BabbaCo creator Jessica Kim knows that we’re always trying to come up with new, more creative ways of entertaining our tots, so she developed the BabbaBox. This set of fun activities for ages 3-7 is mailed to your home each month (May’s theme is “Deep Sea”) and includes everything from arts and crafts to games to books to science kits. One of the best things about this is that everything you need is in the box, saving parents the time of planning out playtime and running around town trying to find all of the required materials. There are different types of subscriptions – the digital ($6.99/month), regular ($15.99/month), and premium ($29.99). I recommend the regular – it comes with four fun activities, and if your tots finish all of those, they can find more to do online with the included digital membership. Learn more on BabbaCo.com.
While some board games are only amusing to tots (I’m looking at you, Candyland), the LEGO Creationary game actually is fun for the whole family. It’s basically Pictionary with Legos, which is great because some concepts can be hard for kids to depict in drawings. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone knows how to use Legos. You roll a die to find out which category (vehicles, buildings, nature, or things) you’ll be building from. There are three levels of difficulty, so don’t worry about tots (or you!) having a tough time. LEGO just recommends that players be seven-years old and up. Since the game is designed for three to eight players, it’s great to have around when you have a bunch of tots over for playtime. The guessing game aspect will keep all of them constantly entertained, and the building allows each one of them a moment to shine. Turns go surprisingly quickly because there aren’t many Legos. Your imagination is really put to the test when you’re limited to so few pieces. It’s interesting to see all of the things your kids come up with! On Amazon for $26.99.
Little girls love playing dress up – to the point where they refuse to ever change out of their princess gowns, even for that fancy dinner you’ve scheduled with your parents. We accept this because we have to, but I’ve found a way to make everyone happy. These adorably ruffled dresses are fun enough for playtime without looking in the least bit costumey. Flowery ruffles decorate the hem of the long dress, which could easily pass for a ball gown or magical fairy outfit when paired with a tiara and sparkling scepter. Plus your tots will love the feel of the comfy jersey knit compared to the usual scratchy polyester costumes! Available on Chasing Fireflies in pink, ivory, and lavender for $88 each.
All moms deserve a break but even if you take the tots out of the house, she will not be able to relax with so many loose ends laying around to distract her with. If you really want to please her and get her something that will make a real difference, get her a hotel room nearby, that way she can feel settled knowing she can be home within minutes. Having absolute peace and quiet is just what the mind and soul needs. She can curl up with a book and actually read more than 2 sentences at a time without interruption. Or even better, if the hotel has a spa, book her a service so she can fully indulge. And when happy hour hits, have girlfriends join her for cocktails by the pool followed by a dinner filled with adult conversation. No talk of diaper accidents.
For me, I escape to the Terranea Resort, just minutes from my house. And look at the view! There is an entire spa retreat with its own gym and pool right at the ocean’s edge. Kids not allowed! This is where I’m spending Mother’s Day weekend. I will roll out of bed Sunday morning and have a lavish brunch with my family and go right back to a nap. If you think my husband planned this out, not a chance. The best gift are those you give yourself. As they say, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So go ahead, book yourself a room if you have to. Leave the guilt at home.
Trust me, those kids riding around the parking lot on their scooters annoy me, too. But children seem to love them, and we all want to make our tots happy. If you’re going to invest in one, then this 3-in-1 mini model is the way to go. Tots can use it from 12 months all the way up to age five (or when they reach 30 pounds – whichever comes first). Since scooters can be expensive, this is a great buy and a safe way to help your little ones develop their motor skills at their own pace. There’s a seat for newbies, then once they hit age 2, you can remove it and let them try scooting around with the support of the O-ring handle. Worried about them being able to stay standing? No fear. They won’t realize it, but with three wheels, it’s like they’ll always have on training wheels. That way even when you replace the O-ring with the taller T-bar, they’ll be safe and sound while they’re on the move. Available on Giggle in pink or blue for $115 each.
After graduating from UC Berkley, yoga teacher Bobbi Hamilton decided to dedicate her career to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in the US. She came up with a clever way to get kids interested in exercise – Phresh yoga mats. These mats come covered in a “map” of symbols that relate to 108 different positions. Kids can look at cute instruction cards to help them find the right poses (kind of like Twister!). Bobbi has also come up with curriculum manuals for schools to easily integrate the mats into their classes (Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign is just one of the programs that has used the mats). My girls love doing yoga with me, but poses can be hard to explain to adults, let alone kids – these cards make it so fun and easy! Right now the company is having trouble keeping up with demand, so they’re using Indiegogo (a crowdfunding site that raises money for different ideas, programs, products, etc.) to help improve the manufacturing costs of the mats and get them out to customers sooner. Contribute $35 for a teen/adult mat, $50 for a kid mat and card game, or $85 for a mommy and me set. Check out all of the package options on Indiegogo!