Author: Christina Refford

3 great Thanksgiving books for kids to be thankful for.

We love Thanksgiving, but we’ll admit it can get the short end of the stick, sandwiched between the Halloween sugar-fest and the merry-and-bright excitement of the holidays. While one of the nice things about Thanksgiving is that it’s about family, not gifts, we still love the idea of putting a few great Thanksgiving books for kids into our storytime rotation. Or hey, set them at the kids’ table, at least long enough to keep them entertained until homemade pie is served.   Combining the traditionally told story of Thanksgiving with the adorably cool Pete the Cat character is a great way to get...

Read More

The best new music for kids and families: 6 of our favorite fall picks

Whether you’re like me and need some holiday gift ideas for the little ones on your list or you just want some new music for kids to dance away the winter chill, I’ve found six recently released kids’ albums that will keep any ears happy. With new music from such CMP favorites as The Pop Ups and Caspar Babypants, as well as a wonderful collection of Latin American tunes for kids, there’s a little something for everyone–including we parents who will be listening along.   The Pop Ups’ Fids and Kamily pick, Appetite for Construction, kicks off with the Prince-era sounds of “Getting the Job Done”,  a multi-layered...

Read More

3 amazing new picture books for kids and parents to love

For those of us who love great illustration as much as a great story, I’ve found three new picture books that are worth making space for in your kids’ bookcase or wrapping to give to a child this holiday. What I love most about all three is that they’ll keep you talking about what you see as you go through the pages and maybe even long after the book cover is closed.   Flora and the Flamingo, one of my family’s favorite recent picture books and a 2013 Caldecott Honor book, has a sequel that is just perfect for these colder days. Flora...

Read More

Momosas brings all cheers without the alcohol

The long season of “eat, drink, and be merry” is almost upon us, so it’s time for you pregnant, breastfeeding, or abstaining-from-alcohol mamas to consider what you’ll be sipping from now until the ball drops on another year. Fortunately, there’s Momosas: Fun Alcohol-Free Drinks For Expecting Moms , a brand-new recipe book that is filled with over 130 interesting recipes for mocktails, blender drinks, and other concoctions. They’re so yummy, you won’t miss the alcohol at all. Especially the next morning. Despite the title and the cutesy drink names like Stork Choice, Rubber Ducky, and The Pacifier, Momosas is a smart, nicely designed book chock-full of gorgeous...

Read More

12 of the most spectacular advent calendars to help you count down to Christmas

Before you deck the halls, make sure you have your advent calendar ready so you can count down the days to the night before Christmas. It’s a tradition that my kids enjoy so much,  we have a few set up around the house to remind us how much longer they have to wait for their favorite day to arrive. And whether you are super crafty, want to print a DIY calendar at home, or would rather purchase something you can use year after year, we’ve rounded up a dozen options for you to have ready by the first of December. Prices and...

Read More

Give your memory some backup with The Birthday Poster from Sticky Bellies

All of my kids’ birthdays are milestone birthdays in my eyes, though I’m not always so good at remembering the details of each passing year other than maybe the cake we served at the party. Hey, I really like cake. But with Sticky Bellies’ new personalized birthday poster, I can capture that special moment in time a lot more effectively than my memory seems able to do. The Birthday Poster is a large 2’x3′ matte paper poster that you customize with markers, glitter, stickers, or anything else that helps personalize this special work of art. Even a black Sharpie and your best...

Read More

You’ve got very cute mail

If your kids get as excited as mine when they get something in the mailbox, then check out this adorable and free printable mailbox from TinyMe that will let you send and receive notes from your kids anytime, no stamp required. This printable craft looks like it could be completed while kids are at preschool, or maybe even during naptime if your kids’ nap longer than mine ever did. If you have two kids, they can each have their own mailbox as there is an all-red version and a red-and-blue version to assemble. And siblings can even write to each other that...

Read More

A creative activity book that could make a future Duchamps or Dali out of your kid.

A few years ago, we fell in love with artist Marion Deuchars’ smart, fun activity book Let’s Make Some Great Art, which teaches kids about twelve great masters and encourages them to imitate their styles all over the pages. I’m thrilled to find a follow-up book for kids, Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, with more than 200 pages of creative inspiration for kids to absorb–and, best of all, draw, paint, or print all over. What makes this Marion Deuchars book so inviting is that it doesn’t look like a stuffy art manual, a boring composition book, or even an art workbook. In...

Read More

11 creative group Halloween costume ideas for kids who don’t want to be Elsa and Olaf

Once your kids get too old for our awesome Baby Halloween Costume ideas, they may want to come up with a group costume that involves their friends, as is the case with my own kids this year.  So gather them around the computer–or just send them the link to this post–and show them some of these really cool ideas for the coolest and most creative group Halloween costumes for kids. Hope they inspire something wonderful.   Social Media Icon Group Halloween Costume (GymnastLaura on Instagram) Perfect for those ever-texting tweens, though they may argue over who gets stuck being Facebook.   LEGO Justice League Minifigs (Instructables)...

Read More

The best kids and family albums of 2014: The Fids and Kamily Award winners

The Fids and Kamily Poll has been announcing the best kids music  of  the year for kids and families since 2006, and we’re always so glad to be a part of it, along with other top bloggers,  journalists, publicists and kids’ music radio show hosts who all have a passion for seeing the best kids music succeed. And, today, the top albums of 2014 were announced. Whoo! This award is a great way to honor those musicians and singers who have helped blast the negative stereotypes about lame kids’ music and who make raising kids so much more joyful–and danceable–for us modern families who...

