31 popular girl names + their beautiful meanings

From Olivia to Charlotte and beyond, here are some of the most popular girl names today and their meanings.

31 popular girl names + their beautiful meanings

When baby name trend trackers write about the top names of the twenty-first century, their job gets pretty easy when it comes to the top girl names. The list of popular girl names has remained surprisingly stable in the past two decades.

No dark horses, no surprises—just tried and true classic girl names like Amelia and Charlotte vying for the top alongside "newer" more modern names like Arya and Isla. So whether choosing a popular girl name tops your list of pregnancy to do's or you plan to wait until you meet your little one to choose her name, when the decision is made it will feel so right that you'll wonder how you could ever have considered anything else.

Here are some of the most popular girl names today and what they mean.


Harper

Of English origin meaning "harp player", it's hard not to think of Harper Lee when you hear this name. The "To Kill a Mockingbird" author brought this family name into the public consciousness in the 1960s. Flash forward to 2015 when it first entered the Top 10 girls name lists, and it has stayed there ever since (it didn't hurt when Victoria and David Beckham named their little girl Harper in 2011).

Avery

While seen most often as a girls' name, Avery is actually a really lovely unisex name as well. Meaning "ruler of the elves", this sprite-like name originated in the Middle Ages and is of English and French origin. While it's been floating around for the past several decades, the name has increased in popularity in recent years, as it provides a fresh alternative to uber-popular Ava.

Camila

An exotic name growing in popularity, Camila is derived from Latin, meaning "young ceremonial attendant". The Spanish Camila name is pronounced ka-MEE-la, not to be confused with the British version, Camilla, ka-MIL-la. If you are a fan of pop music, you're likely know Camila Cabello, who used her first name for her debut album. Camila also has the added bonus of a great nickname build in: Mila.

Amelia/Emilia

Amelia is a German name that means "hard working." The Germanic root of this delicate and pretty name, amal, means "work," and is suggestive of fertility and productivity. Parents inspired by the determination and adventurousness of Amelia Earhart love the name Amelia for their daughters. My daughter's name is Amelia, but we actually came about it in a funny way. My husband and I both liked the nickname "Millie" and looked for a proper name that used it as a nickname. Vetoing Millicent and Mildred, we saw Amelia was next on the list and loved it!

Charlotte

Charlotte is a French name signifying "freedom," and the feminine form of the name Charles, which means "a free man." Charlotte has been the name of queens, princesses, authors (most famously, Charlotte Bronte) and a certain beloved, wise spider from the classic E.B. White novel for young readers, Charlotte's Web.

After a lengthy period in which Charlotte was relatively underused as a girls' name, she leapt into the Top 10 in the early 2010s and is currently at #6 in popularity, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as of 2019.

Aurora

Of Latin origin meaning "dawn", Aurora was the name of the Roman goddess of sunrise. Perhaps your child will be an early riser with this name? Aurora is also associated with the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, as well as the enchanting princess from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Between a goddess, princess and gorgeous natural phenomenon, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

Violet

The name Violet's popularity has slowly risen over the years, finally cracking the top 50 list for the first time in 2015. A celebrity favorite, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck chose the name Violet for their first child. Meaning "purple" and of English origin, it's one of the prettier flower-themed names out there, and the color purple itself has been associated with royalty for centuries. While I do tend to think of Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (who wasn't the sweetest of characters), I can see why this pretty name has climbed in popularity over the years.

Olivia/Alivia

Olivia is a girls' name of Latin origin meaning "olive tree," an ancient symbol of friendship and peace. As Nameberry notes, Olivia first rose to prominence as a girls' name in the 14th century when Shakespeare used it for one of the heroines of Twelfth Night. Olivia is currently the #1 girls' name in the U.S. (according to the SSA as of 2019) and is popular in other countries as well, including parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Olivia is a strong, feminine name with sweet nicknames like Livvie and Liv, and a host of famous namesakes (actress Olivia Wilde comes to mind).

