1. Let’s Get Gardening!

    Though spring’s full bloom is yet to come, those of us with green thumbs have already started gathering the tools and supplies we will need for our gardens. But did you know that gardening can be a great teaching tool for kids? Gardening lets them see firsthand the connection between the food they eat and the natural world around them. It also helps them develop the skills to care for another living thing.

    If kids become interested the biology and climate science of gardening, it can become a great tool for teaching science. Other kids are more enticed by the colors and flavors of plant life, which gives you a great platform for teaching about cooking and healthy eating. Gardening also teaches more general skills like responsibility and seeing things through. It’s a great way to show that a bit of effort and care every day will produce something worthwhile.  

    Besides the educational benefits, gardening is a fun way to spend some time as a family. Kids take great pride when the whole family sits around the table and eats something that has herbs or veggies they helped grow. Try letting your kids name the plants – that way, it’s easier to see them as living beings with distinct characteristics.

    And don’t think that gardening only applies to suburbanites with backyards; apartment dwellers can beautify their home with plants just as well. Anywhere with some space and sufficient light in your apartment can become a miniature garden. Windowsills, fire escapes, and roofs are all popular spots. Many herbs, such as mint, basil, oregano, and tarragon, and some vegetables, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, don’t require any specialized gardening skills to grow. All you really need is a bit of space, a planter, dirt, and a watering can.

    If gardening is not an option in your home, look into community gardens. These local cooperative food gardens are springing up in communities across the country, and have been endorsed my Michelle Obama and others. They’re a great way to dip your feet into the gardening world, meet some other parents and kids, and teach your kids some valuable lessons.

     

  2. Brand Alert: Twelve K

    Twelve K isn’t afraid to make edgy choices when it comes to coloration, wash style, and wear pattern. It’s this sense of boldness that makes everything in their spring collection stand out. Plus, all these pieces come in at under $20, perfect for anyone looking for unique style on a budget.

    Dip-dying adds a unique tri-coloration to this spring-ready vest.

    These jeans combine a flattering skinny cut with a statement-making sandblasted wash. Top it off with the matching vest to create an incredible outfit.

    This skirt is teased out and turned up thanks to some fun patches. Feel free to add some patches of your own!

    This topper is equal parts denim jacket and hoodie, making it unique and versatile.

     

  3. Brand Alert: Yoki

    It’s almost springtime (officially, at least) and that means we’ve had an avalanche of new inventory here at CookiesKids.com. Perennial favorite brands like U.S. Polo Assn., Baby Phat, and Levi’s all released their spring collections in the past few weeks.

    But an abundance of new inventory means it’s easy for smaller brands with limited collections to get overlooked. That’s why we’ve started the Brand Alert section here on the CookiesKids.com blog. Check back here for up-and-coming brands you may not have heard of before.

    Yoki

    There’s something about Yoki that just seems more mature than many other girls clothing brands. Their designs are classic, but always include something unique to make you look twice.

    This trench gets a boost from a dramatically flared hem and overlap stitching on the back.

    Ruffles at the sides add a kiss of femininity to this revved up motorcycle jacket.

    Versatile jackets like these really come in handy in springtime, when temperatures can jump all over the place.

    When it’s time to accessorize her look, Yoki comes to the rescue as well. This purse comes with a western accent, courtesy of fringe trim.

    Skulls = “don’t mess with me.”

    So far we’ve only seen jackets and purses from Yoki, but we hope there’s more to come. We’ll keep you updated! 

     

  4. The Diaper Bag Checklist

    Sunshine. Snacks. Smiles. Outings with baby can be a dream. But if you go unprepared, they can quickly turn into a nightmare. 

    Never fear, though. Our no-nonsense guide puts together a checklist of diaper bag essentials, and some tips for carrying it all.

    First, let’s break down everything a successful diaper bag should have:

    Diapers: at least one diaper for each hour you’ll be out of the house. 

    Wipes: not just for diaper changes, but also for dirty hands. Hand sanitizer is also a good idea.  

    Changing Pad: luckily, almost all the diaper bags we sell include one. 

    Plastic Bags: to store dirty diapers and other things you don’t want floating around unsealed in your diaper bag. Rather than buying new plastic bags, collect old grocery bags or get some biodegradable bags.

    Bottles, Sippy Cups, Snack Keepers, Snacks & Drinks: for bottles, go for whichever is baby’s favorite. For sippy cups and snack keepers, look for ones that are designed to prevent spills.

