Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages

This post is sponsored by Hahaland.

I am always on the lookout for unique, fun, and educational gift ideas for my own children and for birthday celebrations. I was so happy when Hahaland let me try out some of their products and “best-ever” toys. Their products are of great quality and are functional and fun! I love that I can find toys for all ages in one place.

Let’s be honest, we use screen time in our home and I don’t regret that, but I do love when I come across a toy that allows for screen-free play. We can all use a little bit of balance in our lives.

Here are some of our favorites, sorted by age level. I hope you find them as awesome as we do!

Bonus, save $10 on Orders $65+ with code Lauren10 at Hahaland.

Baby/ Six Months Plus

sippy cup with soft spout and straw cup

This sippy cup with spout and weighted straw is great for smoothly transitioning baby from the bottle to a cup. We have found that a soft sippy spout more resembles the bottle which can help baby more easily get used to the feel of a cup. At 8 months plus, the straw cup (which is also included) can be used as well. The straw is weighted, which means that baby can be in any position to drink. Little ones are used to holding a bottle upright to drink, but a typical straw cup does not allow for this option. The weighted straw allows them to get used to the feeling of the straw more easily by drinking from any position. I love that this cup comes with attachments for both options, as a straw cups can support speech development and help little ones build muscles in the mouth. Measurements are also still included on the side of the cup to help manage feeding as well. Win!

Toddler/ Preschool Ideas

paint with water flash cards

Paint with Water Flash Cards Toddler Puzzles are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. I love educational toys as who doesn’t love having fun while learning? These cards have so many neat features. First, realistic images of fruits and vegetables are featured to use as flash cards to help with language development. The cards also function as small puzzles which help with motor coordination. For added fun, the front of the card features a magic water drawing activity. Fill the included pen with water, and little ones can paint to magically show what each fruit or vegetable can become. I love how this encourages children to think about cause and effect relationships. This is a great Montessori activity.

car screen free toy

The Race Tracks Car Adventure Toy Playset has been a huge hit in our home for all of our children (ages 3, 6, and 8). They have spent hours playing with this toy. Little ones use their hands to activate different buttons along the bottom of the toy to make the cars move through obstacles along the path. At first it was fun just figuring out how the buttons worked and in what order. Now, the kids are working on keeping all three cars moving around the track at the same time. The playset helps build hand-eye coordination as well as motor skills. This is a great screen-free, electronic-free toy which provides endless entertainment.

Whole Family Fun

Titanic 3D puzzle

The LED Titanic Ship 3D Puzzle is hours of fun for the entire family. If you are looking for a scree-free activity for the whole family, this is it! We worked on this 3D puzzle together. We worked a couple of hours a day, and it took us about eight hours to complete (even with little hands helping). My six and eight year olds really enjoyed this challenge. With adult help, they were easily able to participate. I am amazed at how seamless this 3D puzzle was to put together. It looks like it would be very difficult, but it wasn’t. We just followed the directions exactly and were careful when punching out the pieces and it came together perfectly.

putting together titanic puzzle

I cannot believe the details in this ship. They are intricate and beautiful. The pieces came together so perfectly that it seemed like magic. The finished product is 34.6 inches long and includes working LED lights. It looks beautiful on display. We will display it in our home, which will remind us of all of the fun we had together. This would make a perfect gift for a child, teen, family, grandparent, really for anyone. If you have a child who loves puzzles, this is a unique activity they will surely enjoy.

3D puzzle of the titanic

Remember, you can save $10 on Orders $65+ with code Lauren10 at Hahaland.

Do you have a favorite? Which product do you like best? Share it in the comments.

To learn more about. me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 30 Plus Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items or What Makes a “Good” Parent

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How Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome / POTS Diagnosis Changed My Life

After having my 3rd baby, my life changed… and it’s not in the way you are thinking. In all honesty, I have been hesitant and nervous to share about my experience. Maybe because it is simply personal, or maybe because it has taken me over three years to figure out what is going on in my body and I only recently began to understand.

Maybe it is because I wanted to wait until I was on a good treatment plan so that I could possibly offer help and hope to another who is experiencing something similar… so that I will have insight to share. You may have noticed I have not posted here in quite some time. This is why. I have been trying to get my health back on track. 

It is Dysautonomia Awareness Month, so here is my story in the hopes that it may help another and help raise awareness to a medical condition that many know little about.

You may have read my birth story, but, in case you have not, I developed postpartum preeclampsia after the birth of my third child. Several days after giving birth, my blood pressure skyrocketed and I had to be hospitalized. Following this experience, my blood pressure has remained off for almost four years. I feel like I have never gotten back to my old healthy self. 

