Tag: family travel

The 2016 best board games of the year from Spiel des Jahres. Family game night just got a whole lot cooler!

During the summer I usually let my kids stay up late, but we ditch the screens and play board games together instead. So, each year I keep my eye on the Spiel des Jahres award-winning board games to find the best new board games that are guaranteed to be interesting for the whole family. Sorry, Chutes and Ladders. This German-based award that literally means “game of the year” is basically the Pulitzer prize of board games. They consider games from all over the world, and we’re never disappointed with their choices. So, we wanted to share the winners that were announced today, because it just so happens we have loved...

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The very best beach umbrellas and tents for families, after a ton of research

You cannot even believe how much time I spent last summer tracking down the best beach umbrella. I finally went with my parents’ strongly recommended pick, which was a surprise one to me. (And you have no idea how strongly recommended it was, unless you a) know my parents or b) saw their 18 emails detailing just why it was the very best one and how they spend even more time researching products than I do and how I’d be crazy not to buy it.) Well, thanks to my parents and my own obsessive beach umbrella-searching skills, I’m here to share...

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The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it.

I’m not even sure when I got the Baggu tote pack, but over the years (yes, it’s been that long), it has been a huge travel lifesaver for me, time and time again. And even better, it’s currently on super sale. This bag is an upgraded drawstring backpack, carrying just enough essentials for you or your kids, whether you’re on a plane, a hike, a camp, you name it, but in my opinion, much more comfortably (and stylishly). They’ve since added tote handles to the newer version of the bag, which means you can carry it on your back or as a...

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Alpine Pluggies make flying with kids a whole lot less painful

I was cruising the eye and ear care aisle at CVS last week on vacation, waiting for my daughter’s ear infection prescription to be filled (womp, womp) and trying to find something that might help her ears for the plane ride home. On a whim, I grabbed a few packs of Alpine Pluggies for her (and for me, actually), and wow, I have to say that they made a huge difference for the plane ride home. Related: The cutest travel pillow for kids when they’re too big to fall asleep in your lap These special earplugs, available in sizes...

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Common mistakes parents make when applying sunscreen on kids and how to fix them.

With four outdoor-loving kids and lots of pool and beach time on our calendar this summer, you can bet I am always stocking up on sunscreen. I’m pretty careful about when and how I slather it on, too, which is why I was surprised to see that I was making a few very common mistakes when it comes to applying sunscreen to kids. Ack. If you’re going to be applying sunscreen to kids — and hopefully yourself — this summer, you’ll want to check these common mistakes parents make and what to do about them. No need to feel guilty; just...

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Temporary safety tattoos: A life saver for parents of kids who like to wander.

We all know that theme parks, playgrounds, and big outdoor events can be pretty overwhelming places to bring younger children, especially if you have several to keep track of. And big distractions like fireworks, cotton candy, and costumed characters certainly don’t make it any easier to keep anyone from wandering off. Which is why we think these new Emergency Contact Temporary Tattoos we found from MadelinesBox on Etsy are genius. In the off-chance your child does stray from your side, whoever finds your little one will know exactly who to call, even if they’re too young to have it memorized. Our editor Liz shared the...

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26 of the best car games and activities to keep kids happy without screens.

I was one of those parents who insisted that I’d raise the kind of kids who would play fun, screen-free car games on our family road trips, or perhaps watching the world whiz by while asking intelligent questions about all the sites and sounds around them. Sound familiar? Yeah. Well after one particularly long road trip, I quickly learned that sometimes screens are really, really useful for making an endless drive feel… not so endless. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve totally surrendered to the lure of electronics. There are times when all the screens need to go off so we can discover other ways to...

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The best friend blankie your child is sure to love.

I have a soft spot for twee animal products in general, but when I received Lewis, the snuggly, adorable travel blanket with the sweet raccoon face, I found myself in a blissful, childlike state, wanting to run outside and climb the nearest tree. The Nomad Travel Blankets from EllieFunDay go beyond adorable though, with a mission to encourage kids to venture outside more often. And Amelia the Bunny, Marco the Panda, and Lewis the Raccoon are all just waiting to be unfurled for an impromptu picnic, flown proudly as a cape, or tucked under a little head for some serious stargazing. Related: 10 really...

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11 truly clever tips and tricks for camping with kids to make it fun and easy. (Well, easy as possible.)

If you’re up for the adventure, camping with kids can be a really fun, inexpensive way to get away for the weekend. While it’s admittedly not the best night’s sleep you’ll ever get (though really, what parent gets a good night’s sleep anyway?), I’m a big fan of the unplugged quality time you get when you camp with your family — hiking, cooking over the campfire, snuggling up in sleeping bags. (Provided you leave your devices at home or in the car, that is. Free tip, from me to you.) Of course, knowing what you’re doing makes the whole experience so much nicer, so as an...

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The EWG 2016 safest sunscreens for kids: which are most affordable?

Every year, we have turned to the Environmental Working Group’s Annual Guide to Sunscreens to help us make more educated decisions about what are the safest sunscreens to slather on our kids (and ourselves) each summer. But we often find that when you break down the prices, whoa — it’s expensive to get safe sunscreens for kids! Especially considering how much we’re using. So this year we thought we’d take a good look at their short list of the EWG Best Kids’ Sunscreens, find the average prices online (generally from Amazon, Drugstore.com, or the brand’s own website if the product isn’t widely available at...

