The last time I hosted an election night viewing party with friends was back in 2000 when our friends resignedly left around midnight, with no winner decided. (It’s a good thing or they might have been camped out on our living room floor for a week.) I haven’t held one since, but since this year’s election night could be an historic moment for our country — and the end to an incredibly stressful election cycle — I’d like to share it in the comfort of some like-minded friends. I’m sure I’m not alone here. So I took a look at some digital election night party invitations...Read More
My daughter isn’t what you’d typically call a “girly girl.” Her favorite clothes are athletic wear and she can hold her own (and then some) with the neighborhood boys in a game of flag football. But she still loves to dress up and has a collection of dolls that has taken over her room. She may not wear sparkles and bows, but she’s still a girl in every sense of the word. So I was really excited to find out about the Girly Girl Doll Company, which is redefining what it means to be “girly” in the best possible sense....Read More
In a world where a quick Google search can answer even the toughest question in just seconds, we love the delicious act of waiting for a surprise in the mail. But while most subscription boxes give you a pretty good idea of what to expect (makeup and books, hooray!), we found one very unique subscription box for kids ages 9 to 14 that remains just as magical and enigmatic as the Loch Ness Monster, right up until they open the box. Thanks to the geniuses at Wonder and Company, every few months, your child will receive a Kids’ Mystery Box delivered right to...Read More
Let’s face it: women are rad. At everything — from sports to science, and painting and political activism. And since so much of our history focuses on men, and the Eurocentric ones at that, we love books that introduce us to new heroines from places beyond our daily view. Which is why I am so stoked to have found Rad Women Worldwide, written and illustrated by the women behind another of our favorites and New York Times bestselling, Rad American Women A-Z. Related: How about some rad women in the STEM fields? Yep, we’ve got those, too. This awesome book is a beautiful...Read More
If the impromptu dance party my girls and I broke into at the dinner table last weekend is any indication, Spare The Rock Record’s soon to be released album Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute To David Bowie is going to be a huge hit with families. Whether you’ve been a long time David Bowie fan or you re-discovered his greatness when the world lost the amazing talent last January, Bowie’s music and message speaks to children and adults alike. Even the youngest of tots can’t keep from grooving to great music, something we talked about with Lisa Loeb in a recent Spawned podcast....Read More
This is a sponsored message from Brightly Gifts Whether you’re shopping for a special gift for your own child, grandchild, niece, nephew or best friend’s cool kid, books are at the top of so many wish lists. Which is why you’ll want to check out Brightly Gifts, a brand new shop filled with thoughtfully curated, high quality gift boxes of books to suit babies and early readers. Special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers: Save 20% off your order + get free ground shipping at Brightly Gifts with code CMPGIFTS2016. From the creators of Brightly, a popular site trusted by thousands...Read More
Like many people who love the cooler months of the year, I am very happy we’ve enter the season of crisp air, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. But one of my favorite things about fall is the colors. Those breathtakingly beautiful fall colors. And I love that there are so many gorgeous new picture books for kids that capture what I love about the season — and all just in time for the later fall foliage we’re experiencing this year in the northeast. So, no rushing into holiday and snow stories just yet! For now, curl up with the kids under a warmer quilt, and check...Read More
Looking for a fun way to get kids learning about the election — without all the awfulness of what’s appearing on the news lately? One of our favorite kindie bands, The Not-Its, are out this week with Are You Listening, a very entertaining new video for kids about Washington D.C. and all that goes on there. The way They Might Be Giants has been so great at taking on educational subjects without sounding like they’ve set textbooks to music, the The Not-Its are doing the same in their introduction to our nation’s capital. Related: The best Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube The rockin’ tune is quite catchy, and my...Read More
There are a lot of things I want to do as a mom, but a big one is to raise the kinds of kids (and eventually, adults) who think about others’ needs before their own. It’s something we talk about a lot in our house — especially around the holidays — whether it’s finding the time to volunteer, donating items to those in need, or even buying for ourselves from companies that are finding ways to give back in a big way. So when I find companies that are doing really cool things that can broaden my kids’ sense of compassion, I’m...Read More
When my kids were small I somehow had the time to make their costumes by hand — things like princess dresses, a lion, and one amazing Nacho Libre costume. However, last year I literally pulled together a costume for my oldest in about 5 minutes before our friends came over to trick-or-treat with us. And his Halloween was just as awesome as ever. So, whether you’re the DIY master who’s gotten too busy this month to make something from scratch, or you have a kid who can’t make up his mind about his costume and now you need something stat,...Read More
Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller: The party planning guidebook so inspiring it will make you celebrate…oh heck. Tuesdays.
