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November 2019


Meet Melissa! The creative spark of Melissa & Doug toys

Eco-friendly Birthday Party Teach kids to go green

Raising the Bar (Mitzvah) Adding meaning to your big celebration

+ 121

fun events this November

REgister now for our

Camp Fair January 11 & 12 See page 6


YOU’RE INVITED Meet the directors and representatives of some of the best day camps and sleep away camps all under one roof. Sending your child to camp is a big decision — make sure you select the right camp!

Children are welcome to attend.

JANUARY 11, 2020 Rippowam Cisqua School

439 Cantitoe Street., Bedford From Noon to 3 p.m.

JANUARY 12, 2020

Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club 555 S. Barry Avenue, Mamaroneck From Noon to 3 p.m.

To register and see which camps are attending visit: WestchesterFamily.com/CampFair

ThornTon-Donovan School Individually Focused, Globally Engaged


Thornton-Donovan will embark on a

SACRED GEOGRAPHY: ISRAEL 2020 Co-Ed • Grades K–12 100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804 | www.td.edu | 914-632-8836 November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com



November 2019 volume twenty-nine | number eleven

features 12

It’s All About the Spark

Guide to planning the perfect celebration


Meaningful Mitzvah Projects

35 Top Pick: Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular

匀琀甀渀渀椀渀最 䰀漀渀最 䤀猀氀愀渀搀 圀愀琀攀爀昀爀漀渀琀 䔀猀琀愀琀攀

䈀攀愀挀栀Ⰰ 倀漀漀氀Ⰰ 吀攀渀渀椀猀Ⰰ 夀愀挀栀琀 䌀氀甀戀 ⬀ 䴀愀爀椀渀愀

倀爀攀洀椀攀爀攀 䔀瘀攀渀琀 匀瀀愀挀攀 昀漀爀  夀漀甀爀 䌀攀氀攀戀爀愀琀椀漀渀  

Chose Them


44 #Choochoo 45 City Picks


Mitzvah prOJects

10 Special Needs 18 Party Guide 23 Bar/Bat Mitzvah

edUcatiOnal pOdcasts

䴀攀洀戀攀爀猀栀椀瀀猀 䄀瘀愀椀氀愀戀氀攀 一漀眀

Julie Ades richter Photography: jarphotography.net

Cover Photo: Julie Ades Richter Photography: jarphotography.net

on the cover 12

Meet Melissa!


16 Eco-friendly Birthday Party

Me�� Melis�a!

26 Raising the Bar (Mitzvah)

Eco-friendly Birthday Party


121 Fun Events

Teach kids to go green

Raising the Bar (Mitzvah)


43 Cartoons Live on Stage

a search fOr Meaning


Adding meaning to your big celebration

42 Gobble Gobble Crafts


@13: A Moving Traditions Podcast

The creative spark of Melissa & Doug toys

Editor’s Pick: Family Day: Express Yourself

40 Editor’s Pick: Mary Poppins


November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com



faBUlOUs venUes

26 Raising the Bar (Mitzvah) 28 4 Venues and Why We


5 Amazing TED Talks Every Busy Parent Should Hear

Family Activities for November



Sinterklass Festival


Throw an Eco-friendly Birthday Party


+ 121

Your Child’s Developmental Milestones

46 Last word

Kids’ birthday parties often end up being over-the-top celebrations that are bad for the environment and your budget. If you’d like to set a good example and encourage kids to take action on climate change and reduce our carbon footprint, it’s time for a rethink.

6 Editor’s Note 7 Events & Offers 8 Spotlight: Special Needs


We sat down to talk about the joy of creating toys and raising a family with Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa & Doug® toys. From Melissa & Doug headquarters in Wilton, Conn. Bernstein speaks frankly on motherhood, creativity and the ever allusive work/life balance.



Cover Photo: Melissa & Doug®



Westchester Family | November 2019


Coming Next Month Holiday Gift Guide From toys and books for kids to local selections for everyone we’ve got you covered this season with great gift choices! Homework? It’s every parent’s quandary. Homework, how much should you help? A little, a lot, stay out of it completely, just ask if it’s done, don’t ask if its done — what’s the right thing to do? Plus … Westchester Family’s awardwinning searchable calendar for families and much more! Look for it starting November 22!

Learning Together with Wonder IT'S TRUE! WHEN WE RENT OUR DINNERWARE WE DO THE DISHES Come visit the Lower Hudson Valley's only progressive school, where students engage in a dynamic and discovery-based curriculum infused with the arts, nature, and play. Encouraging critical thinking, collaboration and creativity for the last 30 years— Blue Rock is a great alternative for grades K-8.

Information Sessions & Campus Tours Saturday, November 16, 10 am to 12 pm Saturday, January 25, 10 am to 12 pm

Please register at ����������������������������� or 845-535-3353

Where Learning Comes Alive! West Nyack, NY

*DISHWASHING AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE! No strings attached! (Plates must be scraped) Delivery Available.



Casey Carle rle Comic Bubble Artist Photo courtesy of BubbleMania.com

DEC. 29, 3PM

NOV. 30, 1PM & 4PM FOR TICKETS: www.PalaceStamford.org 203-325-4466

DEC. 13, 7:30PM

JAN. 26, 33PM + MORE! Major Funding Provided By:

CO • COMMUNICATIONS Marketing | Public Relations | Design

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


Editor’s Note

Play With Me Like every parent I love to recall special times with my child. It surprises me that so many of my fondest memories are of us playing together. I didn’t realize how important play was at the time, and to be honest sometimes I huffed a bit because the laundry needed to be folded, but I mainly let it go - at least for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all it took. I remember the time we made a fort out of couch pillows, the time we made a slide from a used a commercial-size baking sheet, when we turned an empty refrigerator box into a puppet theater, and when I put down bowls of milk for my daughter and her friend to lap up as they crawled around on all fours pretending to be my kittens. It was fun. Educational experts contend that play is critical for childhood growth and development, and I agree. Luckily there are toy designers that also believe in the value of creativity and the pure joy that can be found in play. This month meet Melissa Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Melissa & Doug®, the award-winning toy company with headquarters in Wilton, Conn. Yes, there really is a Melissa - we met her, and Doug is her husband! Bernstein provides the creative spark for literally hundreds of new toys each year and she’s the mom of six! Learn about her novel take on work/life balance, motherhood, guilt, finding your bliss, inspiring your children, and her quest to help put play back into childhood. It’s guaranteed to be a

President Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO Joshua Schneps Group Publisher Clifford Luster cluster@schnepsmedia.com

Westchester Family

thought-provoking read. If you are planning your child’s birthday party soon, take note of “How to Throw an Eco-friendly Birthday Party.” Janine Clements uncovers some great tips on how to celebrate and still help save our environment. It’s a great way to raise awareness and get your child involved in taking steps to protect Mother Earth. If you are planning a bar/bat mitzvah we also have that covered. We’ve included articles that take you from the importance of the day to dancing the night away. To plan for fun on every day of the month see our Calendar of Events. Marissa Rodriguez has combed the county and found more than 100 things to do! We bet you can’t do them all, but we sure hope you have fun trying. Happy Thanksgiving, Jean Sheff Co-Publisher, Editor

WestchesterFamily.com Publisher Hester Aba hester@newyorkfamily.com co-Publisher/Editor Jean Sheff edit@westchesterfamily.com Calendar Editor Marissa Rodriguez calendar@westchesterfamily.com ADVERTISING SALES Account Managers LynnMarie Hanley lynnmarie.hanley@westchesterfamily.com Nina Spiegelman nina.spiegelman@westchesterfamily.com PRODUctION Art Director Leah Mitch production@schnepsmedia.com Production Staff Arthur Arutyunov Connie Sulsenti DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION Roberto Palacios 718-260-4531

Please recycle this magazine.

Time for Camp! Yes, believe it or not it’s time to think about your children’s summer camp plans. To help make the process easier and more efficient we would like to personally invite you to attend the free Westchester Family 2020 Camp Fairs. Here’s your chance to meet the directors and representatives for some of the best day, sleepaway, and specialty camps all under one roof. There will be plenty of time for you to ask questions and get a real feel for each individual camp. Sending your child to camp is an important step

so let us help you make an informed decision. Children are welcome to attend! 2020 Westchester Family Camp Fairs: Jan. 11, 2020 from noon to 3 p.m. at Rippowam Cisqua School, Bedford. Jan. 12, 2020 from noon to 3 p.m. at Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club, Mamaroneck. REGISTER TODAY AT WestchesterFamily.com/CampFair

Westchester Family (ISSN 1043-6774) is published monthly by Queens Family Media LLC. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for by the advertisers, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Limit of one free copy per reader. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products or services are endorsed by the Publisher. All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertising are available on an equal opportunity basis. Editorial submissions are welcome.

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Westchester Family | November 2019

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events & Offers

Our November contests PLAYMOBIL Christmas Bakery Enter to win the PLAYMOBIL Christmas Bakery complete with cookie cutters. Inside the bakery there’s a cookie workshop with different stations for cookie making and all the tools you need to make them. After baking send your goodies down the chute where you gather them in your basket. Set includes two elves, cookie cutters, cookie stamp, ladder, spatula, cat and other accessories. Retail value, $49.99. Contest ends Nov. 22, 2019. Enter now at WestchesterFamily.com/Play

Blair, an American Girl Doll Enter to win the American Girl Doll, Blair Wilson a young girl who resides on a farm in the Hudson Valley. Blair loves to express herself creatively through cooking and decorating and she’s learning to balance technology and real time with friends just like many young girls today. Retail value, $115. Contest ends Nov. 22, 2019. Enter now at WestchesterFamily. com/AG

Kids’ Night on Broadway® 2020 On one special evening this winter, kids take over Broadway! The Broadway League invites young people ages 18 and under to attend a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a fullpaying adult. The 24nd annual Kids’ Night on Broadway takes place on one night only, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. Fans can sign up for The Broadway Fan Club at KidsNightonBroadway.com to be the first to know when tickets go on sale! A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket also includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts and more. Select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks, Kids’ Night on Broadway activity books

Treat your children to the excitement and joy of seeing live Broadway theatre! and other events still to be announced. Kids’ Night on Broadway will also take place in multiple cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event on several dates throughout the year. Check KidsNightonBroadway.com

for specific dates and locations and for more information. Kids’ Night on Broadway, a program of The Broadway League, is generously presented by The New York Times with additional support from Westchester Family. – Jean Sheff November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


spotlight: special needs

Your Child’s Developmental Milestones What are they, and what to do if they are not met? By Jean Sheff


s soon as your child is born their health and development become your paramount concern. Scores of family and friends may start asking if your little one is rolling over, crawling, walking or talking. It’s important not to get pulled into comparing your child’s progress with others, but it’s also important to educate yourself on what the childhood developmental milestones are so you can recognize if your child might need early intervention services.

Developmental Milestone Examples Vicki Iannoti, M.D. describes Gross Motor Milestone Development across a child’s first 15 months and Language Milestone Development in a child’s first 3 years.

Gross Motor Milestone Development • 1 month old: can lift their head off the table when lying prone • 2 months old: can lift their head and chest off the table when lying in the prone position • 3 months old: can lift head and upper chest up to elbows bearing weight on their forearm • 4 months old: can lift themselves up to support weight of upper body on wrists and can roll from prone to supine • 5 months old: can roll from supine to prone (back to front) and can sit up with support • 6 months old: can sit up without support • 9 months old: pulls himself up to stand and cruises along furniture • 12 months old: taking steps unassisted • 15 months old: child is running.

• • • • • •

2 months old: social smile 3 months old: coos 4 months old: laughs 6 months old: babbles 8 months old: says “dada” and/or “mama” non-specifically 10 months old: understands “No”, says “mama” and “dada” specifically 12 months old: follows one-step commands with a gesture, twoword vocabulary 18 months old: points to one picture, identifies greater than two body parts, has a seven- to 10-word vocabulary 21 months old: points to two pictures, 20-word vocabulary, twoword sentences 24 months old: follows two-step commands, 50-word vocabulary, two-word sentences 30 months old: understands the concept of “I”, points to seven pictures, uses pronouns 36 months old: follows two-step commands, 250-word vocabulary, uses three-word sentences.

Milestones defined Vicki Iannotti, M.D., Chappaqua Pediatrics, a division of Boston Children’s Health Physicians, LLP, says there are volumes of material written on children’s developmental milestones, as it is the cornerstone of what pediatricians do for children. “Currently, one in six children in the U.S. has a developmental disability,” says Iannotti. “It is the stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that general pediatricians take a more active role in the evaluation and diagnosis of developmental delays than in the past.” At birth, pediatricians assess the newborn through a physical exam. Those results, and the newborn’s prenatal history, age of gestation, maternal health, and delivery give the initial picture of the newborn’s development. “There are five streams of development that when typical, occur in an orderly, timed, sequential pattern, affecting each other in a predictable manner,” explains Iannotti. The five streams of development are gross motor, fine motor, language, visualmotor problem solving, and social skills. See the side bar for specific examples of childhood developmental milestones.

age. “The questionnaire is completed by the child’s parents, as they know their child best, it identifies strengths and any areas of potential concern to monitor,” says Iannotti. In addition, Iannotti says, at wellchild visits pediatricians use the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), a validated developmental screening tool for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age. It is designed to identify children who may benefit from further evaluation.

areas of development, it is significant and should be evaluated further,” says Iannotti. Evaluation can include medical genetics, pediatric specialists including neurology and developmental pediatrics, ENT, and or audiology to name a few. Iannotti says if parents are concerned they should schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to initiate an evaluation. “They should not wait until a scheduled wellcare visit,” she advises.

