Tag: family activities

The best experience gifts for kids who want to do it all.

Research shows that the happiest families are those who spend their money on experiences instead of on things. I totally get it. Looking back at my childhood, I can remember only a handful of toys my parents gave me over the years — a Strawberry Shortcake lip gloss, still being a favorite. But every out-of-the-ordinary trip we took together is etched in my memory, whether it was a week at the beach or a night out to see the circus. So, this year, consider investing in an experience gift for your kids in addition to the books and toys they’ll be getting...

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3 artsy, whimsical craft kits for kids with big imaginations

For the little girls in my life, ages 6–9 has been a craftaholic phase. One that’s moving away from cardboard and pipe cleaners and more toward DIY craft kits for kids that result in beautiful finished products they can keep themselves or give to others — like to their favorite aunt on Christmas (hint). And since crafting can be a fun bonding time for us, I’ve been looking for artsy DIY kits for kids that don’t require too much painstaking detail work and that are totally self-contained, so we can eliminate any frenzied last-minute trips to the art supply store. Three cheers...

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This year’s best new books for Christmas, to help your kids get even more excited for the big day.

My family has a tradition of reading Christmas books at bedtime every night during Advent. Some years, I wrap each holiday book in our collection, so they’ll be surprised which book we’re reading each night. Other years, we take turns choosing a favorite. But every year, I like to add new books to our collection. And this year is no exception. I was excited to find some new, beautifully illustrated traditional stories as well as some clever books that are quick, funny reads (perfect for those nights when we’ve been out to a holiday party way past bedtime). I’ll be adding a couple of...

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The best group card games to play with the whole family: Game night, bring it.

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, it’s really starting to feel like Christmas to me. And as much as I love the shopping and the hot cocoa and the decorations, my favorite part is the parties. Instead of sending the kids to the playroom to watch a movie while the adults hang out this year, I’ve found some really fun group card games that the whole family can enjoy together. From competitive strategy games for the geeks in all of us, to light party games that are more about having fun than winning, these are our favorites. Of course,...

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The papercraft book that makes Christmas crafting so, so easy.

Houses up and down our street are starting to turn on their holiday lights, and it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in our neighborhood. My craft-loving kids would like for us to DIY everything holiday around here — cotton-ball snowmen, reindeer food, glitter wreaths…you name it. So when I discovered Papermade’s new book Paper Holiday, I knew I’d hit the holiday craft jackpot. The book includes 20 Christmas ornaments you can make in about 10 minutes each — just punch-out, fold up, and hang on the tree. No scissors, glue, or tape required. It even includes paper hooks. The ornaments are definitely Christmas specific,...

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The last-minute Thanksgiving help: Everything you need including recipe help, drinks, decor, printables + crafts for the kids. No go forth and be thankful!

If you’re like me and Thanksgiving totally snuck up on you this year (seriously, today?), fear not! The CMP team has been hard at work for weeks now, sharing the most helpful resources and great advice to help you master the big day. From the most foolproof turkey roasting tutorials (and who to call when…uh, if they go wrong), pie recipes to live for, and the most fun printables to keep kids busy and entertained, we’ve got it all right here. And hey, if you’re desperate for just some Thanksgiving relative survival tips (for humans, not turkeys), we’ve got you covered with that in the...

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10 fun ideas for holiday traditions you can start with your family right now

One of our most favorite parts of the holidays (no, not presents, though we like those too) are the family traditions we celebrate year after year. There’s just something so special about looking forward to our annual holiday rituals, whether they started spontaneously one year and just kept going, or they’ve been passed down through the generations. If you’re like us, one of the best ever holiday traditions for families is to snuggle up and watch your favorite seasonal movies and television shows, which is something our newest sponsor Amazon Studios knows a whole lot about. Their two newest holiday specials, If You Give...

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Color your home grateful with these cool printable Thanksgiving posters from Caravan.

If you’ve been following us this season, you know we’ve already discovered some amazing printables for Thanksgiving. And while these activities should buy you at least some free time Thanksgiving morning to conquer your cooking, we thought a larger-scale printable could be helpful too. I was excited to discover these printable posters from Caravan, which encourage kids to creatively express their gratitude and decorate the walls — all without damaging the interiors of your home. I love the GIANT Thanksgiving Coloring Poster that offers a mind-boggling amount (seriously, whoa!) of Thanksgiving-themed detail for kids to fill in with a marker or crayon. And check...

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How to make a DIY Thankful Turkey with your kids in 4 (very) easy steps.

Our favorite crafts around here are simple ones that don’t require an MFA, and it’s a big bonus when we don’t even have to head to the craft store for supplies. And if these crafts help us have conversations about the world around us, allow our kids to get in touch with nature or our community, or teach them the importance of gratitude, then even better. This cute DIY thankful turkey craft is a very easy and fun craft that fits all these categories. I’ll be making these with my kids this year while we wait for our turkey to cook, because we really do have...

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Thanksgiving survival tips. For humans, not turkeys. | Spawned Episode 59

Thanksgiving can be a challenging time for lots of people, but this year, well, let’s just say stress levels are at an all-time high. So, on today’s episode of Spawned with Kristen and Liz, we’re sharing our Thanksgiving survival tips, from setting conversation boundaries to opting out of celebrations, and yes, some fun ideas, too. Well, beyond booze and carbs, that is. Come commiserate with us! Funny Thanksgiving wine labels via Barton Design Co. Listen to our Spawned podcast right now. This very minute! Right here! Then be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.   Links...

