can also include the entire family. Flip ’em and stick ’em also involves (safe) challenges, character cards, and more. 8+, $30, bigpotato.com.

6. Crayola Glow in The Dark Coloring Set with Markers, Mythical Creature Coloring Pages

Kids can be creative and use the formulated glow markers that come in vibrant shades that be to colored on coated cardstock paper and make glow-tastic art! 8+, $14.99, amazon.com.

7. National Geographic Herb Garden Growing Kit

This Toy Insider pick is all a kid needs to start their own garden. The kit includes basil, oregano, chive seeds, steel pots, stickers and paints . 6+, $24.99, Toys R us at Macys.com.

FOR AGES 8�11

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7

FOR TWEENS & TEENS

1. Brave like Rosa “Nah” Punch Needle Craft Kit

This woman-owned company’s mission is to show girls stories of mighty women who have trailblazed a path before them. Through crafts, girls can learn the stories of remarkable women. $29.99, 8+, kidscrafts. org.

2. Disney Stitch Active LED Watch

Whether you have a 3year old or 13-yearold, this Stitch activity watch is also perfect for our tweens. This Digital LED will also track steps, how much distance has been traveled and calories burned (not that this matters – they are kids!) point is this is a fun watch under. 3+, $20. claires.com.

3. Cup Noodles® Snack Attack Earbud Case Cover

Parents resort to all sorts of maneuvers to have their kids not lose things…name tags, post-it notes, and these Cup Noodles ramen earbuds case scream TWEEN! 8+, $19.99, claires.com.

4.

Full of Life, Exploring Earth’s

Biodiversity:

Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Sara Gillingham

This creative book is a guide to Earth’s Tree of Life, a reference that scientists use to organize the many living things on our earth. The layouts are gorgeous, fun, loaded with cool facts, and a glossary of the species, plants and animals we share in our world. $24.95, phaidon.com.

5. Nick Jonas’ LINKEE

We love the Jonas brothers, and this Nick Jonas’ LINKEE is a fun yell-out-the-link trivia for your tween, their friends, and the entire family. How it works is you split into teams to solve the link between four quiz questions. 12+, $20, walmart.com.

6.

Lite-Brite Wall Art Pop Wow!

This 16 x 16 that consists of 6,000 colorful mini-sized pegs is a way for kids to chill and create 3 HD Pop Art designs that double as wall art. 14 +, $100, walmart.com.

7. Wordle The Party Games

If your kid is one the obsessed Wordle players out there, they'll love this game. A player designated as the host writes down a secret word. Players get a few tries and in this game, players compete against each other. The player with the fewest points at the end of the game wins. 14+, $20, target.com.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7

calendar

We STc H e ST er

Pop-up ice rink

When : Nov. 19 - Jan. 1, See website for schedule

Where : Cross County Center, 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers aGes: 5 and older

What: Glide along the smooth “glice” of this pop up rinkperfect for newer skaters. Want to Go?: $10 per person and includes skates and a one hour session, crosscountycenter.com

holiday on the hill train show

When : Nov. 26 - Dec. 31, See website for schedule

Where : Lasdon Park & Arboretum, 2610 NY-35, Katonah aGes: All

What: Celebrate the season with iconic and immersive exhibits featuring colorful characters, trains chugging through quaint holiday scenes, and more.

Want to Go?: $20; $15 seniors 62 and older; $10 children 2-12; free admission for children younger than age 2, lasdonpark.org/hoh22

Grand holiday illumination

When : Dec. 9 - Jan. 1, 4:308pm, daily

Where : Untermyer Gardens, 945 N. Broadway, Yonkers

aGes: All What: See the Walled Garden lit with more than 100,000 lights and listen to holiday music from many traditions. Want to Go?: 914-613-4502, untermyergardens.org

Winter Wonderland - a very merry holiday show

When : Saturday, Dec. 10, 11am

Where : Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, 480 N Bedford Road, Chappaqua aGes: All What: This festive show is led by none other than the Clauses and their North Pole friends!

Want to Go?: $15; $10 children; free admission for children younger than 3. 585456-1604, chappaquapac.org

click clack moo

g rand holiday illumination at untermyer g ardens.

When : Saturday, Dec. 10, 11am and 2pm Where : Emelin Theatre, 153

Library Lane, Mamaroneck aGes: 5-9

What: Find out what happens when farm animals get hold of a laptop in this comedy about negotiation and compromise. Want to Go?: $24; $19 children. 914-698-3045, emelin.org

honk!

When : Dec. 10 -18, Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 2pm

Where : The Play Group Theatre, 1 North Broadway, White Plains aGes: All

What: This retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling takes you on an adventure to find out that it isn’t bad to be different.

Want to Go?: $22; $18 senior citizens and children younger than 12. 914-946-4433, playgroup.org

city lights, bright

36 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
chanukah v illage comes to irvington on dec. 18. by SHara Levine

nutcracker, s hort and sweet comes to the paramount hudson valley t heater on dec. 18.

holiday nights - tree lighting

When : Sunday, Dec. 11, 5:306:30pm

Where : Renaissance Park, Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street, White Plains aGes: All

What: Celebrate the sights and sounds of the season as the mayor lights the City’s holiday tree.

Want to Go?: 914-422-1200, cityofwhiteplains.com

cocoa around the World

When : Saturday, Dec. 17, 2-3pm

Where : Muscoot Farm, 51 Route 100, Katonah aGes: 6 and older

What: Learn about the tradition of making cocoa, sample some inspired from around the globe, and help make your own cocoa mix to take home to enjoy.

Want to Go?: $20. 914-8647282, muscootfarm.org

chanukah village

When : Sunday, Dec. 18, 1-4pm

Where : Main St. in Irvington, 101 Main St, Irvington aGes: All

What: Main Street is transformed into a magical Chanukah Village with entertainment, music, arts and crafts, food, Menorah Lighting, and more.

