1. Back-to-School Backpack Round-Up

    What is the first thing on most back-to-school shopping lists? A backpack! You want something to help keep your little scholar organized and comfortable, but a good backpack also has to last through the year and hopefully beyond. Luckily, we carry a variety of durable backpacks, perfect for students of all ages. Here are some of our favorites:

    Why tamper with a classic? This Citisport backpack sticks to a traditional 1 compartment, 1 pocket design and pairs it with sturdy construction. A versatile choice!

    Jansport is one of the most trusted and recognized names in the backpack world, and for good reason. This teched-out pack is designed to protect electronics, perfect for today’s digital student.

    Hello Kitty fans will adore this backpack! Not only does it have a colorful graphic, it comes with useful features like mesh water bottle holders and a front pocket.

    This backpack from The North Face comes with the same quality and attention to detail you’ve come to expect in The North Face jackets. Multiple padded compartments protect and organize all their belongings.

     

  2. Plug Up the Summer Brain Drain

     

  3. The Doctor Is In!

    Doc McStuffins has quickly become one of the most popular children’s characters on TV. Doc owes her success to her cheery demeanor, broad appeal, and cuddly supporting cast. She now stands alongside Dora and SpongeBob in popularity, and even got a recent profile in this New York Times piece.

    What does your little one like about Doc McStuffins? Whatever it is she finds appealing about the Doc, she’s sure to love this Doc McStuffins gear. Check it out! 

    Doc McStuffins can keep her company every day at school with this backpack and lunchbox set. The ripstop construction is durable and long lasting.

    Doc McStuffins has the cure for the rainy day blues with this umbrella. The figurine handle is an adorable touch.

    Bad dreams? Doc McStuffins pajamas are the right course of treatment! The breathable cotton provides all night comfort.

    This Doc McStuffins cap has an adjustable Velcro strap so it can grow with her. The graphic shows both Lamby and Doc.

     

  4. Preventing Childhood Obesity

    Although the childhood obesity rate has dropped in recent years, it still hovers around 17%. That number is far too high, especially considering that childhood obesity is linked to adult obesity, diabetes, and a host of other medical conditions. What is the best way to prevent your little one from starting down the path of unhealthy eating?

    The best strategy is a long-term one that aims to increase physical activity and improve diet. Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, a growing child typically does not need to lose weight; a better strategy is to help them stop any weight gain and let them grow into their current weight.

    Your efforts should start at the kitchen table. Go online and find recipes that are healthy, enjoyable, and nourishing (hint: we post a lot of these on our Facebook page). It’s a lot of work, but the more meals you prepare at home, the healthier the food will be. Outside foods from restaurants will often be loaded with sugar, salt, and empty calories. Furthermore, try to get your child in the habit of sitting down to a real meal; constant snacking is an easy way to sabotage a diet.

    One thing you will want to greatly reduce, or even eliminate entirely, is sugary drinks. A large soda can pack the same caloric punch as a filling, healthy meal. Even things like 100% orange or apple juice, while healthier than soda and fruit drinks, can contain a lot of calories and sugar. Get in the habit of checking the nutrition facts on the back. When it comes to dessert, choose a healthy option like peanut butter on apple slices or fruit salad. You can still occasionally have cake or other sweets, but try smaller serving sizes.   

    What’s the most important thing you can do to help a child improve their diet? Make healthy eating a family project. Losing weight is easier when you have a support system. It’s also a great way to bond as a family.

     

     

  5. Brand Alert: NBA – Zipway: A Winning Combination

    What do you get when you combine your favorite NBA team’s logo with a host of fashion-forward and athletic design features? NBA – Zipway! NBA – Zipway is an official NBA brand that incorporates high-tech features, such as effortless tear-away zippers, used by real athletes. This makes NBA – Zipway the perfect brand for the fan, the athlete, and especially the fan-athlete. Let’s take a look at some of NBA – Zipway’s hippest gear:

    Why get a plain old Brooklyn Nets T when you can get this eye-catching one? It has the familiar Nets logo plus cool metallic accents and other mind-bending graphics.

    These OKC Thunder pants make it easy to transition from watching on the sidelines to balling on the court. The breathable tricot minimizes perspiration, while Velcro straps at the waistband let him get that perfect fit.

    This Knicks hoodie blows the competition out of the water. It’s covered top to bottom in the official Knicks colors, plus has tons of logos and insignias.

    Chicago Bulls fans need this in their wardrobe. The thick fleece is perfect for staying toasty while reppin’ the Windy City.

     

  6. Homesick Blues

    Homesickness is one of the most common camp-related ailments, up there with bug bites, heat rash, and skinned knees. Unfortunately, it still confounds campers and their parents alike. The American Camp Association says that 10% of kids experience homesickness, but this number is likely much higher because many kids feel homesick but don’t say anything. As a parent, what can you do to keep your child’s homesickness in check?

    Preventing homesickness can start at home. If it’s your child’s first time at camp and they haven’t spent much time away from home, send them on a few practice runs. Sleeping at friends’ or relatives’ houses for the weekend can be a good primer.

    Are you nervous about your child going away? Try to project a nonchalant attitude to your kids. That way, your anxieties don’t rub off on your camper. Keep reassuring them that they will enjoy camp. Even saying something like “If you don’t like camp, you can always come home” sends a subtle message that camp won’t be fun, so keep that kind of talk to a minimum.

