Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support my small business. You can learn more here.
You loved my 10 Toys Your Toddler Will Love (it was one of my most popular posts of 2020!), so I'm back with a new post, almost a year later. My child is obviously a bit older now, and has some new interests. These are the toys my little one is obsessed with right now. Of course, he is still interested in the toys on that last list, so be sure to check it out, too.
This list contains a number of educational options, as well as fun movement and art options. With it being cold and snowy in my part of the country, having tons of activities to choose from has been a lifesaver. Where relevant, I've included some of the activities we do using these products. So, without further ado, here is the roundup!
10 of the Best Toys for 2 and 3 Year Olds
Melissa and Doug Train Sets
My little one has been loving playing with his train sets (we have both of the sets below, plus an activity table). The toys build fine motor skills (i.e. putting tracks together), STEM skills (testing how to built elevated tracks, learning about cause and effect through working with the magnets and the swivel bridge), vocabulary skills, and imaginative play skills, making them perfect as an educational toy, too.
Some of the best vocabulary these sets can be used for are teaching relationship concepts and words, such as over, under, in, on, etc. These are difficult concepts for young children to begin with, so having visual aides is a huge help! Plus, the sets have the quality you expect from Melissa and Doug toys.
2. Play Food Sets
My little one loves his play food sets. Along with the Fisher Price food truck and thekitchen set we have, my child has been loving his ice cream parlor set. We paired it with kinetic sand for extra fun!
My child loves all things dinosaurs, but his favorite by far has been this amazing, educational dinosaur toy from Learning Resources. The toy builds color awareness and vocabulary, shape awareness and vocabulary, and fine motor skills. Other dinosaur toys he is obsessed with right now? The Melissa and Doug Dinosaur Party set, and his big T-Rex stuffed animal (also from Melissa and Doug, predictably; it is currently out of stock, but you can check back if interested here).
Of course Play-Doh would make an appearance on this list! It is a great sensory activity for young kids, and this truck builds find motor skills, too! Play- Doh makes products for every interest; they have cooking sets, truck sets, and more.
5. Mega Bloks
I've written before about why blocks are a great educational toy, so it isn't surprising that we have tons of them in our home. This Mega Bloks Peek a Blocks Amusement Park was a Christmas gift from my child's uncle (an industrial designer and inventor, no joke!), and it is a great activity to help build awareness about several different simple machines (specifically a lever and an inclined plane)!
6. Magnet Toys
Magnets are an excellent STEM toy, and these PicassoTiles are a lower cost (but durable) substitute for expensive MagnaTiles.We love using them for testing cause and effect, working on basic engineering skills, and discussing relational, shape, and color vocabulary!
7. Animal Play Sets
My child is obsessed with animals, so our home is filled with tons of animal toys. One of my child's favorites is the Battat Big Red Barn. It comes with 4 animals and a farmer, as well as the barn. My child spends tons of time playing imaginary games with the set!
Another favorite activity? Playing vet! My child loves his Melissa and Doug vet kit, and "fixing" his kitty and puppy.
8. Reusable Vinyl Sticker Sets
Tired of buying stickers only to have your child go through them quickly and need to buy more? We love vinyl stickers for this reason! My child loves playing with stickers, which means traditional options are an expensive choice (if you don't have sticker piles on paper, are you even a toddler/preschool parent?!). And what about stickers all. over. everything. Vinyl stickers stick to a ton of surfaces, but come off. Plus, these Melissa and Doug sticker pads come with great scenes that your child can use to mix and match during play. Huge score for my kid, for me, and for my furniture!
If your child isn't into dinosaurs or animals, Melissa and Doug also makes a ton of other varieties.
9. Active Movement Toys
My child is still obsessed with all the active movement toys included on last year's list, but we've added a few new items (including a Nugget couch and a new swing set!). Here are some of the other great new additions to our collection!
A balance bike can be a great way to start getting a child ready to move on to a real bike... and get moving! Make sure to get a helmet, too! My child absolutely love his Velo balance bike, and all his cousins have had one, too. While it is a bit too cold and snowy to use it at the moment, we look forward to spring so we can pull it out again!
PS: Nugget not in your budget? Check out the blocks I put on last year's list. We still use them a lot, and they are on many Nugget alternative round up lists I've seen! You can also add extra sets to get even more building capacity!
