Fun summer reading list for all ages, according to a librarian

Boredom is instantly a thing of the past.

summer reading for kids

As we kick summer off and find cool ways to entertain our kids during a pandemic, there's one activity that's a surefire way to keep little ones of all ages busy—an adventure-filled book. To help you find what's best, we caught up with Keira Pride, head librarian at Stratford School to provide a list of books for kids to read this summer.

Some wisk readers away to magical lands, others delve into prejudice and coming of age, while some are fiction-based novels that take you to other worlds. Whatever adventure they choose, there's something for everyone. Cheers to summer 2020.

Here are kid-approved books from a librarian that will entertain your child all summer long:


Kindergarten

The Last Peach by Gordon Gus

The story of two indecisive bugs contemplating eating the last peach of the summer in a hilarious picture book about anticipation and expectation. Summer's almost over, and there's one peach left. There's also some questions in the air: Should someone eat it? What if it's rotten inside? But what if it's juicy? Should the bug who saw it first get to eat it? Should both bugs share it with their friends? Will anyone eat the peach?

Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park

This clever introduction to animal-themed homographs also works as a vocabulary lesson and a catchy read-aloud. Children are introduced to an array of animals paired with verbs that share their names: "Cranes crane" their elongated necks in one spread, while "Slugs slug slugs" with boxing gloves. "Ack! I'm upside down! I'm upside down!" yells a floundering flounder, and one badger badgers another about the apple it's carrying, his long-winded pleas too big to fit in the speech bubbles above his head.

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Whether celebrating life's joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age. It's the perfect preschool graduation gift or just a book that brings positivity to all who read it.

First Grade

Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Claire Keane

Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life—la dolce vita—in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes. Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and—of course—the cats.

The Bear's Garden by Marcie Colleen

A little girl sees an empty lot in a city and imagines what it can be. With the help of her stuffed bear, the girl brings her community together to create a beautiful garden. Inspired by the true story of a community garden in Brooklyn, New York, this picture book is a testament to how imagination and dedication can transform communities and create beauty for everyone in unexpected places.

Scribble Stones by Diane Alber

This story starts off with a little stone who thinks he will become something amazing but then soon realizes he had become a dull paper weight. He's on a mission to become something greater and in the process meets scribble and splatter and they all come up with a creative way to bring joy to thousands of people.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall. Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.

Second Grade

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

A comforting story about two siblings who learn that everyone has an invisible string that connects them to everyone they love, anywhere, anytime. This is a remarkable message that helps children cope with a variety of issues from everyday things, like a storm, to more serious issues, like the death of a friend or parent. The illustrations are done in soothing watercolors and the simple lines highlight the facial expressions and feelings of the characters.

Smart George by Jules Feiffer

Everyone's favorite dog is back in the much-anticipated follow-up to Bark, George from celebrated author-illustrator Jules Feiffer. When George's mother asks her pup to add one plus one, two plus two, and three plus three, George would rather eat, go for a walk, and take a nap. But soon George finds himself in a colorful dream about… numbers! Children will wonder if George will count his way out.

Call of the Sound Dragon: A Branches Book by Tracey West

Magic from a wizards' battle is destroying the city of Remus. A new Dragon Master named Tessa and her Sound Dragon, Sono, will need help in order to stop it. But they won't be able to stop this dangerous duel without a special Power Crystal. Can Drake, Petra, and Griffith find the crystal and save the city? Children will be busy reading the series all summer.

Third Grade

Aster and the Accidental Magic by Thom Pico

In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language and the trouble she gets into is just starting.

Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

Sylvia celebrates winter's end by writing a poem about spring and tying it to a birch tree. When she returns, a new poem is waiting for her. Could the tree be writing back? In lyrical prose and lovely illustrations, this fanciful tale speaks to the wonders of poetry and nature.

Fourth Grade

The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta (series)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. When Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses and moving maps, she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world and everything beyond it.

The Hive Queen by Tui T. Sutherland (series)

Book 12 of this popular series Wings of Fire is the perfect book to entertain preteens. Growing up in the hives, Cricket has always had a million questions. Why are trees forbidden, even in art? And the biggest, most dangerous and secret question of all: why is she immune to Queen Wasp's powers? Whenever the queen takes control of all the HiveWings, speaking through their mouths and seeing through their eyes, Cricket has to hide, terrified of being discovered. The fugitive needs answers, and fast, in order to prevent a LeafWing attack.

