Category: Gear

The cutest lunch box notes, whether your kids love Star Wars, Pokémon GO, or Dr. Seuss

Way back when my mom packed lunch for me, the brown paper bag always came adorned with a smiley face, a heart, or on days she was feeling really ambitious, a rough portrait of our dog, Maggie. And as a kid, it made such a difference, especially in the early days when the cafeteria felt like a wild new frontier. How lucky to be a kid today with all these ready-made funny, smart lunch box notes in cool designs and favorite characters. Plus, parents everywhere are rejoicing they don’t have to attempt a Pikachu sketch while trying to assemble a meal not based...

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11 of our favorite nursery must-haves | Baby Registry Essentials Guide

We’re so excited to share our own favorite baby registry nursery must-haves as part of our ongoing Baby Registry Essentials Guide series, which we’re bringing to you thanks to our partner, Gugu Guru. Some of our picks we bet you’ve seen (or maybe recommended yourself!), some of them are definitely worth a look if they’re new to you. You will find all of our nursery must-haves right on the Gugu Guru site where you can easily add them (or anything on the web at all) to your baby registry there with a single click. It’s seriously a lifesaver for expectant parents, with completely custom product recommendations that they offer you based...

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Swanky baby gear that looks like adult coloring books? Color us excited.

The only thing we love more than super safe, comfortable car seats and strollers is when our essential baby gear has swanky styling too. The new City Motif Collection of baby gear from Maxi-Cosi combines serious safety features with a playful black-and-white city skyline design that manages to look both very European and, well, like you could whip out some markers and color right on it. (But, don’t!) The City Motif line includes three different products to take your kids from teeny to toddling. To start off, there’s the Mico Max 30 infant seat, known for being the most lightweight seat...

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The easiest, cutest bike bell? Ding ding ding! We found it.

We all know the transition from balance bike to training wheels to full-on bicycle takes a while (and can get a little wobbly). Add the required coordination to ring that out-of-my-way-new-rider-here bell and your kid may be in danger of an all-out collapse on the pavement. Which is no fun for anyone involved. So I’m pretty stoked to discover the Mirrycle Incredibell Jellibell Bicycle Bell (try saying that five times fast), which requires a mere touch to deliver its bell sound. That’s something even the most novice cyclists can handle while still balancing on two wheels. Related: 7 of the absolute coolest ride-on toys...

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It’s a lunch bag! It’s a place mat! It’s the answer to every germaphobe parent’s prayers.

While there are all kinds of kids lunch bags and boxes that I find are really durable and effective, I’ve long been a fan of the lunch bags from Built NY — in no small part because the size and styling means I can borrow them from my kids. And now they’re out with and extremely smart, innovative lunch bag that I think parents will be happy about. Especially if you’re grossed out by the tables and surfaces your kids may be eating off of when you’re not around. Related: 34 of the coolest lunch boxes and bags | Back to School Guide...

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Skateboarding to school just got a lot easier. And cooler.

When we lived in a big city, my kids loved to watch teens skateboarding to school. There was this effortless coolness to gliding along, flipping the board, tossing it over a shoulder, and hopping on a bus. If you think your kids might be a great age for rolling up the sidewalk by your side but don’t want to carry those skateboards home yourself, here’s a great way to combine skateboards with school supplies. Bonus: No more back-to-school backpack shopping. Related: 15 simple, possibly unexpected ways parents can connect with their tween or teen Penny Skateboards is known for well-made...

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What makes back-to-school gifts more special? We’re gonna go with llamas.

If you’ve done any back-to-school shopping lately, you may have noticed, like we have, that llamas are taking over the world. Quietly. And with deceptive cuteness because let me tell you, llamas mean business. The takeover may be inevitable at this point, so I’ve rounded up some of the most adorable llama-themed back-to-school items from around the web that I’ve found. Isn’t it nice when trends are stuff we can say we liked “before they were cool?” Yeah, foxes are kind of 2015. Don’t even get us started on owls. Related: Cool, colorful school supplies to make September more fun | Back to School Guide...

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The Taga family bike is back, and more affordable. Well…relatively.

