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November is Native American Heritage Month and it’s an important opportunity to recognize and honor the original inhabitants of North America. Help kids (and their grown-ups) make that connection by filling their tummies with indigenous cuisine. These recipes are also great for cooking with kids. We caught up with Chef Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart of Etiquette Catering in Rapid City, SD for some mouth-watering menu items that incorporate traditional Lakota ingredients.

“As the original inhabitants of this land, it is important to teach all children the significance of indigenous foods, history, and existence,” says Chef Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart. “We all reside upon the ancestral lands of indigenous people.”

With full recipes below, Chef Tilsen-Brave Heart has curated a special menu for Native American Heritage Month and beyond. The following mouth-watering dishes incorporate ingredients like pumpkin and bison, which are major food staples for the Lakota people. You’ll also find foods like cranberries and rice that are also indigenous ingredients.

Magic Pumpkin Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash

  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree

  • 2 cups coconut milk

  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Roast a large peeled and cubed butternut squash at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

  2. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of garlic powder, sprinkle kosher salt, and cracked black pepper

  3. Toss with olive oil and put in on a baking sheet before putting in the oven

  4. 1 stick of butter melted with a chopped medium yellow onion, sprinkle with some salt until translucent.

  5. Add 1 can of organic pumpkin puree

  6. Add 2 cups of coconut milk

  7. Add 4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable stock

  8. Add the roasted butternut squash

  9. Simmer for 30 minutes

  10. Then blend with an immersion blender

  11. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds

 

Wild Rice, Cranberry and Bison Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground bison

  • 1 lb Italian sausage

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 6-8 baby portabella mushrooms

  • Qtr. cup dried cranberries

  • 1 cup wild rice {optional: purchase wild rice from: https://redlakenationfoods.com}

  • 2 cups bone broth or vegetable stock

  • Olive oil

  • Kosher salt 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Melt 3 tbsp. of butter with a half chopped yellow onion Sauté

  3. Wash and clean 6-8 baby portabellas remove stems and chop add to the butter and yellow onion

  4. Add qtr. cup of dried cranberries

  5. Add 1 cup of wild rice, continue to saute all together (you are popping the wild rice, it will become fragrant)

  6.  Add 2 cups of bone broth or vegetable stock, lower heat and cover to simmer; set timer for 25 minutes

  7.  In another pan saute  2 tbsp of butter and the other half of your chopped yellow onion, cook until translucent

  8. Add 1 lb of ground bison, 1 lb of Italian sausage and 1 tbsp of garlic 

  9. Cook until brown over medium heat 

  10. Add wild rice and bison mixture together

  11. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt over portabellas 

  12. Stuff with bison wild rice mixture

  13. Bake for 15 minutes; serve warm

Bison Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs buffalo meat

  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil 

  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder

  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. paprika

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric

  • 3-4 bay leaves 

  • Mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, celery)

  • 6-8 cups of beef broth/stock or water

  • 6-8 russet potatoes

Instructions:

  1. Braise 2 lbs of Buffalo meat (1-inch cubes) with half an onion (fine chop), in a warmed stockpot with 3-4 tbsp. olive oil 

  2. Spice 1 tbsp. garlic powder, 2 tbsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, and 3-4 bay leaves 

  3. After browned, add Mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, celery), and can of diced tomatoes 

  4. Add 2 cups of water or stock/broth and simmer on medium-low heat for 30-45 mins or until tender. (Stir occasionally, more water or stick/broth may be needed) times will vary with the size of meat and location

  5. When meat is tender add 6-8 cups of beef broth/stock or water, bring back to boil 6-8 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces or bigger 

  6. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender 

  7. Remove from heat and let stand for 10-15 minutes, serve

Buffalo, Cranberry and Wild Rice Meatballs with Blackberry Wojape

Ingredients:

Meatballs

  • 1 lb Buffalo (Can be substituted with beef)

