My daughter loves her screen time, that’s for sure, but lately I have been keenly aware of the other creative toys that she, as an 8 year old, really gravitates to, without any prompting from me. Or really, the toys that I realize I’m always telling her to put away, 16 times in a row before she listens. So maybe I’ll stop asking her to clean them up. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who secretly — or not-so-secretly — loves that quiet time when I’m reading or working, and the kids are next to me playing quietly, without...Read More
This post has been updated for 2017 Even if the only movies you’ve seen this year are the animated kind (no judgment, parents!), it’s always fun to have an excuse to get together with friends and ogle all the Hollywood glamour over a glass of bubbly. If nothing else, then to see just how Jimmy Kimmel takes on this year’s Academy controversy. We have high expectations. For those of you so out of it you’re like, “the Oscars are coming up?” we’re here to help. The 89th Academy Awards show is airing this Sunday, February 26 and to make watching the Oscars even more fun, we’ve pulled together some...Read More
Thanks to my mom, who put me in sewing camp when I was a kid (for real), I know a little bit about patterns, pleats and patchwork. While sewing doesn’t evoke some kind of longing for the carefree days of my youth, I do get pretty sentimental over making something sweet for my babies. And I find the easiest thing to sew, even for the craft-challenged, is a baby blanket. Related: The company that takes personalized baby blankets to a whole new level. Check out these adorable DIY baby blanket kits from Itty Bitty Handmade. These beautiful quilt kits make it so easy (promise, I tried it myself!) to handcraft a keepsake...Read More
Need some last-minute help planning a deliciously sweet Valentine’s Day menu? We’ve put together all our favorite easy Valentine’s Day recipes that we’ve been sharing on Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Eats — from breakfast to dessert — in one place. This way, you can scan them quickly to save more time for, well, whatever you want. Plus you’ll find some terrific DIY tricks here that turn store-bought treats into something special for the big day. Because, hey, we’re all about easy on Valentine’s Day. And that’s not a double entendre. Okay, it is. Top photos: Heart-Shaped Pretzels by My Name is Snickerdoodle; Valentine’s Day Brownies by Pink...Read More
If you’re the type willing to seek out creative, responsibly made, well-designed gifts for your kids — or for one of the endless stream of birthday parties they get invited to — then you have to check out Treehouse Kid & Craft. We just discovered this little gem of an online shop which features tons of the kinds of cool toys for kids of all ages that we’ve always loved supporting. And the prices are surprisingly decent, too. What I’m drawn to most is their drool-worthy DIY section of toys and gifts which are inspired by the hands-on workshops for kids they host at their brick-and-mortar stores in Georgia. If you’re lucky...Read More
Each year, we search high and low for the best printable Valentine’s Day cards for the classroom, to make is so much easier for kids (or, ahem, their parents) to get all those heartfelt wishes ready for friends, families and classmates. By now, our readers know that we’re wildly picky about the designs we choose, and yet this year, we’re thrilled to be able to share 30 free or inexpensive printable Valentine’s Day cards, all wonderful, and all ready to download, print, cut and sign, right from the comfort of your home. As Kristen and Liz shared on their recent episode of Spawned, we are definitely pro-Valentine’s...Read More
I love looking for crafty DIY Valentine’s Day gifts that my kids can make, and I hope you like when I look for them for you. Because my criteria, I think, are fairly straightforward, and ones I bet a lot of you can relate to as well: 1) Do I own any of that stuff? 2) If I don’t own any of that stuff can I easily get it? 3) Can my kids actually do most of the work and if not, will I complain about it? 4) Will the end result look anything like the photos? Even a little?...Read More
11 easy Valentine’s Day crafts for preschoolers and younger kids, most with supplies you already have at home.