Ava

Ava is a girls' name of Latin origin that means "life." Ava is a name associated with elegance and charm, and has been chosen by a number of celebrity parents for their daughters, from Reese Witherspoon to Hugh Jackman.

Ava shot straight into the top 5 names for girls in the 2010s from relative obscurity (despite Ava Gardner, a famous actress in the 1940s and 50s) and shows no sign of slowing down—it is currently ranked as #3 girls' name and is predicted to land the #1 spot before the end of the 2020s.

Aria/Arya

The name Aria is a girl's name of Hebrew (meaning lion) and Italian (meaning air, song or melody) origin. For the musically inclined, I definitely think most of Aria's literal meaning, air, which is a musical term denoting a kind of song or melody in opera. Aria first entered the scene in 2000 and has risen steadily in popularity over the years. Game of Thrones fans will be particularly interested in the name, thanks to the young heroine Arya Stark.

Luna

The name Luna means "moon" and is of Italian origin, stemming from the Roman goddess of the moon. Luna is often depicted driving a chariot in Roman art, and is a popular name for fans of Harry Potter who may be influenced by the character, Luna Lovegood. While this may seem like a more "new age" name, Luna has actually been around since the turn of the 20th century. Often ranked number one on Nameberry internal charts, it has a solid place in the top 20 most popular girl names. So popular, in fact, that celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and Penelope Cruz and Javier Barden picked Luna for their little girls.

Isla

Of Spanish and Scottish origin, the name Isla means "island" in Spanish. This top girls name is part of a growing trend of classic, old-fashioned names and is also popular in Europe, particularly England, Wales and Scotland. You may think of the actress Isla Fisher, too? Names that end in "a" tend to be popular: Ava, Ada, Ella, Emma… the list goes on!

Hazel

The name Hazel is a girl's name of English origin meaning "the hazelnut tree". I think it's fair to say Julia Roberts helped bring this old-fashioned name back into popularity when she named one of her twins Hazel in 2004, and it has maintained a place on popularity lists ever since. Most recently, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski named one of their daughters Hazel. This botanical and nature-inspired name is really quite pretty. And while it can be found in literature periodically, the most influential Hazel of recent years is the heroine of John Green's Fault in Our Stars.

Scarlett

This may seem obvious, but the name Scarlett means "red" and is of English origin. According to Nameberry, the word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. Among them, the fanciest color was scarlet red. Scarlett is also one of the most popular girls' names starting with S, right up there with Saylor and Savannah. While some might immediately think of Scarlett O'Hara from the movie Gone With the Wind, these days actress Scarlett Johansson is top of mind.

Maeve

A popular name in Ireland and now in the United States, Maeve means "she who intoxicates". The name appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful warrior Queen of Connacht, and the other as the Queen of the fairies. According to Nameberry, Maeve "makes an excellent first or middle name choice, with more character and resonance than Mae/May and more modern charm than Mavis." You be the judge.

Nora/Norah

Another name of Irish origin tops popular names for girls list: Nora. Meaning "light", Nora has two separate origin stories, and is said to be a derivative of both Honora (based on the Latin word honor) and Eleanor (a shorter form of Eleanora).

This lovely name (another ending in "a") has only grown in popularity over the years. I think immediately of author and screenwriter Nora Ephron, and singer Norah Jones

Sophia/Sofia

Sophia is a Greek name that means "wisdom." Sophia was the #1 girls' name for much of the early 2010s, and it remains a top choice for parents wanting to give their child a name that signifies intelligence and grace on their little girls.

Sophia has a sophisticated and international appeal that gives it extra staying power (I'm thinking of Sophia Loren) with popular variants that include the French Sophie and the Italian Sofia.

