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Category : Kids

Find a new children’s book series

5 Book Series to Read with Young Readers

Summer is the perfect time to dive into a book series. Car rides for vacations and long days lend themselves to reading well past bedtime — and who can complain about extra reading time? Fabulous stand-alone books are always fun, but there’s something about the long days of summer that makes trying a new series exciting. Kids feel like they’re meeting new friends, and they can power through the books at any pace they want. Try one of these five children’s book series with your kids, whether you read chapters together or your kids read them independently.

For kids who love history — and excitement

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko is the first book in the Tales from Alcatraz series (Barnes & Noble, $8). Alcatraz might be a prison for the criminals sentenced to the notorious island penitentiary, but for Moose Flanagan, it’s home. Twelve-year old Moose is part of the Alcatraz community made up of prison workers and their families, including his sixteen-year old sister with special needs and the spoiled but thrill-seeking Piper, the daughter of the prison warden. Piper dreams up the idea of marketing Al Capone’s laundering services to her middle school classmates — and drags Moose along for the ride. Al Capone Does My Shirts hits the right note in combining page-turning excitement with the still-pertinent-today issue of fighting for the rights of kids with autism.

book series for kids

 

Go beyond fairy tales with a dose of modern excitement

The magical world of fairy tales doesn’t have to be left in childhood with The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. Readers — or their parents — might recognize Colfer from his role as Kurt on Glee, but kids will fall in love with the series that starts with The Wishing Spell (Barnes & Noble, $8). Twins Connor and Alex tumble into their grandmother’s book of fairy tales, and they need to find their way home. On their journey, they come across beloved fairy tale characters, which turns out to be just as complicated as you might imagine.

The Wishing Spell

A series for kids who sometimes feel they don’t “fit”

The tween years can leave kids feeling like they’re never quite in the right place. Relationships with parents and friends shift, and social groups that always felt familiar go through changes. Shannon Messenger addresses these issues in a dramatic fashion with The Keeper of the Lost Cities, the first book in The Keeper of the Lost Cities series (Barnes & Noble, $8). Sophie feels out of place. Between skipping grades and hiding a secret — she’s a Telepath — she never quite finds her footing in school until she meets Fitz, another Telepath. She soon learns her real identity isn’t the one she’s been living, but her newfound identity might lead to more danger than she could have ever imagined.

book series for kids

A twentieth-century fairy trilogy

Set against the backdrop of the midwestern Dust Bowl in 1935, Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel begins the tale of Callie LeRoux. Callie’s preoccupied with the dust storms swirling around her when her own legacy threatens to choke her. Her mother’s been keeping a secret for a long time; fairy blood runs through Callie’s veins. Now that her fairy relatives have found out where Callie’s living, her life will never be the same. Jazz music and the beauty of the fairy realm collide in the first book of Zettel’s trilogy, where the only person Callie can trust might be a bootlegger who should be in jail.

book seriesA nostalgic series for beginning readers

When kids are just beginning to read chapter books on their own, sometimes reading falls back into parents’ laps. Reading a book series with young readers can be nostalgic, especially if the magic of the series holds true even after being passed down between generations. Try The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner this summer (Barnes & Noble, $6). Four young orphans make a life for themselves living in an abandoned boxcar, an appealing premise during the warm nights of summer when campouts and cookouts make living outside seem plausible.

book series for kids

 

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This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures, but all thoughts, opinions, and general villainous fun are our own.

Minons- In Theaters July 10

“Ba-nan-a!” They’re back! The lovable yellow mini villains from the Despicable Me movie series are back with a movie of their own premiering July 10th. Kevin, Stuart and Bob bring us all back to where the Minions began their fun loving, but evil, journey, and we could not be more excited.

All about the movie

The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters — from T. Rex to Napoleon — the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression.

But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he — alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob — ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow.

The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock), the world’s first-ever female super-villain. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

Celebrating with a Minions Backyard Bash

How to throw a Minons party

Our children are so excited to see the new movie and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the premier than to throw a party! We decided to hold a fun Minions Backyard Bash to share our excitement with our friends and family. We had a blast planning this Minions themed party, and were so excited to see all the fun themed party decor currently available to help make the party perfectly Minion in every way.