Back in 2014, Kate spent some time with the original Taga Bike with some pretty stellar results, and I’m not the least bit surprised she fell for this cool family bike. It’s brilliantly designed, can ferry up to two kids in the front compartment where parents can see them, and to top it off, it flips into a stroller in a mere 20 seconds. In fact, the only major criticism from our readers was the bike’s steep price — about $1,500 for the basic model. Eek! Related: The coolest bike helmets for kids. As in, ones they’ll actually want to wear. With that in mind, the creators have just rolled...

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3 of the best highchairs that grow with your kid. In other words, they’re worth the investment.

Now that I’ve had three kids, I’m a big believer in only spending money on baby gear that’s really worth it. That spendy bottle warmer you’ll use for oh, 3 months? Skip it. But a highchair that will literally last until your kids are in elementary school (or older) — that’s totally worth the investment to me. So, we’ve taken a look back at some of the very best highchairs we’ve had a chance to review over the years to find our favorites that will grow with your kids. In other words, you know you’re getting your money’s worth even after you’ve quit...

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Breastfeeding at work: 7 tips to help nursing moms make the transition

When I returned to work while breastfeeding my first daughter, I found myself sorely unprepared for everything it entailed. I can’t even begin to convey the frustration I experienced — though I’m sure a lot of you know just what I’d been through. Add that to sleep deprivation and it was a very difficult time for me. Cue crying behind my closed office door. Looking back, I realize there’s more I could have done prior to going back to work, to make the transition a whole lot easier. (Ah, hindsight, right?) Plus, now that there are so many more workplaces doing more for working...

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Cool backpack and lunch box sets that are perfect for tweens or teens

You’ve probably heard of Lululemon, but did you know that they have a special line for girls? Yep, ivivva offers cool activewear for girls, including a new line of backpack and lunch box sets my girls are fighting over. To be honest, it’s not really a line, so much as two sets, but no matter how many there are, they’re definitely very cool. The backpack is very slim but still has lots of room for everything your middle or high schooler needs to carry without it feeling bulky. There’s even a hidden laptop pocket for kids who need to bring...

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7 must-haves for breastfeeding moms | Baby Registry Essentials Guide

Next up in our Baby Registry Essentials Guide series, we’re excited to share 7 of our own must-haves for breastfeeding moms. And hey, just in time for National Breastfeeding Month — although of course, these are all fantastically useful gifts any month at all. We’re so happy to be able to bring you all this monthly series of essentials for new parents, thanks to our partner Gugu Guru, the brilliant online baby registry. If you’re expecting, or know someone who is, you’ll appreciate their personalized, unbiased product recos that they make based on your own lifestyle preferences and tastes, plus the expert guidance they offer along the way. Best...

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The coolest back to school printables: Lunch notes, planners, labels and more | Back to School Guide 2016

Back to school time isn’t just about shopping! (Not that there’s anything wrong with shopping, of course.) One of our favorite annual traditions is sharing our favorite back to school printables that help make the school year easier, more organized, and just more fun. This year, we’re sharing 22 favorites, most of them free! And we’re so pleased that this year’s Back to School Guide is made possible by our terrific partner BIC, who’s celebrating handwriting through their Fight for Your Write campaign. (And you all know how much we value handwriting, parents.) Visit the site, sign the pledge to encourage handwriting at home like we do, and they’ll...

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7 tricks to help kids pack their own school lunches. As in, them, not you!

We’re all for making those crazy school mornings as un-crazy as possible, which is why we’re big fans of having our kids pack their own lunches the night before. Yes, even our little ones! It can be done, promise. Not only does having kids pack their own lunches give you one less thing to do yourself (whoo!), but it’s a smart way to ensure they’ll actually eat what’s in their lunch box. And if they don’t, well, there’s no blaming you for that too-ripe banana or the strawberry yogurt they devoured yesterday, but claim they don’t like today.   We’re thrilled to get to bring you our top...

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5 benefits of breastfeeding for moms, that we should be talking about more

Like many moms who choose to breastfeed, I was fairly aware of the benefits of breastfeeding my first baby well before I started. But I actually didn’t know how many benefits there would be for me too, at least until I was pretty far along into nursing my first baby. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much it would have helped me to focus on those upsides during those early days and months when, admittedly, I was struggling a bit. And that goes for my second, third and fourth babies. (That’s me with number two up in the photo above. So cute!)   Our newest...

