Calming activities for a new school year: sensory play

Calming Activities for a New School Year: Sensory Play

Sensory play is one of my favorite after school activities for kids, and it ranks high on my list of calming activities for a new school year! I have learned that our afternoons go much more smoothly if I have something planned for the kids when school gets out that helps them decompress. Sensory play […]

Back to school activities, tips, and resources for parents. Things you can do to ease the back to school transition for elementary school aged children.

Back to School Activities, Tips, and Resources for Parents

My kids headed back to school this week (not two-year-old Anna; she just likes her backpack). Since school is on our minds, I thought today would be a great day to share back to school activities, tips, and resources for parents so that the going back to school can be a happy event! Here are […]

Beados review - fuse beads with water, not heat

Beados Review: Fuse Beads with Water, not Heat

My kids love creating things out of fusible beads, but we don’t do it nearly as often as they would like because it means getting the iron out and the iron is hardly my favorite household appliance (that title goes to our washing machine, followed closely by the dishwasher). When we were offered the opportunity […]

Visiting Angkor National Park in Cambodia - incredible photos of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and more! Part of the World Culture for Kids series at Mama Smiles.

Cambodia with Alec: Angkor National Park, Cambodia

It’s been a long time since I published a post for my popular World Culture for Kids series! Today I am thrilled to bring the series back into action with the first of two posts about Cambodia from my sister Rebecca. Rebecca dreamed of being a photographer for National Geographic as a kid, and while […]


Parenting Discoveries: Live in the Moment

As a parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can teach my kids and help them grow into happy, healthy, thoughtful, and kind adults. It’s humbling to realize how little control I have over the choices they make and the challenges that come their way. Thankfully, this realization is tempered by […]


Back to School Activity: Write the New Teacher a Letter

  Earlier this year I had the idea of having kids write a “get to know me” letter to their new teacher as part of my Get Ready for K Through Play series. I decided that this would be a great back to school activity for all three of my kids – Lily, who is […]

Crafters Crate comes with four projects per crate, creating great sibling crafting experience. The open-ended materials allow kids to switch up activities.

Sibling Crafting with Crafters Crate

Crafting is one of our favorite family activities, and this week the kids enjoyed trying out a Crafters Crate that we were sent to review. Recommended for ages 5-10 and with four activities per box, this crate was perfect for our four kids to explore (Anna thinks she is five). I always enjoy watching my […]

LeapPad3 review

Tablets for Kids: LeapPad3 Review

  Our original LeapPad is still going strong, so when I was given the opportunity to review the new LeapPad3 I thought it would be fun to see how much it has improved. I was impressed! The LeapPad3 is as durable as ever, but more responsive and faster with a better camera. It has built-in […]

Exposing kids to French and Spanish through trilingual board books from Little Pim.

Trilingual Board Books from Little Pim

I think it is important for kids to get exposure to foreign languages. Becoming bilingual is awesome, but kids benefit from any exposure. I learned French, Spanish, and German through being raised in Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria; I studied Russian in college and taught myself (now incredibly rusty) Serbo-Croatian in grad school. Knowing foreign […]

Window shopping is an important skill that canl help your kids throughout their lives. Here are simple ways to teach kids to admire, not buy.

Life Skills for Kids: Window Shopping

Do your kids know how to window shop? I mean real window shopping, where they can wander through a store full of things they want, admire things in the store, and leave without asking for anything? Since first world countries surround people – including children – with ads telling them they need, need, need, I […]