  • 1/4 lb Italian Sausage

  • 1 cup Wild Rice

  • 1/2 cup Yellow Onion

  • 3 cups of Chicken Bone broth

  • 1/2 cup Rehydrated Cranberries

  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs (optional)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder

  • Dash of Paprika

Blackberry Wojape 

  • 1 cup Berries

  • 1 cup Sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups Water

Instructions:

Meatballs

  1. Clean wild rice with cold water 

  2. Saute wild rice with 1/2 cup of yellow onion and some oil for 5 minutes, allowing the rice to gently pop

  3. Add in 3 cups of bone broth per 1 cup of wild rice

  4. Add in rehydrated cranberries, cover and simmer for 45 minutes 

  5. Add in 1 cup finished wild rice to buffalo 

  6. Add 2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce

  7. Add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (optional) 

  8. Add in 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and a dash of paprika 

  9. Place meatballs on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until internal temp is 165 degrees

Blackberry Wojape

  1. Add into a pan: 1 cup of berries (of your choosing), 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups of water 

  2. Render down for about 10 minutes

  3. Drizzle blackberry wojape on top of the meatballs and enjoy 

 

 

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The Best New Store-Bought Snacks You Haven’t Tried Yet

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If 2020 taught us anything, it was to have a stockpile of healthy snacks for kids ready at home when the hangries strike. Fuel up with these low- or no-sugar store-bought snacks for kids that will boost their brain power and give them the energy they need to play and learn. From brand-new snacks just released in 2021 to healthy snacks we always have in our pantry, read on for the best new store-bought snacks to stock up on now.

Spudsy Sweet Potato Fries

Those misshapen sweet potatoes aren't going to waste! Spudsy take them and upcycles them into a plant-based snack the whole family will love! The brand's Sweet Potato Fries are grain and gluten-free, non-GMO, plant-based and come in three flavors including Hot Fry, Vegan Ranch Fry and Cheese Fry. While you're shopping, be sure to pick up a few of our other faves, cinnamon churro and Bangin' Bar-B-Q sweet potato puffs!

Available at spudsy.com, Amazon and select Kroger stores.

Love, Corn

These are not your Corn Nuts of the 90's! Love, Corn products are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher and come in so many delicious flavors. New this year, Vegan Cheezy makes the perfect, guilt-free snacks for moms and a great addition to school lunches.

Find Love, Corn at Kroger retailers, lovecorn.com and Amazon.

Yumi Fruit Leathers

Perfect for toddlers, big kids and even busy moms, Yumi's fruit leathers come in mixed berry, mango and strawberry flavors. Kids will get a full serving of fruit and vegetables with no added sugar in each strip!

Get them here.

Brainiac Foods

Don't just eat, feed your brain! Brainiac's new products include Brain SqueezersBrain Butters and Smart Tubes & Smoothies that pack a proprietary blend of brain nutrients including Omega‑3s and Choline and are Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Kosher, have no added sugars or artificial flavors and are approved by pediatricians. Did we mention they taste great, too?

Get them here.

RW Garcia Organic Everything Crackers

Get all the things you love about an Everything bagel in a thin, tasty cracker! RW Garcia's delicious snack is organic, verified non-GMO, gluten free, kosher and is made with corn, seeds, garlic and onion.

Find them at local grocers nationwide.

KIND Bar Minis

KIND Minis pack massive taste into 100 calories or less, with choices like Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew and Peanut Butter. Kids will love adding them to their lunchbox rotation and you can feel good that they are getting some good nutrition in at snack time. 

Get them here

Good Crisp Cheese Balls

Yes, you can still have your tasty cheese balls and eat them too! The Good Crisp just turned your guilty pleasure into a healthy snack with no fillers, artificial flavors, gluten or GMO's. On top of that, they've added Wellmune, which helps support your kiddos immune system.

You can purchase at thegoodcrispcompany.com, Sprouts and more retailers soon.

