Archive for the ‘ Time for Fun ’ Category

Give Your Kids Great Hair for Photos

Monday, December 15th, 2014

*guest written by Cozy Friedman, founder of the new SoCozy Professional Hair Care Collection for Children and Cozy’s Cuts for Kids. The New York City salons are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. 

These hairstyling do’s and don’ts to give your little one the best shot at the cutest school photo ever, and are equally good for holiday photos.

DO shampoo your kid’s hair the night before and use a leave-in conditioner (like the SoCozy Cinch Detangler + Leave-In Conditioner) to enhance curls, smooth hair, and add body and shine. If hair is dry, flat, or full of static in the morning, spray it with a bit of water and a little more leave-in conditioner.

DON’T get a haircut the day before picture day. Ideally, schedule your appointment one to two weeks before. Hair will look more natural and any uneven areas can be corrected in time.

DO try to capture your kid’s everyday look, so that when you look back in thirty years, it’s a true representation. Nothing too fancy!

DON’T forget that school-picture day is a regular school day and not a private studio session. Keep your kid’s hairstyle simple and you’re more likely to end up with a photo everybody likes. For girls, that means no bows or hair clips.

DO use a light styling cream, such as the SoCozy Behave Styling Cream, or alcohol-free styling gel in the morning to hold a neat, smooth style that doesn’t look stiff or slick. But keep in mind the rule for styling products is the same for school glue: A little dab will do ya!

Are you a little too compulsive with your own photo-taking? Watch this video before the holidays!

Must-Knows On Tech and Child Development: Take Fewer Photos!
Must-Knows On Tech and Child Development: Take Fewer Photos!
Must-Knows On Tech and Child Development: Take Fewer Photos!

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Learning Apps Get the Disney Treatment

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Disney knows you’re searching the App Store for educational games for your kids, and trying to tell the good-quality from the waste-of-time is rough to say the least. (We know, we looked at a ton for our 70 Best Apps for Families.) Today Disney unveiled ambitious plans to pair their stories and animation with strong learning content; the first of some 30 Imagicademy apps will launch on December 11.

The search for “joyful learning that kids don’t run away from,” as Andrew Sugarman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, puts it, is universal these days. This generation is screen-savvy and ready to learn as long as we capture and keep their attention. To that end, the math app, the first one out, features games like “put the sleepwalking alien to bed” that cleverly build in number order along the way. Another activity in the app has a baby robot building a sandcastle, working in number sense by first asking the child to draw a numeral on the touchscreen, then having that number of balls of sand appear, then counting them out and assembling a castle with that number of spires. (A mischievous child can then gleefully destroy the sandcastle. It’s all part of staying engaged!)

This first Imagicademy math app will hit the sweet spot of ages 3 to 5, children in Pre-K and Kindergarten. A creative arts app will roll out in January, followed by a Frozen-themed science app in March and reading with Doc McStuffins in April or May. By 2016, Imagicademy apps will stretch from ages 3 to 8.

One final note: Parents will be able to download our own app, and receive push notifications about what a child is doing in the Imagicademy world. You can then send your child a virtual high-five or at least be able to give them concrete feedback, such as “I like that rocketship you built,” rather than having to always ask, “What are you doing on there?”

 

Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children

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Baby Deals and Steals–Your Cyber Monday Hit List!

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

** By Dana Baardsen

It’s nearly impossible to join the holiday discount madness with a little one glued to your hip—or swaddled to your side. Even though you may not be able to charge through the crowds in-store this season, don’t you dare settle for full price! We’ve got your aching back, mommy, and here’s our gift to you: 2014’s best Cyber Monday baby deals and steals, all ready to go live on December 1, 2014!

Keep Baby warm. Explore 7 A.M. Enfant, find something warm and snuggly for your little one, and check out with 30% off of your entire purchase. This one really suits your on-the-go family! Code: CYBERMONDAY30

 Carrying your baby never looked so good. With multiple wearing positions for mommy and daddy, these beautiful Baby K’tan carriers are a must. Enjoy at 20% off. Code: BFCM20

Grab some mommy-and-baby body balm. This mild, soothing lotion is safe to use on your baby’s delicate skin, and effective enough for yours. Get 25% off of the Loving Care Body Balm by Le Couvent Des Minimes from Ulta!

