Tag: travel toys

The travel toy box that solves every parent’s travel toy nightmares

Traveling with kids is never (ahem) easy, although we do have some pro-tips that make road trips or air travel a little easier on parents. But one of the easiest ways to keep the kids happier while they’re stuck in a seat is to give them access to their toys. Right? Bonus points if you don’t have to squeeze across the aisles or stretch yourself over into the back seat to constantly pick their stuff up off the floor. So when I saw the successful campaign on Indiegogo for the Danish designed Teebee travel toy box, I thought it looked pretty...

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A fun board game for summer that our kids can’t stop playing.

Last week, my son and I visited the Innovator’s Fair here in Philadelphia and discovered our newest board game obsession: Maze Racers. It combines creativity and building with mazes in a super fun way. Let’s just say, we’re all addicted. Including me. Related: The best board games for summer travel.  The game comes with two magnetic boards, a bunch of small magnetized foam pieces in various shapes and sizes, and marbles. Using the pieces, each player creates their own maze (like a Labyrinth, if you ever played with those), then passes their board to their opponent. The goal is...

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The best family board games for summer travel…because good things come in small packages.

My family loves to play board games. I’m talking, big, involved, takes-three-hours-to-play board games. And what better time to play than when we’re on summer vacation? But, it can be tricky to travel with big boxes full of a zillion pieces. Luckily, we have found a few games we love that come in boxes small enough to easily toss in a backpack or tote bag. So, if you’re looking for some offline family fun that you can take with you, wherever you’re headed this summer, check out these 5 family board games for travel. In fact, these are the ones I’m packing for our trip...

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The danger of fidget spinners: Miniature death traps! Or…not.

THE DANGER OF FIDGET SPINNERS is appearing all over our newsfeeds and splashing across subject lines flooding our inboxes. Hm, why are we not shocked? It was inevitable that the number of articles about the fidget spinner craze (hey, our kids are fans too), would be followed by an equal number of fidget spinner backlash articles. It started with all the reasons the toys could be distracting in classrooms (wait, a toy can be distracting?) and now we’ve moved onto full-on imminent danger. In case you’re starting to panic about the danger of fidget spinners,  I’ve put together what I think are some common sense suggestions as to how...

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7 of the coolest, most covetable fidget spinners. Because OMG, kids are obsessed.

Cool fidget spinners and fidget cubes are absolutely taking over the world these days. In fact we’ve compared notes here on team Cool Mom Picks and yep, kids across the country are collectively losing their ever-loving minds over these fidget spinners. Stores are sold out and kids are spinning obsessively. All. day. long. For some kids who have trouble staying still or need to redirect all that physical energy to help them stay focused, the original KCHKUI fidget cubes can be truly fantastic. A few of the moms here have seen some great results with our own kids, and some of...

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5 fun travel toys for preschoolers who need to stay busy on long flights

I dreaded air travel when my girls were little. Between the two of them, I had a seat kicker, a non-napper, and an impatient whiner. Yeah, I was that parent. So I learned what works, and what doesn’t, to keep my little ones happy and occupied on long flights. Besides packing lots of snacks and lollipops, which helped with hunger pains and air pressure changes, I always brought along toys that were easy to use, not messy or awkward in small spaces, and ones with few parts to avoid missing pieces and ensuing tantrums.   Related: The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it. And...

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Skateboarding to school just got a lot easier. And cooler.

When we lived in a big city, my kids loved to watch teens skateboarding to school. There was this effortless coolness to gliding along, flipping the board, tossing it over a shoulder, and hopping on a bus. If you think your kids might be a great age for rolling up the sidewalk by your side but don’t want to carry those skateboards home yourself, here’s a great way to combine skateboards with school supplies. Bonus: No more back-to-school backpack shopping. Related: 15 simple, possibly unexpected ways parents can connect with their tween or teen Penny Skateboards is known for well-made...

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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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Fisher-Price hires Jonathan Adler, and wait until you see what’s coming for babies and toddlers

This post has been updated with corrections. Fisher-Price is of course the brand behind many of our favorite childhood toys like that now iconic telephone and the little gumball machine looking push-toy. So their big announcement this week that Jonathan Adler — yes, that Jonathan Adler — has signed on as their new creative director in charge of baby and children’s items is huge news for those of us fans of his modern, clever design work. And those of us fans of modern, clever children’s gifts and gear that won’t break the bank. It’s not a totally shocking move for him considering he’s got...

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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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Color-your-own placemats turn any table into the coolest restaurant ever

I’ve always been a big advocate of keeping my kids’ games and videos put away at the dinner table.  Especially in restaurants, which is why I have a special place in my heart for those that provide crayons to kids — in particular the smaller, more wiggly ones. So I think plenty of other parents will also be thrilled to discover the new OMY color-your-own placemats that we spotted at Toy Fair, from the same clever company that invented the artistic giant coloring posters our kids adore. I absolutely love these for dining out, dinner at the grandparents’ place, birthday parties, road trips, or just a way to make dinner a...

