Jun 6, 2018

How to Have the Best Summer Ever

Summer Break is HERE!

Our kiddos are wrapping up their collective school years and we’re beginning to turn our eyes to a summer break full of fun and games, right? Or are you bracing yourself for 6-8 weeks as your kids cruise director?

It’s my firm belief that if we really want more “spontaneous” fun and playfulness in our lives, we have to plan for it, and let our kids take some ownership for their own summer fun.

It sounds super counter-intuitive, but time and again we all talk a big “summer fun” game, and then end up falling into our same old routines, and never quite DOING all those seemingly frivolous things we mutter-on about. We are NOT our kids’ balloon-animal-making clowns! Help them plan their own fun!

So, in honor of pre-producing some serious silly playtime this summer (and NOT just for your kids), I give you the Summer PLAY Planner!



Download my 2018 Summer Play Planner Worksheet


Fill this thing out with your family and hang it somewhere y’all can’t avoid! Your fridge, the top on the washing machine, the dash of your car, the wine rack… wherever you visit on a daily basis.

Then check this bad-boy off as you actually DO all the stuff you’re talking about doing this summer!  Make sure it includes stuff just for YOU, or you and your mate, or girlfriends. It isn’t ALL about the kids, and it’s important for your offspring to see you whooping it up sometimes too.

Need a few ideas? What about...

Let’s show summer break who’s BOSS, shall we?

Now GO… go play!
— Meredith



May 31, 2018

Best Games and Accessories for Outdoor Summer Fun

Had a blast as usual at TODAY! I shared a batch of must-haves for ultimate outdoor fun this summer... and not just for the kids!


Yard Games for BIG Fun


Jumbo Jumper

Hours of bouncing fun on the unique and exciting Jumbo Jumper, that allows children and adults to reach for the sky. The 6.5' tall colorful steel powder coated poles provide support while jumpers bounce up and down on the 5' diameter inner tube. This is perfect for small backyards or even indoor spaces with carpet. B4Adventure, $249.

Incred-A-Ball

GBOPs (Great Big Outdoor Playballs)! Roll it, race it, run with it, and watch it light up! Kids can even climb inside this enormous Incred-A-Ball to get a colorful view of the world! HearthSong, $99.

Starfighter Super Squirter

This Starfighter pool toy features a sunroof on top to provide protection to your child while sitting inside. It has a built-in water blaster that stays constantly supplied from the water below. This multi-colored toy is ideal for pretend play. Swimline, $43.98.



Toy Archery Set

This outdoor toy is bound to hit a bullseye with your kids. The easy-to-use and safe archery set comes with three arrows that are equipped with super-strong suction cups that are perfectly safe for children. In fact, you can even bring this set indoors if summer showers steal the sunshine away that day! Kiddie Play, $27.87.

Giant Yard Pong

Your favorite “pong” game is bigger and better than ever! This set comes with 12 heavy duty buckets and 2 large plastic balls. Great for picnics, reunions, outdoor parties and summer game nights. Yard Games, $49.99.

American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course Set 

From head-to-head, team, or timed competition, these complete 33-piece or 37-piece obstacle course sets allow for dozens of different set-ups. No matter the age or skill level, you can create a course and great family fun to match. B4Adventure, $59.99-$69.99.




Must-Have Family Beach Accessories


Beachmate Beach Bag System

The only beach bag you’ll ever need. This all-in-one beach tote system comes with a bottomless beach tote, removable cooler, stackable storage that doubles as sand buckets, and two heavy-duty shovels. It also has room for an umbrella, and the bins double as drink holders and a lunch tray. Beachmate, $78.50.

Safego Portable Safe

The perfect way to store all of your personal belongings at the beach, pool, or park. The Safego beach safe features a 3 digit custom combo plus key, charging station built in, water, sand, and salt resistance, and super lightweight. Safego, $39.95.