How to throw a Despicable Me Minons party

With temperatures soaring over 100-degrees the day of our party, we knew the challenge was on to provide our guests with refreshing themed beverages and snacks. Bob’s Brew and the Minions Munch were party favorites (see below for recipes), and it didn’t hurt that we had a ton of fun water activities planned for the guests to keep everyone cool for the duration of the Backyard Bash.

Throwing a Minons Party: What you Need

The Minions Backyard Bash really came to life when we found these fun beach balls and Minions beach towels for our guests. Not to mention our excitement when we learned Havaianas makes these super adorable Minions flip flops!

How to throw a Minons party: Scavenger Hunt

The children were so excited to learn that Kevin, Stuart and Bob left them some special treats. Those sneaky Minions didn’t make it easy on them though. The villainous trio left clues for the children around the backyard leading them to their goodie bag treasures.

Minons Crafts using Pool Noodles

The kids loved figuring out each clue together, and were so excited when they found the Minion leading them to the next hint.

Minons Party Theme: Goodie Bags

The final clue lead them to their treasure and those Minions did not disappoint. The goodie bags were Minions shopper totes filled with Minions themed beach ball, towel, sunglasses, and Playdough set.

How to throw a Minons Party

The children were over the moon excited about their new Minions swag, and wasted no time putting it to good use.

The rest of the party, everyone played with the shrink rays the Minions must have left behind during their goodie bag hiding, and throwing water balloons at one another (and an unfortunate mommy or two).

Ultimately the Minions Backyard Bash was a huge success, and everyone could not be more excited to see the movie July 10th.

How to throw a Minons party

Minons recipes to kick-off your party

With the Minions movie premiering this week there is plenty of time to celebrate in the excitement with your little one and your own backyard bash, play date or special afternoon snack. These recipes and craft are easy and help bring a little bit of yellow villain fun to your little one’s day.

How to make Minion Munch

Minion Munch

Ingredients
– Rice Chex cereal
– Pretzels
– Mini marshmallows
– Yellow and blue M&M’s
– Minion Honey Maid Grahams

Directions
-Mix all ingredients in large bowl and serve.

Bob’s Brew

Ingredients
– One container of lemonade
– One container of pineapple juice
– 1 cup of water
– 2 tablespoons of lime juice
– 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
– Ice cubes

Directions
– Combine all ingredients in large pitcher or punch bowl
– Test and add sugar as needed.
– Add ice cubes to chill and serve.

Make your own Minion

Minon Craft Ideas

Supplies
– 1 Yellow pool noodle (makes three total Minions)
– 1-1/2 inch blue painters tape
– Black pipe cleaners
– Minion eye printable
– Double sided tape
– Scissors

How to make a Minion from a pool noodle

Directions
– Cut pool noodle in six equal sections
– Use roll of painters tape to secure two sections of pool noodle together.
– Cut out desired Minion eye(s).
– Attach one side of Minion eyes to pipe cleaner with double sided tape.
– Wrap pipe cleaner around the pool noodle and attach with double sided tape to the untapped side of eyes.
– Use pipe cleaner to attach hair if desire. Fold and adhere with tape.

How to throw a Minions party

Will you be taking your children to see the Minions Movie premiering July 10th?
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The ever-growing trend of babywearing is everywhere. It isn’t a new concept, rather an ancient one. Men and woman have been carrying their children for ages, while working in fields, preparing meals and tending to more children. Lucky for us, baby carriers are getting more and more comfortable and stylish every day!

When we registered for our baby shower, I researched so many carriers that my eyes started to blur. I wanted to choose one that would be comfortable for both Dad and myself, as well as one that was cute and safe. Cute was tricky — Dad wasn’t as excited about the adorable prints as I was, if you can believe that! Comfortable was easy to determine with padding on the shoulder straps, large carrying pouches and easy to access buckles. Safe was obviously our biggest concern. Thankfully most carriers on the market today meet all safety suggestions for babywearing. If you are unsure if your carrier is safe for use this is a great resource for checking for suggested recalls.Babywearing Safety Tips

Babywearing safety tricks using TICKS

Now that you have determined which type of carrier you are in love with, you want to make sure that you are wearing your baby correctly. Here are a few babywearing safety tips easily remembered as TICKS.