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Immerse your kids in Chinese culture without the super long plane ride

We love finding new ways to teach our kids about the big, diverse world that extends far beyond the boundaries of their neighborhood and town. And while nothing can replace actually going to the countries themselves, playsets like this one from Whole Wide World Toys may help even our littlest jet setter hopefuls learn all about different countries in a way that is fun and educational. And their first stop? The huge country of China. What makes Whole Wide World Toys’ World Village China Playset so neat is how it incorporates a ton of age-appropriate information along with the toys themselves. Each playset comes with...

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The coolest travel books for kids of all ages. Because no, we’re not there yet.

We’re getting close to the holidays, which for many families means road trips with the kids. And there’s nothing more fun, right? Hahahahha. I recently did 16 hours in the car with my three kids — each way — and lived to tell the tale. If there’s one thing I learned on that trip (other than that I’ll never do it again) it’s that movies are an easy way to pass the time, but at some point the kids need their alone time. And books are great for that. So, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite travel books for kids of...

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Pop culture peg dolls, for fans of The Penguin, Harry Potter, pirates, princesses, or Percy Jackson.

Though there are sure to be many awesome high-tech toys out there this holiday season, our latest obsession is the adorably low-tech wooden peg dolls by Wooly Llama on Etsy. I mean, what could be better than hearing your kids playing their own imaginary game of Star Wars while making their best beep-beep-boop noises for the wee little R2D2 peg? Or doing their own version of Harry Potter complete with a rolly-polly Hagrid? Beyond those two huge franchises, Wooly Llama has even more incredibly cute wooden peg dolls, with sets paying homage to the casts of Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson so you can pick one that appeals...

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The cutest travel pillow just for kids, when they’re too old to just fall asleep in your lap (sniff).

I admit that I still love that feeling when my tweens want to cuddle up next to me and rest their heads on my shoulder next to me on the plane. But I also admit — and yes, it’s a little sad — that one day you will not be so enamoured of that moment. So I’ve found possibly the most adorable travel pillow for kids ever. We discovered Kikkerland’s Zip Flip Travel Pillows for kids at the NY NOW gift show last week, and it was one of my kids’ absolute favorites. (More on those to come!) Related: What to buy a 7...

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6 ways to entertain kids in restaurants without (gasp) pulling out a screen.

The very first thing my son does when we sit down to eat at a restaurant (well, after ordering both ice water and milk) is ask for my iPhone. I’ll admit that I’m often tempted to hand it over because it’s such an easy way to keep him entertained while we’re waiting for our food in restaurants. I mean, I always have it on me, and he can play any number of kids’ apps, watch a movie, or find kid-friendly clips on YouTube. But, he’s four. I know doesn’t need all that extra screen time. (Do any of us, really?) Plus,...

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9 travel essentials for babies that are worth the money

Going on a vacation with a baby can be a lot of work, but if there’s anyone who needs to get away and relax for a while it’s a new parent. (We support you, new parents!) We have all packed for a lot of trips over the years, and we’ve put our heads together to figure out which travel essentials for babies are great to have on hand — and which are totally unnecessary. Some of these are splurges, some are bargains. But I really think they’re all great values because they do a great job at what they’re supposed to do. After all, your...

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14 smart ways to get your young kids excited about reading this summer

As big-time book lovers here, we’ve learned that a love of reading is acquired and not something kids are necessarily born with, like the color of their eyes or their uncanny inability to sleep past 6 AM on a Saturday. So we love putting together tips for parents on ways to get kids excited about reading — and ideally, keep them reading — especially now that summer is here and we all get a little more lax about things like that. Plus, our bookshelves do tend to have some stiff competition with all that extra daylight after dinner. One of our top ideas,...

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Handmade baby gifts with an Australian accent. (But no, they don’t talk.)

It’s not often I discover a new Etsy shop and automatically think okay, every single thing in there is adorable. But that’s the case with Babee and Me, which I can forgive for being based in Byron Bay, Australia, considering what beautiful work is coming out of the shop. From soft handmade baby toys, to funky teething rattles (oh, those cameras!), and tons of gorgeous personalized wooden blocks in all kinds of styles, everything just has a wonderful sensibility about it with terrific typography, and modern color combination. I like that the selection also includes lots of black and white gifts,...

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6 sets of cool wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square

Just when I think it’s time to put the baby blocks away, my kids will surprise me by building some huge creative structure on the living room floor, enhanced by LEGO men and dollhouse furniture. Still, I can tell the basic square blocks we’ve had for ten years aren’t quite cutting it anymore. In my search for some cool wooden blocks for older kids like my own, I’ve found some incredible sets that look more like inspiring works of art than baby toys. These wooden block sets might even keep my kids from asking for more screen time, and I say that’s worth...

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