22+ of the Coolest Must-Have Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

must have baby products

It seems like every year that passes, someone invents a baby gadget that I wish I had years before when my kids were babies!

There are also many inventions that are unnecessary, a waste of money, and totally prey on new parents’ emotions. But that’s not the focus of this post!

must have baby products

This post is full of the coolest, must-have baby stuff that we all wish we had “back in the day.” If you’re a new mom or a mom of little ones, you’re going to go nuts over these products!

Take a deep breath and stay calm. When deciding which one you have to have just tell yourself… you deserve it.

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If you’re still in “mom-to-be” status, don’t forget your baby shower registry! Amazon has the largest registry on the planet and allows you to easily add any of these cool products to your registry without searching through retailers!

And you get a FREE sign up welcome box too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coolest Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

1 – Free Hand Baby Bottle Holder

I know every mama has experienced feeding her baby and needing a free hand at the same time! We’ve tried every trick to prop up that bottle but nothing ever works.

This amazing bottle holder is a real problem solver and it almost makes me want another baby… almost.

 

Get this amazing product here!

And if you’re constantly looking for ways to prop up your baby’s bottle in the car, this car seat bottle holder is an answer to your prayers! Check it out here!

2 – First Years 4 in 1 Remote Bottle Warmer

The reason this bottle warmer is on my must-have list is that when my middle daughter was a baby, she would drink at least 3 bottles every night!

And our bedroom was upstairs so I pre-bottled her milk every evening and stored them in a cold pack on my nightstand. And when she started to get hungry, I would get my trusty coffee mug and fill it with hot water from the bathtub and nest her bottle inside to warm up.

This wasn’t the most effective way to heat up her bottles quickly at all. This warmer actually stores your bottles inside and warms the bottles in seconds! I would have jumped at this warmer back then.

Get this amazing product here!

3 – The Toddler Bathtime Dam

This product is genius! And not only does it holds your little one in place, but it also saves gallons of water every single bath!

It easily snaps in place each bathtime and takes up very little space. In fact, it takes up way less space than those large infant tubs! The best part is, you can use this long after your baby grows out of the baby stage!

Check this out this product here!

4 – QuickZip Crib Sheet Set

I remember changing crib sheets and the nightmare experience it was every time. These amazing sheets actually zip on and off easily without the need to remove the mattress from the crib or wreck your back!

These crib sheets are simply revolutionary!

Check out this product here!

5 – Cocoon Cam Plus – Baby Monitor with Breathing Monitoring

There are many baby monitor on the market that have helpful features that give parents that much needed peace of mind when their baby is sleeping.

However, this monitor takes the cake and actually monitors your infant’s breathing! This technology is revolutionary and the best part is it doesn’t require you to attach or stick anything to your baby like many monitors still do.

Get this amazing product here!

6 – Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Remember the Diaper Genie? I had one with my first daughter and it was horrible! The plastic tub soaked up all the stink and never gave it up.

This stainless steel diaper pail keeps stacking up the awards, acclaim, and parent praise. It’s super easy to use and never holds on to the stick.

Grab this product here!

6 – Gripebelt Colic and Upset Stomach Swaddling Belt

If you’ve ever had a fussy or colicky baby, it’s really hard for mom and dad and baby too. But this adorable little belt actually works to lightly cradle your infant’s belly which is often the source of the fussiness.

It makes them feel safe and held and also has fun toys for baby to touch and hold.

Get the swaddling belt here!

60 Strong and Cool Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

7 – Forehead and Ear Thermometer

This ear and forehead thermometer actually works and is highly recommended by other moms like you! There’s no need to take your baby’s temperature rectally anymore. Especially, as they grow older and strongly object.

This makes the process painless, easy, and accurate!

Get this amazing thermometer here!

8 – The SkinSoother Baby Essential for Dry Skin

If your baby suffers from uncomfortable and even painful eczema, cradle cap, or other forms of dry skin this all natural silicone skin soother will bring sweet relief to your new baby.

Simply rub in on their wet skin and watch the irritation wash away. My daughter experienced bad eczema as a baby so this really would have been very helpful!

Get your skin soother here!

9 – Wash. It. Later. Soak and Save Bags

If you’ve ever experienced a diaper blowout, you know how disgusting and overwhelming it can be. My daughter had a blowout in the car seat while stuck in traffic heading to our hotel in Orlando.

I had to change her in the hotel bathroom and wasn’t prepared at all. I ended up washing her with wet paper towels and then wrapping her naked little body in more dry paper towels to carry her through the lobby. Itridiculousulous and only something I can laugh about now!

I luckily had a washing machine in our hotel. However, this isn’t the case most of the time and too often we’ve all just thrown away cute outfits because they were too soiled to keep. Until…

These cool bags allow you to throw those gross poop and pee covered items in their sealable plastic bags. Just add water and one of their detergent pods and seal up for later.

The detergent starts working on the stains and the water keeps the stains from setting until you can get home!

Get these amazing bags here!

10 – Boon Fast Bottle Warmer

I know this is a second bottle warmer on my list. But if you just need a bottle warmer without storage, this warmer will quickly become your bestie.

This bottle warmer may seem like a luxury item but when your newborn is hungry at 3 am and loves her milk warm, you do not want to have to heat up a bottle the old-fashioned way.

This bottle warmer heats up bottles and baby food safely in just over one minute!

Check out this bottle warmer here!

11 – BoogieBulb Baby Nasal Aspirator

This amazing nasal suction bulb is the first and only bulb that can be taken apart and cleaned! I’ve tried those new nasal suction aspirators that you suck through a tube, and they didn’t work for me.

I love a good bulb aspirator, however, they can get really nasty because you can’t easily clean them. Now you can!

Check it out here!

12 – RaZbaby Keep-It-Kleen Pacifier

If your baby loves a good binky, you may want to give this one a try. It actually has a soft covering attached to the pacifier itself.

This prevents it from picking up gross stuff along the way. This makes storage super easy too!

Get this cool pacifier here!

13 – Accu-Dose Pacifier Baby Medicine Dispenser

Getting a baby or toddler to take medicine can sometimes feel like a Game of Thrones episode. At least it was for my littlest baby!

This dosing pacifier makes the process super easy! It won’t change the flavor, but it’s certainly an easy way to give your baby their medicine.

Mom Tip: When my son was a baby he HATED taking any medicine and at the time was sick and had several bad tasting medicines to take at once. An ER nurse shared their hospital hack:

Add a little cherry flavor syrup after you’ve measured out the medication. It works every time!


Get your medicine dispenser here!

14 – Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon for Baby Led Weaning

As your little baby grows into a big baby, it’s time for the fun world of self-feeding! And whether you decide to go the route of baby led weaning, or stay the traditional course, these fun spoons will be your go-to!

The super soft and flexible silicon make scooping easier for baby and the unique shape help keep the food on the spoon and into their mouth. This totally reduces melt-downs. I mean, it’s really frustrating when you can’t get all that yummy food in your mouth!

Get this amazing spoon here!

