All Posts By:

Jenna Mugridge

  • 20 of The Best Children’s Books about Race and Racism

    The topics of race and racism can be difficult to broach with children, and deciding when and how can be complex. It is a firm belief of mine, as a mother to white children, that my work to cultivate positive change needs to start at home. So I’ve decided to talk to my kids and read them stories about race, and find books that feature characters who look different from them.

    Best Childrens Books on Race

    This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. All proceeds accrued from the links in this article will be donated to Color of Change, the Nation’s largest online racial justice organization. You can read more about their mission here

    My hope is that, in having these conversations early, future discussions about discrimination and white privilege won’t feel uncomfortable. I want them to be able to identify covert and overt racism, and call for justice when they see it.

    I have found books to be one of the best ways to convey messages to children, with brains that are wired for stories and narrative. And because their age plays a large factor in what they should consume and retain, I’ve broken it down into groups.

    If it’s time to update your classroom or at home library, here is our list of 2o of the Best Children’s Books about race and racism, broken down into 3 age groups

    Ages 0-2

    Studies show that babies recognize differences in skin color and hair textures. Even before it is possible to have conversations with your children, teach through through stories and actions. In addition, do your best to expose your child to a diverse environment and media that represents people of color. It’s important for kids to see their parents interact with people of other racial and ethnic groups.

    Babies Around the World

    Anti-racist Baby

    An ABC of Equality

    children's books about race and racism

    Dream Big Little One

    All Kinds of People

    children's books about race and racismAges 3-6

    When children become more vocal, it’s normal for them to spontaneously start talking about skin color.  Help your child work through their curiosity by having a conversation about race. It’s also fine to bring up people’s physical differences before your child does. The goal is not to teach them to be “colorblind” but to love and respect people who look different than they do. Correct racial and cultural insensitivities when you witness them, as it is critical to model allyship.

    Just Like Me

    Together We Can

    What if We Were all the Same

    children's books about race and racism

     

    All are Welcome

    Whoever You Are

    What I like About Me

    A Boy Like You

    A Girl Like You
    children's books about race and racism

    The Skin You Live In

    Ages 6+

    When kids start school, their circle of exposure widens, which means that they may need more explicit guidance about race and racism. Kids this age are already receiving messages from TV and media about who has power and who is valued in our society. We must start teaching them to be critical readers and viewers.

    This is also a time when we can begin to teach kids ways to combat racism and prejudice. But to do so, parents may have to first introduce them to the idea that some people get treated unfairly based on their skin color, culture or religion. Kids in this age group can also comprehend contextual examples of their privilege, like living a life without fear of experiencing racism.

     

    Same Same but Different

    Children's books about race

    A Kid’s Book about Racism

    Children's Books on RaceI am Enough

    Children's books about race and racism

    Skin Like Mine

    Ruby’s Birds

    Who Did it First

    We hope you love this list of Children’s books about race and racism and have selected a few to read to your own kids! To foster kindness and help kids discover the value of empathy, check out our Simple Methods for Teaching Kindness and Empathy.

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  • Baby’s First Birthday Gift Guide

    Baby's first birthday gifts

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    Check out our list of must-have gifts for Baby’s First Birthday!
    Baby's First Birthday Gift guide

    Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toys & Gifts (here)

    Give the gift of sensory stimulation for baby’s first Christmas with this brightly colored and super durable toy! Babies will love poking and grabbing the colorful silicon bubbles while developing fine motor skills. Easy to take on the go and a fascinating attention keeper, this Dimpl is a wonderful gift for baby’s first Christmas!

    Radio Flyer 3-in-1 Wagon (here)

    You can’t go wrong with a classic! This multi-purpose radio flyer is a gift for babies and parents alike, as it is fun to ride in and easy to pull. It’s compact design folds for simple storage and it includes the UV protective canopy (for rainy days too). Plenty of room for 2, the radio flyer 3-in-1 can also be used as bench for seating. Buy it now!

    My First Library Board Books Boxset (here)

    It is never too early to instill a love for reading in a child, which makes this board book boxset the perfect gift for baby’s first Christmas. These brightly colored reads cover all the basics, including numbers, the alphabet and animals. Great for language development and an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of literature. Baby needs this set like yesterday!

