Top Unique Christmas Gifts for Kids and Teens

Christmas Tree with lots of Christmas gifts for kids
Christmas time is approaching again, in just over two months, and it’s time to start shopping around for great gift items for your kids. Sometimes they can be difficult to shop for though, but a great, unique and thoughtful gift may be just what you need to put a smile on your child’s face.

Fortunately, Uncommon Goods can help. Their site is packed with some of the most unique, interesting, educational and fun gift ideas you’ll ever find. I’ve chosen some of my personal favorites, gifts that would be great for kids with a variety of interests, but visit the links below yourself to find even more awesome ideas on Christmas gifts for kids.

Christmas Gifts for Boys

The Uncommon Goods collection of gifts for boys includes a variety of awesome toys, many of which would be great for girls too, so whether you’ve got a boy or a girl, have a look at this page for awesome christmas gifts for boys and girls.

Unique Christmas gifts for kids Colorku colored marble Sudoku spinoff brain teaser
Colorku – A unique spin on the classic Sudoku, this fun game doubles as a cool decoration and a challenging brain teaser. Make kids think as they strategically place marbles in the right spaces, without using the same colors in the same row, column, or 3×3 square. This game requires strategy and can challenge kids of any ability level. It would make a great Christmas gift for any kid.
Unique Christmas gifts for kids plush organs educational health toy
Plush Organs – These unique stuffed representations of bodily organs are great for playing doctor,
teaching kids about anatomy and the various body systems and functions, and even making them more comfortable when visiting the doctor. Your little man can litterally hold his heart in his hand. These may trigger some intriguing questions about the human body, so prepare to answer them or to help your child research the answers.
Unique Christmas gifts for kids personalized pirate adventure book
Personalized Pirate Adventure Book – For your child who loves to read and go on adventures to far away places, this cute personalized book will captivate them as they search for hidden treasure. What child wouldn’t enjoy reading a book where the character is modeled after them? Kids often imagine themselves as the characters in a book, so the fact that this is a personalized Christmas gift for kids makes it even more enticing, and enhances their already active imaginations.

Christmas Gifts for Teen Boys

If your boy is a bit older, this collection of awesome unique christmas gifts for teen boys might be just what you are looking for. While older boys aren’t as into toys as the younger ones, Uncommon Goods has lots of interesting options to tantalize your teen too.

Unique Christmas gifts for teen boys Lune light mood lamp
Lune Light – This unique mood lamp is a cool addition to any teenager’s room. Help your kids add color and character to their room while owning an uncommon and cool item that will make them the envy of all their friends.
Unique christmas gifts for teen boys bluetooth droplet speaker
Bluetooth Droplet Speaker – Most teenagers are really into music, so why not let them take it with them on the go? Instead of the old days when I grew up and teens cranked up the boombox in their room, they can take it with them and listen outside or wherever, saving your ears too. Portable music is so much cooler now than being tethered to an outlet.
Unique Christmas gifts for teen boys architectural model and design kit
Architectural Model and Design Kit – For the builder in the family, this kit can keep them
entertained for hours thinking up new and different designs. It may even be the first step toward having a professional architect in the family. Challenging model kits that make your kids really think are definitely a bonus when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts for teen boys.

Christmas Gifts for Teen Girls

Teen girls are all over the place when it comes to their interests. Some like jewelry, others are into makeup. Sometimes they like crafts and other times they’re into card and board games. Whatever your teenaged daughter’s interests are, you’ll find a wide variety of Christmas gifts for teen girls as well. Here are just a few cool ideas for girls of a variety of interests.

Unique Christmas gifts for teen girls birth month flower necklace
Birth Month Flower Necklace – Did you know that each month is associated with a special flower? If your teenaged daughter enjoys unique jewelry, she’ll love having a necklace made from flowers of her birth month. This is a cool and pretty Christmas gift for teen girls that they’ll enjoy showing off to their friends.
Unique Christmas gifts for teen girls solar photography kit
Solar Photography Kit – This is a truly cool and unique gift, allowing teens to create their own original works of art with ease. You could even get a plain T-shirt and let her decorate it any way she likes. Who wouldn’t love having items that they created and/or decorated themselves?
Unique Christmas gifts for teen girls Awkward Moment card game
Awkward Moment Card Game – If your teen is into fun card games that they can relate to, this game might be right up her alley. Everyone has embarrassing moments, but it might be fun to share what you’d do with friends in a given situation. Responses to this game could get pretty interesting and thoroughly amusing. It is similar to Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, but designed with teen girls in mind, and would make a fun Christmas gift for your teenaged daughter.

