3 Glow-in-the-Dark Recipes to Try This Summer

Glow your own way with recipes that combine science and a wow-worthy special effect. The magic ingredient? Under ultraviolet light, the quinine in tonic water shines bright blue. See the magic for yourself with one of the three glow-in-the-dark food ideas below that are sure to steal the spotlight.

photo: Jessie Oleson Moore of Craftsy

1. Glow-in-the-Dark Buttercream
Ready to revolutionize your cakes? All you need is this glow-in-the-dark buttercream from the Craftsy blog. Under your average lamp, it looks like a nice, classic frosting—whip out a black light, and it turns any dessert into a glowing good time. Get the recipe here.

photo: Girl Loves Glam

2. Black Light Lemonade
Give your fave refreshing drink a cool twist! With the help of tonic water, this lemonade takes on a spooky glow that’s sure to amaze kids and grown-ups alike. Perfect for Halloween or any ol’ Tuesday. Find out how to make your own batch at Girl Loves Glam.

photo: Hoosier Homemade

3. Glow in the Dark Cupcakes
There’s no doubt about it—this glow in the dark recipe from Hoosier Homemade takes the cake. The glowing effect of these awesome cupcakes is easy to pull off, and the result is perfect for any party spread. Hint: Besides tonic water, the secret ingredient is JELL-O!

Will you whip up a batch of something glowingly good? Share with us in a Comment below! 

— Abigail Matsumoto

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Best Museums and Parks for Kids to Play Pretend

Forget “playing” dress-up. Your sidekick sports her creative get-up anywhere and everywhere. Because for her, pretend play isn’t reserved for playtime; it’s a way of life. Celebrate her super-sized imagination at museums and parks that take it to the next level. Flip through to find spots where your kiddo can dream of being president, take to the seas pirate style, go on safari and more!

Walk the Plank with Emerald City Pirates—Seattle, Wa

Avast ye, mateys! Set sail with your little swashbuckler aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge on Seattle’s shores to play pirate for a day. Pirate passengers get pirate names and garb before they take to the high seas in search of Bonnie Bones, a hornswoggling rogue who absconded earlier with the pirates’ treasure. As you search high and low for this scallywag, you’ll be trained to walk, talk and even limbo like a pirate while taking in the sights and sounds of Lake Union. Once Bonnie’s caught, mini pirates share in the recovered bounty before heading back to their landlubber life. Ahoy!

Online: emeraldcitypirates.com

photo: Kristina Moy

Where do you take your kids for imaginary play? Share with us in a Comment below. 

—Allison Sutcliffe & Melissa Heckscher

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Super Foods the Help Your Skin

Amp up your SPF with the help of a summery superfood menu! Your fridge and pantry are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and other good things that can help block UVA rays, protect skin, and even ease sunburns. Check out the slideshow below to see the best recipes for all those sunny days ahead: beat-the-heat drinks, crunchy carrot chips, and even a new way to toast the morning!

Toast with a Twist

From carotenoids and lycopene to beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are chock-full of things that can help defend skin from sun exposure. And with this idea from Family Food on the Table, you can give your breakfast toast a sweet potato update. Get creative with sweet or savory toppings and you’ll be all ready to face the sunny day. Get the recipe here.

photo: Family Food on the Table

Which recipe will you try this summer? Share with us in a Comment below!

—Abigail Matsumoto

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Fun Memory Games for Kids

Although we don’t always want them to remember everything (kids have a knack for recalling the most desperate of our negotiation tactics), brain boosting memory games are one of the best way to keep little minds busy and sharp as a tack to boot. Read on for our faves for every situation, from an old-school game night to impromptu activities to do on the go.

The Classics

Talk about memories. These old-school games are classics for a reason. Kids and adults love them, and they are perfect for a night in with the family.

Remember when this game was considered a high-tech toy? Mimicking Simon’s color, light and tone sequence may seem simple, but once you advance a few levels, get ready for a serious challenge. Get the kids inspired by watching one off these Simon-masters at work. 

