She believed she could so she did. My very favorite inspirational quote. The first time I saw it, not long after I had graduated college, it was printed on a funky wooden brooch by an artist at a craft fair. I pinned it to a jacket, and wore it for ages. From then on, it was like…it was mine. I claim it! (Even though I’ve been told it was penned by R.S. Grey, from her book, Scoring Wilder.) Now, I repeat it to myself like a mantra, whenever I need a little boost. Hey, maybe that’s your favorite too. Maybe there’s another. Maybe you just haven’t found the one...Read More
Web coolness: Beyoncé lips, fab scarves, sex during pregnancy (or not), and the Moonlight acceptance speech we all missed,
Here are some links we’ve been reading around the web this week. Hope you like them too. If you can’t have lips like Beyoncé, how about Beyoncé lips? Follow Jazmina Dial for mindblowing makeup art and tutorials! (Her galaxy lip art video on YouTube is insane.) Sweet ideas for keepsake gifts for adoptive parents. The household hack we’ve been waiting for our whole lives! When voicemail transcription gets your kid’s name…very very wrong. Hilarious video guide to sex during pregnancy. Or lack thereof. The viral mom-shaming post…that turned out to be a fraud. Interesting take on the Oscars Best Picture fiasco:...Read More
We can’t wait to read our way through this 100 essential novels scratch-off poster from Pop Chart Lab.
Looking for a good book to read this winter? This classic novels scratch-off poster chart at Pop Chart Lab has your next 100 book recommendations for you, with the most satisfying check-off list ever. This framed art poster has 100 classic novels — books like Pride and Prejudice, Fahrenheit 451, Gone with the Wind, and Animal Farm — with covers partially covered in scratch-off gold. As you make your way through the list, you scratch off each one to reveal the whole cover. Feeling satisfyingly smug yet? Related: 7 books to help you feel fabulous right now (because shame is so 2016) Now, this is Pop Chart...Read More
Web coolness: Rosie the Riveter 2017 style, the next all-female movie we can’t wait to see, how to make Facebook fun again
Here are some links we’ve liked reading around the web this week. Hope you like them too. Love the Feb 6 New Yorker magazine cover…and the story behind the artist, Abigail Gray Swartz. How to argue intelligently and criticize with kindness. Know anyone who could use this? 5 ways to make Facebook fun again. We needed this! The things that change when you become a parent. (Like, not knowing any of the Oscar nominees. Ahem.) Can’t stop watching: 1000 musicians perform Smells Like Teen Spirit. Together. For the word nerds: Merriam-Webster + the ACLU debate the spelling of whoa. (Or is...Read More
My husband and I recently spent two life-changing weeks in Seoul, South Korea, which means I have a zillion gorgeous photographs to show off to family and friends. On that 16-hour flight home, I spent some time scanning Pinterest and geeked out over these cool, creative ways to display travel photos. I can’t wait to get started on these projects. Once the jet lag passes. Related: The coolest travel journals for kids to help them remember every awesome moment As long as you have a steady hand with scissors, this travel photos map at Cut Craft Create (also shown at top) shouldn’t be too hard....Read More
As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at our picks for the best children’s books of 2016 — according to our editors, writers, and of course our children! What a perfect way to kick off our Editors Picks of the Year. As our readers know, we all adore books here at Cool Mom Picks and we’ve collectively read hundreds of great kids’ books this year, from the sweetest board books for babies, to excellent picture books for early readers, to compelling graphic novels — and it’s not an easy job to whittle it down to just a few favorites. Ultimately, we go with the books...Read More
These 6 new books for kids about the arts are sure to inspire young painters, musicians, and writers.
I’ve noticed a trend lately among the hundreds of children’s books I receive for review: stellar new books for kids about the arts. We tend to promote a lot of STEM toys, books, and opportunities for kids because we’re passionate about science and technology and the digital world our kids will live and work in. But we still love to find great books for kids about the arts that can inspire young painters, musicians, and writers too. These 6 books for kids about the arts will encourage your littlest ones to try their hand at creativity, or they can be used to supplement your elementary-age children’s...Read More
Move over family movie night — we found 4 fun art activity books the whole family can enjoy together.
In an effort to reduce screentime at home, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks around the bend, I’ve been stocking up on some arts and crafts-type activity books for kids. Instead of everyone sitting on the couch, looking at their own devices, now we sit around the kitchen table and work on these projects together. And yes, of course, it’s blissfully peaceful and it happens every single night. Heh. In reality, though, sometimes I just pass an art activity book over to my kid to keep them busy while I’m working on something else. There’s no craft supply shopping or Pinterest-searching required;...Read More
Plum Print will digitize your kid’s artwork and turn it into keepsakes you’ll love. Hooray for custom holiday gifts!