Who doesn’t need anything from Skip HopSpend up to $50 and get 20% off, up to $80 and get 25% off, and if you spend more than $75 you get 30% off. Any purchase over $50 (hello, diaper bag!) is shipped with a free gift!

Say no more to sore knees! Protect your baby’s skin with Crawlings, so the time spent on the ground isn’t as taxing. You’ll get free shipping with one pair, 20% off with 2-3 pairs, and 40% off with four pairs!

MommyMeds app is a lifesaver. This database, which is an extension of research from the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, contains information on over 20,000 prescribed, over-the-counter, and herbal medicines. Moms can look up symptoms and medications to find out what’s safe and what isn’t. By the time Tuesday rolls around, this source of information will no longer be free-for-download on iOS, so get it free now!

Calling all mini trendsetters! The mini collection at Appaman binds European trends with Brooklyn vibes. Will you have the most stylish baby in 2015? Receive 40% off of the entire store, and free shipping on orders over $100.

The only thing softer than Baby is mommy. Check out Earth Mama Angel Baby, a line featuring certified organic shampoos, soaps, balms and lotions galore! Snag 50% off of your entire order, with free shipping for orders over $25.

Cotton never felt so good! Spruce up your baby’s romper wardrobe, and peruse through Skyla Luna’s eco-friendly sleepwear collection.  This green baby deal involves 20% off of long-wearing jammies made from organic cotton.

As baby grows, so does the highchair. The innovative Tripp Trapp Chair by Stokke, just made parents’ lives a whole lot easier—and a little sleeker, too. The chair is designed to seat your baby right up to your dining table, so your newest family member doesn’t miss out on a single thing. This staple highchair will be discounted from $249 to $199 with free shipping on Cyber Monday.

These shoes were made for growing babies! The American Podiatric Medical Association has placed their stamp of approval on these UMI Baby shoes designed for healthy foot growth. Some of these too-cute-to-boot styles will be featured at 60% off.

How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget

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‘Modern’ Mom Julie Bowen’s Favorite Holiday Traditions

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Julie Bowen at the Baby2Baby Nutcracker Party, Presented By Tiny PrintsYou probably know her best as Claire Dunphy, the lovable matriarch to Luke, Alex, and Haley (and sometimes Phil!) on Modern Family. But off-screen Julie Bowen has her hands full, too. She’s a mom to three kids, 7-year-old Oliver and 5-year-old twins John and Gus. So around the holiday season, things can definitely get a little hectic. Parents caught up with the Emmy-winning actress to talk about the awesome charity collab she’s working on with Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints holiday cards—as well as Santa and some of her favorite holiday memories and traditions.

Parents: Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints have collaborated to create holiday cards that let people give back. Why did you get involved with Baby2Baby, and what about its mission was most important to you?

Julie Bowen: I got involved with Baby2Baby right after the birth of my first son. There was a writers’ strike going on, and I had a lot of time to focus on my new baby (thrilling!) and the astounding amount of baby gear accumulating in our house (horrifying!). When I discovered there was an organization that wanted to redistribute this seemingly endless trove, it was a no-brainer! I jumped at the chance to help out.

Parents: The card collection is so festive! Which is your favorite one?

JB: I am really loving the gold foil stripes (both vertical and diagonal!) on the Tiny Prints collection [pictured below]. I think they are super-chic and still festive. This year, I think we’re going with the old school “Happy Holidays” one. It’s got the rustic vibe and feels low-key.
Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints Holiday Cards CharityBaby2Baby and Tiny Prints Holiday Cards Charity

Parents: Do you always send out cards around the holidays? And if so, are you a “family portrait session” kind of family, or a “family-selfie” kind of family?

JB: We do always send out cards. I have a full—and embarrassing—collection of my own family’s Christmas cards from my childhood. Let’s just say my hair went through a “stringy” stage…

As for my own kids, I try to make the photo casual or funny. I love a beautiful family shot, but honestly, we are lucky to get them all in one picture! I like the card options with different windows; Sometimes you have to use a few pics to get the whole family!

Parents: What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions?

JB: My family growing up was old-school. We read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve and left sugar cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. I still have the same knitted Christmas stocking that I had as a kid! I’m in the process right now of making my boys’ their own stockings, but my knitting skills are rusty.

