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  • 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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  • Baby’s First Christmas – Gift Guide!

    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.

    Check out our list of must-have gifts for Baby’s First Christmas!

    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!

    If you liked this gift guide for Baby’s First Christmas and would like more gift ideas – be sure to read our post on 50 Christmas Gifts Under $10 (and 75+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas.)

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  • The 4 Best Takeaways From The Whole-Brain Child

    As a stay at home mom who is basically on 24/7,  I’m always looking for new methods to improve the relationships I have with my kids, and solutions for handling the big emotions that come with parenting. Most of my research pointed to The Whole-Brain Child written by Daniel J Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. This practical child rearing read is a New York Times Bestseller and for good reason.

    Photo of woman reading The Whole-Brain Child.

    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.

    The 12 no-drama discipline strategies laid out in the book are game changing. The illustrations and relatable narratives offer parents an effortless implementation and are easy to follow. However, the most beneficial piece to this read was the information regarding brain science and the many links to child emotional development. The authors provide a thorough explanation as to why children are at times highly emotionally reactive and how to better understand their struggles.

    Overall, The Whole-Brain Child can help foster happier and healthier kids which is what we all strive for. Here are the 4 Best Takeaways from The Whole-Brain Child.

    1.) Integration – The Many Parts of the Brain

    Most of us understand that the brain has many different parts with many different functions. There’s the logical left brain and the emotional right brain. There’s an instinctive reptile brain and a mammal brain that helps us foster emotional connections and relationships. New research shows that all of these components of the brain need to work well together in order to flourish and thrive. This concept is called integration.

    Because the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 20-25, we can’t expect the littlest among us to be experts in brain functions such us emotional intelligence or sounds decision making.

    The book notes that because children are right brain dominant, they aren’t experts in getting messages across without mastery of the left brain logic. As a result, it is difficult to explain how they’re feeling. This is often the cause of a tantrum or meltdown. Parents can integrate the the child brain by providing them experiences in which the many parts of the brain can collaborate.

    The book expands on these experiences and gives various strategies for integration. However, simply understanding the composition of the brain allows parents to nurture the child brain more effectively.

    2.) Attunement – Allow them to Feel Felt

    “When a child is upset, logic won’t work until we’ve responded to the child’s emotional needs first,” -The Whole-Brain Child

    I love this quote directly from the book. When we respond to our child’s tantrum with a logical answer, it probably won’t connect because the child’s emotional needs are commanding the brain in a way that is all-consuming. That is precisely why responses such as (below) don’t resonate.

    • “You’re fine.”
    • “It’s not a big deal.”
    • “Calm down.”

    Help your child feel heard and felt by affirming their feelings (no matter how irrational), not invalidating them. Assuring a child that they’re not alone and  that we want to know whats happening on the inside can help calm the situation. Once their emotional needs are met, it will be easier to break through to the developing logical left brain, to work through the problem.

    For more on appropriate responses to tantrums read our article 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums.

    3.) Traumas – Name Their Pain

    When a child experiences a trauma, a parent’s first instinct is to avoid it or distract the child from re-living the experience. But due to the inner workings of the developing brain, it’s important to talk about the trauma in order to overcome.

    This section of The Whole-Brain Child points out that while we don’t want our children to hurt, its vital for them to have these experiences to learn how to heal and grow. Traumas should never go unresolved. Recount the fear and walk through it together.

    Trauma is a word that is often misunderstood. Trauma doesn’t have to be the death of a family member or a scary car accident. It can be any deeply distressing or disturbing experience. For children, a perceived trauma can be something that an adult would find silly or irrational. Examples of child trauma:

    • Getting sick at preschool or daycare
    • A scary encounter with an animal
    • A toilet overflowing
    • Falling off the playground

    Though these situations may sound minor, something as simple as a toilet overflowing can create anxiety or discomfort in a child that needs to be worked through.

    4.) Morality

    “A sense of not only right and wrong, but also what is for the greater good beyond their own personal needs,” -The Whole-Brain Child

    This one resonated with me, as its one of the most important values I wish to instill in my kids: a strong sense of morality. The book explains that a well integrated upstairs brain with the following attributes culminates in morality.

    • Sound decision making
    • Controlling emotions and the body
    • Self-understanding
    • Empathy

    A great way to exercise this part of the brain is to place a child in scenarios in which they practice good decision making. A few examples of hypotheticals (that kids love) directly from the book:

    • “Would it be ok to run a red light in an emergency?”
    • “If a bully was picking on someone, would you intervene?”
    • “If you found a toy at the playground that didn’t belong to you, would you take it?”

    By challenging kids to think critically about decisions, and by guiding them through these scenarios, we allow them to build the morality necessary to make good choices. Being able to assess the implications in any situation is a crucial life skill and is important in helping children develop sound decision making skills.

    We hope that our 4 Best Takeaways from The Whole-Brain Child left you wanting more! You can purchase this essential parent read below.

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  • The Best Baby & Kids Pajamas Under $20 on AMAZON

    I am that extra mom that coordinates my kid’s pajamas with holidays, books, hobbies, you name it. And because they’re always growing out of their jammies (and we wear them a lot in this household) I’m constantly checking around for good deals on quality sleepwear. Furthermore, Amazon offers some great brands for super cheap and admittedly I LOVE the convenience. Below I’ve listed my favorite brands and what I have found to be the best baby & kids pajamas under $20 on Amazon! Happy shopping (and hopefully sleeping!)

     

     

    Picture of the best children's pajamas under $20 on Amazon

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can’t get enough of these puppy PJs from Spotted Zebra and I just ordered them for my son! Bonus buy – these are less than $10 and come with the short sleeve option which I love.

       

    How cute are these Bunny sets for Spring? Order now in time for the Easter holiday and have the kiddos open their baskets in style, or have the bunny bring them on Easter morning.

       

    We are a books-to-bed family and nothing gets my oldest pumped for reading like pajamas that match the book we snuggle up to at night. Purchase the books along with the PJ set and it serves as an awesome gift as well. Click here for Llama Llama Red Pajama and here for Brown Bear Brown Bear.

      

    Leveret is one of my FAVORITE brands because of the adorable patterns and the no slip footies. My youngest son is beginning to pull up on everything and the extra grip is a safety plus. I’ve ordered several pairs, and in fact have a matching pair for myself! They also come tag-less for littles with sensitive skin. I have featured the mermaid pattern here but be sure to look at the other patterns available.

    Burts Bees – not just the creamy chapstick in your purse! These are 100% organic cotton and also have the no slip footies. More patterns available for this one as well.

       

    These Avauma sets are the most expensive on the list but I love how cozy and simple they are. These thermal pajamas will stay warm on cold nights and hold their structure well through many rounds in the washing machine.

       

    We hope you found some new Pajamas to lay the kids down in at night! Be sure to check out our 10 Easy Easter Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

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