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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. But remember! Sun protection for your kids' eyes don't have to be expensive either. Browse our baby and junior sunglasses to learn more!

Read through for 10 inexpensive summer activities for kids under $10 that they — 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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The 9 Moms You'll Meet at the Pool This Summer

By Gen Cohen

 

The one thing these 9 types of pool moms should have in common is caring about sun protection for their children. 

Unless you're one of those lucky moms who live by a beach, odds are, you and your kiddos will spend quite a few days at the pool this Summer. Full of lifeguard-suited teenagers, gangs of splashing kids, and moms jockeying for the best lounge chairs, the pool can make for a totally fun or completely stressful experience, often depending on the age of your kids and your own pool personality. As a mom of a 4-year-old fearless, but not yet competent, swimmer and an 18-month-old wild man, a day at my local pool usually instills more feelings of anxiety than excitement for me. Will my daughter listen when I tell her to stay close? Answer: almost definitely no. Will my son's swim diapers hold up? So far, thankfully, yes. While taking my kids to the pool can certainly be stress-inducing, it's almost always good for some people watching, and I've noticed nine distinct types of pool moms. Which one are you?

  1. The completely overwhelmed mom. She's toting a baby and a toddler, and she's not yet sure whether this trip to the pool was a great idea or the worst one she's ever had. (Her husband advised her to rethink the plan multiple times.) She spends two hours chasing her toddler around the shallow end while her baby tries to pull down her swimsuit top then decides to call it a day.
  2. The golden years mom. She's sitting in a lounge chair, reading the book of the Summer, with not a care in the world, except whether her iced tea might be running low. Her strong-swimming children are quite content playing with their friends all day while she reads, chats with friends, and maybe takes a dip or two. The kids find her when they need money or a snack, she obliges, then they head out again. She's the standard all other moms are trying to reach.
  3. The well-stocked mom. Need sunscreen, swim diapers, goggles, or pool toys? She's got them all, plus cut-up sandwiches, juice boxes, and even an extra towel or two. She puts a lot of thought into packing her extralarge pool bag, and this year, she added a cooler to the mix. Waters and freezer pops for everyone!
  4. The gym-rat mom. She spends nine months of the year Spinning, running, and doing interval training so that she looks amazing in a bikini, and now is her time to show off that body. Feel free to express your jealousy; she doesn't mind at all.
  5. The lifeguard mom. She isn't really interested in getting wet, but she doesn't trust her kids left to their own devices. You'll find her standing sentry on the side. If only the real lifeguards would lend her a whistle.
  6. The sun-worshipping mom. A former tanning-booth devotee, she's here for one reason and one reason only: to get a tan. Like the gym-rat mom, she's probably wearing as little as possible, both in terms of clothing and SPF. By mid-Summer, she'll be almost uncomfortably brown, and she'll love every single tan line.
  7. The sunscreen-wielding mom. This mom believes in applying 50+ SPF as often as possible. You'll often see her chasing around her kids, who are also wearing full-sleeved rash guards, floppy hats, and water shoes, with hands full of lotion. Otherwise, you'll find her safely ensconced under an umbrella.
  8. The deep-end mom. Who says kids should have all the fun? You'll find this mom in line for the slide, playing games in the deep end, and doing laps during adult swim. A former camp counselor and swim-team member, this is the season that she loves most, and she's soaking up every minute.
  9. The time-to-go mom. She's been trying, unsuccessfully, to round up her kids for more than an hour, and really, "It's time to go." But maybe, just maybe, she'll bring them back tomorrow.

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

By Gen Cohen

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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 kids fort ideas. These ingenious cardboard forts will provide hours of fun!

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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The 48 Best Noncandy Valentine Ideas For Kids

By Gen Cohen

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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 Ways to Save on After-School Activities

By Gen Cohen

Going broke funding your kid's extracurricular activities? Try these 11 tips on how to spend less on after-school extracurricular activities.

 

1. Register early

Fill out your child's registration paperwork and pay the fees as early as possible. Some organizations give a discount for early registration, and registering early gives you time to prepare for the activity so that you can accommodate it into your budget without last minute surprise expenses, says Clare K. Levison, author of Frugal Isn't Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Another reason to get your child enrolled early: you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it in time and then having to pay a late registration fee!

2. Ask for a discount

Some activities offer a multi-child or sibling discount, but you may not get it if you don't ask. Even if you only have one child participating in the program, check if there are any other discounts for which your child or family might qualify. You never know. A program may give a small percentage off if you or your spouse are military or law enforcement, or if your child is on the honor roll at school. "It never hurts to ask for a discount because every little bit helps," Levison says.

