30 popular boy names and their meanings

These popular boys' names have enjoyed their spots in the top 30 for several years running.

boy names
@criene / Twenty20

Baby name trends may come and go, but today's most popular baby names suggest that nothing beats a classic. Many of the popular boy names that have topped the lists in recent years have a certain throwback appeal, and find their roots in ancient Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Latin terms, such as David, Andrew and Elijah. Other popular modern boy names honor a beloved heritage, like Liam (Irish) or Anthony (Italian). And some just seem to ooze "cool guy" status, like Jackson, Logan and Dylan.

It's too soon to tell whether the coming years will see a major shift in baby name trends, but the popular boys' names below have enjoyed their spots in the top 30 for several years running.

Here are the most popular baby boy names and their meanings.


Aidan

Aidan is an Irish name meaning "fiery," derived from the name of the Celtic god of the sun and fire, Aodh.

According to baby name trend tracking site Nameberry, Aidan and its related spelling Aiden have enjoyed a recent resurgence of popularity in the past decade that inspired many "sound-alike" names such as Caden, Jayden and Braden. It's a cool gender-neutral name for girls, too.

Alexander

Alexander is a name of Greek origin meaning "defender." Famous Alexanders in history include Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, inventor and scientist Alexander Graham Bell and of course the ancient conqueror Alexander the Great.

According to Nameberry, Alexander has been among the top 25 most popular boys' names since the 1990s, with numerous "spinoff" names and nicknames such as Xander, Sasha and Alex.

Andrew

Andrew is boy's name derived from the Greek aner, meaning "man." Andrew means "strong, manly," and is the name of one of the first apostles in the New Testament, as well as two American presidents (Jackson and Johnson) and the patron saints of Russia, Greece and Scotland.

Andrew is one of those names that has been popular for decades, although Nameberry notes that it slipped out of the top 20 boys' names in 2013. Drew and Andy are two likeable nicknames for Andrew, and variations on Andrew from around the world include Anders, Andre, Andreas and Andrei.

Anthony

Anthony is a Latin name meaning "priceless." Originally a family name from ancient Rome, "Antonii" evolved into the given names Anthony and Antony in the 17th century, according to Nameberry, and is the name of the patron saint of Italy and the poor.

While Anthony's popularity peaked in the 1980s, it still ranks in the top 30 for boys names.

Benjamin

Benjamin is a Biblical boys' name derived from the Hebrew for "son of the right hand." Benjamin was a founder of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, and in more recent times famous Benjamins have been inventors (Franklin), composers (Britten) and even Jedi (Solo, Kenobi).

Gentle and a bit old-fashioned, Benjamin has been in the top 10 for boys' names since 2015. The nickname Ben is a friendly shortened version with vintage appeal, while Benji has a playful feel.

Christopher

Christopher is a Biblical name of ancient Greek origin meaning "bearer of Christ." The name Christopher has been borne by saints, actors (Plummer and Eccleston, to name two), explorers (Columbus), architects (Wren) and authors (Colfer and Hitchens), but the best-loved Christopher of them all might be Christopher Robin, of Winnie the Pooh.

Chris is, of course, a popular nickname, but as Nameberry reports, some appealing and lesser-known variations are on the rise, including Topher, Kit and Kip.

Daniel

The Biblical name Daniel is taken from the Hebrew for "God is my judge," and is associated with the faithful Daniel of the Old Testament book of the same name. It has been among the most popular boys' names since the 1970s, and according to Nameberry, over 10,000 baby boys are given the name Daniel every year.

Daniel is traditionally a popular boy name among Irish families, thanks to the classic Irish ballad "Danny Boy" and the similar-sounding Gaelic name Donal or Domhnall.

David

David is a boys' name of Hebrew origin meaning "beloved." The Biblical David is the famous one who slew the giant Goliath with his slingshot, making David the namesake of triumphant underdogs everywhere. That same David is also the poet and champion of the arts who inspired the famous Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo. Quite a heritage to live up to!