We also have a Little Tykes Mini Trampoline with a stability bar that my child absolutely loves. Why no link, then? Because the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend them. Not even mini ones! Why do we have one, then? In consultation with our child's therapy team, we decided (with adequate supervision and in following other recommendations for trampoline use from the American Academy of Pediatrics) that the risks of a mini trampoline were less than the risks of the other places my child was finding to bounce. Our home has specific factors that influenced our decision. Considering one for your home, too? Speak with your child's pediatrician first! There are many, many ways for children to stay active! .
10. Art Supplies
Looking to elevate your child's art supplies beyond the standard crayons and markers? My child loves his tabletop easel! It is great for painting, coloring, and comes with a white board, roll of paper, magnets, and chalk board! We have also paired Crayola markers, crayons, and finger paint, the Melissa and Doug vinyl stickers seen above, and Melissa and Doug animal magnets with the easel for even more fun!
Aside from fostering creativity, art activities are great for teaching fine motor skills, vocabulary, and color awareness, and this product offers letter magnets to help with teaching letter awareness and basic literacy skills such as phonological awareness!
I hope you'll find this roundup as helpful as last year's! Have an idea to add? Comment and share!
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Or, check out other great content available from The Mindfully Scientific Mama!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
With 4 stars or higher, these toys for kids of all ages are sure to impress!
~5 Stars with over 900 reviews!
~5 Stars with over 1400 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 300 reviews!
4.6 Stars with over 1500 reviews!
4.6 Stars with over 93,000 reviews!
4.4 Stars with over 95 reviews.
4.1 Stars with over 270 reviews.
4.9 Stars with over 75 reviews.
4.6 Stars with over 290 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 5700 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 3400 reviews.
4.8 Stars with over 950 reviews.
4.6 Stars with over 1,000 reviews and 4.7 Stars with over 850 reviews for the ready for school dolls, and 4.5 with over 120 for thefinger paint doll.
4.6 Stars with over 5800 reviews.
4.8 Stars with over 840 reviews!
4.7 Stars with over 750 reviews!
More Gifts by Age!
Get even more gift ideas for kids!
And see my Holiday 2020 Gift Guide for gifts for the whole family!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. You can learn more about my participation in this program here. All commissions earned help support this blog!
You got my holiday gifts for her last week, and now, I've got all the hottest gifts for him! Based on my husband's favorite purchases (and all highly rated products on Amazon) here are the gifts the guys on your list will love this holiday! And be sure to keep an eye on my Holiday 2020 Gift Guide for great gift ideas for the entire family! Coming soon: Great Deals on Gifts, Great Gifts for Book Lovers, The Best of Amazon Gifts, and more!
Everyday Waterproof Boots
My Pick: Rockport Men's Rugged Bucks Waterproof Boot
My husband's favorite pair of casual boots are these fantastic Rockports! They are just stylish enough to pair with somewhat nicer clothing (not that we are really going out right now), while casual enough to wear every day. He also says they are super comfortable! And with 4.5 stars and well over 1K reviews, I'm confident these boots will be perfect for the man in your life, too!
A Funny Graphic Tee
My Pick: Now I Am Unstoppable Funny T-Rex T-Shirt
If your husband loves funny graphic tees as much as mine, he is sure to love this one! My husband was quite excited to find this one, and while I don't quite understand his enthusiasm for silly tees, I do love seeing him happy!
For the Lawn Enthusiast
My Pick: Remington RM25C 25cc 2-Cycle 16-Inch Curved Shaft Gas String Trimmer, Orange
We normally do our shopping at the local hardware store for things like this, but when our last weed wacker broke after just a year, my husband went searching for a better one. He has been very happy with this gas powered Reminington, and is enthusiastically sharing about how well it works to any neighbor who will listen. If the guy in your life takes as much pride in his lawn as my husband does in ours, this gift is a must have!
For the Football Enthusiast Who Loves His Vehicle
My Pick: FANMATS NFL Unisex-Adult NFL Truck Emblem, 2-Pack
My husband got a new truck this year, and as a football fan, wanted to show pride in his team. These vehicle emblems are easy to apply and look great! Fear not, Patriots haters; they come in a variety of other team versions, too! If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer for the sports fan in your life, look no further!