The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner (series)

In the six books of the series released, the five club members have solved mysteries involving a haunted house, a prison, an Egyptian museum, a mission, an island and a spy museum. These interactive adventures keep readers entertained as they learn more than 15 codes and hone their deductive reasoning skills.

Fifth Grade

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with this New York Times bestseller and an 11-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem—his G'ma included. This book is great for kids studying civil rights.

Dream within a Dream by Patricia Maclaughlin

Louisa and her brother Theo are "plunked off" at their grandparents' sheep ranch for their annual summer stay. But this visit is different, and Louisa hates change. In this lively coming-of-age novel, readers discover along with its spunky narrator that change can be exciting and help you find yourself.

Middle School

War Stories by Gordon Korman

There are two things Trevor loves more than anything else: playing war-based video games and his great-grandfather Jacob, who is a true-blue, bona fide war hero. At the height of the war, Jacob helped liberate a small French village, and was given a hero's welcome upon his return to America. Now it's decades later, and Jacob wants to retrace the steps he took during the war—from training to invasion to the village he is said to have saved. Trevor thinks this is the coolest idea ever. But as they get to the village, Trevor discovers there's more to the story than what he's heard his whole life, causing him to wonder about his great-grandfather's heroism, the truth about the battle he fought, and the importance of genuine valor.

The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman

On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work—Chernobyl—has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother's secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they've wished for: a best friend.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

"The court is sizzling. My sweat is drizzling. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," raps 12-year-old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are kings of the basketball court, but their game and their bond are put to the test as this novel told in dynamic verse unfolds.

In This Article

    How one company is making a huge difference for LGBTQ youth

    Take notes, all you other brands, this is how it's done

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

    This article is sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    We spoke to Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, who works closely with H&M. Chris shared with us the Trevor Project's important mission, and what all brands should do to best support LGBTQ youth today.

    1. For those that do not know, what is The Trevor Project's mission? What is it all about and its impact on society?

    The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. Our mission is to end suicide among the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year.

    Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project launched TrevorLifeline, the first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis alongside HBO's broadcast of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. The first calls were answered that night. Since then, we have grown from reaching several thousand LGBTQ youth per year to becoming the preeminent resource for LGBTQ young people in crisis, directly serving over 200K LGBTQ young people in the last fiscal year alone. We work tirelessly to save young lives by providing support through our free and confidential crisis programs on platforms where young people spend their time — online and on the phone. In addition to TrevorLifeline, we offer 24/7 digital crisis services including TrevorText and TrevorChat, as well as TrevorSpace, the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.


    H&M + The Trevor Project

    2. Can you describe the nature of the relationship/partnership the Trevor Project has with H&M?

    Our collaboration with H&M has been remarkably successful, with H&M driving awareness of The Trevor Project and our services among its audience while also demonstrating its strong support of LGBTQ young people. H&M first partnered with us in December 2020 during our "Every Single One" holiday campaign, where they donated $250K in matching funds for Giving Tuesday. This helped The Trevor Project have our best-ever Giving Tuesday moment.

    Our work together has had extensive impact, allowing H&M to engage employees, customers, and community members in conversations about LGBTQ Allyship through Trevor's resources and mission. We're thankful for H&M's support, which helps us continue to operate and improve our 24/7 life-saving crisis services so we can serve more LGBTQ young people.

    3. Why was H&M the right company to partner with?

    H&M is an established yet relevant brand that has the attention of young people, and we're always so thankful to partner with youth-facing brands that can not only spread messages of love and support, but also can increase the awareness of our crisis services and resources. We know that H&M genuinely cares about creating a better future for LGBTQ young people.

    4. What do you see as the biggest challenge or struggle for LGBTQ kids today?

    LGBTQ youth are incredibly diverse, with so many intersecting identities and unique experiences — making it difficult for me to pinpoint what might be the single biggest challenge or struggle for all LGBTQ youth today.

    What I can say, however, is our research reveals numerous challenges or struggles that may be more prevalent across the board for LGBTQ youth. According to our 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captures the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 across the U.S., nearly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Over 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

    What's clear is that while there is no single biggest challenge or struggle for our LGBTQ youth today, it's critical that we find ways to uplift and support each and every LGBTQ young person that we can.

    5. Since it's back to school time, are there stressors or situations that are uniquely heightened for LGBTQ youth, other than the standard new school year jitters, that people don't necessarily know about?

    Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had 35% reduced odds of attempting suicide in the past year, with LGBTQ-affirming school environments having the strongest association with reduced suicide attempts. Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to us has significantly increased, at times nearly double our pre-COVID volume. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety have been heightened as a result of the pandemic, further emphasizing the need for LGBTQ youth to have access to spaces that affirm their identities, such as gender-neutral bathrooms, trans-inclusive sports, and positive extracurricular activities such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

    LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one accepting adult — whether it be teachers, coaches, or counselors — were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The Trevor Project created the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, which includes requirements for teacher training, mental health instruction for students, and policies and procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that as in-person learning returns, schools provide LGBTQ students with safe learning environments where they can feel empowered, supported, and accepted by their peers and educators.

    H&M + the Trevor Project

    6. In what way is the support that The Trevor Project provides crucial to LGBTQ youth, especially as it pertains to suicide prevention?

    The support that The Trevor Project provides is so crucial because suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people — and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. LGBTQ youth reach out to Trevor because we are LGBTQ-affirming and a trusted provider of crisis services. All of our volunteers are highly-trained to answer calls, chats, and text from LGBTQ youth 24/7 when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk.

    Almost three-quarters of youth stated that they either would not or were unsure if they would have another service if The Trevor Project did not exist. We aim to be there for every young LGBTQ person in crisis with a clear message: you are loved, your life has value, and you are never alone.

    7. What do you think the responsibility is for brands to be involved in pro-social, activism-related work?

    Everyone can play a role in creating change and building progress in our society. Brands — especially those with large platforms and influence — have a responsibility to fulfill that role as well. We recognize H&M and our other brand partners for helping spur progress on important issues, and we encourage others to follow suit. Beyond the essential financial support that brands can provide to nonprofits like The Trevor Project, there's also a direct benefit for the community when brands are loud about their support of Pride; we've found that more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ. Finally, it's important to remember that Pride doesn't begin and end in June — the opportunity to support Pride is 365 days a year. We are thrilled to have H&M as a year-round partner for The Trevor Project, demonstrating their authentic support for our work.

    8. What is one of the biggest impacts or positive results you have seen come from the partnership between The Trevor Project and H&M?

    We wouldn't be able to do the work we do and make the progress we've made without our brand partners like H&M. The Trevor Project has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the implementation of our five key program areas: crisis services, peer support, research, education and public awareness, and advocacy. Since 2019, we've been working to scale our volunteer training to increase the number of crisis services counselors on a yearly basis. In addition to original, intersectional monthly research briefs, our research team launched the world's largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health in 2019, and has released a total of three national, annual reports. We've ramped up Trevor's advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, including bills to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy that have been in introduced in 40 states. H&M's partnership helps us advance this work by raising significant funds and awareness for our mission. During June 2021, when H&M served as one of our key Pride Partners, our crisis counselors served over 19,500 crisis contacts with free, confidential support via phone, chat, and text.

    9. How important is it for LGBTQ+ youth to see allies in popular culture, be it a celebrity or high profile person, mainstream brand, etc.?

    LGBTQ representation in the mainstream media is extremely important as it makes LGBTQ youth feel seen, validated, and confident that they are not alone. Over 80% of youth said that celebrities who are LGBTQ positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, and more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community have a positive impact on their LGBTQ identity. As we continue to see increased visibility for marginalized communities in popular culture, diverse images will become normalized, which in turn creates a safer, more accepting world for all of us.

    10. For people who want to get involved with a cause like The Trevor Project, what is the best way to make a difference?

    There are a number of ways to get involved with The Trevor Project – from making a donation (TheTrevorProject.org/Donate) to applying to be a volunteer (TheTrevorProject.org/Volunteer) to spreading the word about our resources.

    Affirming spaces and support systems work to save young LGBTQ lives. People can be active in their communities to ensure that more safe, affirming spaces are available and thriving. Even making an effort to respect someone's pronouns and encouraging those around you to do the same can make a huge difference. Our research has also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. If you get the opportunity, be that one person for a young person in your life.

    If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project's trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

    Our Partners

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

    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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    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    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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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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


    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    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

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    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

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

    $19.95

    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

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    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.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    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.

    $79.99

    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.

    $24.75

    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 fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy (and beyond!)

    From turtlenecks to convertible cardigans, we've got the goods.

    If I'm being honest, the thing I look forward to the most about winter is sweater weather. After all, sweaters are like the adult equivalent of a beloved blankey, right? They're soft and cozy and when you slip into your favorite, it feels like maybe everything is going to be ok after all.

    But if you're dressing a bump, transitioning your wardrobe can be overwhelming. Your tried-and-trues are likely going to have to stay packed away and investing in new favorites when the need is only temporary can get expensive. Luckily, sweaters are some of the most forgiving pieces, lasting long after pregnancy in some cases.