15 – Squooshi Reusable Food Pouch

I LOVE these adorable reusable pouches! We moms all love how food pouches are unbelievably convenient for feeding your babies, toddlers, and kids. In fact, I’d love to feed all my kids’ meals from a pouch! But those store-bought pouches are just so dang expensive.

And Squooshi doesn’t make the DIY filling process complicated at all! You simply fill the super-sealed pouches from the bottom and quickly seal them up. They clean up beautifully and can be used again and again.

Plus, they’re super cute so your kids will love them! And you’re saving tons of money, so that’s a total win-win.

Get your reusable pouches here!

16 – Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

This manual breast pump is running fast to the front of the line of the many breast pumps on the market. Many moms actually favor this and other manual breast pumps over the electric pumps.

I wish I knew this when I was pumping years ago!

It’s also perfect for when you’re feeding your baby on one side to suction onto the other breast to easily capture milk that is produced during that feeding session.

This makes it perfect for on-the-go, at work, and at home pumping.

Get this amazing breast pump here!

25 Romantically Beautiful Baby Girl Names with Strong & Powerful Meanings

17 – Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf

This breastfeeding scarf is so cute and actually doesn’t look like a breastfeeding cover! The fabric is soft and breathable and easily moves to create many stylish looks.

And when it’s time to nurse, you won’t feel like you’re covering your baby with a blanket.

Get this adorable breastfeeding scarf here!

18 – Ju-Ju-Be Be Pumped Breast Pump Bag

Of course, I could resist adding this super cute breast pump bag with the match nursing scarf above! Pumping bags have been the last of the mom stuff to get a splash of style!

And a splash of style you get with this breast pump bag from Ju-Ju-Be. It’s both cute and very functional for making pumping at work and on the go so much easier!

Get this stylish pumping bag here!

19 – Boppy Newborn Lounger

I have a confession to make… I never used my Boppy Pillows for breastfeeding. They always made the BEST newborn loungers!

And now Boppy has recreated their amazing breastfeeding into a pillow made for lounging your new baby. These are literally must-have pillows for putting your baby down at a moment’s notice and still keeping them close.

I used mine when I was nursing or pumping to keep my baby close and happy when my arms weren’t available for snuggling.

Get this baby lounger here!

Comotomo Baby Bottles

These bottles are gaining in serious popularity among new moms! Moms swear that they ease gas and discomfort and are the closest to the breast when switching baby back and forth from breast to bottle.

Just a quick warning when buying ANY bottles. Just buy a very small amount and make sure your baby loves them first. And then go back and buy more!

Get these hugely popular bottles here!


Every year new amazing products for mom and baby come on the market, and I swear I wish I’d thought of them! But at least we can be thankful that someone (usually moms) have the smarts and guts to create these gems!

Let us know in the comments below which product is blowing your mind right now!

 

These little-known baby products are the baby stuff you'll wish you had! This list of must-have baby stuff will be your go-to sanity savers in your baby's first year. #babies #pregnancy #newborn #babycare #babystuff
These must-have baby items will totally save your sanity as a new mom. No fluff baby stuff here! Only the coolest stuff I wish I had when my kids were babies! #babies #pregnancy

13 Simple and Fun Activities That Will Bring Your Whole Family Together

spending time with family

Families thrive at their best when they are spending regular quality time together. But spending time with family seems to be on the decline. According to the New York Post, on average most American families are spending 37 minutes a day together as a family.

spending time with family

We can explore all the reasons that contribute to this average, and debate on whether this is too little or too much but the truth is there are a million reasons why families don’t or can’t find the time to come together and enjoy each other as a family on a more frequent basis.

And lack of time isn’t always the clear culprit. There are other factors like having children with a wide age gap that can hinder finding activities that everyone enjoys. Sibling rivalry when doing activities all together can also suck the fun out of family time.

The keys to having family time that’s fun for you, your spouse, and each one of your children are these two things – simplicity and consistency.

Simplicity is best for everyone but especially you. If you feel pressure to plan elaborate family nights and activities you’re likely to get burned out and overwhelmed. And let me let you in on a little secret, kids remember the simplest things not the complicated.

Stick to the very end for a heartwarming reminder of this! Plus, they want a happy mom so stick with simple!

The best thing to do is have a regularly time scheduled each week to come together. I didn’t even say each day! That’s it. What you do during this time can vary from week to week but having a consistent when you do it helps keep everyone accountable.

Is Spending Time with Family Important?

The simple answer to that question is yes. And just to be clear, in this post when I refer to “family time” I’m specifically taking about time together as a whole. Not just mom and the kids or mom and one child doing something together.

And the fact is, for most families having quality time together as one family is challenging to pull off on a daily basis. What about family dinner, you ask? It’s been widely discussed that family dinners are on the sharp decline and while this may be a bad thing, it’s the reality for many families – including mine!

But no one is debating that making quality time for family isn’t important and necessary for connection. In fact, there are many benefits to regular family time such as:

Building a positive self-image in your child. When your children know it’s a priority to you that you spend dedicated time with them every day, they get the message loud and clear that – they matter. There’s a strong correlation between parental involvement and a child’s self-esteem and “internal controls,” which points to a child’s ability to regulate his emotions. Therefore, involved parents equate to happier kids.

Improves family communication through practice. Communicating effectively as a family can be a real challenge but through frequent family time together you get to improve through practicing and finding out what works best for your family.

Creates stronger emotional bonds. Being truly connected to the heart of your child is extremely important to maintaining a healthy relationship that carries them into adulthood. This can only happen through spending time with your child. As the saying goes, in a family love is spelled T.I.M.E.

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

It’s Not About the Time

Before we dive into the simple activities you can easily do as a family, I want to address the issue of time. As in, how much time is enough.

Studies have been done to try and scientifically answer this question but the truth is, it can’t because every family is differnet and has it’s own needs. It’s our job as parents to be looking and listening for what’s possibly lacking and work to meet those needs for our children.

One huge point to remember though is it’s more about quality than quantity as the wise old saying goes. If you as a parent are rushed, unengaged, or bored your kids will feel these negative emotions and will feel rejection so you might as well skip it if you’re not up to it that day. And don’t worry, we’ve ALL been there!

Creating a regular family time should be a priority but never a rigid burden in an already hectic lifestyle or season. And every family is unique and must work within the boundaries of their own family structure. For example, single parents and military spouses who’s spouse is currently deployed are carrying the responsibility of creating family time without the help of another adult.

This can be really challenging and overwhelming if your expectations are too high. If you find yourself in this life season right now, remembering simple is your best asset. If you find your kids are pushing back on big game nights or outings together, just have a movie night or binge watch your favorite shows together.

Just being in the same room together doing something fun is still very powerful for connection versus everyone being tucked away in their own corners of the house! Or begging to leave the house all together! The fact that your kids actually want to hang out with you is a great sign… so take it with joy.

This list of ideas are simple, very simple. My family doesn’t do over-the-top themed activities so you won’t find those here. Just easy ideas that any family can do to start bonding together a little more each week.