For the Gadget and Beer Lover
My Picks: Xthel Titanium Keychain Beer Bottle Opener with Stainless Steel Key Rings and ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Modern Damascus Steel Folding Pocket Knife
As a restauranteur, my husband is constantly in need of a bottle opener on the go (it is all about customer service!). He is also that guy who has a million gadgets on his key ring or in his pocket. He is loving this key ring, and with 4.5 stars and over 600 reviews, your guy will, too. If your guy isn't into beer, what about the perfect pocket knife? My husband has found a million uses for his, and with the bright LED light, he has stopped buying tons of mini flashlights! These also make perfect stocking stuffers!
For Your Favorite Fisherman
My Picks: Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods, OKUMA FISHING TACKLE ABF55b Avenger ABF B Series Baitfeeder Reels, and Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line
My husband took his first salmon fishing trip this year, and needed a suitable rod (his rods are for surf/ocean/shore fishing, and not for salmon fishing... whatever that means!). If the guy in your life goes salmon fishing, or fishes for larger fish fly fishing style, check out these highly rated recommendations! The fishing line is even an Amazon #1 Best Seller! My husband had a lot of great things to say about these products, so they are bound to impress!
For the Busy Coffee Fan
My Pick: YETI Rambler 30 oz Tumbler, Stainless Steel, Vacuum Insulated with MagSlider Lid
If your family is like mine, you are always on the go, and always fueling up with a hot beverage. If that is the case, you can't do better than a YETI tumbler! My husband uses his to make coffee before work almost daily (yes, he is going to work in person; yes, his industry is deemed "essential" in our area). This cup is HUGE, and super sturdy. And, if your guy loves being outdoors, YETI is the go to brand for all things high quality active lifestyle!
For the Outdoor Enthusiast: Anything YETI!
There is a reason people love YETI. Their products are high quality and durable, plus well designed for your active lifestyle. Their products are on my family's Christmas list regularly. From camping, to sailing, to hiking, and more, YETI has you covered! You can check out their entire holiday guide HERE.
When He is Insisting on Investing in a Fish Tank
My Pick: BioCube LED Tanks and Combo Kits
My husband has had a number of fish tanks over the years. I hate them with a passion, and celebrated when he got rid of his last one. They are hard to maintain, have a ton of pieces, and we even had on spring a leak on us. Ugh. So when he wanted to get another fish tank, I was hesitant. But he sold me on this one! The Biocube tank is self contained, unlike traditional tanks, and easier to maintain. The lighting system is also pretty impressive! If you are looking for a compromise like we were, this tank is it! I don't hate it (like our old tanks), and it makes my husband really, really happy. Score!
And Finally, for the Hard Worker Who Deserves to Relax
My Pick:The Perfect Hammock
I won't lie.... my husband and I both love this one! We got ours this spring, and my husband relaxes in it nearly every day (no matter how cold outside). It is sturdy, comfortable, and massive. The perfect gift to tell the guy in your life you appreciate all his hard work, and that he deserves some time to relax.
What would you add to this list? Comment below to share!
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Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support this blog. You can learn more here.
Get your holiday shopping out of the way with great gifts for the entire family! This post contains links to all my gift guides, as well as my Must Have Products page. More content will be added throughout the holiday season, so check back regularly! As always, many of the products I recommend are ones we use in our own home, and love (if there is a product we haven't used, I always make selections based on overall product rating, brand, and a review of the product's details).
The Gift Guide Roundup!
1. 10 Great Toddler Toys - Toys my child loves, and your's will, too!
2.Stocking Stuffers (and small gifts) for Toddlers and Preschoolers - This post contains both Christmas and Hanukkah gifts and books!
3. 3 Types of Bath Toys Your Toddler Will Love - These bath toys make for amazing gifts for your toddler, or an addition to a baby registry.
4. Great Nonfiction Reads for Dog Parents - Get the dog lover in your life a book they will love! These are some of my favorite nonfiction books about dogs (mostly...).
5. Fishing Themed Toys and Books - Does your child love the ocean? Is your family big into fishing? These ocean and fish themed books and toys make for great additions!
6. Gifts for Her - Great gifts for the woman in your life. Home spa and self care products, clothing, accessories, and much more!
7. Gifts for Him - These gifts are sure to impress, and with top ratings (and an enthusiastic recommendation from my husband), you will have no problem finding the perfect gift for the guy in your life!
8. Top Rated Gifts for Kids - These 4+ Star gifts (almost all are 4.5 and higher) for kids of all ages are sure to impress!
9. Holiday Deals on Amazon - Find the latest deals on Amazon here!
Nothing on this list striking your interest? Check out my Must Have Products page for tons of recommendations for craft materials, organizational items, decor, books, toys, and much more!
