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10 Summer Activities For Kids Under $10

By Gen Cohen

Finding enough activities to keep kiddos busy throughout the whole Summer can become exhausting — and expensive. Save some money (and your sanity) with a few fun activities that cost almost nothing to set up and carry out.

Read through for 10 activities under $10 that your kids — and your wallet — will love.

  1. Berry picking. Rather than picking up overpriced berries from the grocery store, visit a local farm to pick your own to give your kids something fun to do.
  2. Fly a kite. A cheap kite won't cost you an arm and a leg, but it will definitely lead to hours of fun. There's nothing more exciting for kids than watching it fly in the sky!
  3. Water balloon fight. Grab a big bag of water balloons, spend an hour frustratingly filling them up, and watch as your children's smiling faces getting hit by balloons makes it worth the trouble.
  4. Paint pet rocks. Instead of using expensive arts and crafts kits, grab cheap paints and have your kids collect a bunch of rocks in the yard to decorate as their "pets."
  5. S'mores party. Buy some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, and start a fire in the backyard pit to make a delicious Summer snack.
  6. Pool noodle racing. For a fun indoor game, cut a pool noodle in half, lay the halves next to each other with the opening up, and use them as a racetrack for marbles.
  7. Build a moat. Using a roll of aluminum foil to hold the water in, let your kids go crazy designing a moat with the foil all around the outside perimeter of your house.
  8. Tarp 'n' slide. Slip 'N Slides can be expensive (and get ripped by the end of Summer anyway). Purchase a big tarp and pair it with a hose to give your children the gifts of slipping and sliding.
  9. Colored tape racetrack. Using colored tape on any floor, create a racetrack for your kids' cars (older kids can design the track themselves!).
  10. Make a soap cloud. Grab a bar of soap, throw it in the microwave to make it expand, and use cookie cutters and food coloring to make fun soaps to play with in the bathtub.
Image Source: Shutterstock

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Skip the Gas Station With These Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

By Gen Cohen

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11 Edible Slime Recipes Your Kids Will Want to Make Right This Minute

By Gen Cohen

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The 22 Books From the '90s That You Need to Read With Your Kids

By Gen Cohen

The '90s were a different time — we read books on actual paper rather than on a Kindle, and their storylines were simple and wholesome. Although plenty of bangers that were released in the '80s (and even earlier!) were still in your school library or your personal bookshelves in the 1990s (aka the best decade), these are the nostalgic children's books published between 1990 and 1999 that you need to share with your kids ASAP.

Ahead, a blast from your bookworm past. 

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7 Carriers to Make Bike Riding With Tiny Ones Fun For the Whole Family

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this awesome list of 7 bike trailers for kids, it's important to remember to protect those baby blues with our kids' rubber sunglasses. They're light, comfortable, and they keep your junior's eyes safe from harmful UV rays!

 

 

Going for a bike ride as a family is a fun and fit bonding activity, but if you have a tiny one who isn't quite riding a bike on their own yet or can't keep up the same pace as older children, it could be difficult to execute. Don't skip the ride or have anyone stay behind — with one of these accessories, you can bring the entire family to the bike trail with ease.

Read on for seven bike accessories that will change your family's bike rides this Spring and Summer.

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Thinking Outside the Box: 10 Ingenious Cardboard Forts

By Gen Cohen

Have you ever wondered why we even bother buying our kids toys when all they really want is the cardboard box to build a fort? Grab your kids, and some scissors, and get ready to make some memories with these creative ideas for cardboard forts.

By Meredith Mortensen. Originally shared on parenting.com

Rugged RV

Calling all outdoor aficionados! Forts like this don't roll into town very often. If the recreational life suits you right, this one-of-a-kind RV fort could be in your future. All you need is a box cutter, duct tape, a paintbrush and some paint. Don't forget the license plate!

 

 

Rocket Ship to the Moon

Blast off with this adorable rocket ship fort, complete with turnable knobs and colorful accessories. Kids will love playing inside and peeking out the window as they pretend they're floating in space.

 

 

Fit for the Farm

Grab your cowboy hat and mozy on down to this barn fort. Painted in an authentic red, barn color and accentuated with a rooster on top, this fort is ready for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages.

 

 

Fit for Royalty

No princess could resist this elaborate castle fort. Its delicate climbing ivy and turrets are enough to impress any royal.

 

 

Grocery Shop Till You Drop

Veggies? Check. Cake? Check. Outdoor grocery store fort? Check. Grocery shopping just got a lot more fun with this genius cardboard fort.

 

 

Super Transformation

Give your little one his very own telephone booth to transform from mere mortal to superhero. You'll only need a box cutter, tape, and some paint to "mask" the cardboard box.

 

 

The Incredible Igloo

This intricate, igloo-inspired fort will take a bit more than a coat of paint to construct. The family at the blog Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean used templates and a calculator to make it just so. Then they grabbed their blankets and pillows and cozied up inside.

 

 

Pizza Party

What do kids love more than pizza? Creating pizzeria forts! With a little red paint and some checkered curtains, this restaurant will be open for business.

 

 

Slaying Dragons

Ready to slay some dragons and save the princess? Super Mario Bros. fans can delight in this unique fort. Go ahead, give Luigi a call and get building.