With its artistic and religious pedigree combined with its classic appeal, David has ranked among the most popular boys' names for decades, coming in second only to Daniel in boys' names that begin with D, according to Nameberry.

Dylan

A gender-neutral name that has skyrocketed to popularity in recent decades, Dylan is a Welsh name that means "son of the sea." Most Americans associate the name Dylan with the Nobel-prize-winning musician Bob Dylan, but perhaps fewer know that Bob Dylan adopted his performing name from the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," among others.

Elijah

Elijah is a Biblical name of Hebrew origin meaning "the Lord is my God." In the Old Testament, Elijah was the prophet who confronted the controversial queen Jezebel and king Ahab of Israel, and who was later carried up to Heaven in a chariot of fire.

Classic and musical-sounding, Elijah is also an especially popular name among celebrity kids: Bono, Cher and a surprisingly long list of other notables have given their sons the name Elijah. Elijah is also gaining ground as a name for baby girls.

Ethan

Ethan is an ancient Hebrew name meaning "enduring." Its popularity in recent decades may have been kickstarted by the Tom Cruise character in the Mission: Impossible series, by 90s indie dreamboat Ethan Hawke—or maybe just by the name Ethan's classic-yet-cheerful feel.

According to the baby name popularity tracking website Nameberry, Ethan peaked at #3 for boys names in 2012, but is still holding strong in the top 30.

Gabriel

Gabriel is a name of Hebrew origin meaning "God is my strength," combining gever, meaning "strong," and 'el, God. In the religious traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the archangel Gabriel offers counsel, reveals the meaning of dreams and visions and provides a line of communication between humanity and the divine. Gabriel is also known as the herald of the birth of Christ.

Noble and musical, Gabriel is a popular name choice for January babies and sons born on a Monday, since as reported by Nameberry, Gabriel is associated with both Januarys and Mondays—appropriate for a figure so strongly connected with new beginnings.

Henry

Henry is a Germanic name meaning "ruler of the home," derived from "heim," meaning home, and "rich" meaning rule. A long line of British monarchs named Henry dates from all the way back in the tenth century to the modern Prince Henry, a.k.a. Harry. But well beyond its royal pedigree, Henry has been the earthy, accessible name of great artists, inventors and pioneers from Henry Ford to Henry James to Henry "Hank" Aaron.

Henry is also one of those names that celebrities seem to love bestowing on their sons, including Julia Roberts, Viggo Mortensen, Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rachel Weisz, Jack White, Colin Farrell, and many more.

Jackson

Jackson is an English name meaning "son of Jack," which has risen to such massive popularity in recent decades that it has surpassed both John and Jack on the Social Security Administration's annual record of top names for boys. Jackson sounds like a slightly more formal version of either Jack or John, which may help explain its durable appeal. The name has gained even more renown thanks to modern-day Jacksons like American artist Jackson Pollack, singer Jackson Browne and Jackson Wang of Korean boy band Got7.

Even more than Henry, it seems, Jackson is a favorite boy name among celebrities. Notable people who have named their sons Jackson include Spike Lee, Patti Smith and Charlize Theron.

Jacob

Jacob is a Hebrew name meaning "supplanter." In the Biblical story of Jacob and his twin brother Esau, Jacob repeatedly deceives his older twin in order to deny Esau his rights as the eldest son. But then the Old Testament describes how Jacob goes on to face numerous challenges—including wrestling with an angel—before eventually reconciling with his brother and becoming a leader of a new nation. Jacob's legacy is complex, but he's an incredibly important figure in Judaism and Christianity.

Ironically enough, Jacob's revived popularity as a boys' name in the late 1990s was inspired by another controversial Jacob, one-third of the love triangle in the Twilight series. According to Nameberry, Jacob was the number 1 boys' name in America from 1999 to 2013, when it was supplanted (see what we did there?) by Noah.

James

Classic boys' name James is the Anglo-Saxon version of the Hebrew name Jacob, meaning "supplanter." James was the most popular boys' name in America from the late 1930s into the 1940s, and it has never really gone out of style (in fact, James has evolved into a great gender-neutral name for girls in recent years). As Nameberry notes, more U.S. Presidents have been named James than any other name. Kings, apostles and fictional international super-spies have all carried the name of James, too.