The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s party season! I’m thinking all about Halloween this week, but before you know it we’ll be planning New Year’s parties. Not to mention the, oh… 1,285 family birthdays that my family seems to celebrate in November and December alone. I could use a little fresh inspiration to make each of these parties really special, and I’m finding lots of it in the wonderful new party idea book, Celebrate Everything, by Martha Stewart Weddings editor and party planner extraordinaire, Darcy Miller. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a fun cocktail recipe, a jolt of inspiration for a central...Read More
The first-ever gift I gave my daughter was a beautiful handmade doll I found on Etsy, and ever since then I’ve had a thing for gifting my kids one-of-a-kind dolls. Of course, she has her fair share (and then some) of American Girl everything, but when I find a keepsake like the handmade, organic Frida Kahlo dolls made by Mexican artists Maroma + Arte, I feel compelled add to her growing collection. She certainly doesn’t need another doll, but I really want her to have this one. And a little lesson in art history and female empowerment to go along with it won’t...Read More
I’m barely getting to the store before all the good candy is gone, so I’m definitely not looking for over-the-top complicated crafts and activities that are going to impress my friends at our annual Halloween party. And when I’m charged with bringing the games for the classroom party, too, I want easy and fun. So, I’ve been searching for simple games my kids can play with their friends at school and before we head out for trick-or-treating. These Halloween games for kids are easy to pull off — most are printable — and are actually a lot of fun. You can choose to give...Read More
If you think your kid is terrifico magnifico splendifico, have we got the designer kids clothes line for you! Mini Boden has combined their 25th anniversary with what would’ve been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday to create a fantastic line of kids clothing based on the author’s most beloved books. James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Twits are all included in tees, sweaters, pants, dresses, accessories, and some pretty spiffy holiday clothes too. Head over to Mini Boden to check out some of the more special touches, like surprise lining fabrics, twitching...Read More
For those of you still mourning the final installment of Elephant and Piggie, there’s good news. Mo Willems has delivered to us a new heroine who’s equally lovable. His newest children’s book Nanette’s Baguette follows Nanette as she embarks on her first big adventure: bringing home a baguette for dinner. Related: 6 clever ways to get your reluctant reader to love reading This rhyming for days children’s book explores Nanette’s commitment to her duty, which is unflagging, unwavering, rock solid! Except when she runs into her friends Georgette, Suzette, and Bret with his clarinet. And then again when the temptation of freshly baked bread gets...Read More
I like to stock my daughter’s wardrobe with lots of leggings when the weather gets cooler. She can wear them under anything from dresses to long sweaters, and they’re definitely way more comfy than jeans. So, I spent a couple hours clicking through some of favorite shops to see what’s trending this fall, and I couldn’t help but be drawn to (ha) the doodle leggings that are everywhere, indie shops to big box stores alike. From unicorns to mushrooms to word play, these doodle leggings for kids are clearly revealing everything that captures their very vivid imaginations. And, really, they’re just so fun. CMP is an rstyle...Read More
Just Like Me: A book subscription box created for children of color who want to see themselves in the books they read, too.
I did the research, and in 2013, out of 3,200 children’s books published, only 93 featured African American characters. Sadly, that’s even more than I had expected. And the numbers aren’t much better for other races and ethnicities. Thankfully, campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #1000blackgirlbooks have brought some awareness and change to the publishing industry, which I’m definitely cheering — I know that moms of all kinds would love to fill their kids’ bookshelves with more diverse stories about more diverse characters. But as the mother of two biracial girls, this is really personal for me. That’s why I’m thrilled to find the new Just Like Me! Book Box, a monthly...Read More
My daughter is 10 and already bemoaning her leg hair and asking why the boy who used to be her friend now teases her mercilessly. No wonder she gravitated toward a fabulous new book the moment it landed in our mailbox. Crafting with Feminism by noted geek and author Bonnie Burton (whom you might know from Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club? No? Okay, anyway she’s awesome…) has put together 25 cool, easy, and fun crafts centered on taking pride in feminism. So far, my daughter is determined to make matching NOPE necklaces (for herself and me), Monster Week Maxipad Cases, and Food...Read More
This week on Spawned, we are laughing so hard (truly, like, mascara-running laughing) discussing the craziest sexy costumes we’ve seen. Plus, more Halloween fun. Click right here to hear Kristen ranking these best of the worst ideas for “sexy” Halloween costumes from 1-10. (Seriously, who came up with a sexy Freddy Krueger?) Or, catch to Spawned with Kristen + Liz on iTunes through your podcast app and even binge on past episodes you might have missed. Thanks for listening! The best of the worst “sexy” Halloween costumes Sexy Pac-Man Costume Sexy Crayola Crayon Costume Sexy Big Bird Costume Sexy Chinese Take-Out Container Costume Sexy Freddy Krueger Costume Sexy Cowardly Lion Costume Sexy...Read More
When we say these leggings are smart, we don’t just mean they hold up well after washing. Although they are well-made and do hold up to repeated washings without shrinking, fading, or losing shape, what really impresses us are the amazingly cool, creative, intellectual designs — famous works of art, strong women of history, philosophers. Who wouldn’t want to wear the periodic table on their rear? Smarty Pants are the geniuses behind these clever, cultured leggings for kids ages 6 months to 3 years. These designs go way beyond unicorns, stripes, and polka dots (which we love, too!). There’s Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Bell...Read More
10 of the best Halloween events for kids around the country: From treats for littles to tricks for teens.