Hasbro came out with the original in the 80s, and since then hundreds of variations have popped up, from Elmo to Frozen to Rescue Bots. There are plenty of DIY ideas out there, but at $5.99 for the real deal, we think it’s worth not having to draw 48 of your own picture cards.

memory trayPhoto: newkidscenter.com

The DIYs

These games can be done anywhere, anytime, as they require little more than a pen and paper (if that!). Oh, and your smarty’s razor-sharp memory, of course.

Remember the Code 
This all day game is fun to play anytime, and can turn into a little inside joke between you and your littles. Depending on their age, come up with either a fun phrase or random string of words. Write it on a slip of paper and let them look at it and try to memorize it for up to a minute. Then stick the paper in your pocket and carry it with you throughout the day. Starting just five minutes after you hide it away, turn to your kid and shout: What’s the code?! and see if they can recite it back. Do this throughout the day, and see if and when they are able to remember. Tiny treats for each time they crack the code make this even more rewarding.

What’s Missing?
Gather a number of items around the house and find a cover for the tray. You can use objects likea toothbrush, scissors, a toy, silverware, a rock, keys, etc. Place about 5 or 6 objects on the tray (make sure to use less if kids are little). Cover the tray and place on a table. Allow the kids to look at the tray for a few minutes. Cover the tray back up and take out of the room. Take one object off the tray out of kids’ view and cover back up. Take the tray back to the table and remove the cover. Ask kids which item is missing. Do this until all objects are gone and all kids have a turn of naming a missing object. You can either give points for right answers or remove a child from the game if they answer incorrectly. Go to newkidscenter.com for even more games that you can do with what you already have at home. 


The High Tech

Animal Memory 
This is a digital version of the classic Memory game, featuring animals. We love that there are no bells and whistles, and that the sounds can be easily disabled. There are 4 levels and 4 themes. Get more info and download it here: commonsensemedia.org

Memory Train
Memory Train is an engaging, fast-moving memory game. It can be helpful for kids who have visual processing issues, as they need to decipher color and shape at a quick pace. It can also be helpful for kids who need help with their working memory, as they need to remember the color shape they saw and identify it with three different paint colors. Get more info and download it here: commonsensemedia.org

Do you have a favorite memory game to play with your kids? Tell us about it in the comments below! 


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5 Great Alternatives to a Lemonade Stand

Summer screams curbside lemonade stand. But, if you’re out of the sour stuff—and still want to widen your young entrepreneurs’ selling scope—here are five great alternatives that will get your little people selling out fast.

1. Otter Pop Stand
On a hot day, anything cold is sure to be a hit. So let your kids break open the freezer and get out the Otter Pops (also called Freezer Pops or Fun Pops) to sell to those who need something cold to quench their thirst. Hint: You can also pair the pops with some juice or fruit punch to make for double-hydration.

Psst: These pops have a heck of a profit margin! Walmart sells 36 of them for $2.48.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

2. Advice Stand
It worked for Charlie Brown and Lucy! Let your kids put on their doctor hats (and costumes, if they have them!) and dispense psychological help to anyone willing to pay a few pennies for a little kid-branded honesty. Kids say the darndest things, after all; your little doctors may just do some good.

photo: Pretty Prudent

3. Bake Sale
Bake sales are par for the course at school fundraisers; why not bake some yummy treats for a private streetside sale? This project gives your littles two activities to do: One, in helping you bake the goods; two, for bringing in the bucks when they sell them. Any leftovers can be frozen and stashed for a special occasion. Like tomorrow.

photo: Melissa Heckscher

4. Greeting Card Sale
Let your kids pen good wishes and illustrations onto their own homemade greeting cards. Since these creations take a bit of work on behalf of your aspiring Hallmarkers, your kids can charge a little more for each product ($1 a card isn’t unreasonable). They’ll be aspiring greeting card writers by day’s end.

photo: Patrick via Flickr

5. A Hose-Down Stand 
With temps rocketing well over 100 in much of the U.S., a nice misting of cool water might be worth a few pennies. Have your little water hosers hunker down by the street, ready to spray anyone who wants to pay a nickel or two for the instant cool-down. Don’t be surprised if your tots are soaking wet by the end of this little business venture.