While I’m not sure I’m ready for my house to look like it exploded in hearts, Valentine’s Day is coming sooner than you think. And since my kids’ own language of love is craft projects, I’ve been looking for some easy Valentine’s Day crafts for younger kids that preschoolers and even toddlers can make, that still have a fun, cool vibe. And most of all, that have supplies I already own or are pretty easy to find locally or through Amazon. In other words, no professional equipment needed. I bet even your older kids will want to help out — well, maybe if you have cookies and pink...Read More
Over the years, we have shared our favorite books, videos and websites that help our kids learn about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And now, along with learning about his life, we can add an interesting art project that our kids can do with their friends or in class next week to remember this important person in history. Related: Terrific ways to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the kids With 36 full-sheet coloring pages, art teacher Kathy Barbro’s Martin Luther King Coloring Mural is a brilliant group project that comes together to form a 48″x60″ mural for the wall. (Of course,...Read More
As someone living in Massachusetts, I’ve always gotten the appeal of having a great playhouse for kids. For many of us, our kids’ primary playtime through the winter will take place indoors where it isn’t 20 degrees and icy. So if you’re looking for ways to make your indoors as fun as possible for your kids, a cool playhouse can give them endless hours of imaginative fun that doesn’t involve bouncing off the walls or jumping on your couch. So we’ve rounded up 15 cool DIY and ready-to-buy playhouses for kids that can be put in a playroom, bedroom, or even a corner of...Read More
As your kids get older, you realize you don’t have to ply them with gifts or offer extra ice cream at dessert just to be The Cool Parent. (And despite what you may have learned from Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, you don’t have to serve them cocktails with umbrellas, either.) Sometimes it’s just the little things you do, or those tricks you pull out of your hat on a rainy day that give you one more parenting win, just when you really need it. So while yes, parents prioritize those important skills like CPR and knowing how to cut the...Read More
It’s amazing how many printable 2016 calendars there are online now — although admittedly they’re not all style. Now that I’ve finally investing in some good thick paper and become like a printable maniac, I spent a ton of time looking for the printable calendars that I would be happy to have on any of my own walls — clean, modern, pretty. Some are free, some cost a few dollars (but support small indie designers), some actually have space for scheduling, while some are just a date-at-a-glance style that’s perfect over a desk or on a refrigerator door. Hope you...Read More
Printable gift tags via Creative Index Need a little last minute Christmas help? Don’t panic! We’ve got lots of help just for you. DIY and printable Christmas gift tags, gift wrap and decorations Festive table setting ideas for your holiday table Printable gift card holders Free printable gift tags and gift wrap Even more printable gift tags and gift wrap 10 ways to package Christmas cookies Lots of creative gift wrap ideas Gorgeous modern table settings for Christmas Christmas crafts and apps to keep the kids busy 20 cool pop culture snowflake patterns Easy DIY ornaments the kids...Read More
Are you still looking for a few awesome last-minute gift ideas for Christmas? We know you’re out there, and we’re here to help. So if you’re like us, and you’re still finishing up your Christmas shopping, do not panic. Heck, do not panic if you’re just getting started. Well, okay, you might want to hustle a bit. But panic? Nope, not yet. Check out lots of our favorite last-minute holiday gift ideas in every price range, all of which you can still purchase or make yourself before Christmas morning for pretty much anyone still on your list. And hey, silver lining: what we love about last-minute gifts...Read More
DIY and printable gift card holder ideas: 10 absolutely lovely options that make that piece of plastic something special.
Though I spend an awful lot of time picking out the perfect gifts for the people on my Christmas list, there are many times when a gift card really is the perfect gift, which is why I’ve rounded up ten DIY gift card holder ideas to dress that little card-sized piece of plastic nicely for the holidays. Because I know my teenage daughter would love a gift card to a local clothing store or iTunes card; our many dance teachers and coaches could use a few free skim Ventis; and I like the idea of cards that support a local lunch joint...Read More
The Ultimate Star Wars Guide: Dozens of geeky gifts, party ideas, DIY projects, recipes, and random Force-inspired insanity.
Okay, so the world is obsessed with Star Wars right now in light of the premier of The Force Awakens. And hey, we count ourselves among you all. Now we can’t exactly say we’ve covered Star Wars “since before it was cool” because 1.) no such thing and 2.) we were not blogging in 1978. But we have put together an awesome Star Wars guide, filled with so many fun finds from over the years — gifts, guides, party ideas, recipes (Chewbacca donuts!) and just random awesome stuff. It’s so fun seeing them all here in one place. Or, you can always...Read More
As we parents start counting down the days to the December break, some of us are also realizing that whoa! It’s time to figure out teacher gifts, stat. I still really love our post about the best teacher gift ideas according to actual teachers and if you haven’t checked it out, you really should. There was definitely some debate on Facebook about the results (some of you feel really passionate about cash gifts!) but whatever you give, the message that came through loud and clear to me from all the educators we spoke with, is that it really, truly is the thought that counts. So...Read More
Oh, bless you paper snowflakes! For all we need to make them are scissors, paper, and if you want to get fancy, some very cool snowflake patterns. It’s the perfect holiday craft for those of you, like me, who are enthusiastic about doing crafts with the kids over the holidays but you know that trip to the craft supply store is not going to happen. And don’t even get me started on glitter. I hope you love these awesome patterns as much as I do. From festive, wintry imagery to amazing pop culture icons, we want to try them all. And we...Read More
My kids were in a museum gift shop with friends this summer and of everything in the store, all four spent the entire time fighting over (I mean, taking turns with) what’s best defined as a handmade voice or music recording gadget from a cool little Brooklyn company called Brand New Noise. And while you might have seen something like their nifty sound boxes, nothing tops the original, which is why we’re happy to include them in our series on original makers, thinkers, and artists. These recording toys are like the best of tech toys meets the best of low-tech toys,...Read More
Easy DIY ornaments for kids: 9 terrific ideas for turning those plain ornaments into something special
I have had such a great time this week looking for ideas for DIY ornaments for the kids. After all, one of my favorite parts about decorating for the holidays is seeing the Christmas tree ornaments my kids have made over the years and hey, we’re always open to new ideas. So here are 9 really easy, fun ways to turn those plain round ornaments into holiday keepsakes for anyone in your family, their favorite teachers, or even a BFF. I really like that these DIY ornament ideas make great group projects too, if you’re looking for a classroom or playdate project for a bunch of creative...Read More