If your school district was lucky enough to hang onto some vacation days in March, you may be looking for fun ways to keep the kids busy during school vacation. Spring break minicamps abound in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, giving youngsters unique opportunities to try something new as they get active, flex their creativity, commune with nature and more. Here's a sampling of eight local offerings, separated by the type of camp.
FUN IN THE KITCHEN
Imagine being served a delectable meal -- such as fettuccine with pesto, followed by a dessert of chocolate biscotti or a fruit trifle with whipped cream -- made by your kids. Budding chefs ages 8-12 can explore a different type of Italian cuisine each day of a three-day workshop at Sur La Table in Yonkers. The hands-on class will teach techniques such as measuring, mixing and basic knife skills as the students make delicious Italian fare.
When: 9-11 a.m. Monday-Wednesday, March 25-27
Also try: Other options for a culinary camp are Little Cooks Make and Take (for kids ages 4-6) and Big Cooks Make and Take (for kids ages 7-10), hands-on programs at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Classes for the 4- to 6-year-olds are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, and classes for the 7- to 10-year-olds are from 4 to 6 p.m. March 27-29. Info: 630 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills; 914-366-6200; www.stonebarnscenter.org; $40, $36 for members
Every child will get a speaking part and a solo in the musical "Pinkalicious," based on the children's book by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, as it's performed at the end of the Random Farms Kids' Theater vacation camp in Elmsford. During this process-oriented theater workshop for kids in grades 2-8, young Thespians will act out the story of a little girl who gets herself into a pickle by devouring too many pink goodies. Can she undo the colorful consequences of her pink obsession? Family and friends will find out when the workshop culminates in an informal studio performance of the musical.
When: Option one runs Monday-Wednesday, March 25-27. The workshop is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, campers will attend either the early session (10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., with a show at 1 p.m.) or the late session (2-5:30 p.m., with a show at 5 p.m.). Campers must be available for both schedules.
Option two runs Thursday-Saturday, March 28-30. The workshop runs 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, campers will attend either the early session (10 a.m. -- 1:30 p.m., with a show at 1 p.m.) or the late session (2-5:30 p.m., with a show at 5 p.m.), and must be available for both schedules.
Info: Random Farms Kids' Theater, 77 Executive Blvd., Elmsford; 914-740-1010; www.randomfarms.com; $260
Also try: The Pelham Picture House is hosting a spring break moviemaking camp for future filmmakers in kindergarten-grade 5. Campers will get a crash course in the art of making movies and put together a short film of their own while learning screenwriting, costume and set design, acting, directing and more. Session one is 9 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday, March 25-29; session two is 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29. Info: The Picture House, 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham; 914-738-3161; thepicturehouse.org; $375 for session one or $225 for session two
Kids in grades 3-6 will learn about real biologists' field equipment while playing hide and seek using telemetry and tracking tools during a camp at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem. They'll also take a walk with a live wolf, make plaster casts of wolf paw prints, learn about wolf mythology and more.
When: 3-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, March 26-29
Info: Wolf Conservation Center, 7 Buck Run, South Salem; 914-763-2373; www.nywolf.org; $200
Also try: Campers ages 8-12 will try out a variety of fishing gear, such as seine nets, dip nets, eel mops, waders and rods and reels, and will learn about and compare species caught in five locations along the river during a spring break camp at the Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers. The program runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 25-29. Info: Beczak Environmental Education Center, 35 Alexander St., Yonkers; 914-377-1900; www.beczak.org; $60 per day or $250 for the five-day program
ARTS AND CRAFTS
A patchwork of artistic activities such as story quilting, pattern printing and fabric wall-hanging design awaits at the Katonah Museum of Art's School's Out/Art's In camp. In keeping with the museum's ongoing exhibit, "Beyond the Bed: The American Quilt Evolution," teaching artists will lead a different quilt-inspired art project each day of spring break. Kids under age 6 must take the class with an adult; for older kids, parents still have to stick around, but they can visit the museum's exhibits during the class.
When: Drop in 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 25-29
Info: Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay St., Katonah; 914-232-9555; www.katonahmuseum.org; $6, $3 for members; adults must pay museum admission of $10, $5 for senior residents
Also try: Youngsters will learn techniques for hand building, wheel throwing and glazing during the Pottery-on-Hudson hands-on program in Dobbs Ferry. The camp runs Monday-Thursday, March 25-28. Kids ages 6-9 attend from 9 a.m. to noon, and ages 10 and up attend from 1 to 4 p.m. Info: Pottery-on-Hudson, 145 Palisade St., Studio 2S, Dobbs Ferry; 914-478-2762; www.potteryonhudson.com; $225 per child
Whatever the weather, youngsters in kindergarten-grade 5 can run around and play outdoor-style games on the safe, dry turf of the gigantic indoor MAC Park in Kingston. In this 20,000-square-foot sports facility, there's room for campers to play active games such as dodgeball and kickball, plus create arts and crafts projects and more.
When: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, March 25-29, and Monday, April 1
Also try: WeeZee, an indoor health club for kids in Chappaqua, is open to members and nonmembers during school holidays and offers a flexible schedule full of active games, art projects, theme-day activities and more for kids ages 4-12. WeeZee is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, March 25-29. Info: WeeZee, Chappaqua Crossing, 480 Bedford Rd., Chappaqua; 914-752-2100, ext. 2112; www.weezeeworld.com; $35 to $100 per student, depending on the schedule