Other tools The AAP recommends the use of a formal questionnaire, “Ages and Stages”, to assess development in each of the five areas at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 36 months, 48 months, and 60 months of

When to be concerned Parents should be concerned when their child’s development in any area is not made over one to three months of the expected time frame, or if development regresses. “If a child has a delay of six months or more in meeting milestones in one or more

The importance of early intervention The good news is many developmental delays can be positively addressed. “Evaluating developmental delays, determining a diagnosis, and establishing a treatment plan usually involves specialists in


Westchester Family | November 2019

Language Milestone Development • 1 month old: alerts to sound

neurodevelopmental pediatrics, physiatry, and a therapeutic team of specialists and educators who provide the necessary interventions over a period of months to years,” says Iannotti. Keep in mind that from infancy to age 3, your child can receive help through early intervention services. The Individuals with Disabilities Act, a federal law, requires states to provide early intervention. You can request a free evaluation from your state’s early intervention service program. If your child qualifies services may be provided to your child at no cost. A team of educators will develop an Individualized Family Service Plan for your child. The evidence for early intervention (EI) is

irrefutable, says Iannotti. EI programs support parent-child interactions, provide parental education on child development, reduce parental stress and guide parents to become strong advocates for their children. “Neurocognitive research has shown that there are optimal periods of brain development, more recently termed “sensitive periods”, during which learning is most efficient and almost critical to future success,” says Iannotti. Intervention during these early, sensitive periods of development can maximize the child’s functional potential and further minimize the secondary behavioral, social, and emotional problems that often stem from developmental delays that are not

addressed until school age. In short, EI and targeted therapy has proven to be of tremendous value. What can parents do to help their baby reach their milestones? “Parents provide the nurturing environment that facilitates brain development, feelings of security and stability to promote emotional well-being,” says Iannotti. “Reading, talking, singing, playing on the floor, supporting motor development through playful situations, and teaching through experiences has immeasurable benefit to the developing infant and child.” Jean Sheff is co-publisher and editor of Westchester Family.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


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Fares and accessibility for people with disabilities. The Reduced Fares are offered on all regular fixed routes to certified disabled persons with proper identification. The cost for a Reduced Fare trip is $1.35 a ride and includes a free transfer. If stepping onto the bus is difficult, the bus can kneel to lower the first step. The first few seats are designated for disabled riders and there is space for wheelchairs. Wheelchair lifts or ramps are on all Bee-Line buses.

Erica Smuckler 1 Bryant Crescent, White Plains 914-348-3040 childtherapybyerica.com ericasmuckler@gmail.com With over 10 years of experience in mental health and special needs, your child is in the right hands. As a licensed clinical social worker, Erica Smuckler uses a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to help children understand their thoughts and feelings in order to develop healthy emotional lifestyles. Children also learn independence, self-advocacy, social skills, and problem solving. She works with your child to set realistic goals and ensures they are met.

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Westchester Family | November 2019

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The Westchester School 45 Park Ave., Yonkers 914-376-4300 westchesterschool.org The school views all children, regardless of functioning level or handicapping condition, as children with potential for growth and development. Historically, educational programming, particularly for the severely handicapped was primarily concerned for easing the burden of those who cared for these children. Changes in legal standards and sociophilosophical perspectives made this an excessively limited and limiting approach. The school’s rationale for program and selection of educational objectives is based upon the developmental needs of the individual child.


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Family Focus. Passionate Professionals. Superior Outcomes. November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


It’s All About the

SparK The joy of creating toys and raising a family with Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa & Doug

By Corinne Zola


he caregiver carried the crying infant from under his armpits in her outstretched arms. She plopped the child to sit in the middle of the room where the surprised mom was in the midst of a phone call with a client. Without a word, the caregiver simply turned and left. The mom braced the phone against her shoulder and raced to comfort her child, all the while maintaining a calm and professional tone so as not to let the client know that a childcare crisis was unfolding during a sales call. It’s a scenario that might resonate with any mom who works and is trying to find a sane, guiltfree balance between raising a family and building a business or career. Meet Melissa Melissa Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Melissa & Doug ®, the award-winning toy company with headquarters in Wilton, Conn., was the mom in that challenging moment. Her first child (now 25) was a baby, the company was in its infant stage, and she and her husband Doug were furiously working out of their home marketing their first toy, the textured Fuzzy Farm Puzzle. The caregiver never came back, nor did dozens of others over the years. In addition to building one of the most beloved and iconic toy companies in the world, Bernstein is first and foremost a mom to six children, now ages 11 through 25. It’s inevitable that Bernstein would have her share of bad experiences with childcare over the years.


Westchester Family | November 2019

Bernstein says raising children and a company at the same time requires 24/7 attention and good childcare is critical for working parents. “Childcare is a career option and if you find someone who finds joy in caring for children then your child is going to feel that. I’m fortunate that we did eventually find caregivers we love and trust and who remain part of our family today,” says Bernstein. “Many people can love your kids – its OK, the more love they get the better, whether it’s from you or someone else, love is love.” Following her passion Bernstein is the creative force behind the company founded 31 years ago. Although not formally trained as a toy designer, Bernstein has the vision, and frankly, the joy for creating toys and play experiences that have helped propel the company to generate more than $450 million in annual revenues and introduce a staggering 100 to 200 new products every year. Not only that, Bernstein and her husband, who have been married for more than 30 years, maintain a busy home that according to Bernstein, “is always the house where their children’s friend’s congregate.” Bernstein didn’t start out with the intention of designing toys, but she always had a vibrant imagination. “Creation always was and is a salvation for me,” she says. “Whenever I am challenged by angst, I channel that into creation.” But after she graduated from college, she did not follow a path into the arts or a

design field, rather she began working in a large investment bank. She and her now husband were already dating and both found themselves deeply dissatisfied with their post-graduate lives on the professional track. Bernstein especially missed the spark and energy of a more creative lifestyle. They decided they didn’t belong in that world and would together take the risk of starting their own business. They agreed to do something they felt good about and that benefitted children. They landed on toys. Their first toy was the Fuzzy Farm Puzzle the first in their iconic line of wooden puzzles, which was notable because it was covered in colorful fuzzy textures - think woolly for sheep! Challenges and rewards of a mom/ entrepreneur As far as the elusive work/life balance that mothers seek, Bernstein is clear that she has had to be OK with giving up certain things in order to be the best parent she could be while continuing to grow and flourish her company. Bernstein made a decision from the beginning that she wasn’t going to feel guilty about building the company as well as her family. “I always dreamed of having a large, boisterous family and love nothing more than a full house with incessant activity and laughter. Combining work and parenting is never easy or ‘perfect,’ so I’ve needed to accept the fact both will ultimately suffer somewhat in that I cannot give 100% to either,” says Bernstein. “I have been intentional to rabidly spend every single

Courtesy photo

Meet Melissa Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Melissa & Doug, the award-winning toy company with headquarters in Wilton, Conn., and the mom of six! Melissa and her husband Doug are shown above surrounded by some of the thousands of toys they have created. moment available with my children outside of work.” She never goes out with friends on weeknights, never attends fundraisers and events, nor joins committees with meetings, travel, or works on nights and weekends. “I try to be home for dinner every single night and put them to bed. I also believe quality trumps quantity and make certain the time I spend with them is focused and impactful and they get my full, undivided attention,” she says. “It takes sacrifice to not prioritize personal friendships and other leadership roles outside Melissa & Doug above family, but it is so important to me to be present throughout their childhoods that it is a small price to pay to be available and impactful in their lives.” Bernstein says she hears parents complaining about work and feeling guilty, but she believes that creates a conflict for both the parent and the child. The kids

see that their mom is torn and learns to devalue her work. Bernstein believes that her enthusiasm for her work spills over to her children and provides a positive road map for them. “As women if we are able to choose to work out of the house and believe it is important to our sense of self and fulfillment, then that is the price we pay. We must communicate our passion for our work to our families and share the joys of working with them in order to be a role model.” Taking risks and having courage to fail Bernstein thinks of all her toy creations as her children. If a toy doesn’t catch on and is removed from the marketplace, she places one of them lovingly on the “failure shelves” in her office. This way she can continue looking and thinking about how to make a

change that will improve the toy and give it new life. The company does not care about trends and market research. “We don’t do what every other toy company does, we don’t follow fads and haven’t moved into technology-based toys,” says Bernstein. “Instead, we look backwards at play patterns that kids have loved for centuries that may have gotten dusty and need an update.” (Think: transforming paper dolls into double-sided, gender neutral, multicultural stand-up magnetic figures with companion pets, clothing, accessories, and a carrying case.) Bernstein’s children are her most discerning critics and have served as an in-house focus group. Although they started their business while dating and before having children, once born, the kids became part of the business as aggressive toy testers. “I always conveyed I wanted them to be

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


Melissa & Doug® opens first interactive play space gift shop ruthlessly honest and never say positive things just to make me happy and they took that to the extreme by rarely saying anything complimentary and only pointing out ways to make them better!” says Bernstein. “Playing with my children helps me understand the mindset of kids of all ages and truly absorb how to create better products that captivates their minds and possesses enduring play value. Many of my ideas came from watching them play and observing the play patterns that most engaged them, and also flaws in existing products that didn’t offer a profound experience.” Accepting our children for who they are “Doug and I are heartbroken that childhood used to be so much freer,” says Bernstein. “The advent of competition and achievement cultures, where our kids are judged by their scores and grades; the advent of technology; the creation of the playdate; fears of childhood abduction, has created a culture where parents are afraid of letting their children fail or to even have unscheduled time.” As she sees it parenting skills continue to decline. “Helicopter parenting has turned into snow plow parenting, which is much worse. Parents now get in front of their children chasing away obstacles and protecting them from the sting of failure. All of this is well intentioned but it works against the child. But I don’t want to sound preachy it’s so hard and I grapple with it every day.” Bernstein confesses to falling into the trap of pressing her children for high academic achievement. “I like to think that I didn’t put pressure on them, but I felt the pressure to do so deeply.” The irony of this is that while her four oldest children performed well in school and were academically inclined, her two youngest children, respectively in grade 6 and 8, are not traditional learners. Bernstein has had to consciously shift her parenting style and outlook to encourage their differences. “Life is about embracing who you are,” says Bernstein. “The world doesn’t herald kids who don’t do well in school or that fail. That is a shame because we are potentially stifling the ability and confidence of those who might be the visionaries.” Just let them play Bernstein’s two youngest children reinforced her feeling that all kids should be allowed more space and time to be curious, to imagine, and make discoveries in their own way. She feels strongly that the rote learning


Westchester Family | November 2019

The Westchester Children’s Museum, located in Rye is partnering with the iconic toy company Melissa & Doug to open the first-of-its-kind experiential play space and gift shop. The unique partnership between the Museum and Melissa & Doug reflects their mutual missions to use openended, unstructured play to stimulate creative thinking and build problemsolving skills. The new 400-squarefoot Gift Shop at the Westchester Children’s Museum opens December 2019 in time for holiday shopping and is part of a larger expansion project that increases the Museum’s exhibit and program areas to 20,000 square feet. “Our new gift shop will be absolutely unique among museum gift shops in that it takes what is normally a souvenir-buying experience and transforms it into an extension of the interactive activities that make a children’s museum so fun,” says Leta Wong, operations manager and exhibit chair at the Westchester Children’s Museum. “We are excited to partner with Melissa & Doug in this new initiative because they share our belief in the power of play to build creative lifelong learners.” The Gift Shop features a variety

and memorization expected of our children in our test-taking school culture is not productive and won’t teach our children to be innovators in the future. The main tenet behind Melissa & Doug’s toy creations is that playtime is critical to learning and children aren’t getting enough of it. Unstructured play encourages children to solve problems, learn critical thinking skills, and build imagination – all of which will lead them to one day become innovative, creative adults. “Play doesn’t go on your resume. No one says, today my son built a great pillow fort, but they should,” says Bernstein. “Playing helps children find the extraordinary in the everyday. It allows them to see possibilities and potential. A wooden rectangle block isn’t just a block – it could be a train, a rocket ship, or a cupcake. Play allows children to see the world with different eyes and become thinkers.” Melissa & Doug is so committed to putting play back into childhood, that they are launching a national grass roots program to help parents fight against tech overuse and better understand the value of free time and

Courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum

At the Westchester Children’s Museum Gift Shop kids can enjoy interactive play with Melissa & Doug toys starting in December 2019. of play experiences where children can pretend to be a vet, a gardener, a chef, a caregiver, a train conductor, a doctor, an astronaut, a princess, a magician, or anything their imagination can conjure. The Gift Shop is currently open Wednesdays through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but hours may be extended during the holidays so check the Museum’s website, DiscoverWCM.org.

open-ended play. They recently hired their first Chief Mission Officer to help them be partners to parents and “be the voice that says it’s OK to play.” Find your spark Bernstein uses the word “spark” often. She uses it to refer to what it feels like when an idea for a toy hits her, when she sees the way a child plays with a certain toy, when she feels her creative energy building toward some new discovery or design. For her, spark means passion and innovation. “Everything is built on a spark,” she says. “To do anything meaningful, you need to be passionate about it, whatever that is. If you find your spark, then I say go for it. Explain it to your kids. You will be an amazing role model because of it.” Corinne Zola is a founder of the Westchester Children’s Museum and a current board member. She and her husband are the proud parents of two who grew up playing with Melissa & Doug toys!

