What’s safe and what’s not this summer for families? Experts weigh in

Are playdates safe? What about the beach? Here's what experts say.

coronavirus what's safe this summer

Across the country, parents must rely on a patchwork of public health guidelines and local regulations to help guide decisions about everything from childcare to summer camp to play dates.

The question that's causing major decision fatigue for mamas right now: What's safe for my family to do this summer?

With 30 states now showing increasing rates of infection, there's a lot of gray area in how individuals choose to interpret what's "safe" right now—in fact, you could argue that the gray area is roughly the size of the entire country. Are socially distanced play dates okay? What about a picnic in the park with friends—masks on? Can we get sick if we take the kids to the beach?

Here's what the experts say about what summer activities are safest during the pandemic, and how to evaluate what's safe for your family.


First and foremost, know that you are the ultimate decision-maker for your family—and it’s okay if you don’t feel ready to take risks right now.

In the absence of clear national health guidelines for the weirdest summer in decades, it's up to individuals to decide what feels right and safe for them. If your family includes even a single immunocompromised or older individual, your tolerance for risk is probably going to remain low—or close to zero. Likewise, if you are pregnant or the parent of a newborn infant, you are probably going to want to remain cautious about what "reopening" means for you.

On the other hand, if you live in an area where cases are low and declining, hospitalizations are low and declining, the public health system is stable and social distancing is taken seriously—and no one in your family belongs to an at-risk group—you might decide that getting together with friends and family is a risk you are willing to take (with reasonable precautions for yourself and others) for the sake of your mental health and your children.

If this is the case, you're taking the position that's right for you. If you decide you're not ready, then that's what's right for your family. You know your family's particular situation best.

How to evaluate (and minimize) potential risks

Experts agree, there's no such thing as a zero-risk summer activity this year when it comes to coronavirus transmission. That said, the number one rule to live by (and make decisions by) right now, according to public health experts, is to keep track of overall trends in testing and positive cases where you live. If you live in in area where the rate of infection is rising, your tolerance for risk should be going down accordingly.

Epidemiologists identify the risk factors for coronavirus transmission in terms of "time, space, people, place."

The ideal combination for lowering risk is a short amount of time, with more space between fewer people in a larger place. So, a day at an uncrowded beach on a blanket 6 feet from other people is lower risk than a birthday party indoors with a group of families.

As Dr. Emily Landon, a hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, puts it for ProPublica, "Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space."

As author and economist Emily Oster notes in her helpful guide to making tough decisions during the pandemic, "No decision is guaranteed to stop anyone from getting sick, and no decision will doom you...We have to accept some uncertainty to move forward."

With that in mind, here's a guide to specific activities and how experts evaluate them right now.

Is going to the beach or pool safe?

Risk level: Lower

Assuming 6 feet of social distancing between everybody's towels, the beach or pool is a relatively safe bet for a summer activity. Why? Wind, sunshine and heat all tend to dilute the virus, according to scientists interviewed in the New York Times, and the virus is also unlikely to spread through the water, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

"The sheer volume of water will dilute out the virus, making the water a highly unlikely source of infection," Dr. Andrew Janowski, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Washington University in St. Louis, told ProPublica.

You can keep this activity low-risk by maintaining distance between yourself and others, going to the beach or pool for a limited period of time during off-peak hours (think about a morning at the lake, rather than an all-day hang) and by packing your own lunch, drinks and snacks. If you do need to use a public restroom or changing area, wear a mask and wash your hands well, especially after touching shared surfaces.

Is going camping safe?

Risk level: Lower

Camping is one of the great joys of summer—for some families, anyway—and it's relatively low risk in terms of coronavirus transmission. So if campgrounds have reopened in your area (check your state's Department of Natural Resources website for the latest status) and if sleeping outdoors and cooking meals over a campfire are your idea of summer fun, get out the tent.

Camping at an uncrowded campground with only your family members is the lowest-risk version of this activity. Adding other variables to the mix such as camping with another family or using busy common restrooms and facilities will layer on some additional risk of exposure.

Is renting a vacation house with another family safe? 

Risk level: Low

This is one that comes with a lot of conditions, unfortunately, but if both families have been limiting their exposure and observing stay-at-home restrictions, and can agree on certain safety considerations without damaging a valuable relationship, vacationing with another family could be an attractive alternative to climbing the walls at home.

In the best-case scenario, according to experts, both families have been quarantining and limiting their exposure to others, both families agree in advance about what constitutes safety precautions before and during the trip—and, crucially, both families keep to themselves and limit exposure beyond their "bubble" while they are vacationing together.

Choosing a vacation home in an area with low local transmission is key, too. "In vacation areas that have high community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or in areas that will get a lot of visitor foot traffic from different areas, the risk of viral transmission could be significant and could lead to new viral hot spots in vacation towns," Jill Weatherhead, MD, an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine tells Health magazine.

Is a backyard gathering with another family safe?

Risk level: Low to medium

An outdoor gathering with one other conscientious family—with everybody wearing masks and keeping 6 feet apart—would meet the "time, space, people, place" criteria for a lower-risk activity right now, according to experts.

If food or drink is involved, make sure it's a BYOB potluck with no shared utensils. But since eating and drinking involve lowering masks (and vigilance, especially after a beer or two) consider getting together for some kind of shared activity like a lawn game, instead of a meal.

Is an outdoor playdate with another family safe?

Risk level: Low to medium

Kids at playdates don't observe social distancing rules—it's just not in their natures. But if your child's best friend comes from another family who has been reducing their exposure and closely observing social distancing, getting together for an hour-long outdoor playdate could fall under a similar level of risk as a backyard BYO gathering with another family. Making sure that kids don't touch their faces and minimizing physical contact (play soccer or no-touch hide-and-seek, rather than sharing Legos) helps reduce risk. Be sure to wash those hands, and keep in mind the "time, space, people, place" criteria for keeping the risk as low as possible.

It's worth noting that the official take on playdates still hasn't changed since the outset of the pandemic. CDC guidelines state pretty plainly that playdates are not recommended: "If children meet in groups, it can put everyone at risk. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household."

The upshot on playdates right now: You alone can decide for your family whether the risks are worth the benefits.

Is staying at a hotel while traveling safe?

Risk level: Medium

Hotels are, by definition, full of other people you don't know (who come from all over the place) staying indoors for lengthy periods of time, so they definitely don't meet the optimal "time, space, people, place" criteria for lowering the risk of transmission.

That said if your family strictly limits time spent in public areas like the lobby, elevators, restaurant or an indoor pool, that can reduce your risk. Wearing masks and maintaining distance outside your room are also must-dos.

Send one person from the family to the lobby to check-in, ride the elevator with as few other people as possible (in some hotels, lobby waits may be long as elevators are restricted to one family unit per ride), wash hands as soon as you enter your room or touch any high-contact surfaces, wipe down high-touch surfaces in your room with disinfectant and ask that housekeeping be suspended during your stay in order to minimize the number of people entering your room.

Experts also suggest that if you must stay in a hotel right now, choose one that is transparent about its cleaning and distancing practices. "Stay at a reputable place that discloses their cleaning tactics," Dr. Neha Vyas, MD, a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic tells Health.

Is sleepaway camp or day camp safe?

Risk level: Medium

Detailed recommendations for camps and childcare programs released in late May by the CDC suggest that summer camp will look different this year than in years past—and in some parts of the country, including Minnesota, Kansas, and other states, sleepaway camps will not operate this summer at all.

Sleepaway camp directors who have committed to reopening are taking the responsibility seriously, with practices like quarantining counselors and campers for two weeks before and after arrival, daily temperature checks for campers and staffers, rearranging bunks and mess halls to improve physical spacing, dividing kids into small cohorts and minimizing exposure to environments outside of camp. Some camps have even proposed opening up for families to attend together as a kind of isolation vacation.

At summer day camps, where large numbers of children gather daily and then disperse to their homes, that kind of isolation isn't possible. But choosing a camp that meets outdoors and strictly follows recommendations for testing, cleaning supplies, community distancing, "cohorting" campers and maintaining hygiene may reduce risk.

Camp will be a lifeline for many parents who need to work this summer—and a welcome break from nonstop screen time for kids. But it's impossible for any summer camp to guarantee that no camper or staffer will get sick.

Is childcare safe?

Risk level: Medium

Childcare providers are facing an unprecedented crisis, and parents are desperate for a safe childcare solution that will enable them to work.

By definition, childcare is an environment where children and adults from all over the neighborhood gather together for hours at a time, and are often indoors by necessity. Plus, as we all know, little kids are just not great about maintaining social distance. So much for "time, space, people, place." It's easy to see why viruses found an easy foothold in daycares and schools, long before the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC's guidelines for safely reopening childcare facilities, which are very similar to the guidelines for camps and schools, suggest daily temperature checks along with frequent cleaning, separating children's belongings, dividing children into small cohorts, lowering capacity and making sure staffers wear masks, among other recommendations. Following these guidelines will likely be a strain for many providers, but look for a childcare provider that is doing everything they can to minimize exposure.

As experts point out, keeping kids safe and healthy while in daycare will depend on more than just childcare providers following strict guidelines—parents will also need to participate actively in keeping their childcare facility safe, by communicating with their provider, maintaining healthy best practices at home and most importantly, by keeping kids home if anyone in the family is sick or exposed to the virus. "This is where participation of everyone within the community is required," Weatherhead notes.

Child Care Aware of America, a national resource and advocacy organization for childcare providers, is maintaining a state-by-state list of local regulations for childcare providers, as well as updates on where childcare facilities are allowed to open and where they're not.

The Hunt Institute, a nonprofit education policy research organization, also maintains a detailed list of childcare closings, reopenings and regulations by state. Guidelines and regulations for childcare providers reopening this summer will vary from state to state, so be sure to understand what's considered "safe" where you live.

The upshot: Whether it's safe to send your child to daycare in your area will depend greatly on local transmission levels, and on how closely your childcare community can adhere to the guidelines that help minimize risk. You alone can decide for your family whether the risks are worth the benefits.

Are amusement parks safe?

Risk level: Medium

Again, keeping in mind the "time, space, people, place" theory of reducing the risk of virus transmission, theme parks are a bit of a mixed bag. They're huge and mostly outside, but on the other hand, they're crowded full of people you don't know, and if you can find a way to ride a roller coaster without physically touching it you probably don't need to go to Hogwarts.

In areas where virus transmission levels are currently high, such as Florida and California, amusement parks may not be reopening any time soon. Where amusement parks are allowed to open, expect regulations and rules that aim to reduce risk as much as possible, from frequent deep-cleanings to requiring masks.

If you are lucky enough to snag a ticket to a reopened amusement park this summer, there are ways you can reduce your own risk of exposure as well. Bring your own hand sanitizer, wipes, drinks and food, touch as little as you can, go indoors as infrequently as you can and finally, try to go during less-busy times if possible—and for shorter periods of time. It may not be the epic family fun trip you envisioned, but a little bit of magic these days goes a long way.

[This was originally published May 29, 2020. It has been updated.]

<p> Siobhan Adcock is the Experts Editor at Motherly and the author of two novels about motherhood, <a href="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="https://www.siobhanadcock.com/the-barter" target="_blank">The Barter</a>. Her writing has also appeared in Romper, Bustle, Ms., McSweeney's, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. </p>
Cars.com

This article is sponsored by cars.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Even before you became a parent, buying a new car could be a complicated process. Throw in a car seat or two and a dash of anxiety over safety, and suddenly it can feel like a monumental task. In fact, according to a national Cars.com survey, for two-thirds of parents car seats play a significant role in the selection of their car.

Fortunately, when it comes to the right car for a family, Cars.com has done the heavy lifting for you. (Literally!) In their 2021 Car Seat Fit Report Card, their certified child passenger safety technicians compiled Car Seat Check scores for 51 vehicles to determine which provide the safest fit for the most car seats. "Cars are an investment and parents or parents-to-be will want to find a car that can grow with their family, but that doesn't mean you need to jump into a minivan before your first child arrives," says Jenni Newman, Editor-in-Chief at Cars.com.

We sat down with Newman to discuss the Report Card's findings and get her tips to help you make the best decision for your family's ride.

Motherly: What are the top considerations parents or parents-to-be should look for when choosing a car that will provide the safest fit for a car seat?

Jenni Newman: Here are a few things to consider when shopping for your next car: Is there enough space? Look for vehicles with roomier backseats, and think about the number of kids in car seats you could have at one time. Nearly half of parents' decide to buy a new car because they need to fit three in a bigger car. Remember, kids can stay in some level of car seat until they're 4 feet, 9 inches tall—for some kids, that could be when they're 12 years old. Not to mention, you will need enough room for your stroller, grocery bags, equipment for kids' activities and any other items parents and caregivers tote around.

[You also want to ] consider how easy it is to find and use the lower Latch anchors, which are located in the outer rear seats between the back and bottom cushions. A good Latch system makes car-seat installation easier, and since you'll be using car seats for many years, anything that makes life more convenient is a big win.

Finally, how does it feel? Once you've done your research online and have narrowed down your search, get to your local dealership for some hands-on experience. Test out the roominess, ask about kid-friendly features, bring your car seat and try to install it in the cars you're interested in. Dealers are happy to work with you and help you test all the cars and features that matter to you.

Motherly: What are the top cars that accommodate a car seat and why?

JN: The following cars aced our car seat fit tests thanks to their easy-to-find Latch anchors and spacious rear seats. The top cars are:

  • 2021 Audi SQ8: A two-row SUV with a twin-turbo V-8 that puts the fun into the most mundane errands.
  • 2021 Genesis GV80: This luxury SUV can be had with two or three rows — we tested a two-row version. The refined interior might have parents thinking twice about putting kids in the backseat, but don't worry, leather seats are easy to clean.
  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: The redesigned compact SUV now comes in a hybrid version that sips gasoline, meaning you can take those family road trips without fueling up as frequently.
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra: This compact car is small but mighty when it comes to family duty, thanks to its roomy backseat.

cars.com

Motherly: Which cars are best for families with 2 or more car seats?

JN: Whether it's a sedan, SUV, pickup truck or minivan, most vehicles can handle two car seats as long as there's enough rear legroom to accommodate a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat.

Three car seats make life more interesting. Not many cars can fit three car seats across the rear seat, but in our car seat installations, we test each car to see if it can accommodate all three of our car seats across the backseat—an infant seat, convertible seat and booster seat—and publish the results. The Volkswagen Atlas, a three-row SUV and the Cars.com 2021 Family Car of the Year, features a roomy second row that easily manages three car seats across it, and its third row is spacious enough to handle car seats or even adults.

Motherly: What are the best ways for parents to confirm that their car seat has been installed correctly?

JN: There are some simple steps that parents can take when installing a car seat. First, they should read the car seat owner's manual as well as their car's manual to make sure the installation is starting off correctly. The manuals may have guidance on whether a car seat can be installed in the middle rear seat, for example.

When installing the car seat, parents should use either the car's Latch anchors or a seat belt, but not both at the same time. Using the Latch system tends to be a little easier for most parents, but if you cannot find your car's lower Latch anchors, then using a seat belt for installation is perfectly acceptable. With a seat belt installation, make sure the seat belt's retractor is in the locked position to keep the car seat securely in place. Your car's owner's manual will walk you through how to lock the retractor.

Check your car seat install by grabbing the car seat near the belt path and giving it a tug. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, tighten the Latch strap to better secure the car seat. It's important to do this test at the belt path because if you test an infant seat, for example, at the top of the car seat, where the baby's head is, it'll seem like there's too much movement, but if you test at the belt path, you'll get a better sense of installation's snugness.

cars.com

Motherly: Aside from car seat fit and safety, what are some other features or technology that parents or parents-to-be should consider when shopping for their next family car?

JN: Automakers are loading cars with tons of family-friendly features. One of my favorites is the in-vehicle vacuum in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. I'd love one of those in my own car - and it would have been amazing to have when my kids were toddlers.

Speaking of minivans, the Pacifica, Odyssey and the all-new Kia Carnival minivan offer an in-cabin camera system that allows parents to monitor any shenanigans in the second and third rows. The camera in the Carnival, which was named Cars.com's Best Minivan of 2021, has impressive resolution, zoom functionality and even night vision.

Automakers are also working to combat child in-car heatstroke with a commitment to add rear-seat reminders to their vehicles by no later than the 2025 model year. GM and Nissan, for example, have systems that use an alert to remind the driver to check the backseat if the rear doors were opened at the start of a car trip. Hyundai offers its Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert system, which uses sensors to monitor the backseat for movement. It alerts the driver if it senses any movement.

Whether you need a car to accommodate one child or a brood, the new Cars.com report could be the first step to getting your family on the road safely. And when in doubt about your car seat's fit, remember, you have options. "Installing car seats can be frustrating. I've been doing it as a certified child passenger safety technician for more than 10 years and have two teenage boys and there are still times when I struggle," Newman says. "Cars.com has hundreds of Car Seat Checks that can be a useful resource for parents who are installing car seats into a new or older model car. Parents should ask for help when they need it, and can find certified technicians at their local police department, fire department or hospital."

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10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

One of the greatest joys of parenting is getting to introduce your baby to the great, big world. Even from a young age, travel can open our eyes to new environments, teach resilience and adaptability and create a meaningful bond between family members.

The problem? The logistics of traveling with a baby can be, well, challenging. For too long, one of the biggest obstacles standing between parents and their traveling plans has been the hassle of managing an infant car seat on our journey.

The new Nuna PIPA lite rx is changing all that. The Nuna PIPA lite rx is an infant car seat made for everyday life and more enjoyable adventures. With a combination of features that make travel easier, you can skip the question of "how" to go with your baby and move onto asking "where" to go.

From trips around the corner to trips across the country, the new Nuna PIPA lite rx car seat solves so many pain points of traveling with a baby. Here's why you'll love it...

It is amazingly light-weight

We're all for a good workout—just not every time we need to carry the car seat. Weighing in at just 6.9 lbs., the PIPA lite rx truly earns the title of lightweight champion. Combined with a luxe leatherette handle for comfortably carrying in your hand or the crook of your arm, this dreamy travel car seat is great at getting from Point A to Point B—whether you're in the car or not.

It is incredibly safe and secure from day one

With an additional GOTS™ certified infant insert and harness covers, 7-position height-adjustable no-rethread headrest, Aeroflex™ foam and side-impact protection, you can travel with the confidence that your baby is well-protected from your baby's first ride and beyond. And because any parent knows the trickiest part of travel is getting baby in and out of the car seat, the PIPA lite rx simplifies the task: The 5-point no-rethread harness can be held to the side with magnetic buckle holders while you're getting your baby in or out of the seat. (Meaning no more searching for straps under a wiggly baby!)

Your baby will be cozy for longer excursions

When it comes to keeping your little travel companion content, comfort is the name of the game. With foam cushions and a memory foam headrest, your little explorer will have the best seat in the car when buckled in. For a little extra privacy, pull down the breathable Dream Drape and quietly attach it to the side of the car seat with magnets. Or, enjoy some time in the sun without concerns about harsh rays with the full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

Base or belt... the decision is yours

The Nuna PIPA lite rx offers two ways to secure the seat to the car: with the (included) PIPA RELX base or by buckling in through the belt path on the infant car seat with the vehicle's seat belt, meaning one less thing to take along when you travel by taxi or airplane. Better yet, the car seat securely installs in just seconds so you can get on with the adventure.

Stroll on with the full travel system

Compatible with Nuna's extensive line of strollers, the Nuna PIPA lite rx lets you create a travel system that works for your lifestyle. From single strollers to rides that can grow with your family, you can click the Nuna PIPA lite rx into place and go—wherever your travels might take you.

The Nuna PIPA lite rx is available now in two color options. Take a closer look at this fully featured infant seat on nunababy.com.

This article is sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
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15 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.


Stomp Racers

As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

$19.99

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

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

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

B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

$17.95

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

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

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Talli Baby: One-touch logging for feedings, diaper changes, sleep & more

Founder Lauren Longo is no stranger to the overwhelm and cry-face-down-in-the-nursery-carpet levels of stress new parenthood can impart. In fact, it was that exact experience that inspired her to create the Talli Baby–a simple (but sophisticated) way to track all your little one's information from diaper changes to feedings without adding complicated steps to an already full plate. Simply mount the tracker to your nursery wall or changing table and with the touch of a button, record all the important events of the day with the Talli Baby app. Everything can be easily shared with pediatricians and other caregivers, making it easy to keep tabs on changes and patterns. And it's not just for babies! The platform is flexible enough to be used for all kinds of caregiving–special needs kiddos, aging parents or even those who are trying to diagnose or manage a chronic condition will find it to be an invaluable tool.

Versine: Luxe, evidence-based skincare made with pregnancy in mind

From the gorgeous packaging to the divine formulas, it's not hard to fall in love with Versine. Launched by a mom who struggled to find clear guidance on what exactly was considered safe when it came to caring for her skin while pregnant, the curated brand offers just two multi-tasking products that address common pregnancy and nursing-related skin issues without a drop of worry about the ingredients. Each of the pH-balanced serums are free from no-no's like retinols and hydroquinone and irritants like essentials oils and salicylic acid among others. It's skincare, simplified.

Beluga Baby: Breathable bamboo baby wraps

Canadian-based Beluga Baby was born of one mama's quest to find a stretchy wrap that would calm her fussy five-month-old. Unsatisfied with the options available, she curated a consciously-designed bamboo blend fabric to make her own. The result? A super-breathable, supportive and ultra-stretchy sustainable baby wrap that's become a new-parent must-have all around the world. The one-size design means it can be shared between caregivers of various sizes but the variety of colors and patterns make it a serious challenge to choose just one. Beluga Baby's wraps are ASTM safety certified, designated Hip Healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, and the brand is an active member of the Babywearing Industry Alliance.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:




Talli Baby Tracker

talli-baby-tracker

It's quick and easy for those late-night wake-ups and feedings, and it's simple and intuitive for grandparents, nannies and other caregivers. Check in from the app anytime, anywhere to see all your baby's data in real-time, no matter how it was logged or who logged it. It also integrates with Alexa (if you have the Echo) and runs on AA batteries, so no ugly cord to contend with! Price is for one device. (You can buy as a set of two for a discount!)

$99.98

Versine Gentle Actives Clarity Crème-Serum

Versine Gentle Actives Clarity Cr\u00e8me-Serum


Versine's original worry-free, pH-balanced serum, Gentle Actives Clarity crème-serum is packed with Kakadu Plum Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Squalane to brighten and define, giving you a smooth and healthy glow. Formulated to be effective and safe for pregnancy, you'll also love its ultra-light cream texture. Truly the perfect marriage between the most delicate of lotions and a traditional serum.

$80

Versine Gentle Actives Clarity Crème-Serum + Azelaic Acid

Versine Gentle Actives Clarity Cr\u00e8me-Serum + Azelaic Acid

Target pregnancy (and everyday) breakouts and dark spots with this gentle but potent azelaic acid serum. This pH-balanced serum is formulated much like Versine's original Gentle Actives Clarity Crème-Serum, but with the added power of azelaic acid to help calm oily and inflamed skin. Still worry-free, hydrating, and glow-enhancing, but with an added superstar to smooth acne and blemishes. Its lightweight, fast-absorbing texture is also sure to pamper and help you get your glow on, mama.

$80

Beluga Baby

beluga-baby-wrap

Suitable for babies from newborn to 25 pounds, Beluga Baby wraps soothe gas and colic, comfort your baby, promote bonding, and according to some research can even reduce crying by over 40% in the first year. Worth its weight in gold, we say.

$69.95

Baby Beluga Mini Beluga

Baby Beluga Mini Beluga

Perfect for twinning with mama or you, know, carting the cat around, (I hear they love that) we seriously can't get enough of the adorable Mini Beluga carriers. Take their favorite doll or stuffie on a walk around the block and expect to be stopped with a chorus of "awwww's" everywhere you go.

$19.95

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Dear child: I'll hold you tight, but I'll hold your mother tighter

Your mother is the reason I hold you today.

For nine months, your mother was all you knew.

Before I held you in my arms, your mother held you and never let you go.

Before I sacrificed time for you, your mother gladly sacrificed her body.

Before I consoled you when you were upset, your mother consoled you with just the beat of her heart.

Before I comforted you when you were restless, your mother comforted you with just the sound of her voice.

Before I could do anything for you, your mother gave everything for you.

Your mother is the reason I hold you today.

Before you were even a twinkle in my eye, you were in your mother's heart. Your life, your safety, and your very existence depended on her. Something I'll never be able to repay.

It will take a long time for you to understand the weight, the depth and the immeasurability of your mother's love for you. But someday, when you have children of your own, you will understand what I now see so clearly.

So, I'll hold you tight. But I'll hold your mother tighter because my love for you grows the more I understand the measure of a mother's love.


This essay was previously published here.
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