Category: Entertainment + Media

Should your kids be watching 13 Reasons Why? 15 must-read articles to help you figure it out.

Okay, parents. Let’s talk 13 Reasons Why and whether your kids should be watching it. Because, no doubt, your kids are doing just that. And now that it’s been picked up for a second season on Netflix, the question about whether your kids should watch it won’t be going away anytime soon. Now personally, I haven’t watched the series yet myself because after checking with the Common Sense Media review (which has a suggested age of 16+) and talking with my own trusted parenting friends, I’ve decided my 11-year-old is too young. Also, we’re getting word about entire schools sending out warning letters to parents,...

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Great news! NPR is releasing their first-ever podcast for kids!

NPR is the only thing I ever listen to in my car — unless my kids want to hear “It’s Raining Tacos.” On repeat. (Because of course not every episode of Spawned is entire kid-safe.) So I was absolutely stoked when I heard that next week, May 15, NPR is going to release a podcast for kids ages 5 to 12 that highlights the wonders of science, technology, discovery, and inventions. Stunningly, this is the first-ever children’s program in NPR’s 47-year history. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I have a feeling this podcast will be worth the wait. Related: 5 cool TV...

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The Princess Bride turns 30! Have fun storming the theaters.

Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles. Really, what’s not to love about The Princess Bride? Nothing, is the answer. There’s nothing not to love. Back in my single days, I even had a Princess Bride Test in which any prospective suitor who “didn’t get the big deal about it” was automatically out. And now — and yes, I know I’m not the first to make this joke...

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A law to force parents to RSVP to kids’ parties: We’re in!

Who among us hasn’t sat around thinking, if I ran the world… Well, our newest partner, STARZ, asked me to do just that, and took me, oh, about a minute to decide what I would do if I assumed the throne. Don’t miss a fun giveaway below! Now of course I’d want to devote billions of dollars or pounds or yen or rupees toward ensuring my citizens were safe, healthy and prosperous. That should go without saying. But my very first act: Legislating timely RSVPs for children’s parties. (What? I’m a queen! I can totally make that a law. And if you’re a parent I know you support...

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The free Hamilton Haggadah: History is happenin’ at the Passover seder table

How can this family of obsessive Hamilton fans slash-Passover revelers not be totally thrilled to discover a Hamilton Haggadah? Yep, you read that right. How does a Hebrew, poor man, son of a slave and a Bondsman, born to nothing in a  Rigged system of Imperial oppression Fished from the Nile River Grow up to be a prophet and a leader? This totally free PDF Hamilton Haggadah download comes courtesy of creative Philly-based Rabbinical students Emily Cohen and Jake Adler, who clearly have caught Hamilfever . (Which is not to be confused with any of the plagues.) Related: The coolest Hamilton gifts for the...

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Relive your youth with the cool new Power Rangers toys and gear

With the much-anticipated release of the new Power Rangers movie tonight (!!), we’re not sure if kids are more excited — or those of us who grew up with them in the ’90s are. Which is why we’ve had the best time browsing the cool new Power Rangers toys and gear from our sponsor, Saban’s Power Rangers and doing a little virtual shopping of our own. Got a kid — or adult — on your gift list who’s obsessed? Here are a few of our picks for the coolest of the Power Rangers toys, tees, and gear that were just released. Power up,...

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A parent’s review of Beauty and the Beast. Step back, haters!

This past weekend, I was one of the millions of people who piled into a very crowded movie theater (behind a birthday party full of restless, giggly 6-year old girls, no less) to see Beauty and the Beast. And boy, I am so glad I did. I honestly haven’t smiled so much through a movie in a really long time, which is why I’m surprised so many people are reacting so negatively to it. Related: 9 fantastic girl power movies for kids Without giving away too much, this live-active Beauty and the Beast mirrors the animated feature pretty closely,...

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The one scene in Hidden Figures that every parent should be talking about | Thinking: Parent

Hi, nice to meet you. I’m one of the many parents who tries desperately to squeeze in a few last-minute Oscar nominated movie screenings just before the actual ceremony each year so I have at least a moderate shot at the family Oscar pool. You too? At the very top of my list was Hidden Figures, which I waited to see until my own girls could join me. Yay for February break! And while there are so many moments that will stay with me for a long time, there’s one scene in particular that doesn’t seem to get a lot of analysis, but to me, perfectly embodied why the story of...