Serving the Larchmont area for 40+ years Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Licensed by New York State Office of Children and Family Services


For more information about the 2019-20 school year contact: abelluzzi@lacny.org Address: 60 Forest Park Avenue, Larchmont, NY 10538 Phone: 914-834-3984 | Website: http://lacpreschool.com

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


How to Throw an

Eco-friendly Birthday Party

By Janine Clements


ids’ birthday parties often end up being over-the-top celebrations that are bad for the environment and your budget. If you’d like to set a good example and encourage kids to take action on climate change and reduce our carbon footprint, it’s time for a rethink. Let’s consider your budget too. Instead of organizing a huge blowout for your child’s birthday, tone things down and throw an eco-friendly party instead. It can be equally awesome, but way better for the planet and your pocketbook. Here are some simple ways you can go green for your child’s next birthday bash. Pick an environmentally friendly theme Celebrate your kid’s special day the eco way and opt for a nature-themed party, which you can carry through from the invitations to the cake. Kids love to be outside even in the winter, so host a magical fairy party (wings optional) where kids build fairy houses made of twigs, leaves, and rocks, or have a teddy bear’s picnic where guests bring their favorite teddy and sit on picnic blankets in the backyard. If it’s cold, wet or windy, it’s easy to bring everything indoors with minimum effort.


Westchester Family | November 2019

Outsource to an eco-friendly venue If you’d prefer someone else to do some of the work, then there are a number of venues offering fabulous eco-friendly and educational parties all year round. At Rye Nature Center, young guests are encouraged to go outside even in winter. Children can warm up around a campfire, track animals in the snow or head indoors to meet resident animals. For kids keen on marine conservation, Norwalk Aquarium has three exciting eco party themes including Shark Safari, where mini party guests get to touch a live shark. The Aquarium also gets a big thumbs-up for eliminating single use plastic. Go digital with your invitations Save some trees and send virtual party invitations instead of paper ones, which usually end up in the trash anyway. Evite and Paperless Post offer a superb selection of free or premium digital invitations that are easy to customize and much cheaper than cards. It’s easy to track responses and follow up too. If you are fixed on sending physical cards, make sure you get ones that are made from recycled paper. Go green for gifts How many times have you thought, “Ugh! Another pointless plastic toy,” when your child unwraps a birthday present? Instead,

create a gift list with a selection of ecofriendly toys and other items and send it out with your digital invitations. Oompa, an online eco-friendly toy provider, is a great source for ideas. If you don’t relish the idea of finding space for a big pile of presents, ask for contributions to your kid’s favorite experiences. These could be tickets to shows or an annual museum pass. Another superb idea is to arrange a book swap. Simply ask each child to wrap a gently used kid’s book from home, which they can exchange for another at the end of the party (this also can double as a party favor). If you’re feeling brave, go the whole hog and forget presents altogether. Instead, ask for donations to your child’s favorite animal charity. Rethink party decorations Instead of a room filled with non-recyclable decorations destined for the trash, switch to ones made from recycled paper or other natural materials. You can find an array of possibilities on Etsy. Feeling creative? Then make DIY paper chains, popcorn garlands or colorful bunting made from old fabric. This is something your kids will love doing too. Another option is to buy high quality decorations that you can reuse again and again or pass on to someone else on the party circuit. Helium balloons are a big no-no. Not

only is there a world shortage of helium, but also the balloons often end up landing in water, which can harm marine life. Hang up colorful paper pompoms instead, which are just as pretty and considerably better for the environment. Be wise when it comes to tableware There’s nothing worse than having to throw out a heap of plastic plates, cutlery, and cups knowing it will end up as landfill or incinerated. Instead you can order compostable party plates and utensils from online vendors such as Eco Party Time. If children are old enough, instead of plastic water bottles and juice boxes, serve drinks in glass mason jars with paper straws. Reusable plastic cups are a better option if you already own them. Serve crowd-pleasing organic finger food You can go eco-friendly with party food too.

Replace junk food and preservative-laden sugary treats, which will leave kids running wild and you dealing with the fallout, with homemade organic finger food that’s equally tasty but better for the kids. Delicious ideas include mini egg and bacon tarts, mac and cheese cups, fruit kebabs, carrot and cucumber sticks with ranch dressing and zucchini muffins. When it comes to the cake, opt for a nature theme or an animal design. The leftovers at the end of every kid’s party can be eye-popping. Bear in mind that youngsters are generally too excited to eat a lot and be mindful of how much food you prepare. Opt for eco-friendly party games Have a few games up your sleeve that don’t need any props, but will delight the little ones. A nature scavenger hunt in the garden will keep kids of all ages entertained. If it’s too cold to go outside, organize a craft such as painting a wooden birdhouse or making animal masks out of cardboard. These can

also double as party favors. Musical chairs, tug-of-war or freeze tag can also to be a hit. Ditch goodie bags filled with plastic We’re not sure how or why giving out goodie bags full of cheap, plastic toys and other junk ever became the protocol for kids’ parties. One solution is to buck the trend and skip them altogether, but if you think that is too bold a move, go for kid-pleasing eco party favors. Suggestions include small plant pots filled with soil and a packet of seeds, organic bath bombs or homemade play-dough. Cut down on waste And finally, let “reduce, reuse, recycle” be your mantra for the day and at the end of the party make sure you have separate bins for food waste, recycling (including wrapping paper), and hopefully very little trash. Janine Clements is a Westchester-based ecofriendly journalist.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


party Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Party Directory Special Advertising Supplement

Bedford Playhouse 633 Old Post Road, Bedford 914-234-6704 bedfordplayhouse.org Popcorn, cake + THE BIG SCREEN! With three state-of-the-art theaters, a sophisticated event space and a spacious bar and cafe, Bedford Playhouse is the coolest new venue for birthday parties, bar/ bat mitzvahs and private events of all kinds. Celebrate in style - multiple party packages are available. Visit Bedfordplayhouse.org for photos, rates and info.

Dave’s Cast Of Characters 914-235-7100 davescast.com Dave’s offers exciting inflatable rides, fully interactive shows featuring characters from your favorite movies and TV shows, DJs, clowns, magicians, face painters, tattoo artists, balloon sculptors, caricaturists, balloon decor and fun food carts. New at Dave’s: PHOTO BOOTHS!


Featured inflatable rides include: Cliffhanger Slide, Wild One, Kong’s Revenge, Wrecking Ball, Big Kahuna & Wild Rapids water slides, Castles, Combo Units, Toddler Units, Carnival Games and the ever popular EuroBungee. Plus much, much more.

Dave’s Cast Of Characters 914-235-7100 davescast.com Looking for a wide range of entertainment services to make your party exciting and fun? Then call Dave’s. Dave’s offers exciting packages including costumed characters, rides, games, and entertainers of all kinds. Featuring hundreds of current and classic characters that look and sound authentic. From princesses to pirates, superheroes to Santa Claus, there’s something to delight the child in all of us! Dave’s also has hundreds of rides and games to entertain children and adults alike. Let Dave’s put together an exciting package for you.

Westchester Family | November 2019

Gymcats Gymnastic Center

ISG Gymnastics Parties

1 Odell Plaza, Yonkers 914-965-7676 gymcats.net Trampolines, foam-filled pits, bouncy castle, rings to swing on, air castle, giant air slide and more. Private fun-filled parties and an energetic staff make your child’s birthday a memorable experience. Private one-and-a-half hour parties for ages 3 and up. No experience necessary; all ages have a great time. Party times fill quickly, so book early.

151 Crotona Ave., Harrison 835-0010 isggymnastics.com Fun, fun, fun! Having a birthday? How about a gymnastics party! No experience necessary. A fun-filled, unique way to celebrate a very special day with 4,000-square-feet of fun that’s all yours! Trapeze bar, trampoline, balance beam, bars, tumbling, rings, bouncycastle and more are sure to make sure every attendee has a blast! All ages, 1 through teens. Age-appropriate program and equipment. Birthday parties at ISG are always private allowing the birthday child to really enjoy each and everyone of their guests!

Homefield Bowl 938 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers 914-969-5592 homefieldbowl.com Homefield Bowl is a fullservice bowling alley featuring open bowl, league bowl for juniors, adults and mixed leagues. Great party packages for kids and adults! Senior programs also available. Call them today to plan your bowling party and more.

Katonah Art Center 40 Radio Circle, Mt. Kisco 914-232-4843 katonahartcenter.com Celebrate your child’s birthday with a unique art party at KAC. Choose your date and time, customize your

Visit bedfordplayhouse.org bedfordplayhouse.org Visit today to to get get the the party party started! started! today

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Flip, jump and bounce through our state-of-the-art gymnastics facility with our experienced instructors. Enjoy a private party room with customized menu choices. Choose one of our many great packages and themes. Parents sit back and relax while our instructors and party supervisors do the work!

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Largest Selection of Melissa & Doug Toys, Legos, Cars, Trucks, Planes and Boat Models, Wooden toys, Lionel trains, MTH, Atlas, KATO, Bachmann, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Corgi, Franklin Mint, Revell, Ertl, Tamiya and more.....

ţśŞůţŠţůşşţŜƑŧƑÕÕÕů•¯¨‡—‡£ƒ}¯Õ£ů~¯¨ 938 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers Book a party and receive a free game with this ad November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


party Directory | Special Advertising Supplement


fun are

914. 232.4843 caroleatkac@gmail.com www.katonahartcenter.com




theme and project: painting, pottery, and jewelry-making to name a few, create memories and have fun! Let them handle the rest. Party projects can be customized to your own special theme. Call 914-232-4843 or email caroleatkac@gmail.com. Visit their website to book your party today.

Musical Munchkins 914-771-7000 musicalmunchkins.com Engaging live music makes the best parties! Their fun performers strum and drum with kids aged 6 months to 6 years, including gathering drums, chikitas, realistic puppets, story-songs, buddy bands, plus dancing scarves, circle and partner games. CD of Munchkin Favorites for birthday child! Favor CDs available at $1 each.

Party Line Rentals

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Westchester Family | November 2019

21 Vreeland Ave., Elmsford 914 592-1200 partylinerentals.com Party Line Rentals is the premiere event rental company that has served corporations, municipalities, production companies, contractors and homeowners throughout the NY Tri-State area for over 30 years. They offer a complete line of clean, ready to use rental inventory that is second to none. Their tent inventory is one of the area’s largest, featuring white tents from mini frames to structure tents. They also have a large selection of tables, chairs, china and glassware. To complete the look, they carry catering equipment, staging, flooring, air conditioning, heating and lighting, plus electrical power distribution.

Play Connection 650 Lee Blvd., Yorktown Heights 914-214-4278 localpartyvenue.com Play Connection has an event venue for every age and any kind of celebration. They leave no detail incomplete because they know that you

have a busy schedule. All you have to do is show up and have fun with your guests. Parties options: free play arcade room, personalized video signs, inflatables, pinatas, games, interactive party hosts!

The Rock Club New Rochelle 914-633-7625 TheRockClubParty.com Celebrate your child’s next birthday party at The Rock Club. Rock climbing is a fun and social sport that will bring engagement and lasting memories to your child’s birthday. Enjoy 90 minutes of climbing followed by 30 minutes in their private party room overlooking the gym. Combine the excitement of athletics and rock climbing with their special Rock n’ Roll party option. Dream bigger, climb higher at The Rock Club.

Westchester Toys Trains & Hobbies Galleria Mall - White Plains 914-421-1262 westchester-trains.com One stop shopping for party gifts and favors! They have it all. Largest selection of Melissa & Doug toys, Legos, cars, trucks, planes and boat models, wooden toys, Lionel trains, MTH, Atlas, KATO, Bachmann, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Corgi, Franklin Mint, Revell, Ertl, Barbie and more!

World Cup Gymnastics 160 Hunts Lane, Chappaqua 914-238-9267 worldcupschools.com Kids flip for World Cup Gymnastics parties. Jump on trampolines and air castles, flip on the Tumble Trak and swing into their foam and ball pits, then settle down in a party room to enjoy more fun. Parents can relax while they do the work! Ask about their new themed parties and special gym for children 3 and under.


All of our Parties are Private. Our interactive staff will make your child’s party a very special one. Obstacle courses, Trampolines, Airslide, Foam Filled Pit, Air Castle & More!