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The coolest backpacks for preschoolers and little kids | Cool Mom Picks Back to School Guide 2016

It seems like our annual Back to School Guide gets earlier each year, because hey – we’re here for you, parents! Whether you’re already scrambling to get those school shopping lists covered or you’ve got a good month left to track down the best backpack or lunch box or pencil case or kawaii eraser, we’ve got you covered. So we’re excited to kick off our back to school shopping recos with an amazing selection of the coolest backpacks for preschoolers and little kids! We’ve scoured the web to find the most adorably fun backpacks that are sized or designed just for little ones, who don’t...

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Finally, a beach towel that leaves the sand at the beach. Whoo!

My idea of a perfect day? Relaxing at the beach with a fun read while the kids play in the waves and never argue. Not even once. Okay, maybe that’s not so realistic, but what might make me almost as happy is a beach towel that sand won’t stick to. So, as you might guess, I was very excited to discover this new sand-free beach towel and put it to the test. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: The very best beach umbrellas and tents for families, after a ton of research The construction of Sandusa sand-free beach towels (that’s pronounced “san-doosa,” by...

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The Baby Registry Essentials Guide: The Coolest Gifts for the Eco Mom

You know how much we love to seek out the very coolest baby registry essentials and must-haves, both as a group of moms who are searching for cool baby gifts for our own new additions, and as those who only wish we had them when ours were young ones. Especially when it comes to cool eco baby products that make you feel that much better about the items you’re buying. So we are beyond thrilled to have joined up with the most perfect partner, Gugu Guru, the brilliant online baby registry, for some of the coolest baby essentials. They make personalized, unbiased product...

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The very best beach umbrellas and tents for families, after a ton of research

You cannot even believe how much time I spent last summer tracking down the best beach umbrella. I finally went with my parents’ strongly recommended pick, which was a surprise one to me. (And you have no idea how strongly recommended it was, unless you a) know my parents or b) saw their 18 emails detailing just why it was the very best one and how they spend even more time researching products than I do and how I’d be crazy not to buy it.) Well, thanks to my parents and my own obsessive beach umbrella-searching skills, I’m here to share...

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Alpine Pluggies make flying with kids a whole lot less painful

I was cruising the eye and ear care aisle at CVS last week on vacation, waiting for my daughter’s ear infection prescription to be filled (womp, womp) and trying to find something that might help her ears for the plane ride home. On a whim, I grabbed a few packs of Alpine Pluggies for her (and for me, actually), and wow, I have to say that they made a huge difference for the plane ride home. Related: The cutest travel pillow for kids when they’re too big to fall asleep in your lap These special earplugs, available in sizes...

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The smartest way for new parents to save some money: Rent baby gear from Expectantly

Budgeting for a new baby can be overwhelming for many of us. You need clothes, diapers, a crib, a stroller — the list goes on. And on. While some items like rattles and burp clothes are relatively inexpensive, others — like a car seat and high chair or even crib bedding — can be beyond pricey. It’s hard to know where to splurge on something you’ll use for years (hint: go for the nice stroller) and where to save (skip the expensive bassinet you’ll use a couple months, at most). So, when I found out about the cool new site...

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Temporary safety tattoos: A life saver for parents of kids who like to wander.

We all know that theme parks, playgrounds, and big outdoor events can be pretty overwhelming places to bring younger children, especially if you have several to keep track of. And big distractions like fireworks, cotton candy, and costumed characters certainly don’t make it any easier to keep anyone from wandering off. Which is why we think these new Emergency Contact Temporary Tattoos we found from MadelinesBox on Etsy are genius. In the off-chance your child does stray from your side, whoever finds your little one will know exactly who to call, even if they’re too young to have it memorized. Our editor Liz shared the...

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Waterproof diaper bags that just happen to make the perfect pool totes

Even if you’re not in the market for a new diaper bag, you might want to give the waterproof diaper bags from TWELVElittle a second look. My kids haven’t been in diapers in years, but I’ve been using their new waterproof diaper bag daily because it makes a perfect pool tote, too. There’s plenty of room for sunscreen, snacks, and towels for three kids. And if you do have little ones, it’ll work well for hauling diapers and swim vests, too. Or, you can hook swim vests to the shoulder straps — wet or dry — without worrying about ruining a pretty bag....