13 Fun Activities for Spending Time with Family

  1. Go on a walk together. If you are a fit family (or need to be) this is a great way to laugh, talk, race each other and get out of the house. Oh and burn off some much-needed calories after dinner!
  2. Have a family game night. Game nights aren’t going away and are a really fun way to get silly, competitive, and even forget about lingering family stress. Here’s a list of our favorite Family Board Games. Video games are also fun to play together as a family!
  3. Have a slumber party in the living room. When your kids are still little, camping in the living room feels like an amazing adventure! Add a few forts, AKA tents, and it’s a night to remember!
  4. Cook dinner together. If your family loves cooking and eating food than actually preparing meals together can be a really fun way of connecting and working together. Get one of those meal kits that you order in the mail and follow the recipe together to make it even easier.
  5. Binge watch your favorite family shows on Netflix. Yes, watching TV does count as quality family time. As long as it’s intentional like a series that your whole family loves instead of just mindlessly watching anything that comes on TV.
  6. Instead of going out for ice cream have a sundae at home night. Going out for ice cream be really expensive! Try staying home and making your own sundaes. You can even go the extra mile and bake cookies too. Your kids will love these family nights!
  7. Start a family business. I know this sounds like a big one but starting a small business that centers around a shared passion can be a wonderful way to connect and work together to do something meaningful as a family.
  8. Have weekly family dinners. Sitting down every night as a family for dinner is a challenge for many families including mine. Establishing one night a week when everyone is home as a dinner night can help so much in creating consistency despite hectic schedules.
  9. Watch a movie or make it a marathon. Our family is a HUGE Marvel family and we’ll take any excuse to watch any of our favorite superhero movies on a lazy weekend in our PJ’s.
  10. Go on a road trip. This is probably not one to do as frequently but taking a quick road trip to a nearby town is fun and refreshing especially if you live close to fun attractions.
  11. Volunteer for a cause. Every city has organizations that help those in need. Find a cause that your family cares deeply about and volunteer to help that organization for a time each month.
  12. Do random acts of kindness. Plan simple and fun ways to go out in your community and do nice things. There are tons of fun ideas here.
  13. Do chores together. No seriously! Doing your weekly chores together as a family makes the work go by faster and with a bit of fun like adding silly songs like Raining Tacos (my kids’ favorite) can make the hard work of chores fly by while having fun together.

Final Thoughts on Family Time

Spending time together as a family might hold its own challenges if your spouse travels frequently or is in the military. And if you’re a single parent you may feel overwhelmed with having everything resting on your shoulders and this is just one more thing to put on your mom list.

Please be encouraged by this, children have the tendency to remember the simplest things as the most fun. I can’t remember where I heard this so please forgive me (I think it was on the radio) This woman was telling how her now grown daughter remembered this one particular memory.

Her daughter said it was the most fun thing when her mom made dinner by putting together a plate of snacks like crackers, cheese, and fruit. When her mom heard her daughter’s confession, she couldn’t believe it because she remembered feeling like a bad mom on those nights when she was too tired to cook a real dinner.

Wow! This is so funny because for one, I do this myself and call them “snacky dinner” and my kids love them. Go figure! But also it’s a great reminder that often what we beat ourselves up over not doing enough, our kids feel our actions are just right.

Strengthening your family has never been easier than with these simple ideas for spending time as a family. Your kids won't complain about these ideas! And the best part is they center around simple! #familytime #family #parenting #kidsandparenting #activities
Finding time to spend together as a family can be challenging for busy families. Here are the most simple ways to easily bring your whole family together! #family #kidsandparenting

Ridiculously Fun Family Board Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of!

board games for families

There’s nothing like a great game night to bring a family together! Growing up my family had frequent game nights and I honestly remember that they seemed to magically bring us together and reduce any stress lingering in the background.

Board games are a fun and less expensive way to spend time with each other. And if you choose the right game, your family will probably like it better than a day to the movies and your bank account will thank you!

board games for families

I also wanted to share the top games that foster creativity, strategic thinking, and teamwork. I was recently disappointed when shopping for games for my kids over the holidays. There were an abundance of games that didn’t have these great qualities and instead highlighted gross stuff like poop, toilets and anything connected to potty humor, popping pimples, snot, and more disgusting themes.

So if you’re looking for “smarter” games that teach our kids fun and valuable lessons and skills, stay tuned. None of those gross and meaningless games here! Here are tons of great board games for kids that you can quickly order online from Amazon so no more endless searching.

Here are our favorite fun board games for kids that your family will want to play again and again!

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Board Games for Ages 3-6

Connect 4

This seriously is a favorite in our family. Even my 3-year-old jumps in and plays this game very well. It’s a game of strategy and you have to be paying close attention to your opponent’s moves. Sadly our game recently broke. However, one of my kids ended up getting the latest spinoff version of this game for Christmas this year. It’s totally different from the original but really lots of fun! You can check it out the new Connect 4 here!

Sequence for Kids

This game is just like the highly popular bigger kids game Sequence which is very easy for smaller kids to understand. However, Sequence for Kids is perfect for ages 3-5 and uses pictures of fun and colorful animals to make the game more fun for them.

Quirkle

This board game is very similar to the concept of Scrabble but instead of letters, it uses colorful shape blocks. Players begin with a starting hand of six blocks and take turns placing multiple blocks in a column or in a row in either or all the same color or the same shape. Because of the endless combinations, this game can be played many, many times with lots of fun.

BusyTown’s Eye Found It

This is a really fun game for younger kids but is interesting enough for adults or older siblings to play. Plus, this game fosters a team spirit instead of simply beating your opponent! Using the six-foot game board, kids will work their way to Picnic Island, searching for hidden objects in an I-Spy style challenge. Along the way they’ll have to all work together to solve mysteries before getting to the end.

Ice Cool

This game is a fun learning and dexterity game for kids and winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2017 (Best Children’s Game 2017) award. Kids will work to move their penguins through the school in order to be the first to gather all their fish. Players flick these wobbly cute penguins through halls and corridors while trying to avoid the hall monitor who will end the round.

Hoot Owl Hoot

This is another cooperative game where all team players must work together instead of competing against each other to win. In this fun and colorful game players must help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. If they are successful everyone wins!

Board Games for Ages 7-12

Sequence

This is a fun game that’s challenging for adults but easy enough for kids to understand and love playing. You just play a card from your hand, and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board. When you have five in a row, it’s a Sequence. There is also Sequence for Kids if all your kids are very young. It’s perfect for ages 3 and up.

Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your Assets

This is a fun and easy to learn card game that’s really simple for all ages to play. Basically, when you get a matching set of assets, you can lay it down in front of you. But the only way to protect the set from being stolen by a teammate and added to their own stack is to cover it with another matching set. Getting the matching set and protecting your assets is the fun of this card game!

Patchwork

In this fun medieval style puzzle game, kids will work to use their fabric tiles to outdo their opponent in making the best, most beautiful quilt. These quilt pieces are laid out in a circle around the board, and on your turn, you only have access to the next three pieces to purchase and place on your board. This is a game of strategy because the game doesn’t just go back and forth. Some pieces advance you farther along a time track, which then allows your opponent to keep purchasing pieces until he or she passes you.