Parents: Your boys are getting a little bit older now, Oliver is 7, and John and Gus are 5. Have you had to answer any tough questions about Santa yet?

JB: Part of being a kid is believing in the impossible, so I try to strike a balance between practicality and magic. I don’t want to rob my boys of “Santa excitement,” but I also don’t want to shove it down their throats. Oliver recently said, “Mom, there’s no way one guy can get all those presents everywhere on one night.” I just agreed with him and said, “Yeah. That’s always struck me as fishy, too, but it seems to work out every year. There’s definitely SOMETHING going on, but I’ve never figured it out…” The boys are determined to sleep by the fireplace this year and get a video of Santa. Thank god my husband has a great sense of humor and will definitely “help” them get the footage they want.

Parents: Do you have any holiday traditions with the Modern Family cast?

JB: We give the crew a gift every year, and that is usually our big focus. They work longer and harder for far fewer rewards than the cast receives, so we really sweat the gift decision and its execution. As for the cast, I tried to institute a “Secret Santa” wherein each cast member only bought a gift for one other cast member, but it would never work. Nolan and his mom make amazing ornaments for everyone every year no matter what. Nobody wants to miss out on that!

Parents: Between all of the typical holiday chaos—sending out holiday cards, getting presents, spending time with family—holidays can get stressful! How do you keep it all together?

JB: I have no idea! I have started telling myself over and over that Christmas morning is messy and chaotic, and that’s part of the fun for the kids. I need to live with the boxes and the wrapping paper everywhere for a while and just stay focused on happy kids on a sugar high…

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Shop Healthy — With Affordable Prices

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Thrive MarketGrocery shopping can be such a dreaded task. For most parents, you either have to open up your wallet and shell out big bucks for healthy foods, or get over your guilt of buying less-expensive foods that aren’t as healthy.

The founders of Thrive Market know your struggles, and they have crafted a pretty smart solution. They’re offering more than 2,500 of the most popular non-perishable products from trusted brands like Tom’s of Maine, Annie’s Homegrown, and Gerber.

For $59.99 a year (about $4.99 a month), members gain access to their favorite healthy food, beauty, and cleaning brands at 25-50% off their regular retail price. New members get a 30-day free trial and 15% off of their first order when registering. The founders of Thrive consider their business model “Whole Foods meets Costco.” They told us that their goal is to democratize access to healthy living because, after all, why shouldn’t products like these be available to all families?

Members have the option of shopping in categories such as paleo, vegan, gluten-free, Healthy Mom. You can also search by ingredients, such as GMO-free, peanut-free, and pesticide-free or by environmental/social standards like cruelty-free, made by a family-owned business, and locally sourced.

So how deeply discounted are Thrive’s prices? A 6-ounce box of Annie’s Homegrown Shells and White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese is ordinarily $2.65, but on Thrive Market it’s $1.75. Tom’s of Main Fluoride-Free Antiplaque and Whitening Toothpaste sells for $5.99, but Thrive Market gives it to you for 34% off at $3.95. (Note that you can’t see the discounted prices until you register for the service.)

Here’s what I really like: Thrive Market donates one membership to a deserving family for every membership purchased. So, not only are you taking care of your family, but also you are helping a family in need.

Image courtesy of Thrive Market

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for the Chance to Win a Fisher-Price Power Wheels F150

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

What do you get the kid who has everything? How about his own car?! The 2014 Power Wheels are out for the holiday season, promising to make your kid the coolest on the block with a roomy truck bed, working tailgate, speeds of up to 5 MPH, the ability to reverse, and in some models, a working radio and lights!

And for laughs, you need to see their new commercial, just click on this picture: 

ONE (1) lucky winner will receive one (1) Fisher-Price Power Wheels F150, worth approximately $360 and appropriate for children ages 3 or older. (If you don’t win but still want one of these, start your shopping here!) To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on November 24, 2014. Be sure to check back on November 25th and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 48 contigual United States and D.C., 21 years and older. Begins: 4PM EST on November 18, 2014. Ends: 11:59PM on November 24, 2014. Subject to Official Rules at http://www.parents.com/blogs/goodyblog/official-rules-for-enter-for-the-chance-to-win-fisher-price-power-wheels-f-150/. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Meredith Corporation.