Chloe

Chloe is a girls' name meaning "a young green shoot," and was the springtime name of the ancient Greek goddess of fertility Demeter. A classic name that peaked in popularity in the early 2000s, Chloe has now begun trending downward slightly in the ranks. Notable women named Chloe include the actress Chloe Grace Moretz, the Kardashian sister Khloe, and (surprise!) award-winning author Toni Morrison, who was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford.

Freya/Freja

The name Freya is a girl's name of Norse origin meaning "a noble woman" and is the name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Popular in the U.K. and growing steadily in popularity in the United States, Nameberry predicts Freya will only continue its rise. Literary types will be reminded of Joseph Conrad's novel, Freya of the Seven Isles.

Abigail 

Abigail is a girl's name of Hebrew origin meaning "my father is joyful". Often thought of as a Biblical name, in the Old Testament, Abigail was the wife of David, said to be beautiful, wise, and prophetic. In the early nineteenth century, however, Abigail became a term for a maid which led to a decline in popularity. Needless to say, Abigail has risen again thanks to a rise in vintage and old fashioned names- all the way to the top 20 popular girls' names, and quite high on the list of girls' names starting with A.

Audrey

Of English origin, the name Audrey means "noble strength" and has been around for centuries. For context, Shakespeare bestowed the name Audrey on a character in his play, As You Like It. Thanks to the radiant Audrey Hepburn, the name has stayed near the top of girls' name lists for decades and is often considered when parents are looking for girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful.

Grace 

One of the most classic names out there, Grace is of Latin origin and is derived from gratia, the Latin word for "grace." Used as a virtue name, it refers to divine grace, and the love and kindness of God. The name Grace will always be synonymous with Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. A popular name since the Victorian Era, I don't see Grace ever losing its most popular girls name stature.

But, if Grace is too overused for you, consider variations on the name that have also become more popular over the years, like Gray or Grayson.

Adelaide

Of German origin meaning "noble" or "nobility'', the name Adelaide is growing in popularity along similar names like girls' names starting with A, like Ava, Ada, Adeline and Amelia. One fun fact: the German princess who married British King William IV in 1830 was known as "Good Queen Adelaide", and inspired the name of Adelaide, Australia.

Lily/Lilly

Short for Lily flower, this fleur-themed name is as pretty as it sounds (and would probably smell great, too, if that were possible!) It's name popularity has grown steadily since as far back as the late 20th century, and now finds itself on a seemingly permanent place in the Top 25 of popular girls names. A symbol of purity, in Biblical terms, Lily means "God is abundance". These days, parents-to-be might think of singer Lily Allen or actress Lily James.

Isabella

Of Italian origin, Isabella means "God is my oath" and has been recognized in literary circles for hundreds of years, from Shakespeare to Jane Austen. A charming name that comes with the best nicknames around, like Izzy, Iz, Bella and Belle.

Vivienne/Vivien/Vivian

I'm partial to this one as this is the name of my second daughter (we spell her name Vivian). Of French origin meaning "alive", this name is a gorgeous one any way you spell it. And if you're a Pretty Woman fan, then you're really going to love it.

Eleanor

Of Greek origin meaning "bright, shining one", Eleanor is one of those classic girls names that never really diminishes in popularity, and for good reason. Beatles fans will love it because of the song "Eleanor Rigby", as well as the variation Elinor, used by Jane Austen in "Sense and Sensibility".

Ella

Another name I'm partial to, as this was my grandmother's name and is my younger daughter's middle name. Similar to Eleanor and Elizabeth, Ella really stands on her own. Of English origin meaning "fairy maiden", could you get any sweeter for a girls' name?

Mila 

Of Slavic and Russian descent, Mila means "dear one". A name that had dipped out of popularity, Mila is becoming more and more popular in the last few years (it's ranked in the top 20 of baby names in 2021, according to BabyCenter)!

Evelyn 

Interestingly, Evelyn, which means "wished for child" was originally used as a boy's name, and is of Irish and English origin. It's also another example of the rise of vintage, old-fashioned names.