    Spike the Fine-Motor Hedgehog (here)

    Just look at this adorable spike the Hedgehog in all of it’s colorful, fine motor glory! Watch as baby’s skills grow with this super cute peg-in-the-hole toy. The quills are easy to grasp and simple to store when play time is over. Spike is highly educational with it’s sorting, counting and color recognition building features. Exceptional!

    V-Tech Sit to Stand Learning Walker (here)

    What’s not to love about this interactive learning baby walker that features a removable toddler play panel and pretend telephone handset? Help babies learn to walk with this light up, musical push toy that sings songs and spouts fun phrases. Durable wheels work on carpet and hard floors. Intended for babies and toddlers from 9 months to 3 years old, it is also available in pink!  

    Growsland Baby Bath Toys (here)

    Bath time just got more fun with these awesome waterproof books and squeeze toys! This gift is not only educational but unique and guaranteed to keep baby entertained. The first page even squeaks when you press it! Tough but bendable, the books’ smooth edges are safety checked and mold resistant. Great value for everything included. Blub Blub gift these bath toys for baby’s first Christmas and enjoy some fun in the tub!

    Leapfrog My Pal Scout (here)

    Personalized learning, 40+ melodies and lullabies, and night time soothing are just a few of the incredible features to this multi-faceted, educational cuddle toy. Sync with a smartphone or tablet, and Scout will say your child’s name and favorite things. Bedtime just got a lot easier!

    Battat – Wooden Activity Cube (here)

    A beautifully crafted childhood classic, the Battat wooden activity cube is a must have for babies and toddlers. With 5 sides of fun and rounded corners, this child favorite will keep baby safely entertained. Playtime with this toy encourages hand-eye coordination, imaginative play and cause-and-effect. Winning gift right here!

    Melissa & Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks (here)

    What can’t we say about Melissa & Doug? Their products are amazing. Get back to the basics with these stackable blocks with eye catching alphabet letters and animals.  And when baby is finished they store away seamlessly.  This toy is an incredible value under $10 and is guaranteed by Melissa & Doug. Talk about a no brainer!

    Ball Pit Play Tent (here)

    Kids have a mental, emotional and physical need to learn how to explore by investigating their physical environments. What better place to do it than in this stimulating and safe ball pit? They can learn depth perception and to differentiate colors. It folds up quick and easy and comes with a handy storage bag so you can take just about anywhere!

    We hope you found the PERFECT Baby’s First Birthday Gift!

    Need more inspiration for Baby’s first birthday? Check out our DIY Cake Smash Photo Shoot at Home!

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  • 20 Unique Amazon Finds to Get Kids Through Quarantine

    School closures and stay home orders have us running out of ideas to keep kids entertained while stuck at home. Some days it is downright difficult to keep everyone occupied without resorting to screen time (and yes we’re doing our fair share of that!).

    We know we’re all in the same boat, so we did a little digging. After some deep amazon browsing, we found 20 unique products and activities for kids of all ages that we want to share with our readers, in the hopes that we can lighten the load. We’re fairly confident that these fun finds will occupy kids in an enriching way, and can provide parents the time to accomplish tasks. Win-Win!

    Check out these 20 unique Amazon finds to get kids through Quarantine with quick links provided below!

     

    Terrarium Kit

    Have kids grow their own habitat and experience the wonder of nature with this Grow N’ Glow Terrarium kit! Comes with everything you need for two full plant life cycles including the plastic mason-style jar, decorative lid, potting mix, organic chia and wheat grass seeds, garden figurines, decorative sand, river stones and a plant mister to keep your terrarium watered. Additionally, add dimension to your terrarium with translucent glow-in-the-dark stickers that light up your terrarium at night! The perfect STEAM activity that mixes science and art. Recommended for ages 6+

     

    Butterfly Kit

    Witness one of nature’s most spectacular transformations up close with this amazing butterfly garden! This STEM treat comes with everything you need and a full set of instructions to watch caterpillars change to butterflies via metamorphosis. Incredible!