Forbidden Sky

This game is a cooperative style game which means all players must work together and the game results in either an all-win or an all-lose game. In Forbidden Sky, you work as a team to assemble and connect power sources to launch a rocket ship and get off a floating platform. There are elements such as lightning and wind that try to hinder your work, and you have to team up so that no one gets blown off the platform or gets electrocuted.

Telestrations

This is a fun spin on the old classic telephone game. The twist is where players draw on their own erasable sketchbook the “secret word.” The timer gets turned and everyone draws their word. After 60 seconds, everyone passes their book to the player on their left. Then each player takes a few seconds to guess in words(s) what they see, and passes again. This continues until everyone’s sketch book passes by every player and returns back to its original owner, where it’s time for The Big Reveal.

Suspend

This isn’t exactly a board game but my kids discovered it at a party and they loved it. It’s basically a building and balancing game where kids work to delicately hang and balance the notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces from the tabletop stand. With each added piece, the balance shifts and the sculpture transforms. One misplaced piece or wrong move could send it all crashing down! 

Board Games for Ages 13 and Up

Code Names

This is a perfect game for older kids, teens, and even adults. The game works with two rival spymasters who know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames. Each Spymaster gives one-word clues to his or her teammates in order for them to pick the right clue. If teams pick the wrong clue, which are cards laid out on the table, they might accidentally uncover a clue for the opposing team or worse, pick the assassin, thereby ending the game.

The Resistance

This is a game that requires at least 5 players, so it’s a perfect party games. Some players will be resistance members (good guys) who need to complete missions to topple the evil government. Others will be spies sent to infiltrate the missions and make sure they fail. The spies are required to lie about their identity and all know who each other are, but the good guys are in the dark. The good guys have to figure out who the spies are and eliminate them from the missions in order to succeed, while the spies pretend to be good guys so they can continue their sabotage.

7 Wonders

This game is a great strategy game played as the leader of one of the great 7 cities of the ancient world. You must carefully gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. The game is set in 3 different ages and each game runs approximately 30 minutes. By the time the third age is over, players score the points given by their cards and their military conflicts. The winner is the player with the most points.

Catan

This is a fun and fantastic strategy game but the complicated rules can mean this game is much harder for younger children. Once you fully understand the game rules (requires a bit of time) the game is highly addictive. Many people who’ve played this game find it can be slow, but to speed up the time and the fun, simply use the “expansion pack”, which allows all players to trade and build at the end of EACH turn, instead of waiting for your OWN turn to do so. This shortens game time substantially (45 minutes instead of 60-90) and makes it much more exciting.

Coup (The Dystopian Universe)

This game is easy to play with very fast paced rounds, and lots of fun bluffing make this game perfect for teens. The game works like this, the cards you hold in your hand determine your abilities: how many coins you can earn each round, whether you can steal cards, whether you can kill another player. Of course, the other players don’t know which cards you hold, so you could always do a little “acting.” And hope no one calls your bluff, or you’re the one who will end up dead.

Board Games for the Whole Family

Pandemic

This game is a hugely popular cooperative game which is honestly refreshing from always playing highly competitive games with your family. Pandemic is a really fun apocalyptic game that gets your family working together to stop the spread of diseases to save the world. This is an all-win or all-lose type of game so at the end of the game everyone feels connected and accomplished whether or not you win or lose.

Drop It Family Strategy Game

This is a fun game that’s enjoyed by both players and those watching! This game can be played by individuals or teams and is pretty much appropriate for all ages groups. The game works when players drop shapes into the vertical game board. They earn points for the highest level that their shape reaches when it lands and extra points for touching bonus circles. But be careful: Don’t break a landing rule! The shape you dropped is not allowed to touch matching shapes or colors after it lands. The winner is the player or team with the most points at the end.

Blokus

This game gets voted the easiest to learn for all ages and is really fun for everyone. The premise is all your 21 Tetris style pieces need to be placed carefully on the board but can only touch at the corners. The object of the game is to put as many of your shapes down as possible while blocking other players from putting down their pieces.  The game is fun and fast, usually around 30 minutes a game.

Exploding Kittens

This wildly popular game with the funny name is fun and simple enough for even younger kids to understand and exciting enough to keep your teens loving the fun. The play is simple: don’t be the one to draw an exploding kitten card, unless you happen to have a defuse card. All the other cards help you avoid an exploding kitten, or even give it to someone else. Game play is fast and unpredictable, meaning every game is different.

What’s Yours Like?

This game is similar to the concept of the hugely popular game Catch Phrase. Except that all the players (except the one in the hot seat) know what the guess word is (i.e. jacket). Everyone takes turns describing what theirs is like: “mine is warm” or “mine keeps me dry” or “I’m reminded it’s not summer every time I put mine on.” Games are fun and fast and are perfect for family game night!

Looking for fun and addictive family board games? These are the best board games your family will not want to stop playing on your next family game night. And you probably have never heard of most of them! #boardgames #familytime
These fun board games are the perfect games for families. And the list is broken down by ages and one all-together family list! Your kids won't want to stop playing! #boardgames #familytime #parenting

17 Super Easy and Adorable Easter Crafts to do With Your Kids

Easter crafts for kids (1)

There’s no better way to spend fun time with your kids and celebrate the holidays than to do some fun and adorable crafts. And this Easter these cute craft ideas will be fun for everyone.

I can never get enough adorable little chicks, bunnies, and egg crafts. I also can’t leave out crafts that teach the real reason for Easter – the resurrection of Jesus Christ so I’ve included a bunch of religious themed Easter crafts too!

Here’s a list of some common supplies you’ll need:

  • Pom-Poms
  • Craft Sticks
  • Pastel Craft Paint
  • Paper Plates
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • paper egg cartons

Fun Easter Crafts to do With Your Kids

Doing crafts with your kids is a fun way to spend together celebrating the holidays. These cute ideas are such fun Easter crafts to do with your Kids. #easter #crafts #craftsforkids #activities

The Best Toddler Puzzles for Fun and Learning to Buy in 2019

Best toddler puzzles

Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? Puzzles are a challenging and fun way to help toddlers learn basic foundations like letter and number recognition, learning shapes and colors, and increasing fine motor skills.

Puzzles are the perfect learning toys for toddlers!

The best toddler puzzles

And because the term toddler can mean anything between a 2, 3, or 4 year old, I’ve separated this list into helpful categories to help you find the perfect puzzle for your toddler. Because that’s a big range when it comes to puzzles!

There will be obvious overlap, so use your own judgment when it comes to choosing your own toddler’s puzzles from this list. And there’s also a general toddler puzzle section that features puzzles that are perfect for toddlers of any age!

Puzzles for Toddlers of All Ages

Custom Wooden Name Puzzle

This custom name puzzle is perfect for all ages because name recognition is so important early on. These brightly colored names are so cute to help your little one learn and recognize their own name. Plus, all names can be made!

Grab your puzzle here!


Mickey Mouse Number and Letters Puzzles

This set of Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are great for little toddlers to start learning their letters, numbers, and shapes. And it’s great for older toddlers to have fun with Mickey Mouse.

Check out the puzzle here!