Gianna

This pretty name is the feminine form of John in Italian, which means "God is gracious", and is growing in popularity. It's a shortened form of the more formal Giovanna, and in turn, Gianna can be shortened to Gia or Nina, two equally adorable names!

Check out additional baby name ideas here.

23 kid-approved lunch ideas you'll want to steal

Looking for some tried-and-true lunch time suggestions? We've got you covered, mama.

mrs/Getty Images

Whether your little one will eat anything you put in front of them or prefers to stick to their favorite foods, coming up with healthy lunch ideas for your kids every day can be stressful. We're here to help. That's why we're rounding up some fun, healthy meals for you to try. Many of these feature leftovers or options you can make without cooking anything new.

We hope you'll find some great ways to help make lunchtime fun in your house. Whether it's a new idea for a wrap or simply a snack that your child has yet to try, read on for 20+ great lunch ideas for kids.


A version of this story was published in July 2021. It has been updated.

Food

12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

Eager to get out and go? Start here

Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

Tayla™️ XP Travel System

Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.


Add to Babylist

$849.99

Iora Bedside Bassinet

Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.


Add to Babylist

$249.99

Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.


Add to Babylist

$119.99

Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.


Add to Babylist

$219.99

Coral XP Infant Car Seat

With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.


Add to Babylist

$399.99

Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.


Add to Babylist

$289.99

Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.


Add to Babylist

$329.99

Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.


Add to Babylist
$499.99

Tayla Travel System

This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.


Add to Babylist
$699.99

Modern Diaper Bag

When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.


Add to Babylist

$129.99

Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.


Add to Babylist
$299.99

Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.


Add to Babylist
$599.99

Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Boost 1

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodland Snug comforter

Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

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

$249

Braided Pom Pom Throw

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

$145

Lumbar pillow

sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

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

$65

Crystal infused sleep mask

sunday citizen sleep mask

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

$40

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

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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

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

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Willie Garson's son remembers his dad in the most beautiful way

From all the tributes that have poured in for actor Willie Garson, it seems his most important role was "Dad."

Willie Garson/Instagram

News broke Tuesday that actor Willie Garson, beloved for his roles as Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City and Mozzie on White Collar, died at the age of 57. Since then, tributes have poured in from the late actor's many co-stars through the years, and they all have one thing in common: telling the world just how much Willie Garson loved being a dad.

He met his son, Nathen Garson, at an adoption event when he was seven years old. He formally adopted him in 2009, and the rest is history. In an interview with PEOPLE magazine last year, Garson said he'd wanted to become a father for a long time.

"We had a smooth transition because we both wanted this adoption. Fatherhood is what I always wanted it to be," he said. "I wanted it so badly and he wanted it so badly. I think often it can be difficult because it's not that balanced."


Nathen paid tribute to his dad on Instagram, shortly after the news of his death was announced. His words are absolutely beautiful—and heartbreaking.

'I love you so much papa," he wrote in the caption. "Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much. I'm so proud of you."

"I will always love you, but I think it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You'll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I'm glad you can be at peace now."

Nathen referred to his father as the "toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known" alongside a series of sweet photos documenting some of their memories together.

In a 2020 interview, Garson told Medium's Authority Magazine that he knew Nathen was meant to be his child the minute he saw him: "He was like a light that was shining brightly. He was the only kid that was playing/laughing, and I knew that was my kid! Once I interacted with him, I knew we clicked, and I had to have him," he said.

In an equally emotional post about her longtime friend, Sex and the City's Kristin Davis shared that she and Garson often talked about their special bond as adoptive parents, and reflected on Garson's "fearless commitment to fatherhood."

"We spoke about being single parents through adoption often," she wrote on Instagram. "And nothing gave him more joy and pride than his son Nathen. Nathen's strength and wisdom beyond his years are evident in his beautiful tribute to his dad."

Garson had been busy all summer, shooting the SATC reboot, And Just Like That, where he reprised his role as Stanford Blatch. How lucky we are to be able to watch him light up the screen one last time.

