Tag: family activities

4 fantastic books for kids about MLK to help educate kids while you celebrate

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and his innumerable contributions to this nation’s history and advancement and books for kids about MLK can be a great way to help little ones understand the importance of the day. Although it’s a holiday in most states and therefore, understandably, a day to relax, I do like that many Americans instead treat it as a “day on” and seek out ways to volunteer in their communities and participate in one of the Day of Service events scheduled across the country. It’s an excellent opportunity to usher in the concept of service to...

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12 of the coolest baby gifts, gadgets, and gear of the year: Editors’ Best of 2014

Shopping for baby gifts might just be among our favorite kind of shopping to do, and we’ve featured no shortage of amazing baby gift ideas on our site this year. (If we do say so ourselves). After much consideration, deliberation, and debate, we’ve narrowed it down to the very coolest, all of which we would have loved to receive ourselves when our little ones were born. Here, our picks for 12 of the best new baby gifts of 2014. That will be just as cool to give to some lucky parents in 2015.   This is post is part of of our annual series of Editors...

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6 fun new family games to freshen up your stash. Or your stache.

When the holidays–and the cold weather–hit, it’s the time I make sure our games are in good shape. As in, half the cards from UNO aren’t missing and there is actually Monopoly money in the Monopoly game. As opposed to the play kitchen. (I know you feel me, mamas.) With more than a few kids and relatives visiting over the holidays, here are a few new family games made by smaller companies we’ve added to our repertoire this year. Plus, this is a great time to stock up, with all the last minute shopping deals, whether or not they make it in...

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Connect Four, only in wood. And gorgeous.

My husband comes from a family of players. Game players, that is. The next time we host a family dinner, I’d love to pull out this gorgeous four in a row wood game to engage in a bit of healthy competition. (Spoiler alert: I’ve always been awesome at Connect 4.) This wood game from Monkey Pod Games still requires strategy, just like the plastic version we all grew up playing. It’s still fast paced, and it still, I imagine, makes a satisfying “clink” when you stack one wooden disc atop another. Didn’t you just love that sound when you were a kid? The fact that this four...

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Easy Christmas cookie shortcut: Walkers shortbread. Really!

If you would love to decorate cookies with the kids but have a to-do list as long as mine, my new favorite, and delicious, shortcut to easy Christmas cookies may work for you. It’s those amazing, pure butter shortbread cookies from Walkers, the Scottish company that you can find all over the place. Unlike some other store-bought cookies, Walkers’ aren’t made with a bunch of preservatives or ingredients like hydrogenated-or-high-fructose anything. If you’ve never looked at the label, there are only four ingredients: wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Just like I’d make, if I didn’t have that pesky to-do list. So for easy cookie decorating, I...

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Macaroni and Cruise: A totally different kind of family cruise featuring some of our favorite bands

If you’re looking for a family gift this holiday that blows a lot of ideas out of the water, I’ve got one to float by you: a cruise. We did it a couple of years ago, and the kids were thrilled when they realized that the box full of sunscreen, snorkels, and travel brochures meant that they’d be hitting the high seas later in the year. Kristen and Liz have checked out the Disney Cruises with their families. But now there’s one more and it’s not like Disney at all. This year’s gift vacation hit for me is the new Macaroni and Cruise family vacation, a four-night...

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#GivingTuesday: 7 amazing organizations to help you give back as a family all year long.

We love how #GivingTuesday has become such a widespread tradition across the US in just two years, and we’ve been thrilled to share some of our favorite ways to give back–on this day and any day. We love promoting our favorite charities and causes, and gifts that give back, but this year, in honor of #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting family volunteer opportunities. I can’t think of a better way to balance out the post-Thanksgiving retail focus, and maybe even to start a new tradition for your kids, than to get out there and give back to others. In fact, it’s become a really wonderful aspect of...

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3 amazing new picture books for kids and parents to love

For those of us who love great illustration as much as a great story, I’ve found three new picture books that are worth making space for in your kids’ bookcase or wrapping to give to a child this holiday. What I love most about all three is that they’ll keep you talking about what you see as you go through the pages and maybe even long after the book cover is closed.   Flora and the Flamingo, one of my family’s favorite recent picture books and a 2013 Caldecott Honor book, has a sequel that is just perfect for these colder days. Flora...

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Kid-friendly Chicago activities: The best museum exhibits for kids

This year my husband and I loaded everyone up (even the grandparents) for a long weekend over fall break, and flew to Chicago, one of my very favorite cities, in search of some awesome kid-friendly activities. Our focus: checking out all the must-see exhibits for kids at Chicago museums. Lest you think that New York and DC are the only big museum cities in the US, know that Chicago has a ton of awesome options. In fact, it was a lot to tackle, especially with three children in tow, but I’ve survived to tell you it can be done–as long as you embrace the idea...

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Color sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos.

Dia de los Muertos may sound ominous, but this holiday recognized in Mexico and throughout Latin America is traditionally a sweet time for families to come together to pray for and to celebrate their loved ones who have died. Those who follow the tradition devoutly will build an altar and honor their deceased with popular symbols like sugar skulls and skeletons, marigolds, and the favorite foods of the loved one. My kids and I are planning join in this year by completing these gorgeous sugar skull coloring pages.   This instantly downloadable 21-page sugar skull coloring pages for Dia de los Muertos from Etsy shop...