TIGHT — Slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.

IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES — You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position, your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.

CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS — Your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.

KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST — A baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

SUPPORTED BACK — In an upright carry, a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose, they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently — they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.

More about wearing your baby safely

We chose the Ergo Original as our go to carrier, keeping on in both of our cars we always have one on hand. My husband sports the Original in Aussie Khaki (very manly), I love my Indigo Mint Dot.

You can win an Ergo Baby Carrier of your own in our #AwayWeGo Instagram Challenge. Read all of the details on Instagram.

TICKS Babywearing Safety Infograph // Savvy Sassy Moms

Here is a great printable infograph to help you remember the key safety points of babywearing.

Free Babywearing Safety Printable

This post was contributed by Lani Derrick as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts Program. You can find more from Lani on her blog, Life Anchored.

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Here they are, the dog days of summer. I’m not sure why they call it that, but I live in Phoenix so I can take a wild guess since all I seem to want to do it lay on the cool spot on the kitchen tile and take a nap. But, since we are moms and hiding away in an air conditioned house is not always possible, we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 best products to beat the heat and keep your kids cool when it seems almost impossible.

1. Geleeo Universal Stroller Cooling Pad

Geleeo Cooling Pad for Babies

It doesn’t get an cooler than this, does it? (I mean seriously.) The Geleeo Stroller Cooling Pad is the one and only of its kind ever invented. Made of a special cooling gel, it stays up to 10-degrees cooler than the air around it without refrigeration and lasts for years. On top of all that, it’s wipeable, comes in several colors and it’s reversible if pink (or blue and beige) isn’t always your bag, there’s a neutral gray on the other side. For more information on this amazing technology and to find a store locator to get your hands on one of your very own, check out their website.

2. The Noggle

Keeping Kids Cool in the Car: The Noogle

I don’t care how great your air conditioning vents are in your car, if you have a rear-facing child I guarantee you they are hot. The Noogle is so simple and so effective that it has everyone saying, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?!” Now I’ll warn you, it’s a bit intrusive if you have a smaller car like mine, but the cute fabric and the fact that it actually works makes up for the fact that you have a giant hose running down the middle of your car. The Noggle can be purchased at stores like BuyBuyBaby and online at NoggleNation.com for $40-50, depending on length.

3. Meeno Babies Cool Mee Bucket Seat Liner

Keeping Baby Cool: Meeno

My little one hates being in her car seat when it’s hot, and who can blame her. After all, car seats seems to be made from the least breathable material on the planet. Take her out of the seat on a regular day and you’re guaranteed to have a sweaty, soggy mess on your hands, but add a 100-degree day to that and now she’s pretty annoyed, too. This car seat liner has solved all of this and we love it. She stays cool and dry, even on the hottest days and I’ve noticed crying fits have even been reduced since she’s less uncomfortable on those days when she has to be in her car seat for longer than normal. The Meeno Babies Cool Mee Car Seat Liner, which retails for around $40, also comes in sizes to fit convertible car seats and strollers.

4. SunAngels Sun Sleeves

Sun Angels Sun Sleeves to Keep Baby Safe

This is one that I really, really liked. Not only are these functional and easy to use, but they’re also super cute and kid friendly! Created by two sisters-in-law who were tired of slathering on sun block on their little ones, they took their expertise in kids gear and the pharmaceutical industry to create these sun-safe sleeves for babies and kids that have a built-in UPF 50+ rating. I found them easy to get on and off and Abbey seemed completely unbothered by them. More importantly, Abbey is going through that stage where her hands and arms go directly into her mouth, so knowing that her arms didn’t need to be covered in chemicals to stay safe from the sun was a relief. Sun Angels Sun Sleeves are available in both babies and big kid sizes for $20 a pair.

5. Platypus Australia Swimwear

Platypus Australia Kids Swimwear

This swimwear line has quickly become my favorite for kids and babies for two reasons: snap crotch swimsuits and zip-up rash guards. Hello! Why isn’t every swimsuit made with these features? If you haven’t wrangled a squirrely infant out of a wet, soggy suit for a diaper change, just to have to wrestle them back into the now cold suit, well then you just haven’t lived. All of their swimsuits, from babies to size 14, are UPF 50+, which blocks out up to 97.5-percent of the sun’s harmful rays. And Moms, don’t think they forgot about you. Head on over to their site to see the women’s zip-up rash guards and chic one-piece suits. You can purchase Platypus Australia Swimwear online at PlatypusAustralia.com, and don’t forget to sign up for their mailing list to get 10-percent off your first order!

Don’t miss our full review of Platypus Australia Swimwear from our Savvy Sassy Product Scout, Sara McCarty.

6. Otteroo Infant Pool Float

Keeping Kids Cool in Summer: Ottero Infant Float

At first glance this goes against everything in the parenting handbook you were given on day one: Don’t strap things around Baby’s neck and don’t strap things around Baby’s neck and then place them in water… but, stay with me. Meet The Otteroo, probably the cutest and strangest looking baby floatie ever made. Yes, it goes around the neck, but rest assured, it’s perfectly safe and made with only the highest grade of toxin-free and latex-free plastic. This pediatrician approved floatie can be used as for babies as early as 8-weeks-old up to a weight of 35-pounds and has physical and mental benefits such as enhancing motor skills, promoting early walking and helping Baby familiarize with the water in a fun unique way. Also, let’s not overlook the utter cuteness! See for yourself or order one of your very own at Otterroo.com.

7. Sakura Bloom Ring Sling Carrier

Sakura Bloom Sling for Babies

If you’ve never heard of ring slings or were intimidated by the whole process, I feel you as that was me… until I met a little lovely named Sakura Bloom. Straight out of the box I was surprised by how easy it was to put on, how clear the instructions were and how comfortable both Abbey and I were from the moment I plopped her in there. And, let me tell you about the fabric. Oh the fabric! It’s made from the most delicious Indian silk and comes in many different colors to fit anyone’s tastes. If you wanted to opt for an even lighter fabric, they even have an entire line in gorgeous linen. On this day it was 110-degrees and we were at a birthday party where we were outside the majority of the time. The true test came when I finally took her out of it only to find my shirt wasn’t soaked (as is always with my other carrier), neither was my back or the baby. You can find the entire line of Sakura Bloom ring slings on their website.

8. Bèbè au Lait Muslin Car Seat Cover

Keeping Baby Cool in Summer: Bebe au Lait Infant Car Seat Cover

Car seat covers are a necessity, bottom line. They keep out the sun, keep unwelcome hands off your precious baby, and keep outside germy germs at bay. But unfortunately, although adorbs, the fabric used is oftentimes heavy and allows for no circulation… until now. Yay for Bèbè au Lait and their brand new muslin car seat covers! Made from the same breathable muslin that you absolutely already love in their other products, the covers come in the four most darling patterns, have a front zipper for peeking in or out and even a small pocket to store small items such as binkys. Pair it up with matching muslin blankets and you’ve got all you need for cuteness on the go.

9. Dreambaby® Stroller Fan

Keeping Baby Cool- Dreambaby Stroller Fan

Arguably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep your kids cool when out and about is the stroller fan. They are lightweight, portable and most clip on to your stroller or car seat, for around $12 a pop. This one by Dreambaby® has a large clip that will fit on any stroller or car seat. It also comes with flexible stem to adjust easily as needed, is available in an array of colors (pink, blue, black and white) and the blades are made of a foam material that is strong enough to create a good amount of wind, but completely safe if your kids grab it (as kids do). For more information on Dreambaby® products and where to buy you can find them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