The best way to describe the experience is that I continued to feel like I was very late in my third trimester of pregnancy for years. I had brain fog, extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, food aversions (I always felt full which made it difficult to eat), and just general discomfort. I also continued to experience issues with blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature regulation (frequent low-grade fevers).

For three years, I met with doctors, describing my symptoms, looking for hope that I could find out what was going on in my body and find a way back to my old self. 

Eventually, dysautonomia was confirmed through a tilt table test done by a cardiologist. Basically, the way it was explained to me at the time: my brain wasn’t correctly communicating with my body. 

Next, I ended up at an allergist due to my nausea and found I was allergic to over 33 foods. I was shocked as I had never had any allergies before. I tried to eliminate foods and went months without any form of grain, dairy, sugar, nut, condiment, and so on but it wasn’t making enough of a difference to be worth the trouble. Those of you who know me personally know how much I love and enjoy food. These months were very difficult in many ways.

Only more recently, I found a wonderful doctor who specializes in POTS, only a couple of hours away. There aren’t many doctors out there who specialize in this area, which is very sad considering the prevalence of this disorder. I had a great deal of testing done, and was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). 

Receiving an actual diagnosis gave me hope. 

“Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is a disorder where mast cells are activated even without IgE or classic allergic triggering” (www.dysautonomiaclinic.com). It seemed that this was causing the food allergies, and also likely contributing to my POTS.

Being that October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month, I wanted to share my story and some more information to help raise awareness about dysautonomia and POTS.

Dysautonomia is “a group of medical conditions caused by malfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, kidney function, temperature control and more” (www.curedys.org). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a form of dysautonomia. POTS patients have orthostatic intolerance; their heart rate goes up more than it should when they stand up. It is difficult to get upright (Dysautonomia International).

Symptoms can range from very mild to very severe. Every patient is different, has different symptoms, and responds differently to medications and treatments. This makes it more difficult to manage.

POTS can cause dizziness, brain fog, fatigue, heart palpitations, headaches, body pain, malnutrition, new onset allergies, IBS, tightness of chest, light and sound sensitivity, shortness of breath, fainting, stomach issues, nausea, exercise intolerance, lightheadedness, tingling, blood pooling, heat intolerance, GI tract shut down, and more (Dysautonomia International). 

Many people with POTS look very healthy and don’t visibly look sick, but they may experience extreme discomfort and symptoms. This has put into perspective even more so that you truly never know what a person is going through. 

Surprisingly, 1 in 100 teens develop POTS. POTS impacts an estimated 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 Americans and millions more around the world (curedys.org); and over 70 million people worldwide live with various forms of dysautonomia (www.dysautonomiainternational.org).

POTS is more common than one might think, but awareness about POTS is low. In fact, many doctors have never heard of POTS. 75% of POTS patients have encountered a doctor who has never heard of POTS (www.curedys.org/awareness).

Many different medical conditions can cause POTS. About 50% of patients developed POTS after an infection of some kind (curedys.org). There are many other causes, however, which can make the cause difficult to pinpoint. Many may never know the cause.

Every single day I feel like I am fighting… fighting my own body, pain, dizziness, even sadness, and on some days, hopelessness… fighting to heal. Fighting to put on a happy face and stay in the now as much as I can with my kids, even if it’s a rough day.

I don’t know how this will go or if I will fully heal, but I do know this has given me strength that I never had before. I have my why and I know I can weather this storm. I am on a good path and have made some huge strides with the right medication/ treatments. I will continue to fight and move in this direction.

To learn more about dysautonomia, check out: www.vimeo.com/dysautonomia

Here is a wonderful video that explains POTS.

Please reach out or comment below if you have questions or want to know more. I would be glad to share more of my process in the future. If you know someone effected with POTS, please share this post. There is something truly amazing and empowering about being about to support one another and knowing that you are not alone.

You can also reach out over on my Instagram page at www.instagram.com/theysayparenting .

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: What Makes a “Good” Parent, It’s Not What You Think or 30 Plus Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items

Check out my parenting book full of ideas for cultivating confidence in parenthood, and not always having to listen to what “they” say: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

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Keep Kids Reading This Summer with our Kid’s Fire Tablet Giveaway!

Written by Author, Misty Black

We want to help motivate kids to read this summer, so I’ve teamed up with 4 other authors to offer you a chance to win a Kid’s Kindle Fire Tablet. Plus, everyone who enters will receive all 5 eBooks FREE. Details below. ENTER TO WIN HERE

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Let’s learn more about the authors in this giveaway.