Do you have any other ideas for things kids can do instead of a lemonade stand? Tell us your thoughts in a comment below. 

— Melissa Heckscher

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Dog Cafes Are Coming and We’ve Got the Deets

photo: Pixabay

New Yorkers who don’t like leaving their pooches at home may be excited to know the city will soon see its first dog cafe, according to an article in the neighborhood news site DNAInfo

The cafe, Boris and Horton (reportedly named for the owners two dogs), is supposed to open in the Lower East Side this winter. Unlike cat cafes, which provide a roomful of cats so visitors can cuddle, pet or simply bask in their cat-ness, Boris and Horton will be a bring-your-own dog sort of setup. Because of Health Department regulations, the cafe will be split, so that the dogs will be kept on one side of a glass wall while their owners mingle, nosh and drink wine and coffee on the other side, DNAInfo said.

“It’s like basically going to someone’s nice living room with your dog, and it’s adjacent to a place where you can get all your food and coffee,” Coppy Holzman said in the article.

This isn’t the first canine cafe to try its paws out in a big city. Last year, The Dog Cafe opened in Los Angeles as an alternative to an animal shelter. The cafe, which serves as a “halfway house” for rescued dogs, also hosts events, including dog yoga classes (where poses like “Downward facing dog” take on a whole new meaning).

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because cat cafes came first. New York has at least three cat cafes — and Los Angeles has one — where people can sip coffee while simultaneously dangling a string for curious kitties.

For more information and to get updates on the opening, visit Boris and Horton online.

Do you wish there was a dog or cat cafe in your city? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Why These Savings Goal Cards Are the New Gift Card

From gift cards that never get used to toys from well-meaning relatives, we’re betting there are some presents your kids could do without. Enter Goalsetter, a brand-new savings platform that’s looking to re-define how your kids receive things and learn the value of savings—all at once. Scroll down to find out more.

What It Is

Kids today receive over 30 billion dollars worth of gifts in a year! In hopes of helping families move past the age of overconsumption, former Nickelodeon executive and mom of four Tanya Van Court decided to create an online savings platform just for kids.

Goalsetter allows family and friends to contribute to kids’ goals, such as saving for college, a brand new bicycle, or an experience of some sort. “We are seeing a shift in this generation of parents and kids, away from a consumer-driven economy, and towards a purpose-driven economy,” says Van Court, “Parents are looking for a more meaningful way to give gifts that teach healthy values to their kids instead of teaching consumerism and excess. Goalsetter gets kids excited about saving for goals and helps them exercise a muscle that will be important for their long term financial health.”

How It Works

With the help of mom or dad, kids 13 & under can create an account to track their savings and progress towards their goals (Kids ages 13 & up can register on their own). And, when it’s the season for gifts, friends and family members can purchase digital a Goal Card (offered in multiple fun and bright designs) which allows kids to save for things in three different categories.

1. Save for the future. Grade school kids can save for extracurricular classes, and older scholars can save for college. Goalsetter is partnered with Triumph Bank, where an FDIC-insured account is held in the child’s name. Also—parents can also auto-save towards kids’ goals.

2. Share with others. Kids can use birthdays and holidays as an opportunity to contribute to causes they care about.

3. Spend on things that matter to them. Kids can save towards more meaningful gifts, such as camps, expensive gear, experiences, and more.

The Fine Print

Recipients don’t have to have an account with Goalsetter prior to receiving their card. It’s totally free to set up a Goalsetter account, and the auto-save feature, which allows family members to contribute a pre-established amount, only cost $1 a month.