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Sesame Street honors Black History Month with some of their favorite show clips. Ours, too.

If you’ve been looking for a good way to celebrate diversity with your very youngest kids during Black History Month (and well, every single month), a great place to start is Sesame Street. Because, of course! Our favorite kids’ show has been celebrating diversity from episode number one, and this month their YouTube channel is highlighting a great selection of clips in honor of Black History Month that your kids will love. From from old school clips with Maya Angelou to Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, these are just some of the clips from the Sesame Street YouTube playlist celebrating Black History Month, with some of our...

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Where to see all the 2016 Oscar best-picture nominees (especially for parents who have only seen Moana).

Do you know how many of the 2016 Oscars best picture nominees I’ve seen this year? Zero. Not a single one. Because, kids. But, I have one last chance to see them all before the big awards ceremony. And at a discount too. See, sometimes it pays to procrastinate. Top: Hidden Figures | 20th Century Fox Related: 12 easy Oscars party ideas to make watching the awards even more fun This month, AMC theaters Best Pictures Showcase will show every best-picture nominee over the course of two days — four movies on February 18 and five on the 25th — for way less...

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10 romantic movies streaming on Netflix for Valentine’s Day. Chill comes later.

Looking for the best romantic movies streaming on Netflix? We’ve got you covered! If you’re spending Valentine’s Day at home thanks to kids, colds, or cantankerous weather, and you’ve got a sweetheart who does the RomCom/RomDram thing, heads up for plenty of choices. Especially number 10, and I mean it. (Anybody want a peanut?) Related: Dozens of last minute Valentine’s Day gifts. It’s not too late! Amelie Instead of popcorn, try some creme brûlée, and savor the delightful feeling of cracking it with a spoon while watching this enchanting French romance. It’s sophisticated, fun, and quirky and worth a rewatch if it’s been a...

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The scoop on Amazon’s new Studio Ghibli series, Ronja the Robber’s daughter.

If you’re totally into Totoro and your kids howl for Howl’s Moving Castle, you fans of Studio Ghibli are going to want to know about Amazon’s newest series for families, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter. It’s based on the book by author Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Longstocking fame.It’s directed by Goro Miyazaki, as in the son of Hayao. Oh,  and Gillian Anderson narrates it. That’s basically the world’s best recipe for a magical journey, right? Related: 9 great TV shows for tweens that you might not have considered My kids and I caught a sneak preview of this exclusive English adaptation of the Japanese series, and I...

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Meet the cool dogs of Cool Mom Picks and the stories of what they’ve done for our families.

Update: This post was originally created on behalf of a brand that regretfully no longer aligns with our core values, and that we have removed from the content here. But we love the stories that our writers have shared, here and we hope you enjoy them too.   If you’ve ever had a dog in your life, you know they can be like your other child. They’ve taught us love, they’ve taught us responsibility, they’ve taught us that we may never need to sweep up around the dining table again. (Ha.) Clearly having a special dog in the house brings a special kind...

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7 books to help you feel fabulous right now (because shame is so 2016)

Yep, I’m one of those suckers who dives head-first into the self-help section every January. Not only because I actually have a few days of leisure to read as long as I wish, but also because the cold, dreary weather makes me want to hit my reset button and make a little sunshine of my own. Here are some of my favorite self-help books that focus on laughs, positive steps, good health, loving yourself, and focusing on the things you can actually control. No impossible goals, fasting, six-hour workouts, tough love, or house-wide decluttering. Promise. CMP is an rstyle affiliate...

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7 of the cutest kids and pets videos to keep your whole family laughing

If you’ve got kids and pets, you know how hilarious the combination can be. That’s why there is no shortage of cute kids and pets YouTube videos that…oh, we may watch on a loop from time to time, even when our kids aren’t around. C’mon, the dog singing like a toddler! So cute!   But as much as we love our human babies and our fur babies (yes, we went there), we’re not big fans of the messes they make on their own, let alone when they’re together.  That’s why we’re thrilled to have rounded up these videos on behalf of...