Misty Black is a best-selling children’s book author and mother of three. She wrote Can Quilliam Learn to Control His Temper? and Punk the Skunk Learns to Say Sorry. Her focus in her Punk and Friends Series is to help children learn the social skills needed to navigate their big emotions. You can follow Misty on social media by searching Misty Black Author. The third book in this series, Brave the Beaver Has the Worry Warts focuses on helping children deal with anxiety and worry. It will be released next month.

Lauren Mosback is both a children’s book author and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is the award-winning author of My Sister’s Super Skills, the first in a series of books that introduces children to important coping and wellness skills that increase their self-esteem. Lauren lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three young children. She loves adventuring with her family and strives to continually learn, grow and write!

Dr. Brie is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arizona. She specializes in strengthening the parent-child relationship. Dr. Brie has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, and conducted trainings around the US. She is the author of I Will Always Love You.

Lauren Jumrukovski is a licensed school counselor turned blogger at www.theysayparenting.com and author of They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book.

Her book is a firmly guilt-free guide for parents and parents-to-be focused on intuitive parenting and on the emotional side of being a parent. What works for one parent may not work for another, and that’s okay. Every child is different and there is no one right way. “They Say” is full of ideas for navigating the hearsay and common parenting tough spots, but reminds parents to feel confident in the decisions they make for their families. Through heart-felt, funny, and relatable stories, readers will see that we aren’t alone in our feelings and experiences.

April Cox is an award-winning author and founder of Little Labradoodle Publishing. The Little Labradoodle series of six books include two picture books and four coloring/activity books. “My goal is to provide beautifully illustrated books with characters that kids love while re-enforcing core values in a way that is fun for the whole family. Her award-winning Puppy Pickup Day can be found here.

As you can see, this is a great line-up of authors, counselors, and mothers who truly care about your children. So don’t just enter because you want a free tablet (which I know you do😉) but join in because you want your child to grow up to be the best person they can be.

Click on the King Sumo link here and simply enter in your best email to join. Plus receive extra entries for sharing (all details included in the link).

Ends 5/29 at 5 PM EST. Awarded at 6 PM EST. Final results will be emailed. No purchase necessary. Not affiliated with Amazon.

Happy Reading!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 30+ Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

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30 Plus Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items

Here is a list of over 30 fun craft and activity ideas you can do right at home with household items. I love these activities as they don’t require an extra trip to the store, or purchasing any materials, because most of these items you can find right in your house. Win! Many of these activities also involve upcycling!

These fun activities for kids were compiled from some amazing bloggers! Simply click the links below the blog title for more information and full activity/ craft instructions!

You will find activities for kids of all ages! Have fun!

From Artsy Fartsy Mama Blog:

Free Printable LEGO Challenge Game

Super Soft Two Ingredient Play Doh

home made play dough

From Finding Myself Young:

5 Minute Toilet Paper Roll Houses

From Picklebums:

DIY Cardboard Tube Construction Toy

From Crayons and Cravings:

Sponge Paint Toddler Art with Homemade Paint

From Mom in the Six:

Flashlight Games

From The Play Based Mom:

Rainbow Toast: A Fun Breakfast Activity

From A Cotton Kandi Life:

How to Make Plastic Yarn (Upcycled Grocery Bag Craft)

From Little Learning Moments Blog:

Sticky Note Hunt

From the Feeling Nifty Blog:

The Easiest No Sew Sock Bunnies

From the Who Needs a Cape Blog:

DIY Water Bottle I-Spy Game

From The Dad Life Lessons Blog:

How to Make a Dollhouse Out of Cardboard

From The Printables Fairy:

Origami Fortune Teller

From Go Science Kids:

DIY Magnetic Marble Run for the Fridge Door

From Mud, Paper, Scissors Blog:

Cheerios and Pipe Cleaner Bird Feeder

From Red Ted Art:

Toilet Paper Roll Giraffe Marionette

Making Watches with Toddlers

How to Make a God’s Eye Weaving Craft

From the Four to Love Blog:

3 Printable Indoor Scavenger Hunts

From Enjoy the Eco Things:

How to Make an Easy Dollar Tree Barn

From the Moms Who Save Blog:

Frozen-Inspired Princess Wands

From Projects with Kids:

Printmaking for Kids Using Recycled Materials

From Bitz & Giggles:

Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Slinky Fish Craft

From Best Toys 4 Toddlers:

Ice Art Scene

From the Animallama Blog:

DIY Milk Carton Bird Feeder

From Team Cartwright:

At Home Chemistry: Cleaning Pennies with Ketchup

For more fun activities, check out these additional ideas:

From Toot’s Mom is Tired:

Let Celebrities Read Books to Your Kids

From Moms and Munchkins:

Indoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas

From Savoring The Good:

A Complete List of Free Disney+ Coloring Pages

And finally, many additional activities from,

A Mother Far From Home:

Easy Screen-Free Activities for Kids at Home

I hope you have found lots of great activities to try out right in your own home. I will leave you will one of my favorite mottos:

Remember, when in doubt… Play!

