We’re big fans of supporting quality journalism, especially in this age of where fake news is running rampant. Because, facts matter. (Not that this is a big stake in the ground, mamas. I mean, is any normal person really like, “Whoo! Fake news! We need more of it!” Let’s hope not.) So when I learned about The New York Times Sponsor a Subscription Program, I was so excited to share this with other parents and educators who feel the same way. Related: 10 free educational online resources for curious kids that every parent should know. A donation of just $2–4 provides a free subscription...Read More
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been a little Hamilton-obsessed lately. So when I found these hip, historical t-shirts for kids at Wee Rascals that have that same hip, historical bent as the musical that’s on everyone’s mind these days, I knew I had to share. And with President’s Day coming up next week, I have the perfect excuse to order these for my own kids. Related: A patriotic T-shirt that reminds us of what makes America wonderful. Related: The ultimate girls in STEM book of kick-butt Women in Science This indie shop was started by two moms who wanted to...Read More
Yesterday, Merriam-Webster announced they had added more than 1000 new words to the dictionary, and wow, word nerds like me could lose ourselves in here for ages. Actually, I kind of did. According to the editors the terms come from everything from tech to science and medicine, pop culture, sports, slang, foreign languages, and more. But what’s as fascinating to me as the words themselves, is just how long it took some of them to make it into print. Humblebrag is like a baby down there! Take a look at a few of my favorites, then be sure to click over...Read More
Last week, we introduced you to 3 cool kid inventors who we actually got to meet and chat with on behalf of our sponsor Autodesk. Well, since then, my tween Quinlan, who actually interviewed the inventors on Facebook Live (so fun!), has been learning how to use Tinkercad. She’s been playing around with this free web tool, creating 3D designs the same way those remarkable kids created their own inventions. I’ve been so amazed seeing how my daughter can just take an idea from her own imagination, design it, and use a 3D printer to print and hold it in her hand. And did I mention it’s fun? Take...Read More
I’m all about supporting our nation’s National Park Service in any way we can, especially because of the myriad ways they support us right back. So I’m thrilled to share the brilliant initiative to get even more kids to our National Parks and Monuments around the country: Every Kid in a Park. Created by President Obama to get more children excited about science, nature, and understanding the beauty and history of our nation, the program will grant your family totally free access (yes, free!) to all Federal lands and waters. Plus, you’ll get a massive discount on Amtrak tickets for kids if you’re training it there....Read More
A brilliant new maker box that combines digital and real-world play for kids. And wow, the possibilities.
To my nieces, screen time is like water. Without it, I think they’d go all limp and cockeyed. So I love discovering apps for them that encourage both tech literacy and imaginative play. The two come together together beautifully thanks to the brand new Get Qurious Maker Box, which we think parents will be really happy to discover. Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 4 year olds | The Ultimate Birthday Gift Guide You may have heard about its super successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and now that the box is finally out, I think that Get Qurious is going to be a fantastic gift...Read More
An excellent list of MLK books, videos and resources to help kids understand the reason for the holiday.