And be sure to check back regularly for more additions to this list! Coming soon: Budget Gifts, The Best Gifts for Book Lovers, and more!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no additional cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here.
Whether you are shopping for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, or just looking for something to say "I care" to a loved one, this list has items sure to make her smile! Here are some of my favorite products, plus a few that look promising (and are based on products I already own)!!!
Home Spa Essentials
One of my favorite ways to destress has been to turn ordinary activities into luxurious ones! These products are the perfect way to elevate self care.
Disclaimer: I do promotional work for Zentyme. The opinions are entirely my own!
I love making shower time special, especially since it is sometimes some of the only self care I get during the day. These essential oil shower steamers certainly have helped! If the woman you are shopping for is a busy mom like me, this is a perfect gift to help her unwind!
Disclaimer: I have done promotional work for Zentyme. The opinions are entirely my own!
This Zentyme bath pillow is ergonomic, and super plush! Getting this for the woman in your life says "take some time just for you!". This pillow is so comfortable, I have considered replacing my regular pillows with this one (I'm only half kidding)!
Anything from The Savannah Bee Company!
If you have been following me for awhile, you know my extended family lives in Savannah, and the Savannah Bee Company is a stop every time we visit. Luckily, Amazon has started carrying their amazing products. You may wonder, why not Burt's Bees? 1. I like Savannah Bee Company products much better, and 2. Savannah Bee Company is a smaller company than Burt's Bees. I absolutely love every product I've tried from this store, and I know the person you are shopping for will, too. Here are just a few of their amazing products!
One of my favorite self care routines is a nice cup of tea in the evening, and Mighty Leaf is by far my favorite brand. This Ginger Twist tea is soothing and delicious. Plus, the box lasts for what seems like forever! And that means plenty to share with family or guests!
Essie, by far, is my favorite nail polish brand. And Angora Cardi, the color seen below, is one of my favorite colors. The perfect all year round pink, it is just bright enough for summer and just muted enough for fall and winter. And if you don't believe me, take it from social media! Angora Cardi has even been the most popular color on Pinterest, at least according to this Glamor Magazine piece (they also show how the color looks on multiple skin tones.... it works for everyone). It is a perfect stocking stuffer for the women in your life. Pair it with essie's All in One base, top, and strengther for a full manicure at home, with only two products! (Trust me, it is the perfect time saver for busy moms like me!)
Great Wardrobe Staples
I bought this top in September, and it has quickly become one of my favorites! It is comfortable, perfectly oversized (get true size, or perhaps go up one size if you have any concerns), and stylish. It also comes in several different colors. I've always been reluctant to shop for clothing online, but once I started, I found it to be a great way to find new pieces for my wardrobe without the hassle of going to the store!
Another favorite piece, I bought this dress in September as well. My first statement to my husband was "I want this in every color". It is beautiful and very, very comfortable. Plus, it has pockets! It runs on the big size, so get true size, or maybe one size smaller.
Okay, so I did too much shopping online this fall! I got this dress recently as well, and it is beautiful and stylish. I can't wait for COVID to be over so I can wear it on my date nights, or to parties! It also has pockets, which is always an amazing addition.
I'm a huge Kate Spade fan, and only just found out Amazon carries some of their products! While we all carry cell phones now, there is something really special about a classic analogue watch. This one will go with almost any outfit, and is sure to make the woman you are shopping for smile!
Kate Spade Bangles
I have a bunch of Kate Spade bangles, and love them. So when I found some online, I knew I had to share them with readers! They come in three colors, and are super trendy. These will make for perfect stocking stuffers, or a regular gift. They pair perfectly with both casual and dress clothes, too.
For the Kitchen
While kitchenware is not the right gift for everyone, I know I love receiving it! My family is big into cooking (how could we not be with a husband who was a chef for so many years), and these are some of our favorite kitchen products/appliances.
This mortar and pestle is gorgeous and super heavy. It makes for a functional decorations; we use it for grinding sesame seeds for OIT, but it could be used for any herb or spice for both cooking or creating cocktails.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6 Quart, 14 One-Touch Programs
My Instant Pot is a weeknight meal lifesaver. I use it constantly, and can't recommend it enough. If the person you are shopping for hasn't jumped on the Instant Pot wagon yet, this is a must purchase! This is the model I have, and I absolutely love it.
