favorite things that help families - a mom being supermom

Our Favorite Things: Summer Edition

Having kids requires an obscene amount of stuff and parenting is hard. We’ve rounded up our favorite things that help make the going easier – or at least more FUN – to help you get through the doldrums of summer.

Our Favorite: Timeless Gift

Whether you’re celebrating a milestone or just want to make the most of the last few weeks of summer, a bike from woom is a worthy addition to your garage.

a woom bike is the best bike for kids

Beginning with the earliest walkers, woom has thought of everything when it comes to supporting small bodies with their perfectly ergonomic design. The best part is they’re lightweight and super easy for kids to ride beginning with their woom 1 balance bike all the way to their woom 6, designed for ages 10-14 years.

If you need proof that balance bikes work wonders to build confidence and prep early riders, just come by my house and watch my 1.5 year old neighbor as he tears up the sidewalk in our neighborhood on his.

Upgrade Your Helmet: The helmets made by woom are super breathable, feature a cool, magnetic chin clip, and have a rubber visor for added durability.

Does your kid bike to school or practice? The woom Now line features built-in cargo racks up front, a rack pouch to hold the essentials and even sleek new bell and light design.

Can’t afford the price tag of a brand new woom? Check out pre-owned bikes and past models available on their Warehouse.


So you have enough stuff, you say?


capybara cma
Capybara Encounter at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Bank on a Gift of Experience, like the Serengeti Safari animal encounter at Buch Gardens, a SeaTREK dive at the Florida Aquarium, the new Capybara Encounter at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, or better yet, an annual pass to a favorite theme park.

Our Favorites: Road Trip & Travel

Have a trip ahead of you? Besides the classic Mad Libs & Would You Rather books, here are a couple of our favorite screen-free things to help keep the “Are we there yet’s?” to a minimum.

Then, for when you get there, it’s nice to be able to pull out something new to occupy the kiddos so you can recoup for a bit before the questions set in. We picked a couple of “Bang for Your Buck” items that do the trick and have lasting power to keep them entertained during your trip when you just need a minute.

  • Water Pen Coloring Books and Doodle Pads are our pick for mess-free coloring in the car (or plane) since they’re self-contained and good for repeated use. We like the water pen books by Scentco Water Magic because they have every theme imaginable to choose from and they have an added car ride bonus: they smell nice! Choose from Outer Space, Construction, Under the Sea and tons more themes online. Scento Water Magic: Ages 3+; Available on Amazon; MSRP: $11.99.
    Pro Tip: wrap a rubber band around the top portion just in case the pen case breaks.

    For Doodle pads we like the ones by Boogie Board® and especially their Sketch Pals™ available at Michaels since they come in cute characters and can clip onto a backpack. Pro Tip: invest in one with build-in stylus storage that can’t break off.
Water pen coloring books are some of our favorite things for road trips
Scento Water Magic
  • If a little more stimulation is needed to keep their interest, try a Magic Sketch Drawing Kit by Boogie Board in the car. These are similar to doodle pads but come with inserts for tracing, learning and games, plus multiple styles of styluses for different effects.


  • The Highlights Big Book of Activities for Little Kids is a fun addition to a road trip since its pages are chock full of captivating and fun things to try as a family. With over 200 screen-free activities, just deciding what to do first guarantees at least some quiet time! Developed by early childhood experts and inspired using everyday household items commonly found in hotels and rentals. Ages 3-6; Available on Amazon; MSRP: $19.99.

our favorite thing for road trip inspiration in the HIghlights Big Book of Activities for LIttle Kids

  • Enlist the kids to help document your trip with an age-appropriate instant camera! We like Canal Toys Photo Creator Instant Camera (Ages 8+) or their Paw Patrol™ Instant Camera (Ages 4+) for all the fun extras they include. They’re super easy for kids to use, can capture photos, selfies and video, and include over 20 effects to embellish the fun. They even have an instant thermal printer to share pics with new friends. Available on Amazon; MSRP: $59.99.

our favorite thing for road trips with the kids is an instant camera to document

Our Favorite: Back to School Must-Haves

If you’re sending your kid to school for the first year or the 10th year, it helps to have the right tools to get them there efficiently. Here are our favorite tried-and-tested products that help support easy, out-the-door mornings.

  • Urban Infant Preschool/Daycare Gear

    Tired of too-big backpacks? Urban Infant’s line of Preschool-ready products includes their Packie Backpacks that come in just the right size and feature an artwork silo on the side – cute!

    Pair your backpack with their matching Yummie Daycare/Preschool Lunch Bag cooler which is sized to fit a Bento Box, and round everything out with their Tot Cot school nap mat or Bulkie all-purpose sleep mat for the full trifecta.