Fun Wooden Dinosaur Puzzle

This wooden dinosaur puzzle is absolutely adorable and will easily become a favorite showing many of the different types of dinosaurs. And the pieces are easy to handle for little toddlers.

Check out your puzzle here!


Animal Wooden Box Puzzle

This is such a fun puzzle that encourages toddlers to change the block shapes around to form the fun animal picture. They’ll be turning those blocks into new pictures for tons of toddler fun.

Grab this puzzle here!

Wooden Shape Sorting Peg Puzzle

Grab this puzzle here!


Toddler Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Themed Puzzle Set

These adorable puzzles from Smart Kids come in themed packs of five puzzles. They are perfect for little hands that may be new to puzzles!

Grab your puzzle here!


Wooden Colors and Shapes Puzzle

This puzzle teaches toddlers their colors and shapes in one bright puzzle. They can match up the giant crayons with the matching colors or the brightly colored shapes.

Check out this puzzle here!


Things I Eat Match Up Puzzle

Little hands will use the pictures of foods like delicious fruits and veggies to match up these simple 2 piece puzzles. These are perfect to get toddlers working on matching to like items together.

Check out this puzzle here!


This travel themed puzzle is so bright and stimulating and teaches little ones about all the various modes of travel such as boats, airplanes, and buses.

Grab your puzzle here!


Touch and Feel Animal Puzzle

Your 2-year-old will love putting together these 3 piece animal puzzle as they have fun textures like fur and leather in each puzzle set!

Check out this puzzle here!


Classic Wooden Shape Sorting Puzzle

This Melissa and Doug classic wooden shape sorter is a learning toy every child should have. It really helps develop fine motor skills and good shape recognition as they play.

Check out this sorter here!


Vibrant Wooden Shape Sorter

This simple shape sorter is perfect for little hands with the chunky and vibrant colored pieces. Encourage your toddler to name each shape as they place them in the puzzle spot.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 3-Year-Olds

Wooden Latch Board Puzzle

Toddlers love buckles and latches! And this bright puzzle from Melissa and Doug will keep your toddler busy as they have fun working through each latch with this carefully crafted wooden puzzle.

Get your puzzle here!


Bright Wooden Numbers and Letters Puzzle Set

This set of brightly colored number and letter puzzles are perfect for little hands with the special knobs for handling each piece. These will easily become a favorite puzzle set.

Check out this puzzle set here!


Wooden Vehicle Themed Puzzle in a Box

This classic Melissa and Doug puzzle set is four puzzle boards in one with an attached box for all the jigsaw pieces. When your toddler is ready for more pieces, this is a great puzzle.

Check out this puzzle set here!


Colorful Mosaic Pegboard Puzzle

This fun puzzle encourages toddlers to match up the colorful pegs and place them into the matching colored spaces in the puzzle. This is great for 3 and 4 year olds but be aware of the little pieces which can be a chocking hazard.

Get this puzzle here!


Animal Parade Letter Jigsaw

This original puzzle helps toddlers recognize letters with the names of popular animals while putting together this creative animal parade puzzle.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 4-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzle Set

This is a great first jigsaw puzzle. Each puzzle in the set has 9 wooden, easy to hold pieces. This is great for older toddlers who can see pieces and combine into a big picture. Some 3-year-olds would also love this puzzle.

Grab this puzzle here!


3D Dinosaur Puzzle Set

This amazing 3D form dinosaur puzzles brings the fun of these creatures to life. Toddlers get to put together their own 3D dinosaurs to play with. This is best for 3 and 4 year old toddler who are able to understand how the pieces fit together.

Check out the puzzle here!


Colorful Tangram Block Puzzle

This fun tangram puzzle encourages toddlers to manipulate all the different shaped blocks to fit into the one square puzzle mold. It’s like your babies first brainteaser!

Check out this puzzle here! 


Geometric Shape Sorter

This is another brainteaser style puzzle to challenge their brains to match up the correct shaped hole with the same peg.

Get this puzzle here!


Looking for fun and educational learning puzzles for your growing toddler? These learning puzzles for toddlers will easily engage your 2-year-old, 3-year-old, or 4-year-old in educational fun! #toddlers #activities #parenting

Winter Fun List: 31 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids When It’s Too Cold to go Outside

fun indoor activities for kids

Winter lasts for several months and during those harsh, cold weeks kids still need fun and exercise. The easiest thing for parents to do in the warmer months is to have their kids go outside and play.

But what does a mom do when it’s too cold to send her kids outside?

fun indoor activities for kids

She finds something fun on this list and lets her kids have at it!

These fun kid’s activities will keep them happy and occupied so you don’t feel the cabin fever getting to you too much! Plus, these activities are perfect for those soggy, rainy days too!

If you have very little ones running around and messing up with the bigger kids are doing, try making your toddler a few busy bags like these.

Indoor Activities for Kids on Cold and Rainy Days

1 – Make Slime – Yes, I know this one is probably the most overdone kid’s activity ever. But for good reason! It will keep your kid occupied for hours both in the making and playing with their newest slime creation. Plus, it’s science! Here are some great science-focused slime ideas.

2 – Create an indoor obstacle course – This idea can be really fun and can use just about any supplies you already have on hand. Here’s an easy step by step post on creating your own.

3 – Do activities in a subscription craft box. My kids really love KiwiCo and each get crates (activity boxes) shipped to them each month. My kids literally scream when they see their delivery and learn a lot working through the activities each month. And if you just want to order crates in the cold months, you can pause your subscriptions in the summer months! Get your crates here.

Here’s my little guy making his own bean bag horseshoe game! He’s loves it!

4 – Have a book read aloud sessionRead alouds are so fun for kids. My daughter still loves when I read a chapter book aloud each night. It’s great for bonding and connection over a great story. Here are some recommended read aloud books.

5 – Build and giant fort and play games inside – Kids are more apt to stay in one place and to one thing, like play a game, if they do it from inside a fort. Just skillfully pile up the couch cushions and blankets and make anything that resembles a fort. Then get your kids’ favorite board games and let them have a game day inside. Here’s a great 2019 game guide.

6 – Make giant tracks for your kid’s cars – This one may sound strange but if your child loves cars and trucks this one is really cool. Simply use painter’s or masking tape and make highway lines all over your floors that your kids can drive their cars. It’ll keep them busy for hours! Here are some fun ideas.

7 – Binge Watch a Kid’s Series on NetFlix – This idea is perfect when the whole family is sick or you just need a break. Pop some popcorn and just hit play. Your kids will be happy and you’ll probably love the show too. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events is a fun show for the whole family and there are 3 seasons on NetFlix already.

8 – Make a Hallway Laser Maze – This is so much fun and your bigger kids can actually do the whole thing by themselves and you get time to yourself. All you’ll hear is tons of giggles and “aw man’s!” Check out the video example below:

9 – Make a window sun catcher – Though your kids might not be able to go outside, these cute sun catchers will make looking outside fun, especially if it snows where you are! Here’s a great sun catcher tutorial.

10 – Put on a play – If you have a bunch of little performers in your house encourage your kids to put on their own performance. They can create a script, choreograph dances, and make their own set and costumes. This could literally be an all day event.