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151 Crotona Ave. Harrison, New York 914-835-0010 • ISGGymnatics.com

(914) 965-7676 | www.Gymcats.net Engaging live music makes the best parties! Our fun performers strum and drum with kids aged 6 months to 6

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www.TheRockClubParty.com November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


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Westchester Family | November 2019

mitzvah bar/bat

Guide to planning the perfect celebration

A Search for Meaning Fabulous Venues Mitzvah Projects Educational Podcasts

Julie Ades Richter Photography: jarphotography.net

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


bar/bat Mitzvah

Meaningful Mitzvah Projects Helping out the community can be an important part of bar/bat mitzvah preparations By Liz Landau Ammirato


s part of their bar or bat mitzvah preparation, many young people complete a Tikkun Olam (repair the world) mitzvah service project to help others and give back to the community. Melissa Cohavi, director of the Jewish Identity Development Program at Congregation B’nai Yisrael in Armonk advises students planning a mitzvah project to put a lot of thought into what they want to do. “It’s important to add meaning to the process,” she says. “The best projects involve actively participating in something and making a real connection, rather than just raising money.” Cohavi suggests that b’nei mitzvah students start by looking at what they are good at and what has affected them. For instance, someone who is good at math can tutor younger kids. If they like to sing or play an instrument they may want to perform at nursing homes or hospitals. If they have a relative who suffers from a disease, they can organize a team for a related Walkathon. By examining their individual strengths and interests, each bar or bat mitzvah child can choose a fulfilling project. Spreading the goodwill “Collections of food, books, or pet supplies to be donated to local organizations can also be displayed as bimah baskets or centerpieces,” suggests Irene Metz, who is the Clergy Coordinator for Temple Beth Abraham (TBA) in Tarrytown and is also on the Executive Committee at Community Synagogue of Rye (CSR). “It’s a great way to reinforce your mitzvah project with your guests. At TBA, we ask our b’nei mitzvah students to create a poster about their project to proudly display in the lobby. At CSR, the b’nei mitzvah speaks about their project as part of the Friday Shabbat Service. It’s important for the congregations to learn about, and be proud of the volunteer work their young members are doing to create a better, kinder world,” she says. Think locally Many local organizations in Westchester offer


Westchester Family | November 2019

opportunities for mitzvah projects. Here are some great ideas: Backyard Sports Cares provides high quality sports programming for special needs children. Through one-to-one peer playing with young volunteers, the children learn self-confidence and a love of sports in a safe, supportive setting. It’s a rewarding experience for both the volunteers and the program participants. “Children with special needs often spend a lot of time with adult teachers, physicians, and therapists. This lets them interact with other kids in a very organic way,” says Executive Director Danny Bernstein. “For the volunteer partner, it’s a

great way for them to learn how to focus on others.” The programs are held at Purchase College. Volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment and must be available every Sunday. While many of the volunteer players are in high school, there are a number of opportunities for middle school-age girls and boys. For more information visit byardsportscares.org. With wildlife, nature trails, and a variety of educational programs for all ages, The Weinberg Nature Center in Scarsdale is dedicated to promoting conservation activities. According to Director Sam Weinstock, volunteering at the nature

disabilities, children and families, and geriatric care. Director of Community Engagement Rebecca Sigman meets individually with a b’nei mitzvah child and the celebrant’s family to come up with a plan. “We want to get a sense of what really matters to them, and tailor a volunteer project that has meaning,” explains Sigman. One opportunity with WJCS is to create Mitzvah Care Kits, where the family can fundraise and assemble kits for various needs, such as art supplies for the WJCS group homes; pajamas, books, toys or school supplies for children’s programs; or personal care kits for their violence prevention

Ongoing impact Faith Dallal and her son Ben connected with WJCS prior to his bar mitzvah last May at the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. The family made sensory kits to benefit the WJCS Autism Center and met with Director Lee Englander for a tour and to gain a deeper understanding of the services WJCS offers to that population. “I saw the important things that the Autism Center does for people with autism, like providing locator bracelets in case they wander off,” says Ben. “Lee also told us that sensory toys are really useful for dealing with nervous feelings and attention issues. It felt good to know that the kits we put together will help others.” Faith and Ben are planning to continue their volunteer relationship with WJCS.

Liz Landau Ammirato is a freelance writer based in Mahopac.

I The A r e a’s Pr e m ie r E n t e rta in m e n t V e n u e .

We will Provide the “WOW” Factor for Your Mitzvah or Sweet 16. expect a celebration your family and guests will never forget.

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programs. Specific lists of products that are needed are provided. For more details email rsigman@wjcs.com.


center is a wonderful way to support the community as well as a learning experience. “Understanding how to pay attention to cues and respect the needs of an animal is a great lesson in patience and compassion,” says Weinstock. The nature center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities ranging from the socialization, care, and feeding of animals (including chinchillas, snakes, rabbits, birds, bugs, newts, and a bearded dragon); to trail maintenance, planting, and tree identification; to art projects for the center’s children’s classes. For all volunteer activities, ‘tweens or young teens must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sam Weinstock meets with potential volunteers to determine what activities they are comfortable doing and create a volunteer schedule. He can be reached via email at sweinstock@scarsdale. com. Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) serves 20,000 people (including 7,000 children) of diverse backgrounds throughout Westchester with nearly 80 programs providing expert help related to mental health, trauma, developmental

By examining their individual strengths and interests, each bar or bat mitzvah child can choose a fulfilling project.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


bar/bat Mitzvah

Raising the Bar (Mitzvah) A search for meaning in a world of ‘stuff’ By Eliza Bremner


hat is the significance of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah? “All Jewish milestones provide us with a meaningful way to make time sacred,” explains Rabbi Eytan Hammerman of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison. Transitions that are linked to a specific age like becoming a bar/ bat mitzvah are automatic; the ceremony and celebration represent an added religious layer, which makes it sacred. Much thought, attention, and money often go into the celebration of a child becoming bar/bat mitzvah. Jewish tradition states that the family of a child who is coming of age must have a festive meal, a seudat mitzvah. Did tradition predict the kind of stress-inducing party planning involved in many of the elaborate celebrations of today? “Judaism has a lot to say


Westchester Family | November 2019

about modesty,” notes Hammerman. So how do you keep the event grounded and connect it to the Jewish tradition in ways that are meaningful and relevant? Value education & understanding Bar/bat mitzvah education comprises of one important element. Many celebrants are able to read from the Torah (sacred scroll) for the first time. “Nearly all bnai mitzvah youth can read at least a sentence or two,” says Hammerman. The service can be adapted to the child, especially if there are special needs, but is meant to be a challenge; the ceremony should represent a great achievement. A measure of real understanding of Jewish content remains central. Religious study prepares youth to be Jewish adults, with Hebrew reading skills, knowledge about what Torah is, and an understanding of Jewish

history and culture. Hammerman describes the training involved as, “providing a toolkit so that this person can go into any synagogue in the world and participate in a service.” Ritual & connection One common theme in bnai mitzvah ceremonies is the passing down of Torah from generation to generation, both physically and spiritually. This important ritual can help a teen to understand his or her connection to ancestors and a wider Jewish community. Rabbi Hammerman talks about taking old traditions and embracing them through our modern lens. “We are maintaining a link to our ancient traditions, in an ancient language, despite the allure of every shiny thing that we find in our contemporary lives.” Torah remains relevant; we just have to look. Loen Amer, director of Youth Engagement at Bet Torah in Mount Kisco, likes to emphasize that this symbolic event is not the destination. “We’re very interested in helping teens see this as a step on their journey into a life of meaning as an adult.” Preparation for the bar/bat mitzvah includes considering how

Recommendations for further reading they relate to themselves, their families, the world, Judaism, and overall spirituality. Bet Torah recently began using elements of a Moving Traditions curriculum to build on the successful program their clergy and educators have taught 7th graders in their synagogue for years. The program includes the entire family and, uniquely, celebrates the child becoming a teenager. Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Chief of Education and Program at Moving Traditions, designed the curriculum to guide Jewish teens toward meaningful responsibility. Brenner notes that even historical text, Pirkei Avot, describes a phase between age 13, when a child becomes responsible for observing mitzvot, to 15, when he or she can study Talmud and understand its complexity. An important theme of the education is, “What is your unique voice and how can you help others?” Amer urges families not to get bogged down in the details of the party. Many families have shared with her and future bar/bat mitzvah families that, “after the service finished, they didn’t need anything else.” Celebrate your bar/bat mitzvah and enjoy the moment!

Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah and The JPS B’nai Mitzvah Torah Commentary (JPS Study Bible), both by Jeffrey K. Salkin. Bar Mitzvah: A Guide to Spiritual Growth, by Marc-Alain Ouaknin, Francoise-Anne Menager.

Tips for keeping it grounded • Meaning first. Try to remember the tradition and significance of this day. It may mean different things to different people, but the ties to Jewish history and tradition are irrefutable. Discuss with your child the benefits and obligations of becoming bar/bat mitzvah. Religious success is not about performance, as we see in other aspects of life; it’s about being present and feeling connected. • Family values. The bar mitzvah is based on your child becoming a part of the wider Jewish community, and it’s also an opportunity to bring the family closer

together, linking generations, to the benefit of all. Parents go through this process with their children and can grow and explore their own spirituality as well. • Jewish responsibility. Tikkun olam (repair the world) has come to represent social justice efforts, tzedakah (the giving of charity) and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness). Any of these could be part of a mitzvah project. Families might consider donating a percentage of the party cost to a charity or donating a portion of gifts. • Follow through. Bar/bat mitzvah is the beginning of the journey to adulthood. Take your teen to a shiva minyan and show him the power to comfort someone. Continue to encourage tikkun olam after the mitzvah project is done. Use your Jewish values every day! Elisa Bremner, Armonk-based nutritionist and freelance writer, prepared her two sons for their bar mitzvah ceremonies (with the help of Trope Trainer™ and Chabad Hebrew School), and produced uniquely meaningful celebrations for each.

Lisa Prawer - Bergen County, NJ www.thetallislady.com info@thetallislady.com

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November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


bar/bat Mitzvah

4 Venues and Why We Chose Them Local moms speak up! By Janine Clements


n and around Westchester there is a wide array of venues where you can host your child’s bar or bat mitzvah, ranging from grand hotels to cool nightclub-style spaces. We got the lowdown from four local moms on why they chose their particular venue and found out some handy tips for parents when it comes to choosing where to celebrate your child’s very special day. Club Infinity, Pleasantville If your son or daughter is begging for a dance party-style event for their friends, then this super-cool venue, which has a New York nightclub vibe, is ideal. Club Infinity has 8,000 square feet of event space and a capacity of 400. As well as state-of-the-art sound and light systems, there is a Julie Ades Richter Photography: jarphotography.net separate entertainment room with a photo booth and an arcade hall. The Horowitz family celebrated Raquel’s bat mitzvah at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester in White Jen Abbey and her husband Plains. Jared, who are based in Mamaroneck, selected Club Infinity for their son Ryan’s bar mitzvah Glen Island Harbour Club, out the location well in advance, especially party last fall as he wanted a fun, danceNew Rochelle during busier times of year, get your child’s oriented party that his friends would enjoy. Rachel and Craig Felenstein from Rye have input when choosing a venue. Jen was sold on Club Infinity because they chosen Glen Island Harbour Club for their offered an all-in-one solution, which meant daughter Ayla’s bat mitzvah next year. This New York Botanical Garden, everything other than food was taken care stunning waterfront venue can accommodate The Bronx of, and that made things much easier to plan. up to 500 guests and has two ballrooms with The iconic New York Botanical Garden The venue offers endless ways to customize separate entrances. After looking at several makes a unique and exceptionally beautiful your event depending on your budget. Extras locations, they decided Glen Island had the venue for a bar/bat mitzvah. One mom very include a T-shirt cannon, candy buffet and vibe they were looking for and Rachel loved familiar with the space is Staci Pollack from indoor fireworks. the flow of the rooms. A big selling point was Larchmont. After going to a bar mitzvah Ryan’s party started off with a cocktail the setting and the outdoor space overlooking there, she was so impressed that she booked hour in the lounge where guests mingled the Sound with the New York skyline in it for her first child’s event and subsequently before dinner and then friends and family the distance. Given that the event will be in for her other three children. Her priorities danced the night away in the main room. May, they wanted somewhere with outside were to have somewhere within easy reach Party motivators kept kids entertained with entertaining potential, so this venue is ideal that also had high quality food. The Garden plenty of games. and the guests can enjoy the views. There will Terrace Room, which has a capacity of up to Tip: When it comes to finding the right also be a cocktail area for the youngsters, a DJ 300 people, features a ballroom and a tent venue, sit down as a family and come up with and plenty of games geared toward the kids. space for kids’ entertainment. a short list of what you want the event to The décor and theme will reflect Ayla’s tastes At her daughter Jordan’s recent bat reflect and represent, and use that to guide and interests. mitzvah, the caterer was Buddakan. As you. Tip: As well as making sure you sort well serving Kosher-style food, they also


Westchester Family | November 2019

Where to Party provided Kosher meals for some members of her family. Staci loved that there was a place where the kids had cocktail hour, while the adults’ cocktail hour was held outside so guests were able enjoy the spectacular surroundings. This was the first time this option had been offered and Staci felt it really added to the event. Adults had a sit-down dinner, while the kids had food in the lounge area. Each of her kids’ events was tailored to the specific child. Jordan, who is into musical theater, chose an “On Broadway” theme for her celebration. Tip: Find a venue with quality food and a space that works for the adults and for kids. There should be somewhere where both adults and kids can mix. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, White Plains Harrison-based local realtor Meredith Horowitz and her husband David knew they wanted a hotel for their daughter Raquel’s bat mitzvah party, so out-of-town guests could take the elevator to bed instead of facing the hassle of driving home. They decided on the

Local moms selected these locations for their child’s bar/bat celebration: Club Infinity 404 Irvington St., Pleasantville 914-214-4800 partyinfinity.com

New York Botanical Garden 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx 646-741-1400 nybgevents.com The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester 3 Renaissance Square, White Plains 914-946-5500 ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/new-york/ westchester

Glen Island Harbour Club 50 Glen Island Park, New Rochelle 914-636-6500 gi-hc.com

Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester in White Plains because they loved its glamorous feel and they were able to have both the service and party in one place. The luxurious venue has a capacity of up to 320 for a sit down dinner with a dance floor. It also has valet parking and the family gets a complimentary suite. The service took place in the impressive second floor Gallery with Meredith’s rabbi and was followed by a cocktail hour with an array of food stations and a mocktail bar for the kids. After dinner in the ballroom, the DJ

took to the stage and the kids hit the dance floor. There were party motivators, games, and prizes to keep them entertained all night long. Meredith brought in an outside kosher caterer to prepare the food. Tip: Decide what kind of party you and your kids want right from the beginning. It’s not always about having a big blow out. In fact, one of Meredith’s friends had a party in their backyard and another had the entire event at their synagogue. Janine Clements is Westchester-based freelance writer.


favorites TO P 5 2019

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


bar/bat Mitzvah

@13: A Moving Traditions Podcast By Jean Sheff


tage Fright. Family dynamics. Social pressure. Mazel tov! Moving Traditions, a non-profit organization that works to help kids thrive as “ethically, culturally and Jewishly connected people,” brings you @13, a six-episode podcast for parents and teens as as they approach becoming a bar/bat mitzvah. Producer Michele Siegel (Slate, The New York Times, WNYC) includes rabbis, authors, comedians, psycholigists, parents, and teens to discuss the time-honored roots and current realities of this Jewish rite of passage. Guests include Peggy Orenstein, Mark Oppenheimer, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rachel Simmons, and Andrew Smiler. Sara Ivry, also host of the award-winning Vox Tablet podcast, hosts the podcast.

