Tag: educational

The ultimate list of the best kids’ books of 2015: All the annual best-of lists and award winners all in one place.

We’ve loved our annual new year tradition of compiling the best kids’ books of the year, thanks to all the major (and not entirely major) best-of lists and big children’s book awards of 2015 from publications, experts, and organizations we respect. We’re talking everyone from the New York Times and the ALA to NPR, and smaller but beautifully curated lists from the likes of Brainpickings and Brightly. While we recently put together our own list of the best children’s’ books of 2015 that we’re quite proud of, there’s no way we could get through every new book released. So we hope you take a look...

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Immerse your kids in Chinese culture without the super long plane ride

We love finding new ways to teach our kids about the big, diverse world that extends far beyond the boundaries of their neighborhood and town. And while nothing can replace actually going to the countries themselves, playsets like this one from Whole Wide World Toys may help even our littlest jet setter hopefuls learn all about different countries in a way that is fun and educational. And their first stop? The huge country of China. What makes Whole Wide World Toys’ World Village China Playset so neat is how it incorporates a ton of age-appropriate information along with the toys themselves. Each playset comes with...

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Books about manners for kids: 6 excellent options, just in time for the holidays

We figured this was a pretty good time to start looking around at some great — and effective — books about manners for kids. I’m sure you feel me; my family calendar is already so booked over the next couple months, which means lots of opportunities for my kids to show off their best manners. Or, their worst manners when they get really tired. Which they will. So, books! That’s always a good way to help me better talk to my kids about any subjects without them feeling like I’m nagging them. These six books about manners for kids cover the do’s and don’ts of polite...

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It’s time to make some fun family memories. Are you game?

This is a sponsored message from SimplyFun board games With Thanksgiving break coming up this week and Hanukkah and Christmas not far behind, it’s a great time to be thinking about getting a few family game nights on the calendar. You probably have your own childhood memories of the one relative who always cheated at backgammon, or the younger sibling who whooped the whole family that one time with some amazing beginner’s luck. Now it’s time to make some memories for your own kids. SimplyFun board games is on a mission to make families stronger through collaborative gameplay. They offer more than 100 award-winning games around educational concepts from reading to math, to critical thinking,...

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The coolest travel books for kids of all ages. Because no, we’re not there yet.

We’re getting close to the holidays, which for many families means road trips with the kids. And there’s nothing more fun, right? Hahahahha. I recently did 16 hours in the car with my three kids — each way — and lived to tell the tale. If there’s one thing I learned on that trip (other than that I’ll never do it again) it’s that movies are an easy way to pass the time, but at some point the kids need their alone time. And books are great for that. So, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite travel books for kids of...

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#62MillionGirls are not able to go to school. Here’s one easy thing you can do about it.

Today is the International Day of the Girl. And while we talk so much here about how important it is to empower and educate our girls every day, if they’re not even in school, both of those things are nearly impossible. So we thought one of the best things we could do today is share the #62MillionGirls campaign from the awesome folks at Girls Rising in partnership with Michelle Obama.  They’re using the power of social media — and some major celebs — to help get the word out about the 62 million girls in the world, half of whom are adolescent, who are denied the right...

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The Incredible Intergalatic Journey Home: A new personalized book that’s out of this world

When we first discovered the Lost My Name books, well, sold. They were about the most beautifully conceived, perfectly executed, personalized books for kids we had ever seen. We’ve since bought them as gifts and recommended them to tons of of our own friends. So of course we were thrilled to have the chance to team up with the smart folks at Lost My Name — who include three cool dads and one cool uncle — for the U.S. launch of their brand new title, The Intergalactic Journey Home, which takes the personalization to a remarkable new level. And yes, we’ve said that...

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Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids: 6 entertaining and thought-provoking films we love

Here’s an idea: The next time your kids ask (politely, of course) to watch their favorite movie — as in, the animated feature or superhero flick they’ve seen a million times — why not suggest a documentary instead? Now before you roll your eyes like my husband, who insists that “documentaries aren’t movies” I’m not talking about some monotonous British voice narrating educational nature scenes like when I was a kid. So far this year, I’ve been captivated by documentaries on everything from Kurt Cobain, to Scientology, to mountain climbing, that have hit theaters nationwide. And now, thank to streaming services like Amazon, Netflix,...

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This is kids’ music? 6 new family albums that may surprise even the pickiest adult listeners

I know there are parents who say they don’t like kids’ music and don’t understand why kids can’t just listen to whatever the adults are listening to, perhaps just quickly turning down the volume on their own playlists when the lyrics get a bit too mature. But, like Stefan Shepard of Zooglobble once said, and I paraphrase, if kids can — and should — have their own books, movies and television shows, why shouldn’t they have their own age-and-developmentally appropriate music that happens to be awesome too? If you haven’t learned from our own site by now, not all kids’ music...

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Smart tees for kids that will make teachers happy in more ways than one

We imagine that nothing makes a teacher happier than seeing their students light up about a subject, ready to learn more. Whether you’ve got a number lover, a big reader, a mini scientist, or an artist-in-residence — or maybe a mix of all of the above — you need to check out these adorable, brand new smart tees for kids from CMP favorite Brooklyn Makers. Not only do they feature messages we can get behind, but a significant portion of the sales will help disadvantaged school districts so that all kids get the chance to discover their favorite subjects. Related:  11 cool career t-shirts for...