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26 of the best car games and activities to keep kids happy without screens.

I was one of those parents who insisted that I’d raise the kind of kids who would play fun, screen-free car games on our family road trips, or perhaps watching the world whiz by while asking intelligent questions about all the sites and sounds around them. Sound familiar? Yeah. Well after one particularly long road trip, I quickly learned that sometimes screens are really, really useful for making an endless drive feel… not so endless. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve totally surrendered to the lure of electronics. There are times when all the screens need to go off so we can discover other ways to...

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Sponsored Message: Nanit may be the biggest thing to happen to baby monitors.

  This is a sponsored message from Nanit If you’ve ever lost sleep waiting impatiently for your baby to fall asleep — or worse, woken your little one up when you’ve just peeked in —  you need to meet Nanit, a tremendous new advancement in baby monitors. In fact it’s part baby monitor, part translator, part personal baby guru. And what new parent couldn’t use one of those? – Don’t miss a special limited-time offer below –  Nanit is designed to track everything about your baby’s sleep, no wearable required. You’ll have access to a wealth of information with ease through the nicely designed companion app, including data...

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7 smart sleepaway camp essentials that help stave off homesickness.

If your little camper is heading off to sleepaway camp this summer, possibly for the first time (sniff), you’ll likely receive from the camp a long list of all the essentials to pack — extra socks, bug repellent, water bottles, headlamps. But, on top of all those must-haves (and they really are), we think that a few special items that connect them to home can help make the transition from bed to bunk a little easier. We spoke to our experienced sleepaway camp parents around here, and put together 7 of our favorite ideas for sleepaway camp essentials that help stave off homesickness and ensure the transition...

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The best friend blankie your child is sure to love.

I have a soft spot for twee animal products in general, but when I received Lewis, the snuggly, adorable travel blanket with the sweet raccoon face, I found myself in a blissful, childlike state, wanting to run outside and climb the nearest tree. The Nomad Travel Blankets from EllieFunDay go beyond adorable though, with a mission to encourage kids to venture outside more often. And Amelia the Bunny, Marco the Panda, and Lewis the Raccoon are all just waiting to be unfurled for an impromptu picnic, flown proudly as a cape, or tucked under a little head for some serious stargazing. Related: 10 really...

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11 truly clever tips and tricks for camping with kids to make it fun and easy. (Well, easy as possible.)

If you’re up for the adventure, camping with kids can be a really fun, inexpensive way to get away for the weekend. While it’s admittedly not the best night’s sleep you’ll ever get (though really, what parent gets a good night’s sleep anyway?), I’m a big fan of the unplugged quality time you get when you camp with your family — hiking, cooking over the campfire, snuggling up in sleeping bags. (Provided you leave your devices at home or in the car, that is. Free tip, from me to you.) Of course, knowing what you’re doing makes the whole experience so much nicer, so as an...

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The EWG 2016 safest sunscreens for kids: which are most affordable?

Every year, we have turned to the Environmental Working Group’s Annual Guide to Sunscreens to help us make more educated decisions about what are the safest sunscreens to slather on our kids (and ourselves) each summer. But we often find that when you break down the prices, whoa — it’s expensive to get safe sunscreens for kids! Especially considering how much we’re using. So this year we thought we’d take a good look at their short list of the EWG Best Kids’ Sunscreens, find the average prices online (generally from Amazon, Drugstore.com, or the brand’s own website if the product isn’t widely available at...

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6 modern baby bouncers that are super stylish space-savers

Sometimes in the world of baby gear, less is definitely way more. These modern, space-saving baby bouncers capture this spirit in a big way. Their sleek designs mean your living room can look less like a mini gymnasium and more like smart, stylish adults live there. When my first child was born, I splurged on that deluxe set with all the bells and whistles, dangling toys, and musical buttons. My sister, on the other hand, chose a bouncer that was about as big as her diaper bag and folded up to slide under the sofa when not in use. Turns out her baby was just...

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