    How to Draw Book

    I need this instructional guide for when my kids ask me to draw them their favorite animals! Simple step-by-step line illustrations make it easy for children (and their parents ha!) to draw with confidence. Each title contains 101 different images in all manner of shapes, sizes and poses.

     

    Floor is Lava Interactive Game

    Who doesn’t remember playing the floor is lava as a kid? Now it’s a board game! Players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava while spinning the color wheel to jump to the right foam pieces to reach safety. The Floor is Lava! is a family game that promotes physical activity, an active imagination, and engaging excitement for kids and adults.

     

    Garden Kit

    Pizza lovers rejoice: Kids can now paint and plant their own pizza herb garden! Paint the planter and plant markers, and sow the basil, oregano and Arugula herbs with vibrant colors and tasty flavors. Follow along with the included step-by-step instruction. The kit includes a tin planter, plastic liner, soil, 3 seed packets, 6-color paint strip, 2 paint brushes, paint palette, 3 wooden plant markers, shovel, watering bottle, and beautiful instruction booklet.

    Sand Art Bottle Kit

    In our world, Melissa & Doug can do no wrong. As one of our favorite toy brands, we love this sand art bottle kit made to entertain kids for hours at a time!

     

    Yoga Mat

    Why not start them early? These yoga mats for kids are ideal for children and are designed to be fun and provide a healthy outlet that teaches a healthy body image, concentration, balance and calm even in the face of too much silliness. The mats are slightly sticky with a light tack, providing a safe and secure grip. A downloadable yoga class specifically designed for kids is included with your mat purchase to help get your little one started!

    Jigsaw Puzzles

    These 12 themed wooden jigsaw puzzles feature 24 durable wooden pieces that fit together smoothly to display under the sea, farm, safari, and insects. We love that the the large size of the pieces eliminate a choking hazard!

     

    Sidewalk Chalk

    Let your kids flex their creativity with drawings and inspiring messages using sidewalk chalk!

     

    Paint by Stickers Book

    Calling all paint enthusiasts! Paint by Sticker includes everything you need to create twelve vibrant, full-color “paintings.” The images—including sunflowers, a fox, a hummingbird in mid-flight, two boats on the water are brilliantly made into a 3D effect. As in paint-by-number, each template is divided into dozens of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular colored sticker. Find the sticker, peel it, and place it in the right space. Add the next, and witness it come to life!

    Scratch Art

    This is a Trace-Along title! This fun and easy art activity book allows budding artists to use the wooden drawing tool enclosed to trace the white outlines on black-coated scratch art pages.  They can also use the sketch pages in the back to draw their own pictures of favorite animal friends. Hard covered binding makes this grab-and-go activity extra resilient. 20 scratch-off, 20 illustrated, and 20 sketch pages. Recommended for ages 5 and up!

     

    Balance Stepping Stones

    Here we have a physical activity challenge and an award winning toy to boot! Kids can show off their balancing skills while jumping from stone to stone. Create a new obstacle playground everyday! These foam stepping stones are both flexible and durable, lightweight and soft to the touch. Balance Stepping Stones were awarded the 2019 TOY OF THE YEAR AWARD for excellence by Creative Child Magazine!

     

    Kite Kit

    Another absolutely great idea and huge hit with kids, DIY Kite kits! Kids can custom decorate their own kite, then fly them high.  This is easy to assemble and comes with 3 kites to decorate, 8 multi color markers, and long ribbon colorful tails. 

     

    Bubble Wands

    Bubble Wands

    Bubbles are the universal pleasure tool for kids! Bubble up with this 4 pack and let the fun ensue!

     

    Button Art for Toddlers

    All the creativity without the mess, it’s button art for toddlers! This mosaic pegboard comes equipped with 50 Buttons and 18 pictures.

    Rock Painting Kit

    Spread kindness and positivity by painting and hiding rocks throughout your community for other kids to find. Just add imagination for endless creative fun! This complete craft kit comes with 10 rocks for designing, 8 waterproof paint colors, paint brush, rock transfer designs and tracking stickers. Waterproof art supplies make it possible to hide your painted rocks outdoors! 