The items mentioned above are just a few of many cool, interesting, and different Christmas gifts for kids you can find on Uncommon Goods, so feel free to check out the links and poke around. Chances are you can find lots of awesome Christmas gifts for kids of all ages and interests. The items in this post barely scratch the surface of what’s available. Have fun shopping for the best unique Christmas gifts for your own kids.

What is your favorite item of the ones that I mentioned? If you visited the website, what was your favorite item there? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods.

Gardening Tips For Moms In Small Spaces

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So you want to start a garden. That’s great! Gardening takes some work, but in the end, you can save money and provide your family with fresh produce or flowers, depending on your preference.

If you’re a first-time gardener, you need to get prepared with the right tools and expectations. Daydreaming of lush flowers lining your windowsills or walkway outside your home, or having bountiful harvests from your veggie garden is great, but you need to be realistic, take action to make it happen, and be willing to learn as you go.

Here are 6 gardening tips to get you started:


  1. Small Is Beautiful
    Of course, you can imagine a big plentiful garden plot with heaps of vegetables to pick and savor, while the flowers are in full bloom spring to fall. It is good to have a goal but it’s also important to start small and manageable. If you try to take on too much land and tend to numerous plants, you won’t do well on any of it.

Instead, opt for a smaller plot and be able to focus on tending a few varieties of plants. This will give you and the plants a real chance to thrive.

Small isn’t boring. A common misconception is that you can’t garden if you have a small home or apartment, and that’s simply not true. You can have lots of fun designing and decorating your little green space.

  1. Good Soil Is a Great Start
    Soil isn’t soil isn’t soil isn’t soil. Not all soils are primed to nourish and foster the growth of your plants. Before you put a single seed or seedling into the ground, ensure your soil is ready. Remember, it’s the foundation that your whole garden is based in and it will dictate how well your flowers, fruits and veggies will grow. Look around your neighborhood and evaluate what is growing naturally. It’s generally a good indicator of what types of plants survive well in your area.

Ensure you’ve got good topsoil. You can do this with compost, and you can use your own or buy some. This will charge the dirt with nutrients essential for the health of vegetation.

There are three main nutrients needed in soil — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), a trio known as NPK. Plants also require small amounts of iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and molybdenum. These are trace elements. Other essential nutrients include calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Each of these nutrients has a role to play in plant growth.

  1. Use Hardy Plants
    Not all plants are created equal. Different plants have different strengths and robustness. When you’re first starting a garden, choose to grow plants that are more forgiving of any missteps you might have.

For your floral needs, consider the nearly indestructible lavender, which comes in beautiful purple and blue hues. Also give snapdragons a go, as they have long-lasting blooms and do well in cool and hot temperatures. Many kinds of succulents can withstand dryness and harsher conditions.

For your edible garden, try more forgiving plants, which will allow you to learn about their watering and tending needs without killing them off. There are a number of hardy vegetables and fruits that fit this description, including carrots, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers and tomatoes.  

  1. Only Plant What You’ll Eat
    For your veggie garden, keep yourself in check around the size of your plot, the number of plants you sow and the type of vegetation you opt for by planting only what you’re going to eat.

It can be tempting to try out some weird and rare variety of a vegetable or fruit. These can not only be more challenging to grow, but they also will take up more of your time and resources, such as water. And then, after you’ve grown the plant, you won’t actually harvest and use it —wasting your money, time and energy.  


  1. Don’t Over-Tend
    As a new gardener, you may feel you need to weed and water your plants more than you actually do. Being overzealous can actually smother your garden and not cultivate the produce you’d hoped for.

When you over-water, there is a lack of oxygen available to the plants that results in the roots dying, among other ailments.

  1. Learn From Your Mistakes
    No gardener works their garden perfectly. Gardening is a give and take between the grower and the plants being grown. As you tend to your garden, witness how the fruits, veggies and flowers are doing.

Don’t scold yourself when you make a mistake. Learn from it, watch how your plant responds, and make adjustments where needed. It is quite a creative and meditative practice to garden, as it encourages you to be flexible and adaptable to your greenery’s needs. If you ever have more space to grow your garden, you’ll be able to take these tips and apply them to your new yard space.