Episodes such as, “Being Incredibly Nervous” and “I Want to Fit In” get right to the heart of many of the modern concerns kids have. While the episodes “Sunrise, Sunset” and “At Thirteen” answer some of the vexing concerns of parents. All the episodes are appropriate for kids and their families and function best when they are listened together so you can stop the podcast to discuss the content, or listen completely and discuss afterward. Use it as a tool box as you approach the planning and execution of your bar/bat mitvah celebration. Moving Traditions also has a B’nai Mitzvah Training Institute that offers training programs at each of their six staffed offices across the county., New York being one of them. The informative six-part series @ 13 can be found at movingtraditions.org.

Be a part of the Conversation!


/westchesterfamilymagazine 30

Westchester Family | November 2019

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Listings Special Advertising Supplement

Bedford Playhouse 633 Old Post Road, Bedford 914-234-6704 bedfordplayhouse.org With three extraordinary new state-of-the-art theaters, a modern and spacious bar and cafe and a luxurious Wine Tasting Room –Bedford Playhouse is the hottest new venue for bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate events and private screenings. Celebrate in style with a variety of event options ... from private screenings to live bands, cocktails, catering and movies – Bedford Playhouse will keep your guests celebrating and rockin’ throughout the party.

Club L.E.D 111 Rockland Plaza (behind Modell’s) Nanuet 845-267-2022 LEDCelebration.com A premiere event space with a New York City nightclub vibe. Club L.E.D. is the dream location for any special life event and celebration! Dance the night away with your family and friends in their state-of-the-art facility! Their warm and friendly customer service is second to none. Your experience leading up to and during your families Mitzvah or Sweet 16 will be stress free as they expertly guide you from your first meeting all the way to the end of your celebration.

Expressway Music DJs Midtown New York City 212-953-9367 expresswaymusic.com info@expresswaymusic.com Clients who want that fine line between elegant and fun without being over-thetop hire Expressway Music

DJs. With them, the music will never be deafening and the MC will not overuse the microphone. They believe that the DJ and MC should be facilitators and not a focal point. They are experts at reading the crowd and have a strong reputation at filling up dance floors with guests of all ages and ethnicities! They also offer Photo Booths, Dancers, Karaoke, Live Music, A/V Equipment, Montage Production, and more. Call owner DJ Dave Swirsky to discuss … Unrushed and at your convenience.

Funtime Amusements 914-773-1320 funtimeamusements.net As one of the most highly referred event companies in Westchester, Funtime is a one-stop-shop for all your event needs. Wedding, company picnic or house party, 40 years of experience ensures it will be a great event. They own, operate and maintain their rides, games and equipment for the highest safety. That is why they can say, “Don’t worry, be very happy.”

indoor/outdoor sessions and events such as Sweet 16’s, Mitzvah’s and Weddings.

Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club 555 S. Barry Ave., Mamaroneck 914-696-1130 mamaroneckbeachandyacht. com MB&YC is under new ownership. Their goal is to reposition the club as the premier club in the area by restoring the club to its former grandeur, providing unparalleled levels of service and state-of-the-art facilities for members and events. Charles Osborn came from a privileged family and originally built the great estate, which now houses the club, for private use. The estate’s present incarnation as a private luxury recreational club continues this original purpose and may well also guarantee the preservation of this important property representing an ideal marriage of use and stewardship. They exist to provide a club that successfully supports the needs of their membership and host special non-member special events.

Donna Mueller Photography 914-980-2267 DonnaMuellerPhotography. com DonnaMueller@optonline.net Donna Mueller is a mom of three boys, lives in Pleasantville and specializes in family photography. Voted Westchester magazine’s ‘Best Family Photographer’ in 2016 and Westchester Family magazine’s ‘Best Family Photographer’ in 2016 and 2017. Most recently, voted Hulafrog’s ‘2018 Most Loved’ Photographer. Available for

Party Line Rentals 21 Vreeland Ave., Elmsford 914 592-1200 partylinerentals.com Party Line Rentals is the premiere event rental company that has serviced corporations, municipalities, production companies, contractors and homeowners throughout the NY Tri-State area for over 30 years. They offer a complete line of clean, ready to use rental inventory that is second to none. Their tent inventory is one of the

area’s largest, featuring white tents from mini frames to structure tents. They also have a large selection of tables, chairs, china and glassware. To complete the look, they carry catering equipment, staging, flooring, air conditioning, heating and lighting, plus electrical power distribution.

The Rock Club New Rochelle 914-633-7625 TheRockClubParty.com Break away from tradition with an exciting rock climbing bar/bat mitzvah at The Rock Club. The Rock Club specializes in unique, dramatic events that your child, family and guests will remember forever. They combine the excitement of group participation in a cuttingedge sport with nightclub energy in a space surrounded by artificial rock formations over 40 feet high. The result is an event guaranteed to create impact and lasting memories.

The Tallis Lady 201-321-4995 thetallislady.com info@thetallislady.com Find exquisite handmade tallitot in all styles and prices from Lisa Prawer, the Tallis Lady. Whether you are looking for a tallit for men, women, bar or bat mitzvah, tallit clips or a one of a kind kippah, the Tallis Lady has it all and the largest collection to choose from. Each piece displays incredible artistry and will be cherished for years. Shop online (thetallislady.com) or at her studio (by appointment) in convenient Northern Bergen County, NJ.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


Let’s GO

Sinterklaas Festival An annual magical Dutch celebration in Rhinebeck By Holly Freehill


turgeons, polar bears, and Grumpuses — Oh My! Mark your calendar for the first Saturday in December and be transported to a world that’s part whoville, part Mardi Gras and steeped in ancient Dutch tradition. The Sinterklaas Festival, held in the historic village of Rhinebeck, is a daylong celebration with a schedule of events including puppet shows, storytelling, acrobats, live music, dancing, and the Crown and Branches Workshop where children can make their own crowns and branches and be transformed into a king or queen for the day. All around town families are enchanted by a host of costumed characters that help tell the story of Sinterklaas. Some of the characters that are sure to put a smile on your face include the Polar Bear with his trainer and musical sidekick, the wild Grumpuses, Mother Holly floating among the crowds, and The Pocket Lady who represents Sinterklaas’ symbol of generosity. All of the performers, organizers, and workers are volunteers. Rich in history The Sinterklaas Festival is a Dutch tradition that honors a 4th century bishop named Nicholas Sinterklass who was born in Asia Minor. Nicholas was depicted with a signature long white beard, a tall pointed hat and was known to love children. More than 300 years ago when the Dutch settled in Rhinebeck, they brought this tradition with them. A town resident would dress up in a tall bishop’s hat, red cape, shiny ring and jeweled horse to ride through the village knocking on doors late at night. Sinterklaas was accompanied by a Grumpus, a wild half-man, half-beast creature. If you were good, they left a bag of treats, if you were not good, the Grumpus would threaten to take you away in his big black bag while he rattled his chains menacingly.


Westchester Family | November 2019

Courtesy photo

The Sinterklaas Festival, part whoville, part Mardi Gras and steeped in ancient Dutch tradition, delights the young as well as the young-at-heart. The festival goes on regardless of the elements so be prepared. The activities and workshops are all free, some are held indoors and others are held outdoors. The event is stroller friendly and focused in the center of town. A full day adventure A detailed list of parking can be found on the website. Once you are parked go directly to the Ask Me Ladies table which is located at the Beekman Arms. There you will receive a schedule of the day’s events and can ask questions of the knowlegeable volunteers. You’ll want to purchase an illuminated star that’s sold here and in some of the shops around town, or on the website in advance for $12 plus shipping. The Sinterklass illuminated star is used as a prop in the Children’s Starlight Parade and Star Ceremony, a delightful ritual that honors children. There are many great restaurants as well as local organizations selling hot chocolate, snacks, and coffee throughout town. Be sure not to miss the fresh hot apple cider donuts, this outdoor stand can typically be found by the toy store. We like to take a break and sit down for an early dinner at 4 p.m., there are a few restaurants that accept reservations, but not many on the festival day, so if you have something specific in mind, call in advance. The events happening all day are

wonderful, but the showpiece is the parade that starts at 6 p.m. The parade route begins by the Starr Library and ends in the municipal lot of Market Street. Any place in between is a good viewing spot, but be sure to get there early as the sidewalks get crowded. We usually stake our spots at 5 p.m. to get an unobstructed view. All of the performers take part in the parade alongside a host of whimsical floats. Street vendors walk among the crowds with snacks and toys for sale, so be sure to have cash on hand. At the end of the parade children are invited to march to the municipal lot where the Star Ceremony begins. There’s a final performance that includes fire juggling, singalongs, and festive camaraderie. Sinterklaas delights and amazes the young as well as the young-at-heart. Take a little piece of that enchantment home with you while you remember just how good it feels to believe. Holly Freehill is a freelance writer who has enjoyed Sinterklass with her family for many years. When You Go … The Sinterklaas Festival Rhinebeck, N.Y. sinterklaashudsonvalley.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Date: Saturday, Dec, 7, 2019 Admission: Free

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* Enroll between 10/1/19 and 11/15/19 to waive the Registration Fee of up to $50. The Registration Fee includes services such as processing, student evaluation and lesson plan development. Registration Fee waiver only valid at participating Kumon Math and Reading Centers. Most Kumon Centers are independently owned and operated. Additional fees may apply. See Center for applicable terms and conditions. © 2019 Kumon North America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Westchester Family | November 2019

calendar NOvember

By Marissa Rodriguez


See Daniel Tiger float on air at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular on Sunday, Nov. 24.

Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular One of the largest helium balloon parades in the country. This parade features everyone’s favorite giant characters, award-winning marching bands and fabulous floats. It’s fun for the entire family. Noon, Nov. 24. For all ages. FREE. Reservations not required.

calendar  What’s Inside Editor’s Pick: Family Day @ KMA�����������������38 Editor’S Pick: Mary Poppins�������������������������� 40 Gobble Gobble Crafts �����������������������������������42 Cartoons Live on Stage ���������������������������������43 #Choochoo ������������������������������������������������������ 44

Summer St. to Broad St. to Atlantic St., Stamford, Conn.

City Picks �����������������������������������������������������������45

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com




1 Friday

making important connections to literacy. Wear clothes that can get messy. 10-11:30am. For all ages. Reservations not required.Yonkers Public Library Riverfront Branch, 1 Larkin Ctr., Yonkers. 914-457-1377. ypl.org/ riverfront.

✪ Big Apple Circus. See City Picks page 45.

✪ Big Apple Circus Autism Friendly Performance. See City Picks page 45.

✪ Boo at the Zoo. Spend the day at the Zoo and participate in many Boo-tiful activities. See a magic show, watch the costume parades and pumpkin carving demos, visit the corn maze, and pick up your favorite Halloween treats along the way. Weekdays, 10am-5pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-5:30pm, until Nov. 3. For all ages. Free with admission, $39.95 adult, $29.95 children 3-12, children under 3 free. Reservations not required. The Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd., University Heights. 718220-5100. bronxzoo.com.

✪ Dinosaur Safari. Learn about species such as T-Rex and Spinosaurus and connections between animals at the zoo and their prehistoric predecessors. Plus, visit the fossil dig area, take photos and more. Weekdays, 10am-5pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-5:30pm, until Nov. 3. For all ages. Included in Total Experience Tickets. $39.95 adults, $29.95 children 3-12, children under 3 free. Reservations not required.The Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd., University Heights. 718-220-5100. bronxzoo.com.

✪ Gustafer Yellowgold. See City Picks page 45. ✪ Lenape of Westchester.

Courtesy photo

Bring the Kids! Tour the historic house, explore hands-on activities, and make a craft all at Boscobel House and Gardens on Nov. 9.

✪ Shaboom! A Shabbat program that brings families together for a meal, music, arts & crafts and different program activities. 5:30-6:45pm. Families with children ages 5 and under. Reservations required.Private House in Mahopac. 845-628-6133. tbsmahopac.org.

2 Saturday

✪ Autumn Bird Walk. Take a brisk walk around the Sanctuary to see how our feathered friends are faring! 1-2:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required. Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Playland Park, 100 Playland Pkwy., Rye. 914-967-8720. friendsofreadwildlifesanctuary. org.