     

    Craft Supply Kit

    This is your one stop shop for everything craft related! Stoke your child’s imagination and develop creative skills with all the arts & crafts that you could possibly create.

     

    Card Games

    UNO just got even more fun with this childhood favorite, UNO EMOJI style game!

    Score big with this party-sized edition of the best-selling dice game! It’s simple to play but each decision is crucial. The more numbers that are crossed off, the more points scored. With no downtime between turns, kids have a chance to gain from each and every roll! This deluxe game includes 8 dry erase markers and boards, plus bonus Qwixx Mixx game for alternate play. Heck yes!

     

    Puppet Craft Kit

    We love this felt hand puppet craft kit that makes 12 puppets! Some of the many benefits to puppet creation include dramatic play, imagination, role play, learning, and creativity. Kit comes equipped with everything a child would need to make their own fantastical puppets.

     

    Magic Science Kit

    We saved the best for last! Let your child explore their inner wizard with this spell-making kit! This unique educational pack will teach kids the science behind the color-changing magic.  Supplies include 4 test tubes with stand, 1 clear tube wand with 2 caps, 2 measuring scoops, Purple paper, star stickers and activity guide. Definitely recommended for children 6 years of age and older with adult supervision. Viola! 

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  • 5 Powerful Things to Tell Your Kids

    As we all navigate the new normal of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to place priority on the emotional health of our youngest generation. The little ones (with big ears!) listening to conversations, watching the news alongside us, and in tune with their parents’ mood and anxiety.

    While quarantine life and social distancing are new norms for all of us, it’s important to check in on young children and assure them in positive ways. Kids need our attention and validation to feel safe and protected.

    We can help foster emotional health with comforting affirmations and an open dialogue about what’s unfolding around us. Here are 5 powerful things to tell your kids when the world seems scary and out of control.

    Powerful things to tell your kids

    I love you, you are safe.

    Safety and security are at the core of a child’s emotional health. Remind them of all the people looking out for them and protecting them. Let them know that you are taking every precaution to keep them safe. Help them recognize how strong and capable they are.

    This will pass.

    Turn this into a teachable moment. Life is full of unknowns and unpredictable changes, but tough times don’t last. Drive that point home. Teach them how to weather the storm, and to ride out ups and downs.

    When age appropriate (great breakdown of how to approach the conversation by age group here), provide facts and context to kids to eliminate rumors or exaggerations. Setting the story straight is helpful when kids hear stories from friends or let their imaginations run wild.

    Example:

    Child: “Johnny said this is the end of the world.”

    Response: “Yes, people are getting sick and unfortunately, some are dying. But this is not the end of the world, and it will pass as long as we do everything in our power to protect ourselves and others by staying home and practicing good hygiene.”

    When your kids ask questions, be honest. Denying that there is a public health emergency sends conflicting messages and creates distrust.

    I know this is hard. What do you need from me?

    Acknowledge that the situation is difficult. Your validation shows your children that you respect them and are paying attention to their fears.

    Asking what you can do to help provides the opportunity to learn what comforts them. Provide ways to cope with the anxiety that presents during times of crisis. Have an open dialogue about ways to support each other.

    Affirmations to soothe anxiety:

    1. I have the power to do hard things.
    2. This world has light, air, food, and comfort just for me because I’m loved and cherished.
    3. Happiness and gratitude come easily to me.
    4. I always see the bright side or lessons in my life.
    5. I will spread and attract good things everywhere I go.
    6. I am calm and handle all challenges with ease.
    7. I empathize with those in need and send loving thoughts their way.

    Let’s find joy in what we have.

    Teach your kids to practice gratitude. This will carry them through this time and other challenging obstacles that come up in life. Point out the simple things to be grateful for right now such as a warm home, food, toys, etc.

    Look for the helpers.

    Yes, the bright side. The antidote to any tragedy or disaster are the community helpers that rise to the occasion. Point out the humans helping humans in big and small ways.

    Help your child recognize and appreciate those that are creating solutions for the greater good. Have a conversation about the small ways they too, can make an impact (washing hands, staying home, donating to food banks, etc). Having a positive to focus on can mitigate the anxiety kids may be experiencing.

