Category: Entertainment + Media

One banana, two banana, three banana, four…

It’s not that there aren’t great television and music options for the kids that are new, it’s that the resurgence of our old favorites brings a nostalgic tear to our eyes. I can clearly remember dancing around to the groovy tunes of The Banana Splits back in my youth, when Hanna-Barbera first brought their furry faces to Saturday morning television. Viva la comeback, baby! Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky are just as kid-friendly as ever, and I’m sure your kids will be toe-tapping and na-na-na-ing along with you in no time. If you’re in a hurry to get your...

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Environmentalists, turn on your solar-powered laptops

I do like a lot of the educational cartoons on TV today, but c’mon! Where’s the Schoolhouse Rock of the 21st century? Where are the shows that try to break down the electoral process, explain the constitution or tackle global warming? Aha. Enter Heartwood USA, a new series of animated shorts featuring a twelve year-old detective and her best friend who take on the planet’s bullies and environmental do-badders. Kids will get the humor and appreciate the messages, and certainly the high quality animation – producer and writer Shane Keats has a background in hard-core journalism, and director of...

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I have a picture pinned to my wall

I’m all for handing my girls a box of crayons and a ream of paper and letting them while away an afternoon creating works of art.  The only problem?  Their cumulative efforts result in a fire hazard worthy of condemnation. The ART:Archives has the perfect solution for those great masterpieces that I can’t bear to let go. They took twenty-five of my daughter’s favorite drawings, photographed them, and set them to music in a phenomenally-produced DVD.  Even the credits are all about the artist, listing vital stats like her name, age, grade, school, and a slew of her current...

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Summer gear questions? Join Cool Mom Picks on the radio

Hope you’re free from 9:00 to 9:45 EST tonight because that’s when Cool Mom Picks co-founders Kristen and Liz will be dishing about summer gear live on Kristen’s weekly parenting podcast. Get the kids to bed, grab a glass of wine (or coffee if we’re infringing on your bedtime) and join us for some great product ideas, sunscreen tips for kids, and the secret truth about swim diapers. We’ll also be  answering listeners’ questions, including those from lucky readers (and winners of Super Goop’s Super Summer Gift Set) Lisa, Sue, and Elizabeth. We’d be just giddy to hear your...

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A show for kids with two mommies, two daddies, or even one of each

Who says great preschool entertainment has to be heteronormative? (There’s a new word for Scrabble for ya.) Not Dottie’s Magic Pockets, the self-proclaimed “greatest kid’s show not yet on TV” for alternative families. And lest you think it might be all about alternative families, well, it is and it isn’t. What it is is what would happen if someone put Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo in a blender, and then topped it with a few sprinklings of Bear in the Big Blue House: There’s puppets and singing and animation clips and real life issues discussed in silly ways and...

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Bugaboos: The game, not the stroller

The thing about computer games for early-elementary kids is that there is a precarious balance to be struck between learning and fun. You want it to be educational (justification, justification) but if it’s too difficult or dry it won’t hold their attention. My kids would happily play Webkinz all day long, but have recently started turning up their noses at software games. Enter Kutoka Interactive’s Mia’s Reading Adventure: The Bugaboo Bugs. Like the other Mia Adventures, it offers high-quality animation, endearing characters, and yes, just enough educational value to keep you from feeling too guilty while your 5-9-year-old steers...

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Hooked On My Baby Not Having Tantrums At Dinner Time

My niece has been telling her parents what she wants using sign language since she was about seven months old. She also happens to be one of the calmest, most good-natured babies you’d ever hope to meet, and doesn’t scream or cry with frustration when she can’t get what she want. Coincidence? Probably not. Kinda makes you want to start teaching your kid to sign. I’d seen some of the Baby Signing Time DVDs before, but Hooked on Phonics (you know, from the commercials?) has just collaborated with them to release a decent Hooked on Baby: Learn to Sign...

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Swan Lake on a Budget

As an avid ballet lover, I’ve been waiting for the day my daughter was old enough to make it through the Nutcracker. But considering she can’t make it through a Disney movie without a snack and at least one dance break, I’m not willing to shell out the dough to take her to an actual performance. But thanks to Prima Princessa, she can get an almost real live ballet right in our living room. Created entirely by moms Mary Kate Mellow and Stephanie Troeller, Prima Princessa features the world-renowned Paris Opera Ballet performing Swan Lake, with kid-friendly story narration by a cartoon...

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Cool Mom Picks Hearts Real Simple

We just wanted to let out a little annoying girlie squeal, sorority party-style, for finding ourselves in the March issue of Real Simple Magazine in their Best Blogs feature this month. We’re honored to share top parenting/family blog kudos along with our dear friends at the must-visit ParentHacks, and the fantastically named Working Moms Against Guilt. Thanks so much Real Simple – you totally made our Valentine’s Week and you didn’t even have to send chocolate. -Liz and...

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Buddy Has Two Mommies

One of my greatest reservations when considering a move away from New York was the perceived lack of diversity in middle America. Happily, I’ve been surprised by the different kinds of families we’ve gotten to know, even in our little suburb. (Even if the ethnic food choices could use some help.) Another sign that diversity is becoming more widespread is Buddy G – My Two Moms and Me, a new cartoon that educates and celebrates well, kids with two moms. Parents Donna Colley and Margaux Towne-Colley sought to create a show that reflected their own family, but Buddy G...

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Ordering french fries isn’t actually speaking French

Bilingual educational tools are all the rage in the US these days and The Cool Mom Picks editors have certainly come across our share of DVDs, CDs, books and other tools to get kids speaking everything from Spanish to…well, not Sanskrit. Yet. One of the cooler options we’ve found is the Little Pim series of foreign languge DVDs. Their creator, Julia Pimsleur-Levine is both a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of an acclaimed language professor and it’s clear from the quality that she knows her stuff. When my daughter said, "Mommy, panda video again!" after the first watching I...

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Watch out Dora, there’s a new girl in town

I must confess that without television, I wouldn’t get to shower as often as I do. Or use the bathroom alone. Or check my email. But know this: I am very picky about what shows I play on continuous loop. So let me introduce you to our new friend Maggie, a welcome change from the beloved but very played out Dora. If Maggie looks familiar, it’s because she’s a regular on everyone’s favorite preschool channel Noggin. And while we hadn’t caught her in our daily line up before, it didn’t take long for us to add her right into...

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Pigging Out

I am just not one of those parents who believe that every moment in a child’s day must be devoted to flashcards, language drilling and hardcore mind shaping. Sometimes kids just need to kick back and chill out around some fun cartoons.

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Your Kid the TV Star

The consensus at Cool Mom Picks headquarters is that we don’t love licensed character products as a first choice for gifts. The only problem is, our kids generally do. So being the lovingparentsthat we are, we’ll occasionally cross the line to make our kids happy — or in this case, totally indebted to us for life.

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YouTube for Moms: The Boob Tube?

One thing pregnant women and new mothers are definitely not lacking is a variety of information sources–some more desired (Cool Mom Picks) than others (the mother-in-law with some very interesting views on putting whiskey in the bottle). But picking and choosing from among the stacks of books and lists of URLs can be daunting. And frankly, who has that kind of energy these days? Sometimes a passive medium like TV is just what the doctor ordered.

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