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Slip, Slide and Splash: Summer Fun

School is almost out, which means it’s about time to bring out those summer water toys. We’ve compiled some fun options below we spotted on Parents that are sure to make a splash with your kids this summer:

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Credit: Parents

Alien Eyeball Toss Game: Kids will have some out-of-this-world fun with the Swimline Inflatable Alien Eyeball Toss game, where they can take turns tossing eyeballs back into the Alien’s face.

Water Gun Kickboard: While kickboards are great for kids learning to swim, they’re not the most exciting pool toy. Go with a water gun kickboard to make it a bit more interesting.

Super Subbie Motorized Pool Toys: Encourage kids to get active with the Supper Subbie Moterized Pool Toys. They can chase the swimming animals around or swim along with them.

Noodle Head Shooter: Noodles are a staple pool toy. Spruce them up with a noodle head shooter – simply place the shooter on top of your existing noodle and squeeze and release it under water to fill it up.

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Credit: Parents, bkstr, Jolly Mom

Rotten Egg Game: In this Rotten Egg Game, each egg has a number 1 – 5 inside or the words “rotten egg”. Let kids compete to get the eggs – whoever has the highest total numbers wins!

Swim Thru Rings: If your kids are especially good swimmers, challenge them to swim through rings. The Stream Machine’s Swim Thru Rings can adjust to float near the top or bottom of the pool, so you can make unique and challenging courses.

Slip N’ Slide: What would summer be without a slip n’ slide? The Wham-O Triple Racer is a good option for multiple children, with three lanes so kids can race. The slide also comes with three slide boogies for extra speedy sliding.

Beach Ball Sprinkler: Water Sprinklers are a great way to cool down when you don’t have a pool. The 88” circumference Beach Ball Sprinkler splashes water while you roll around the giant ball, combining beach ball action with water play.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

It’s almost that time of year to show Dad just how much we appreciate all that he does. Whether he’s old-fashioned, sporty or techy, the below ideas we spotted on AskMen can help you find the right gift for dad:

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Credit: AskMen

Cookbook: For fathers that are also Head Chef of the house, a cookbook is a wise gift that he will enjoy probably just as much as you love eating his tasty meals. The Carnivore Cookbook is good for dads that like to cook both simple and elaborate meat-based meals and includes a blend of traditional and contemporary dishes.

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Credit: AskMen

Amazon Fire TV: Let dad watch exactly what he wants with an Amazon Fire TV. The small, easy and well-designed box allows him to stream everything from the latest blockbusterto his favorite TV series and games.

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Credit: AskMen

Panasonic Wet/Dry Shaver: A high-end shaver is a gift you can be sure he will appreciate. The Panasonic Wet/Dry Shaver provides a quick yet precise shave and easy clean-up. Plus, it’s equipped with waterproof technology for use in wet or dry conditions.

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Credit: AskMen

Chillsner: Dads aren’t hard to please – sometimes all he wants is a nice and refreshing ice-cold beer. Give him just that with the Chillsner, which ensures his large IPA is perfectly chilled every time. Designed like an icicle, the Chillsner fits into a bottle’s neck so that his drink cools off almost instantly, top to bottom.

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Credit: AskMen

MeUndies: Think underwear isn’t a touching Father’s Day gift? You might want to reconsider. MeUndies have been dubbed the world’s most comfortable underwear that any father would be thankful for. The premium undies come in a variety of colors and prints that will keep him feeling funky and fresh—you can bet he will be pleasantly surprised with this simple but thoughtful gift.

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Credit: AskMen

MyBasis Watch: Techy dads will be ecstatic to receive this MyBasis activity band that can help him get fit, sleep better and stress less. The MyBasis band is riddled with sensors to capture heart rate motion, activity trends, sleep patterns as well as perspiration and skin temperature. In addition to regurgitating information, MyBasis analyzes tendencies and habits to suggest ways of optimizing daily potential.

Bring Back Family Night

What better way to do some family bonding than with a bit of friendly competition during family game night? Show you kiddos just how fun hanging with mom and dad can be with the fun ideas below we spotted on Spoonful:

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Credit: Spoonful

-       Roll Out the Marble:  For this action-packed, homemade game, speed and balance go hand in hand. Before you play, cut cardboard tubes into equal-length troughs, one for each player. Have players line up 2-3 feet apart. The first person in line sets the marble on one end of his trough and without touching the marble, rolls it the length of their tube and into the next player’s. That player passes the marble to the next and so on. As each player passes the marble, they rotate to the end of the line. If someone drops the marble, they are out and the marble goes back to the beginning of the line. For larger groups, split players into 2 teams and have them race.

-       Life Size Hungry Hippos: To play this life-size version of hungry hippos, you’ll need plenty of balloons and either 2 small hockey nets or 2 laundry baskets. Players compete against each other to quickly get more balloons in their net than the other player.

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Credit: Spoonful

-       Indoor Foot Volleyball: While you might not be flexible enough for this unique take on volleyball, your kids will love it. To play, first tie a piece of yarn or string across a 10-foot playing area roughly 1 foot above the floor. Divide players into 2 teams and have them get in a crab position on the floor (face-up, leaning on their hands and feet). Have 1 player on the serving team launch the balloon into the air for a teammate to kick over the string to their opponents and the teams kick the balloon back and forth. If one team lets the balloon touch the floor, the other team earns 1 point and restarts the game by serving the balloon from their side. The first player to reach 15 points wins.

Simply Sweet ColorCakes: Wow Worthy Desserts Anyone Can Make

Credit: Eat Your Books

If there’s one course of the meal you can really wow guests with, it’s dessert. Whether you’re attending a summer barbecue or picnic or having a dinner date at home, Simply Sweet Colorcakes: WOW-Worthy Desserts Anyone Can Make will help you get an incredible dessert ready for the big meal finale. From stunning rainbow desserts to ombre, layered, and hidden “surprise inside” recipes for cakes, cupcakes and more, these easy desserts are easy enough for anyone to make.  This complete guide offers over 100 recipes for fun and amazing bakery-style deserts at home.  Simply Sweet ColorCakes will have your guests exclaiming “How did you make that?!”

 

 

Mother’s Day: DIY Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day will be here before we know it. If you’re running low on unique gift ideas, consider a DIY project that will show mom your appreciation with an extra dose of sentimental value.

 

Credit the NEXT FAMILY

 

-       Breakfast in Bed: Making sure your mom gets to relax in the morning is a perfect way to start off the day and breakfast in bed is a classic staple. First step, decide if you are preparing a decadent meal like BBC Good Food’s smoked salmon benedict with mimosas or a lighter meal like homemade juice, fruit salad and a veggie omelet courtesy of Martha Stewart’s perfect omelet recipe. Next task, make sure you have all the ingredients you need and stock up on anything you may be missing. On Mother’s Day, wake up early, prepare breakfast and serve it on a breakfast tray so your mom can eat and enjoy comfortably. For an extra special touch, place a few freshly cut flowers along with a small family photo on the breakfast tray.

 

-       Spa Day: Treat mom to some rest, relaxation and TLC with a DIY spa day. It’s important to prepare all of your spa treatments before the big day to keep things stress-free. After breakfast, set up a spa station complete with lavender soy candles and spa music in your living room or even on the patio if the weather permits. Consider pampering mom with the following gifts:

  • Homemade Body Scrub – Soak mom’s feet in a large tub or foot spa and have her use this homemade body scrub from Martha Stewart’s list. To create the invigorating scrub, combine one cup of body oil with two cups of Epsom, sea salts or organic cane sugar. Add desired amount of lemon zest for color and fragrance, place in a container, label and use.
  • Homemade Brightening Face Mask – In a bowl, combine two tablespoons of sour cream, two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apply on clean face and let sit for twenty minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water followed by a splash of cool water. We recommend making this around the time of use to keep it as fresh as possible.
  • DIY Cooling Coconut Body Lotion – All you need for this luscious body lotion is coconut oil, aloe vera gel, essential oils and a container with a lid. Whip the coconut oil until solid (you can also refrigerate to help solidify) and then mix it with an electric beater for 6-9 minutes or until fluffy.  Next, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils (think lavender, rose etc.) and a tablespoon or more of aloe vera gel. Place in your container, label appropriately and voila.

 

-       Movie Night: Spend some bonding time together with a stay-in movie night. Rather than buying a new movie, consider watching your mom’s favorite flick. You can also get creative and place handmade “movie tickets” in your Mother’s Day card. Don’t forget to have treats such as popcorn, cookies and her favorite candy on-hand.

 

-       DIY Vases & Planters: We love the idea of recycling old fashioned glass bottles and cans by turning them into vases and planters. Try the following:

  • Bottle Vase: Collect a few glass bottles of your choice, wash them inside and out and let dry. Use a fast-drying spray paint of your color choice and apply directly to bottle, coating evenly. Don’t forget to spray paint the bottom of your bottles when they are ready to be dried upside down. Helpful tip: Insert a sturdy stick into the mouth of the bottle to allow the underside to dry.
  • Can Planter: Using a hammer and nail, poke a few holes in the bottom of your selected recycled cans. Use acrylic paint or fast-drying spray paint (we vote for a few fun, vibrant colors) to cover them evenly on all sides. Once you’ve allowed the cans to dry completely, place your flower seeds or seedlings in the new planter with some soil and water as needed. Be careful of where you place your cans, as the holes will allow excess water to drip out.

 

-       Coupon Book: If you are still stumped on what to give mom this Mother’s Day, we recommend going with an “I Owe You” coupon book. You can create custom coupons for chores, favors and treats that your mom can redeem at a later time. She will get a kick out of the various freebies promised and you will feel good helping her when she needs an extra hand.

 

 

 

Imagine I Can Magnetic Play Sets: Travel Entertainment for Kids

Credit: Manhattan Toy Company

Creative toys that keep kids entertained are a must, especially when traveling.  If yoursummer plans include travel, consider imagine i CAN magnetic play sets from Manhattan Toy Company.  Packaged inside a brightly colored metal tin with a carrying handle, kids will find 4 paper background scenes and 104 magnetized pieces.  The backgrounds fit right in the inside of the tin box to create a play space for the magnets to stick to.  Choose from Character Mix-up, Fashion Friends and Travel time for a variety of portable fun.  Each travel kit retails for $25 and is perfect for road trips, airplanes, or as a waiting room activity.

 

 

Celebrate Comic Book Day

On May 3rd Comic Book Day will be celebrated by action / adventure aficionados, comic fans and pop culture geeks near and far. Make sure to pick up a free comic at participating comic book shops and check out the tips below to help you and your kids celebrate the day like pros.

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Credit: Nerdist

Comic Books: What better day to introduce your kids to comic books than Comic Book Day? There are plenty of kid-friendly comics such as My Little Pony and Archie Comics that are a great way to introduce younger kids to comic books.

Comic Gear: Get in the full spirit of Comic Book Day by decking your kids out in their favorite comic book attire. From Spiderman or Superman shirts to comic-themed lunch boxes, there are plenty of clothes and accessories to celebrate comic books and the characters we’ve come to love.

Toys & Games: For more comic book fun, buy your kids some comic action figures or play a comic-themed game like Fantastic 4 Vs. Dr. Doom or Hopper Heroes.

Manga Studio: Encourage older kids to use their creativity to make their own comics with Smith Micro’s Manga Studio comic creation software that allows kids to easily create their own 2D comic-style art.

Moulin Roty Shadow Puppets Shake Up The Night

Darkness, a flashlight, a set of Moulin Roty Nighttime Shadow puppets and your imagination is all you need to shake up your night.  These laser cut shapes are attached wooden dowels and are used to cast intricate shadows onto a wall or other surface.  Bedtime stories have never been so much fun!  The Les Petit Merveilles line of shadow puppets includes several sets:

Turn out the lights, cozy up and prepare for the show!  Storytelling will never be the same again!  These shadow puppet sets sell for around $20 each.

Bedtime stories may never be the same thanks to Moulin Roty, the 40-year-old French toy company, that is casting a light on its Les Petit Merveilles line of Nighttime Shadow Puppets. Instead of reading from a storybook, parents and children use these majestic puppet sets with themes of Castles, Paris, Circus and Dinosaurs to create magical tales for sweet dreams! My client is Magicforest, a wonderful toy importer based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is celebrating its 10th year of business this year.

If you have ever made hand shadows on the wall or have seen shadows cast by a flashlight on a camping tent wall then you already have an idea of how shadow puppets work. Different than hand puppets or TV muppets, these intriguing works of art entice storytelling, hand coordination and serve as an outlet to express feelings. The Paris Shadows ($21) set shows the Eiffel Tower, airplane, moon and sleepwalker. The 9-piece Castle Shadows ($18.50) include a dragon, a fairy, royalty and a witch! If dinos are more your style, the Dinosaur Shadows ($18.50) pack of 10 puppets feature a stegosaurus, brachiosaurus and more prehistoric shapes!

Credit: MySweetMuffin

Sleepover Fun for Kids

Not sure how to keep kids busy at sleepovers? Check out the activities below that will keep them entertained for hours:

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Credit: Parenting

-       Beauty Makeover: Girls will love having a spa day. Let them paint their nails and do each other’s hair and makeup – limit the makeup to lip-gloss, eyeshadow and blush so that they can do it themselves. Once their makeovers are complete, take a photo-shoot of everyone’s makeovers and end the night with a relaxing facial mask. You can either purchase one or make your own by mixing a quarter of an avocado with one-tablespoon of plain yogurt. Spread the mixture onto their face with a sponge and wash the mask off after 15 minutes.

-       Foil Fashion Show: The object of the game is to create the best outfit out of aluminum foil. This game can be played individually or in teams, depending on how many players you have. Give each person 1 or 2 rolls of aluminum foil and let them create tops, pants, dresses and even accessories like belts, sunglasses and hats.

-       M&M Relay: This fun game is an energy-burning activity ideal for sleepovers. To play, fill two plastic bowls with equal amounts of M&Ms, set each one on a chair and place two small empty bowls on two other chairs about 10 or 15 feet away. Split the kids into two teams and give each player a straw. When the game starts, the first two kids run to the candy-filled bowl, pick up one M&M with their straw and run to their designated empty bowl to drop it off. The kids rotate players until all the M&Ms are gone. After the game is over let the kids use the M&Ms as toppings for an ice cream sundae.

-       Balloon Volleyball: This is simple yet tiring activity that kids will have a blast doing. Have players bat a balloon back and forth using all parts of their bodies, while keeping if from hitting the ground. To increase the difficulty, add more balloons for players to keep airborne.

Cooperative Board Games Keep the Peace & Encourage Team Work

Credit: Peaceable Kingdom

Tired of board games that leave your little ones in tears?  Peaceable Kingdom has created a line of fun cooperative games where all of the players come together to achieve a common goal.  They work together instead of against each other so no one feels left out.  Playing together and sharing decision making experiences helps children build self-esteem, learn to share, practice cooperation and learn to work as a team.  The games are similar to traditional board games with spinners, cards, moving tokens and strategizing.  All Peaceable Kingdom board games are made using sustainable materials including recycled paper, soy-based inks and corn-based plastics. The current line up of cooperative games includes:

  • Hoot Owl Hoot
  • Sunny Day Pond
  • The Great Cheese Chase
  • Buzz!
  • What’s it?
  • Stack UP
  • Say the Word
  • Noodle Speedoodle

Say goodbye to difficult games that cause stress and hello to fun games that build great social skills!