7/13/17

Super surprise dorm room makeover

I had the absolute joy of working on a "super secret" project with JC Penny and Today this summer that I am so happy to finally share with everyone.

Together we surprised eighteen-year-old Pacielly Morelo with a dorm room makeover. Pacielly is a hard-working, bright young woman who we were so excited to help get a playful start on this next chapter of her life, and feel more at home in a brand new space.




I had so much fun putting together this room with Pacielly, especially knowing how hard she had worked to get where she is today, and the bright future she has. You can check out some behind the scenes photos over on my Instagram.

You can learn all about Pacielly, the first in her family to go to college, in the clip below from Today.




And playful style isn't just for college students. Check out some more tips for making your home a more playful space:

Cheers to a happy home!

6/20/17

3 simple ways to have a lot more FUN with your family this summer

School is out, the weather is warming, and summer is in full swing!

But while our kids are over the moon at the prospect of weeks upon weeks of no work and all play, for many already-too-busy parents, eight weeks of summer break can be slightly daunting at best.

You can feel the parental stress in the stratosphere. I mean how many social media posts have you scrolled past in the last week screaming “help!!!...when do these kids go BACK to school?” 

It’s made me think it’s time to change our expectations and attitudes a bit. 

I remember my son once asking me why so many parents seemed to hate being with their kids in the summer, after he noticed a barrage of such posts filling up Facebook. I don’t know about ya’ll, but that’s really not how I want my kids to perceive the way I felt about all our summer breaks over their childhoods.

Sooooooo, how do all of us over-stressed grown-ups chill-out, calm down, and actually enjoy summer break with our youngsters? How do we make it fun for everyone…including us?

We start with a slight shift in perspective, a little “pre-production”, and a loose but intentional plan.

This summer I’m thrilled to be teaming up with the folks at Juicy Juice, as the spokesperson for their “100 Percent Family Time” campaign. It was a very easy and happy “YES!” when they asked me to be a part of this wonderful project, as it’s all about real, practical, and fun ways to enjoy the family time we do have all together. I’m a very realistic working mom who knows how hard it can be to check all the boxes day to day. So I say forget perfection and “balance” and making everyone happy all of the time. Snuggle up to boredom, allow for the “nothingness”, seize the summery playful moments (big or small), you have as a family, and allow your kiddos to experience the magic of leading their own unplugged fun and games as well.

And at the end of summer break, you’ll be wishing you had a few more weeks to play together rather than counting down the days 'til the school bell finally rings. Really…it’s totally possible!

Are you ready?

To get you started, here are few tried and true tips that have helped make our summertime together way more manageable, playful, and easy-breezy. 

1. Create a Family Time Suggestion Bottle


At the start of every summer break, my kids and I usually create a “Sinclair Summer Camp” list on a massive piece of poster board.  We hang it in a central location…usually on the big sliding glass doors in the kitchen, so that it’s in our faces each day.  This year, we making a suggestion bottle to hold all of their ideas instead.  We used a cleaned out "up-cycled" Juicy Juice bottle, some "crafty doodles" with which to decorate the outside, and slips of paper listing all of our fun ideas for summer play. We cut a big notch on the side of the bottle and then popped our suggestions inside. 

 *See the video below for full DIY!


This collective batch of purely playful family time suggestions remains in place throughout the break as a reminder of all the ways we want to kick up our heels over the next 8 weeks.  We include big trips, small activities, simple pleasures, and everything in between.  Everyone’s ideas are included, and nothing is turned away.  This suggestion bottle of fun also acts as a catalyst for ideas when the “what-to-do’s” set in.

At the end of the summer we love reminiscing about all the family fun we managed to squeeze in, what we forgot to do, and sharing our favorite memories along the way.

2. Give em’ the time and materials for open-ended, self-directed play


Our kids spend hours upon hours each school year being directed by adults. Between long days at school and extracurricular activities, the majority of their days are orchestrated by grown ups.  Summertime is the most wide-open, wonderful time for kids to practice self-regulation, self-direction and creative invention. 

