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Promote your tot’s natural curiosity—whatever the weather

Weather makes for great “small” talk. Engage your little one in wonders of the weather with these outdoor activities.

Promote your tot’s natural curiosity—whatever the weather

When is the right time to start digging into nature with your little one? The answer is simple. Right now.


You, mama, are the compass that guides your child in so many ways—and nature experiences are no different. A mother who is connected to the natural world will naturally have a child who is inclined to explore the outdoors.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t take much.

Pause a moment before getting in the car to watch dew sparkle on the grass.

Look up before going into the grocery store to spy the clouds in the sky.

Take a deep breath as you walk down the street feeling the wind in your face.

People often view talking about the weather as “small talk.” But, there is a reason we talk about the weather—it is something that binds us together. It is a grand shared experience.

When children are young, they experience the weather on a deep sensory level. Indeed, their development depends on it! Playing with the weather is a wonderful way to stimulate the senses and connect with the natural world.

The next time you go outside with your tot, try a few of these activities to engage your child in nature—whatever weather the seasons bring.

Singing in the rain.

Rainy days transform the world in the subtlest ways. Drops hang like crystals from the trees, colors deepen and pop with vibrant tones, and creatures that love the wet world come out. A nature walk(or crawl) on a rainy day is an invitation to explore the wet and wonderful world brought on when clouds meet the earth.

Carrying baby to see and touch the hanging raindrops can prompt delight and wonder.

On a cool day, a well-dressed baby can explore the wet world by crawling through grass, getting an up-close look at and feel for the rain. On a warm rainy day, it is all the more fun to get out and explore the wet world with as little on as possible!

Toddlers can create a rain orchestra with pots and pans when the rain hits the overturned surfaces.

Puddle jumping is a classic rainy day activity that will never lose appeal for little explorers. Just remember to keep a change of clothes in the car, so you don’t fret about the mess!

Walking in a windy wonderland.

Wind can provide fuel for wonderful explorations. Whether making ripples on a pond or making things move up, up,and away, wind is an invisible force with a big impact. Even the littlest explorer can appreciate the refreshing feeling of a cool breeze on a warm day.

Babies, toddlers, and grownups alike will delight in making the illusive breeze a little more tangible with bubbles. Blow bubbles on a windy day and see the wind in action.

Another way to see the wind is by watching clouds move across the sky, changing shape as they go.

Flying kites is a classic activity that’s a favorite for good reason. There is nothing quite like feeling the pull of the wind as it lifts a kite into the sky. With a little help, a toddler can easily feel this tension created by the wind and even wonder…What would happen if I let go?

It's gonna be a bright, sunshiny day.

The warmth of the sun can be quite calming for even the littlest among us. Sunny days can reveal a world filled with bright contrasts and shadows to play with. Although sunny days often bring up thoughts of the beach or running through the sprinkler, there is so much more to explore on a sunny day!

Shadow watching is a wonderful sunny day pastime. Seeing the shadows of trees dance on the grass can be deeply entertaining, even for the biggest kids.

Encourage your child to join the dancing shadows by jumping from shadow to shadow, trying to keep up with the wind and sun moving those shadows around.

Tracking shadows is a fun way to provide your child a real look at the movement of the earth in relation to the sun. Deep concepts for a tot, I know, but these experiences lay a foundation to build upon as your child’s relationship to the natural world grows.

To track shadows, help your child make note of where a shadow is cast (draw an outline of the shadow with chalk or use rocks as markers) and re-visit your shadow throughout the day. Make note of movements and talk about why it is moving. Just remember to avoid looking directly at the sun—it can damage your eyes!

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Although the inclination to hibernate during cold weather is strong, fight the pull and get outside to delve into the amazing wonders that winter has to share. With the right gear, even babies can have great fun exploring the cold and icy world.

Taking a walk to feel frost and ice is a great way to take note of the smooth, bumpy, and prickly textures of ice. Take those mittens off for just a few minutes and let your child explore the amazing textures created by water and cool temperatures.

When snow starts to fall, bundle up your tot (making sure to take a potty break ahead of time), get out, and encourage your child to capture a few flakes on their tongue, let it fall on their face, and delight in the magical way snow dresses up the world.

Watching ice float is another amazing phenomenon. Your young tot may not fully understand this extraordinary occurrence yet. But, that won’t dampen their excitement over creating “icebergs” to float in water. This is yet another activity that helps to build a foundation for your child’s explorations for years to come.

Getting outside, whatever the weather, can open up whole new worlds to explore for you and your child—no matter how young! Just remember the old adage…There’s no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothing choices.

Have fun out there!

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The Motherly Shop is here 🎉 (and it has exactly what you need, mama)

We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

Since the beginning, Motherly has existed to help mamas of all experiences feel seen, understood and supported. Through expert and mom-to-mom advice and information we've been here to help you along the motherhood journey.

