Your Official Mini Guide to Inexpensive, Fun Dates With Your Kids

Three. Freakin’. Months. It can be tough to come up with endless summer entertainment for the family that’s friendly on the pocket, too. But with a lot of patience, imagination – and a cell phone – fun is literally around every corner. No matter where you’re spending summer, whether it’s the city, beach or the suburbs, we’re all about finding creative ways to connect with your kids! 🍦 🌟 🏖️

Wild Card Ice Cream Date

Take the kids on a bus or train adventure (their choice) and let them decide where to stop. Then find the nearest convenience store or bodega and get ice-cream. Too simple – and who doesn’t love a plan that ends with a sweet treat?

Image credit: wundervisuals

Stargazing Date

One for the whole family. Fill a kiddie pool with a quilt and lots of pillows, then pile in and watch the stars together. Point out The Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt, and have fun calling out other (pretend) shapes you see. Bonus round: First one to see a shooting star picks tomorrow night’s dinner!

Beachcombing Date

Bring a pail and plastic shovels (not forgetting sun protection!) and take the kids scouting for shells and other treasures. When you get home, wash the shells (and discreetly discard any randoms). Once the beach treasures are dry, set the kids up with glue, paint and glitter for a crafting session.

Credit: AndreyPopov

Where are you and the kids headed together this summer? Share your best spots in the comments!

With Five Kids Between Them, Jemma Wynne’s Co-founders Have Some Words of Wisdom for Working Moms

Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin have five children, all under age 10, and still manage to run one of the fastest-growing fine jewelry brands.

Jemma Wynne co-founders, Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin, have five children between them (Jenny is mom to Livia, seven, Leo, five, and Eve, two; Stephanie is mom to Scarlett, six, and Mason, three), and they still manage to run one of the fastest-growing fine jewelry brands.

Known for their easy-luxury approach to design, they consider their pieces to be “the cashmere hoodie” of fine jewelry: rich, but comfortable, a sentiment any mother can get behind.

We asked them what they wish their pre-kid selves knew, and the best parts of parenting. 

Jenny Klatt (left) and Stephanie Wynne Lalin celebrated the 10th anniversary of their fine jewelry brand, Jemma Wynne, last year.

What do you wish you could tell your pre-kid self?

Jenny: Enjoy and appreciate your freedom. I should specify that it’s more of an emotional freedom that I miss, and I wish there was a way I could go back in time and not take it for granted. I have an amazing husband who supports me and encourages my independence, nannies that help us on a daily basis and family that lives close by and can help out when necessary. I go out many nights a week, go on girls’ trips, travel for work, make time for self-care, etc. While I am not limited, I feel limited. I’ll never be able to go out freely without a care in the world. But I always feel a pull back to my children. I think about them and worry about them constantly. Before kids, I would spend hours roaming around the city, exploring different areas, shopping, traveling. I made my own schedule and didn’t really have to worry about anyone but myself. Now I think about my kids all the time. I traded that emotional freedom for one of the most amazing responsibilities: motherhood. And in return I get to see what an incredible father my husband is, and the unconditional love of our three children. I still think, with all of that, it’s normal to miss the freedom pre-kids.   

Stephanie: Do more things while you have the time! Travel more, read more books, paint more, sketch more. You’re not going to have enough time to yourself or the time to work late after you have kids. At least until they are a little older. 

What’s an unexpectedly awesome aspect of parenting? 

Jenny: The perfectly imperfect chaos of it all and seeing the world in a different way through my children’s eyes.

Stephanie: It has been absolutely amazing to watch the relationship between my son and daughter blossom as they get older. They completely take care of each other, make sure the other is always okay and constantly cheer each other on. Scarlett likes to say she is Mason’s second mommy and will take him to the bathroom, read him books, and get him a BandAid if he says he has a boo-boo. She likes the responsibility of being a big sister. And Mason totally looks up to Scarlett and will copy almost anything she does. 

Stephanie’s kids, Scarlett and Mason, “constantly cheer each other on.”

What’s an unexpectedly NOT awesome aspect of parenting? 

Jenny: There’s no off switch, FOREVER. 

Stephanie: Since my kids are younger, I have to say I haven’t encountered too many things that are not awesome. Amongst my shortlist, though, is having to discipline them – and sunscreen! Putting suntan lotion on my kids is one of those things I literally just cannot stand! I know I have to do it, but it’s just so annoying and I hate it! [Ed: Here’s a quick guide to stress-free sunscreen application if you feel Stephanie’s pain!]

Stephanie with Scarlett and Mason.

What’s the craziest thing your kids have ever said to you?

Jenny: They all have a strong fascination with tampons. So many questions! It’s probably because I have barely been to the bathroom alone in seven years! Can anyone relate?!

Stephanie: Scarlett once said, “Mommy, my friend said her mom always says the F-word… what does it mean?” And I said, “It’s just a really bad word, I don’t want to hear you say it – ever.” And she persisted with, “But what does f**k MEAN?” How do you even answer that?      .

What do you hope your children learn from having a powerful, successful, working mom?

Jenny: Being a parent to my three children is my single most important job in the world.  But going to work and showing my children how important it is to follow your dreams and be passionate about something, to grow something, be collaborative as a team, and build a company is really a critical life lesson that I feel lucky to impart to them. I want them to see what it means to love what you do and work hard at it. I also know that it teaches them to be stronger and more independent, because I am not always physically present every step of the way.

