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How to find the best sales on Black Friday + Cyber Monday

The biggest shopping weekend of the year is almost here and while it is super exciting, it can also be really overwhelming.

Supposed deals are everywhere right now, but all Black Friday deals are not created equal. Luckily, savvy shoppers have many tools to compare sales and track down the truly slashed prices.

Here are five ways to make sure you're getting the best Black Friday + Cyber Monday deals.

1. Arm yourself with apps before heading out

Even if you plan to do your Black Friday shopping the old-fashioned way (in the stores, Starbucks cup in hand) adding an online component to your shopping game plan can ensure you hit the shops strategically, knowing which items you want and which stores have the best prices on them.

Apps like TGIblackfriday and Flipp let you check out store flyers on your phone, and compare prices so you can be sure you're getting the best discount on the items on your list.

2. Make a list

A little pre-planning on these apps can help you get the best deal and avoid Black Friday impulse buys that are displayed as a sale item but aren't actually meaningfully discounted.

As NBC News reports, experts suggest making two lists before heading the stores—one of items you want for yourself and another list of items you want to give as gifts. Having a list can really help you stick to your Black Friday budget by keeping random "deals" out of your cart.

3. Get your browser prepped

If the majority of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is going to be online, you should plan to use your computer, not your phone, because browser extensions can be a good secret weapon.

The PriceWaiter extension for Chrome allows users to haggle with retailers over select prices, so you can ask for a steeper discount than listed. The Coupons at Checkout Chrome extension will highlight discount codes so you don't miss out and the Price Rocket extension for Chrome provides automatic price comparisons and alerts for lower prices.

Other shopping extensions like EBates, Honey and Wikibuy can also come in handy.

4. Know which day to do your shopping

As CNBC reports, Black Friday isn't the best day for every deal. If you're looking for a new TV for example, Cyber Monday may be a better bet, and experts say a lot of the big Black Friday deals actually go live on Thanksgiving day, meaning Thursday may have more deals than Friday (if you're up for shopping after all that turkey). Target, Macy's and Best Buy are all among the retailers opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

5. Let Motherly find the deals for you

With so many retailers offering so many deals, it can be overwhelming to navigate this shopping season. Motherly will be curating deals and discounts during our Black Friday coverage, so check back with us while you do your shopping.

Happy bargain hunting!

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're 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 toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

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Detective set

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

With so many toys out there, it can be hard to find intentional gifts for our children that are both fun and meaningful. Using a Montessori approach to your shopping doesn't mean your choices need to be academic. There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

Montessori toys are usually made from natural materials, non-electronic and foster independent play, creativity and concentration. Montessori materials are simple and somewhat minimalist in general, and this is especially true for infants and young toddlers. The world is so stimulating for these little ones already, that simple toys made of natural materials spark the child's curiosity without being overwhelming.

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A love letter from your baby.

Mama,

I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

All I see is you.

When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

You are my everything.

When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

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