Gardening is a very rewarding activity, where you use your own power to prepare, tend and harvest your plot. Although you may be new to the activity, you can become a skilled and successful gardener if you start small and follow the above tips.

6 Ways To Protect Your Child From Dangers In Online VideoGames

Child listening to music on smartphone



When we think about online video gaming dangers, many of us immediately consider the obvious threats of violence, aggressive behaviors, short attention spans, and lack of physical activities. While all of these are valid concerns, parents often overlook unknown dangers lurking behind our sons’ and daughters’ beloved online video games.

It doesn’t matter whether our children are scrolling through social media games, logging on with a computer, or signing into the gaming world with a console, current data shows that 91 percent, or 64 million, of our kids (aged 2 to 17 year old) play video games in some form. The number of gamers has jumped significantly from 78 percent that was reported back in 2009. Many experts contribute this climb in numbers to the introduction of Smartphones, tablets, and handheld gaming systems.

If our sons and daughters are participating any form of online gaming, they are exposed to some real threats. The advent of social media, instant messaging, and modern headsets has enabled our kids to interact with friends and even complete strangers within their favorite games. At first glance this doesn’t appear to be dangerous. Afterall, what’s so bad about chatting with fellow players? However, when we peel back layers of pixelated content, we might find surprising unknown dangers.

Four Common Online Video Gaming Threats:

Online Predators: Unfortunately, many predators are turning to online games to find new victims. Gaming is the perfect hunting ground for innocent victims to make contact with and groom. Often, predators create a fake profile to gain a child’s trust by changing their age, sex, and name. This technique makes it easier to gain trust and build a relationship with a child that can eventually lead to exchanging sexts, videos, or meeting in real life.

Legal Repercussions: During game play it isn’t uncommon to talk “smack” or insult other players. Unfortunately, if a child’s comments are seen as threatening, they can be prosecuted for issuing terroristic threats. Even if it is tied in with the game or play, threats in today’s society are taken seriously.

Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is becoming more rampant among the online video gaming world’s adult free areas with little fear of tracing digital tracks back to the bully. Anonymous games and user id’s offer little protection, because the authorities have the ability and know how to track down players by using cell phones, profiles, and even the address of people who pay the bill.

Addiction: Online games allow our kids to experience a wide array of activities and journeys. However, some people, adults included, become so immersed in the fictional game that they can forget to eat or sleep. Excessive gaming has the potential to disrupt a player’s ability to function and has the potential to turn into an addiction.

Protecting Children From Online Video Game Dangers

Realizing that our daughters’ and sons’ connectivity and gaming habits could be opening them up to online dangers is sobering. To make matters worse, research points out that 70 percent of our children will seek ways to cover their digital activity. So what is a parent to do?

Thankfully, here are six proactive measures we can take to help protect our children while allowing them to be engaged in their favorite games:

Start a conversation about online dangers and social media etiquette. Strive to help kids feel comfortable talking to us about any problem they encounter. In addition, teach children to never meet someone they have only met online.
Implement parental controls and passwords on certain sites or computers. Depending on the age of the child, you can filter access to online games. Make sure your children understand the reasoning behind your concerns.

Children playing on smartphones

Help children set up accounts, profiles, and user names. Far too often, kids use their real names on their gamertags or include their physical location on profiles. Encourage children to use creative names or avatars that don’t give away their age, sex, name, or address.

Keep games and devices in common areas of the home. If a family member can walk in at any given moment, children might make better choices.

Create a technology contract that includes online gaming. As a family, state all expectations and consequences for gaming. This will keep everyone informed and happily playing.

Encourage children to play online games with people they actually know in real life. By sticking with friends, children are less likely to meet predators or strangers with hidden agendas.

What methods does your family use to protect children from online game dangers? What other concerns do you have that you aren’t sure to handle? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

How To Assess the Personal Value of Products and Services

Before you decide to get that next latest and greatest product or service, or even one that’s been around for ages, it is important to assess its personal value to you relative to its actual price. This is especially important on limited income because it allows you to purchase the products and services which will give you the most personal value.

However, whether you are well below the poverty line or living comfortably, it’s still important to make sure you’re not wasting precious funds on things that are of little practical value. Then you can put your money into things that have more meaning for you personally, for example a college fund for your child or a retirement fund for yourself.