    We've rounded up some of our favorite fall maternity sweaters for every stage of pregnancy and beyond.


    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Isabella Oliver Abi Greencash Maternity Jumper

    Made from a blend of recycled wool, recycled cashmere, recycled polyamide and Tencel, this side button sweater is sustainable fashion at its finest. The fully-functional buttons make it a great piece for nursing as well.

    $119

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Seraphine Nautical Cotton Maternity and Nursing Sweater

    Classic nautical stripes and breathable cotton make this timeless sweater a year-round staple.

    $75

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    Motherhood Maternity Chevron Stripe Maternity Sweater

    For a different take on stripes, we're crushing on this just-colorful-enough chevron number.

    $50

    PinkBlush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Pink Blush Camel Boatneck Bubble Sleeve Maternity Sweater

    Who says your bump needs all the attention? From fall photos to date night, this simple stunner lets your decolletage take center stage.

    $49

    PinkBlush Mock Neck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    PinkBlush Mockneck Exposed Seam Maternity Sweater

    With the drop shoulder, side slit and exposed seams this relaxed sweater will be your go-to all season long.

    $51

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater 

    Seraphine Textured Knit Cape Maternity Sweater

    Every mama needs a cozy turtleneck in her closet. This roll neck style with its curved hemline and ribbed knit detailing keeps the chill out while looking chic.

    $89

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Tupelo Honey Carolyn Cropped Pullover

    Show off that adorable bump with this 80's-esque cropped piece. We love it with a tank and leggings, but it's perfect with jeans too.

    $69

    Hatch The Riley Sweater

    hatch-the-riley-sweater

    If you've got room to splurge, Hatch makes some of the most versatile and quality maternity clothes out there. The Riley sweater is no exception. With its seriously sophisticated camel hue and snuggly merino wool knit it will last well beyond the bump days.

    $298

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Ingrid + Isabel Rip Jade Crop Nursing Sweater

    Designed for the early stages of pregnancy and nursing, Ingrid + Isabel's Rip Jade Crop features zippers on the side for easy access and a sweet dusty rose hue we love.

    $94

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Bump Biddy Isabel Turtleneck Knit Poncho

    Fuzzy and fabulous, this poncho style sweater is sure to get you all the compliments.

    $72

    Seraphine Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    Grey Cotton & Cashmere Waterfall Maternity Cardigan

    If you ever wished you could wrap yourself up in a blanket but still look tres chic, this one's for you. Wear it buttoned for a more polished cowl neck look or hanging loose, cardigan style.

    $109

    H & M Mama Fine Knit Vest

    h-ana-m-mama-fine-knit-vest

    This wrap-style cap-sleeve knit is chic enough for going out but cozy enough for staying in.

    $34.99


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    Manager's viral post about flexible working hours is making moms feel seen

    Because life happens whether you're on the clock or not.

    LinkedIn

    If there's one thing we've all learned during these past 18 months, it's that we're capable of being a lot more flexible than we probably ever thought we could be. Because, well, we've had to be. Primarily when it comes to work.

    We've all learned the importance of being a little more understanding, and one manager is hitting the nail on the head about being flexible at work in a LinkedIn post that has gone viral. And it's resonating with working moms, big time.


    Raise your hand if you're a woman and you've found yourself apologizing to your colleagues and supervisors about having to duck out of work or call off because your kids are sick. How about going into immense detail to "justify" why you need to take time off for your family? Yep, I see you've all got your hands raised!

    Though employees, women in particular, have basically been conditioned to do these things, this LinkedIn post basically gives us the validation that it's OK to not be a machine—because life happens.

    Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about flexible working hours from a manager's perspective and it quickly went viral. Why? Well, it's a must-read. So go ahead and dive in.

    "I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection," she writes. "I DO NOT care that you'll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor's appointment."

    Since we're all in for an anxiety-ridden school year when it comes to sicknesses—even the common cold ignites panic in most of us now—this line is especially validating to read.

    "I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don't have reliable transportation for your son," she continues. "I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school."

    Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking vacation time and prioritizing your mental health, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. And happy employees stick around—because they want to.

    She concludes her post by reinforcing the idea that, as a boss, she cares about the things that are happening in the lives of her employees. And that as long as your work is done and done well, it shouldn't matter how or when you do it. Especially now, amid an ongoing pandemic that impacts our lives in ways both big and small every single day.

    Life happens. Flexibility is a valuable currency—at home and at work.

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