11 – Learn new dance moves – We used to learn the latest dance moves by watching music videos on MTV. Now kids just learn them on YouTube. Put on some dance tutorial videos for kids and let them practice till their heart’s content. Here’s one to learn to Floss:

12 – Have a Marshmallow Toothpick Challenge – This is the cheapest game you can pull together for your kids. Just buy a bag of marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and let your kids have a building contest. They can construct whatever they want and challenge themselves! Here’s how to do it.

13 – Let them have paint! – Yes, I know this is a messier activity. But if your kids are older and to be trusted with paint alone or slightly supervised, this is a wonderful creative activity. Plus, you can buy art canvases rather inexpensively so they can even hang their creations when they’re done. If your little one wants to get in on the painting action, here’s a mess-free toddler option.

14 – Have a paper airplane flight contest This is the coolest idea I’ve seen. Simply make your airplanes and build a target with holes and scores.

15 – Make an indoor tape game – Not only can you make car tracks with tape but you can basically create an endless list of games too. Here’s an exhaustive list of indoor tape games from What Moms Love.

16 – Build a DIY marble maze – This is easy enough that bigger kids can do this on their own. Here’s the tutorial. Then let them have a contest to see who can get their marble through the maze the fastest.

17 – Learn how to do origami – My kids love learning origami. There are so many fun creations they can make. Here’s a fun and easy video they can watch to teach them.

18 – Do cupcake wars – Make a batch of yummy cupcakes and give each child three and have them decorate each one creatively. Have them present each of their designs for judging and then have fun eating them!

19 – Make a DIY corner page bookmark – My kids love reading and they actually don’t like dog-earing their pages. This adorable craft will give them a fun activity and will encourage them to keep reading.

20 – Make Toilet Paper Roll Animals – This craft is fun and can get as involved and artsy as your kids desire! Here are some ideas for inspiration.

21 – Build a rainbow prism mobile – Rainbows are beautiful outside, but this mobile craft lets you have rainbows inside! Here’s the full tutorial.

22 – Have a board game day – Just let the kids go into their games and choose a few of their favorites and play as long as they want. Here is a great board games recommended list.

23 – Play card games – Card games may not be the first thing kids think of to play with but they are still a lot of fun! Here is a post with 15 card games you can teach your kids to play with a regular deck of cards.

24 – Make an indoor scavenger hunt – Make a list of random items around the house and have the kids take pictures on their phone, tablet, or digital camera of all the items they find.

25 – Have an indoor picnic – Lay the blankets on the floor and prepare a picnic style meal.

26 – Put together a puzzle – Puzzles are fun and can take up an entire snowy afternoon. The older your kids, the bigger and harder the puzzle. The ones that cover the entire kitchen table are the best!

27 – Make DIY playdough – this non-toxic, homemade playdough is just as fun as making slime but is a less messy option for little ones. But bigger kids love playdough too.

28 – Shoot hoops – Find any ball and a larger sized basket or bucket and have a shoot out contest. I honestly can say that my husband can do this with the kids all night and they have a ball… literally!

29 – Make crystal geode eggs – This activity is so much fun and equally educational. These are naturally forming geode crystals that form inside egg shells. Here is exactly how to do it.

30 – Go camping inside – Camping is fun no matter where! So why not sleep in the living room and even get a tent. Make smores in the microwave.

31 – Have a micro treasure hunt – Every kid gets a little matchbox and has 10 minutes to fill it with as many tiny objects as they can. Thinks like a bead, a button, or even a pea.

When it's too cold to go outside these super fun indoor activities for kids will deliver a fun filled days and no excuse for boredom! #activities #kids #parenting

27 Fun Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds to Keep Them Busy

I love the idea of toddler busy bags! I first discovered the idea when my first daughter was a toddler and I was beginning to work on homeschooling her while I was working from home. And I needed lots of ideas for fun activities for toddlers.

Busy bags offer fun and simple activities that are mostly focused on learning and motor skills and happily keep little ones busy for at least 15-20 minutes. And that’s light years for moms with toddlers!

Here is a list of fun and easy busy bags that are perfect for your 2-year-old. This means the pieces aren’t too small, they’re easy and engaging for toddlers to do, and they don’t contain stuff that’ll ruin your house when you’re not looking.

You’re welcome for that last one!

How to Make Your Own Busy Bags the Cheap and Easy Way

The first step is finding your bags. Many moms use reusable pencil holders. Here’s a multicolored pack of 24.

You can also just use durable slide locking Ziploc bags like these. Honestly, that’s what I use because they’re cheaper and bigger. They just don’t look at cute as the colorful ones.

busy bags activities for 2 year olds

Then you’ll want to search lists like this one and find a few busy bags you want to make. Create a list of supplies. Try to first use what you have on hand first and also look at the clearance area inside most craft stores.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time for the fun to begin! You can also allow your older kids to make the busy bags, if you have older kids. If not, put your toddler to bed and turn on your favorite Netflix show and start crafting.

This may be weird to you but I don’t like making my busy bags in front of my toddler. I love showing them when it’s all done. I don’t want to spoil the magic. But obviously do what works for you.

Finally, if you make a whole batch you’ll want to store them somewhere that keeps them from getting damaged. You can store in a drawer or a plastic bin that’s just for busy bags.

Pro mom tip: Do NOT store them with your toddler’s regular toys or in a place they can reach them on their own.

For one, you want them to be special every time you present them. This honestly keeps them playing so much longer. And two, you don’t want to walk in the room to see all your carefully crafted busy bag items all dumped into one glorious pile!

Talk about mom meltdown.

Now let’s get to all the fun.

27 Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds

I’ve divided the busy bag ideas into categories so you can easily find the type of activity you want to work on first.

Looking for simple activities to keep your toddler busy and learning? This list of busy bags for 2 year olds will keep your little one busy and happy! #toddlers #activities

Fine Motor Skills Activities

No Sew Button Snake – Twitchetts

Crazy Straws – Powerful Mothering

Popsicle Stick Drop – Adventures and Play

Wooden Animal Lacing – Little Lifelong Learners

Pool Noodle Lacing – Planet of the Apels

Puzzle and Matching Activities

Super Hero Mix and Match Puzzle – School Time Snippets

Shapes Matching – Plain Vanilla Mom

Ladybug Number Match Up – Coffee and Crayons

Winter Counting Puzzle – Life Over CS

Memory Game with Lids – Powerful Mothering

Felt Counting Chain – Glued to My Crafts Blog

Alphabet Match Up – Learning 4 Kids

Crocodile Counting Match – Reading Confetti

Shapes, Letters, and Colors Recognition

Pom pom Color Egg Carton Sort – The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide

Rainbow Sorting – Learning and Exploring Through Play

Fish for Shapes – Little Family Fun

Q Tip Counting Trays – Mama Jenn

Colored Stick to Clothes Pin Matching – Teach Me Mommy

Egg Carton Color Sort – The Imagination Tree

Alphabet Tracing Sheets – Money Saving Mom

Letter Spoon Match Up – Organized Jewish Home

Shape Sorting Ice Cube Tray – Mess for Less

Just Plain Fun Activities

Felt Tic Tac Toe Game – Childhood 101

Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets – Easy Peasy and Fun

Travel Felt Board – Mama Smiles

I Spy Peekaboo Bag – Childhood 101

Pipe Cleaner Lacing Game – Parents

If you’re also looking for quality online activities, check out these YouTube learning channels for kids!

