Tag: outdoor fun

15 of our favorite mom-approved, totally adorable, non-hoochie two-piece swimsuits for girls this summer

It’s become a tradition for us now to track down our favorite two-piece swimsuits for girls that are, shall we say, age appropriate? As a mother of two girls, the eldest of which is pretty much hitting tweendom (eep) I’m really glad that they still gravitate to tankinis, halter tops, rash guards and other not-so-teeny bikinis, but I also know first hand that those swimsuits can be hard to find. Besides, I admit I get a little freaked out seeing ruching on the chest of a low cut size 2 bikini top. Are we trying to simulate cleavage on a toddler? Other things...

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10 fantastic summer party themes for kids, and loads of inspiration to bring them to life.

Oh, the joys of the summer birthday party when the nice weather means celebrating with friends out-of-doors. And whether this means gathering everyone into your backyard, meeting at the local park, or even taking over a quiet piece of sandy beach, we’ve put together ten awesomely creative, but totally doable, summer party themes for our kids’ summer birthdays. Because doable? As in, without a $10,000 a day party planner? That kind of detail is important to us.   And we’re so happy to be working with the most perfect sponsor for a summer party theme feature: Carvel and ILoveIceCreamCakes.com. Because hello, ice cream cakes! Visit...

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12 fantastically messy projects for kids that let you be That Fun Parent

They may be growing up oh-so-fast, but our elementary-school aged kids are more than happy to get as messy as their toddler selves used to, especially when it’s all in good fun. Our tip: Every so often, it’s okay to get messy. So throw on the play clothes, hold your breath, and get ready for them to get head-to-toe covered in paint, mud, or whatever ooey, gooey substance you have on hand. If all this talk about messy play makes you feel a little squeamish, then remember that the nice weather of spring and summer make the perfect time to take that mess outside....

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11 messy projects for preschoolers that let you be The Fun Parent

If you find yourself saying Don’t make a mess! to your curious, imaginative, and, yeah, messy preschooler more times than you care to count, we’re going to challenge you to say Let’s make a mess for a change. Wait til you see how good that feels. Oh sure, we couldn’t do this every day, but sometimes it’s fun to let loose and be the fun parent who doesn’t really care how dirty, sticky, painty, or glittery our kids get during no-holds-barred play. Especially as the weather gets warmer, and sending them to hose off outside is one viable option.     Remember, clean-up time...

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Handmade kid-sized hammocks that rock. In both senses.

When my kids try climbing onto the huge woven rope hammock in their grandparents’  back yard, it inevitably flips over and leaves them dangling inches above the ground, hanging on underneath for dear life. It’s so hilarious. I mean…awful. Right, it’s awful. Either way, it’s not nearly as relaxing in awesome kid-sized hammocks from Sluice. This Etsy shop-turned-small-business out of North Carolina (where they know a thing or two about getting outdoors and enjoying nature) creates handmade hammocks that hold up to 400 pounds. Just in case the whole family wants to enjoy an al fresco nap together. But what I like is the Hammie, a kid-sized hammock, which makes it easier...

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Venice Beach-worthy skateboards for your little shredder

On a recent trip to Venice Beach, I wandered through skate shops and hung out at the skatepark. What can I say — I’m still a skatebetty at heart, even at my age. But unlike the old days when bumper stickers proclaimed Skateboarding is not a crime!, skateboarding has gone mainstream, which makes a skateboard a pretty rad holiday gift for just about any kid. Here are two cool models I got a chance to check out, and why I think each one could be a cool gift this year. First there’s Sunset Skateboards, which was started by two California skaters who’d been...

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Bunzi: A first balance bike for toddlers that doesn’t break your budget

If it’s not yet clear from the pages of Cool Mom Picks, the holiday season is upon us. And for a lot of us, that means time to come up with a standout holiday gift for the little guys and gals on our shopping list will be a hit without breaking the bank. You may know we’re big fans of balance bikes here, from the Y-Bike that grows with your child, to Christina’s top pick, the Micro-Mini 3-in-1 scooter which transforms from balance bike into a mini-scooters to grow with your child. Now there’s one tailor-made for the youngest biking enthusiasts, and get this: this awesome first balance...

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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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The coolest scooter ever, coming to a sidewalk near you

Those iconic handmade wooden crate and roller-skate-bottom scooters from the Great Depression have been retooled and re-imagined to form the fierce-looking Skate Crate, hopefully coming soon to a sidewalk near you. At least if you ask our kids. Currently about halfway through its Kickstarter campaign, the Skate Crate combines the scrappy ingenuity of a previous era with 2014 technology and craftsmanship to make a sturdy ride-on toy for both little and big kids. Created by Blockhead Skateboards’ founder Dave Bergthold, it shows off some serious style with cool artwork, gorgeous wood construction, and smooth-rolling wheels that will get kids flying down the pavement.   I...

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Scooter Safety for Kids: 7 smart tips for a safe scoot to school and back again

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean kids will be hanging up their scooters anytime soon. In some neighborhoods, we’re even scooting to school and hopefully safely. Our partner Micro Kickboard (we love them so much!) is a brand we all have trusted and loved and owned for years, which is why we are thrilled to work with them again. (And apologies to our kids, but no, this doesn’t mean “we can get another one.”) Micro Kickboard also knows a thing or two about scooter safety for kids, because they really care about them. Hey, a lot of them are parents...