Old television set from the 1950s
What is meant by personal value? It is simply how much that product or service means to you, and to what degree you want or need it in your life. I’ll use television for an example. Let’s say television service costs $40/month. If you’re a person who only watches about 1 hour of television per week, and you don’t even consider that something you really must do, then television service may have a much lower personal value to you. If you had to associate a dollar amount with its personal value for example, it might only be $5 to $10. Well, if television costs $40 per month, you would then be paying quadruple its value to you.

Thinking on those terms, you can rule this service out of being extremely important, and focus on higher value ones first. However, if you sit around and watch television for a few hours every day after work, and use it to wind down from a stressful day, you may even assess the personal value of the television service as much higher than it costs. Let’s say you put a figure on it of about $100. In that case, the television service costs less than half the value you associate with it, and is a great deal. For you, it would probably be a great idea to get this service as it provides much needed entertainment and stress relief.

Of course there is no need to actually put a dollar amount to the value of a product or service unless it helps you put it into perspective, but the idea is to ask yourself how much it actually means to you and if knowing that it would be a good value or not.

This could also change if you have multiple people in the house. For example, if you are the person who assesses the personal value of the television service at $10/month and determine it’s not a good deal for you, but then you move in with someone who watches much more television and assesses the value for themselves at $30 or more, then it would be a good idea to compromise and get the service. The reverse could also apply if they place low value on something you give high value to. For them alone it might not be worth it but for both of you it is.

The key in all this is to think critically about how much money you have, how much a product or service costs, how much use you would get out of it, and how much that use is worth. Even something you rarely use can be considered more highly valued if that use meets a need when it is utilized.

Always remember to carefully consider the value of things as well as their price to see if they are really worth it. You don’t have to go into all the detail that I did on my example, but you should train yourself to analyze these things in your head at least before making impulsive purchases.

This would also help you in understanding where to compromise with other household members. Always remember that different people value things differently and keep your mind open to such differences even if you do not agree with them. Prices of products and services may be fixed, but their value is not, and it is always possible to be flexible and adjust your personal values from time to time and depending on circumstances. This is an important way to manage your finances and ensure that you are spending the money that you have on the things that are important to you and your family.

It is extremely easy to become in impulse buyer, but if you train your brain properly, it is equally as easy to break from impulse buying and be a very smart shopper. Smart shoppers are actually in the minority, and businesses take advantage of that fact, but if you carefully consider your purchases before you make them, you can avoid falling into impulse buyer traps.

Also always remember that while it may not cost any money to save money, this can have a high personal value as well, so whenever possible, consider putting money away to save and forgetting it is even there so you are not tempted to spend it and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Money is not an unlimited commodity, and you won’t always get the same amount of it all your life, so preparing for any eventuality is always a good practice, no matter what your financial situation.

What methods do you use for determining whether a purchase is worthwhile or not? How do you decide whether or not to eliminate a service or sell a product when things get tough? I’ve always been pretty good with money management, but I would be curious to know what other people think.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

How To Choose The Perfect Stroller For Your Baby

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Stroller For Your Kid

As new parents, one of the main concerns is having the best tools to help you raise your baby. There are many unknown variables and many new parents go through this crazy time but this doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend your savings on just baby stuff. Keep in mind that junior will grow up quickly and all those expensive stuff will stay behind.

However, you should make sure that you select just the right products. And, since we know how difficult it can be to select the right stroller, we have a few pointers. If you’re on the market for the best stroller your budget can buy, continue reading.

Stroller For Your Kid

Think about the size

The first thing you should consider is the size of the stroller. First of all, Junior must feel comfortable in there, but it must also allow you to use it for a longer time period. So, consider the size of your baby now and how big he or she will get in a few months. Remember: babies grow up quickly.

Also, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you going to go shopping with the stroller?
  • Are you going to use it for walks in the park?
  • Is the stroller going to fit in the trunk of your car?
  • Do you want a stroller with an included car seat?

All these questions will help you get the best size for your needs.

Durability and versatility

Some baby pram strollers are specially designed for a walk in the mall and short walks outside. Well, these are not the ones you should consider if you take the bus or use the stroller in the park. A durable stroller will have big wheels that will cushion most of the hops and will be easy to fold.

Even more, a versatile stroller will always have some extra pockets for everything Junior needs. And, some strollers can even be transformed for rainy or sunny days. This way, Junior will feel amazing regardless of the weather outside.