The Best YouTube Kids Channels You Won’t Feel Guilty About Letting Your Kids Watch

YouTube Kids is something kid’s dreams are made of, or at least I think it is of my toddler’s dreams. But it can also be what parent’s nightmares are made of because of all the mom guilt that seems to come into play with screen time.

YouTube content for kids wasn’t a thing when my girls were little so YouTube kids really took me by surprise with my toddler son this time around.

Best YouTube Kids Channels

I’m not even entirely sure how he got introduced to YouTube Kids… probably sitting next to his older sisters’ watching slime videos.

He first became obsessed when he watched his first Blippi video. I was super leery of this strange guy wearing an orange hat and bowtie and acting like a kid himself. PeeWee Herman came to mind.

But I starting watching with him and actually came to like the guy as he actually shared educational content. He’s basically lightyears better than watching useless toy reviews and unboxing videos.

Helpful Screen Time Guidelines

So where do I stand with my kids watching YouTube Kids channels?

I personally feel that screen time is screen time. I say that to mean, anytime your kid is looking at a screen, chances are, they aren’t doing healthy kids activities like reading a book, doing something hands-on, or getting physical exercise.

So, screen time in my house is limited in time and type… and those above mentioned things-to-do are strongly encouraged. As for how much time my kids get really depends on the day and whether we’re on a school break.

Or whether I need a break for that matter! 

You know what’s too much for your child, but no more than an hour a day is a good benchmark. Trust your own judgment as a parent.

As for the type of content they can watch or play on their device, I do my best to stick to educational. Especially when it comes to Youtube for toddlers. But not always. Some of his favorite shows and channels aren’t my favorite but I treat them like ice cream… sparingly.

Here’s a list of good YouTube channels and content that won’t leave you feeling guilty:

YouTube for Toddlers:

Super Simple Songs – This channel is full of cute, ear wormy, type of songs like Baby Shark but also has fun original educational content also.

Subscribers: 12 Million

Mother Goose Club – This channel is made up of adults and cute kids who dress up and create popular nursery rhymes and other fun children’s songs.

Subscribers: 4.9 Million

Sesame Street – Yes, our favorite monsters are on YouTube Kids. They’ve created shorts from their best episodes and also feature lots of learning videos. Their newest creation is a brand new animated series, Esme and Roy which is adorable.

Subscribers: 4.7 Million

PBS Kids – This channel doesn’t have original YouTube content but they do feature episodes of their shows like Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Pinkalicious, and Wild Kratts.

Subscribers: 553k

Blippi Blippi is fun and entertaining for toddlers and preschoolers but he also does do a good job of making his videos educational. My son loves Blippi and actually has learned quite a few things. He even asked for lettuce on his sandwich yesterday because Blippi did it!

Subscribers: 3.1 Million

YouTube Kids Channels for School Aged Kids:

National Geographic Kids – This channel is wonderful if you have a kid who loves animals or the outdoors. There are tons of videos about fascinating animals and their environments. They also really fun video series like weird but true, Sam’s zookeeper, the Best Job, and Awesome 8.

Subscribers: 179k

TED-Ed – From the creators of the TED Talk videos we all love to watch comes a channel that all parents and kids will love TED-Ed. This channel answers all the questions we’ve ever asked in life… and then some. The creators craft visually stimulating videos to answer these questions in a very edutaining way.

Subscribers: 8.2 Million

Sick Science! – If your child loves science, making slime, or doing experiments they’ll really enjoy this channel with Steve Spangler demonstrating the fun and power of science.

Subscribers: 570,000

Simple Kids Crafts – If you have a kid who loves crafts and making cute furniture for her dolls, she’ll love all the cuteness on this channel.

Subscribers: 500k

Nerdy Nummies – This channel is so fun and is perfect for your little baker. Rosanna is so charming as she teaches viewers how to make yummy nummies that are a kid’s dream!

Subscribers: 10 Million

YouTube Kids Channels for Tweens and Teens

Minute Physics – This breaks down complicated physics concepts into easy to understand stick animations. With all the superhero movies and shows, kids are being introduced to physics terms and these videos will help them understand things like dark matter and quantum tunneling.

Subscribers: 4.5 Million

Mike Loves Science AKA ComaNiddy – If your kid loves hip hop music and science than this channel is a match made in heaven. Mike loves science, hence the name, and he creates videos to teach scientific concepts with lyrical rhymes to help kids enjoy and remember them.

Subscribers: 18K

Cartooning 4 Kids – If you have an artistic kid who loves to draw like I do this channel is a great and fun place to help them hone their drawing skills.

Subscribers: 1.3 Million

Do you have any screen time tips? Please share them in the comments below!

When you do allow screen time in your home, these educational and fun YouTube Kids Channels won't leave you feeling guilty! #kidsandparenting #parenting
These education and fun YouTube Kids channels are perfect to get your kids learning new things about science, math, and other cool stuff. Plus, you won't feel guilty about the extra screen time! #parenting #screentime #kidsandparenting

4 Brilliant Ways to Plan Your Christmas on a Budget and Really Enjoy it!

How to Prevent overspending on gifts

Trying to simultaneously save money while spending money on gifts during the holidays is something we all struggle with at Christmas time… if you’re not prepared!

Money can be a touchy subject. And the term “Christmas on a Budget” can make a girl cringe.

But the truth is, most of us end up spending way more money during the holidays than we actually planned for. And wake up with buyer’s remorse and a credit hangover on December 26th!

How to Prevent overspending on gifts

I’ve got some tips to help you spend your money in a way that feels good, with no buyer’s remorse this year!

Let’s talk about the gifts for your kids. Do you remember what gifts you gave them last year? Do they remember what gifts you gave them last year?

And, is the gift still being used and bringing joy today?

Some of you may say yes to this (and that’s awesome), but most will say no. Most often, the gifts we buy our children for Christmas bring temporary holiday excitement that ends up on the floor of their room or at the bottom of the toy bin.

Some Great Gift Ideas:

3 of the Best Meaningful Christmas Gifts You Can Give Your Kids

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens That Don’t Suck!

51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

The 15 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019

Start Your Christmas on a Budget the Right Way

To help avoid that, I’ll walk you through a short exercise.

Answer this question about your children:

What feelings are you trying to give your child by providing them a gift? If the answer doesn’t come to mind quickly, try writing it out.  When your child is opening presents, what are you hoping to see in their cute little face?

What feeling are you trying to give yourself, by providing them a gift? Again, if the answer doesn’t come to mind quickly, try writing it out.  What will drive that warm, fuzzy appreciation you may be looking for?

Once you know the answer to what feeling you’re trying to create, then you can really pay attention to the gifts you buy.

You can be conscious of your intent and decide if you want to spend the extra money or if a different gift is a better and longer lasting option.