The Amazon Holiday Gift Guide is recommending a newer model of the Instant Pot that does way more than mine does. I wish this version was available when I got mine, because it has an unbelievable number of great functions. From replacing your old slow cooker to serving as an air frier and dehydrator, this Instant Pot will replace a ton of other small kitchen appliances.
Given my child has food allergies, we do a ton of baking. And baking has become so much easier with our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. There is a reason these are so popular; they are just that good. While this is a pricier gift, it is one that is absolutely worth it!
Another trendy kitchen item that is worth the splurge. Le Creuset cookware is amazing for a number of things, and we use our dutch oven regularly!
For the Busy Mom
Shopping for someone who is always on the go? These gifts are perfect!
We love our Yeti tumbler. It is oversized (so plenty of room for lots of caffeine), and heavy duty (so, perfect for a toddler mom!).
purlisse BB Tinted Moisturizer Cream SPF 30 - BB Cream for All Skin Types - Smooths Skin Texture, Evens Skin Tone - 1.4 Ounce
If the woman you are shopping for complains about never having time for makeup, but still loves makeup, this BB cream is the perfect fit. It is high coverage and provides substantial moisture, without causing my skin to breakout. It is, by far, my favorite BB cream ever!
Making running quick errands or going to the gym even simpler with this beautiful Kate Spade keychain wallet! Just big enough for all the essentials, while small enough to carry along with car keys!
I love my Kate Spade wallet, and this one is similar to the one I carry. This wallet makes for a perfect, higher end gift.
Candles are super popular in our home, and Amazon happens to have a number of great options. Here are two ultra popular brands that make for perfect gifts!
I love crafting, and these products have made it that much easier (and in turn, more fun!). These are perfect for the crafty person in your life!
These acrylic paint pens are perfect for fine details on glass, canvas, rocks, wood, or any other base. They are easy to use and come in a variety of great colors.
Coloring is one of my favorite relaxation/mindfulness activities. There is something soothing about creating a masterpiece from a white piece of paper with lines. One of my favorite tools for coloring are colored pencils. And these aren't your kids' Colored Pencil Set! They come in a variety of beautiful colors, from metallics, to bolds, muted tones, and more. Purchase with an adult coloring book for a relaxing activity for whoever you are gifting to.
Gel pens also work great for coloring projects! If you are looking for a brand recommendation, Arteza products are ones I've tested, owned, and love!
Admittedly I don't own a cricut... yet. But I've been sold on how great they are, and added this one to my Christmas list (you might just be seeing some projects from me next year using it!). This #1 best seller has an astounding 5 star rating with over 11,000 reviews. You read that right! Perfect for DIY projects of all kinds, the crafty mama (or teacher, or auntie, or anyone) in your life is sure to love this as a gift!
Gifts for the Rest of the Family
Be sure to check out all my great gifting ideas!
Or, head straight for my Holiday 2020 Gift Guide post for links to all of these guides, and more!
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Did you catch my recent collaboration with YumEarth and FARE on Instagram? If you are like me and love candy, but need something allergy friendly, check out these amazing YumEarth Goodies available for purchase online!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more about my participation in this program here. Additionally, I have previously collaborated with FARE for a YumEarth campaign. This post is not affiliated nor endorsed by either FARE or YumEarth, and all opinions are my own. I simply love YumEarth products and am happy to endorse them as a consumer!
YumEarth everyday goodies are Top 8 free, and their facilities are currently sesame free. Their candy corn is not Top 8 free (it contains egg). If you are managing allergies, always remember to read labels every time, and be sure to check the allergy policy to confirm specific items are safe for your family. Luckily, YumEarth's website is quite comprehensive and user friendly.
Here are some of my favorite YumEarth products!!!
Looking for the YumEarth allergy policy? You can find that here!
You can find even more YumEarth products here, or directly on their website.
Or, check out these other delicious options (I love these, too!!)
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here.
Who doesn't love a seasonally decorated mantle? I'm making it easy to replicate the look I put together in my home with low cost products you can order online!
While many of the products I'm recommending in this post are look alike for the ones we have in our home, these are the bats that we've been using the last couple of years. They are sturdy and make for a bold accent. We've used them on our fireplace and our walls, and have received tons of compliments the last couple of years. Once Halloween is over, we take down the bats and leave up the rest of the decorations until it is time to decorate for Christmas!
We love our farmhouse style clock; it is one of our favorite pieces! For your home (since we got our clock from a friend's small, local business), I've found a great look alike that has similar roman numerals and a weathered wooden base.