Friends, fellow celebrities, and costars showed up in the comments of Nathen's tribute to his dad in droves, with each of them sharing how proud Garson was of his son and how much he really loved being a dad. It seems the feeling was mutual.

"I'm glad you shared your love with me," Nathen said at the end of his post dedicated to his father. "I'll never forget it or lose it ❤️."

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The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.


There is so much to learn and when it comes to car seats there is one rule many parents haven't heard of: infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time, and they should never nap in a car seat outside the vehicle.

According to multiple studies, babies are at risk for decreased oxygen levels while in car seats, especially when the car is not in motion or the trip lasts for an extended period of time. Although preterm babies or infants with respiratory conditions are most at-risk, there is good reason for all families to take proper precautions.

As Scottish mother-of-two Kirsti Clark recently told STV, she had no idea that infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time until her 3-week-old daughter, Harper, had a seizure following a car trip that went longer than expected. It was a situation not unfamiliar to many other families: The Clarks simply got stuck in traffic and then left Harper in the seat while they put their older daughter to bed.

When Harper's father then took her out of her car seat she seemed like she could not get comfortable on his lap, Metro reports. Her father tried to settle her on a play mat and that's when the baby suffered a seizure. The Clarks rushed to the hospital where she was treated and thankfully recovered. But, Clark says one of the biggest shocks to her was that these guidelines even exist.

"I've never once been told a child should not be in a car seat for any length of time," she told STV. "Nowhere in the instruction booklets or any guidance that we've seen online has there been anything mentioned about breathing difficulties."

This is why some hospitals do what's known as a "car seat challenge" with preterm babies before discharge, which allows professionals to monitor the baby's cardiorespiratory stability when they're in their car seat.

Make sure all care providers know to never use a car seat for naps 

Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children's Hospital, told WFAA News the idea that car seats can be used for naps outside the car is a pretty common misconception that needs to be cleared up.

"There's nothing about the car seat that's designed to sleep," she told WFAA News. "Of course, if the straps aren't tight, the child can kind of slump down."

Safety experts say parents should make sure everyone who looks after the baby, including daycare providers and babysitters, understands that they should not be placed in the car seat outside of the vehicle.

Lisa Smith tells WFAA News she did understand the risks associated with car seat naps and didn't let her baby daughter, Mia, nap in the car seat. Tragically, at nearly 18 months old Mia was left to nap in a car seat at her licensed home daycare, and lost her life to positional asphyxia, or restricted breathing. Now Smith, like Clark, is on a mission to educate other parents to make sure this doesn't happen to another child.

"I walk around town and see people using a car seat on the seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables," Smith says, adding that she will tell Mia's story to parents when she sees a baby napping in a car seat, letting them know kindly, "'I just want you to be really careful.'"

What parents should do

Researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society agree with Smith: The most dangerous time for a baby to be in a car seat is when they're not actually in a car. So while it may seem convenient to leave a sleeping babe in their car seat after a long trip or while you're at a restaurant, it's best to take them out right away.

The AAP recommends that when you are using the car seat as intended in the car, plan"to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours." In the case of babies younger than one month, some car seat researchers recommend avoiding unnecessarily long road trips.

"Restrict it to say, no more than half an hour or so," Professor Peter Fleming, a noted car seat researcher, told the BBC. (If you've got to go farther than that, just plan for rest stops to get baby out of the car seat.)

All this comes with one significant note: While baby is in a moving car, safely buckled into a car seat is always the safest place to be. As noted in a study The Journal of Pediatrics, babies riding in a car seat as per the manufacturer's guidelines have a very low risk of suffocation or strangulation from the harness straps.

If we're aware of the risks and make sure to take breaks and take the baby out of the seat when the car stops, everyone can ride safely. Car seats, when used properly, are a literal lifesaver we should all be thankful for.

[Update, September 13, 2018: Added information regarding Lisa Smith's case.]

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