Your level of activity

Of course, the stroller should also be selected according to your preferences. Thus, if you are lazy as a couple and like long, but slow walks, then a regular stroller should do just fine. However, if you are active and want to share your outdoors adventures with Junior, you’ll need a heavy-duty stroller. This way, both baby and stroller will get to the destination unharmed and happy.

Other features to consider

Once you figured out the size, durability, and how you’re going to use the stroller, it’s time to take a look at additional features. Thus, a stroller should have:

  • Brakes – this is a feature available on every stroller so Junior won’t leave without your knowledge. However, the place where the brake is located makes all the difference. You should test first and then decide if you want a hand or a foot brake.
  • Washable materials – babies are not known for their care with the surrounding environment. That’s why you should choose a stroller that’s easy to clean and doesn’t require any special conditions or substances.
  • Adjustable handle – this comes in handy when the parents are of different heights.

The list can easily go on, but the rest is mostly about your preferences and style. Also, if you’re planning to buy a stroller as a baby shower gift, these are the basic features to consider.

Take the test drive

No, you’re not buying a car; you’re investing in the next few years you’ll be spending with your child. Do you really want to remember them by how difficult the stroller was? Some strollers will behave perfectly when empty or when the baby is just a few months old. However, the same products will become impossible when the weight increases. That’s why, your best bet is to go in the store and ask to test the stroller with weights. Move it around and test pushing it with one hand – this is the supreme test. If everything goes smoothly, you found the perfect stroller for Junior.

As you can see, there isn’t one perfect product for everyone. Even more, buying a stroller is a difficult decision and you must know your preferences and daily activity to select the right one for both of you. Still, once you found that perfect stroller, and you’re happy with your investment, you’ll be thankful that you took the time to think this through. Even more, your baby will also get to enjoy great walks and this will show in his/her development.

7 Kids Bedroom Ideas To Improve Safety

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kids bedroom safety

The first bedroom you decorate for your kids will stick with you forever! It’s such an amazing experience that you’ll remember and cherish forever! Selecting the color of the walls, the furniture, the bed, and then placing everything in an elegant and playful manner!

According to specialists, the way you paint the walls in a baby’s room will influence his/her later development. It’s well-known that colors stimulate creativity, but they also help with moods. For example, the red color is better suited for the playroom while blue is more calming and goes better in the bedroom.

Safety is also a very important issue and must be one of your main concerns. The furniture, the toys, even the paint on the walls must be safe. Even the placement of the bed in relation to the window or the doorway must be thought with safety in mind. You don’t want a draft endangering your child’s health.

kids bedroom safety

The bed

In the bedroom, the focal point is the bed – after all, it’s the bed room, right? Well, kids, especially when they are babies, are not that fussy about the bed – as long as it’s comfy.

New parents seem to prefer a bassinet or cradle, which is indeed a charming solution. However, it only keeps the baby safe for a couple of months, when they are not moving that much. This means that you will have to replace it soon with a crib, which is the safest option in this case.

Specialists recommend avoiding toys or stuffed teddy bears in the crib as they represent a smothering hazard. Also, it is not recommended to add fluffy, luxurious bedding because this can represent a health hazard for infants younger than 1 year old. We know it looks amazing, but the safety of your child is more important. If you really want to have gorgeous bedding like in the magazines, you should remove it all when you’re putting Junior to sleep. Keep things as simple as possible!

Windows and doors

Before placing the furniture and selecting the wallpaper, you must test your windows and doors. These must close perfectly without allowing any draft or air or humidity to go in. If you feel something is not right with the current situation, the safest solution would be to install new windows and doors. Also, childproofing the windows is a fantastic way to make sure your toddler won’t try to see if flying is for real. Childproofing a window also makes reference to the window treatments – all cords and curtains must be out of reach so no pulling can occur., leader in high-quality windows and doors, recommends installing soundproof windows for the baby’s bedroom. This way, junior’s sleep won’t be disturbed by the noise outside. Also, the door must be solid and must open smoothly without any creaks.

The furniture

Now the furniture may not seem that important when Junior is a baby, but as soon he/she learns how to crawl, this aspect will become of extreme importance. Children pull things and try to climb new heights using the furniture around. So here are the most important safety measures you should take:

  • Don’t place anything heavy right above the bed – no pictures, no mirrors, nothing that could fall onto them;
  • Use special latches to childproof the drawers – these can be used as a latter to climb to the top of the closet;
  • Secure the big furniture by anchoring it on the wall. This way, if the child pulls, the cabinet won’t come down on top of him/her.
  • Secure all the lamp cords in the room or, better yet, use devices that don’t have cords. This way the baby won’t get tangled while crawling around, inspecting the premises.