    For more parenting resources:

    Helping Children Cope with Changes as a Result of Covid-19

    How to  Talk to Kids and Teens about the Coronavirus

    Fostering Your Child’s Mental Health

    We hope your family benefits from these powerful things to tell your kids when the world seems scary. Check us out on Facebook and get involved!

     

     

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  • School Closure Schedule & Activity Planner

    In the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, the possibility of school closures was something that seemed far out and even extreme. Now, with many school systems abruptly closing for the year, parents are scrambling to create some type of schedule to promote the normalcy kids need to feel secure.

    Kids thrive on routines. The consistency not only provides them a sense of security, but allows them to feel confident with time management. And as studies show, creating an established routine assists in developing important habits and life skills.

    quarantine schedule

    It’s impossible to adhere strictly to a schedule in this era of social distancing and some days you have to wing it! This is uncharted territory for all of us. No-one expects a set schedule to be followed meticulously during this time. Keep expectations within reason.

    That being said, we can do our best to give kids a daily routine as a guideline to follow. Enter: the School Closure Schedule and Activity Planner that we feel every parent could use right now, available for download below!

    quarantine schedule

    See what our School Closure Schedule & Activity Planner has inside!

    The School Closure and Activity Planner has 3 pages including:

    • Weekly Schedule: An activity focus for each day of the week
    • Daily Schedule: A timeline of suggested daily activities
    • Chore Chart: Age appropriate chore chart to maintain tasks
    • Learning List: Over 50 ideas for things to do while you social distance

    Pair the School Closure Schedule and Activity Planner with our Family Emergency Binder printables and you’ll be all set!

    We sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying well during this difficult time. Rockitmama has a variety of parenting resources and children’s learning activities to keep everyone engaged until life returns to normal. Check the tabs on our homepage or use the search bar to locate articles and printables. Brighter days are ahead, friends.


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  • DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath

    I’ve been wanting to try this project for a while, and since we’re currently social distancing, I decided to give it a whirl. Wood Bead Wreaths are super trendy right now, and I’ve been looking to fill decorative space on our walls.

    This easy-to-make DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath turned out to be a fun way to add some Spring flare our new home! Full tutorial below!

    DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath

    *This may need to be eliminated in time, but during this era of Coronavirus and social distancing/lockdown, I want to provide the best way to accomplish this project while staying safe. I ordered all of the supplies online at Michaels.com. and as of 3/22 (I’m not certain how long it will last) they’re offering curbside pick-up, where they bring your order out to your vehicle. You don’t have to step inside the store! In addition, Michael’s is offering awesome sales on just about everything. All of the items I purchased were 30% off! Stay well, friends.*

    You will need:

    1. 12in. wood wreath frame
    2. Six 2in. wood balls
    3. Faux flower bundle (use ours or find one to match your design style)
    4. Glue gun
    5. Scissors or pliers

    Wood Bead Wreath

    Directions

    1. Hot glue wood balls to wreath ring. Keep them close together.
    2. Optional: An added step I took to make adhesion a little easier, was to sand down a small spot on the wood ball to apply the hot glue. Pictured below to the right!
    3. Cut flower bouquet with scissors or pliers
    4. Use hot glue to adhere leaves and branches
    5. Apply the bigger flowers with hot glue and let dry
    6. Use command strips to hang on door or wall

    DIY Wood Bead Wreath

    Wood Bead Wreath

    DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath!

    Wood Bead Wreath

    The final product is simple and beautiful. Another option to this DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath is to use floral wire instead of hot glue. This way, the floral arrangement could be swapped out seasonally. I picture leaves and sunflowers for fall, or Holly for the holiday season. I may have to make a few more!

    Additionally, if you don’t have the equipment to sand the wood balls, split wood balls are available on Amazon and most craft stores.

    DIY Wood Bead Spring Wreath

    Ready to hit the wall! Tag @rockitmamablog in your final products so we can see all the pretty new wreaths!

    For more DIY inspiration check out Weekly Menu Board – An Easy DIY Project

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