Kids’ Almanac (March 27-April 3)

Frank s. Nicholson poster for the Works Projects Administration | Library of Congress

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
– Colette


I would love to hear your family’s antics for April Fools’ Day! This April 1, I’m doing a one-two breakfast punch: First, I present a frozen bowl of cereal to the kids; then, when they set up new bowls of cereal, they’ll be surprised by the colored milk pouring from the carton that I dyed blue.



Since springtime means more outside time for our family, I want to share a craft that we enjoyed making recently: sit-upons. As many of you current and former Scouts may know, sit-upons are handmade, portable cushions for sitting on the ground, and there are a variety of ways to make them.

Here’s what our family did: We recycled some shipping foam for the insert, about 12 inches square, then rolled it in a couple of layers of vinyl tablecloth, secured the edges with packing tape and left the end open for the final step of attaching the handle. We recycled a jumprope that we had in the basement, removed the grips, cut and knotted the rope to a shoulder-length loop and rolled it up in that final length of tablecloth, which then got taped to the cushion.

We decorated the sit-upon with plenty of patterned duct tape, and voilà! a portable sit-upon, great for camping at Lake Taghkanic State Park, hiking at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, picnicking at Poets’ Walk and more. Now you’re ready for spring!


Legoland Discovery Center

Happy First Birthday to Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester! Our family visited the Center this week and had a great time. Legoland is located in Ridge Hill, an upscale shopping complex, and is at the end near the plaza fountains. We were delighted to learn that our North Otis Road parking garage space on Level 2 put us just steps away from the front door.

Buying tickets online guarantees entry at a given time, reduces ticket cost and makes for a fast and easy check-in. For an extra $4 per ticket, you get a lanyard with sheets of activities, including a stamping sheet that can be redeemed in the gift shop for a free collectible button.

The experience starts off with group photos in front of a green screen, followed by a colorful display room of how Legos are constructed. But the real fun begins with the laser shooting game Kingdom Quest, where automated carts move players slowly along a course of animated targets while keeping score. After Kingdom Quest and Miniland, a massive Lego display of New York City-area landmarks, the rest of Legoland is a large room with the Lego Fire Academy play structure in the middle and all of the other activities around the perimeter.

One highlight is Lego Racers: Build & Test, where kids construct their own Lego vehicle with unlimited racing against other competitors down short downhill racetracks, one of which has a cool automatic starting gate. Lego Master Builder Academy offers multiple classes each day for kids to create the Project of the Month (ours was a model space shuttle) under the guidance of a Lego instructor, with an option to purchase the kit at the end of class for $5, the proceeds of which benefit the Merlin’s Magic Wand charity.

The pink and purple Lego Friends area features karaoke, complete with standing microphone and touch-screen TV for making song selections, including snippets of tunes like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” Merlin’s Apprentice Ride mercifully has adjustable seating in all of its two-person cars, which makes it comfortable for both kids and adults as you pedal furiously to elevate your pod. The cinema countdown clock was helpful for us to time our arrival, and we watched all four 4-D movies in succession. Each 15-minute show includes “fourth-dimension” sensations of wind, rain and snow.

Note: Remember to bring socks for the younger kids, so that they can enjoy the fun Lego Fire Academy play structure, sized for children between 36 and 54 inches tall. Duplo Village is another area designed for the younger set, with larger blocks and a sweet slide to play on.

After a short pit stop at the café, we exited through the gift shop. It is loaded with Lego kits, but surprisingly little Lego Movie swag.

I recommend Legoland primarily for children two through 11 years. Admission includes all of the activities, and extras include photos, café food and gift shop. On Thursday, March 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Legoland invites you to celebrate this first-year milestone by joining the birthday singalong, building a Lego birthday card and trying your chances to win prizes throughout the day.

Legoland Discovery is located at Ridge Hill at 39 Fitzgerald Street in Yonkers. For more information, call (866) 243-0770 or visit



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