Author: Christina Refford

Smart tees for kids that will make teachers happy in more ways than one

We imagine that nothing makes a teacher happier than seeing their students light up about a subject, ready to learn more. Whether you’ve got a number lover, a big reader, a mini scientist, or an artist-in-residence — or maybe a mix of all of the above — you need to check out these adorable, brand new smart tees for kids from CMP favorite Brooklyn Makers. Not only do they feature messages we can get behind, but a significant portion of the sales will help disadvantaged school districts so that all kids get the chance to discover their favorite subjects. Related:  11 cool career t-shirts for...

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Is Stitch Fix worth it? Two brutally honest she said/she said reviews from two of our editors

As busy mamas, we admit we don’t always find the time to shop for ourselves. As we’ve heard more and more about Stitch Fix from friends posting photos of themselves in cute outfits from the online shopping service on social media, we’ve grown intrigued. We also had heard some controversy about the style choices, the return policies, and the mark-ups on the items they send, so we wondered whether paying fees for a service like Stitch Fix is worth it. So we thought it would be helpful for our readers to have two of our editors, each with different tastes and different lifestyles, try it out for...

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The Star Wars bed for kids that would make you you the intergalactic queen of the world on #ForceFriday

Star Wars fans everywhere (and pretty much the rest of us) know that today is #ForceFriday –the day a whole bunch of new Star Wars gifts and toys goes on sale to help build excitement for the December release of Episode VII The Force Awakens. Also known as The One Where Luke, Leia, and Han are Old. But, you know, not everything new is better. So I have my eye on this super cool new gift that harkens back to the original Star Wars movie that we parents grew up watching. You know, the one when everyone was young. Related: The Sphero BB-8 droid that wins...

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Superhero Comic Kit: A BIG way for kids to write their very own BIG comics. Did we mention they’re big?

Our superhero-loving kids are going to leap over a tall building to get their hands on The Superhero Comic Kit, an activity book that gives them the chance to write and illustrate their very own comic books. No super skills required, only an active imagination, which we’re pretty sure is their super power anyway. And, wow, will their imagination have a place to play on the pages of this (very) oversized, uniquely hands-on book by British illustrator Jason Ford, also the author of The Super Book for Super Heroes which we love. In his latest release, Ford takes kids through all the...

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10 ways to make driveway bike riding more fun for kids

It’s hard to feel like King of the Road when really, you’re King of Don’t  Go Beyond the End of the Driveway! With three kids and one long paved driveway, I’ve been there!  So, whether you live on a house on a high-traffic street, or you just need to keep your kids a little closer to home for whatever reason, I’ve got 10 fun ideas to make driveway bike riding more fun for those kids who love their wheels but could use a little more excitement. And don’t forget the helmets! Even if it is “just” in the driveway....

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Maya Rudolph, Lisa Loeb and Chris Ballew join the must-listen musical magic that is Simpatico. Also? Men at Work. Really.

What happens when you mix the gorgeous voice of kindie favorite Renee Stahl of Renee & Jeremy with a motley vocal crew that includes Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Caspar Babypants, Lisa Loeb, and guest appearances from the lead singers of Men at Work and Toad the Wet Sprocket? The result is Simpatico, the perfectly named, perfectly cohesive album for families that is full of surprises. Like Maya Rudolph singing Prince, and totally killing it. I feel so fortunate to get the scoop on this fabulous new album that I think tons of families will love, right from opener Gather Round, in which...

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Fantastic tween books made into movies: 8 adventure-packed stories to help get older kids reading more.

We have no shortage of movie nights in the summer, but I would love to get my kids to crack open their books more often when school isn’t in session. And I think I’ve found a way to encourage them to read more while still keeping movie night on the calendar: I’m going to offer them great action and adventure filled tween books that were made into movies, with the caveat that we can only watch the movie afterwards. Whether you chose to read the titles aloud to your kids as a family story, or if your reader would rather finish the...

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Stride Rite shoes get more affordable with a new line at Target

Though my kids’ feet are all bigger (and smellier) than the days when they had cute toddler toes, back then I loved buying them Stride Rite shoes because I liked how they fit my kids’ feet and–quite simply–trusted the company that has been fitting kids’ feet for almost a century. But, their feet grew so fast, and I know how costly high-quality shoes can be, so I’m thrilled that Stride Rite has found a way to produce a great line of kids’ shoes exclusively for Target that will save families a few dollars too. Related: 7 fun, fashionable, rain boots for kids all under...

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Why you’ll eat up Gobble’s adorable cardboard furniture for kids

I have long loved finding unique, eco-friendly, and easy-to-assemble cardboard furniture and toys for kids. But while most of the cardboard items I’ve found to date are unfinished, I’m so intrigued by a new company on Kickstarter that marries adorable kid-friendly design with cardboard to create room-ready pieces. Related: Cardboard food truck playhouses for kids that aren’t the same old cottages and castles. Gobble by Form Maker is a brand-new line of cardboard chairs and room organizers from Australia that you can quickly assemble to add a whole lot of personality to your child’s bedroom or playroom. The cleverly designed pieces which feature four toothy animals–Croc, Hippo,...

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ParaKito: A natural alternative to mosquito repellents for kids.

My son will be heading off to day camp later this month where he will swim, run, climb, and, quite possibly, be eaten alive by mosquitoes. Since I’m not too keen on him reapplying toxic chemicals all over himself midway through the day, I’m glad to have found a natural option in the ParaKito mosquito repellent band that will help keep those itchy biters away from his limbs. This soft, colorful neoprene band is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to get kids ready for a full day in the great outdoors. Just fasten the velcro tab around their arm or ankle and off...