So many look-a-likes, so little space! Here are just some of the great fabric pumpkin options I was able to track down. These will keep your home looking seasonal and stylish from September to Thanksgiving!
We've had our 'Fall' sign for about 7 years now, but lucky for you, there is no shortage of look-a-likes! This one is the closest I was able to find, though you'll have no problem finding a different one should you not love this recommendation.
Who doesn't love candles? We have made them a staple of our decor for years. Check out these orange taper candles as one option. You can display them in whatever candle sticks you have, or get ones that look like ours (which were originally purchased at a small shop in the Berkshires for our wedding). The look-a-likes are shorter than ours, but will still work (and are much less expensive!). We rotate the candles we place in them based on the season; fall is red, orange, purple, or black, winter is red, green, or white, and so on.
We love our battery operated orange string lights. With no plug to worry about, they are portable, and perfect for the mantle because they don't have a wire running to the nearest outlet. These look-a-likes come in a pack of two, and cost a good bit less per piece than the ones we found in a local store!
What does your autumn mantle look like this year? Comment below to share some of your tips and tricks!
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Mask Organization Station (Plus Tips for Keeping Your Masks Clean While Traveling, Tips for Washing, And More!)
Family Mask Station
An inexpensive and convenient way to keep your family health and organized.
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at now added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here.
With my husband back at work and my child and I leaving the house more and more (now that our area is mostly open with extensive precautions and community spread is extremely low), easy access to clean masks and a good place to drop dirty ones when getting home became a necessity. We were storing masks somewhat haphazardly, throwing dirty masks in a laundry bin in our utility/mud room along with other clothes leaving them prone to getting misplaced, and were often left low on mask stock when masks didn't get washed, or having difficulty finding masks when it came time to leave the house.
I knew we needed a better way to store our masks.
Where else would a mama to look for organizational goods during social distancing (when not really shopping much in person) but the internet? I found a great farmhouse wire shelf with hooks (click here or on the image below to learn more), and then scoured the internet for the perfect basket to pair with it (click here or on image below to learn more). I couldn't be happier with how the mask station turned out (scroll to see).
We used doggie poop bags to line the basket closest to the door for a dirty mask drop. We've found them to be the perfect size, and we have them on hand anyway because of our pups. Using bags helps ensure germs don't transfer to the basket while masks await being washed. Keeping them in the basket instead of the laundry helps avoid the issue we were having of masks getting mixed in with clothes and lost (masks are the new socks!). Of course, sometimes we do at least remember to put masks in a delicates bag when washing them. This helps them not get misplaced while washing, at least! Please note, the CDC suggests placing masks directly in the washing machine. However, if you live in a home like mine where some clothes are washed on cold and others on warm (you will want to wash your masks on the warmest setting possible, not in cold water), or if you don't have a washing machine, the plastic bag method will help ensure segregation of masks (thus hopefully avoid contamination).
A center basket holds rolls of extra bags. Clean masks hang on the far side (closest to the door into the house, so closest to the direction we'd be heading in if leaving). The spacing between clean and dirty masks ensures germs from dirty masks don't transfer to clean ones. My husband and I also have our masks separated right now (hence why some are hanging outside the basket in the image above).
The wire shelf we bought has two compartments. In the larger one we've placed an adorable carry bag I've been use for my clean masks (I also keep a ziplock bag in there to store masks if they become dirty or saturated while out, and always carry spares for myself and my child). While mine came with a skincare kit, you can use any small makeup bag to carry your masks (see some highly rated solutions below). There are also packs of sanitizing hand wipes for easy access if we don't yet have some in my purse or the diaper bag. This ensures we can quickly grab and go, rather than having to search for sanitizer. In the smaller compartment I've placed dried flowers for decoration, as well as a large jug of hand sanitizer. This ensures we can easily clean our hands the second we walk in the door (though we also keep sanitizer on our person and in our cars, and have a sink in the utility room). We also use this larger hand sanitizer jug to refill smaller containers before we leave the house. Once we are able to find more lysol spray we are planning to store that on the shelf as well, so we can regularly sanitize the space without having to grab cleaner from somewhere else in the house (other than the masks, of course; you don't want to spray those with disinfectant!) I also hung a wire and sea glass piece we got during one of our visits to Peaks Island from the shelf. Even if we can't visit Maine this year we can still find ways to remind ourselves of one of our favorite places!