Over the years, we’ve put together so many fantastic ways to help honor the important, impactful work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially to help families be able to discuss how we might all carry on his legacy. We hope you’ll check out these books, videos, websites, craft ideas and activities, with the hope that more of our kids are inspired do their own part to create a world filled with peace, equality and justice for all. 4 Fantastic Books for Kids about Martin Luther King to Help Educate While You Celebrate Here’s his entire I Have a Dream...Read More
As we approach MLK Day, we’re thinking it’s the perfect time to get our kids learning about activism and about how one man, through his peaceful and steadfast fight for equal rights for all, made lasting changes and a huge impact on generations. Inspired by his words — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — and motivated by his actions, we’ve put together a list of 10 children’s books about activism that we think will inspire our kids, in turn. From stories our littlest readers will enjoy to non-fiction books that motivate our older kids to take action about those things they believe in, we...Read More
We’re firm believers that kids can change the world. In fact, there are kids doing it right now. So we’re sharing three kid inventors we’re absolutely thrilled to know about because their work is so mind-blowingly amazing, it gives us remarkable hope for the future. (Yay, kids!) What’s more, if you love what they’re doing, you can have a chance to “meet” them at the Kid Inventors’ Day celebration on January 17, when we interview them on Facebook Live, thanks to our sponsor Autodesk. If you’re not familiar with Autodesk, check out their free, easy-to-use web-based tool Tinkercad that allows anyone ages 4 and...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
Around the holidays, if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about gratitude, which means you may be feeling more generous than usual about now. And, you might be thinking about some ways to log some year-end charitable donations before the clock strikes 12 on December 31. So I looked around to find some ways to cap off 2016 on a positive note, with donations that can make a real difference to lots of people in need. Of course, there are the big charitable organizations, which we still know and love, and continue to support all year long. But here, I’m sharing 6 of my...Read More
It’s no secret that parents love finding tech gifts for kids that we can justify as being both fun and educational, but the true test isn’t whether we think they’re cool — but rather, whether our own kids play with them. Over and over again. That’s why we we’re so thrilled to have partnered with our newest sponsor Bitsbox. (And you dedicated Spawned podcast listeners already know just how thrilled!) This clever subscription box gift masterfully and clearly teaches kids how to code their own apps that actually work on smartphones and tablets. Like my 9-year-old son’s Burping Obama app. (Not coming to an app store near you,...Read More
Beyond thank you and please: 7 manners all kids should learn for holiday entertaining (and that we’re not all teaching)
Please and thank you — important stuff, right? I’ve always believe that courteous kids grow into nice adults and we all need more nice in the world these day. But that’s not where etiquette begins and ends. So with the holidays here, and lots of entertaining and mingling coming up on our calendars, we’ve started talking in our home about some of the manners that we want our kids to know, so they can be fantastic guests and hosts. I’m sharing them here with the hope that maybe our ideas will help some of you too. Top: Please and Thank You poster at TanyaGDesign on Etsy I know...Read More
We love how the Internet can help us when it comes to raising a generation of more curious kids. There are just so many remarkable free educational online tools and resources that help support a child’s natural curiosity, and even help push them a little (or a lot) when it comes to learning about all kinds of subjects and sparking their passion about the world around them. That’s exactly what our newest sponsor, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (or CTY, as it’s been fondly known for more than 30 years), does for bright kids and their families. And if you don’t know about...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
Today, November 11, is Veterans Day. And while every day is a good day to honor our brave veterans and give thanks to soldiers and vets for their service, it’s always good to have a national holiday to inspire us. So many of us here come from military families, and as the stepdaughter of a veteran myself, I know just how much a message of thanks and gratitude can mean. My own girls call their Pop-Pop every year on Veterans Day to thank him and they write him letters of gratitude, like this one my youngest wrote last year, shown below. (You have to love...Read More
My kids hate to see me cry, but there have been times when I’m following the Syrian refugee crisis that I can’t help it. They’ve caught me looking at the haunting photo of Omran Daqneesh in the ambulance, seeing the tragic body of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, and watching desperate mothers and fathers trying to get their families to safety while “reporters” trip them as they run from armed guards. But, you know, I think it’s a good thing that they see me cry at images like this. As strongly as I feel about it, I’ve still struggled to explain the Syrian...Read More
This election in particular has been a tough one for me to wade through all the issues with my kids, so I’ve been getting creative with how I’m involving them in our family’s political discussions. I’ve been implementing Kristen and Liz’s great tips for talking politics with your children in a nasty election year, and I’m also planning to take mine with me when I vote so they can see firsthand what that experience is really like. I’ve also been looking for some fun political activities for kids to help mine get a little involved and learn a thing or two about our election process....Read More
As a first time mom-to-be, I am already thinking about creating a household where my child can be whatever they want to be. A doctor, lawyer, sandwich artistan, or even a Silicon Valley techno mastermind. And given that my husband’s an IT professional who builds his own computers for fun (what the heck is a Hackintosh, anyway?), our kid is likely to inherit an aptitude for computer sciences. We can only hope, anyway. If we have a girl (maybe, especially if we have a girl), I want to make sure she has plenty of STEM role models that can help her get excited...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