    Blanket: you can use a blanket to bundle baby up, provide a changing area, or create some shade on a sunny to day. The plusher the better!

    Extra Clothes: a light jacket is always a good idea. 

    Sunscreen: a sunhat might also come in handy.

    First-Aid Kit: because you never know.  

    Sounds like a lot, right? So how’s a mom supposed to carry all this stuff?

    First off, choose a diaper bag that’s comfortable for you. An ergonomic choice like this will help with heavy loads.

    But it’s also important to take a load off sometimes. Don’t ever hesitate to enlist dad, big brother, and big sister to help out with toting the diaper bag. Hint: they’ll be a lot more amenable to tackling this task if the diaper bag doesn’t look too embarrassing on their arm. Check out some of our more gender-neutral diaper bags, like this and this.

    Spring is on the horizon, and that means you’ll be able to get out and see the world with your little one – but only if you’re packed up and ready to go!

    Source: http://www.babycenter.com/0_checklist-what-to-put-in-your-diaper-bag_10328766.bc

     

  5. Limiting Sugar Intake

    Parents want their kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Eating fruits and vegetables, limiting fat intake, and keeping tabs on portion sizes is an excellent way of doing this, and standard procedure for most parents. One thing that frequently sneaks under parental radar, however, is sugar. According to Forbes magazine, the average American child consumes 32 teaspoons of sugar a day. The American Medical Association suggests no more than 9 – and that’s for adults!

    Should you limit your child’s sugar intake? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Refined sugar has no nutritional value. Sugar has been linked to obesity, nervousness, acne, fatigue, diabetes, and a host of other conditions. The less sugar any person takes in, the better, but for children, sugar is doubly damaging because they’re learning eating habits now that will follow them through life.

    Most parents are aware that sugar is not something they should be feeding their children. So how does so much make it into our kids’ diets? The two biggest culprits are sugary drinks and sweet snacks. Most parents would not knowingly let their kid eat 10 teaspoons of sugar, yet one can of Coke contains precisely that much. Sport drinks, fruit drinks, and flavored waters are equally as saccharine.

    As a parent, it’s a good idea to check the labels. Even seemingly healthy foods like kids’ yogurts and sorbet can contain tons of sugar. It doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your child’s diet at all, but it’s up to you to monitor overall sugar intake, and that means cutting down wherever you can.

    If you decide to limit your child’s sugar intake, it’s a good idea to do it gradually. A slow taper from sugary foods to healthier ones has a better chance of succeeding than a crash diet approach. Try replacing sodas with water, seltzer, or homemade drinks. Ice tea is great because you can choose a flavor your kids will love and limit sugar to one teaspoon per glass. If your child has a sweet tooth, point them to naturally sweet snacks like fresh and dried fruit.

    The earlier you start your children on the path of monitoring and limiting sugar intake, the healthier they will be for the rest of their lives. Having less sugar food in your home will be a boon to everyone’s health, including your own. 

     

  6. Kids & Social Media

    Social media confounds many parents. Parents who don’t have experience with social media are at a loss, and many parents who do are unsure how they should monitor and interact with their kids via these channels. The news is full of stories involving kids misbehaving and getting into trouble on social media, so how can you make sure you’re setting the right rules for your kids?  More importantly, how can you proactively protect your kids on social media?

    The first thing you need to do, if you haven’t done it already, is create social media accounts. Join Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other network that your kids are a part of. Connect with your kids. Just the fact they know that you can see what they are doing online will make them think twice before posting a questionable picture or less than thoughtful comment.

    Some parents want to know their kids’ passwords so they can see firsthand everything they’re doing online. That certainly makes it easier to monitor your kids, but for some parents it’s a case of too much information. Password sharing depends strongly on the level of privacy you afford your kids, and ultimately on their level of maturity.

    No matter how much privacy your kids have, there are certain things you should review with them. Make sure they understand that a lot of the same rules that apply to strangers on the street apply to people on social media. They should never give out their personal information and immediately report any harassment – whether from peers or from strangers. When it comes to their personal conduct, just remind them that you are on the same networks they are. Anything they wouldn’t want you to see shouldn’t be online at all.

    It’s important for parents to look past some of the negative characteristics of social media to see its true value. If you use social media as a way to monitor and interact with your kids, it’s an invaluable window into their lives. 

     

  7. Basketball Gear

    Basketball season is here and we have all the gear your little guy needs! We carry an extensive line of official NBA wear, athletic shoes, sporty outfits, and more. Check out some of our basketball themed swag. It’s perfect for the fan, the player, or someone who does a bit of both.