I hope you enjoyed these activities for kids with household items! Let me know which activities you want to try with your children in the comments. I would love to hear how the activity went!

To learn more about. me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Creative Gifts for Creative Kids of All Ages or What Makes a “Good” Parent, It’s Not What You Think

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Creative Gifts for Creative Kids of All Ages

Gift and Activity Ideas

I’ll be honest, gift buying for my children isn’t easy these days! Looking around my house, there are just so many toys! This year, I wanted to find a special gift for my children’s birthdays, one they would cherish for a long time, but I was also looking for gifts that wouldn’t cause additional clutter.

There is a lot of discussion about offering experiences over toys when it comes to gift buying, and I love the idea behind this, but what if there was a way to capture both in one gift? I have found a few gifts which do just this. They are small, they inspire creativity, and they encourage children to get out and explore all at the same time!

My children love being creative. Give them some tools, art supplies, craft items, and they couldn’t be happier. I can relate as a blogger. I am constantly snapping photos and the kids see me take them. In fact, they are my subjects most of the time. I was so happy when a wonderful company, Father’s Factory, gifted us some of their items to try. Check out these amazing gift ideas that my kiddos cannot get enough of. These are some of their favorite gifts of all time. I will share the gifts they love and also some neat craft and activity ideas for any child who loves creating and exploring! You can rest assured that I only recommend products that I know and love.

The WoodCam

Wooden Camera

First, is the wooden digital camera. These wooden cameras are made by walnut and cypress wood and they take real photos. There are 4 built-in filters, so my children can easily take photos in color, black & white, and sepia. I think there is something special about not being able to see the photo they take until they return home and upload them onto the computer. It encourages the art of photography and there truly is a magic around capturing little everyday surprises with my kids. It allows us to enjoy the moment we are in rather than focus on taking the “perfect” photo. Father’s Factory shares that “in a world of ‘instant’ and ‘now’, these are perfect for teaching children patience, understanding delays, and even how to deal with disappointment.” I have experienced this. My oldest daughter understands her camera more and more each time she ventures out. At first, she may not have captured exactly what she had in mind, but on the other hand, some of the photos she took came out way more beautiful than we imagined.

We actually built the camera together and it only took a minute.  There is a built-in lens, but the WoodCam also comes with two additional lenses for more fun. One is a fish-eye lens, and one is a wide angle lens and they pop on and off with a magnet. This one even comes with an SD card.

activities for kids

Activity Idea:

activities for kids

Grab a camera and head to your local park, or even out to your backyard with your child. We went to a local park and took photos of the scenary and the animals, and it was one of our favorite outings so far. Here are a couple of photos my daughter captured directly from her Father’s Factory cameras on our first outing:

The PaperCam

This Digital Camera is made with recyclable paper and it also comes ready to be assembled. Not only is the outside made out of paper, but it comes unassembled and you can put the camera together with your child. What an amazing experience it was to see how a camera looks on the inside and then to use that very camera! Talk about inspiring the love of photography! It only takes a couple of minutes to put together.

You can connect both of these digital cameras to the computer through the included USB cable, and upload and view your photos.

Activity Idea:

Print your favorite photos either from your camera or from theirs. Your child can use them to make their very own scrapbook. For her birthday, my oldest daughter asked for a scrapbook and supplies to go along with her camera. She has had so much fun choosing the photos she likes and then adding stickers and designs to her very own scrapbook. This is such a great way to make memories last a lifetime.

Wooden Toy Cameras

Wooden toy camera

This Polaroid Style Wooden Toy Camera is a high-quality wooden toy camera with a kaleidoscopic lens and a magnetic detachable flash. My youngest has so much fun with the kaleidoscopic lens and putting the flash on and off. This camera includes 5 InstaFun drawing cards to encourage pretend play.

Activity Ideas:

My three children have all enjoyed drawing a polaroid style picture on the provided InstaFun cards and pretending they were taken by their camera. We were able to erase the colored pencil and crayon marks from our cards and use them again and again.