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Wishing you a happy Hamilton Hanukkah! From Cool Mom Picks and the Maccabeats

Those of us Hanukkah revelers have always had slimmer pickings when it comes to great modern music. But now Adam Sandler and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings have some great new company thanks to the Maccabeats, who are just out with Hasmonean: A Hamilton Hanukkah. If you have been loving Hamildolph as much as we all have, I think you’ll also dig this version of Lin Manuel Miranda’s opus, which happens to be a good history lesson too. Especially for those of you not quite as familiar with the backstory behind the Festival of Lights. Related: 8 of the most amazing printable Hanukkah coloring pages, one for each crazy night Oh and the...

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An amazing one-day sale on movies that supports an amazing cause too.

Right in time for last-minute holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, I’ve discovered the Entertainment AIDS Alliance, which is offering popular DVDs and Blu-Ray discs at 30–90% off retail, all to provide services through 155 of the best organizations helping those afflicted with HIV and AIDS. The one catch: You’ve got to order right now! Related: 35 fab gifts that give back to 35 fab charities — from Broadway Cares to St. Jude’s to Every Mother Counts We’re talking really good film options, from the entire Downton Abbey series to new releases like Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia, X-Men Apocalypse, the 2016 Jungle Book, Batman v...

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Fantastic Beasts movie review: The magic is back, but is it okay for young kids?

We Harry Potter fans have waited very patiently. As in, it’s been five years (yes, really) since Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out. But friends, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is just out in theaters, living up to the magic we expect from J.K. Rowling’s universe in every way with blow-your-mind imaginative worlds, multiple layers of meaning that will spark interesting conversations with your kids, outstanding performances, and some impressive action scenes that will truly thrill. I still remember that breathtaking feeling I got when I first saw the grand hall at Hogwarts and the shops on Diagon Alley, and it’s the same feeling with the reveal of...

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9 great TV shows for tweens that you might not have considered

Ah, the tween years. That in-between stage when your kid is so not your baby anymore, but not yet your teenager. They start to think the sweet, educational shows they used to love are “for babies,” but you’re not ready to let them watch shows with teens who are often depicted as bratty or rude to their parents (cough), or are deep in the world of dating. Boy, do I miss the Sesame Street years… The good news is there really are cool TV shows for tweens that you might not know about. Since we already covered these favorite family-friendly TV shows for kids, I polled our editors and came up...

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The (totally evil) family tabletop game for wicked word nerds and master strategists.

If your family is divided by the word nerds who love Scrabble and the strategists who love Monopoly, then we’ve found the family tabletop game for you. It’s called Word Domination, it’s on Kickstarter now, and it’s already winning gaming awards. Bonus: You get to be a super villain, minus the hidden volcano lair. Related: The 2016 board games of the year For $30, you can be the first family on the block to collect (and steal!) priceless artifacts and use fiendish weapons from your super-mega-evil arsenal in your plot for world — and word — domination. To play, you...

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Kubo and the Two Strings: Why this exquisite film is worth a trip to the theater.

If like me, you try to choose carefully when it comes to which movies make sense to see in a theater where it costs you a year’s college tuition for a family of four — and then, decide which movies seem worth forking over the extra few bucks for the 3D experience — I highly recommend the extraordinary Kubo and the Two Strings. This exquisite stop-motion feature from Laika Entertainment and first-time director Travis Knight comes to life so spectacularly on the big screen I would even see it a second time, and that’s saying something. The story of a young, one-eyed Japanese boy on...

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11 family-friendly television shows that everyone can agree on. Seriously.

We’ve been moving away from solo gadget time in my house and exchanging it for family screen time, within reason, of course. That means we all gather around the television and watch something that we all enjoy. Really. With kids ages 5 to 12, you might think that it’s hard to find a television show that we can agree on, but that’s absolutely not the case. Here are 10 family-friendly television shows that are perfect for families to enjoy together, from little kids to tweens and teens, and most importantly, the grown-ups too. Related: Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids:...

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The 9 worst children’s TV shows that made my life a living hell: 2002–2009 Edition

We’re happy to welcome guest columnist, Wendi Aarons. She’s funny. When I was pregnant with my first son, way back in 2001, I had no intention of ever letting him watch television. Expose my precious baby’s developing brain to the mindless crap that spewed from the idiot box? Not I! Instead, I would spend all day, every day lovingly teaching him to calculate sums with the wood abacus I’d handcrafted out of the olive tree in our yard. The olive tree that was nourished by my buried placenta, of course. That grand notion didn’t last long. In fact, it...