● ● ✪ Book Reading. Listen to PJ Library author Leslie Kimmelman, the originator of Julia, a young muppet with autism on Sesame Street, do a very special reading. Hear this author’s latest book, The Rabbi Slurps Spaghetti. Then stop by the book fair for some gifts or goodies. Snacks and coffee provided. 10-11:30am. Ages 5 and under. Reservations not required.Woodlands Community Temple, 50 Worthington Rd., White Plains. 914-592-7070. wct. org.

✪ Family Art Workshop. Read an exciting story about a famous artist and then explore their art in an interactive hands-on activity. Each workshop is intended to inspire creativity while

Look for our complete calendar of events and activities online at WestchesterFamily.com.

Calendar Submissions & Approvals: For Print: • Send to calendar@westchesterfamily.com. Include: Dates, times, location, address, event description, ages, cost, phone, website. • Information to be considered for the December 2019 calendar must reach us by November 30, 2019.

For Online Calendar: • Visit WestchesterFamily.com. Click the “Post Your Own Event” link beneath the calendar image on our home page and submit your event. Online postings appear approximately 48 hours after approval.

Please call ahead to confirm dates, times and locations of all events.


Westchester Family | November 2019

Children learn what life was like for the pre-European people who lived here by exploring their food, tools, toys and a traditional wigwam. 1-2pm. For all ages. Free admission, $10 parking. Reservations not required. Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Rte. 35 and Rte. 121, Cross River. 914864-7322. friendsoftrailside.org.

● ✖ Wicked Divas. A Wicked-good evening of diva showstoppers from the world of Broadway, opera and pop, highlighted by selections from the Tony Award®-winning musical Wicked. In addition to favorites from the Untold Tale of the Witches of Oz, the program also includes favorites from Gypsy, Ragtime, Titanic, and opera selections from George Bizet’s Carmen. 7:30pm. For all ages. $42.50. Reservations required.Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 E. Ridge, Ridgefield, Conn. 203438-5795. ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Key to suggested ages

● baby & me ● toddler ● preschool ● elementary


● older kids ✪ families ✖ adults

acrobatic dance for kids (and grown-ups) who can’t sit still


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FEB 25 TH, 2020









November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com




3 Sunday

Editor’ s Pick

✪ Curator for a Day.

✪ Baby Shark Live! See Cartoons Live on Stage page 43.

Participants learn about fabrication, siting, and installation. Make miniature sculptures and place them in your own miniature outdoor art center. 1pm. For all ages. Included in admission, $18 adult, $8 children, under 4 free. Reservations not required.Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Rd., Mountainville. 845-534-3115. stormking.org. Margaret Fox Photography

✪ Fall Shelter Building. Create a home in the wild using what’s found in nature. 2-3:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required. Marshlands Conservancy, Rte. 1, Rye. 914-835-4466. parks. westchestergov.com/marshlandsconservancy.

● ✪ Game Show Night. Spend quality time as a family and compete in fun trivia and wacky challenges presented by expert MCs and game masters. A child-friendly dinner is included. 6:30-8pm. Children ages 5-10 and families. $45 for two people, $5 per additional family member. Reservations not required. Stamford JCC, 1035 Newfield Ave., Stamford, Conn. 203-487-0973. stamfordjcc.org.

● ● Youth Art Workshop: Art from Nature-Engineering Drawing Tools. Dig in to nature, art and science during this three-day, drop-off workshop where youth design, create and use sculptural drawing tools constructed from natural materials. Kids produce a collaborative artwork with the drawing tools they make themselves. Meet at the front gate. 10am-noon today and Nov. 10 & 17. Ages 8-12. $10. Reservations required.Wave Hill, W. 249th St. and Independence Ave., Riverdale. 718-549-3200. wavehill.org.


6 Wednesday

November 24 is Family Day at Katonah Museum of Art.

Family Day: Express Yourself ✪ Get inspired by a variety of surprise happenings around the KMA, including expressive dance performances and experimental music, and explore your own ways of artistic self-expression. Find abstract painting, dynamic community art projects, and other activities for friends and family running throughout afternoon. Noon-4pm; Nov. 24. For all ages. Free with museum admission $10 adults, children under 12 free. Reservations not required.Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay St., Katonah. 914-232-9555. katonahmuseum.org.

4 Monday

● ● Mommy & Me. Stop by this fun-filled hour with your little one and make crafts, meet animals, and learn about the natural world on a short hike. 9:45-10:45am today and Nov. 18 & 25. 18 months - 5 years. $15 per family. Reservations not required.Rye Nature Center, 873 Boston Post Rd., Rye. 914-9675150. ryenaturecenter.org.

● ● ● Nature Strollers. This popular unique hiking group for families with babies, toddlers and young children, follows gentle stroller-friendly trails and explores the fields, ponds and forest as you enjoy a fun nature lesson. 9:30am today. For all ages. $5 per family. Reservations not required.Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Wildlife Education Center, 25 Blvd., Cornwall. 845-534-5506. hhnm. org.

Westchester Family | November 2019

5 Tuesday

● ✖ Breastfeeding Support Group. Join mom and Certified Lactation Counselor, Cabiria Dougherty, for an open clinic on breastfeeding concerns and questions big and small. Latch assessments, pre and post feed weights and questions answered with evidence-based research. 1:30-4:30pm today; Nov. 12, 19 & 26. For all ages. $30. Reservations required.NUR Space, 596 Warburton Ave., Hastings-OnHudson. 914-608-7424. nurspace. com. ● ● Pizza Party Playdate. Families enjoy a pizza playdate in the cafe. Also includes play time. 12:30-2:30pm today; Nov. 12, 19 & 26. Ages 1 1/2-5 years. $15 adult and child. $5 additional child. Registration required.Lil Chameleon, 29 Elm St., Tuckahoe. 914-346-5148. lilchameleon.com.

● ● Present Parenting. In this small group, parents and babies come together in a calm, infant-friendly environment to observe and enjoy their infants exploring, interacting, and playing. Parents learn how to respect their baby’s needs and wants, let go, and watch the incredible wonder and exploration. Toys are provided. 11am-12:30pm today and Nov. 20. Ages 2 and under. Reservations not required.NUR Space, 596 Warburton Ave., Hastings-On-Hudson. 914-6087424. nurspace.com.

7 Thursday

● ● ● ✪ Family Free Night. MHCM is open late and admission is free. This event is intended for families with children ages 6 and under. 5-8pm. Reservations not required.Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, 75 North Water St., Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0589. mhcm.org. ● ● ● ✪ My Ability. My Ability is a supportive program designed to facilitate sensory-friendly discoveries for individuals with sensory processing differences and other special needs. 3:30-5pm today; Nov. 7, 14, 21 & 28. For all ages. Free with admission, $15 adults and children. Reservations required.Stepping Stones Museum for Children, 303 West Ave., Norwalk, Conn. 203-899-0606. steppingstonesmuseum.org.

● ● Toddler Time in Nature. Spend quality time with your little one exploring the joys of nature. Nature themes with creative learning activities and adventures developed to connect children and caregivers to the natural world. 9:3010:30am. Ages 1 1/2-3 years.

Reservations required.Sheldrake Environmental Center, 685 Weaver St., Larchmont. 914-8341443. sheldrakecenter.org.

8 Friday

✪ Kidz Bop World Tour. The Kidz Bop Kids perform some of today’s biggest global pop hits live on stage. The concert features awesome set design, costumes, exciting choreography, and tons of cool surprises. 7pm. For all ages. $35-$65. Reservations required. Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave., White Plains. 914995-4050. countycenter.biz.

✪ My Grandparent and Me Day. Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum celebrates grandparents by offering free admission all day to grandparents when accompanied by their grandchildren. 9:30am-5pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, 75 North Water St., Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0589. mhcm.org.

House Museum and then explore hands-on activities together. Take a break with a snack and bring the memories home with a special craft. 9:30-11:30am. Ages 5 and up. $12. Reservations not required.Boscobel House and Gardens, 1601 Rte. 9D, Garrison. 914-265-3638. boscobel.org.

✪ Laurie Berkner Live. See The Greatest Hits Solo Tour. Bestselling children’s recording artist and preschool television favorite Laurie Berkner performs live in this family-friendly show. Take dancing shoes and a stuffed animal. 11am. For all ages. $25 - $75, plus applicable fees. Reservations required.College Street Music Hall, 238 College St., New Haven, Conn. 877-987-6487. collegestreet.musichallnewhaven. org. ✪ Morning Farm Chores. Have what it takes to be a farmer? Help the farm staff do their morning chores. 8-9am. For all ages. $6 person, $20 family of four. Registration required.Muscoot Farm, 51 Rte. 100, Katonah. 914864-7286. muscootfarm.org.

✪ Radio City Christmas Spectacular. See City Picks page 45.

9 Saturday

✪ A Revolutionary Trolley Tour: Historical Yonkers & Kingsbridge. At each stop, knowledgeable local docents lead the discussion placing participants in the heart of action. At 9:30am sharp, board the trolley in front of Philipse Manor Hall. At 12:30pm, the trolley returns near the Yonkers Waterfront Library. Register by November 6th. 9:30am-12:30pm. For all ages. $10 suggested donation. Reservations required. Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-965-4027. parks.ny.gov/ historic-sites/37/details.aspx.

✪ Bring the Kids! Second Saturdays. Begin with a familyfocused tour of the Historic

Sunday, November 24, 2019 – 12 noon Stamford Downtown Affordable Tents • The Ashforth Company • Atlantic Station • Avon Theatre Film Center • Bar Rosso Bildner Capital • Blackstones Steakhouse • Cacace, Tusch & Santagata • The Campus and 1937 West Main Cappelli Organization • Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP • CBRE • City Carting & Recycling

✪ Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. See Cartoons Live on Stage page 43.

Columbus Park Trattoria • Community Health Center, Inc. • Cross Insurance • County TV & Appliance of Stamford Emmett & Glander, Attorneys at Law • Empire State Realty Trust • First County Bank • George Comfort & Sons, Inc. Grade A ShopRite — Cingari Family • Harbor Point • The Kempner Corporation • KPMG LLP • MarLo Associates, Inc. NBCUniversal • One Stamford Realty • The Palace • Pitney Bowes Inc. • Plaza Realty & Management Corp. Point72 • Reckson, A Division of SL Green Realty Corp. • RMS Companies • RXR Realty • Silver Golub & Teitell LLP Simply Signs • Stamford 375 • Stamford Advocate/Hearst Connecticut Media Group • Stamford Board of REALTORS

✪ Pop up Skating Rink. The pop-up ice skating rink is not real ice, but instead is made of synthetic material, which is easier for young ones and first time skaters. Admission includes skates and a one-hour skate session. Check website for theme nights and for times. Daily; Nov. 9 - Nov. 30. Ages 5 and up. $10. Reservations not required.Cross County Shopping Center, 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers. 914-9689570. crosscountycenter.com.

✪ Primitive Fire Building. Learn how to start a fire the primitive way, by using a bow drill. Discuss different uses of fire that the native people used when they inhabited this region. Enjoy marshmallows roasted over the fire afterwards. 10-11am.

Stamford Emergency Medical Services • Stamford Police Department • Stamford Professional Firefighters Local 786 Stamford Public Schools • Stamford Town Center • Stamford Volunteer Fire Departments Stamford Youth Foundation Cheerleaders • 600 Summer • UConn Stamford • United Realty, Inc.

Watch the balloons inflate! Saturday, November 23, 3–6pm Summer & Hoyt Streets Sponsored by Point72

ELMO™ © 2019 Sesame Workshop; KUNG FU PANDA © 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved; MR. POTATO HEAD © 2019 Hasbro; SCOOBY-DOO™© 2019 Hanna-Barbera & Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.; THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR © 2019 Eric Carle & Penguin Group USA

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com




Editor’ s Pick

For all ages. $5. Reservations required.Lenoir Preserve, 19 Dudley St., Yonkers. 914-9685851. parks.westchestergov.com/ lenoir-preserve.

for everyone. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite. 9am-5pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, 897 S. Columbus Ave., Mt. Vernon. 914-667-4116. nps.gov/ sapa/index.htm.

10 Sunday

Animal Tracks ‘n’ Traces. Learn how to identify animal signs and tracks. Make a plaster print to take home. 2-3:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required. Marshlands Conservancy, Rte. 1, Rye. 914-835-4466. parks. westchestergov.com/marshlandsconservancy.

✪ Apple Cidering. Children use an old-fashioned screw press to make apple cider. Participants also learn about the colonial experience of cider making and get a taste of fresh, tangy apple cider. 1-2pm. For all ages. $8. Reservations not required. Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Rd., Scarsdale. 914-7233470. greenburghnaturecenter.org. ✪ Archaeology Presentation. Join NY State Archaeology Association Lower Hudson for a fascinating presentation about the past. 1-3pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Croton Point Nature Center, Croton Point Ave., Croton. 914-862-5297. parks. westchestergov.com/croton-pointnature-center. ✪ Children & Families: Kinetic Creations. Create enchanting wind chimes and decorate garlands from natural materials that come alive with the wind. 1pm. For all ages. Included in admission, $18 adult, $8 children, under 4 free. Reservations not required.Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Rd., Mountainville. 845-534-3115. stormking.org.

✪ Indigenous American Folk Art. Members of various tribes, introduce attendees to local Indigenous American history, culture and customs.


Courtesy photo

Everyone’s beloved classic, Mary Poppins, is on screen at Jacob Burns Film Center, Nov. 16.

Mary Poppins ● ● ✪ ✖ See the original classic film. Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) along with cheery chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke) teach two lonely children how a spoonful of sugar and a lot of laughter can cure just about anything. Stay after the film to ask questions and get to know your fellow moviegoers! Noon; Nov 16. Ages 5 and up. $15 adults, $8 children age 13 and under. Reservations required. Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville. 914-747-5555. burnsfilmcenter.org.