Another idea is to take your toddler out to a local park or farm (even your backyard), and have them play pretend with their camera. I took my youngest out with her toy camera and she had so much fun telling the sheep to “say cheese” and trying to get them to “smile” for her camera. I caught it on video and I know that is a video and an experience I will cherish forever.

Wooden Toy Camera

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: What Makes a “Good” Parent? It’s Not What You Think

Check out my book here: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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What Makes a “Good” Parent?

Are you a “good” parent?

I was watching “This is Us” the other night. The mother was talking about rocking her early-waking baby. She was so excited to snuggle and listen to her favorite music on her headphones while she watched the sunrise. It was so sweet… but, there came that feeling sneaking in again that I often feel… 

I didn’t like that. I don’t like that still. I hate when my kids wake up early. I must be a bad mom…

This happens to me a lot. The negative, self-questioning, accusing thoughts creep in, and I find myself asking: Am I a bad mom?

Why do we have thoughts like this? Why do we let the things we see and hear—the things we see on TV, on social media, the things our friends are doing—make us question ourselves?

It’s hard not to. The advice and opinions are everywhere, and when it comes to parenting, we will never find a one-size-fits-all manual. 

We will find articles with titles like, “The best parents do these things,” or “What you should never say to your child.” Well, you know what, who made them the judge? Who made them the parenting expert who knows exactly what is right for MY family and MY kids? These articles don’t leave me with answers. They leave me with lots of questions about whether I am doing anything right.

So, ARE you a good parent?

YES! You are! Ask yourself these questions:

Do you put your child to sleep/ help them sleep— whether it be in their room or yours, whether you let them cry it out or rock them ‘til they’re out?

Do you feed your child— whether it’s formula or breastmilk, or even teeny meals between LOTS of snacks?

Do you love your child— even after they grab your almost full coffee and sling it across the table, or take a crayon to your walls? [Yup, speaking from experience].

Do you clothe your child— whether they dress themselves, in expensive clothes or in hand-me-downs? Or, even if your child is dressed better than you (as you just barely made it out of the house)? 


How often do you lose your patience? Some? A lot? A ton? 

Well, how often did you teach your child something, even if it was that you made a mistake? There is so much value in that.

You are doing all of these things?? THAT makes a pretty great parent!

So, what makes a “good” parent? It’s impossible to put into words, but I guarantee it’s not about how we feed, clothe, discipline, put our kids to sleep, or how we compare to others, or even how patient we can be. It’s all about love.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes” or Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Check out my book for more about not always having to listen to what “They” Say: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Looking for a fun AND educational gift for a baby or toddler? Look no further! We have found the perfect Block Set and monthly Play Kits from Lovevery, a child development toy company! Their goal, much like my goal here on this blog, is to “help every parent feel confident.” Their play products “are designed by child development experts and distilled to their simplest, purest purpose: to be exactly what children need at each stage.”

As a Lovevery affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

First, check out Lovevery’s amazing Block Set which is fun for all ages!

Did you know blocks teach children about structure, balance, physics and math in a way that no other toy can? They provide a foundation for early learning. Early experiences with blocks help children develop spatial, language, cognitive, and problem-solving skills!

The Lovevery block set is the most comprehensive block set ever! It comes with an activity guide which shows us exactly how we can play with blocks with our children at each and every stage.

I didn’t realize just how much my children loved blocks, until we received this set and I was able to check out the accompanying guide which showed me ideas of how children can use blocks in play at each age and stage. These blocks are now a go-to for my one, four, and six year old, and we have spent hours playing with them.

There are so many ways to learn with these blocks:

Explore cause and effect, force, magnetism, velocity, and gravity by rolling the wheels down a hill.

Plan ahead and reach a goal by making a car or wagon.

The magnetic wheels make it super fun and easy.

Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination at the same time. and experiment with pattern play by threading beads.

Learn about rhythm by making music.

Upon opening the box, my littlest one immediately began drumming with the sticks and dancing along.

Learn how to sort and categorize—and how things fit together spatially by sorting shapes.

Practice equilibrium by finding how things stack, balance, or fall.

Use the wooden people/ figurines to imagine, talk about feelings, and even build empathy.

When they are a little older, build confidence, strength and balance by setting up a small hurdle to jump over!

Plus make paths, count towers, make letters, sculpt feelings, build a house, or a city… the options are endless.

I started playing with these with my youngest, and soon, my older two had jumped in.

