Tag: books for kids

Craft boxes for kids from Darby Smart: Now with a discount code that’s extra smart.

This is a sponsored message from Darby Smart Since the launch of Darby Smart and their clever craft kits, curated from the most popular DIY projects from around the web with the help of the original makers, crafters have gone nuts. With good reason. And now there’s one more: A one-stop-shop Project Kid Deluxe Craft box from Darby Smart that’s even on sale this week. Just in time for the cooler weather to hit, the box includes the book Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (previously recommended on Cool Mom Picks) that’s packed with more than 100 fall craft ideas for boys and girls, from...

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Little Elliot, Big City: The next big thing in children’s picture book characters. Or, little thing.

– This is a sponsored message from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – If you’re particular with your picture books, and prefer the kinds of books you like reading as much as your children do, you need to check out the sweet new release, Little Elliot, Big City, which is just out today. You’ll be captivated right away by author/illustrator Mike Curato’s charming, cinematic depictions of New York City that invoke a retro noir, 40’s-era style you’ll want to frame and hang on the walls. But it’s the enchanting story of a kind little polka dotted elephant with a sweet tooth that will really make this a bookshelf staple for...

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5 of our favorite cool tech picks you don’t want to miss this week

In case you missed them, here are 5 of our most popular cool tech picks from Cool Mom Tech this past week. Enjoy!   1. This new camera is so small you could eat it. But don’t. You know, because it’s a camera. 2. Cool interactive storybooks starring your child that actually look like your child. Wow! 3. A safe outlet that’s a must for parents. 4. Here’s a cool idea for all those Instagram photos you want to get off your phone. 5. And we’d be remiss not to mention our sadness about the passing of Robin Williams....

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We’re nuts for Eric Litwin’s Bedtime at the Nut House. (Yeah, we went there.)

I don’t know about you, but the books that get my reluctant reader the most excited are the ones that drive me nuts. You know, the ones that include a catchy little song that he can shout at bedtime, when he’s supposed to be relaxing? His most recent favorite is Bedtime at the Nut House, with just that very sort of catchy chorus. And you might recognize the style considering it was written by Eric Litwin, author of our own bookshelf staple, Pete the Cat.   What happens when Wally and Hazel Nut refuse to go to bed? Let’s just say that...

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Sweet Blackberry: Bringing African-American history alive with a little starpower

There are moments in stories I heard as a child — lots of them in fact — that have stayed with me my entire life. Charlotte’s spider babies, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s wonderful cures, Peter Rabbit losing his jacket in what, at that time in my life, felt like a very scary chase. They stay with me because they are wonderful stories, well-written and -kudos to my parents- well read. These moments are just what I thought of when I first discovered Sweet Blackberry. A new non-profit organization, Sweet Blackberry is creating a similar story memory legacy for children with narrated...

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Mix It Up! A wonderful, interactive book for kids. No not an e-book, an actual book.

I was instantly captivated by Hervé Tullet’s 2011 best-selling Press Here, with it’s “interactive” pages that remind us you don’t need a screen to engage a child. Now he’s back with a wonderful follow-up in Mix It Up! which is similarly playful and engaging, only this time with a focus on painting and color mixing. Each page beckons the reader to do something simple–tap a fingerprint, press down a hand and count to five, “mix” two dabs of colored paint together–and the next page shows the results with charming messages of encouragement. What’s particularly clever is the way he asks you to close...

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Quest by Aaron Becker: A first look at this gorgeous new children’s book

Summer’s dragging on at our house, and my kids are ready for an adventure. I haven’t booked us a family expedition to, well, anywhere, so they’re turning to books to satisfy their cravings. For my youngest, who still prefers picture books to chapter books, that mystery and excitement is coming from the pages of Quest by Aaron Becker. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you may have seen his first wordless picture book, the Caldecott honoree, Journey.  I’m not quite sure how he’s able to tell such a vivid story in pictures alone, but my kids are mesmerized. In Quest, a king surprises...

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9 garden toys and gifts for kids that will help get their hands dirty.

If you have yet to get your kids into gardening, you’re in for a treat – kids are naturals. Last year my husband built us a small garden box in the back yard, and my kids and I planted some seeds and watched them grow into tomatoes and squash and peppers, which became spaghetti and casseroles and fajitas. It was such a fun process for them to see how their dirty fingers and hard work produced something so wonderful.  Let alone teaching them that no, tomatoes don’t come “from the store.” To get your kids excited for gardening, try some of...

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7 fantastique French gifts for kids in honor of Bastille Day

Even if our plans today don’t include a French military parade on the Champs-Elysées, in honor of Bastille day today, we’re giving a special nod to our fashionable friends on the other side of the pond by featuring some of our favorite French gifts for kids, or at least French inspired. Especially good for kids not old enough to watch Les Miserables on Netflix yet. Even if your kids don’t have one drop of French in them, we think they’ll love to receive some of the playthings here, that have us longing for Paris.     Each of the soft, squishy Paris-themed pillows from A...

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Alphabet Glue: A clever ezine with crafts to bring favorite books to life.

We’re in that long middle stretch of summer, moms. My kids have been out of school for a while now, and we don’t start back for weeks, and I’m getting desperate for things to do to keep my kids busy. We happen to be big book lovers at our house, so I can’t believe my luck in discovering the free Alphabet Glue‘s downloadable magazine, which is all about DIy projects, crafts and other activities that help us explore our favorite stories more. For $4 an issue (or $7 for the past two), which helps support Annie Riechmann, crafty New England mom behind the zine, you’ll find easy step-by-step...