They share their heritage through interactive learning experiences. 2-4pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Pelham Art Center, 155 Fifth Ave., Pelham. 914-7382525. pelhamartcenter.org.

Nov. 17, 23, 24 & 29. For all ages. $14, adults, $11 children under 12. Reservations required.Wolf Conservation Center, 7 Buck Run, South Salem. 914-753-2373. nywolf.org.

✪ NY Metro Reptile Annual

11 Monday

Mega-Expo. Visit breeders and vendors that have thousands of live pet reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids on display and for sale at discounted prices. 9am-4pm. For all ages. $10 adults, $5 children, under 7 free. Reservations not required. Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave., White Plains. 914995-4050. countycenter.biz.

● ● ● ✪ Pack Chat for Kids. Children learn about the mythology surrounding wolves and the important role of wolves in the natural world. This is an exciting time for wolves; they are out searching for prey as they prepare for winter. 2pm today;

Westchester Family | November 2019

● ● ✪ Falconry Presentation: Skyhunters in Flight. Watch hawks, falcons and owls sharpen their hunting skills during an exciting outdoor flight demonstration. Hear about the ancient sport of falconry and see live raptors from around the world. 1pm. Ages 8 and up. $10 adult, $4 children. Reservations not required.Wave Hill, W. 249th St. and Independence Ave., Riverdale. 718-549-3200. wavehill. org.

✪ Free Entrance Days in the National Parks. Visit St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site with free admission

✪ Meet the Animals. An informative program that allows you to get up close and hands-on with some of the Nature Center’s live animals. 1-2pm. For all ages. $8. Reservations not required. Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Rd., Scarsdale. 914-7233470. greenburghnaturecenter.org.

12 Tuesday

● ● ● Gymboree Stay & Play. This monthly program sponsored by PJ Library (programming for families raising Jewish children), includes, free and structured play, snack time, coloring time, PJ Library storytime and Gymboree bubbles and songs! 9:45-11am. For children 5 and under. Reservations required at marissapjlibrary@gmail.com. Gymboree Play & Music, 3631 Hill Blvd., Yorktown Heights. ● ● Not So Scary. Zoo Tots come together for themed related songs or games, live animal encounters and a simple craft. 10:30-11:45am today and Nov. 13. 22 months-4 years old. $15 adult and child. Reservations required.Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport, Conn. 203-394-6565. beardsleyzoo.org.

13 Wednesday

● Mama and Baby Yoga. Mama and Baby Yoga, helps you stretch, strengthen, and breathe while bonding with your baby and getting to know other new moms. Tuesdays - Thursdays, 11:30am, until Nov. 28. $23 adult with child. Reservations required.Prana Prenatal Yoga, 14-20 Willett Ave. Suite 203,

Port Chester. 914-575-2069. pranaprenatalyoga.com.

Westchester Children’s Museum, 100 Playland Pkwy., Rye. 914-4215050. discoverwcm.org.

● ● ● Storytime. Active youngsters and their caregivers are invited to learn about different animals in the landscape in this interactive and playful storytime. 11:30am today and Nov. 27. Ages 5 and under. Free with admission, $7 adults, $4 children ages 3-18. Reservations not required. Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914963-4550. hrm.org.

14 Thursday

● ● ✪ Homeschool Day at Spins Hudson. Homeschool families meet at Spins Hudson for three hours of activities at a discounted rate. Activities include, one hour of ropes, two games of laser tag, and 20 arcade credits. You can also choose to do one or all the activities for a lower rate. 1-4pm. For ages 5 and older. $15 per child. Reservations not required.Spins Hudson, 5 John Walsh Blvd., Peekskill. 914930-7920. spinsbowl.com.

● ● Storytime with a Twist. This group combines movement, music and mostly just fun. Parents and children are invited to stay and play afterwards during open studio time until 10am. 9-9:45am today and Nov. 21. Ages 1 1 /2 to 5. Reservations required.Seven Star, 509 Route 312, Brewster. 845-2780728. sevenstarschool.com.

15 Friday

● ● ● Creative Community Friday: Artful After School. See Gobble Gobble Crafts page 42. ● ● Exploring Play. Different themes brought to life through creative and fun movement activities, singing, story time and a take-home project. Fridays, 11am, until Nov. 30. Ages 2-4. Free with $7.50 museum admission. Children under 1 free. Reservations required.

● ● Laptime. Stop by Chappaqua library for special storytime for pre-walkers. 1111:30am today & Nov. 22. For pre-walkers. Reservations not required.Chappaqua Library, 195 S. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua. 914238-4779. chappaqualibrary.org.

16 Saturday

✪ A Revolutionary Family Day at Philipse Manor Hall. What happened here and who tells the story? Travel back in time for a full day immersion with musicians, costumed reenactors, speakers, and authors as your guides. Participants learn about what actually happened in 1777. What side did the Philipse family choose and why? 11am4pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-965-4027. parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/37/ details.aspx. ✪ Awesome Adaptations. Big ears, sharp claws and slimy skin. These are just a few adaptations that help animals survive. See the incredible ways an animal’s adaptations keep them alive. Meet live animals. 1-2:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required. Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Playland Park, 100 Playland Pkwy., Rye. 914-967-8720. friendsofreadwildlifesanctuary. org. ●●●●●✪

Destination Discovery. Gigi’s Playhouse’s mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all. Destination Discovery supports the development of motor skills, social skills and language through purposeful play and peer-to-peer interaction in a casual and fun setting. This

December 13, 14, and 15 Westchester County Center White Plains

Tickets on Sale Now

$20 Groups of 20 or more (any age) $23 Children & Seniors $30 Adults ($35 at the door) Tickets available at the Box Office www.countycenter.biz | (914) 995-4050 and at Ticketmaster.com

Westchester Ballet Co. Since 1950. westchesterballet.org

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com



November environment through light and sound adjustments and limit visitation to create a supportive, sensory-friendly experience for individuals with sensory processing differences and other special needs. 2-5pm. For all ages. Free with admission $15. Reservations not required. Stepping Stones Museum for Children, 303 West Ave., Norwalk, Conn. 203-899-0606. steppingstonesmuseum.org.

program also brings families together to share experiences and build relationships. 10-11:15am. Reservations not required.GiGi’s Playhouse Westchester, 720 Saw Mill River Rd., Ardsley. 914-4795566. gigisplayhouse.org.

● ● Make A Thanksgiving Turkey With Polymer Clay. See Gobble Gobble Crafts page 42.

● ● ✪ ✖ Mary Poppins. See Editor’s Pick page 40.

✪ Salon du Chocolat. See City Picks page 45.

17 Sunday

✪ Conquer the Forest Trail Run. Head back to the woods for this challenging 5K trail run across scenic forest trails with lakeside views, remote meadows and open fields. The day includes 5K trail run across diverse terrain, one-mile fun run for kids and families, breakfast and snacks, music, and campfire s’mores for all. 8:45am & 9:30am race times. For all ages. Trail run $30; fun run $10. Reservations required.Green Chimneys Brewster Campus, 400 Doansburg Rd., Brewster. 845-279-2995. greenchimneys.org.

✪ Nature in Winter. See Marshlands’ world on the cusp of winter. Discover a wide variety of changes in various habitats. 2-3:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required. Marshlands Conservancy, Rte. 1, Rye. 914-835-4466. parks. westchestergov.com/marshlandsconservancy.


Terry Taylor

Bring on the turkeys! Create your own turkey masterpiece at Rye Arts Center on Nov. 16.

Gobble Gobble Crafts

✪ Feeder Watch. Birdfeeders are up. Watch the feeders and get a close look at the feather friends and make your own feeder to take home. 10am-noon. For all ages. Free admission, $10 parking. Reservations not required.Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Rte. 35 and Rte. 121, Cross River. 914-864-7322. friendsoftrailside.org.

● ● Free Crafts for Kids. Drop in and make a different holiday themed craft every week. Materials and templates provided. 11am3pm; Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30. For ages 3 and up. Reservations not required.Lakeshore Learning Store, 969A Central Park Ave., Scarsdale. 914-4721820. lakeshorelearning.com. ● ● Make A Thanksgiving Turkey With Polymer Clay. Get creative with polymer clay in this hoilday workshop. Learn how to make simple shapes with clay and put them together to form a cute sculpture. All projects are baked at home with simple instructions included. 2-3pm & 3-4pm Nov 16. 2-3pm for ages 5-8 & 3-4pm for ages 9-12. $20. Registration required.The Rye Arts Center, 51 Milton Rd., Rye. 914-967-0700. ryeartscenter.org.

✪ Turkey Tales. Did you know that the turkey was once nominated to become our National Symbol? Learn about the turkey’s natural history and interesting adaptations. Make a fun turkey craft. 10-11:15am, Nov 24. Ages 5 and up. $10 adults, $8 children. Reservations not required. Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery Center, Muser Dr. across from 174 Angola Rd., Cornwall. 845-534-5506. hhnm.org.

✪ Special Conservatory Tour. Lasdon’s horticulturist takes you on a tour of the Tropical Rainforest Exhibit. Learn about rainforests and colorful tropical plants. 2-3pm. For all ages. $7 adults, $3 children 12 and under. Reservations not required. Lasdon Park & Arboretum, 2610

Westchester Family | November 2019

NY-35, Katonah. 914-864-7263. lasdonpark.org.

✪ Westchester Toy & Train Show. See #Choochoo page 44.

18 Monday

✪ ACCESS-ability. Stepping Stones modifies their learning

✪ Health Care Professional Appreciation Month. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester is celebrating healthcare professionals by offering free admission (by showing a valid hospital/ employee ID badge). In addition, additional guests of a healthcare professional can receive a 50% discount at the attraction. Daily, Mon.-Sat. 10am-9:30pm and Sun. 10am-7:30pm; until Nov. 30. For all ages. Reservations not required.LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, 39 Fitzgerald St., Yonkers. westchester. legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

19 Tuesday

● ● Tent Tales for Tykes. Meet in the tent and explore a different nature or outdoor theme, followed by related activities, games or crafts. 10:30-11:30am today and Nov. 26. For all ages. Reservations not required.Ridge Hill Shopping Center, 1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers. 914-207-2900. ridgehill. com. ● ● ● Science at the Mall. Stop by the mall and participate in some science. The archeology adventure program allows participates to dig in a simulated dig site and discover and learn the rich culture of early Native Americans. 4:30-5:30pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Jefferson Valley Mall, 650 Lee Blvd., Yorktown Heights. 914-245-4688. jeffersonvalleymall. com.


20 Wednesday

their fascinating natural history. Meet a live owl from the Nature Museum’s collection. 7-8:30pm. For ages 5 and up. $10 adults, $7 children. Reservations required. Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery Center, Muser Dr. across from 174 Angola Rd., Cornwall. 845-5345506. hhnm.org.

✪ Everett Children’s

● Movers and Shakers. Music and motion for walkers under 2 with an adult. And bubbles, too! 9:30-10am today and Nov. 22 & 27. For children under 2. Reservations not required.Chappaqua Library, 195 S. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua. 914238-4779. chappaqualibrary.org.

21 Thursday

● ● Baby Gym. Learn fun and useful ways to play with your little one in baby’s first gym class. Enjoy music, movement games, sensory exploration, and play experiences. 2:30-3:15pm. $25 adult and child. Registration required.Lil Chameleon, 29 Elm St., Tuckahoe. 914-346-5148. lilchameleon.com.

● Museum Minis. Meet up in Toddler Beach for songs, movement, stories and plenty of fun. 10:30-11am, today. Ages 18-24 months. Free with $7.50 museum admission, children under 1 free. Reservations required. Westchester Children’s Museum, 100 Playland Pkwy., Rye. 914-421-5050. discoverwcm. org.

22 Friday

✪ Owls at the Wildlife Education Center. Learn about these nocturnal raptors and

✪ Pop up Skating Rink. See Nov. 9.

Courtesy photo

See Baby Shark Live! A one-of-a-kind concert experience.

Cartoons Live on Stage

Adventure Garden. Children of all ages can explore the wonders of science and nature in an outdoor 12-acre garden. Climb the boulders and view the landscape below from your high perch, dash through Beth’s Maze, and check out the cattails and lily pads at Habitat Hub. Daily, 10am-5:30pm; until Nov 30. For all ages. Free with admission $23-28 adults, $10-$12 children, under 2 free. Reservations not required.New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd. at Fordham Rd. 718-817-8700. nybg. org.


✪ Baby Shark Live! The live show is based on Pinkfong’s viral earworm and global dance phenomenon, Baby Shark. This one-of-a-kind concert experience delights fans of all ages as Baby Shark joins up with his friend Pinkfong to take an adventure into the sea, singing and dancing through new and classic songs including, Baby Shark. 6pm Nov. 6. For all ages. $23-$70. Reservations required.The Bushnell, 166 Capital Ave., Hartford, Conn. 860-987-5900. bushnell.org. ✪ Disney’s Little Mermaid. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, with music by eighttime Academy Award winner and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable captures your heart with its irresistible songs, including Under the Sea. 7:30pm Nov. 23, 30; 2pm Nov. 24, 29. For all ages. $21-$29. Reservations required. Yorktown Stage, 1974 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights. 914-952-0606. yorktownstage.org.