3. Look for a coupon

Yep, you may be able to find a coupon for your child's baseball team or dance class. "Thanks to sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, there are coupons for just about everything now, including extracurricular activities," says Michael Catania, co-founder of the savings community PromotionCode.org. "Do a quick search for the activity along with the month and year (for example, Pony League Baseball, Las Vegas, August 2016 offers) to see if what discounts might be available before you register," he says. It's also a good idea to look for discount codes when shopping for uniforms, equipment and other required items. Even if it's only a 5 percent off or BOGO offer, those savings add up.

4. Volunteer or barter

Volunteering with the organization can often reduce or remove the participation fees for your child, says consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. "You can offer to help with bookkeeping, coaching, or cleaning a dance studio, or you could offer your professional skills, whether that be marketing or web design," she says. Whatever you do, it doesn't have to be too time-consuming. It could be as simple as running the concession stands once a week. Every little bit helps, so talk to the program coordinators to see if there are ways you can pitch in while also reducing your child's fees. A couple of bonuses: You get to spend more time with your child doing something he enjoys, and depending on the activity, you may even get in a mini-workout.

5. Do a trial run

It's frustrating and financially draining when your child asks to participate in something, you fork over the cash, and then she begs to quit a couple of weeks later. If you're not sure that your kid will stick with a particular activity, ask if there's a way to try it out before making a full commitment. Some organizations will let your child to attend a class or two on a trial basis. It may be at no cost, or you may have to pay a small fee. Either way, it will give you and your kid time to see if this is really an activity she wants to be involved in, without you having to pay (and possibly lose) the whole fee.

6. Think thrifty

Of course, there are some things that should only be purchased new (such as mouthguards and helmets), but for many other things, secondhand is just as good. Asking family, friends, or neighbors for hand-me-downs is a great way to score gently used items like cleats, uniforms, bats, and art supplies for free or cheap. Buying used can keep more money in your pocketbook too. Check out thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, consignment shops, resellers like Play it Again Sports, or swap sites like SwapMeSports.com. And don't think that buying used means your child will get beat up gear. "A lot of times people try something, decide they don't like it (see above!) and then they have a piece of equipment that's practically brand new that they don't have a use for anymore, so it ends up at a thrift store [or other resale shop]," says Levison.

7. Rent equipment

Rather than paying for instruments, which can be expensive, look into renting. You can likely find rental options locally or through an online dealer. Another possibility: your library. "Some libraries, particularly those in big cities, offer rentals of musical instruments with just your library card," Catania says. Since you obviously won't be able to keep a library rental for the full school year, this option is best when your child is undecided about which instrument she wants to play and trying out different options. Once she's found the instrument she likes, you can look into a long-term rental from a music store or online.

8. Make meals/snacks ahead of time

In addition to the costs of the activity, many families shell out extra cash on food and snacks. Think about it: When you're leaving a long day at work and then heading to this or that practice or game, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. So you load up on snacks at the concession stand or grab takeout on the way home—and increase your spending. "Usuallly we find we spend too much money when we find ourselves in a time crunch," Levison says. "So if you can plan your meals ahead, do your shopping at the beginning of the week, and plan easy but healthy meals on the nights you have activities, it can save a lot of time and money." 

9. Save on gas

Another area that many parents don't factor into their budget with extracurricular activities is the added travel expenses. "Organize carpools with other parents and take turns driving to practices, games, and performances," Woroch says. Since everyone's schedule is likely to be busy, reach out to others to try to create a game plan as early in the season as possible. When it's your turn to drive, make sure you save on gas. "Start off by finding the lowest local prices with an app like Gas Buddy—a crowd-sourced app that offers near up-to-the-minute gas prices sorted by zip code," Catania says. And most gas stations have affiliations with credit cards and grocery stores, so if you carry a card or shop at a specific store, look to see if it can help you lower your fuel expenses.

10. Skip the add-ons

Just because your child participates in an activity doesn't mean he has to have every little item the team offers for sale. "Professional photos, videos, and extra shirts are fun to have, but the costs can really add up," Levison says. So pass on things that aren't necessities. You can take your own photos or videos, and skip the team shirts for mom and dad and show your support by wearing the team colors instead. 

11. Just say "no" 

If your kid wants to do football, soccer and swim, you may have to give him a choice. "I think we tend to want to sign our kids up for a lot of organized activities these days, but you don't have to go overboard, especially if it's affecting your finances," Levison says. Limit your child to one activity per season, and tell him to choose the one he wants to do most. If he has an interest in something else, he can do it at home or find a community center that is more affordable than, says, private art lessons. Sure, there may be some whining (or even tears), but you have to do what's right for your financial situation. And, add Levinson, this is a good opportunity to something else that's beneficial to your child: have a conversation about budgets and the cost of activities.

 

With savings like these, you can treat you and your kiddos to rad rosmbo shades! While your kids are out playing, make sure their eyes are safe! Added bonus that our shades are unbreakable.

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Combat Your Child's Fall Allergies With These 7 Tips

By Gen Cohen

Combat Your Child's Fall Allergies With These 7 Tips

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