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How to make your own photo-real gifts and gear: One cool trend you can totally DIY easily.

You may not have heard the term “photo-real,” before — I hadn’t — but you’ve most likely seen this trend all over boutiques, fashion spreads, and your kids’ own gear, since it’s been growing steadily for the past few years. From backpacks to leggings to cell phone cases, we’re seeing photographs of real objects replacing illustration and other patterns. It can look so cool, and our kids are kind of going crazy for photo-real gear. So we thought we’d share some tips for how you can hop on this trend too, and even DIY your own photo real gifts. It’s easy, we...

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My Big Art Show: the fun family card game that might turn your kids into art history whizzes.

Two of my kids have now outgrown some of my own favorite childhood board games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders — classic versions only, please. (And yes, I admit I do like Candy Land. Don’t ask why.) My kids are now into the kind of strategy board games that take 30 minutes to explain the rules and another 30 minutes to set up the board. They can be a lot of fun, but I don’t always have the time or inclination. So I like to have a few games on hand that we can all play quickly and easily. This week we’ve been binging on My Big Art Show by Susie Hodge....

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A terrific opportunity for teens to do some good this fall with the Baby Buggy Youth Service Corps

As the carefree days of summer wind down and the structure of the fall rounds the bend, its time to start thinking about curricular activities. While sports and school clubs are great, I like the idea of encouraging a teen to take on a hobby or activity that does something positive for others. There are tons of fantastic volunteer possibilities everywhere around the country, but if you’re in the NYC area, definitely check out one of our favorite charities, Baby Buggy. This terrific organization, which supports families in need by providing essential baby products and other support,  is inviting local youth ages 13-16 to get...

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Painting For Peace in Ferguson: A children’s book with a message of hope and community

This past Sunday, August 9, marked one year since the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri.  Despite the many months that have passed, trying to make sense of the heartbreak and horror of everything that’s happened in this country recently remains a challenge for so many us. Processing the racial injustice, the hate, the death and devastation is difficult, to say the least. And as parents trying to explain any of it to our children — so many of us don’t even have the words. This is where the children’s book Painting for Peace in Ferguson can...

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12 creative tips for getting your kids ready for kindergarten. Because, kindergarten! Also, pass the tissues.

We are having so much fun with our kids home for summer break, the occasional sibling squabble aside, but we’re already thinking about back-to-school. Especially on behalf of those of you in the south who start in what, like four minutes?  There’s so much to do to get ready any given school year, but those of us with kids going off to kindergarten for the first time (sniff, sniff), we are always looking for tips for getting kids kindergarten ready, to be sure that they — and we — have a successful first year at school. So we are really excited to...

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Little Passports’ new gift subscription now lets younger kids get in on the world travel adventures too.

Even before she had made her first trip out of the country, my daughter loved the subscription her aunt bought her to Little Passports when she was in grade school. Each month, she’d receive a packet of information and little trinkets about a new country that she could tuck safely into her small blue suitcase. If you have younger kids, you may be happy to learn that even they can take a virtual trip around the world now, with Little Passports Early Explorers. It comes with specially designed materials and items for kids between the ages of 3-5, no real passport needed. Or expensive tickets to Egypt or France....

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Letting kids make beautiful music with Compose Yourself. Now this is cool.

It may take special talent and years of study to compose music for a symphony, but we’ve discovered a fun shortcut with Think Fun’s new Compose Yourself, a creative, musical card game which lets kids 6 and up — and even adult neophytes like me — create beautiful music in minutes. You don’t even have to be able to read a note of music. Which is why I like it too. Related: How to foster a love of music in your little kids The system was created by Philip Sheppard, an accomplished composer and musician who has recorded with David Bowie, served as music director...

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Educational activities for children this summer? Reader Q & A

Hi Cool Mom Picks! Any suggestions for workbooks or activities to help prepare my child–and keep them out of my hair (ha)–for the summer between kindergarten and first grade? -Chaitali   Ahhhh, summer! No school lunches to pack, no buses to catch, and yet, now you have a curious, energetic, and sometimes b-o-r-e-d child to entertain for weeks on end. We love that you want to keep your child busy and engaged with educational activities that will help them get ready for the next year of school. We’re all big believers in tucking in some fun learning activities in between beach...

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When Lyla Got Lost (and Found): A really helpful safety book for kids

I know that teaching my kids about personal safety is so important, but there seems to be a fine line between preparing kids for emergencies and scaring them about Things That Could Happen. Like all parents, I definitely don’t want to tell them more than they need to hear. But lately we’ve been getting our talks just right with the help of reading When Lyla Got Lost (and Found), the latest in The Mother Company’s new series of safety books for kids. Thanks to authors Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, my kids are learning some great safety strategies that will work for them in the real world,...

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From Apricity to Zephyr: Posters that teach vocabulary, one SAT word at a time

I admit I was pretty proud of my fourth-grader when she helped me finish the New York Time’s Monday crossword, but then she was employing words like llama and Naples. Then I saw British designer Mark Watson’s graphic dictionary poster series that he created for his own nine-year old and I thought, whoa. Maybe we could be working towards the Saturday puzzle after all? Related: 13 Words to add to your child’s bookshelf thanks to Lemony Snicket According to Slate, the graphic artist behind Modern Giant first created a minimalist depiction of the word contrarian after, well, his daughter was acting like one one. The...

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