● ● The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle. Little Blue Engine dreams of someday leaving the train yard to pull the big cars on the main line track. But can she convince Big Silver that she is worthy of being a main line engine? 11am & 1:30pm; Nov. 13. Ages 3 and older. $20 adults, $15 children. Reservations required. Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Ln., Mamaroneck. 914-698-0098. emelin.org.

✪ Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. PAW Patrol to the rescue! 10am & 2pm; Nov. 9 & 10. For all ages. Tickets $19-$140. Reservations required. The Palace Theatre, 61 Atlantic St., Stamford, Conn. 203-3254466. palacestamford.org.

23 Saturday

● ● ✪ Arch 8: Rising Tide. Rising Tide examines things that are rising: temperatures, sea levels, and the extinction of animal species. Using poetry, play, partnering, and live music, the performers weave a world where we fall in love with nature, mourn its loss, and come to realize that our activism and engagement can turn the tide for the better. 3pm. Ages 8 and up. $6.25 - $27.50. Reservations required.The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase. 914251-6200. artscenter.org.

✪ Disney’s Little Mermaid. See Cartoons Live on Stage page 43.

✪ Holiday Bricktacular. Bricktacular takes place every weekend this holiday season. Enjoy seasonal build activities and holiday theming throughout the center, perfect for the entire family. Daily, MondaySaturday from 10am-9:30pm and Sunday from 10am-7:30pm.; Nov. 23 - Nov. 30. For all ages. $19.95-$27.95. Reservations not required.LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, 39 Fitzgerald St., Yonkers. westchester. legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

✪ Holiday Train Show. See #Choochoo page 44. ✪ Tree Lighting Celebration. Enjoy a live concert, food trucks and iceskating. Then countdown to light the 40-foot tree with Santa.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com



The event takes place near the Gap store. 6pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Cross County Shopping Center, 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers. 914-9689570. crosscountycenter.com.

24 Sunday

✪ Family Day: Express Yourself. See Editor’s Pick page 38.

✪ Paw with Clause. Bring your cutest furry friend to take a picture with old St. Nick himself, because your pets are truly family. 5-7pm. For all ages. Price for pictures. Reservations not required.Jefferson Valley Mall, 650 Lee Blvd., Yorktown Heights. 914-245-4688. jeffersonvalleymall. com.



© Robert Benson Photography

See the annual Holiday Train Show at NYBG starting Nov 23. Can you spot the American Museum of Natural History?

✪ Holiday Train Show. Bring your conductor’s hat and enjoy zooming freight cars, flashing bells and tooting whistles at this popular train show. 10am-4:30pm; Nov. 23, 24 & 30. For all ages. $10 adults, $8 children ages 2-12. Reservations not required.Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Rd., Scarsdale. 914-723-3470. greenburghnaturecenter.org.

✪ Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. See Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular page 35.

✪ Turkey Tales. See Gobble Gobble Craft page 42.

✪ Turkey Talk. Get up close and learn all about turkeys during this interactive program. 1-2pm. For all ages. Reservations not required.Muscoot Farm, 51 Rte. 100, Katonah. 914-864-7286. muscootfarm.org.

✪ North Pole Express. Board their locomotive-powered sleigh for a magical nighttime journey to the North Pole. Every coach becomes a stage for a live musical performance of The Night Before Christmas. Celebrate the spirit of the season with Santa and Mrs. Claus, festive sing-a-longs, hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Each child receives a small gift from Santa. Children are invited to wear their favorite pajamas! Check website for times. Nov 15-17, Nov. 22-24, 29 & 30. For all ages. $37.50-$78.50. Reservations required.Essex Steam Train, 15 Plains Rd., Essex, Conn. 860-767-0103.

25 Monday

● Mama and Baby Pilates. Mama and Baby Pilates mat class is a unique, challenging, and safe method of exercise that increases agility in your everyday movements. Mondays, 11:30am12:30pm, until Nov. 30. $23 adult with child. Registration required. Prana Prenatal Yoga, 14-20 Willett Avenue Suite 203, Port Chester. 914-575-2069. pranaprenatalyoga.com.

● ● Pizza Party Playdate. See Nov. 5.

✪ NYBG’s 28th Annual

● ● Tent Tales for Tykes. See

Holiday Train Show®. See #Choochoo page 44.

Nov. 19.

26 Tuesday

27 Wednesday

● ● Budding Buddhas’


Westchester Family | November 2019


✪ NYBG’s 28th Annual Holiday Train Show ®. Visitors are transported to a miniature wonderland as model trains zip through an enchanting display of more than 175 New York landmarks, each re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, lotus pods, acorns, and cinnamon sticks. Check website for days and times; Nov. 23 - 30. For all ages. $18-$30. Ages 2-12. Reservations required.New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd. at Fordham Rd. 718-817-8700. nybg.org.

✪ Westchester Toy & Train Show. Stop by the largest toy & train show in the Northeast featuring new and antique toys and trains, all gauges, train parts, layouts, appraisals, diecast cars, books, test tracks, and toy soldiers. 9am-3pm, Nov. 17. For all ages. $12. Reservations not required.Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave., White Plains. 914-995-4050. countycenter.biz.

Yoga for Tots. Stay active with your little one and have fun doing yoga exercises. Meets at the connect lounge, level 4. Wednesdays, 11-11:30am, until Nov. 30. Ages 2-5. Reservations not required.The Westchester, 125 Westchester Ave., White Plains. 914-683-8600. simon.com/mall/ the-westchester.

● Mama and Baby Yoga. See Nov. 13.

28 Thursday

✪ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. See City Picks page 45.

● ● ● ✪ My Ability. See Nov. 7.

29 Friday

✪ Holiday Kick-Off at the HRM. Kick off the Holiday Season at the HRM with a full selection of programs inspired by wintertime. Stop by the family studio to learn how to craft and design a snow globe. Or using acrylic paint and the Hudson River landscape as inspiration, create your own wintry scene on canvas. Become immersed in their Historic Victorian home, and learn the gilded age holiday traditions of the Trevor family. Lastly, enjoy an interactive magic show for all ages. Noon-5pm. For all ages. Free with admission, $7 adults, $4 children ages 3-18. Reservations not required. Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914963-4550. hrm.org.

✪ School’s Out/Art’s In. Drop in to the learning center on select school vacation days for unique artist-led projects where kids can make an artistic mess, experiment with new materials and practice unusual artmaking techniques all inspired by the abstract expressionist works on view. 10am-3pm. For all ages. Free with museum admission, $10 adults, under 12 free. Reservations not required. Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay St., Katonah. 914-232-9555. katonahmuseum.org.

30 Saturday

✪ Breakfast with Santa. Come to the Jefferson Valley Mall to see Santa. Enjoy breakfast and holiday activities all morning. 8-10am. For all ages. Reservations not required. Jefferson Valley Mall, 650 Lee Blvd., Yorktown Heights. 914-2454688. jeffersonvalleymall.com. ● ● ✪ Turkey Hike. See if you can spot any turkeys after Thanksgiving with a RNC naturalist. Walk through the forest and search for local turkeys. 1pm. Ages 4-7. $8. Reservations not required.

City Picks



✪ Big Apple Circus. Big Apple Circus is bigger, better, and back with a brand new show under the big top, at Lincoln Center for its 42nd season. Featuring thrilling new acts from around the world and more immersive than ever before, BAC42 is more than a show, it’s an experience you won’t ever forget. Nov.1 - Nov 30. $33$120. For all ages. Reservations required. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center Plz., New York, NY. 212875-5374. lincolncenter.org.

✪ Big Apple Circus Autism Friendly Performance. This performance provides sensory adaptations to welcome ASD patrons and their families with open arms. There are modifications to sound and lighting, a professionally staffed calming area in the lobby, extra signage, volunteers with helping hands, fidgets and earplugs. The Social Story is available as a PDF with your ticket purchase. 11am; Nov 1. For all ages. Check website for ticket price. Reservations required. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center Plz., New York, NY. 212875-5374. lincolncenter.org.

✪ Gustafer Yellowgold. Gustafer Yellowgold returns to the Atrium, bringing his funny and touching multimedia performance, including live music, animation, and quirky storytelling, to tell of his imaginative explorations of the Minnesota woods where he landed. 11am, Nov. 2. Ages 2-5. Reservations not required. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center Plz., New York, NY. 212-875-5374. lincolncenter.org. ✪ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Don’t miss out on this traditional parade with veteran and novelty balloons, marching bands, floats and live performances. 9am-noon, Nov 28. For all ages. Reservations not required. Kickoff at West 7th St. & Central Park West- ends at Macy’s 151 West 34th St., New York, NY. Rye Nature Center, 873 Boston Post Rd., Rye. 914-967-5150. ryenaturecenter.org.

✪ ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. ‘Twas the night

Julia Crawford

The Big Apple returns to New York City during the month of November.

✪ Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Join the world-famous Rockettes® and the entire cast (including Santa!) for the stunning sets, costumes and breathtaking stage effects. With perennial favorites like the show-stopping Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and the majestic Living Nativity, this is the holiday treat your family won’t want to miss. Daily, Check website for times; Nov. 8 - Nov. 30. For all ages. $25-$300+. Reservations required. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Ave. of the Americas between 50th and 51st Sts., New York, NY. 212-247-4777. radiocity.com.

✪ Salon du Chocolat. Salon du Chocolat is a unique global pageantry of chocolatiers, artisans and pastry chefs, who have one thing in common, their passion for all things chocolate. Indulge in sample tastings, shop, watch a chocolate fashion show, and most importantly, have fun with chocolate in all its forms. 10am-5pm Nov 16 & 17. For all ages. $25 adults, $10 children, under 6 free. Reservations required. Javits Center, 429 11th Ave., New York, NY. 212-2162000. javitscenter.com.

before Christmas, and all through the house, creatures were stirring, including a mouse. Kick off your family’s yuletide season with this comic take on the classic poem. 1 & 4pm. For

all ages. $25-$40. Reservations required.The Palace Theatre, 61 Atlantic St., Stamford, Conn. 203325-4466. palacestamford.org.

November 2019 | WestchesterFamily.com


last Word

5 Amazing TED Talks Every Busy Parent Should Hear By Dolores Smyth


f you’re a parent, then by definition you’re busy and also quite possibly overwhelmed. When parenting overwhelms us, it’s time to rethink our approach and seek perspective. Here are five TED Talks to inspire you to uncover happiness in parenting.

For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar, by Jennifer Senior.

Jennifer Senior is an author on modern parenting, a writer for The New York Times, and a mom. In this insightful talk, Senior examines the trend of today’s parents to micromanage their children’s lives, from checking homework to enrolling their children in countless extracurricular activities to shouldering responsibility for their children’s happiness. Senior commends parents on their wellintentioned efforts to ensure their children’s success, but cautions that this level of hyperimmersion is leaving parents overburdened and children overscheduled. Instead Senior suggests that parents return to focusing on raising productive and moral kids by teaching children the importance of decency, a strong work ethic, and love. Senior contends that this shift away from micromanagement and toward overarching values will benefit parents by facilitating a more gratifying parenting experience. Likewise, children will benefit from the opportunity to accomplish goals on their own within a less-stressed household. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work, by Nigel Marsh.

Nigel Marsh is a self-proclaimed former “corporate warrior” and champion of the work-life balance cause. In this fiery discourse, Marsh comes out swinging by calling work-life policies such as flex-time, paternity leave, and dress-down Fridays “rubbish.” Marsh, a father of four, counsels that it is up to us, not corporations or governments, to tailor our own work-life balance, emphasizing that doing so doesn’t require a dramatic upheaval in our day-to-


Westchester Family | November 2019

day. Instead, Marsh urges us to make small investments in increasing the quality of our relationships, such as spending an extra hour with our children, calling our parents more often, or nourishing our spirituality. These small changes, Marsh contends, can significantly increase our quality of life and may transform society’s definition of a life well lived. How to Live PassionatelyNo Matter Your Age, by Isabel Allende.

Author Isabel Allende writes stories of passion including the best-selling The House of the Spirits. Allende, in her 70s, encourages us to resist the aging of our spirit by living life with a passionate attitude. Allende candidly describes how she has become “lighter” over the years by letting go of vanity, ambition, and grudges. Allende celebrates the freedom she has gained by replacing those “deadly sins” with spirituality, mindfulness, and the ability to see value in vulnerability. The Power of Believing That You Can Improve, by Carol Dweck.

Carol Dweck is a Stanford University professor and a pioneer in the study of how motivation impacts achievement in children. In this session on how to improve the way children learn, Dweck summarizes compelling research that identifies a link between a child’s opinion of his abilities and that child’s willingness to persevere in the face of challenges. Importantly, Dweck outlines the methods parents can use to help children of any age remain confident and motivated when navigating difficult tasks, in and out of school.

The World Needs All Kinds of Minds, by Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University and a consultant to the livestock industry. She also happens to be autistic. In this moving talk, Grandin shares details of her life with autism and how her ability to “think in pictures” and pay particular attention to detail lead to her career success. Grandin discusses the breadth of the autism spectrum, noting that brilliant innovators such as Einstein, Mozart, and Tesla would likely be diagnosed within the spectrum today. Grandin is concerned that schoolsespecially in more rural areas-may not be effectively developing the interests of children on the spectrum who, if mentored properly, may excel in fields such as science, engineering, and technology. Grandin is especially troubled by the cuts in art programs and other hands-on classes in which many children on the spectrum may excel. Dolores Smyth writes about the joys and struggles of parenting her three young children. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. You can read more of her work on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth.


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Westchester Family - November 2019  

Westchester Family - November 2019  

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