    Hidden clips attach the cooler to the backpack for easy transport, and you can even add personalization. Mix and match your items or go cost-effective with a matching bundled set.

    All items have chunky zippers for little hands and their lunch bags include a clear pocket to display food allergy cards if needed (which are also included).
    Bonus: the nap mats have a pocket for a favorite stuffy!

    Available at UrbanInfant.com or Amazon.com; Individual items starting at $19.95+; Bundles $44.95 – $79.95. 

our favorite thing for back to school is Urban Infant's line of preschool items
Urban Infant Packie backpacks have an art silo; An Urban Infant bundled set.
  • Stonz Footwear 

    We love the footwear options made by Stonz. Compared to the ever-popular Natives, whose rigidity makes them tricky to get on, both the Stonz Roamer and Cruiser lines are super comfortable and most importantly, easy to put on.

    Roamers boast being the “perfect shoe for warm weather outdoor activities” like the beach, park, and splash pad, since they’re highly breathable, dry quickly (their insoles are perforated and removable) and are machine washable. Not to mention their soles are super durable, are designed to support healthy foot development, and have seriously good grip.

    Cruisers are for the next stage in walking and feature thick, flexible soles to help with balance. I love their wide opening and velcro closure, which ensures their fit and makes them super easy for my 4-year-old to put on. I also appreciate that they’re made out of breathable material to keep the smelling to a minimum!

    The brother & sister duo behind Stonz also make shoes for babies, winter boots, rain boots and jackets, and even full UPF 50+ sunsuits.

    Available at Stonz.com and Amazon.com; Roamers (12-18 months – size 9): $49.99; Cruisers (toddler size 6 – 11): $57.99.

our favorite thing for back to school Stonz footwear
Stonz Roamers (left) and Cruisers (right)

Our Favorites for Screen-Free Fun

Whether your kid likes to listen to stories, can’t stop moving or really loves getting hands-on, these are our picks for kid-tested and approved alternatives for when it’s time to turn off the tablet or TV.

Interactive Storytelling

  • Even though the Toniebox has been in the U.S. since 2020, it hasn’t caught on everywhere – yet. It’s fun getting to introduce friends and family to its concept: place a magnetic character on top of the box to enjoy 30-90 minutes of captivating songs and storytelling. It’s old-fashioned radio-listening reimagined.Choose from every character you can imagine, plus themes like mindfulness, potty training, bedtime songs and more. You can even record your own content to send personalized messages or lullabies from Grandma. Bundled sets available. Children ages 3+; available at Target, Amazon, toniebox.com and locally at Butter Bug Boutique.
favorite thing for interactive story-telling is a Toniebox
  • Me Reader Electronic Readers are a great option for pre- and early readers who get impatient with the Read-to-Me books from the library. Sets come with 8 books and 1 reader which plays them all, color-coded page by page with the press of a button.

favorite thing for interactive story-telling e-reader sets

Agility & Movement

  • Put a Wobbleboard by Little Partners in a room with kids of all ages and there will inevitably be the question of who goes first. Kids love the challenge of balancing, meanwhile rocking back and forth on the board helps build strength, agility, flexibility, and coordination. I love the possibilities for imaginative play it supports when not in use, too, having seen my girls use it as a racetrack for cars, a tunnel, a stage and more.

favorite thing for movement play

  • We also love balance boards and stepping stones for especially fun games of “The Floor is Lava”.

Sensory Play all the WAY!

  • The Glo Pals Sensory Play Jar will be your new favorite toy for sensory play on the go. Just add water and anything else you choose (don’t worry the top is childproof) and enjoy the quiet. Kids are taken with the light-up jar which changes color to the touch, and its dual handles make it easy to hold and shake.Need some inspiration for what to put inside? Their fun “filler packs” include charms, colored dyes and glitters to make for countless combinations of eye-catching fun.
    Ages 18 mo.+; requires 3 AAA batteries. Available at Target and locally at Butterbug Boutique; MSRP: $19.99; Filler Packs: $5.
GloPals Sensory Jar
GloPals Sensory Jar; photo credit: GloPals.com
  • We love sensory bins like The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Bin, which brings the beloved Eric Carle story to life through hands-on play. Packed with sensory sand, a Hungry Caterpillar toy, foam accessories, shovel, sand stamp, colorful clings, and more, it’s a self-contained activity that encourages imagination and learning.Make a day of it and check out the Very Eric Carle exhibit at Glazer Children’s Museum! Ages 3-4+; Available on Amazon; MSRP: $22.99. If you need something day of, head to Michael’s for some other great options.

favorite thing for sensory play is the Eric Carle Sensory Bin

Some of the products listed on this page have been received for editorial consideration.