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…

I’m Dreaming of a Tropical Christmas

It won’t be long before snow blankets much of the country, bringing with it exorbitant heating bills and mothball scented sweaters. And it also won’t be long before some of us escape it all, heading south to warmer climes.

Growing Up Before Your Eyes

I’m terrible about knowing my kids’ vital stats. When someone remarks that one of my girls seems to have grown taller, I just smile and hope he doesn’t ask me her actual height. The problem is, I haven’t been keeping track – somehow I never started that tradition of lining my girls up against a doorway and getting out the old #2 pencil.

Another Chanukah Miracle

Chanukah-celebrating moms are busy enough picking out eight presents each for the kids, that the last thing they have time to do is weed through the paltry selection of decent cards out there. Most of them look as if they were slapped together in two seconds by design-school dropouts or little old ladies with a surplus of gold paint on hand.

Blinding Me With Science and Hand-Embroidery

Nothing tickles us more here at Cool Mom Picks when a mom we know personally goes from making cool duds at home to cool duds we can buy ourselves. Such is the case of Debbie, who along with her husband, a professional sportswear designer, has opened the brand new kids duds e-tique, Fadiddle.

Organic Just Got a Little Spicy

I’m a huge fan of organic clothing, particularly because my daughter has extremely sensitive skin. But the muted creams and pastels aren’t necessarily my taste, nor are they very practical when they’re clothing a self-feeding toddler.

The Age of Aquarius Comes With Its Own Blanket

As we all know, new moms get an average of 16,247 receiving blankets for their first child. So why are we still compelled to continue to give them? For me, it’s sort of a sick competitive streak – I want to be the giver of THE blanket, the one she loves best of all.

Your Baby Was Made for Wearing

Front carriers are great and all until your baby gets big enough to hold his or her head up. And then while you can flip them around, they still precariously danglein what I sometimes fear is not the most comfortable position.

Sk8er Baby

For the first time ever, defying all expectations to the contrary, my better half has actually shown interest in one of the kids duds sites we’ve uncovered. Why, you ask? Because the site is Little Ruler, which appeals just to parents just like him–those who now rock the Bjorns the way they used to rock the 7.5" deck on a halfpipe.

Battery-Free Fun. Is It Even Possible?

Battery: It’s one of the first words kids learn, right after "NO!" and "MINE!" and "GIMME!" If a toy moves or makes noise or has any potential for fun whatsoever, then certainly it requires batteries. Or does it?

How Mommy Got Her Groove Back

There’s nothing like getting all dressed up for your much awaited date night only to find you’re lacking in fun jewelry–i.e. that which would be yanked painfully from your person by any person under six, should he be accompanying you on your date. Which, of course, he will not.

Photo Cards Just Got Less Photo Card-y

Holiday cards never fail to make me smile. Yes, even the ones containing a single-spaced, full-page dissertation of the year’s activities–heavy on the boredom, light on the entertainment (and ocassionally the truth). My favorite cards include pictures, but let’s be honest, most photo cards leave something to be desired in the taste department.

Retirement Gift

I remember the glorious day when I folded up my two-ton diaper bag, shoved it in the back of the closet, and brought home my first real bag in ages. It was worthy of a celebration– until I realized I still needed to carry at least one diaper and some wipes at all times.

Locket 2.0

My grandmother always wore a large butterfly locket containing pictures of her favorite little people so she could "keep us close to her heart." I like the idea of honoring my kids, but wearing a giant silver insect–or most any locket for that matter–just isn’t my thing.

Shake Your Booties

Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder how a former Doc Maarten-wearing, black lipstick-owning alternachick looks just so…mom. While I’m not going back to those styles any time soon, at least I have a baby to project them onto. That’s why I love the rockin’ tartan baby booties from Babesta, an online boutique that can easily outfit the most trendsetting tot with innovative duds from independent artisans. Just our kind of place.

A is for Art

I’m all foralphabet artwork, but it’s always bugged me that the images are of things kids will most likely (and sometimes hopefully) never encounter in their daily lives. Never seen an alligator on the street, not even once. And certainly not a yodeler.

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