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Budget family travel tips: 5 smart do’s and don’ts to save you a ton on your next family vacation

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday with a big trip, but whoa, family vacations are certainly not cheap! Especially when you’re traveling with kids — or in my case, four of them. Even though I’d been saving for a while, I was determined to keep my spending down as much as I could. After scoring a great deal on plane tickets (hooray for off-season vacations), I did some research to figure out how I could stick within my vacation budget while still having a great time. And, it worked! So I’ve put together 5 simple do’s...

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6 smart tips to help prevent distracted driving and make car rides safer for families

With the busy travel season upon us and so many families planning spring and summer road trips, keeping our kids safe while we’re driving and preventing distracted driving is a huge concern of ours. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be on a long haul to to the beach or the mountains to be easily distracted; most of us are still getting phone calls, text messages, and those non-digital requests for snacks from the backseat, even when we’re just playing chauffeur to and from after-school activities. That’s why we’re pleased to help spread the word about the new #TravelSafe campaign from...

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10 really cool activity books for kids. For summer travel, or for regular boredom, which knows no season.

From books full of creative DIY projects to endless coloring pages, I have tracked down some of the absolute coolest activity books for kids, that I think your kids are sure to love as much as mine this summer. After all, I adore the warm weather and the break from routines, but I am admittedly not ready for summer vacation. With just 3 weeks left until school lets, I’m hoping these kids’ activity books will keep my brood entertained — and off screens — from the minute they wake up. Which is well before I’m able to crawl out of bed, because what is it about...

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3 great new albums for your next family road trip

There are few sounds as jarring and mind-numbing as super bored kids whining, Are we there yet? (I mean, could we be little more cliché, kids?) So, with spring break here for lots of families and summer vacations and other road trip opportunities on the way, I’ve rounded up a few new album releases by some of our kindie music favorites to help make the miles a lot more enjoyable. Whether you’re embarking on a long weekend adventure or a cross-country road trip, we think you’ll have fun with some of these sing-a-longs. Related: Family road trip tips: Tons of sanity-savers, tricks, and essential products to keep...

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A fully reclining infant car seat from Cybex: Mamas, prepare your baby registry wish lists.

It takes a lot to wow us when it comes to car seats these days; there are just so many similarities among them, it’s rare when one stands out from the crowd. But if I were shopping for a new infant car seat right now — and (cough) money was no object — then the Cybex Cloud Q car seat from the stroller company we’ve come to love is the one I’d be all over. This infant seat has some remarkable safety features I haven’t seen anywhere else, but I think what will impress parents most is the fact that, outside the car, it converts from a car seat...

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Helpful tips for flying with kids from been-there-done-that moms who survived. Mostly.

With spring break here or coming up for lots of us, and summer vacations around the corner (whoo!), we know so many families will be hitting the skies — some of you for the very first time with kids in tow. So, as a couple of been-there-done-that moms who’ve flown alone with our children since they were babies, we’re often asked by our readers for travel tips for families. Ask and ye shall receive! On this latest episode of  Spawned we’re share lots of cool tips, tricks, and our own experiences — the good, the bad, and the sleepless — that will hopefully help you...

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The new BabyBjörn watercolor collection is a thing of beauty

Okay so maybe we didn’t completely buy those pastel Pantone colors of the year during the winter. But now? Spring! And just in time, BabyBjörn is totally on trend with a new line of baby gear they call the BabyBjörn Watercolor Collection. In fact, I get a little daydream-y just looking at all those icy blues and soft turquoises, and not because I’m jonesing for a new baby to stick in their carriers.  (Though if you have one, I’ll gladly ooh and ahh at you.) Not every color is available for every item. Like you’ll find our highly recommended BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light in...

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5 tech tips, tricks, and ideas you’ll want to know about

In case you missed them, here are 5 tech tips, tricks, and ideas we featured this week on Cool Mom Tech that we think are pretty awesome.   1. If you’re hitting the road for spring break, read these essential tech tips for traveling with kids. 2. Waze just added a feature that’s a big deal for anyone who spends any time in the car. 3. Our cool free app of the week is perfect for spring cleaning season. (Even if you get the kids to do the cleaning!) 4. A 15-minute trick to get your home office organized. 5. These brilliant smartphone...

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The hottest tech picks on Cool Mom Tech this week

Here are 5 of our favorite tech picks this week from Cool Mom Tech. Look what you might have missed!   1. 15 brilliant smartphone camera hacks that will help simplify your life. 2. This gadget lets you watch your favorite channels live from all of your gadgets, wherever you are. 3. Tech tips for travel with kids that save us every time. 4. We’re loving this new adult coloring trend, and we’ve got the geeky coloring books to prove it. 5. Parents of preschoolers, you’ll want to download this cool, free app....

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Tokidoki and Clek collaborate for some out-of-this-world car seats

Sprinkle-donut spaceships. Cactus planets. Floating unicorns. Ninja aliens. All together. Seriously? Yep. Thanks to the brand new  Tokidoki-Clek car seats and boosters, created in partnership once again between the safe, swanky car seat company Clek and the LA artists at Tokidoki. I loved their first series of car seats, but I am over the moon for these new ones. And to think, when my kids were little and I was picking out their car seats, I got to choose between grey, blue, or pink fabrics. Tokidoki’s anime-inspired outer space fabric is a far cry from that. It’s so detailed and vibrant, I bet kids everywhere are going to beg to be buckled up. And...

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