My son (4) cannot get enough of engineering different buildings and using the magnetic portion of the wheels to make all kinds of fun creations (you can see one of his creations above). My oldest daughter (6) loves to set up the blocks to make a store, a restaurant, and a house, and then play with the doll shaped blocks included. She has since even added in her own little dolls for more play.

I would highly recommend the Lovevery Block Set to any parent. What a great set of blocks which will grow with your child! The set would also be a great gift for a toddler or even for a baby shower… baby’s first set of blocks!

Another favorite from Lovevery is their monthly subscription Montessori-based Play Kits!

We have tried “The Companion Play Kit” for our 22 month old. This box is full of toys designed for toddlers to use from 22 to 24 months of age. I am sure we will use these toys well beyond when my littlest turns 24 months.

The kit has been perfect for our little one. She can use all of the toys now, and there are so many ways she can continue to grow by using and playing with each.

Included in the Play Kit is a play guide. Here is a snippet from the guide under, “Real Life is Where It’s At”:

“Right now, her brain is craving real-world experiences: she wants to be involved with whatever exists around her and use her developing senses to understand what things are and how they work. She wants to take in the smell of the laundry soap, tip the cup over and watch how the thick liquid pours into the machine, open and close the dryer door over and over, feel the dampness of clean laundry, work to pull warm, dry clothes out herself, and heap them in a basket.”

This is another reason I love the company, Lovevery, so much! Did you hear that? Toddlers are happy and learn SO much by just doing what we are doing and helping us! No more guilt for doing chores over playing with our children. They are learning just as much from simply working along side us.

In addition to descriptions and guides for every toy in the box, which teach multiple ways to play, there is an entire section on “Real Life Play.” In this section, many additional activities are shared which you can complete with regular household items!

Check out all the ways these toys teach:

Stemming from my school counseling background, I just love a toy that teaches! And, these toys teach in so many ways!

Learn about executive functions and learn to control impulse behavior by playing pretend with Little Quinn.

Show your toddler routines can happen even in unfamiliar places with the “Bea Gets a Checkup” Book.

Learn about perceiving, categorizing, and comparing with the Animal Match.

I love that this activity can help practice animal sounds, which are the beginning of language. You can also practice matching from left to right, to train the eye for when your child eventually starts to read!

Practice “coloring” with the Carry-Along Kit.

And, the accompanying stickers help your toddler work on the pincer grasp too!

Practice Bilateral Coordination with the Buckle Barrel.

This neat tool teaches using both hands together, finger dexterity, the pincer grasp, and hand-eye coordination as your child buckles and unbuckles!

Teach sizes, stacking, and transfer objects using the Stacking Dripdrop Cups, Tweezers and Felt Stars.

These cups are fun to stack and also encourage water play! Transferring the felt stars with the tweezers helps develop fine motor skills and concentration as well! Triple win!

Strengthen the muscles and skills needed for writing with the Mosaic Button Board.

Use simple two-piece puzzles to help your toddler learn what puzzles are all about!

Or, use the chunky puzzle to teach spatial skills! Lovevery shares that early puzzle skills are a predictor of spatial skills in preschoolers! You will find lots of tips like this in the play guide!

Learn how to process and manage emotions by reading the book, “Graham Turns Two.”

There you have it! A Lovevery Play kit is an excellent gift idea for any baby, toddler, or mom! Or, subscribe and receive a box full of educational toys every two months (babies) or three months (toddlers) for you and your little one. Who doesn’t love high quality, educational toys to explore with their baby or toddler? I would highly recommend the company, their toys, and their amazing play guides which help us moms feel confident as we raise our little ones into who they will one day become!

Shop Lovevery now, by clicking here!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail? Or 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

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10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

This is a guest post by Ivana Davies from Find Your Mom Tribe

If there is one thing that parenting points out to you, it’s your own inadequacies and shortcomings. I started on this road of parenthood, overjoyed and expectant, vowing to be the best mother that I could possibly be. I was going to serve all organic, vegan, non-GMO, restaurant-quality food. I was going to make my own soap. I was going to have the energy to play with my kids anytime of day, anytime of night. I was going to remain patient and steadfast in my discipline. I had dreams of writing books to inspire other parents to be their personal best, and I was determined to prove that having it all was possible.

Then reality hit. Dirty diapers, half-empty bottles of rancid formula, soiled clothes, crumbs everywhere, and my struggle with post partum depression were staring me in the face as I attempted to bridge the gap between daily life with my little loves and the unrealistic expectations I’d set for myself. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, life threw me another curveball, and I had to figure out how to deal with my own shortcomings and rise above them to be the best parent that I could be – at that time.

Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. We make mistakes in life, we make mistakes in parenting, and having a bit of compassion for ourselves as we move through the process and become more experienced is essential if we are going to give our kids the best. The key to surviving any parental mishap is how you own up to the mistake, and how you clean up after yourself. Not even parenting classes can prepare you for everything. You will make mistakes – it’s unavoidable. Your child did not come with an instruction manual, and you have to figure out what they need and what suits them best. Take these valuable nuggets that I’ve learned from my many mistakes, and maybe you’ll make a few less as you navigate these exciting waters with me. Jump in!

Lesson #1 – A little dirt is okay

Just make sure Junior isn’t taking handfuls of sand out of the sandbox. If your wayward toddler is exploring the kitchen floor and finds some Cheerios, don’t freak out. Think of it as an opportunity for them to build up their immune systems while enjoying a delicious snack. Make it a goal to intervene a little faster next time, and soon you’ll be beating them to the punch.

Lesson #2 – Let sleeping kids lie

I used to think that the only quality sleep that could be had by my children was in the crib surrounded by the best blankets, orthopedic structures, and stimulating mobiles. I was dead wrong. I soon learned that if my child fell asleep in the car seat while I was shopping for groceries, I should NOT disturb him upon arriving back home. I let him sleep to his heart’s content where he fell asleep, knowing that he was safe and comfortable. If only I could get in a good nap in any location…….sigh.

Lesson #3 – My kids WILL imitate me

Thoughts, actions, behaviors, words…..your little ones are like sponges. They will soak up what you do, and they will imitate you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; if there was ever a reason for raising the bar on your own language choice, behavior, and habits, it’s that. Think of what you want your kids to become, and what habits you would like them to form. They are watching you….so, model those behaviors, and you will soon see them performing them as well.

Lesson #4 – I need to relax when I hear curse words

Let’s face it – any kid in the public education system these days is FAR more knowledgeable than we were at their age. Think of the most vile string of curse words you could piece together, and they have probably not only heard it, but said it as well. If they let this stuff fly, don’t freak out. Calmly explain that there are other, more intelligent language choices that they can use to express themselves, and encourage them to see how creative they can get when it comes to expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Lesson #5 – My kids will at some point be responsible for their own comfort

I can preach all I want about the dangers of frostbite and cold extremities, but when I drop them off at school, all bets are off. At some point, they will have to take matters into their own hands and protect themselves against the elements. If they are freezing because they forgot to put on a hat and gloves, so be it. Maybe next time they’ll remember. That won’t stop me from continuing to preach, though.

Lesson #6 – I will make mistakes when packing their lunches

There will inevitably be a mistake made when putting condiments on a sandwich. I might still be half asleep when I throw strawberries into a container, failing to see that one of them has begun to mold. Did I forget to pack your favorite kind of chips? Forgive me…..I was tending to the fifty other things you asked me to do this morning. It’s a wonder we can get out the door sometimes; there will be mistakes made, but when all is said and done, they are fed and clothed adequately about 97 percent of the time. Get over the other 3 percent, kiddos. Such is life. Love ya!

Lesson #7 – Kids will pit your partner against you

In houses that practice dual governance, you may be called upon to make disciplinary decisions that your partner might not agree with. Your kids know how to play this perfectly; take Halloween candy, for instance. If Mom says “no”, it is likely that Dad will say “yes” especially if he is engrossed on his computer. The more frequently you can talk to your partner about some non-negotiable rules for success, the less likely it is that your kids will try to put one over on you.

Lesson #8 – I wiped my kids way too late

My third grader is still asking me to come in and give her the once over after a messy bathroom episode. The truth is, most kids should be wiping themselves sufficiently by the time they are five or when they enter school. If we continue to perpetuate this, they will not gain the skills that they need to care for themselves, and infections are likely to develop as a result of improper wiping. Do a periodic check if you must, but insist that your kids start taking this over as soon as possible.

Lesson #9 – You will forget to do important things

With the sheer volume of information coming home from school, it is likely that you will miss important dates, important permission slips, and requests for money that impact your child. Teachers are forgiving, and your kids may not be. Do your best to keep up with this information coming home from school and coaches, and apologize for missing information. Forgive yourself, repair the situation, and move on. Life is too short to cry over spilled milk. 