For more check out our official rules. Goody luck!

Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving

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Meals I Make for My Kids Are Not Instagram-Worthy. They Eat Them Anyway.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

I feed my kids well, and they are healthy, and for that I should get a freakin’ medal. But instead what I get is a Buzzfeed article called “This Woman Makes Staggeringly Pretty Meals for Her Children” showing a mom in Asia who creates works of art for her kids to eat, but first uploads photos of them to Instagram. Culinary masterpieces that, frankly, I doubt her kids even appreciate. They probably beg for a bowl of Froot Loops, but instead have to eat a rice Hello Kitty under a sunny-side-up egg sky.

Do you know what our family dinner looked like last night? It’s this bowl of mush right here: I can show you because I am eating the leftovers. Want to know how I made it? First I had to navigate Trader Joe’s on a Sunday morning, which, in my Brooklyn neighborhood, resembles Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I bought pork, broccoli slaw, and pineapple spears, and only had to wait in line about a half-hour. At 7 a.m. Monday morning I laid the slaw, the spears, and the pork in my slow-cooker, covered it all in Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sweet Korean BBQ sauce (I stockpile slow-cooker cheats in my pantry like liquid gold), and turned the dial to “low.” After getting my kids to school, commuting, working an 8-hour day, traveling an hour to retrieve my son at his band class, and then getting my daughter from her piano lesson, TA-DA! I added the finishing touch. I stirred in leftover Chinese fried rice from our Sunday-night takeout. I stress that I made this entire recipe up in my own head. We ate it, and my kids loved it, so there Hello-Kitty lady.

It took 12 hours from the time I started it to the time I served it, so if she wants to try and say she puts in more effort, I say heck no. It fed me and my kids and is feeding me again, and I’m guessing her fancypants plate only covers one of her four children. I win again. Okay, I am not going to address the sodium content in my dish, nor the calories. It had both fruit and vegetable! I am not to be made to feel guilty because I don’t carve up food to look like boats, or Pokemon, or mermaids.

That said, if she would come make this cream-cheese Olaf for me, I would be totally into it. 

Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better

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Unbored Games: Easy Ways to Have Fun as a Family

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

In a world of high-definition entertainment, sometimes it can be hard to get your kids enthusiastic about family game night. Thankfully, Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn offer loads of ideas to help entertain your kids in their new book Unbored Games: Serious Fun For Everyone. Larsen discusses the importance of family play and why people should take games seriously. 

Your book promotes kids playing not only among themselves, but also with their families. Why do you think that playing together as a family is so important?

Playing games together is great for a lot of reasons: It’s a way to connect and enjoy each other that doesn’t feel forced—it’s genuinely fun, and that’s truly important. I’ve interviewed a lot of child psychologists over the years and one thing they say is that kids are often stumped by the question: “What does your family do to have fun?” We want kids to grow up with memories of enjoying time together with the people they love. And that can get tough in a culture filled with homework and regularly scheduled extracurricular activities.

Along with indoor and outdoor games, your book talks about online games and mobile app games. Why is it so important for parents to be aware of their children’s online activities? 

We enjoy a lot of online games and apps and think there’s no reason kids should stay away from them if their parents have pre-screened them and if kids can show they can regulate their use and not become addicted.

The first page of the book lists the ten reasons why games are important. How do you think playing games positively affects a child’s development?

Where do I start? Games encourage kids, especially younger kids, to learn how to keep practicing until they figure out how to do a certain move or skill correctly. They also teach collaboration, problem-solving skills and, in the case of outdoor games, are an incredibly fun way to get exercise. We encourage kids to hack or modify a game if they don’t like the way it works, which is important when it comes to nurturing creativity.

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

We love Anomia, which is a fast-paced word association game. But when all of my kids were in elementary school our absolute favorite was Apples to Apples. We’re a loud family who love to argue and persuade each other that each one of us is right. Playing that game is still a great way to get us laughing, even if we’ve all had bad days.

How is your latest book different from your previous book Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun?

The original Unbored is an all-encompassing activity book and resource for kids and their families that touches on all parts of a kid’s life. Unbored Games focuses exclusively on games—how to play them, how to make them, how to modify them to suit your needs.

The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!

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