Highly Rated Products You Might Like for Your Mask Organization Station
Doggie Poop Bags
Have your mask storage system set up? Be sure to check these evidence based sources for how to keep your mask clean, and other tips for staying healthy while out of the house.
Why do we not store gloves in our organizer? Per the CDC, gloves aren't recommended/necessary during everyday activities such as running errands. They should be used when cleaning or caring for someone who is ill.
Instead, simply make sure to wash your hands regularly and well. Always wash with soap and warm water, scrubbing between fingers, under finger nails, and up your arms, for at least 20 seconds.
Hand sanitizer may be used in cases where it is not possible to wash your hands, or after hand washing.
Keeping our families safe and healthy in the pandemic era can feel overwhelming. This mask storage solution has helped us feel just a bit more in control of all the extra things that need to be done before we can walk out the door.
WHAT STRATEGIES HAVE YOU FOUND HELPFUL FOR KEEPING MASKS ORGANIZED?
Comment below to share!
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As some of you may know, prior to having my human child, I was the proud mom to a pack of fur babies... including two dogs. Our dogs are our children, too. They are a huge part of our family, and that didn't change when our human child arrived. Our love for them has only grown as we've seen them bond with our sweet baby.
Needless to say, we are dog people.
I am also a cognitive scientist. So it stands to reason that my reading preferences would include some intersection between the my professional and personal interests!
Below is a list of some of my favorite nonfiction books that I know dog parents will absolutely love.
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Gregory Berns' How Dogs Love Us perfectly fuses memoir and science text into a compelling look at just how incredible the mind of a dog is. You will never look at your fur baby the same way after reading this book. As a neuroscientist, I was amazed at just how similar the dog and the human minds are, in ways I never would have expected. I know you will love this book as much as I do! It is also available on Kindle.
Alexandra Horowitz is a cognitive scientist specializing in canine cognition at Barnard College (which just happens to be located at Columbia University, where I study and work!). Her book Inside of a Dog is a New York Times Bestseller. I thoroughly enjoyed this scientific review of canine perception and cognition, as well as Horowitz's anecdotes about her own dogs. It is a bit more dense than Berns' book, but still an excellent read.
Anyone who has spent time with a dog likely already knows that a canine's dominant sense is smell. In Being a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz dives deep into the dog's olfactory sense. I've just begun reading this text, but thus far, it is just as good as Inside of a Dog.
Okay, so this title can't be a surprise. John Grogan's memoir has been on dog lovers' must read lists for years. It too has been on the New York Times Bestseller list. But it is worth mentioning all the same, because what list of great nonfiction for puppy parents would be complete without it? If you saw the movie, I'm sorry. Okay, it was a great film (in my opinion), but as is often the case, the book was so, so much better. Marley and Me is heartwarming, tear jerking, and will remind you of how precious the bond is between humans and their fur babies. If you haven't read it yet, you really should. Even if you saw the movie first (there are lots of little details the movie missed).
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence-and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
Okay, so this one isn't about dogs. But if you love reading about canine cognition, you will likely find this memoir/science read just as interesting. Alex the African Grey Parrot may be one of the most famous birds in history; upon his untimely passing, Alex received obituaries in such publications as The New York Times and The Economist. Alex helped us cognitive scientist learn that the phrase "bird brain" should actually be a complement. No, really! Alex may have been one of the smartest birds on record, but his intelligence isn't unique. Pepperberg's discussion of her deep relationship with this loveable soul will pull at your heart strings, and absolutely merits its status as a New York Times best seller.
The following are books that I am adding to my reading list, and look like promising candidates to add to this list once I've completed each. Have you read one of these titles? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!
Love pups as much as we do?
Be sure to comment below with stories about your own dog, or book recommendations. Know someone who loves dogs? Be sure to share! And be sure to follow our pups on their Instagram account @shepherd.sister.squad!
In honor of my upcoming literacy pack and "The Big One" birthday theme release, I've curated a collection of excellent books and games to complement my carefully designed content. Many of these are products my child or my students love, but some are highly rated products that I believe would be a good fit for your home (and mine). Quite a few also offer high educational value (including building color concepts and fine motor skills).
Be sure to stay tuned to the blog, as I will be adding additional activities to pair with these products!
The Round Up
Disclosure: The following contains links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here.
Fish Puzzles for Little Hands
Fish Books for Toddlers and Children
Fish Themed Toys for Infants
Fish Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Fish and Ocean Themed Toys and Other Gifts for Children
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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