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14 of the very best kids’ Halloween apps: Perfect distraction while you sneak into the candy stash

You know what’s hard to find? Awesome Halloween apps for kids. So we’ve spent a good deal of time on Cool Mom Tech tracking down some of the very best ones apps you and your little ones, whether they prefer silly or spooky fun. Click over today and you’ll find 6 fun Halloween apps for kids, mostly for little ones, all of them really beautiful. No vector-art monsters here, just the good stuff. You should also check out our post on 8 awesome Halloween apps for kids of all ages, including my favorite for older kids–Figaro Pho Fear Factory which is like Cut the...

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The Book of Life movie review: A treat that will last long past Halloween

We sat down in the theater to see The Book of Life movie, and as the lights dimmed, my nine-year-old daughter whispered, I have literally been waiting to see this since the day we saw the preview! And indeed she had. After that many months of anticipation, I didn’t know if it could live up to her expectations, but indeed, The Book of Life movie is entrancing, charming, whimsical and wonderful. The gist is that in a small Mexican town long ago, Manolo and Joachim, friends and rivals since childhood, fight for the love of the gorgeous Maria, voiced by...

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The best kids and family albums of 2014: The Fids and Kamily Award winners

The Fids and Kamily Poll has been announcing the best kids music  of  the year for kids and families since 2006, and we’re always so glad to be a part of it, along with other top bloggers,  journalists, publicists and kids’ music radio show hosts who all have a passion for seeing the best kids music succeed. And, today, the top albums of 2014 were announced. Whoo! This award is a great way to honor those musicians and singers who have helped blast the negative stereotypes about lame kids’ music and who make raising kids so much more joyful–and danceable–for us modern families who...

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A Halloween gingerbread house? Oh yeah.

I typically think of gingerbread houses as a Christmas tradition, but my family is usually so slammed with other activities then that we don’t get around to it. So this year I’m thinking, why not build a candy house for the holiday that’s all about candy? As in Halloween. And now making said Halloween gingerbread house  is super easy with the Haunted House Decorating Kit from our creative friends at Sweet Thrills Bakeshop.   We were so happy with their edible menorah kits last year that we’re sure this Haunted House kit will be delicious too. It includes everything you need, from black gingerbread pieces to make...

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The most impressive handmade Halloween masks on Etsy. Who gets the best candy now?

I tend to think that making my kids’ Halloween costumes is a great idea. I also tend to be wrong. Not only does it always take way much time than I have, but it can end up being every bit as expensive as buying something. My 9-year-old is feeling like maybe a full costume isn’t cool anymore, so this year I’m helping him plan a simple Halloween costume around a really exquisite mask like these gorgeous handmade Halloween masks I’ve been admiring on Etsy for the last few weeks. As for my daughter, she still wants an elaborate costume, but maybe she can...

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5 simple tips to get kids involved in ending poverty

Getting my kids involved with helping others has always been an extremely important part of parenting for me, and I’ve done my best to include them in my own charitable passions when I can. But after attending the recent Global Citizen Festival on behalf of our sponsor (and event partner) Citi, I’ve been thinking more deeply about global poverty, an epidemic affecting a staggering 1.2 billion people, and how I can get my own kids involved.     Admittedly, poverty is not an easy topic to broach with kids, but it’s an extremely important one. Start when they’re young and it’s not only...

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DIY brings all the birds to the yard

It hasn’t yet snowed here in Colorado, but it’s only a matter of time before the flurries fly and the birds are scrambling for food. Because I love to craft pretty things that are also useful, I’ve been looking for DIY bird feeders. I’m so excited about all of these ideas that I can hardly wait to get started. Don’t tell, but I might even make a few of them without my kids. These cookie cutter bird feeders (above) from eighteen25 use gelatin to make the birdseed stick together. Then kids can press it into cookie cutters to make fun...

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DIY Board Games for kids gives family game night a creative twist

Playing a board game with the kids can be fun, but it’s bound to feel a lot more special when your kids get to put their own finishing touches on the games themselves, like they can with DIY Board Games. And, don’t worry: The “DIY” doesn’t mean they get to make up their own rules as they go along. DIY Board Games are a set of semi-finished games that let kids flex their creative muscles by customizing their boards and game pieces with tons of stickers and markers. Kids who are handy with the safety scissors can even assemble the pieces...

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DIYers: Get inspired with these very cool handmade rubber stamps

Ever since a Cool Mom Picks editor forwarded me a link to the Creatiate Etsy shop devoted solely to cool handmade rubber stamps, I’ve been imagining the inky possibilities. These stamps are gorgeous–like I wish I could spend a week stamping an entire wall in my house to make the world’s prettiest wallpaper gorgeous. And while that might be going a bit overboard, embellishing stationery, kids’ party invitations and loot bags, and making just about any flat surface lovelier isn’t, right? There are so many designs–see what sparks your own imagination.     The shop owner can also customize a stamp for...

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Check out what Laurie Berkner is serving up on Kids’ Place Live this weekend

If your kids can’t get enough of Laurie Berkner’s music, they’re going to eat up the news that she’s coming to Sirius XM’s Kids’ Place Live this weekend–and throughout the year–to promote healthy eating. Oh, and play lots of tunes, too. Her new hour-long program Laurie Berkner’s Garden: Eat, Play, Grow will air multiple times from Friday night through Sunday and stars both Laurie herself and Kids’ Place Live’s awesomely fun Mindy Thomas. This weekend’s show will also feature Catherine McCord, whose cookbook Weelicious has saved more than a few dinners in our home. With four different shows planned to...

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