Read More

The coolest printable Halloween party invitations and decorations, from the cute to the creepy

We are in full-on planning mode for Halloween here at Cool Mom Picks, with adorably unique costume ideas for babies, yummy Halloween treats, gorgeous handmade masks and invitations, and even the best not-too-scary party ideas for the littlest goblins and ghouls. And now, we’ve got loads of the coolest printable Halloween party invitations and decorations to get your house ready for a monster bash or just a big night of greeting trick-or-treaters.   Printable Halloween Party Invitations and Decorations: The Cute   Printable Halloween Party Pack (Mer Mag) Find more than 10 pages of not-too-ghoulish party printables, from invitations to bottle covers. Just add...

Read More

A fashionable pacifier clip? Who knew.

Teething babies have been sinking their chompers into colorful, fashionable and safe Chewbeads ever since their bracelets and necklaces started appearing on the coolest new mamas. And now, along with their toddler-friendly teethers and playful older-kid Juniorbeads, they’ve come up with their own line of pacifier clips to keep many babies’ favorite mouth accessory right where they want it. Chewbeads’ “Where’s the Pacifier?” Pacifier Clip keeps those pesky binkies attached with a cute silicone clip tethered to their trademark soft beads that are safe to chew on, and bright enough to find should they become lost in a pile of stuffed animals. Even better, some of those...

Read More

How fun are these number blocks? Let us count the ways…

With so many amazing modern building blocks out there, it’s not hard to find a set that I’d love to give to my kids. But I’ve just discovered SumBlox, the most incredibly original set of durable beech wood blocks that mixes math learning and block play together in such an interesting way, I think they’d be just as valuable in our kids’ classrooms as in their playrooms. Related: 6 cool sets of wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square What makes the cool-looking SumBlox number blocks so unique is that each block has its value represented by its height so that kids can...

Read More

25 of the most adorably creative DIY baby costumes for Halloween…that you can actually make.

We always have the best time each Halloween poking around the web looking for the most awesome baby costumes. But the truth is, we’re busy! While some of you blow our minds putting those sleepless hours to use building outrageous costumes, we know there are tons of ideas for creative DIY baby costumes that you can pull off with a little imagination, some basic crafting skills (or ordering-from-Etsy skills) and maybe even a baby carrier. You don’t need pyrotechnics, you don’t need a Masters in Electric Circuitry. Here, 25 truly hilarious, adorably creative baby Halloween costumes that make us go, whoa!...

Read More

DIY Board Games for kids gives family game night a creative twist

Playing a board game with the kids can be fun, but it’s bound to feel a lot more special when your kids get to put their own finishing touches on the games themselves, like they can with DIY Board Games. And, don’t worry: The “DIY” doesn’t mean they get to make up their own rules as they go along. DIY Board Games are a set of semi-finished games that let kids flex their creative muscles by customizing their boards and game pieces with tons of stickers and markers. Kids who are handy with the safety scissors can even assemble the pieces...

Read More

The Ella Jenkins documentary: Let’s help get it made

We are always on the lookout for the best and brightest new kids’ music makers on Cool Mom Picks, bringing you everyone from The Not-Its! to Shine and the Moonbeams. But today we want to honor one of the longest-enduring stars in kids’ music, the incomparable Ella Jenkins, with the hopes of getting a documentary about her life and legacy made to share with future generations of kids. Ella Jenkins: We’ll All Sing Together will tell the story of The First Lady of Children’s Music who has been recording and performing her own songs for 60 years, including her latest release More Multicultural...

Read More

Need a Hunger Games alternative for your tweens to read? Find an unlikely heroine in The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

The lead character in Barry Jonsberg’s excellent new book for tweens, The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee, isn’t as strong as Katniss in The Hunger Games or as fearless as Divergent’s Tris, but Candice Phee is still my new favorite literary heroine. And the quest she goes on to save her family is as noble and enjoyable to read as those more action-packed books that have captured so many girls’ imaginations lately. If your tweens aren’t quite ready for the intensity of those other books, but are looking for something new to read before bed, that will make them scream “just one more chapter, Mom?” from their rooms, then this is...

Read More

Check out what Laurie Berkner is serving up on Kids’ Place Live this weekend

If your kids can’t get enough of Laurie Berkner’s music, they’re going to eat up the news that she’s coming to Sirius XM’s Kids’ Place Live this weekend–and throughout the year–to promote healthy eating. Oh, and play lots of tunes, too. Her new hour-long program Laurie Berkner’s Garden: Eat, Play, Grow will air multiple times from Friday night through Sunday and stars both Laurie herself and Kids’ Place Live’s awesomely fun Mindy Thomas. This weekend’s show will also feature Catherine McCord, whose cookbook Weelicious has saved more than a few dinners in our home. With four different shows planned to...

Read More

Talk Like a Pirate Day: Avast, me hearties, it’s time for the cutest pirate treasures for kids!

Ahoy mateys, it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, one of our favorite should-be-a-real-holiday days of the year. And though my “pirate speak” is a little rusty, my ability to find some of the cutest and coolest pirate-related treasures is right on the mark. So keep reading for six of the best pirate-related gifts for the little landlubbers and scallywags in your crew. Hopewell Creek Designs’ 9-piece felt pirate set (at top) has everything to get your buccaneers started: a handy treasure map, a compass, gold doubloons, a bottle of Pirate Rum, and the Jolly Roger flag to fly proudly on the mast...

Read More

The 2014 Martha Stewart American Made award finalists: A few of our favorite shops worth voting for

We are thrilled that Martha Stewart is again shining a spotlight on those gifted American makers who brings us so many gorgeous items to decorate our homes, dress our babies, and beautify our lives through the 2014 American Made awards. And now it’s time for you to vote for the Audience Choice Winner  from over 1,000 finalists. That $10,000 prize could go a long way towards helping one of your favorite American companies succeed. Though you can vote up to six times in a 24 hour period from now until October 13th, good luck narrowing your votes down to only six companies....

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest