Since we’re talking about back to school trends, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some of the hottest styles in kids’ clothes. A few weeks ago, we were invited to a special blogger preview of Five Star Apparel’s fall line hosted by my friend, Brianne of Stroller in the City.
In specific, I had the chance to check out just a few of Five Star’s brands up close including, True Religion.
True Religion, known for their denim, has a strong boys’ line that features classic, yet modern pieces with an edge. They have a corduroy that’s lightweight and has a soft, velvety feel. These corduroy are so soft and stylish, the first thought that came to mind was: this lightweight corduroy would be ideal for kids who may not typically wear jeans because of the feel. The soft textured corduroy from True Religion is a great alternative to denim.
True Religion’s iconic horseshoe logo and signature stitching are among many of the details that make this brand stand out. Other core elements from their Fall line include: French Terry, Jogger in Indigo, camo and branded tees. One of my personal favorites was the letterman’s jack, which underscores the classic meets modern aesthetic of True Religion.
We were sent samples to try out. Upon first impression, it’s clear why True Religion is popular. From the detailing to the textures, True Religion is comfortable and stylish without too much edge. We embrace modern classic with everything we wear, so this brand suits us perfectly.
The Geno Single End and True Buddha Tee were a match for my spunky preschooler: cool, but fun. True Religion’s strengths are the stitching and signature pockets. The tee is soft, yet durable, with just enough branding to stay stylish and true to his rough and tumble character.
Full disclosure: I was provided with samples to facilitate this review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.
Heat wave aside, school lists and back to school bargains are starting to roll out! Thank goodness for our friends at KidzVuz, we had the chance to check out more back to school trends at their recent Back to School event.
At KidzVuz’ events I love bringing along my bigger guy to help scope out all the cool stuff. This time around though, my guy was busy with summer sports, so I attended solo. Nevertheless, I met with so many great brands, two new brands had young spokespeople and entrepreneurs at the helm.
LuckyBar protein bars was a product of a mom’s ingenuity. When one of her sons wasn’t eating much, she was elated when he ate a protein bar. Because of this, she wanted to share these bars with other families so that kids could enjoy a great tasting protein bar while placating a finicky palate. I absolutely enjoyed the Chocolate Campfire and it was no surprise that my own finicky eater devoured the LuckyBar sample I brought home. I had the chance to chat with the founder’s son, which I’ll share in another post.
Back to school also means shopping for new supplies, not only for students, but for teachers, too! Classroom Direct is a one-stop online shop for teachers’ supplies, school supplies and other educational supplies. I loved learning that Classroom Direct has all kinds of learning resource supplies for teachers such as Common Core Curriculum kits and posters; classroom management tools such as, really cool timers, certificates and charts; and even gear and supplies for special needs students. I loved checking out the sensory animals stuffed with a beady-like material. They were a bit weighted, so toys like these double as tools for students with sensory issues.
Never one to miss out on delicious snacks and treats, I loved that Juicy Juice was at the Kidz Vuz Back to School event. I loved having a chance to taste the Juicy Juice Splashers, which is a mix of filtered water and juice. Juicy Juice Splashers has 50% less sugar, no added sweeteners and definitely no high fructose corn syrup or unnecessary colors. Flavors in the Juicy Juice Splashers line up include: Berry Lemonade, Peach Mango and Tropical Twist. I had the Tropical Twist and couldn’t get enough.
I have to say, meeting Zandra and testing out this young entrepreneur’s line of natural beauty products was probably the highlight of the KidzVuz Back to School event. I loved learning that she started her business after constantly asking her dad for new lip balm, and frustrated with buying her so many lip balms, he told her to research and make her own. And she did.
The fact that Zandra researched the benefits of natural ingredients and fragrances makes her products even better. Her big balms, sugar scrubs, soaps and lotions boast delicious scents such as: Almond Alfresco, Japanese Kumquat, Lavender Vanilla Chai, Lemon Tea Tree and For the Love of Mint. These products are currently available Be on the look out for Zandra’s Beauty Products at select retail locations and online because they are absolutely divine!
The Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush for kids is one of my all time favorite toothbrushes for my guys. The brush allows for personalization, as well as a powered, more efficient toothbrushing experience, with upwards to 500 strokes per second. The built in timer is helpful, especially for those brushers who finish after 3 seconds of brushing. Need even more help to get the kids brushing their teeth with more care? There’s an app for that!
Philips has an interactive app for kids to brush along with, to help them keep the task at hand while coaching and motivating them along the way. What’s even cooler? The Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush for kids has a super cool Ice Age themed brush to go hand in hand with the latest release of Collision Course.
As always, KidzVuz has such a fun swag bag filled with gear and gadgets to try out on our own to share on our sites. I love that Mabel’s Labels Write Away Labels found their way into the bags. These handy labels are durable labels that can be customized by you. These writeable, self-laminating labels are perfect for when you don’t necessarily need a singular name to label your belongings. I often use these for containers that my boys use interchangeably.
Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated to share my experience at the KidzVuz BTS Event, however all opinions on NKT are my own.
We’re still very much in summer mode, however, when it comes to trend spotting and scouting the best kids’ products, we’re always looking ahead. Last week, together with many of my blogger friends, we descended upon Momtrends’ Back to School Bash to check out some of the coolest gear and gadgets for Back to School.
I had the chance to meet British clothing brand, Joules at the Momtrends’ Back to School Bash. This brand makes beautiful, classic yet modern clothes with bold prints. The girls’ styles were age-appropriate, yet super stylish. The boys’ looks were polished, classic and fun. I loved the boots and outerwear and the vibrant colors that make these pieces stand out!
Aidan, my friend Alicia from Mommy Delicious’ son, modeling some looks from Joules.
Always on the hunt for new skincare lines that work for me, it was great meeting Paula’s Choice. While Paula’s Choice makes a variety of products designed for different skin types, I particularly loved learning about their Clear line which is designed for oily and acne-prone skin. Paula’s Choice products are intended not to be irritating, so there are no fragrances or dyes or anything that could be harmful to your skin.
photo credit: Momtrends
Having kids in school, there’s no doubt that at one point you’ll be faced with sick kids and possibly receiving a note from the school nurse that someone in your child’s class may be infected with lice. That dreaded letter has found its way to my son’s backpack this year more times than I could count. Lucky us, products like Vamousse are designed to be effective yet non-toxic. At any given time, I always have a Vamousse treatment kit in my arsenal, knowing that lice infestations can happen at any time with 2 boys in school. I also like that they have Lice Defense Daily Shampoo as well as Lice Elimination Powder. And, yay me! I won a cool Amazon gift card from Vamousse at the event. Thanks for being a sponsor!
Thanks to Vamousse, we were treated to a braid bar from Glam Squad. I had a great time getting my hair braided and catching up with Julie Cole, one of the founders of Mabel’s Labels!
Known for their teething-friendly accessories, Chewbeads were onhand at the Momtrends Back to School Bash to showcase their new line of JuniorBeads. Perfect as accessories for kids, these necklaces, bracelets and pendants are made with silicone and can double as sensory tools. My younger guy has special needs and low tone, and we often have to exercise his jaw muscles with chewing on things, so these pendants would be perfect for him. Have a kid who bites their nails or needs some sort of sensory tool? JuniorBeads would be ideal for them. I love the necklaces, shark tooth pendant and that military tag!
One of my family’s must-haves year-round, Mabel’s Labels showcased several new designs, combo pack and a cool new school years memory book. I’m eyeing the limited edition zombie design for my tween who has outgrown the cutesy designs. The School Years Memory book is a perfect solution for parents who want to collect special certificates, awards and occasional artwork. I love the oversized size that can actually fit the giant posters that the kids bring home. The price is right around $30, making this affordable and an absolute necessity when organizing for the school year.
As a lunchbox enthusiast and gadget nerd, I absolutely loved learning about Nalgene’s new Lunchbox Buddy. This durable and versatile lunchbox is made with the same material that makes Nalgene so popular. I love that these lunch boxes are simple and rugged; the box itself can be thrown in the dishwasher and the outer case can be thrown in the washing machine—perfect my messy kids! And something that I never knew: all Nalgene products have a lifetime warranty. How’s that for awesome? I truly respect brands, especially ones that accommodate kids, that can stand behind their own reliability.
Earth’s Best and Ella’s Kitchen
In between school, sports, volunteering and all of the other demands of life, some days, we need an easy dinner solution. (ok, most days) Thank goodness for Earth’s Best. Earth’s Best has an extensive line of frozen foods that are geared to families. These products are void of all the bad ingredients, but packed with flavor and portability to boot. I loved tasting the different flavors, with the mini meatballs and pepperoni stuffed bites as my favorites. I will be adding Organic Fruit Cups into our lunch box rotation for when cheap fruit is no longer an option!
Sister brand, Ella’s Kitchen has been a mainstay in our pantry since Littles started eating solids. I love the delicious flavors they offer for baby foods, and their Nibbly Fingers are the best for babes and toddlers. I loved learning about their smoothies, which I’ve been including in my preschooler’s summer school lunch box. Those things are a hit!
Keen, known for their awesome sandals, was featuring highlights from their fall lineup. I’m eyeing several boots and hightops from my guy. I adored the sparkly hightops for girls, only wishing they came in my size. I appreciate that this brand is known for their casual and rugged look and feel, which is ideal for school-aged kids.
Wall Pops offers a great selection of wall coverings that can be used as decor or as functional tools that are helpful for staying organized or informed. Always a fan of the oversized calendars, I love that they have maps and dry erase wall pops that make our school days seamless. We like using Wall Pops as calendars and as an unobtrusive way of reminding us what to do and when! My friends and I loved hanging out in the photo booth, thanks to Wall Pops!
A big thank you to Momtrends for having me once again at the Back to School Bash. As always, I loved checking out the awesome trends for fall, as well as hanging out with my girls!
Full disclosure: I received a generous swag bag and won a gift card at this event. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
Every now and then, a movie comes along that brings together a star-studded cast to deliver a funny and feel-good story while truly living up to its hype—and The Secret Life of Pets does just that!
The Secret Life of Pets, from Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, is an imaginative and hilarious portrayal of city pets that shows what happens when unlikely characters work together and find the value of friendship and loyalty in the process. Max, the terrier, is well-loved by his owner and embraces the life of a solo pet. That is, until his owner, Katie, introduces an oversized upheaval to the home: Duke the Newfoundland.
The newly-minted frenemies, Max and Duke, as well as their fluffy, furry and feathered band of domesticated friends find themselves in quite a storied predicament that leads to them exploring the city streets and navigating the underbelly of the city where the “flushed” animals go to live. On their adventure, Max and Duke meet stray cats, a psychotic bunny, Tattoo the pig, among other colorful characters.
The Secret Life of Pets is a great mix of silly antics and clever comedy, which appeals to both kids and parents. Surprisingly, the music complemented the story well, between the composed poodle headbanging to System of a Down, classic songs weaved throughout and Basement Jaxx’s Do Your Thing from the trailer. Semi-spoiler: my older son squealed when he realized the song during the sausage factory scene. Grease fans will appreciate it!
My kids, who are 4 and 8, both enjoyed the film from start to finish and continually quote it every time there’s a relevant reference. While drinking milk: “Chug, chug, chug…” Their favorite parts of The Secret Life of Pets revolve around pooping and the dogs drinking (chugging) out of the toilet. Naturally.
In line with the silliness, its the collective cast of characters and the voice actors who make this film an instant classic! My kids and I watched the screening before I read up on the voice actors, and I loved the surprise when I realized who voiced whom. With the big push for this film, it was hard to avoid that surprise, but it’s definitely cool for the adults to associate the actors to the characters they voice in the film.
A few favorite voices from The Secret Life of Pets: Louis C.K.(Louie) is mild-mannered Max the Terrier, Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) is the fluffy Newf who uses his size to his advantage, Lake Bell’s Chloe the cat embodies the dissociation of felines in general and the crazy, but lovable Snowball the bunny was brought to life by Kevin Hart.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview several of the actors who voiced these fun pets. It was, hands-down, one of the funniest interviews I’ve done yet.
Before Hollywood, Eric Stonestreet, grew up at a farm in Kansas, so he has had animals his whole life. With respect to Duke he said: “ I think when you meet him at the beginning of the movie you think one thing about him, that he’s kind of a bully and kind of a tough guy, —mildly a tough guy because he is protecting something. We don’t know what that is. And I think we all do that as people; we put up a front in certain situations. So, I relate to him in that way, that you kind of protect yourself a little bit and hide what’s maybe sometimes going on behind the scenes. And he is fun and lovable. He’s a lap dog. I think I’m kind of a little bit of a lap dog.”
A photo posted by Jen Rabulan-Bertram (@jenrab) onJun 24, 2016 at 10:25am PDT
For a little fluffy bunny, Kevin Hart’s Snowball does an admirable job leading a revolution for his fellow flushed animals. Hart’s small but fierce mentality and self-deprecating humor is a perfect complement to his character. Well known for sharing his daily adventures as a parent, comedian and personality on social media, I used the opportunity as a fellow social media enthusiast to see what Snowball would do. That should be a thing, right? What Would Snowball DO? (WWSD) Ha! Hart had us cracking up, but inspired at the same time:
“Snowball is a leader. And he is starting a revolution, so everything is about recruiting. You know, if he was on there, I don’t think it would be in the realm of my Snapchats. Snowball’s are strictly PSA messages of join the movement, join the revolution. And it’s basically against people.
He is basically fussing at people. That’s why I love Snowball. But, his anger is justified. Snowball doesn’t like people just–it’s not like he just doesn’t like people just because they’re people. He doesn’t like people because he was hurt. He bought into the whole person and pet reality. And when he was hurt by that because someone abandoned him, it really threw him off. That’s what I love about this character, you know.
I don’t just do things just to do them. I have to put depth to it. And that’s with any movie that I’ve done. I think I’m very funny in every movie that I’ve done, and the movies have progressed, but the reason why the characters are always funny is because there is a foundation underneath the character. And that’s what me and the director talked about. I was like, “I don’t just want to play the guy because he’s funny. What’s the foundation?”
And being that Snowball was hurt is one thing, but then I made him insecure. You notice he’s very insecure. You know, he gives out these orders, but then he questions the orders that he gave out, you know. “Everybody listen. Raise your hand unless you’re tired. Unless your arm is tired. Put your arm down. You don’t have to raise your hand.” And it’s funny. You laugh at it, but it shows you that he’s not really the guy that he’s being. This is a manufactured version of himself, which justifies when he gets the hug at the end–he melts.”
It’s always fun chatting with talent to hear what makes them tick as actors, but also to get their perspective on the film and their contribution of their characters in the film. In the end, The Secret Life of Pets is a fiercely funny story, but it’s the underlying story of loyalty, kindness and staying true to yourself that makes this a feel-good film, and one that is absolutely our favorite family film this summer!
The Secret Life of Pets is out in theaters July 8. You can purchase your tickets to The Secret Life of Pets on Fandango.
With photography by Jane Goodrich and written by Bob Raczka, New York is My Playground is a new book with a collection of fun and artistic portraits of kids enjoying the beauty of NYC. As an NYC/NJ transplant, this book celebrates everything that I’ve ever hoped for my kids. The city’s beloved structures, everyday motions of life, landmarks and art installations are the perfect backdrop for a storied childhood for those who live in and around NYC.
The photos are compelling, the text is relatable and the story is timeless. New York is My Playground embraces the innocence of children and the simplicity of the juggernaut that is NYC. The 32-page hardcover book is geared to the 3-7 age range, but would be a perfect addition to any family’s library.
As a blogger, I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet and work with some of the most artistic and creative minds in the business. Jane Goodrich, an accomplished photographer based in Larchmont, NY, has a penchant for storytelling. Her playful spirit and candor resonates with kids; we have gorgeous portraits of our kids as proof.
One fall afternoon in 2013, Jane asked us to meet her at Central Park for a shoot. We took some fun photos near the Conservatory Water. This was actually a rescheduled meeting because Littles had a seizure and was hospitalized the day before we were supposed to meet. All’s well that ends well.
Littles was about 20 months old at the time, and because of his medical issues and requisite delays, he couldn’t walk yet, so I remember Big Brother having to help lug him into various positions. At one point, I thought Littles was going to fall into the pond, but thankfully, we averted any impromptu swims. You can see Bigs trying to hold him back below.
We followed Jane’s lead and took more photos at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture and even threw some leaves around.
Just as we were finishing up, though, we passed the iconic Hans Christian Andersen sculpture and Jane asked J to hop on and take a nap. It was spontaneous and silly, something that J can tackle well. The final pose yielded the photo in New York is my Playground, which captured a smirking 6 year old J, who is play-sleeping on the Hans Christian Andersen sculpture in Central Park.
Family Portraits with Jane Goodrich
The first time we met Jane 3 years ago, she photographed our family at our family’s favorite local backdrop, our lake. 2013 was in the thick of our family’s turbulent times. In fact, Littles had a 2-hour EEG the morning before we had our photoshoot. I think Josh was having some questionable behavior relating to his meds, so our dr. called for an immediate EEG. Looking back, you’d never guess that hours before the photos were taken that my baby had 20-something electrodes glued to his scalp.
You’d never know that my older boy was starting to develop anxious behavior relating to his brother’s condition. And you most certainly couldn’t tell that our world was unraveling in real life. The absolute best family photographers can see beyond the surface and capture the essence and underlying beauty.
Time and again, Jane has been able to capture Biggie’s charm and effervescence. She’s been able to frame Little’s bold and mischevious side and the juxtaposition of personalities of our whole family. As a writer who’s often behind the camera, I treasure all of my family’s photos, especially the rare ones where I’m included.
If you’re looking for a talented family photographer who has a gift for capturing the essence of kids, be sure to reach out to check out Jane Goodrich Photography.
I know books see many proofs before the final copy, so it was a honor that J was included in this fun book. New York is My Playground ($14.95) is on bookshelves now, and it’s something we’ll cherish for a very long time! Congrats, Jane!
With our trip to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration coming up next week, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping over the past few weeks in preparation. The Children’s Place is one of our favorite go-to stores for stylish and classic options for kids. Though I’m always envious of the racks of pinks, pastels and sparkles, the boys’ selection at The Children’s Place is pretty plentiful.
We noticed that the main trends for boys at The Children’s Place were stripes, sharks and neons. I’m always a fan of the classic look with a little edge, and The Children’s Place does that so well.
For our trip, I picked out a few dressier shirts for the boys to wear at the various dinners and family events at DisneySMMC. I let the boys choose and then picked outfits that coordinated.
For the more casual looks, we opted for sporty tanks and fun graphic tees. I’m pretty sure the bulk of our play clothes are from The Children’s Place. The clothes are comfortable and they hold up very well.
The Children’s Place always has great deals going on. I try to find coupons before I head to the store to maximize the deals. So if you’re on the hunt for great spring and summer outfits, make a stop at The Children’s Place.
Full disclosure: I received a gift card to share my experience at The Children’s Place. All opinions on NKT are my own.
When two of my favorite brands collaborate, that can only mean good things, right? Our friends at Tommee Tippee have partnered with Snapfish for a fun collaboration.
Tommee Tippee and Snapfish have partnered together for a promo for an exclusive offer for a free 11oz. photo mug from Snapfish. On select cups and mealtime products, be on the lookout for yellow stickers that indicate this cool promo. The offer is currently on specified stickered cups (excluding single valve) and mealtime products. Cups can be purchased at Babies R Us, Target or Walmart and mealtime products such as (plates and bowls) can be bought at BRU.
I have more mugs than I know what to do with, but with Mother’s Day coming up, how perfect would this be for a gift for Grandma! I love personalized gifts, and I love giving them even more.
The boys and I went on a shopping excursion a few weeks ago to take advantage of this promo. My Target only had pink cups on our first trip, but lucky us, we found some cool blue ones on another visit.
As you can see, not all Tommee Tippee cups and feeding ware have the Snapfish promo, so be sure to grab the ones with the yellow sticker as seen above.
Once you purchase, you can go home and order the photo mug online with the code included in the specially marked packages.
So, if you’re on the market for some new sippy cups or straw cups or feeding gear, be sure to check out Tommee Tippee’s great gear.
Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting NKT. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
What do you get when you combine natural and organic ingredients with a company whose mindset is all about taking care of you and our environment? Companies such as Acure who create organic skincare that touts efficacy and plant and food based formulas gentle enough for baby.
Acure, known for their sustainable principles and accessibility, introduced their Acure Baby Care product line. The Acure Baby Care line includes organic and natural products specifically formulated for gentle skin.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a media event hosted by Momtrends, where Amy Halman, Acure’s President and Formulator, introduced us to Acure Baby Care. Halman shared the premise behind Acure Baby and reinforced that their ingredients lists are understandable and their products are accessible and affordable.
As we’ve been trying all the products here at home, I have to mention that I’m a stickler when it comes to labels. Not only that, if I’m going to pay a premium, I expect the products to work well. I love that the fragrances in the products are essential oils as opposed to synthetic fragrances, which have been known to be harmful.
Acure, which is a line that I already appreciate and have tried in the past, does its due diligence with this lineup of baby products. Here are the seven products in the line up that I think are musts for baby care:
1. 4-in-1 Foamer
Who doesn’t love products that multitask? Why not ditch the excess and grab a bottle of this Foamer that can do quadruple duty as hand soap, bubble bath, baby wash or shampoo. The 4-in-1 Foamer comes in fragrance-free (Bare Baby) or vanilla + citrus (Yummy Baby). The vanilla + citrus exudes spring clean! I can’t get enough. ($9.99)
The organic lotion in the Acure Baby Care lineup is designed to moisturize delicate skin. The organic formulation includes ingredients that are known to soothe gentle skin. Cucumber, colloidal oatmeal, calendula, olive oil and shea butter combine to make up this ingredient list. The Acure Baby Care Lotion is available in fragrance-free (Bare Baby) and vanilla + citrus (Yummy Baby.) ($9.99)
3. Baby Buns
I appreciate awesome diaper creams, and Acure Baby Buns sounds like one that could be added to that list. It contains zinc, as opposed to a petroleum base. The creamy, zinc-based creams always worked best for my sensitive skin babies, especially when rashes occurred. ($10.99)
4. All Better Balm
This organic balm was designed to be a multi-purpose quick fix for mom and babe. It can be used for itchy skin, irritation, cracks, chapped skin or diminish stretch marks. I have the All Better Balm in my console of the car and have been using a small dab on my hands to moisturize cuticles and my dry skin. The pomegranate scent is incredible! ($10.99)
5. Fix-It Stick
My kids fall a lot. While I don’t throw a Band-Aid on everything, I do put creams or lotions to help minor bruising. Acure Baby Care’s Fix-It Stick has been added to my boo-boo arsenal. The Fix-It Stick is perfectly sized to tuck in a beach bag or diaper bag. It contains a blend of pumpkin, borage and pomegranate oils. ($7.99)
6. Bug Stick
Another addition to my mom bag, the Bug Stick is DEET and chemical-free and is designed to keep the bugs away. ($7.99)
7. Sun SPF 30 Stick
We are outdoors all the time in the Spring and Summer months, so I love the thought process behind the Sun SPF Stick. The Zinc-Oxide formulation is mess-free in stick form, and perfect for quick touch-ups while you’re out and about. ($7.99)
I love the smells and efficacy that I’ve seen so far. One of the caveats of this line is that I want the Bug Stick and Sun SPF Sticks to come in bigger sizes or forms for daily usage. I’d love to see a bug spray or baby sunscreen spray. If you’re on the hunt for new baby soaps, lotions, balm, diaper cream or outdoor care, definitely give Acure Baby Care a try. Acure Baby Care can be found at retailers such as Target and Whole Foods.
Why I care + share
If you were to back track to 9 years ago, way before this site even existed, I spent hours researching baby products, especially baby wash and lotions. At this time, phthalates, BPA and carcinogens were starting to become mainstays in stories regarding products that were being used for babies and general consumers. This was not ok to me, and so I dug and Googled until I found the absolute best products for my baby.
This obsession with research and products was, of sorts, the impetus of this blog. There were always going to be baby products on the market for babies and kids. And according to research, new parents were going to spend millions to ensure their babies got the best products.
I appreciate that this new baby line from Acure is free from gluten, paragons, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, harmful preservatives and artificial colors. As someone who pays extra attention to labels, it’s great to know products like those found in the Acure Baby Care line exist.
Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
Happy Read Across America Day and Dr. Suess Day! Today marks what would have been Dr. Suess’ 112th birthday.
In honor of his birthday, many families, schools and libraries across the nation are celebrating by reading, and doing lots of it. In fact, in a few, I’m off to the kids’ school to read to the kids’ class.
There’s so many wonderful ways to engage with kids to help them develop a love for reading, books and literature. Here are just a few helpful tips that have help me and my guys along the way.
1. Let them see you read
Kids model behavior, whether it’s good or bad. If they see you reading, even if it’s a few minutes a day, this model behavior will undoubtedly provide a foundation for a love of reading. Because I have a print background, I still love magazines and newspapers. Admittedly, I don’t read the physical paper as much as I’d like, but I read the New York Times daily and various magazines. We’ve become a society that thrives on fragmented, viral news. Why not help the kids embrace a well-crafted story in kids’ magazine of their choice. J’s learning the basics of writing and we’re big on pointing out descriptive words in feature stories. Ranger Rick and Sports Illustrated for Kids are popular picks for my guys.
2. Read together
I know a lot of families who love reading together. After a long day of school and work, it’s often the only way that some kids get to bond with parents on weekdays, before starting the cycle again. Our board books are tattered from all the love they’ve received, but man, are those always the best books! If your kids are older, pick a few chapter series that get them excited and take turns reading aloud every night. The Magic Tree House series is my older guy’s favorite series right now. Next up is the Harry Potter series!
3. Enjoy the Library
One of our absolute favorite weekly dates is our trip to the library. I feel as though we’re on a first name basis with librarians these days, not just because of our hyperlocal site, but also because the library is our happy place.
With Little’s significant speech delay, he’s in therapy 5 days a week. He gets to play a lot at school, but there’s still so much structure in his rigorous special ed preschool schedule. Weekly story time at the library is a way for us to engage with other young readers. Our librarians are so enthusiastic and encourage imagination with their varied stories and fun crafts.
4. There’s an app for that!
If you know me, then you must know that I love technology and the way it helps make our lives as parents easier. While I will always choose a physical book or magazine first, apps for reading are an excellent way to encourage reading. With intuitive reading apps such as ABC Mouse, Speakaboos and MeeGenius, my preschooler is able to enjoy books at his pace, and in a fun kid-friendly format. For my 8 year old, we’ve been using the Kids’ Kindle Fire and enjoying books on the Amazon platform. With the Kindle Fire, it’s helpful when my son needs to look up words or wants to search for a new title. His classroom uses an app called Raz-Kids, which is an interesting app that tracks activity and encourages comprehension and reading aloud.
However you choose to read with your kids, make it fun!
As I previously mentioned, I’ve been participating in the NYC Vlogging Challenge. Together with Lisa from Atypical Familia and Divina from Dancing Hot Dogs, we’ve been hosting prompts to get our friends and community excited about vlogging and just sharing what we love about where we live, what we like to do and such.
This week, Lisa is the host and I was cracking up about what she shared about her travel must! Divina shared what she loves about her town. And, I decided to do the same! Instead of sharing about my actual hometown, Va Beach, I shared about one of my favorite spots in my current town.
Straight from the gym, I filmed this video before the kids came home from school. The thing about vlogging is that it forces me to share the nitty gritty, usually in the moment, with little or no time to edit. So, yes, this is me in all of my makeup-less glory. I love the way I keep looking around to see if anyone is checking me out filming by myself in the park like a weirdo! Nonetheless, it’s all in good fun.
Be sure to check out our videos and to see what I love about my town!