If you find yourself saying Don’t make a mess! to your curious, imaginative, and, yeah, messy preschooler more times than you care to count, we’re going to challenge you to say Let’s make a mess for a change. Wait til you see how good that feels. Oh sure, we couldn’t do this every day, but sometimes it’s fun to let loose and be the fun parent who doesn’t really care how dirty, sticky, painty, or glittery our kids get during no-holds-barred play. Especially as the weather gets warmer, and sending them to hose off outside is one viable option. Remember, clean-up time...Read More
We’ve always said that some of our favorite Mother’s Day gifts are personalized, and well, you can’t get more personalized than photos of your own kids and family. Of course, not all photo gifts are created equal. (Sorry, badly printed photo mugs.) That’s where Artifact Uprising comes in, a wonderful small company that we — and our readers! — have truly loved even before they became our newest sponsor. And we are so thrilled to continue to support them. These are folks who are driven by the belief that everyone has a story to tell, and we couldn’t agree...Read More
I am imagining that the McCormick’s website must get more traffic this time of year than any other, considering that it’s pretty much homebase for anyone wanting to know just how to dye Easter eggs with food coloring, and just which exact combo of those teeny little drops will yield the perfect hues. While we’ve shared some cool natural ways to dye your Easter eggs, I also understand that when it comes to kids, sometimes a pale kinda-yellow-brown isn’t going to cut it when what they really want is bright neon orange. And that a kid like mine who loves turquoise (this year) will probably...Read More
Many of us are going to turn the calendar over to April and realize, with a start, that Easter is a blink away on April 5. Or today, it’s a week away. So use this last week to decorate eggs, make Eastery treats, and finish shopping for those baskets. And if you need to keep your little bunnies’ hands busy too, we’ve pulled together 17sweet bunny crafts for Easter that your kids and you can make, eat, or play with while you jump around getting everything done. Related: 15 easy Easter crafts for kids and fun printables. No glitter required! Easter Bunny...Read More
17 of the most incredibly clever pop culture Easter eggs, from Star Wars to Frozen to Minecraft and beyond.
Looking for your Easter eggs to have a little more personality this year? We’ve got lots of amazingly creative ideas for pop culture Easter eggs that give a nod to those characters and creatures we all know and love, like our favorite superheroes, more than a few Star Wars characters, and of course, Minecraft. While some of these ideas are so spectacular, only the most artistic among us should attempt, several ideas are totally doable. In fact, good luck to those of you who are about to end up with two dozen Minecraft Creeper eggs. Related: 17 super cool Easter egg decorating ideas that...Read More
As we all know, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, so even my family dons the green and plays some jigs on March 17th. And though we don’t go crazy decorating our house with shamrocks or setting up leprechaun traps, there are plenty of easy, kid-friendly crafts we can do to celebrate the Emerald Isles on this day. I pared it down to six cool craft ideas that go beyond sticking shamrock stickers on green plastic hats. (Not that that can’t be fun for kids too!) DIY Green Clay Bead Necklace (tutorial, Tuts+) Okay so this definitely is the least easy...Read More
Every year, my family looks for cool ways to decorate Easter eggs that doesn’t require crafting skills far beyond what I have myself — which is not much. That said, my kids adore the tradition and love experimenting with new ways to play around with decorating eggs. As for me, I like them to look pretty when we’re done. (I’ve never been one for all those stickers that come in the egg-dyeing kits.) So I’ve tracked down 17 really great tutorials that are all about color and pattern, but that the kids can still have fun with on Easter Sunday without getting too...Read More
This is the time we start thinking Easter for you all, and as always, we love finding special little treats for the Easter baskets that aren’t necessarily your typical drugstore-shelf chocolate bunny. So I think this Easter Bunny painting kit is just perfect, especially considering it’s under $15. It’s not only a great craft in itself, but makes a cool keepsake that kids will proudly display when they’re done. And while it’s recommended for kids 6 and up, I’d imagine that preschoolers would do just fine with a little parental supervision. Coloring in the lines is overrated anyway. Related: 14 easy Easter crafts...Read More
Considering emoji are like the new Angry Birds (or Minecraft creepers, or Anna and Elsa, or name your favorite humongo pop culture icon here), I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the emoji Easter egg DIY craft from Studio DIY. Your text-happy kids will get a huge kick out of the various smiley faces. I know mine will. I do think because eggs are not round, the ones that work best to sell the emoji face idea are designs like “Smiling Face with Heart-Shaped Eyes,” “Face Throwing a Kiss,” and “Face with Tears of Joy.” (And yes, they all have actual names like that.) Related: 9...Read More