10. Babyganics SPF 50+ Sun Products

Keeping Baby Safe from the Sun: babyganics Sun Care Products

This last item on the list isn’t so much for keeping your kiddos cool as it is for protecting them when it’s not. I’ve been a fan of Babyganics products since I received a gift basket full of goodies at my baby shower and now it’s all that I use in my house. And really, how could you not? Their sunscreen is SPF 50+, provides protection from UVA and UVB rays, is water-resistant up to 80-minutes, non-allergenic, tear-free, pediatrician and dermatologist tested and never tested on animals. Whether it’s spray, stick or lotion, Babyganics has whatever your little sunburn-free heart desires. My favorite is the big bag of small single-use tubes that I throw in my purse, diaper bag and wet bag for swim class.

How do you keep your baby cool in summer?
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Festive food makes every holiday more fun and these easy 4th of July treats are perfect for the moms that don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. In fact, these are tasty treats that even your kids will have fun helping you make. Using one simple method, you can create an entire red, white, and blue dessert spread for your holiday gatherings.

Easy 4th of July Treats

Easy 4th of July treat ideas

Lollipop sticks and/or paper straws combined with Rice Crispy Treats and marshmallows make for a super fun dessert and an easy 4th of July treat. Kids love eating food on a stick, so turning these goodies into pops was as simple as 1-2-3 and a no brainier when it came to less-mess eating. Happy kids and minimal clean-up is what we call a win-win!

How to Make Easy Treats for 4th of July

Supplies:
– Colored candy melts
– Sprinkles
– Lollipop sticks and/or paper straws
– Rice Crispy Treats (or other items to dip)

Directions:
– Melt colored candy melts in the microwave according to directions on the package.
– Immediately, dip the rice crispy treats and add sprinkles.
– Place on waxed paper to cool and harden (approximately 20 mins.).
– Push lollipop sticks or paper straws in one end to create pops.4th of July Treats

Dipped 4th of July Rice Crispy Treats

Get dippin’

With some supplies left over, we also dipped large marshmallows, pretzel rods, ice cream cones, and Oreos to round out our themed dessert offerings. The possibilities are endless though! You could dip and sprinkle just about anything to create easy 4th of July treats.

4th of July Treat Ideas: Dipped Pretzel Sticks

Kid-Friendly Recipes: 4th of July Sweets and Treats

Whether you will spend your Independence Day at the pool, the beach or just at a backyard BBQ, these fun and festive treats are sure to add some fire-cracking fun to your day.

What’s your go-to July 4th treat?
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I never asked to be a super fan. No, super fandom was thrust upon me when I married into an Ohio State family. Now, years later, I’m the one who would rather die than make plans on a Saturday during football season that didn’t include my butt in front of a TV and I may, or may not, have acquired a burning hatred for the color combination of “blue and maize.”

Lil Fan Booster Seats for Mega Fans

Lucky for me Lil Fan now has everything I need to show my Buckeye pride on the go. And, lucky for Audrey, who was all too excited to be my test subject for the Club Seat in awesome Ohio State colors (according to her, the coolest car seat ever made). But don’t think this little beauty is all looks and no substance. According to Wild Sports, the company that manufactures Lil Fan products, the high-back booster seats have been rigorously safety, crash and side-impact tested to the highest standards.

Lil Fan Officially Licensed Sports Team Gear for Kids

I love that this seat can grow with her as she grows with its adjustable headrest and wide, comfortable seat. This high-back booster also converts into a backless booster, simply by unlocking the back from the bottom. The seat itself is rated for ages 4 and up with a weight recommendation of 30 to 110 pounds. The fabric is made in a very padded and cozy breathable fabric in vibrant colors, perfect for even the hottest of summer climates. Bonus: The cover is removable and washable. Audrey said her tush was nice and “squishy,” which I took as a positive note.

 

Lil Fan Ohio State Booster Seat for Kids

Weighing only 8-pounds, I found this seat to be easy and light enough for Audrey to move from my car to my husband’s when necessary. There are also spots to attach two cup holders as so to never be without refreshment, and a really cool locking feature for the shoulder belt, insuring proper fit every time your precious cargo is seated. As I mentioned above, the seat is made to be wide and roomy, however, it never feels huge. As you can see from the photos, it’s not overtaking the crumb-covered backseat of my small crossover SUV.

