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 #5: Perfect for parents raising digital kids

Join us for a live online chat about one of our favorite new parenting books that can help you rethink screen time in  whole new way.  Click to learn more. 

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.

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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…

Rock The Boat, Baby

One of the downsides of our charming New York apartment – our toys outnumber our square footage. I fear any holiday gift for the kiddo bigger than a breadbox is going to have trouble finding a permanent home here–except for maybe a breadbox itself. Then at least we could store other toys in it.

Skin So Soft

When I first had my baby, I spared no expense at procuring the fanciest, most expensive, la-di-da baby lotions and creams from Europe. And then, I promptly gave them away. The smell! Oh my goodness, the smell–so sweet, I felt my insulin levels soar as soon as the cap came off.

The First Trimester Tee

Shopping during the first trimester of pregnancy is a nightmare. Not big enough for the materni-tents, but too bloated for my current crop of fitted tees, I resigned myself to being doomed to fashion purgatory for a while.

It’s actually pretty easy being green

As I am just beginning to realize, there is no end to the fears we have as parents. Just as our kids outgrow the SIDS risk, we’re worried about mercury in water. When they’re done with the finger in the electric socket phase, we’re reading up on what’s in those plastic Halloween masks.

Mm, Mm, Mm…Toasty

I spent an entire day wracking my brain, trying to determine why we did not own a proper winter jacket for our baby last winter. Then the all-knowing daddy came to the rescue: "Because we had a Popover." D’oh!

It’s a Nice Day for Some Black Bedding

So you had to take out your belly ring, and your maternity pants cover up your lower back tattoo. But just because you’ve sacrificed a little of your own rock n’ roll style for motherhood doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely.

Argh, Scurvy Baby!

There’s something about a tiny little piece of jewelry with my daughter’s name on it that calls to me. The problem is, I’m just not one for the pink beaded numbers with the teddy bear charms.

Let Your Proud Mama Out

Do you know how hard it is not to wave pictures of my daughter at every passerby? I vowed never to be sucked into thewallet-photo flasher club, however on some occassions, I just can’t help myself.

Pump Up The Volume

Sometimes you want music for your children that teaches essential pre-school concepts like counting or sharing. But then there are times you and your kids just want to rock. And that’s when you need a copy of the brand new CD from Brooklyn-based Audra Rox: I Can Do It By Myself!

Only One Sheep Required

As an avid musician, children’s toys and music boxes have all but killed my love for music–it’s nearly impossible to find a nice nursery music maker that isn’t bright yellow and blue and doesn’t play a weird choppy version of Fur Elise. (You know, that awful Beethoven piece that you never want to hear ever again).

Beyond Cheerios and American Cheese

I’m a huge fan of ethnic foods, however any attempts to get my 2-year-old to try curry or sushi has failed miserably. Well, I may just have found a solution that requires neither cooking, nor the hurling of unusual foods in the nice, quiet restaurant.

Picking the Bucket

I’m always looking out for interesting gift sets for new babies, and there are certainly plenty to choose from. But once in a while I find one with a nice extra touch, and that’s the one I just have to get. In this case, it’s the gift buckets from Confetti Kidz.

Show ‘Em The Battleship, Emma

They’re the latest and greatest non-edible treat for kids: Temporary tattoos. Way cooler than character-themed bandages covering non-existent boo-boos, and with better results than freehand Sharpie drawings, temporary tattoos let kids decorate themselves (instead of the walls–key!) without consequence.

Family Tree

For some reason, finding a photo ornament to hang on the tree is like looking for a recipe for no-calorie cheesecake–it’s out there, but you’re not gonna like it.

A Pregnancy Book That Won’t Cause Night Sweats

The combination of hormones and excitement forced me to buy umpteen pregnancy books that caused me anxiety for most of my pregnancy. Other than the few times I referenced them for help with weird uterus pangs and a description of "the mucus plug," the stack of them were better as a nursing stool than source of comfort.

Mod Farm

Cool Mom Picks is constantly on the lookout for truly fantastic kids’ room art, and it’s not easy. Just google "nursery art" sometime, and behold the frightening array of garish watercolor farm animals in straw hats. The prints look more like something from one of those Starving Artist stadium shows than something you’d be proud to display over a crib.

From Field to Fingers

Let’s face it, some parents aren’t gourmet chefs, let alone halfway decent cooks, so when it comes time for solid foods, many of us (and yes I’m raising my hand, here) struggle with the guilt that comes with feeding the kid pears out of a jar.

The Other Hendrix

I love to find moms making great kids’ music. And I love it even more when those moms turn out to be smart, funny, and cool – the kind of mom I would want to hang out with at the park or at soccer, if only she would have me.

Heart-Felt Art

I’ve always believed there’s something special about a child’s name. While my daughter’s name is not "a family name" but rather just one we both agreed on (which was a feat in and of itself), it still feels as if it were meant for her, both in its sound, meaning, and intent.

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