    He’ll dream of basketball in this fabulous pajama set from USAthlete. Both pieces have fun basketball graphics sure to appeal to ballers of all ages! And at just $5, it’s an incredible deal.

    These sweatpants are a wardrobe must for any Knicks fan. They sport a Knicks insignia and feature that unmistakable orange and blue coloration.

    These Fila hi-tops look great both on and off the court. The extra padding and grippy tread make these shoes extremely comfortable no matter what’s going down.

    This athletic 2-piece from KZ Boys lets him share his love the game with the world. This outfit looks great on its own, but it’s also perfect for mixing and matching with other b-ball gear.

     

  8. Let’s Get a Pet!

    Getting a first pet is a monumental occasion in any child’s life. From the moment you bring that animal through the door, your kids will love it. Most parents eventually find themselves enamored with the family pet as well. All too often, however, families choose pets that they can’t handle, and those pets get sent back to the stores or shelters from which they came. It’s a sad event for both the pet and the family. How can you ensure your family chooses a pet that will be with you for a long time to come?

    The first thing you need to do is research. What kind of pet best fits your family’s lifestyle? Do you have the time and energy to devote to a dog? Are you home enough for a cat? How much responsibility will the parents shoulder? What about the kids? These are all things you need to figure out and discuss before you make any trip to a shelter or pet store.

    Dogs are the most popular American pet. Most dog owners view their pet as part of the family. If choosing a dog, make sure to factor in age, breed, and disposition. Does your family have the time and space necessary for a big, high-energy puppy? Maybe you would be more comfortable with a smaller dog that needs less exercise? Keep in mind you will need to take the time to train any dog so it can adjust to life with your family.

    Cats are the second most popular American pet. Many people assume that if they get a cat and put out a litter box and food bowl, the rest will take care of itself. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although cats require less effort than dogs, they still need play and attention every day. Also, a family that travels a lot needs to make sure someone can take care of their cat when they are gone.

    If you aren’t ready to jump headlong into pet ownership, consider a starter pet, something that doesn’t require too much attention. Good examples include hamsters, goldfish, mice, and finches. These pets are a good way to make sure your family has the time to clean, feed, and care for an animal. If things work out, you’ll know your family is ready for a long term commitment.

     

  9. High Fashion, High Value

    What is “high fashion”? The term is notoriously hard to pin down. For one, it’s always changing. It’s also highly subjective.

    Unfortunately the term has also become synonymous with high cost. But who says subtle style and sleek sophistication need to be a huge financial setback?

    At CookiesKids.com we’re always looking for ways to bring you great looks for an affordable price. Check out our selection of dresses inspired by the runways of Paris and Milan. 

    This Dream Girl dress is high-fashion essential – elegant, stylish, and cool. Take it in a formal direction with a blazer and a sensible bag. Go glamorous with some showy jewelry. Did we mention it’s a great everyday look without any adornment?

    Denim, and denim-look chambray, is having a huge moment right now. You can go edgy by pairing this Chillipop dress with a leather jacket and boots, or go for a more subdued look by adding a tote and sneakers.

    At first glance this Puma dress looks very athletic, but with a pair of sensible tights and a simple cardigan it becomes at home in more formal environment. It’s also great as is for a day at the park or a BBQ. A versatile dress from a well-known brand for only $20!

    This Beautees dress takes a classic shape and style and spices it up with some rich embroidery. It’s a great party dress, but with a casual blazer and flats it can become part of her everyday wardrobe. Another $20 winner. 

     

  10. Boys Boots that can Take on Anything

    Many parents assume that boys need only one pair of boots, mainly for keeping dry in the rain and snow. A good pair of all-weather boots is a wardrobe essential for any young man, but with the wide variety of boots out there, each boot built for a special function, there’s no reason to stop with just one pair.  

    Take a look at some of our affordable and versatile boots for boys:

    It hard to talk about boots without mentioning Timberland. Not only do these boots look great, they offer time-tested durability, warmth, and protection.

    Don’t let the elegant suede exterior of these boots fool you; the sole is thick and rugged. These look equally great with jeans and dressier pants.

    If your little guy is typically not a fan of heavy, clunky boots, he should check out this selection from Lilly. They’re lightweight, easy to get on and off, and fun. At just $15 they’re also a steal!

    These Joseph Allen boots are stylish and extra comfy. The exposed shearling makes these boots oh-so cozy and lends them some rustic charm.