The High-Back 2-in-1 Booster Seat by Lil Fan retails for $200, can be customized for MLB and collegiate teams. Be sure to check out their entire line of officially licensed gear including diaper bags, booster seats and seat protectors, everything you need to show your team spirit, including gear for your favorite NFL teams.

Savvy Sassy Discount

An exclusive offer for Savvy Sassy Moms readers, use the code ” SSM20 ‘ for 20% OFF of your first purchase at Lil Fan.

Disclosure: This booster seat was provided by Lil Fan for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own.

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Water toys for kids make summer cool

Whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or finding the flattest part of your back yard for sprinkler games, water toys make summer a little more fun. Try these fun water games for a wet and silly way to cool off this summer.

Simple outdoor water fun

The simplest water toys can be the most fun, and the Poolmaster Splash and Spray Ball provides hours of outdoor entertainment (Target, $14). The ball can be used in the pool as well, but it’s so much fun to play with on the grass you might not want to move it. Water sprays out of all parts of the ball, so kids can stand and get splashed or run and jump to avoid the spray.

water toys for kids

Dive for pirate gold

Diving toys are a pool favorite, and this adorable Sunny Patch Undersea Treasure Hunt from Melissa and Doug is perfect for kids just learning to dive (Amazon, $14). The six treasure-shaped sinkers help kids practice their underwater swimming skills while working on fine motor skills. The chest floats, so kids don’t have to worry about lugging up something too large to the surface. If you aren’t sure your kids are ready for diving — or if they’re getting tired — the chest comes with games that can be played out of the water, too.

water toys for kids

Let loose their inner mermaids

Maybe you have a little one who has The Little Mermaid on the mind or perhaps your favorite swimmer just likes the idea of the way mermaids swim. The MerFin can unleash anyone’s inner mermaid (HearthSong, $90). Available in two colors, the recycled rubber fin is remarkably flexible and functional. Kids can flip the fin to quicker speeds in the water, and the snug-fitting fin can be easily kicked off with a flick on the ankle strap if necessary.

water toys

Practice swimming underwater with water rings

Little fish can hone their underwater swimming skills with the Water Sports Swim Thru Rings (Amazon, $20). The rings can be adjusted to different water depths, so you can use them in the shallow end or the deep end of a pool, depending on the swimming level of the kids. Use the rings to practice skills or to have an underwater obstacle course.

water toys

The coolest way to play outside

The Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center is filled with backyard water fun (Amazon, $49). The play center includes a water slide, wading pool, water sprayer and ring toss game with four inflatable rings. The sprayer attaches to a garden hose, and the center also includes six balls to toss through the rings. Kids two years and older will love cooling off in the little inflatable, and it will quickly become a favorite backyard toy.

water toys for kids

When you’re serious about backyard fun

If you have several summer birthdays to celebrate or love being the house in the neighborhood that attracts all the kids, splurge on the Step 2 Twin Fall Continuous Air Waterslide (Toys R Us, $500). With two slides and a water cannon, the slide is sure to be a hit, whether you’re entertaining two kids or ten kids. The inflatable goes from flat to inflated in two minutes, so it’s simple to incorporate into your party or play date plans.

water toys for kidsDo your kids have a favorite outdoor water toy?

 

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Best strollers for trails and outdoor adventures

Summer’s in full swing and there is no better time than now to get into the great outdoors and have some adventures with your little one. You know how important it is to connect with nature and to pass-on those values to your child. Exploration, excited discovery, peace and quiet: all these reasons and more get you out of bed on the weekend and into the car for a beautiful day trip or weekend away.

While you’re out on the trail you want to ensure your child is safe in your all terrain stroller so you can focus on enjoying the beauty around you. Here are the brands to look for in each budget category to help you choose the best stroller for trails you’ll be hiking on soon.