We all have talented spawn, which means we all have an old box stuffed full of artwork or a tower of papers threatening to flood the closet. And, we’ve been (and still are!) big fans of services that allow you to take photos of doodles and drawings and turn them into art books. But now, we’ve found the next level of service for turning kids artwork into keepsakes you’ll love, and the best part is that you don’t have to photograph, scan, or upload anything. Just send in a box of art, and get a catalogue of masterpieces in return. With Plum Print,...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
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
Today we’re speaking with humorist, best-selling author and actual real-life teacher Robert Wilder about raising teens! We first discovered his hilarious Daddy Needs a Drink way back in the early CMP days, and we’ve been fans ever since. Break up your day with this fun discussion about his much-lauded first YA novel, Nickel, horror stories to make you laugh out loud, and tips to help you get through it all — whether you’re in the thick of it, been there/survived that, or it still feels a million years away. Listen right here, or check out Spawned with Kristen + Liz on iTunes. Now!...Read More
If you ask me, it’s never too early to teach a child about emotional intelligence. I still remember my teacher making us practice “I” statements — as in, “When you steal my Hello Kitty pencil, I feel hurt and sad.” A couple of decades later, I’m still finding this lesson crucial to calming conflict (and a lot more effective than shouting — who’d have thought?). So I was excited to hear about Happy Heart Kid, a company making craft kits for kids that teach kindness, empathy, gratitude, and other life essentials. I had my 3-year-old niece try out the Feelings & Faces...Read More
The thermostat may not reflect it where I live just yet, but tomorrow is officially the first day of fall. And though I likely won’t touch a sweater until November, I’m still finding ways to make it feel like autumn with scented candles, apple picking, and leaf peeping. And, of course, crafting. Nothing evokes cozy autumnal feelings like sitting down with my nieces and a basket of freshly gathered pinecones, paints, and pipe cleaners, and letting our imaginations run wild. I like crafting with pinecones because they tend to be a little easier to handle than acorns, which require some dexterity to paint or glue,...Read More
I’m always a sucker for books for toddlers and early readers that make use of modern art. We’ve covered Where’s Warhol (a Where’s Waldo parody) most recently, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder pop-up books, and now there’s a cool new one — Roy’s House, by Susan Goldman Rubin with art by Roy Lichtenstein. Rubin’s simple, playful text welcomes readers, then takes us on a tour through Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art, which combine to make up quite the house when viewed all together. His infamous paintings of interiors introduce us to a great big couch for entertaining many friends, a kitchen for snacking, and the studio where “Roy paints pictures.”...Read More
During this summer’s Olympic coverage, we all enjoyed seeing beautiful images of fun, lively Rio, and its gorgeous beaches, but there was one major aspect of the city that wasn’t broadcast — the favelas, or slums, which populate Rio and rarely sees electricity, proper sanitation, or a reliable police force. But one woman has been working to transform the favelas for a very long time. Artist, TED talk speaker, and former favela inhabitant Mariluce María has launched the Favela Art Project to provide art education to children living in poverty and make tangible changes in their day to day lives. The group has been painting over violent symbols and graffiti,...Read More
Whether your little artist is more of a Versace or a Van Gogh, they can become the hottest new designer… and wear a creation of their very own. Picture This is an awesome new mom-run business that will print your kid’s drawing directly onto a dress, whether for themselves, or in miniature for a favorite doll. Just download and print the dress template, let your child go crazy decorating it, email them a pic, and order a dress made from your very own kid’s artwork. Right now they offer a simple A-line t-shirt dress in sizes 2 to 18 that should look good on pretty much any...Read More
If your family is anything like ours, you’re only now getting caught up on lost sleep from the Olympics. But in its wake, the games leave us all with a healthy dose of wanderlust and interest in oh, say…Tonga. For no apparent reason. So, we’ve decided to round up some of the coolest world map decals to help inspire your own burgeoning jet-setters who may have gotten excited about learning more about the countries of the world this summer. The graphics are so nice to look at, and some even include a ton of information to qualify them as educational. Decals for the win! Related: Peel-and-stick wallpaper:...Read More
Here are some links we’ve liked reading around the web this week. Hope you like them too. Yeah…our kids have never done this with their Etch-a-Sketches. Check out all the remarkable sketches from Jane Labowitch on Instagram. Every like/comment on this Instagram post of ours donates one lifesaving vaccine to a child in need. (Plus…that photo!) The Rio Summer Olympics are over but the sexist media coverage lingers, and our kids are hearing it.Great discussion here. Move over helicopter parents…now there’s lifeguard parenting. And it’s interesting. Great tips from parents on how to get kids talking. (And hey! Pay special...Read More
We’ve seen tons of amazing portrait artists we’ve absolutely loved (and hired) over the years, but the collaboration between photographer Anna Angenend and illustrator Amy Snyder may just be my favorite yet. These artists create custom portraits of your child with their imaginary friend, inspired by their own drawings. These pictures make me so happy. Anna and Amy will brainstorm the concept with you, do a photo shoot on location in San Antonio, Texas (or anywhere you’re willing to pay for them to travel to), and add in custom illustrations of the imaginary friend that’s been inspired by your kid’s creativity. For...Read More