Where do you go for design inspiration now that the Pinterest feed changes have totally screwed up your experience? If you’re looking for paint inspiration to freshen up your home decor, you need to visit the blog of Colorhouse Paint, a brand that’s a favorite of designers, architects, and eco-conscious parents for its odor-free, low-VOC paint colors, its eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and even a paint recycling program. I went to the blog to look for some home decor inspiration, then fell down the rabbit hole with so many DIYs and color trend blog posts that I immediately wanted to pin to my boards. What can I say, old habits die hard....Read More
It’s hard to find a kid who doesn’t love customizing things to make them their own, from a blank notebook to their bedroom walls. And while I’d rather not have the interior of my car “customized” with stickers, I do want to foster my kids’ love for artistic expression. So, I kind of geeked out over the customizable t-shirt kits by Creatures & Features. And I think they will too. Each kit includes an organic, US-made t-shirt with a monster outline on it and a set of features you iron-on to create a design that’s all your own. They call them a “boy kit” and “girl kit,” but...Read More
With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I’m going to take advantage of this weekend with the kids to finish up their printable Valentine’s Day cards and make a few yummy Valentine’s food gifts to hand out to all our favorite people. We’re also going to keep our hands busy and out of the bowl of candy hearts by doing some of these awesomely unique, fun, and easy Valentine’s crafts for kids. I hope you’ll agree they’re all pretty simple, and definitely kid-friendly, with supplies you already own or are fairly easy to find. No need for buzz saws. Yet. Recycled Valentine’s treat bag...Read More
Sometimes I see the same crafts in crafting books for kids over and over again, but the ideas in the new e-book Happy Handmade, are fresh and fun, with diverse perspectives from 17 creative contributors. We’re talking respected craft and DIY bloggers like Mari Richards at Small for Big, Eva Monleón at Misako Mimoko, and Ana at Babble Dabble Do. From scented orange-peel candles to a braided belt to sock puppets and doll houses made from shoe boxes, there’s something for every crafty kid here. And fear not crafting newbies; these are mostly simple, 101-level craft projects you can make with materials you likely already have at home, like toilet...Read More
We love homemade gifts, and have always had a heart for Valentine’s Day crafts that make truly thoughtful gifts. But then we look around, and…eek! Unless you have your own woodworking shop and an MFA in jewelry design, not all the ideas floating around will come looking like those gorgeous Pinterest photos. (You know what we mean.) So we searched high and low, and put together some of our favorite Valentine’s Day crafts that look amazing, but that regular people can reasonably do. We hope one of them is just right for your kids, your sweetheart, your BFF, or anyone else who needs to feel the...Read More
If you have young ones, we recently shared 23 fun, educational activities for preschoolers and young kids. But as your kids get older, it can even more challenging to find cool, educational indoor activities when they’re clamoring to play with the XBox. So we’ve put together 21 fantastic ideas early grade schoolers, to help grow their minds and muscles, whether you’re snowed in, watching a cold rainfall outside, or live in Southern California and just need to get out of the balmy 73-degree weather for an hour or two. (Oh, the problems.) These are the ideas that we put to use...Read More
I’ve been cleaning up and paring down lately, and that includes some of the wooden blocks my kids got as gifts when they were young. So I started thinking about upcycled wooden blocks craft ideas that might breathe some new life into them. While a fresh coat of paint (with a non-toxic finish!) is an easy fix, there are so many neat ideas out there from talented crafters to help you take those basic wooden blocks your child may have gotten as a baby, and repurpose them to make them fun for toddlers, kindergarteners, or even puzzle-solving big kids. ...Read More
The Rainbow Loom band bracelets (and necklaces, charms, rings, headbands, oh my) we’ve shared here are just as popular as ever, as kids find new ways to put them to use. Now, the trend is to ditch the looms entirely and learn how to make loom bands with your fingers. Our kids have been doing it, and they’re making the coolest crafts during playdates, on long car rides, or while watching TV. I still have bands scattered all over my house, and our loom band tutorial roundup (and our advanced loom band tutorials) continue to be some of the most popular posts on our site. But if...Read More
23 ideas for fun, educational indoor activities for preschoolers and young kids. Because we need all the ideas we can get!
After the initial “yay, snow!” cheers comes the realization that you now have to come up with educational activities for your preschoolers or kindergarteners, to help keep them busy–and ideally, learning–all day long. And while I totally understand letting PBS air a few more shows than you might normally allow, I also think an unexpected day stuck indoors is a great way to try out new activities that give their brains a workout and help reinforce important skills. It’s the kind of stuff you may not have time to do together on a regular old day. That’s why I’m so pleased...Read More
6 easy kids dresser label tricks. A.K.A. how to keep your kids from wearing swimsuits in a snowstorm. Maybe.