 

 

Gigantic Idea

It's going to take some extra cardboard to create this gigantic fort, but the results will be worth it. Even an architect would be impressed with the modern angles of this cardboard fort tower.

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18 TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH A BABY

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this helpful article by Colleen Lanin, it's important to note that whether your vacation goes to beach or snow, protecting your kid's eyes is extremely important, and Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's baby polarized sunglasses are perfect for the job! Check out our pink and white kids' Wayfarer sunglasses!

Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms.

By Colleen Lanin via parenting.com

 

Does "vacationing" with your baby sound like an oxymoron? As someone who has ventured on road trips, beach getaways, cruises and more with my two kids, and who is writing a book about family travel—The Travel Mamas' Guide—I know that vacations now are not as easy as they were prebaby. And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there's not much advice for how to manage once you arrive. A few simple tricks have saved some of my family's trips.

Strategic Unpacking

Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.

Do it immediately

As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.

Designate a baby-changing station

Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.

Create a play space...

Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.

...and a kitchen

Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.

Napping Smarts

Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:

Start walking

When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some moms advise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.

Wear your baby

If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.

Go for a scenic drive

Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.

Take turns nap-sitting

If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.

Easier Bedtimes

One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:

Do some trial runs

If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.

Give it a few days

While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.

Book the right room(s)

If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.

Stick to the routine

If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.

Get adjusted

Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.

Meals on Wheels

Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.

Breakfast in Bed

Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).

BYOF

If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).

Nurse wherever you feel comfortable

You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.

Bend the rules

To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.

Eat early

Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.

 

Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.

Colleen Lanin is the creator of Travelmamas.com.

 

www.roshambobaby.com

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11 Must-Have Products for Toddlers

By Gen Cohen

Your baby shower helped supply you with what you need for the first year of baby's life, but what about when you start the toddler years? Here are 11 must-have products to help you make it through with ease. Pssst! Be sure to read this list of 11 must-have toddler products all the way to the end!

Originally shared on parenting.com

Faucet Extender

Make handwashing even easier by attaching a faucet extender to the bathroom sink. The Aqueduck Single Handle Faucet Extender is a two-piece system that brings the water flow closer to the front of the sink and provides an extension to the faucet lever so kids can turn the water on and off easily after going potty. ($24.95)

 

Soft-Soled Shoes

Make sure those first steps are well supported. The soft soles of Robeez Shoes for toddlers promote balance by flexing and bending with each step. As a bonus, the elastic ankle feature ensures the tiny shoes stay in place, even on the most curious toddler. ($26)

 

Sippy Cups

Bye-bye bottles. Growing kids need to learn how to hold and drink from their own cups. Start with a Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 cup that features a soft silicone spout that makes it easy to transition from a nipple to a straw. The break-proof cup is molded to fit tiny toddler hands. ($7.99/2-count)

 

Training Pants

As soon as the potty becomes interesting, introduce your toddler to his or her first pair of washable big kid underwear. Gerber Training Pants feature covered elastic waistlines, making them easy for kids to pull up and down. Tucked inside are 100 percent cotton panels to absorb accidents. These training pants are available in sizes 18 months, 2T and 3T. ($15.99)

 

Bed Side Rail

After you've upgraded your crib escapee to a big kid bed, keep her safe with a protective side rail. The Babies R Us Extra Long Swing Down Bedrail features a 20-inch tall protective barrier that stretches 56-inches along the edge of the bed. When morning comes, simply fold down the rail until nap time. ($32.99)

 

Two-Piece Pajamas

Make evening and morning visits to the potty simpler with two-piece PJs that pull off and on easily. Carter's offers several adorable cotton top and polyester pants sets to keep kids warm and ready to use the potty at a moment's notice. ($15.99)

 

Potty Training Seat

Keep your little one safe and cozy during their time on the big potty. The Disappearing Potty Seat attaches to your existing toilet seat and tucks up into the lid via magnets when not in use. The slow-closing lid keeps little fingers from getting pinched. ($49.95–$59.95)

 

Two-Piece Swimsuits

Playing in the pool with a toddler can often mean frequent potty breaks. Keep trips to the bathroom quick and simple by slipping your little one into a two-piece swimsuit. The Cabana Life Swim Shorts and Rashguard Set also offers long sleeves for optimal sun protection. ($32.90)

 

Stepping Stool

Once your toddler discovers how to make those little legs move, he'll be everywhere! The Graco Molded Step Stool makes it easy for him to reach the big potty, wash his hands at the sink, help you at the kitchen counter, and get in and out of his big kid bed. This stool offers a no-slip grip for tiny toes to stay put and a non-skid bottom to keep the stool securely in place. ($14.19)

 

Bathtub Spout Cover

Rub a dub dub, if you don't want any bumps in the tub, cover the faucet. The Kel-Gar Tubbly Bubbly elephant- or hippo-shaped bathtub spout cover allows water to flow while protecting your toddler's fingers from hot metal faucet spouts or accidental bruises and bumps when playing near the fixture during bath time.($12.59)

 

Table Booster Seat

When your baby outgrows his high chair, move into an elevated booster seat. The Graco Blossom Booster Seat features safety straps to keep kids in place and a removable back insert to help safely position your child as he grows and fills the seat. This portable booster seat is perfect for use at home, in restaurants, or on visits to see friends and family. ($29.99)

 

...and bonus item, of course unbreakable toddler sunglasses from ro·sham·bo baby!

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