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
Tag: family activities
This week on the Spawned Show, we closed out our year (or, we’re opening the new one if you’re listening now) with a really good talk about New Year’s resolutions: The good, the bad, and the very very broken. I really love Kristen’s perspective about calling them goals, not resolutions. And she has great tips on phrasing things positively, and being specific (“I will research and sign up for a yoga class this week”) which is far more effective than the general goals we tend to make this time each year (“I will stay fit and get healthy.”) Real Simple has a list...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
Do you know how hard it is to find good free Hanukkah coloring pages for kids? Like, really hard. Who knew that tracking 8 of them down would be another Hanukkah miracle! I searched a long time to find what I think are some of the best Hanukkah coloring pages on the web, wanting them to be artful, nicely illustrated, not uploaded to virus-laden sites (oy) , and that don’t require you to watch 16 ads before having the ability to download. Tall order, but, I’ve found 8 great free options. Or, one for each night. (Above: Adult Hanukkah Mandala by Emerlye Arts) Best of all, some of...Read More
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,...Read More
Since I’ll be busy in the kitchen (i.e. my happy place) next week, cooking and baking and getting ready for our big family dinner, I’m going to put my kids in charge of the Thanksgiving table decorations, which is not my happy place. Craft projects and art are usually a fun way for them to fill their down time when they’re home from school, and what I like about these fairly easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids is that I think they can double as adorable table decorations to make dinner more festive. There’s something really nice about the kids’ table feeling kid-like, or, if you all sit...Read More
8 of our favorite family board games for 6 or more players of all ages. Just in time for those big holiday gatherings.
We’ve got a strong competitive gene in my family, which means when we all get together, we like to hang around the dinner table playing board games. The kids get in on the action too, but that doesn’t mean we’re relegated to playing kiddie games all the time. We’ve found a lot games that the kids and adults both enjoy, from silly, laugh-out-loud games to more complicated strategy games that take a few hours to play. So, we’ve rounded up our favorite board games for 6 players or more. We hope they help get you through the throngs of friends and family...Read More
Our kids are usually pretty clear about what they want for their big gifts for Christmas, so I often have the most fun thinking about those smaller gifts that are total surprises for our kids. So, we wanted to share one of our favorite affordable gifts our kids actually love: custom photo memory games from our super cool partner, Pinhole Press. – Don’t miss a special discount from Pinhole Press for our readers below – In fact, we shared this idea last year and our readers totally went nuts for it. So we’re thrilled to have such a wonderful sponsor that we know you all like...Read More
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....Read More
It’s so easy to find yourself on-the-go all the time as a parent, but having downtime is important. In fact, I think it’s vital to being a good mom or dad. Of course, a few hours alone to get a manicure or go for a walk is so nice, but I like to find ways to unwind with my kids too. That’s why I’ve been absolutely thrilled to see adult coloring books blow up, and I’m fascinated by research I’ve seen lately saying that coloring happens to be a really effective way for adults to relax. So if you need a break from crosswords or Netflix or...Read More
Hey, wait a minute. Is that you, August? How did you get here so fast? I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Wasn’t it April just yesterday? Instead of trying to wrap our collective heads around the theory of relativity, let’s focus on how we can drain every last drop of fun out of this summer with our kids. Because in a blink, they’ll be back to school and we’ll be back to packing lunches (oh. yay.) again. Unless you’re one of those families who already has kids back in school, take a look at what I think...Read More
I love camping with my kids. Okay, scratch that. I love the idea of camping with my kids. But sleeping on the ground — not so much. So when I stumbled onto Tentsile tents on the web, I kind of geeked out. I cannot wait to try out one of these tents that is strung from trees, just like a hammock-treehouse hybrid, so the whole family can sleep together — without roots and rocks (and snakes) under our sleeping bags. Also, they look pretty freaking cool. Related: Handmade kid hammocks that rock. In all senses of the word. Tentsile tents use tensile strength (get it?) to...Read More
You know that museum in town you’ve been meaning to take your kids to but you just haven’t gotten to it? Yep, I have one too. Well turns out you have a chance to do it free. Because on September 26 this year, tons of museums, zoos, aquariums and science centers across the country are participating in Museum Day Live! and opening their doors to visitors for free and we think that’s just awesome. If you visit the page on Smithsonian.org — which is a pretty amazing site to explore with your kids, by the way — to print out a ticket you can take to a participating...Read More
So, you want to go to a resort with the fam on vacation? Lucky you. I just did it and I can help! But first know, that as with most anything that involves tiny humans, tweens, teens — or any combination of them — you’ll need a clear plan. And the best way to start building one is to ask yourself an important question: What kind of vacation do you want to have? Are you going for easy or adventurous? Do you want it to be laid-back or structured? Basically, what’s going to leave everyone giddy and smiling? (Except for maybe any moody,...Read More
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...Read More
If your aim is to get the kids to spend as much time in the pool as possible before summer ends, we’ve got you covered with 10 of the coolest, most creative pool games for toddlers to teens. Not only are these ideas a whole lot of fun, but they also help kids become more comfortable and confident in the water, something that’s so important to us, since we want those little tadpoles of ours to be safe when they’re playing in the pool. Especially when they are swimming with a bunch of their giggling, shouting, jumping friends. Related: Pool safety: 11 top tips for keeping kids safe this...Read More
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....Read More
This post is brought to you by Hulu. So by now, you all may know that we are pop culture junkies to varying degrees around here. We are also unabashedly nostalgic. Which is why our newest sponsor Hulu (yay, Hulu!) is pretty much making our days right now — or late nights, really — with their huge roster of classic TV shows available for streaming. We’re not even kidding, you’re going to be so down the throwback TV rabbit hole after you see how many wonderful blasts from your past are available on demand, right now, this very second. (Aw, Les Nessman. We...Read More
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...Read More
Music is such an important part of children’s lives from both an educational and entertainment standpoint. As a former music therapist and college professor I might be a little biased, but there are plenty of personal stories and scientific studies to back up the theories. What a lot of parents don’t know is that it a child’s music aptitude (think, music IQ) is still forming up through the age of 9. So while some kids are definitely “born with it,” even if your kids don’t seem to be, you can still absolutely raise their level of musical intelligence in those early,...Read More