I have come across a few little design hack ideas to help keep my kids’ overflowing drawers a little less so–and hopefully, in the process, keep the seven year-old from grabbing the tye-died tank top and gym shorts when it’s 10-degrees and snowing outside. 1. For kids of reading age, you can order custom drawer labels like these nice ones from 3rd Ave Shore on Etsy, shown above. You can of course name them by clothing category, or give them labels like cold weather, warm weather, socks and undies. Depending on how many clothes you have, of course. Around here, we need...Read More
I’ve woken up a few times over the last couple weeks to the sound of ornaments falling from my tree and crashing to the floor. Not good. I’ve got a few gaps in my tree now, but with just a couple days until school is out and the kids are home, I don’t have time to make a run to the store for more ornaments. Our editor Liz forwarded me these cool printable Christmas ornaments from Smallful the other day, and now I don’t need to go anywhere. I love tradition and vintage and classic at Christmas, but these fresh, modern designs...Read More
You’ve heard us singing the praises of Kiwi Crate’s monthly subscription crates full of projects for kids ages 3-8 for years, but if your kids fall outside of those age ranges, tough luck, right? Not anymore. Their three new crates will help you cross off even more kids on your holiday list. Doesn’t that make you feel merry? Older, artistic-minded kids who enjoy making things with their hands will dig Doodle Crate, with a new DIY idea packed inside each month for kids ages 9-16+. My two tweens loved making geometric canvas pouches inside the crate they tried. I appreciated that everything was...Read More
If you’ve got big kids like mine who love to DIY, then you need to snatch up one of these KidKnits craft kits for kids that help give back to people in need. Founded by 9-year old (yes, 9!) and avid knitter Ellie, KidKnits is a non-profit organization that helps families in Chile and Rwanda through the sale of hat craft kits. Each kit features everything you’ll need to make your own hat, including your color choice of hand-dyed yarn from the artisans in both countries the charity supports, as well as a round loom, hook, needle, and instructions, all...Read More
I never think we can have enough coloring books around the house–or stashed in the travel bags for road trips and plane rides. As much as I love handing my kids plain sheets of paper for open-ended creativity, there’s something about coloring in the lines and having a jumping-off point for coloring that’s still really engaging for them. So I love that there are two new coloring books out for older kids too, that make really thoughtful, affordable gifts under $10. Especially because both were written by independent artists we know and love. Coloring Animal Mandalas, by Wendy Piersall is a pretty awesome take on...Read More
I may not allow Elf on a Shelf in my house, and Peter Pan is definitely not welcome to fly through my kids’ bedroom window, but having some magical fairy visitors would be just fine. Especially if it means my kids go eagerly to bed in the hopes that one will stop by while they are sleeping. The Dreamland Fairy Kit is just the kind of place a fairy may want to visit and would make an awesome fairy gift for kids who believe that fairies are real. Developed by moms Cassie Slane and Ami Van Dine after their six-year-old daughters proposed the...Read More
I know, Halloween is barely over and here I am talking about Christmas. But before you know it we’ll all be pinning cookie recipes and gift wrap ideas, so we might as well get ahead of the holiday craft game too. Washi tape crafts have been a hot trend for awhile, probably because it’s such a simple, affordable tool for using in modern DIY crafts. A Washi Tape Christmas, a new book by blogger and craft expert Kami Bigler of No Biggie, offers up dozens of washi tape Christmas crafts, decorations, and gifts that are quick but still impressive. In other words, my kind of crafts. While...Read More
Pumpkin decorating might be my kids’ favorite part of Halloween–second only to gorging on candy, of course. So I’ve been on the lookout for new and different ways to dress up our pumpkins this year, and in addition to last year’s round up of awesome no-carve Halloween pumpkin decorating ideas, I found a bunch of new, very fun, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that I really love. Hope you can put them to good use! These painted mini pumpkins at Studio DIY (above) look so much like frosted donuts that you may need to remind the kids not to take a bite. They...Read More
It hasn’t yet snowed here in Colorado, but it’s only a matter of time before the flurries fly and the birds are scrambling for food. Because I love to craft pretty things that are also useful, I’ve been looking for DIY bird feeders. I’m so excited about all of these ideas that I can hardly wait to get started. Don’t tell, but I might even make a few of them without my kids. These cookie cutter bird feeders (above) from eighteen25 use gelatin to make the birdseed stick together. Then kids can press it into cookie cutters to make fun...Read More
I’m all for any kind of online content that’s designed to empower and inspire women, from the MAKERS website we recently discovered on Cool Mom Tech to the wonderful stories of women through history brought to life on The Reconstructionists. But you don’t have to have made it into a history book (yet) to have a story that can inspire creativity or move someone to action. That’s what our friend Marisa Anne Cummings is striving for with her new endeavor, Creative Thursday, the Show. You may know Marisa better as the blogger behind Creative Thursday, designer of some of our favorite lovely children’s art prints...Read More
Ever since a Cool Mom Picks editor forwarded me a link to the Creatiate Etsy shop devoted solely to cool handmade rubber stamps, I’ve been imagining the inky possibilities. These stamps are gorgeous–like I wish I could spend a week stamping an entire wall in my house to make the world’s prettiest wallpaper gorgeous. And while that might be going a bit overboard, embellishing stationery, kids’ party invitations and loot bags, and making just about any flat surface lovelier isn’t, right? There are so many designs–see what sparks your own imagination. The shop owner can also customize a stamp for...Read More
As the chill starts to hit the air and the sweaters come out from the back of the closet around here, that means it’s almost time for DIY leaf crafts for kids. Or hey, maybe you’ve already started? (Hey, Minnesota!) While there’s no shortage of stunning DIY craft ideas around the web using leaves, the results would make you all laugh hysterically should they fall into my not-too-crafty hands. Me? I’m a little more like, So? What can we do with a Sharpie, kids? With that in mind, I tracked down 10 inspiring but easy ideas that are made for actual doing, not just...Read More
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