With that same ethos, we've created The Motherly Shop—an online collection of products curated for every stage of motherhood. We did the hard work for you, hand-picking the things you want and need and ensuring we only bring you the best from brands and makers that really care—so you can take one thing off that full plate of yours.

To make browsing a little easier, we curate the products based on mama needs + pain points. For example, here's our newest collection created to gather everything a pregnant woman needs.

Check out some of our favorites from our Becoming Mama collection and get shopping!

The sleep support

Belly Bandit SOS pillow

Finding the right position for sleep can feel like an Olympic sport when you've got a baby belly to accommodate. Belly Bandit, masters of creating wearables that support pregnant bodies, also managed to create the ideal tool for side sleeping.

$80

The wear-anywhere maternity dress

Stowaway Collection Maternity Becca dress

Finding clothes that still make you feel like yourself isn't always easy. With their premium fabrics and universally flattering cuts, we can't get enough of the maternity wardrobe essentials from Stowaway Collection maternity. Even better? They sew everything in Long Island City, NY and source USA-made fabric whenever possible.

$80

The chic but practical shoe 

OSAY the label slip on

Bending over to put shoes on is so overrated. We've got you covered with the most stylish and obsession-worthy handmade loafers with a secret. Just fold down the back, and BAM! slip-ons. Additionally, the La Babouche Loafer + Slip-On OSAY the Label beauties are made from recycled leather that literally forms to your feet.

$135

The delicate reminder

Whether it's whispered sweetly, shrieked from the top of the big slide, or echoed through the phone from thousands of miles away, 'mama' is the name you'll respond to for the rest of your life. Like all the Tiny Tags necklaces, this sweet reminder is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans in the USA.

$105

The stylish diaper bag that doesn't look like a diaper bag

Mina baie vegan stevie

When leaving the house requires as much prep as an international flight (ah, remember those?) having a spacious bag you can depend on is key. Mina Baie bags not only deliver on a space for everything, but also manage to do it in style. They're the kind of bags you'll carry even when you manage to leave your little one behind.

$178

The elegant baby book

Echo Art Bindery Baby Memory Book

From the minute they're born there are so many milestones and memories to capture. We hand-picked the gorgeous clothbound baby memory book from Echo Art Bindery for its small batch-feel and attention to detail. Made from high-quality paper it features colorful custom illustrations, a silver-stamped endive cover, and questions and prompts to help you remember those magical first days and beyond.

$62

The empowering accessory

Sontakey 'I was made for this' bracelet

Words are powerful. Reminding yourself that you can do hard things can go a long way in giving you the energy and confidence to do so. The beautiful mantra bands from Sontakey were created by two mamas who have made it their mission to empower others with these words of encouragement.

$35

The most delicious way to celebrate

Tost non-alcoholic refresher

Time to raise a glass, mama! We've long since had a crush on TÖST's non-alcoholic sparkles. The gingery cranberry tea blend is delicious on its own or even as a mixer. From baby showers to toasting an ordinary Tuesday that went off without a hitch, we think you'll be crushing on it too.

$50

The pampering belly oil

Esker belly oil duo

Moisturizing, soothing, and totally divine, Esker's belly oil duo is formulated with only the cleanest botanical essential oils. One for morning and one for nighttime, they're ideal for pampering that beautiful belly of yours around the clock.

$75

The hydration-friendly water bottle

Welly traveler water bottle

Meeting those daily hydration needs can be a challenge. (So can making it to the bathroom 700 hundred times a day, right?) We're big fans of Welly reusable bottles which not only look super sleek with their stainless steel and bamboo combo, but also include a removable infuser to brew tea or flavor your water.

$30

The pre-packed hospital bag

Belly and Bag fully prepared

Leave packing your hospital bag to the pros. After all, you have plenty of other things to think about right now, right? The brilliant women at Belly and Bag have truly thought of everything and packed it up just for you.

$225

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$189

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The new top 100 American baby names, according to the Social Security office

Did you have a baby in 2018? Did your name make the top 10?

kasietannerphotography.com

[Editor's note: We know that being pregnant can be, well, a lot. And understanding what you really need versus what's just a nice-to-have takes time . With your needs in mind, we've selected the best products for pregnancy in The Motherly Shop. We've got you, mama.]

No one can beat Emma when it comes to naming babies in America. This week the Social Security Administration announced its annual list of the most popular baby names in America and Emma has the top spot on the girls' side for the fifth year in a row. On the boys' side Liam took the top spot for a second consecutive year.

According to the Social Security Administration, these were the top 20 baby names in America in 2018:

Girls: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper and Evelyn

Boys: Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason and Owen

How do those top 10 lists compare to the top baby names of 2017? Well, the girls' list is nearly the same except that Mia and Charlotte switched spots, and Harper (a name that fell out of the top ten the previous year) is back and has ousted Abigail. On the boys' side, Lucas kicked Jacob out of the top 10.

The real changes happened lower down in the data. Let's take a look at the popular baby names that were trending hard in 2018:

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