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7 fantastic children’s books to pick up before they hit theaters this year.

My kids love to read. But they also love to go to the movies. Luckily, that makes our summer reading easy this year, since I’m going to encourage them to pick up some of the great children’s books that are being adapted into movies this summer and fall. From classics like The Little Prince and The BFG to new favorites like The Queen of Katwe, there are a handful of movies based on kids’ books coming out soon that I know they won’t want to miss. So my rule is, you’ve got to read the book first. Smart, right? Here, 7 terrific children’s books turned movies that we...

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Finding Dory review: What to expect before you take your kids

This past weekend, my family and I braved the crowds to catch the new Finding Dory movie, the long-awaited sequel to the perennial favorite, Finding Nemo. With kids ranging in age from 5 up through 12, I was hoping it was something they would all enjoy, and thankfully I was right, though I think I might have laughed the most. While I don’t feel as though it was as funny or enjoyable as Finding Nemo, the kids were all glad we went, which is a pretty big deal if you’re like me and have a couple of very anxious movie watchers. And it’s not...

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The 2016 National Spelling Bee winners. And tips for getting your kids excited about spelling.

The 2016 National Scripps Spelling Bee finals ended last night and just wow. For the third year running, two amazing kids tied as winners: 13 year old Jairam Pathwar of Upstate NY, and Austin Texas’ Nihar Janga who is only 11. Wow. To clinch the number-one slot from among 285 contestants, Jairam and Nihar persevered through words like juamave, Biniou and zindiq, finally closing the deal with winning words gesellschaft (Nihar) and Feldenkrais (Jairam). All I can think of is that Rosenkrantz and Feldenkrais are Dead, but I know that’s not right. (Turns out it’s a method of education, like Waldorf or Montessori — two words I actually can...

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Powerpuff yourself! Townsville needs you!

Have you ever fancied yourself fighting two-dimensional crime alongside Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup? Well get on it! Thanks to the super fun new Powerpuff Yourself website from Cartoon network, you can create your very own Powerpuff Girl avatar faster than you can say Professor Utonium. Okay so maybe not that fast. But still, somewhat fast. I love how mine came out above! Notice, my superhero accessory is an iPhone. Also my hair is now impervious to bad guys and sudden rises in humidity.   Pick male or female features, clothes, accessories and a backdrop, then download as Wallpaper, a social avatar or a blinding...

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9 fantastic girl power movies for kids, streaming right now

Having two girls, I am definitely hyperaware of their increased interest in a film when it has a strong female lead. That said, when they’re with their male friends, and they’re trying to pick a movie to watch together, I realize how rare it is for some of the kids to be aware of movies beyond the usual big blockbusters. I really think it’s important for all kids to see girls and women in positions of power in the media they watch — whether that means fighting crime, protecting a family, solving a mystery, or just getting through life. I mean, as much...

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Sponsored Message: Never miss a game, season finale or live TV event with Slingbox

This is a sponsored message from Slingbox. Whether you travel for work or just need a diversion while you’re waiting for your kids at soccer practice, Slingbox lets you watch and control all the cable TV channels you already pay for when you’re on the go — on your tablet, phone, PC, or Mac. All with absolutely no monthly fees. – Don’t miss a special offer below! –  Getting set up with Slingbox is easy. Just connect it to your set-top box in seconds via WiFi or Ethernet cable, and the service will “sling” all of your cable channels right to your...

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There’s more to kids’ movies than Disney and Marvel: Top picks from the NY International Children’s Film Festival

This weekend kicks off the NYICFF, or the NY International Children’s Film Festival, which has become one of our favorite annual traditions. We are definitely a movie-loving household, and work hard to find the good stuff.  (Multiple viewings of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic not withstanding.) Which means there are times we spend more time scrolling through Netflix looking for trying to agree on something decent, than watching the actual film. For those of you nodding vigorously right now — or just want something, anything besides the latest shoot-em-up superhero flick or insipid animated franchise — take a look at some of this...

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