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Little Passports’ new gift subscription now lets younger kids get in on the world travel adventures too.

Even before she had made her first trip out of the country, my daughter loved the subscription her aunt bought her to Little Passports when she was in grade school. Each month, she’d receive a packet of information and little trinkets about a new country that she could tuck safely into her small blue suitcase. If you have younger kids, you may be happy to learn that even they can take a virtual trip around the world now, with Little Passports Early Explorers. It comes with specially designed materials and items for kids between the ages of 3-5, no real passport needed. Or expensive tickets to Egypt or France....

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The ultimate roundup of fun, affordable Minion birthday party ideas that you can actually do!

The Minions are coming! The Minions are coming! Today’s premiere of the aptly titled Minions movie is bound to turn even more kids into fans of those yellow goofballs, meaning you may find yourself planning a Minion-themed birthday party for your own little critter before the year is out. While we’ve seen some truly impressive–and impressively time-consuming–Minion birthday party ideas all over the web, we’ve rounded up a bunch of easier, yet still totally adorable and affordable ways to incorporate them into a birthday party without losing your mind. Kampai!  (That’s Minion for “Cheers!”) -Christina + Liz   Minion Birthday Party Invitations Just send The Indigo...

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Shark Week is back! Here are 7 of our favorite shark picks for summer

Starting today, it won’t be safe to turn on the television without knowing Shark Week has come ashore, with an entire week of programming on the Discovery Channel dedicated to those creatures of the sea. And while we’re happy to keep the bitey kind of shark in its rightful place in the ocean, we’ve also netted some great summertime shark finds for your kids should they have a soft spot for those toothy fish — and maybe aren’t quite old enough to watch Jaws with you just yet. Related: 14 of the coolest Shark Week picks for kids (whether they’re old...

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Enjoy safer sparklers with 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids

We expect to hear plenty of  ooh’s and ahh’s to accompany all the bright and sparkly things we’ll see on the Fourth of July, but I hope to eliminate any ow’s with these safera alternatives to sparklers that they can enjoy on Independence Day. Or heck, all summer long. I hope these 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids help create a safer holiday for all. Related: Free printable Fourth of July temporary tattoos   Pipe Cleaner Sparkler Craft for Fourth of July (tutorial, Kix Cereal) Metallic pipe cleaners make great faux sparklers, especially in red, white, and blue colors. Follow the easy Pipe Cleaner Sparklers tutorial at...

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Free Fourth of July temporary tattoos! Because you may not want those stars and stripes forever.

Before you go to the Fourth of July parade, fire up the grill, or lay out the blanket to watch the fireworks fall from the sky, I like the idea of getting inked up with some beautifully designed DIY Fourth of July tattoos. Just like fireworks, these tattoos are temporary, but sure look pretty while they’re around. Created by crafter, creator, and talented handwriting illustrator Alexis of Persia Lou, her Watercolor Fourth of July Tattoos are so nicely designed, I want to wear them just as much as the children do.   Related: 9 fun, easy, no-bake 4th of July party treats...

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Fight boredom with the huge, and hugely fun, coloring poster from Pirasta

I’ve been fighting boredom this summer with a bunch of magic markers and one really huge (like, seriously huge) and cleverly illustrated coloring poster for kids from a new company called Pirasta. And the beauty of these posters is that there’s room for everyone to get in on the action. The recycled-content paper is sturdy enough to let it take over the dining room table for a while, spread it out at a birthday party, or hang it on the wall. And at a whopping 63″ x 36″there is plenty of room for multiple people to color together. We’ve even rolled up...

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Letting kids make beautiful music with Compose Yourself. Now this is cool.

It may take special talent and years of study to compose music for a symphony, but we’ve discovered a fun shortcut with Think Fun’s new Compose Yourself, a creative, musical card game which lets kids 6 and up — and even adult neophytes like me — create beautiful music in minutes. You don’t even have to be able to read a note of music. Which is why I like it too. Related: How to foster a love of music in your little kids The system was created by Philip Sheppard, an accomplished composer and musician who has recorded with David Bowie, served as music director...

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6 cool sets of summer camp labels for kids, so that what goes to camp comes back from camp

One of the first rules of summer camp, other than Sunscreen Sunscreen Sunscreen, is to label every single thing your kids take with them. Including the sunscreen. While a Sharpie can do the trick on some products, we love colorful labels that affix to all of their things in seconds, and never accidentally bleed through a label onto the other side of a t-shirt. Related: Summer camp care package ideas so cool, the kids might even miss you. Maybe. So, I’ve put together 6 cool summer camp label designs for kids for different needs, including bundled camp packs to help save you money....

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7 great new beach toys for kids to make sand play even more fun

Before you pack up the kids and head to the beach (yay summer!), take my advice and do a quick inventory of last year’s beach toys. Between missing shovels, broken pails, and maybe some toys that are no longer in the best shape, it may be time to add a few new sand toys to the kids’ collection. We’ve dug up (haha) a bunch of new sand toys for our kids to play with when they aren’t burying our feet in the sand or chasing waves. And since many of these toys make great playthings for their sandbox too, they...

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9 messy projects for tweens and teens that let you be The Fun Parent

We may look at our tweens and teens and think, How did they get so big so fast? But you only have to scratch the surface to find a playful kid hiding in there, and ready to come out. So, it wasn’t hard to come up with a whole bunch of messy projects for our older kids, like we’ve done for our preschoolers and grade-school-age kids. In fact, some of these ideas would be a blast for any age, whether or not your kids are in the double-digit age bracket yet. [top image: My Happy Thoughts] Related: 12 messy projects for Kids. Trust...

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