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Great Sand Dunes National Park: The National Park family vacation idea you might not have considered.

With all the United States National Parks for us to explore and enjoy with our families, there are probably certain ones that pop to mind first: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon. But if you haven’t heard of Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, we opted to go there for our own family vacation this summer and I can’t recommend it enough. And yes, I’m biased as a Colorado resident, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. If you think that strolling on soft, warm sand and hiking a ten thousand foot mountain pass can’t be done in the same...

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Our favorite safe, cool bike helmets for kids. Whether or not they’re future Tour de France riders

It can be a struggle to get kids to remember to wear their helmets, but when their bike safety gear looks as good as these cool  bike helmets for kids–they’re much more likely to use one. So since it’s July, and in our house the Tour de France is on TV every morning (meaning between stages, my own little cyclists are out on the driveway doing their own time trials) we’ve put together our favorite bike helmets for your kids. Because I’ve seen the falls in the race, and I want to be sure my kids are really safe when they’re out on our street...

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5 of the newest, coolest kid-powered ride-on toys. No batteries, no motors.

With ride-on toys like the Skoooch, the CycoCycle, and the Explorer Go-Kart in our garage, our own driveway is often the most fun place to be in the summer. And if you’re looking for something totally different to get your kids out and riding this summer, here are some of the newest, and coolest, ride-on toys I’ve seen lately. The cool styling of the Mobo Tot cruiser gets a Disney Planes makeover (shown at top), and I happen to love the result. With its modern color combination, Mobo’s kid-powered vehicle looks ready for some serious summer cruising. And I appreciate the safety flag that will...

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9 garden toys and gifts for kids that will help get their hands dirty.

If you have yet to get your kids into gardening, you’re in for a treat – kids are naturals. Last year my husband built us a small garden box in the back yard, and my kids and I planted some seeds and watched them grow into tomatoes and squash and peppers, which became spaghetti and casseroles and fajitas. It was such a fun process for them to see how their dirty fingers and hard work produced something so wonderful.  Let alone teaching them that no, tomatoes don’t come “from the store.” To get your kids excited for gardening, try some of...

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5 fun new beach toys for kids that beat regular shovels and pails

Tis the season for playing in the sand (yay for summer!) so we’ve rounded up some of the most fun and coolest-looking new beach toys for kids. If you’ve got a seaside trip planned,we hope these help you amp up the standard buckets and shovels. Because it’s good to keep them busy when they aren’t dodging waves or asking if they can bury you up to your neck in the sand.   SAND MOLDS FROM EDUCO Why build a regular ol’ sand castle when you could create the seaside Taj Mahal or Parthenon? I love Educo’s sand molds that come in famous shapes including the Great Wall...

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Stick-lets help build forts. And imaginations. We happen to like both.

My kids love to build clubhouses and can turn anything into a fort—our playground, the shady spot under the deck, you name it. So with summer here, I was pretty excited discover Stick-lets, a new toy that lets them do that very thing. Stick-lets are thick pieces of silicone with holes cut out, so you can slide them over the end of two sticks and build a structure with them. They call them “silicone lashings” but that sounds like something out of Game of Thrones, to us. They stretch pretty well (although it takes some strength to pull the heavy-duty silicone),...

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Tree + Me

We missed the boat on a big fancy modern swing set for my kids–maybe because we live in the city and don’t have a yard? Yeah, that could have a little to do with it. But their Grandma and Papa put up a handmade swing for them which made me realize that once again, the basics can make kids perfectly happy. Especially when it’s one that will last–maybe until the next generation? That’s why I got all “awwwww” when I saw the gorgeously handcrafted old fashioned wooden tree swing from Minnesota’s The Original Tree Swing on Etsy. Pricy? Yeah. But built (from...

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10 camping recipes so good you may never go back to an oven again.

It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite part of camping is campfire cooking. There’s something satisfyingly primal about giving up my stove and cooking over an open fire in the great outdoors. And with the right camping recipes—like these 10 for every meal of the day—the results are incredibly tasty. Impressive, even. Too bad I can’t say the same about giving up my hairdryer.   A CAMPING BREAKFAST IDEA THAT’S NOT PANCAKES Pancakes breakfasts are easy enough to whip up while camping if you have a large griddle. However if you don’t, flipping flapjacks to order in a small cast...

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12 little surprises under $20 that can make big memories for families

For years, we’ve been preaching that it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact, especially when it comes to those fun treats and creative ideas that help make summer magical for families. Just ask our own kids how much they love it when we set up a spa in the bathroom, or make a Tuesday movie night, just because. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. We’re super excited to be partnering with our sponsor Cracker Jack, the original master of little surprises, on their brand new initiative, The Surprise Inside Project, which kicks off today in New...

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Get dirty this summer with 52 cool gardening project for kids

We’ve featured some really great micro-gardening tools here over the years, like the cool Foodie Garden Kits and the Click & Grow smart herb garden which help to create gardening projects for those of you with kids, but not a lot of space for traditional sowing and planting. However if you’re ready to take it outside, be sure to take a look at Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown. This fun collection of DIY activities–or gardening “experiments,” as the author calls them–ranges from building rain barrels and gardening tool boxes to making a desert terrarium or growing a tropical porch container. My kids were immediately drawn...

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