Find out more: goalsetter.co

Would you sign your kids up for this new savings platform? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Gabby Cullen

Feature photo: Lars Plougmann via Flickr 

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10 Reasons Why You Should Try RV Camping with Kids

Are you feeling a little tied down by your tent and looking to step up your camping game this summer? How about adding an RV into the mix and hitting the open road? RV-ing has become all the rage with families across the U.S., and you need to get in on the fun ASAP. Read on to find out why!

photo: MemoryCatcher via Pixabay

1. There’s an RV for everyone. If you are little intimidated by the RVs that look like tour buses, don’t worry, you can definitely get the RV experience without going so big. Pop-up travel trailers and Airstreams that you pull behind your car offer some of the RV features like indoor sleeping and kitchen facilities without having to learn how to drive a huge vehicle. If you decide to go big, motor homes offer more sleeping options and conveniences like bathrooms and full-sized refrigerators. Think about what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go with your RV before you rent.

2. Sleeping in an RV is easier than in a tent. If you’ve ever tried to get a grumpy toddler to nap in a hot tent in a busy campground then you’ll know, the struggle is real. With an RV, you have a dedicated sleeping spot where you can put the kids down while you enjoy the fresh air just outside.

3. Bump up your adventure by bringing all the “toys” with you. Tent camping means you are limited to what you can fit in the back of the car, so extras like bikes and kayaks usually have to be left at home. An RV gives you extra space to store this stuff so that you can get out and explore the trails and water when you arrive.

photo: paulbr75 via Pixabay

4. With an RV, you can extend your travel to far away destinations. If you are looking to hit the road to one of the national parks or somewhere more than a day’s drive away, then an RV just might be the answer. As long as you plan out your options for overnight RV parking, you have your own built-in hotel room for the journey. This also allows you to be more flexible and go with the flow on how far you drive each day.

5. The actual travel portion of the trip is part of the adventure. If you’ve ever had to pack three kids, a tent, sleeping bags, coolers, pillows, scooters, firewood and more into the back of your minivan, you’ll know that someone is inevitably crushed between a lantern and a camp stove. RV camping allows the actual travel portion to be easier for everyone as you aren’t sitting on top of all of your gear. And, if you go for one of the big bus-style RVs, you can really live it up as you watch TV and play cards at the kitchen table while you cruise!

6. Bugs and rain. These two things can make your camping adventure quickly go down the tubes. An RV offers an indoor space to get away from both of these. While you’ll want to spend most of your camping time exploring the great outdoors, the RV gives you peace of mind in case nature strikes back.

photo: MemoryCatcher via Pixabay

7. Cooking is easier in an RV. Cooking while camping requires a hot fire or a propane camp stove, both of which can be iffy if you have wind or any bad weather. RVs offer indoor cooking options that make your job easier. Most have at least a small refrigerator to keep your milk, eggs, and microbrews cold so that you don’t have to worry about the problem of constantly melting ice. Just make sure you know how much storage you have before you stock up on perishable items.

8. Power up those devices. If you can’t go completely off-grid for a multi-week camping adventure, an RV provides the option to power up your phone or laptop from your campsite. Either plug the RV into the campground hookups or use the solar powered options offered by some newer models. That way you can keep all the family and friends back home updated on your adventures.

9. No more communal campground bathrooms. Most RVs and travel trailers offer a bathroom option which is key when you are camping with kids. If you’ve ever had to help someone with a middle of the night potty break while sleeping in a tent, you know how awesome this is.

10. Fido can join in the fun. Most campgrounds are very pet-friendly, so bringing your pup along in the RV is an option. Just make sure you know the rules that often limit four-legged friends to staying in the campground or on fire roads only.

Are you ready to embark on your RV adventure? Let us know how it goes in the comments!

—Kate Loweth

Feature photo courtesy Currently Wandering

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Unique and Cool Backpacks For Kids

These Scottish-seaside inspired print backpacks from Tea Collection won’t get lost in a crowd! Each backpack is made from 100% polyester with adjustable shoulder straps and measures 15.5″x 11.23″ x 4.5″, which means they’re perfect for your grade school scholars. The only problem will be choosing from the new graphics, which include bold triangles, sweet florals, or fun flying bikes.

Available at teacollection.com, $44.50.

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