Storage facilities

All those toys must go somewhere when Junior is not playing with them, right? Well nowadays there are all sorts of great storage facilities that are kid-appropriate. However, make sure that none of the boxes you’re using have lids with hinges. Lids can easily fall and crush your baby’s little hands or fingers in the process. Our recommendation is to purchase only boxes without hinges and make sure none of the other storage facilities could hurt your baby’s little hands.

Of course, the list could continue, but you get the basic idea. The best part is that, once they grow up, you’ll be able to redecorate the room, but this time, you’ll do it by involving the kids in the process. This will create a new amazing memory that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

How do you decorate your kids’ bedrooms? Do you involve them in the process? What is your favorite idea from this post? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Introducing Award Winning Osmo, The Best Educational Apps For Kids

Osmo Best Educational Apps For Kids
Some of you may have recently heard of Osmo, a brand new line of fun, educational games for kids. For those who have not, I’ll start by saying that this well-designed, interactive set of children’s iPad games are some of the best educational apps for kids that I have personally seen. They combine physical manipulatives with interactive electronic entertainment, providing the best of both worlds.

If you’re worried about your kids getting too much screen time, and not enough time to play with physical objects, this product combines those two concepts, and best of all, the games are educational and inspire creativity, problem-solving, and innovative thinking.

Osmo Best Educational Apps for Kids Outer Box
I recently received an Osmo for free in exchange for sharing my thoughts about it with all of you. However, this does not change the nature of my opinion on the product, and I believe it is well worth the money, even if I had to purchase it. Let me give you an overview of the games as described on the Osmo website, and then my evaluation of them.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #1: Tangram

Best educational apps for kids Osmo Tangram Wooden shapes in box
Arrange wooden puzzle pieces to match on-screen shapes. Animals, objects, humans and more. Play with a friend or challenge yourself to increasingly more
difficult levels as your handiwork lights up with each victory.

This is one of the three games that include their own box in the Osmo package. Inside the box, you will find the shape manipulatives that combine with the iPad app. This game inspires creativity and challenges children to think outside the box. Simple enough for younger children to figure out but challenging enough to even entertain adults, this game will provide hours of entertainment.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #2: Coding

Osmo Coding uses hands-on physical blocks to control Awbie, a playful character who loves delicious strawberries. Each block is a coding command that directs
Awbie on a wondrous tree-shaking, strawberry-munching adventure.

This game is unique, and introduces children to coding, even before they are old enough to learn actual code. It teaches cause and effect relationships as you see how the character responds. The Osmo line is recommended for children between the ages of five and twelve, but games like this one, as well as the others, may entertain younger children as well, even if they don’t fully understand them.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #3: Words

Best educational apps for kids Osmo Words inside box with letter tiles
Words – Guess and spell the on-screen image. Team up or compete in-person with friends or family to see who will get their letter in first! Download free content
like trivia, geography or upload your own like family names. The possibilities are endless!

This is a very clever idea, more designed for children that at least have a basic handle on spelling, but even if your kids are just learning to read, you can use it as a teaching tool. The fact that you can even supply it with your own customized words makes the possibilities truly endless. This could even be a great, fun tool for studying for a spelling bee.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #4: Newton

Newton works with any object or drawing – Mom’s keys, hand-drawn basket, even toys you already own. Simply place the object/drawing in front of the screen
and manipulate it to guide the falling balls into the target zones.

This is yet another fun and clever concept, and another which even younger children will enjoy before they fully understand it. The fact that it works with a variety of objects is unique and intriguing. I can’t wait to try it with some of the most bizarre things I can find around my home and see how well it works. Even that alone would provide entertainment, sending your kids on a scavenger hunt for different objects to try with the game.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #5: Numbers

Best educational apps for kids Osmo Numbers inside of box with number tiles on top and dice dotted tiles on bottom
Numbers – Add, count and multiply the tiles to match the numbers on the bubbles. Popping enough bubbles will free the fish and unleash a storm of lightning and thunder!
Big or small, even or odd, will you become the Numbers Master?

This game makes learning about numbers fun. Your kids can learn as they play with the physical pieces which include actual printed numbers and dots like those found on dice. Strengthen your child’s mathematical skill and interest with this great game.