Stephanie: For my daughter, I think it’s important for her to see I have my own passion and interests outside of being a mother. Although being a mother is my number-one job, I hope she sees that a woman can do anything she puts her mind to. Both she and my son see me sketch and know it’s for “work” – I like that they can see that one can do something creative for your career as well. I am a strong believer in the arts in teaching children! For my son, I think it’s important for him to see that a mother and father can both have careers.

Jenny with Livia, Leo and Eve. “I want [my kids] to see what it means to love what you do and work hard at it.

Most important question: Who would your kids be super-impressed to see wearing a piece of Jemma Wynne jewelry?

Jenny: Definitely someone from The Lego Movie.

Stephanie: Scarlett would love to see JoJo Siwa, and for Mason it would definitely be Batman.

Summer Activities That Will Make You Look Like a Pro (But Only Take 10 Minutes to Set Up)

Kids not going to camp this year? Breathe. These summer boredom busters are fun, take no time to set up, and won’t require hours of clean-up.

From crafts to blow-up pools, hula hoop competitions to sprinkler dance routines, there are endless ideas for what to do with your completely hyper kids if they’re not away at camp this summer. But the ultimate? Finding an activity that: 1. They’ll love; and 2. Doesn’t take an entire day for you to set up and/or clean up. 

These summer-appropriate activities check all the boxes, making you look like the GOAT, when it comes to parenting. 

Paint with Sunscreen 

Turn the extra lotion on their hands into a work of art. Put some sunscreen out in a bowl alongside sheets of black construction paper. Show the kids how to use their hands, popsicle sticks or even leaves to make art on the paper. Leave the sheets out in the sun and watch their work transform. 

Paint using sunscreen this summer. Credit: curtoicurto.

Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater

Okay, okay, this may take longer than 10 minutes, but we swear it’s worth the effort. All you need to create an at-home outdoor movie theater is two planters, two PVC pipes, two wooden rods, a white sheet and an iron. And darkness. These easy-to-follow directions will help you achieve the ultimate summer movie night. 

Outdoor Movie Night. Credit: vgajic.

Build a Sprinkler 

Take a two-liter soda bottle and strategically poke holes in it. Attach the bottle to a garden hose with a cheap female to female adapter. Hang the bottle over a tree branch and adjust the water flow for a sprinkler party.

Sprinkler Party. Credit: RyanJLane.

 

Hilaria Baldwin is Here For The Me-Time Commitment

Hilaria Baldwin was currently in a car with four kids under the age of six listening to the Shrek 3 soundtrack, and somehow sounds completely cool, calm, and collected.

“What do you wish you could tell your pre-kid self,” I ask her.

She begins to answer, “The one [thing] that everybody says is, “I wish I had slept more,” but is interrupted by a series of missed calls from her husband. “Alec keeps calling me,” she says. “You know what, maybe that’s what it would be. It would be that everybody is going to want something from you and it’s really okay to step away and say you need a minute.”

Here, Baldwin talks “me-time,” how to talk to your kids about health, and the most unexpectedly awesome part of parenting four kids.

What do you wish you could tell your pre-kid self?

When you’re pregnant with your first, people are always like, “Enjoy sleep now, because this is the last time you’re going to sleep.” To be quite honest, you can’t sleep in advance. You actually have to sleep regularly.

What does one free hour to yourself look like?

One of my favorite things to do is go out for a run. I use that time to disconnect. When I’m running, literally nobody knows where I am. It’s just this moment where I can run through the streets and for a whole 30 minutes, I can have me-time. I have learned it’s about doing small things throughout the day. For instance, in the morning and night, I take a bath, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Little by little I’m trying to take more frequent moments. It’s like the whole sleep thing. You can’t just bundle together a lot of me-time and then kill yourself the rest of the time. You’ve got to be [taking] care of yourself.

 

You are well known for being the picture of health. How do you talk to your kids about health without going overboard or making them anxious? 

It’s about [focusing on the] feeling rather than the way you look. You don’t want to say, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t eat this because you don’t want to be fat’ or ‘you want to eat this because you don’t want to be too thin.’ You want say, ‘You want to eat this because you want to feel good.’ And if people can associate what they’re eating with how their body feels, then they are going to have a big leg up in life.

 

What does 7 a.m. in your house look?

Today at 7AM, I was taking a barre class, but every single day is different. I did an interview a couple days ago where they were asking me what my typical day is, and I literally don’t have one. Everybody’s a little jet lagged right now from [a trip to] L.A., so my kids have been sleeping really late which has been nice. I’ve used that time to get up and go work out.  

 

What does 7 p.m. in your house look like?

Evenings are a lot more typical. Around six o’clock we start having dinner and then we take a bath, then pajamas and stories and then bedtime. Usually by 7PM the boys are going down to sleep and Carmen stays up until about 8 o’clock.

What’s an unexpectedly awesome part of parenting?

One of the things that I feel really lucky about is that I get to see how many different kinds of people you can make. Alec and I had a girl first and thought, okay, [Alec] + Me equals that kind of girl. And then we had a boy. So you think, [Alec] + Me equals that kind of boy. And then, if anyone goes for a third child, you start to see, wow! Him + Me equals a boy that’s completely different. And in our case, the fourth one, Him + Me equals a boy that’s completely different from those ones. Everything is so science-based now, which is amazing, but there is something very magical and bit mysterious about where the soul comes from. I’ve really been able to marvel at that from having so many kids with the same gender. People really are born with their own personality. It’s really beautiful.