11 fun things to learn to do that will make you the coolest parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle ever

From balloon animals to origami to learning the alphabet in sign language, pick one to master this summer! Your kids will love you for it. 

Presenting our Low-Commitment Virtual Book Club selection #6: How to Break Up With Your Phone

Want to have a healthier relationship with your phone? So do we. And we’re going to talk about how.

Children in crisis at the border: What you should know, and how you can help.

Our readers have always had the most generous spirits and the biggest hearts. Let’s put them together and make change. Let’s be on the right side of history.

Trending right now. As in this second.

Summer camp care package ideas the kids actually want. (Besides candy.)

They’re cool, they’re creative, they’re often shareable, and if you’re missing your kiddo, these ideas should help. Both of you. 

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So much coolness. Where to start…

A New Spin On the Old Pirouette

Mention music boxes to any mom, and undoubtedly she’ll be able to recall with vivid detail the very one she fell in love with as a child. It’s not hard, considering we all had the exact same one – it featured a spinning ballerina and played either You are the Sunshine of My Life or the theme from Love Story.

Boys Will Be Boys. Even Without Trucks On Their Shirts.

I’ve got two little girls myself. But when I’m buying gifts for the sons of friends and family, I tend to shy away from the camouflage pants and the construction-themed tees that every store seems to push on me. I suppose I feel they can still be "all boy" without dressing like miniature soldiers or welders.

Your Tree Has Competition

Every year, just before Christmas the stocking debate ensues at my parents’ house: "Whose is the reindeers?" "No wait, mine is the snowflakes." "Hey, his holds more than mine!"

It’s All Fun and Games Til Someone Loses a Toe

Nowhere in the parenting manual did I find a chapter on a child’s inability to feel cold. How couldI have known that a kid can have purple lips and six frostbitten toes and yet when there’s still winter fun to be had, you’ll have to drag him, kicking and screaming, inside to sit by a warm radiator?

The One Thing You Won’t Want to Unwrap This Holiday

If you’re of the Christmas-celebrating persuasion, surely you’ve already spent months ensuring your little angel baby will be perfectly coiffed this season, with a different fabulous outfit for every party, every family dinner, every opportunity to be fawned over in public. But have you considered the diaper?

Spare Your Friends the Lame Cards This Year

When I go to pick out cards for the holidays, I just keep looking and looking at all those stacks of foil boxes, hoping something will jump out at me screaming, "Pick me! I am not sappy or cutesy, I promise!" Rarely does this happen however, and some years, I admit I find myself settling.

Diaper Bag Incognito

I was one of those first-time moms who refused to register for a diaper bag. Call me practical, but I just figured I could track down a cool big totebag and I’d be fine. But then, as I discovered, there were the bibs, toys, bottles, binkies…and 4,000 other things I couldn’t leave home without. And I really could have used an actual diaper bag.

iPig

It’s one thing when you give in and buy your kid an iPod. It’s another when your realize that she is still at the age where everything of value ends up trashed in a matter of weeks.

Crawfish Roasting on an Open Fire

I know there are plenty of Christmas CDs out there these days, but frankly I’m afraid to play half of them for my daughter, for fear that I’ll be stuck listening to them every single day for the rest of the year.

Santa Claws

Who says that stockings have to be hand crocheted by grandmas with a penchant for pom-poms and unnatural color combinations? Apparently not the folks at Crafty Robot, who have come up with the best alterna-stockings I’ve ever seen.

Helping Rwanda, One Fashion Pick at a Time

Every year the cold sneaks up on me. Sure it’s been December for days now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entirely in denial that it’s time to take the gloves out of the back of the closet and start looking for a great new scarf for the season.

Fact: Great Bags Make Women Happy.

While we at CMP try to keep our picks in the "don’t have to hock my TV on ebay to afford it" range, all bets are off for the next few weeks. Why? Because someone else–hopefully–is doing the buying for you.

Baby’s First Mink

New baby gifts are relatively easy to shop for – unless you’re talking about baby number two. Or three. Or–eek–six. If you’re looking for something for the mom who has it all, you’ve got to stop thinking about must-haves, and start thinking about don’t-needs-but-really-really-wants.

Bagging Bears and Bunnies

If your kids are anything like mine, they have an obscene amount of stuffed animals and while I can’t prove it, I’m almost positive that they multiply just like real rabbits because the pile never stops growing.

Santa Baby

If my daughter had her way, she’d wear her Christmas outfit every single day. However, the fancy silk number just doesn’t fare well with her choice of daily activities. Like, say, spilling things on herself.

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