While James is a name with a serious pedigree, it has some pretty friendly nicknames, including Jamie, Jim, and Jake.

Jayden

Jayden is the Americanized version of the Hebrew name Jadon, meaning "thankful." Jayden is most often considered a kind of hybrid of the names "Aiden" and "Jason," and the name started its rise to popularity in the 1990s (thanks to Britney Spears choosing "Jayden" and Will and Jada Smith using "Jaden" for their sons), eventually peaking at #4 in the early 2010s.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the popularity of Jayden has propelled a host of wildly popular sound-alike names up the Social Security Administration's top name lists—Caden, Braydon, Peyton, even Mason. But Jayden is the grandaddy of them all...or, to put it in gender-neutral terms, the grandparent, since Jayden is also a popular name for girls.

John

John is an English version of the Latin name Iohannes, meaning "God is gracious." John is the most popular boys' name of the last 400 years, and like the name James, it has never really gone out of style—even though it's less used today than ever, John still ranks consistently in the top 30 boys' names.

Timeless, classic and durable, the name John has a band of international "brothers" that are just as beloved: Sean (Irish), Juan (Spanish), Ian (Scottish), Evan or Ewan (Welsh), Giovanni (Italian) and Jean (French).

Joseph

Joseph is the Latin form of the ancient Hebrew name Yosef, meaning "may God grow." The most famous Joseph is probably the New Testament father figure and husband of the Virgin Mary, but Joseph is also the instantly recognizable, distinguished name of authors (Heller), athletes (DiMaggio), actors (Fiennes, Gordon-Levitt) and political leaders (Biden, Lieberman).

Joshua

Joshua is a name of Hebrew origin meaning "the Lord is my salvation." Gentle-sounding with just a hint of the Wild West, the Biblical name Joshua has been popular since the 1980s, reaching its highest ranking in the Social Security Administration data for baby names in the early 2000s. By 2015 Joshua had fallen out of the top 20 boys' names in the U.S., but Joshua remains one of the most well-loved names of the last 50 years.

Famous namesakes include Joshua Tree National Park and a baseball teams' worth of well-known actors (Brolin, Hutcherson, Gad, Hartnett, Radnor, Duhamel, Jackson, Charles...).

Liam

Liam is a boys' name that means "protector." An Irish variation of the English-German name William, Liam is currently the most popular boys' name in the U.S., and one of the fastest-rising names on record (it wasn't even in the top 10 until 2012, according to Nameberry).

Well-known Liams include actor Liam Neeson, musicians Liam Payne (of One Direction) and Liam Gallagher (of Oasis) and a number of Irish cultural and political figures including novelist Liam O'Flaherty.

Logan

Logan is a Scottish boys' name meaning "small hollow." Originally a Scottish family name, Logan has been growing in popularity as a first name for boys since the 1970s thanks to the sci-f- classic Logan's Run. Logan is also a cool gender-neutral name for girls.

The Marvel X-Men character Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, is a big part of the name's appeal in the U.S., along with Logans on Gilmore Girls and a number of other shows. Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God also features a character named Logan.

Lucas

Lucas is a Latin name meaning either "from Lucania" (a region in southern Italy) or "light," if Lucas is considered a variation on the name Luke. The variation Lukas is the most popular boys' name in the Netherlands, Spain and Norway.

Lucas is a big name among big-screen cowboys from Cool Hand Luke (a.k.a. Lucas Jackson) to Lucas McCain of The Rifleman, and a number of fictional characters from Ivanhoe to Stranger Things have been named Lucas as well.

Mason

Mason is a popular gender-neutral name of English origin meaning "stone worker," derived from an Old English word macian meaning "to make." It's a name for creators, hard workers and—according to pop culture—werewolves. (And Kardashians.)

Mason peaked at #2 in 2011, but its enduring popularity has boosted a number of sound-alike names such as Cason and Grayson.