Make sure to provide some space, time, and simple supplies with which to explore. And let em’ go.

A box of recycled materials, a bin of open-ended craft supplies, a pile of sand and some kitchen tools, buckets of side-walk chalk and a wide-open concrete canvas, or a batch of cardboard boxes, tape, scissors, and a yard in which to build. 

If your children are in day camp all week, leave time on weekends for self-directed play. It’s good for them on so many levels!

If they invite you to join the fun, great! But let them plan and lead the way. 

3. Leave space for spontaneity


This one is simple, but often overlooked.

Summertime is meant to be less scheduled and more relaxed than school time. But if you’re an over-planner like I can be, your summer calendar can start to look just as jammed as the school year’s.

Once you’ve filled in all your activities for the week, take a moment look and make sure there is some space for spontaneous family fun as well! A spur-of-the-moment walk to the ice cream store, an impromptu game of tag, or a last minute water blaster battle on a hot summer night can turn into some of the best family experiences of summer break.

Join Juicy Juice and me this summer in celebrating the magic in 100 Percent Family Time over at JuicyJuice.com!




4/20/17

IRIS Award Nomination for "Meredith Plays"! SO darned exciting.



I've spent the last 10 years in the "mom blogging"/ social media space. I began digitally journaling when blogging was just a wee bit of a thing, chronicling the life and times of my two young sons. I've blogged about mom-fashion, family vacations, kid friendly activities, life in Chicago married to a TV producer for the most famous woman in daytime, and almost everything in between.

And then I found my truest "niche". PLAY. PLAY, PLAY, PLAY, PLAY, PLAY.

The best definition of it, the need for it, the benefits of it, the transformative POWER of it, and how to incorporate more of it into our filled-to-the-brim family lives.

I've spoken on panels and keynotes and to big groups of parents about the impact of playfulness. I've written a magazine column based on it. I've done countless television segments for shows like the TODAY show, Fox and Friends, Home and Family, and on and on and on...  all with the thread of PLAY woven very intentionally within each 3-5 minutes of show and tell.

And this past year I wrote a book about it. (Well Played, the Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family's Playful Spirit, Harper Collins 2016).

It's been a year of exciting adventures and daunting new beginnings as I sent a kid to college, launched a book, and then loaded up the truck and moved across the country to LA... where my playful work seemed to blossom even more. (it must be the every-day-of-sun here).

People were "getting it" and it appeared they wanted more PLAY-full-ness in their own lives as well! Boom. My work here is done. PSYCH!

And then this week I was nominated for a Mom2.0 IRIS Award. "Breakout of the Year". After 10 years of searching for my truest message and throwing myself head-long into it, I've apparently had my "Breakout" year! As often, but not always happens with "sudden success", right?  Sudden sometimes must be backed by a decade of vision and hard but wonderful work.

When a blogging pal of mine told me via text about the nomination, I misinterpreted her message completely.  She said "congrats on Mom 2!" I THOUGHT she meant "Congratulations you now have '2 mom' friends in LA!" (I had JUST posted about being on another successful "friend date" out here.) See how I messed that up? Mom 2 (short for Mom2.0),  Mom #2? Yep, clueless.

And then I discovered it was for having a "breakout" year. And I slowly, half-smirkingly nodded at the universe, God, and my own playful spirit like, "Yeah, I kiiinnnnnda get that."

This year has surely broken me OUT in more ways than one. I still was a little unsure how I was nominated in this category with fresh faced, newer to the scene, "viral" women. And then a fellow blogger whom I highly admire wrote in a FB comment: "Meredith Sinclair, this is forever the year PLAY went viral" (cue the tiny tears in just the corners of my eyes).

If I had ANYTHING to do with giving PLAY a glitter-filled spotlight this year, then I'm the proudest mama of all.

I'm honored to be among a group of women and men I SO admire.  For their grit, gumption, creativity, and HUSTLE. Thanks to whomever threw my name in the IRIS Award mix.  Ya'll totally made my day.

To see all the amazing women and men nominated...check it out HERE!






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