    The key to keeping homesickness at bay once a child gets to camp is making sure they stay busy. If they write or call complaining about homesickness, encourage them to take on more activities. Talk to their counselors; they can get your child more involved in the daily life of camp. And although phone calls and email are important, put a limit on this behavior. Too much parent-child contact, especially in the first days of camp, can intensify homesickness. You want your child out having fun, not dwelling on missing you. Letter writing can be a good alternative to phone calls. Ask your kids to use the letters to tell you how much fun they are having.

    The great thing about homesickness is that it usually takes care of itself eventually. All you have to do is offer a compassionate ear and support. When you send your child off to summer camp next year, homesickness will be a thing of the past. Plus, doesn’t it make you feel good to be missed?

     

  7. Shortalls and Skirt-alls for Girls – We’re All for It!

    Shortalls and skirt-alls are an easy solution for the little lady who’s always on the go. These versatile pieces make building an outfit as easy as choosing shoes and a T-shirt to match. And with accents ranging from trendy to rustic, shortalls and skirt-alls also integrate well with more elaborate and fashion-forward getups. Here are some of our favorites:

    Floral printed jeans are all the rage right now, so Guess carried the trend over into these adorable skirt-alls.  

    An overall bib combines with tiers of patterned fabric to give this Kidzone jumper a unique look. The sturdy dependability of overalls with the breezy cuteness of a dress: who could ask for more?

    If she likes stripes, this Hello Gorgeous 2-piece is just for her. The stripy T seamlessly pairs with the overalls, but this set also happens to be a mix-and-match winner. 

    Spread the love with these Crystal Vogue overall shorts. The open back is great for staying cool, and she’ll adore the “Love” print.

     

  8. Road Trips with Kids

    Jumping in the car and going on a summer adventure is a time honored tradition. But as fun as road tripping can be, having kids in the car, especially young kids, can be taxing. The constant noise, bickering, and requests for pit stops are enough to drive even the most patient parents insane. What can you do to make sure your long distance summer travel goes smoothly?

    Make sure kids have a lot to do in the car. Heavy luggage should go in the trunk, but make sure each kid has a compact carry-on bag as well. Help each child pack their bag with things like books, art supplies, an iPod, handheld gaming device, and anything else that can reliably distract them. Make sure everyone has their own stuff so the kids don’t argue over a coveted toy.

    Make sure your kids have what they need to entertain themselves, but also plan some group activities. Family games like I Spy or 20 Questions can help pass the time. Make use of your car’s stereo system. There’s plenty of family-friendly audio content out there, such as podcasts, audiobooks, and language learning programs. If you have some free time before the trip, go to a record store with the whole family. This will ensure that everyone has some fresh tunes to contribute.

    Nothing fails to annoy parents like young passengers’ persistent need to stop. This is usually brought on by a mix of boredom and legitimate needs to eat or use the facilities. Curbing boredom will go a long way toward limiting these stops. Make sure to also have snacks and drinks on hand for the kids – fruits, nuts, and energy bars are popular choices. Avoid sugary drinks, as these are more likely to make young passengers have to pee.

    With a bit of planning ahead, the car ride can be the highlight of any trip. Just make sure the kids stay comfortable and entertained – that way you can enjoy the ride, too. Safe travels!

     

  9. Brand Alert: Chams and GS-115

    If you’re looking to add more bottoms to his wardrobe, check out GS-115 and its sister brand Chams. Their line of jeans and shorts has everything from basic denim in a standard straight cut to more exotic cuts and washes. Signature embroidery, studs, and flaps add distinction that’ll turn heads wherever he goes. Best of all, Chams and GS-115 offer a premium designer look at a price parents can afford. Check out some of our favorites:

    These Chams belted cargo shorts are a must-have for summer. The light cotton is exceptionally breathable and sports unique grid texturing.

    These slim fit jeans from GS-115 are perfectly on-trend. The brightly colored raw-look denim is sure to get him the attention he deserves!

    A classic straight fit combines with subtle fading on these GS-115 jeans. The included D-ring belt is a useful bonus.

    Chams turns up the volume with fun details on these versatile straight fit jeans. Dress them up with a button-down, or go casual with a T. 

     

  10. Beyond Summer Reading

    Does your child dread summer reading? If they don’t like the assigned books, that’s one thing, but if they’re not interested in reading at all, there may be a problem. Often it takes a parent’s guidance to ignite a child’s passion for reading. Luckily, summer is the perfect time to transform your child from a reluctant reader to an avid one. But how?  

    Reading to your child from an early age is a great way to get them hooked. Choose a book you think your child will love and read the first few chapters aloud to them. If they seem to like the book, ask them to read a few chapters to you. Before you know it, they’ll be unable to wait and will zoom ahead in the story – the desired effect.

    You may need to try a few books before you find one that captures your child’s imagination. Once you do, make a mental note of what kinds of stories they like: stories with a plucky female heroine? Stories about adventures on the high seas? Suspenseful stories? Stories about magic? If you can crack the code to your child’s reading interests, it’ll make a trip to the library or bookstore a lot more fruitful. 

    It doesn’t have to be a book that introduces your child to a story or character. If your child loved the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, introduce them to the books next. Pique their interest by telling them the movie is only a small part of the story – which is usually true. To get the full picture they need to read.

    If your child loves being online, you can make reading a multimedia, interactive experience. Have your child go online and connect with other fans of a book. There are lots of activities they can do to flush out the story, like drawing scenes or characters from the book, writing their own fan fiction, or even dressing up like their favorite characters.

    Your encouragement and interest will make it much easier for your child to develop a lifelong love of reading. Try to read some of the same books as them. Ask about their opinions on the story, what they expect to happen next, and what they would change if they were the author. Their answers may surprise you!