Matthew

Matthew is the English form of the Hebrew name Mattiyahu, meaning "gift of God." Like Joshua and John, Matthew is a soft-yet-strong Biblical boys' name that has been popular for decades, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Name "spin-offs" from Matthew that are also popular now include Matteo, Teo and Mattias.

Matthew and Matt, much like Lucas and Luke, are old-school names that bear a hint of the Wild West thanks to gunslingers like Matt Dillon. But Matthew has a gentle feel too, thanks to its sound and namesakes like Matthew Cuthbert of the Anne of Green Gables books.

Michael

Michael is a name of Hebrew origin meaning, "Who is like God?" The rhetorical question posed by this Biblical name isn't intended to be answered of course—but it suggests the importance of humility, grace and sincerity in life. The archangel Michael, important to Jewish, Islamic and Christian traditions, leads an army of angels to victory against Satan and is the patron saint of soldiers, making Michael a popular name in military families. Michael was the #1 boys' name in America for over 50 years.

Notable Michaels in history and literature are almost too many to list, but modern Michaels have included sports legends (Jordan), designers (Kors), actors (Douglas, Fassbender) and political leaders (Pence, Bloomberg). And of course, Michael Scott of The Office, best boss ever.

Noah

The boys' name Noah is of Hebrew origin and means "peace." The Biblical story of Noah and the ark is known by children around the world, and word-lovers are grateful to American lexicographer Noah Webster for his pioneering dictionary.

Noah is one of the most popular boys' names of the last two decades and currently ranks #2, although it hasn't always been as widely-used as it is today. Along with old-fashioned Biblical names such as Elijah, Micah and Jonah, Noah has resurfaced as a gentle-sounding boys' name with a serious feel.

Oliver

Oliver is a Latin name meaning "olive tree," an ancient symbol of friendship and peace. While the name Oliver fell seriously out of fashion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it has resurfaced in a big way in the last two decades as a likeable vintage-sounding name for boys with a friendly meaning (and a wildly popular twin sister, the name Olivia).

Oliver isn't just popular in the U.S.—it's also enjoying a big surge in popularity abroad. Oliver is the #1 boy name in England, Australia and New Zealand and #2 in Scotland.


Samuel

Samuel is a name of Hebrew origin meaning "heard of God," and makes a sweet name for a much-wished-for little boy. Samuel has a serious, old-fashioned appeal while its softer, friendlier nickname Sam is both gender-neutral and easy-going. A Biblical name with a long history of popularity, Samuel has many notable namesakes, from Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) to revolutionary Sam Adams to film legend Samuel L. Jackson.

William

William is an English name meaning "resolute protector," derived from the German "wil" meaning will and "heim" meaning helmet. According to Nameberry, William is one of the most popular boys' names of the last 4 centuries, second only to John.

William has numerous royal and presidential namesakes from Prince William to William Clinton, in addition to world-shapers like William Shakespeare and William the Conqueror. William is one of the top 10 boys' names of the past decade.

Discover our favorite gifts for wee folks in the Motherly Shop!

Lulujo Hello World hat + swaddle set

Lulujo hat and swaddle set

Cozy and camera-ready, this adorable bamboo swaddle and hat set makes the perfect first photo opp.

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Mary Meyer putty elephant lovey

mary Meyer putty elephant lovey

This snuggly pal from Mary Meyer s the perfect mix of a security blanket and a toy. The elephant on top keeps baby engaged with its embroidered face while the satin backing is a sensory treat.

$19

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When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.

$159.99

Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)

$9.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.

$14.99

Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.

$29.99

Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.

$7.99

This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

1. Prep snacks on Sunday

This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

2. When in doubt, go for fruit

Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

3. Pair snacks with a dip

Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

4. Have high-protein options readily available

Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

5. Always keep the pantry stocked

Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

6. Make cracker tartines

I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

  • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
  • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

7. Pre-make smoothie pops

The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

Family Foodies

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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Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

MoMo Productions/Getty Images

If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.


The correlations between screen time and children's health

But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

"When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

A novel look at screen time in adolescents

The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

Children's health

Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

Motherhood knows no bounds.

When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.


Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

"When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

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