The leaves are crunchy, the air is crisp, the sky is blue, and your kids need to have fun in those adorable costumes too. So we’ve put together a list of we think are some of the best local Halloween events for kids all around the country. So mark your calendars for fun family time this Halloween season! And wow, do we wish some of these would come to our own own towns. Top: LEGOland via attractions magazine | Rogerio Barbosa 2011 Photo: philly.com The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place If you’ll be in the Pennsylvania area between now and October...Read More
16 seriously creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas for all of the fun, none of the pumpkin guts!
Welcome to the no-stress portion of our Halloween coverage, as we track down some of the coolest, most creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that are perfect for kids. After all, for me, Halloween’s swarming bats, cackling witches, and stumbling zombies provide plenty of that fun, healthy spook factor without having to add in children wielding sharp objects at pumpkin carving parties. We’re big fans of low-stress pumpkin decorating parties that are safe and fun for the whole family — and if you are going to carve, there does happen to be some really good kid-friendly carving tools you can use. But if not?...Read More
This is a sponsored message from Candlewick Press The much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless adventure trilogy is here, and kids and parents everywhere are rejoicing. Check out Return, the epic #1 New York Times bestseller and follow-up to the award-winning Journey and Quest. Suspenseful, moving, and stunningly beautiful, Becker’s lonely young heroine once more escapes to a fantastic world of kings, emperors, castles, exotic creatures, and enchanting landscapes — all of which unlock the power of imagination to have your kids reenacting their own fantasy adventures. While Return is thrilling all on its own, if you don’t yet own Becker’s trilogy, all three makes for the perfect holiday...Read More
From the new kids’ movie Pete’s Dragon to Game of Thrones, dragons are getting a good rep these days. Our kids are even talking about being dragons or dragon trainers for Halloween, so when we saw that these dark, edgy dragon gloves at The Scale Maiden were trending on Etsy, we knew we had to share them. Because chances are, someone in your house is obsessed with dragons too. Related: Putting the BOO in Halloween boots for kids. Of course, it’s not just dragons we love supporting, but small businesses too, so I was really excited to find these in an Etsy shop. Each pair is hand-knit in...Read More
Oh my yum — we were so happy to find this new line of candy temporary tattoos. Colorful, cute, lightly scented, and utterly free of calories and cavities. The Arm Candy pack from our pals at Tattly are sure to be a favorite with your little candy gobblers. Designed by Julia Rothman and scented by Agilex Fragrances, each packet of safe, non-toxic temporary tattoos includes two each of three armbands and a candy ring. They smell like a mixture of vanilla frosting, cotton candy, and of course, just in time for Halloween, candy corn. Related: CHARM IT and Tattly team up, and our girls go...Read More
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...Read More
Dan Yaccarino’s Happyland board books help our kids understand worry, gratitude and sharing. You know, the easy stuff.
If you’ve ever had this tune stuck in your head, “We’ve got the whole wide world in our yard to explore…”, you can thank Dan Yaccarino. He designed Pablo, Uniqua and the rest of the Backyardigans crew, and he’s also the creator of the adorable show Oswald. Best of all, he’s been a huge help to our kids in developing their imaginations and learning how to work well with others. With his new Happyland board books series, he’s aiming to teach children about social-emotional aspects of growing up — and, in our opinion, he nails it. We can only hope there are more books to...Read More
Got a kid who loves cars, planes, boats and art? They need the new book Project Kid: Crafts that Go.
Two years ago, when I learned about Parents magazine lifestyle editor Amanda Kingloff’s cool, modern crafts book Project Kid, I flipped. For joy. These were crafts my kids could easily make, and I’d actually want to keep. (Sorry, glitter macaroni necklace. You’re hitting the trash.) So when I found out her new book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go, is focused completely on crafts for kids who love planes, cars, trains, and boats, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Of course, it’s every bit as awesome as her first book. I love her ingenious hacks for household items — like turning an old cardboard box into...Read More
We’re all big fans of artful, creative pop-up books around here, but when I checked out a copy of Midnight Creatures: A Pop-up Shadow Search, it didn’t cross my mind just how extraordinarily creative it would be — and how much it would captivate even my 9-year-old. Illustrator and cut-paper artist Helen Friel’s book is truly a marvel; a series of spreads that introduce nocturnal animals who inhabit the ocean, the woods, caves and beyond. At first, each of the three black, die-cut pop ups on each spread looks somewhat abstract. But on closer glance, you see they’re filled with the hidden shapes of creatures identified on...Read More
When you’ve got a little one, you probably know that means you have a whooooole lot of preschooler birthday party gifts to look for over the course of the year. One gift for each party for each kid in your child’s preschool class? Yeouch. That’s a whole lot of gifts. And it definitely adds up. While every family has a different birthday party gift budget, it can be tough finding ones that cost in the $15 range or less. So we did the work for you! We all put our heads together around here and came up with a great list of...Read More