Bob-revolution-ProBOB for a higher budget

For many years now, BOB has been a favorite for families who enjoy the great outdoors and the Revolution is the go-to option. Features such as an adjustable suspension, rugged 16-inch rear tires with a locking front swivel wheel and an enormous sun canopy are favorites that hikers and adventurers invest in year after year.

The seat is made of a molded open cell foam material and a Poly and Dobby weave fabric for optimum air circulation. It reclines to a 70-degree angle and can also accommodate a BOB B-Safe infant car seat.

The photo at the top of this page shows you the basic BOB Revolution SE, and recently BOB introduced the Revolution Flex and Revolution PRO with the same features plus some additional upgrades. The Flex has a nine-position adjustable height handle and the Revolution PRO has the adjustable handle plus hand activated rear drum brakes for added control going down hills. The PRO is the stroller featured at the right and it is the one recommended most highly for those of you who are serious about going over some rough trails.

BOB-Revolution-Pro-trail

Photo credit: Fresh Dads

This photo is from a German blog with a dad taking his Revolution Pro over some rugged terrain. Click or tap the picture to see more photos on his blog; the review is all in German, but the photos say everything!

Kolcraft Sprint X for a mid-range budgetKolcraft Sprint X is a best stroller for trails

If you are looking to spend between $200-$300, then check out the new Kolcraft Sprint X. Formerly the Jeep Adventurer, this updated model has 16-inch air-filled rear wheels with precision ball bearings and dynamic suspension for the best push – important for getting over those rocky bits of trail!

This stroller is a bit heavier than the BOB, but you can do a few things to lighten your load, such as removing the child cup holder and bumper bar. Nothing is going to stay inside a cup holder anyway, if you’re going over lots of big bumps. Keep all you need in the basket below.

I like that the Sprint X has a safety tether attached and an adjustable height, ergonomic foam handle. The sun canopy has an extended flip-out visor that comes down nearly to the bumper bar to give you an idea of how much coverage it has. The seat has a padded 5-point safety harness and a multi-position reclining seat.

Reviews are starting to roll in, and so far it’s getting 4 stars from parents who like the sturdy construction and easy fold.

Graco FastAction Fold Jogger for economy budget

graco-fastactionfold-jogger
Graco has always been proactive keeping up with the times and their selection of bulky, frilly four wheeler strollers are a thing of the past. They respond to what parents want and within the last few years, Graco has released several top fitness strollers.

In the budget category, you’ll find the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger, which I’ve seen in abundance around my neighborhood with the matching Graco Click Connect car seat attached. Once your baby out grows the car seat and is stronger, this stroller can take to some trails, but probably not like the trail you saw with the BOB Revolution Pro, more like wide gravel paths or packed dirt that has only mild inclines, because it weighs 32 pounds! No slowing hand brake will make it more of a challenge going down hills too. However, a safety tether is included, so you will always have contact with your stroller, bringing you peace of mind.

For easy going trails, the FastAction Fold Jogger is a fantastic choice – the air filled tires provide a natural suspension system and the large 16-inch rear wheels smooth out the ride. The seat is nicely padded and roomy enough for growth, but the safety harness does not come with padding. I like the ventilation panels in the sun canopy, and it offers adequate coverage, just not as much as the other featured strollers.

Parents love their Graco though! The FastAction Fold Jogger has a solid 4-star rating across several online merchants. They love the sturdiness, the smooth ride, and the parent tray that is designed to hold a smart phone!

These are just three strollers across three price points, and there are clearly more strollers for trails and outdoor adventures that have more features you require or a closer more exact price structure to work with. There are lots of options today, and we love that choice.

Which all terrain stroller would you want to take with you to hit the trails?
List your recommendations in the comments below.
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BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Travel Must-Have: BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Anyone traveling with a baby or toddler has faced the challenge of figuring out where your child is going to sleep while you’re away from home. Portable play yards are heavy and bulky, renting a full-size crib is expensive and takes up a ton of space, and sleeping in the same bed with your baby comes with a whole other set of issues. Thankfully, we found the perfect solution to our sleep dilemma with the BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light.

BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Lightweight and comfortable

The BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light is exactly what it sounds like — a very lightweight crib that’s easy to travel with. The whole thing packed up only weighs around 13 pounds (which is much lighter than the baby) and is smaller than a suitcase, so it’s easy to take on a plane or put in the trunk of a car. The crib is made with breathable mesh sides so you don’t have to worry about babies that like to snuggle into the side of a crib. The mattress pad is surprisingly thick, sturdy and comfortable — plenty of padding for a peaceful sleep that rests on the ground, so no cross-bars or support beams digging into your baby’s back (like our old play yard). The mattress cover is machine washable, but BABYBJÖRN also offers a really nice cotton fitted sheet that fits the mattress (sold separately).

BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Quick and easy assembly

The crib comes in two pieces: a fully-assembled frame (just unfold the legs) and the thick mattress pad. It takes less than a minute to set the whole thing up and is just as easy to disassemble when it’s time to pack up and head home. The frame and mattress fold together and fit nicely in the included travel bag. There are no pieces to assemble, no loose parts to worry about losing and no snaps, clasps or buttons to mess with. Couldn’t be easier.

BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light Sturdy and durable

The mattress pad is thick with a built-in base plate that makes the crib very sturdy. The crib sits directly on the ground and the legs are angled outwards so it won’t tip over, even if your baby is leaning heavily on the side or your preschooler is doing headstands in the corner of it. The sides are high enough that even a tall toddler can’t climb out, which gives moms with curious kids a little extra peace of mind. It’s the perfect place for your baby to play safely during the day and is light and easy to move around the house or outside.

BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Sweet dreams

But the true test of any crib is whether or not your baby sleeps well in it. This one is a winner for us. Baby took three hour-long naps and slept through the night safe and soundly. Now if I could only get her to sleep like that when we’re at home! She had plenty of room to move around, which means that we’ll be getting a lot of use out of this crib over the next couple years.

BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Find BABYBJÖRN

Be sure to check out all the amazing products from BABYBJÖRN that make traveling (and life in general!) with kids safe and easy. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This post was contributed by Sara McCarty, who is part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scout program. Sara blogs about her kids and adventures being a lawyer-mom at Running From the Law

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Our favorite small brands and shops for tiny tots
As a mama to two sweet girls, I have to admit that aside from baby snuggles, dressing my little munchkins is one of the biggest perks of motherhood! And in my quest for adorable baby goods, I’ve found that small, online boutiques are absolute hidden gems. These shops carry one of a kind items perfect for spoiling my tiny tots or giving as unique gifts to friends and family!

With so many wonderful options right at my fingertips, hardly a week goes by that I don’t have a fun package (or two) arrive at my doorstep.

5 Small brands and shops for tiny tots


5 Small brands and shops we love


top row

1. Sandilake Clothing

There’s no pastels here! I love the modern look of Sandilake’s designs. I jumped at the opportunity to buy my girls matching “Rad Sis” shirts. And lucky for you, they carry men’s and women’s sizes as well!  Sandilake Clothing

2. FHJ Baby


How sweet is this little collared bib? Bibs get used and abused, so it’s nice to have an option with some fashion and flair to make mealtime a bit more special. Their burp and washcloths are just as swoon-worthy! FHJ Baby

bottom row

3. Anchor and Adorn


With two girls, you can imagine how many head wraps we’ve accumulated, but I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many accessories! I love the patterns from Anchor and Adorn. They can be tied a multitude of ways, but the sweet little bow is my favorite! Anchor and Adorn


4. Bannor Toys


These little wooden toys make the perfect baby gift! They can be personalized and make a wonderful keepsake item! I’ve had my eye on the alphabet blocks for ages! Bannor Toys

5. Sadie Sky Boutiqe

I am constantly reaching for our leather bows from Sadie Sky when I get my daughter ready in the morning. They are truly unique and come in the best colors and patterns. I love how well the leather holds it shape even with a rough and tumble toddler! Sadie Sky Boutique

What are your favorite online shops for unique baby items?
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