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13 amazing, free Thanksgiving printables from a cute pie box to a fun I Spy game for kids.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and although I have been looking forward to it for weeks now, it feels like the events of the election may loom over the dinner table like 50-foot floats in the Macy’s Day Parade (except not as cute and friendly). It’s been an emotional November for many of us, but at the end of the day, Thanksgiving is all about gathering together, practicing gratitude, and remembering how important our friends and family are. So in the spirit of this special holiday, I’ve rounded up 13 free Thanksgiving printables — games, coloring pages, decor ideas, and more — to help us...

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Not Parent Approved: Like Cards Against Humanity…for kids.

With the massive popularity of Cards Against Humanity, it was only a matter of time before someone created a G-rated (ok, G-rated-ish) adaptation that pays homage to its irreverent mastery. Enter Not Parent Approved, a truly hilarious, very clever family card game that should be the breakout hit of the upcoming holiday season. Related: 8 of our favorite family games for 6 or more players Think of Not Parent Approved as a cross between the old Match Game (aw, we miss you Charles Nelson Reilly), Apples to Apples and CAH, in which all the players try to pick the most apt red card...

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8 fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for preschool kids beyond tracing a hand to look like a turkey.

I truly love spending autumn weekends doing fall crafts with my nieces, and now that we’re done with pumpkins and ghosts, I’m looking into cool craft projects for Thanksgiving. I searched around and found some favorites — corn on the cob, the Mayflower, and of course, turkeys (so many turkeys!) — that are perfect for even the youngest preschool kids. Here are 8 of my favorites — all super fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids. And all fridge-worthy.  Related: 6 adorable pinecone crafts that go way beyond wreaths. Hello, fall! Love that this Fork-Painted Turkey Craft at I Hear Arts n Crafts, doesn’t even require a...

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A lovely way for kids to send a letter of thanks to our troops on Veterans Day (or any other day).

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...

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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;...

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6 super cool ways to decorate pumpkins with black Sharpie. Lazy? Or brilliant!

If you’ve been following our Halloween coverage this year, you won’t be surprised that we’ve been seeking out cool Sharpie Halloween pumpkin decorating ideas. After all, we’re busy! So we’re all about cutting down on fuss, days of excessive pre-Halloween parental labor, and of course, the mess of pumpkin guts. Don’t get me wrong — I  appreciate a creative jack-o-lantern as much as the next person; but I also recognize many parents have their hands full already this time of year. So I’ve gathered up 6 really fun and (mostly) mess-free ways to decorate pumpkins with black Sharpie, whatever your skill level. Just uh,...

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10 of the best Halloween events for kids around the country: From treats for littles to tricks for teens.

The leaves are crunchy, the air is crisp, the sky is blue, and your kids need to have fun in those adorable costumes too. So we’ve put together a list of we think are some of the best local Halloween events for kids all around the country. So mark your calendars for fun family time this Halloween season! And wow, do we wish some of these would come to our own own towns. Top: LEGOland via attractions magazine | Rogerio Barbosa 2011   Photo: philly.com The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place If you’ll be in the Pennsylvania area between now and October...

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15 not-so-scary Halloween crafts and treats for kids who want the fun without the nightmares.

Not everyone has kids that want scary Halloween decorations around the house. Like mine, for example. Hosting a trick-or-treat party is one of my kids’ favorite traditions of the year, and they totally love Halloween, but they’d prefer we do more non-scary Halloween crafts to get them excited for the day. They’re too young to be into the whole fright-night thing, and so are their friends, so we keep things fun and light with pumpkins, silly monsters, funny skeletons, and the occasional friendly ghost. Adding some not-scary Halloween crafts for kids to your evening like these 15 we’ve found — as an...

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29 cool Star Wars pumpkin ideas we’ve found for Halloween: The internet has taught us well.

This year, with all five of my nieces dressing up as Star Wars characters, I couldn’t think of a more perfect Halloween craft than creating Star Wars Halloween pumpkins together. So I’ve searched the web for them — and all of you! — and rounded up some of the most fun, DIY Star Wars pumpkin projects for a front stoop that will impress the galaxy. We’ve got droids. We’ve got Stormtroopers. We’ve got Yoda. And if you’re still wondering, Where is Rey? Well, we’ve got her here too. Related: 13 fabulously easy no-carve pumpkin ideas for the kids. We recently spotted this little BB-8...

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How to plan an awesome long weekend with the kids in Asheville, NC

My favorite fall break destination with the kids is unquestionably Asheville, North Carolina. Even though it isn’t a kid-centric destination per se (no Mickey Mouse for miles), there’s still so many fun, family-friendly activities we can enjoy in the city and surrounding area. Plus, getting a chance to see the leaves change in the Appalachian Mountain region? Stunning. Asheville is kind of like a smaller, quainter little sister to Portland, Oregon. You’ll see hikers coming off the Appalachian Trail, art galleries on every corner, and even a few drum circles. I just love its slower pace and refreshing outlook, plus the cool, crisp mountain air is such a welcome...

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