Want to Go?: $36 per family in advance; $45 per family at the event. 914-693-6100, chanukah22.com

nutcracker, short and sweet

When : Sunday, Dec. 18, 3:30pm

Where : Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, 1008 Brown Street, Peekskill aGes: 3 and older

What: Narrated from the point of view of Clara and only 1 hour long, this easy to follow performance features the timeless music of Tchaikovsky. Want to Go?: $20. 914-7390039. paramounthudsonvalley. com

menorah lighting at ridge hill

When : Sunday, Dec. 18, 4-6pm

Where : Ridge Hill, 1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers aGes: All

What: Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with Menorah lighting, delicious treats, and all the chocolate gelt you can collect when it’s dropped from a fire truck! Want to Go?: 914-207-2900, ridgehill.com

school’s out/art’s in

When : Dec. 27 -30, TuesdayFriday, 10am, 11:30am or 1pm

Where : Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street, Katonah aGes: 3-12

What: From collage materials and watercolor paints, to drawing techniques and bookmaking, enjoy a different art-ma king activity each day. Want to Go?: $12 per person; $6 seniors; Members: $6 per child and free for adults. 914-232-9555, katonahmuseum.org

December 2022 | Westchester Family 37
Pre sent s Register for FREE at WestchesterFamily.com/ParentEd Raising Critical Thinkers: Media Literacy for the Digital Age With author Julie Bogart Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, 4 p.m. ET

Instagram vs. Reality: Holiday Edition

I will never forget the time I cried over an elf.

No, I was not so green with envy over someone’s shockingly creative Elf on the Shelf setup that I tossed my phone into a burning yule log in frustration. I’d simply forgotten to move the damn thing.

After a long, mid-Decem ber weeknight full of doing ALL THE THINGS, I had lugged my tired bones up to bed to drift off while scrolling through funny holiday memes and reels of dogs in Santa suits. Unfortunately, the minute I opened In stagram I was hit with an elf-staging worthy of a wall at MoMa, and reminded of my own failure to move my family’s elf, Lollipop. In that moment, I just felt so exhausted, so cozy in my warm bed, that the mere thought of getting up for anything — a creepy elf with imaginary powers no less — brought me to actual, literal tears.

I’m not entirely blaming Instagram for my little episode. But let’s face it, no one would even care about that darn elf so much if it weren’t for social media. Generally, elves don’t brush their teeth, or steal Christmas lights, or drive Tonka trucks, or get into any of the hijinx that overzealous parents like to post pictures of throughout the season. In those homes, the elf (or elves!) goes on nightly, well-documented adventures. In my house, he usually just moves from one boring spot to another.

There is a good chance you are someone who moves their family’s elf as arbitrarily as I do. Many of us — the ones who got suckered into getting one in the first place — aren’t putting much thought into where he’s going every night. A good handful of us won’t remember to move him at all! We will go to sleep without ever thinking of magical stuffed toys whose whereabouts have power to ruin an entire morning. And after that

morning ends, the afternoon brings news that your child’s classmate’s elf starred in their own Nutcracker ballet the night before. You check their mom’s insta and yup, there it is – complete with dancing sugar plum fairies, wooden soldiers and all. Suddenly you feel awful that your elf just spent his third night collecting dust on top of the kitchen cabinets.

Raising children has always been a difficult job. But it seems every new generation of parents is faced with a new set of challenges their predecessors could never even imagine. Today, it’s undoubtedly social media.

Every year, on the evening of December 24, I brace myself for the endless scroll of wrapped packages as far as the eye can see, moms and dads boastfully posting the array of gifts their kids will tear into the next morning (there will be videos posted of that, too, I am sure). The parents mean well; they’re proud of themselves for giving their children another wonderful Christmas. And they should be, of course. But no matter how hard you worked all year to make your own family’s Christmas – or Hanukkah –perfect, that barrage of photos will likely get to you, at least a little. Someone always does

a better job. More gifts, a fuller tree, lovelier decorations, prettier wrapping paper, more toys, whatever. We need to remember that things are not always what they seem on the surface, or in this case, on an instagram page.

I have a photo on my own Instagram from a few Decembers ago of my daughter ripping open a package on Christmas morning. I think it was an LOL Doll of some sort, the toy at the very tippy top of her wish list. She looks adorable in the photo – candy cane pajamas, high pigtails, her mouth agape with shock and pure joy as she peeled open her gift. But I hate that picture. In the background of the photo, her dad is perched on the steps, sitting as far from me as possible. We had just made the tough decision to split up the week before, and every time I see her happy face in that picture I am reminded of the many sad faces that followed in the coming months as our family processed the divorce.

Sorry for going all Debbie Downer there for a moment but I am trying to point out that every picture you see plastered on someone’s social media page has a story behind it – one that the poster would probably never want the world to see.

This holiday season, instead of allowing Instagram to fuel your frustration, try to let it roll off your back. That mom who shared the most perfect batch of rainbow cookies you’ve ever seen? She burned the chocolate twice because she sipped her way through an entire bottle of wine while she baked. That perfectlooking family posing by their perfect-looking tree? Their trip to the tree farm could have rivaled that of Chevy Chase and his family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

There’s already enough pressure to make your family’s holiday perfect without holding yourself to the impossible standards other parents portray online. So don’t do it! This season, put away your phone, ignore what everyone else is doing, and live in the moment. Remind yourself that those moments – unlike the pictures that might accompany them – are just as imperfect as the next parent’s.

38 WestchesterFamily.com | December 2022
mom stories
A seasonal reminder that there’s no such thing as picture perfect
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