Related: The Secret to Enjoying a Stree-Free Christmas with Kids

The Secret to Buy Lasting and Meaningful Gifts

For years, I would try to get all kinds of small gifts for my son, so he would have a lot of packages to open on Christmas morning. Then I realized how much effort, brain power and wasted money I was putting into those gifts. 

He was delighted the moment he opened them. Sadly though, within one month, the items were old news.

The feeling I was trying to give my son and myself was abundance. I wanted him to feel like he was rich with presents, and that I was able to provide that for him.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

But now, I have a very different approach. I do want my son to feel abundance, but instead of trying to teach him that with too many senseless gifts, I work on teaching him (and myself) this lesson throughout the year.

And for Christmas, my family decided to do something different and it surprisingly worked much better and was more enjoyable for everyone than the old way!

My husband and I buy him one nice gift (something he talks about for longer than five seconds after seeing the Target toy ad!), one smaller gift, and usually some pajamas!

Santa gets him one nice gift as well and leaves a few small items in his stocking. It’s simple, but it works for us. It’s important to decide what works for you and your family.

I recommend repeating the exercise above for your partner or anyone else you spend a fair amount of money on for gifts.

Creating Your Spending Plan

Moving on from individual gift buying, let’s take a look at the whole picture of holiday spending. The best way to keep yourself on track with your holiday spending (after you’ve set your gift buying intentions), is with a budget or let’s call it a “spending plan.”

Some people panic at the word budget, for many reasons.  Some don’t like to feel limited, and for them, setting a budget feels constricting. Others may not have a ton of money to spend during the holidays but are going to spend it anyway, and having a budget brings money issues to the forefront of your mind.

Remember, you’re trying to avoid holiday buyer’s remorse. You know you’ll be spending some money, so doing a little planning will go a long way.

It doesn’t have to take hours and should be very simple. I’m a huge fan of Microsoft Excel and keep my finances in spreadsheets.

Not everyone is crazy like me, and you might find that a piece of paper will work just fine. There are also great paper planners for tracking and several budget apps for your smartphone. Use whatever works for you – ultimately, what you’d actually use.

Related: 11 Easy Money-Saving Hacks for Families That’ll Inspire You to Keep Saving

Christmas on a Budget Tips for Success

This is a great time to have a conversation with your partner, so you can both be on the same page about holiday spending. When I talk about holiday finances in advance with my husband, it can help prevent financial arguments later.

And remember, a budget is just a guide, and it’s okay to have some flexibility with it.

Here are some optional budget categories, to help get you started:

  • Charity or religious donations
  • Holiday meals and beverages
  • Decorations (Christmas tree, lights, candles etc.)
  • Travel
  • Traditions (for example, my family goes to zoo lights every year)
  • Holiday clothes/picture outfits
  • Gifts (partner, kids, close relatives, work gift exchanges, kid gift exchanges, service provider gifts/tips, teachers, etc.)
  • Christmas cards and postage

Once you put some dollar figures in place, you can tally up your total and decide where you want to increase or decrease your spending.

Having a total for all your holiday spending in one place can be a real shocker!

If you’ve never budgeted for the holidays before, you might be quite shocked at how much you typically spend. I manage our family finances, and I will never forget my husband’s reaction several years ago when he realized just how much we spend during the holidays.

Funny enough, we didn’t desire to change much about the budget, but it was a real eye-opener him. “It adds up so fast!” And he seriously says this every year now!

Once you have a budget, you can make notes as you spend. If you do this a few minutes at a time during the holidays, you are far less likely to lose track.

You may not remember to record every single purchase, and you may not spend exactly the budgeted amount, but there won’t be any big surprises when the credit card bill arrives in January!

Spending just a small amount of time in advance to review your holiday spending and to get clear with what your intentions are for gift buying – you can save yourself stress, money and time! 


Nikki is a life coach for moms and is SUPER passionate about helping busy moms move from feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and stressed, to creating lives that are fulfilling and happy. You can find her on her amazing blog nikkiberkel.com. You can also grab her very helpful book The Busy Mom’s Holiday Guide here.

 

 


Get the best tips for having a Christmas on a budget for kids that everyone really enjoys! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #christmas

Enjoying your Christmas on a budget even with kids isn't impossible! Get these brilliant tips to get your started... it's NOT too late. #christmas #kidsandparenting

250+ Super Fun Activities for Kids to Learn and Play at Home

fun activities for kids

Keeping kids and toddlers entertained so you can have breaks throughout the day to get things done is necessary for your sanity as a mom. Enter, fun activities for kids and toddlers!

This ultimate list of fun activities for kids will give you endless inspiration and ideas to keep your little ones happy, entertained, and best of all – learning.

These activities also encourage your child to play independently. And that’s good news because that means you won’t need to be their playmate all the time and they’ll be more excited to dive into non-screen activities too.

The Ultimate List of Fun Activities for Kids and Toddlers

fun activities for kidsFun Activities for Kids to Beat the Boredom

There’s no phrase spoken more frequently out of the mouth of kids than, “I’m bored.” Since TV and video games aren’t the best options for keeping kids busy and entertained every single day, we need easy fun activities for kids we pull out of our mom bag of tricks at a moment’s notice.

The following are tons of activity ideas designed to keep your kids happy and busy when you need a break or need to tire them out before bedtime!

10 Toddler Activities for Your Crazy Active Kid – Get the full list here!

44 Activities to Tire Your Kids Out Before Bedtime – Get the full list here!

Free Activities When You Need to Get Out of the House – Get the full list of outdoor activities here!

50 Easy, No-Prep Activities for Kids – Get all the ideas here!

107 Fun Activities to Survive the Summer! – Get all the fun ideas here!

Learning Activities for Kids

learning activities for toddlers

Learning is a huge component of healthy toddler development and there are many simple ways to instill learning in your toddler’s day.

Pom Pom Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills – Get the Tutorials Here. 

Fun Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers and Preschoolers – Get all the Activities here!

Cute Color Matching Wheel – Get the tutorial here!

Arts and Craft Projects for Kids

arts and crafts projects for kids

Practicing the arts in any form with kids builds creativity and helps develop a lifelong love of learning. There are many forms of art outside of traditional painting and drawing such as dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.

All art is fun for kids and makes for the perfect activities for kids! Here are a few great artistic activities your kids will love!

4 Easy Kids Crafts Made From Everyday Household Items – Get the full list here!

Easy Ways to Introduce Music to Kids – Read the full post here!

Fun DIY Games for Kids

On days when boredom is calling your kiddos, having a few fun games on hand can magically remove mundane and bring in the fun. These fun games only use household items and promise endless entertainment.

Exploding Rainbows Game using Craft Sticks – Get the game here!

Snowman Bowling Game with Cute Snowman Printable – Get the game here!


Let us know your favorite games and activities in the comments below!

These non-screen time fun activities for kids will keep your children entertained so you can have a break! Plus, they'll be learning too. #kidsandparenting #parenting #activities #kids

Kids crying bored all the time? Try these super fun boredom busting activities for kids and toddlers! #activities #kids