Lesson #10 – You will lose your cool, you can count on it

Regardless of what kind of kind, patient person you normally are, parenting can sometimes stretch you to your very limits. You will be sleep-deprived, caffeine-deprived, and pulled to your wits end with the demands that our little ones make on our time, our bodies, and our souls. You will lose your cool with them, and you might even say and do things that you regret later. Be real, admit your mistakes, and repair the damage; no relationship is quite as important as that of parent and child. Commit to the process of seeing this through to adulthood (yours and theirs!), and there will be a richness of relationship that you can enjoy for years to come!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies, and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7-year-old girl and a playful 5-year-old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all the hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, it can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail?

About Lauren

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Are Parents Setting Themselves up to Fail?

I’ll be honest, I have really struggled these last few weeks. Our family has been sick off and on. The kids continue to pass illness back and forth, and it is draining to say the least. We all know how hard it is to get a true sick day as a parent. Most of the time we just end up pushing on at our own expense.

Thoughts have crossed my mind like:

Other parents aren’t losing their cool.

Other parents aren’t crumbling under the pressure.

Other parents aren’t breaking down into tears. 

Other parents don’t snap at their child. 

I know my situation could be so much worse, but somehow, THEY are still holding it together. Why can’t I?

Sometimes we create this unrealistic standard in our minds based on our assumptions. The pressure to live up to this impossible standard can be paralyzing. This is still a challenge for me even though I hear stories every day where other moms tell me they feel the same way, or where other parents tell me thank you for sharing this (whether it’s here or in my book), because they have been there too! Even still, I struggle with the pressure. I just wanted to share today that the truth is we aren’t alone in our feelings no matter how much it can feel like we are. We aren’t the only parent out there who has lost their cool, snapped, or broken down.

So, here is what I am going to do:

I am going to keep trying to remind myself that I am not alone.

I’m going to remind myself to stop basing my self-worth on assumptions I have made about others and about what I am missing in comparison.

I will continue trying to accept myself for who I am as a person and as a mom.

And, most importantly, I am going to let the tiny reminders I see each day confirm that I am enough and that I’m doing just fine… when my kids smile, when I see them contently playing, when they calm themselves down all on their own, when I see love in their eyes. We know the signs are all there. We just need to watch for them and take note.

I hope you will do these things alongside me.

People ask me a lot, “How do you do it?” People may think, She must have this all together… after all she wrote a parenting book. But the truth is, I don’t! And that is exactly WHY I wrote the book. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling alone and feeling like we need to live up to the unrealistic expectation of perfection. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we are alone. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we don’t measure up.

It is all based on the lies we allow ourselves to believe (or the lies we tell ourselves) and the assumptions we make.

The truth is, when we try to live up to an unrealistic standard we have created in our minds, we are setting ourselves up for failure!

Let’s break this train of thought down, and be comfortable in who we are. Then, we will truly be able to shine.

If we stop setting ourselves up for failure, we will finally be able to see our success. 

Check out my book here: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

You may also enjoy: Bullying Hurts, How to Prevent It and How to Stop It or Author Interview- Lauren Jumrukovski on Blaif Magazine

To learn more about me and by blog, check out: About Lauren

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Author Interview: Lauren Jumrukovski on Blaif Magazine

I am super excited to be featured on Blaif Magazine this week, talking about my personal experiences as a parent and my new book, They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book.

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. 

“Becoming a parent comes with a lot of challenges, the biggest one being understanding when to listen to “what they say” and when to ignore it and follow your gut. Lauren Jumrukovski, author of They Say: Not Your Average Parenting Book, tells us everything about the constant struggle between doing what they say and what you think is best and the reasons why she chose to write this unconventional parenting book!” – Blaif Magazine

On this interview, I am sharing about one of my biggest parenting mistakes, how I protect my heart as a mom, when I realized listening to what “they say” wasn’t always best for my children, parenting choices I admire, when I have received judgement as a parent, and more!

“Second is recognizing that our children aren’t out in the world stumbling along blindly. We have taught them so much through their lives thus far that they can use as they navigate the world on their own. And when they falter, they know they can come to us and we can continue to teach them more.” – Lauren Jumrukovski (Author Interview for Blaif Magazine)

“I hope my book will encourage parents to be confident in their decisions, and also to realize that just because we choose to parent differently that doesn’t make any of us wrong. It would be amazing to live in a world where there is no judgement and where we all support each other and build each other up.” – Lauren Jumrukovski (Author Interview for Blaif Magazine)

Read the full interview on Blaif Magazine: Interview with Author Lauren Jumrukovski

You can grab a copy of my book here: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

To learn more about Lauren and her blog, check out- About Lauren

You may also enjoy- Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent It and How to Stop It or Top Products for Moms!

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