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The Bear’s Song: A new bedtime book for kids that I don’t mind reading over and over.

I have a few non-negotiable criteria when I’m looking for a new bedtime book to read with my kids and The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud exceeds my expectations on all counts. This book is my kids’ and my own current favorite bedtime story. The art is reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s busy world–only more artful than cartoony–making it fascinating for the kids. They quietly listen as I read because they’re so mesmerized by the images. Plus, the book isn’t too wordy which means it’s absolutely re-readable; one of my essential requirements.  Plus the plot is adventuresome, and our favorite part is to try...

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Summer camp care package ideas so cool, the kids might even miss you. Maybe.

If your kids are headed to camp this summer, sending them a cool summer camp care package will make their day. Or week. Even if they didn’t even look back to wave when you dropped them off. We’ve got a whole bunch of fun ideas for care package goodies that, according to our own kids, will make yours proclaim you the best parent in the world to all of his or her bunkmates. Short of sending a life’s supply of candy. Just be sure to check with your camp before sending one out–they all have different care package rules, especially when it comes...

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12 favorite sloth picks to kick off Sloth Week. Yes, that’s a thing now.

They aren’t as sly as a fox, as wise as an owl, or as puffy as a hedgehog, but the unassuming sloth is poised to be the next big thing for kids, as Liz and I noticed as we toured Toy Fair earlier this year. These slow-moving, surprisingly adorable creatures even have their own week dedicated to them, with Sloth Week 2014 beginning today, June 20 so you and the kids can view online videos and sloth-related TV programming on Animal Planet all week long. (Kind of the kinder, gentler alternative to Shark Week.) If you too want to surround yourself or your kids with all things sloth,...

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It’s World Cup time, and this new soccer book for kids is a winner.

Everyone’s eyes are on World Cup soccer for the next month, and The Soccer Fence by Phil Bildner, a thought-provoking and hope-filled soccer book for kids set in the waning days of South African Apartheid, is perfect for reading breaks between games. The book tells the story of Hector, a soccer-loving young Black child living in a Johannesburg township. When he travels to the wealthier “whites only” sections with his mother, he notices the stark difference between his neighborhood’s dirt-and-gravel makeshift soccer fields and the white kids’ lush green lawns. He also sadly notices how he is ignored and not invited to play by...

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Sponsored Post: Generation Grit retro-inspired action figures that come from history, not cartoons

This is a sponsored message from Generation Grit Mom of four, Laura Hale, was looking for action figures for her sons that would offer some of the wholesome, creative play accompanied by thoughtful storybooks that so many girls had already discovered with their own line of popular dolls. That’s why she set out to design Generation Grit, a new line of retro-inspired action figures, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign. The series will kick off with Mac Mason, an adventurous fourteen-year-old boy from 1943 who loves ciphers, camping and baseball. An accompanying book describes his courageous adventures with his British cousin William back in...

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Get dirty this summer with 52 cool gardening project for kids

We’ve featured some really great micro-gardening tools here over the years, like the cool Foodie Garden Kits and the Click & Grow smart herb garden which help to create gardening projects for those of you with kids, but not a lot of space for traditional sowing and planting. However if you’re ready to take it outside, be sure to take a look at Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown. This fun collection of DIY activities–or gardening “experiments,” as the author calls them–ranges from building rain barrels and gardening tool boxes to making a desert terrarium or growing a tropical porch container. My kids were immediately drawn...

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The Baby Tree: May we never ever talk about storks again.

I admit, the folk tales and stork mythology stories that seek to answer “where do babies come from?” don’t appeal to me a bit. I want my kids to understand the actual facts in age appropriate ways and the right book can be perfect for that very thing. Especially if you’re feeling awkward about it yourself. So was thrilled to find just what I have been looking for–and probably a lot of you too–in the absolutely charming, wonderful, relatable The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall whose title belies the informative lesson about reproduction for young kids. A child  about to have a baby sibling sets out to...

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The new Project Kid craft book offers ideas beyond pasta necklaces. Hallelujah.

We are starting to get really excited about summer break around my house, but I know the inevitable chorus of We’re booorrred will start up before too long. Luckily, I am armed and ready with a copy of Project Kid, the new kid craft book by Amanda Kingloff, former lifestyle director at Parents magazine. If my crew stays focused, we can probably tackle all 100 crafts in this terrific, well-curated collection of fun DIY projects. I’m debating between starting with the photo tree made from twigs and Play-Doh lids, or the rock garden made with rocks, tissue paper, and Mod Podge. Because what...

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Cool Moms agree: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

#WeNeedDiverseBooks is currently the #1 trending topic on Twitter and is taking over tumblr with user photos of people from all walks of life holding up handmade signs about why we need more diversity in literature–especially for kids. It was created as a response to a national literary convention that put together a panel of “luminaries of children’s literature” and only included white male authors. The uproar demanded more diversity in books, in authors, and in the attention given to books by and about people of color, LGBTQ, and the otherly abled. Today through May 3 (and beyond!) it’s easy...

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PhotoPlay! The cool coloring book gets bigger and better.

When I first got my hands on the open-ended coloring book Fotoplay! back in 2012, I fell in love with the way photographer M. J. Bronstein used her snapshots as prompts, encouraging kids  to draw all over them to create their own personal masterpiece. Her new coloring book, PhotoPlay!: Doodle. Design. Draw. is just as cool, and with more than double the pages to keep kids engaged for a good long time on a road trip or a rainy day. Every page in PhotoPlay! features an interesting black-and-white photograph with a prompt or idea for how to finish the picture, like Jesse and...

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