Beach Lounger and Sun Shade 

Perfect for sunny days at the beach or picnicking in the park, the Sun Shade is easy to transport and set up. The tent also has stakes, so if the wind picks up, you won't be chasing your shade across the beach. Plus, it's water resistant! Pottery Barn Teen, $99.




Happy Summer!
— Meredith

May 28, 2018

Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Labo Giveaway

And just like that, it’s JUNE! High fives all around, my friends!

June has always been my absolute favorite month. It might have a little something to do with the fact that my birthday is June 2, and I always loved that it fell at the end of the school year, and beginning of everyone’s favorite season: SUMMER!!

This month it’s all about planning and preparing for big FUN. You know, capital F kinda Fun that mushes you all together playfully on the couch, or romping thru the backyard, or splishing and splashing like nut-balls at the pool or beach. FUN is Summer’s middle name.

So in celebration of all things fun and games, this month we are launching an amazing giveaway in partnership with Nintendo!



I recently attended a super playful launch event in San Francisco for the new Nintendo Labo. I brought my son Truman along, and we had just the best darn time creating and playing together.


Nintendo Labo is truly one of the most inventive, interactive, and creative toys I’ve seen in a long time. Each Nintendo Labo kit gets kids creating toys by hand with easy-to-follow, digital instructions, and then connecting their masterpieces to the Nintendo Switch, making them literally come to life. Brilliant, I tell you!


We LOVE the Nintendo Switch in our house... I'm even getting pretty darn good at Mario Kart.  Anything that brings us all together laughing and playing is a win in my book.


Nintendo wants everyone to be a part of the fun this summer, so they are giving away a Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Labo Variety Kit to one very lucky subscriber to The PLAYlist!!

Not a subscriber yet? No worries! You can sign up for my monthly newsletter, right here!

Your kids will be really angry if you pass this up… really… just ask them. The winner of this super duper Nintendo prize package will be picked at random on Friday June 1st, my Birthday Eve!


Sign up RIGHT HERE to win a Nintendo Switch
and Nintendo Labo Variety Kit!


Good luck to all and let’s make this summer our most playfully connected on yet!

** GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED ** Congrats to Sherri J! I'm emailing you for all the details!


Cheers,
Meredith

May 25, 2018

Doozers Season 2 Launches Today!

I will always have a very soft spot for quality children’s television. I grew up in the height of the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Sesame Street era… two educational children’s shows that were thoughtful, respectful, and sprinkled with a heaping dose of imagination, creativity, and fun.

Just after completing my Masters degree in Education, I landed a full-circle dream job at a PBS station called WQED Pittsburgh. As an educational consultant for national productions, I learned how great children’s programming is made. One floor below WQED was Family Communications, home of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Many of my lunch breaks were spent slipping into the Neighborhood of Make Believe studio and watching Fred Rogers work his magic. His extreme respect for children was the foundation of every episode. He knew how smart children already were, and wanted them to know it too.


The first time I visited Henson Studios here in L.A., I was struck by how similar the “vibe” was to that of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. They “get” children in the same way, and it’s apparent in everything they create.

Last week I was invited back for a screening and launch party for Season 2 of their show “Doozers” on Hulu.




You remember the Doozers right?  Those adorable little construction workers from Fragggle Rock?  Well they have their own show now, and it’s simply delightful!

Each animated episode is geared specifically for the pre-school set and features four best friends, AKA “The Pod Squad”,  who live and learn in Doozer Creek.



The series focuses on encouraging kids to be innovators and inventors, and to embrace their own “can-do” spirit. It’s clear that an abundance of thought and care is put into the show’s STEAM curriculum, and I was struck by how well-written and “tight” each episode is… especially for 3-5 year olds. Proof they also respect and understand just how smart children already are.



If you’ve got a pre-schooler in your home, Doozers will make you feel actually good about a little bit of screen time. It’s a beautiful launch pad for discussion and a catalyst for creativity, encouraging kids to playfully discover the world around them

Doozers premieres May 25th exclusively on Hulu.

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