Best Educational Apps For Kids #6: Masterpiece

Masterpiece – Unleash your inner artist! Pick an image from the camera, web or curated gallery and Masterpiece will transform it into easy-to-follow lines, helping you
create beautiful drawings.

As someone who has always been terrible at drawing, this game is of particular interest to me. When I was a kid, the closest thing we had was those connect the dots pages in various coloring books and children’s magazines. Even then, you were limited to whatever was printed there. I love how Masterpiece, like many of the other games, allows you to use your own images to create fun things to draw.I feel that all of these games are among the best educational apps for kids because every single one of them captivates a child’s interest, teaches important skills, inspires creativity, and broadens a child’s horizons in unique and interesting ways. The fact that they are expandable makes them even better.

I look forward to the release of future games from Osmo. Note that the iPad app downloads for these games are free. However, you must have purchased the set and have a PlayOsmo account in order to use them. Nonetheless, it is well worth every penny and provides education and entertainment that will last for years.

Which Osmo game is your favorite based on the descriptions? Which one do you think your kids would most benefit from or enjoy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Note: The Osmo game set is available at Best Buy, who sponsored this post and provided me with a free Osmo to review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

A Parent’s 3-Step Guide to Stress-Free Party Planning

Planning a party for your child is never an easy task, especially if parents worry both about the happiness of their kids as well as all other guests. It is perfectly normal for parents to want the absolute best for their children and if throwing a fun-filled birthday party is what their kids want that should become the priority, rather than catering to the ideas and desires of other parents. Children of any age group will not be particularly impressed by incredible details and many different activities that are waiting for them if they do not feel like engaging in play and if they notice that they are not the center of the party, so it is important to keep an eye out on how your child is acting during the festivities.



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Listen to what your child wants

Before starting with organization, talk to your child. That way, you can get the insight of child’s wishes and ideas and use those for the theme and décor. Stop thinking of what you or anyone else would find cool or interesting. This is your child’s special day and you should try your best to impress them and no one else. This is the first step in reducing stress. Just think about it – if you do not listen to one or two specific desires your kid might have, you are probably going to get lost in planning and preparing everything that comes to mind, which will definitely be impossible to achieve during the course of one birthday party. You do not need anyone else’s approval or opinion when it comes to your child’s birthday other than your kid’s. That way, you will know specifically what to pay attention to and what theme and atmosphere to create in order for your child to have a blast and you to save time and money as well as avoid stress when organizing everything.

Kid's party

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Do not go crazy with activities

While it is necessary to have several activities planned out for the birthday boy or girl and their little guests keep in mind that these activities should involve simple games that they can play together, not several big attractions. Basically, provide them with enough ideas and materials so that they can enjoy themselves but do not go overboard with different attractions that would make their heads spin and possibly even cause a fight when they cannot agree what attraction to attend first. If you want a bouncy castle, stick to it. If you think that the children will find a fun-filled magic show more amusing, hire professional kids party entertainers. If a sports theme is what your child wants, organize a specific sports tournament. But remember to choose one major attraction among all other activities that the kids will enjoy during the party. Not only will you be able to provide your child and other kids with party climax so that they feel that this was the best time they ever had, but you will also prevent any additional stress and worrying on your part.

Boy baby balloons


Start preparing on time

Once you have realized what your child’s wishes are and decided on the theme accompanied by the main attraction, it is important not to expect everything to go smoothly. You still have to make an effort for the party to be a success. The amount of stress that can accumulate due to procrastinating can really weigh down on your mind and make you really anxious. Therefore, start organizing everything at least two months before the party and even before if you plan to book a special venue for the birthday. Taking care of everything takes time and considering your generally busy schedule, tending to one task at the time in your own tempo is the best option for stress-free planning. Start looking for specific theme-based décor as soon as you learn what it is that your child wants. No one can say for sure that you will be able to find everything and you might be left with DIY decorations as your only choice. Moreover, planning the menu has to be done as soon as possible no matter whether you are going to prepare everything yourself or hire someone else to do it. This is especially true for the cake. Good use of time and proper organization are key ingredients for a successful stress-free birthday party.

Again, it is essential that you keep in mind that the success of your child’s party is not determined by the number of attractions, complicated décor or vast choice of foods. Children simply want to have fun and when kids are younger their fun time has to be focused. Therefore, concentrate on making this day as enjoyable as possible for your child and forget about what other parents and adults in general have to say.