GoGo squeeZ AlmondBlend Pudding

Make packing that sweet snack a breeze with GoGos squeeZ brand new AlmondBlend Pudding! The plant-based pouch offers 5 grams of protein and 30% less sugar as compared to traditional dairy pudding so no guilt required.

You can buy the new pouches at gogosqueez.com and Target.

Famous Amos Wonders from the World

The Famous Amos brand is being reimagined for today’s world with three new cookies. While sticking with its bite-sized shape that people know and love, Famous Amos is shaking things up by introducing three new recipes with premium ingredients from around the world including:

  • Belgian Chocolate Chip: An elevated classic chocolate chip cookie with authentic Belgian chocolate
  • Philippine Coconut and White Chocolate Chip: A bite-size variety with coconut from the Philippines
  • Mediterranean Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip: A bite-size variety with hazelnuts from the Mediterranean

Get them here or in a store near you. 

Hungry Buddha Lemon Blueberry Bars

These Lemon Blueberry Bars from Hungry Buddha are the perfect combo of zesty lemon with the sweetness of juicy berries all in one delicious, vegan, plant-powered and allergy-friendly snack bar. These gluten free, Non-GMO bars are packed with 10g of protein and only 2g of sugar, and are made without the use of palm oil, sugar alcohols, dairy or soy. Pick these up at your local Sprouts Market for $2.49.

Catalina Crunch

Catalina Crunch, the makers of delicious keto-friendly cereals and cookies, just released a brand new Crunch Mix that features protein, fiber and specially curated natural ingredients in four delectable flavors: Traditional, Cheddar, Creamy Ranch and Spicy Kick. Each variety is made with the same delicious taste and crunch of your favorite party mixes and features a delicious mix of Catalina Crunch cereal, vibrant seasonings, nuts, chickpea pretzels and (depending on the flavor) cheese crisps. We love to keep these in the car for impromptu park days and hiking trips. 

Purchase here

Perfect Bar Snack Size

Perfect Bar to the rescue! The new snack size is perfect for kiddos and now comes in Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter. Made with organic peanut butter and organic honey, 20+ organic superfoods and six grams of whole food protein, these petite bars make the ideal lunch or after-school snack.

Get them in the refrigerated sections of Target, Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway and retailers nationwide for $6.99 for an eight count box.

Undercover Snacks

Healthy ingredients… in disguise! Developed by a mom whose two daughters were diagnosed with celiac disease, all Undercover Snacks are made with carefully sourced all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, simple ingredients and Rain Forest Alliance Certified chocolate.

Undercover Snacks are made with crispy quinoa, which is naturally gluten-free, packed with protein, fiber and nutrients, and has an incredible crunchy texture. They are made in a dedicated facility that is free of the top ten food allergens. For lunchboxes, tuck one of their single-serve packs in as a treat! 

Get them here

Without a Trace Foods

Looking for healthy, allergy-friendly snacks to pack in your kid's backpack or lunchbox that are free from the top 8 allergens? Look no further! Developed by a mom whose children have severe food allergies, Without a Trace offers a mouthwatering variety of plant-based, gluten-free Chewy Granola Bars, Power Bites and Cookies. They are perfect for tucking in lunchboxes or as a grab-n-go snack for everyone in the family. 

Get them here

Thinful Guiltless Snack Mix

A sweet, popcorn-based treat without all the extra added sugar? Yes please! Just a 1/2 cup clocks in at 60 calories and 2 grams of sugar thanks to their all-natural sweeteners. Now you can feel good about treating the kids without any of the guilt. 

Get them here.

Dick and Jane Educational Snacks

Make snack time fun and educational! Dick and Jane's educational snacks are all-natural, non-GMO and 100% nut-free. Each pack is made with crackers imprinted with learning opportunities like spelling, abbreviations and more. Varieties currently include States & Capitals, Presidents, English & Spanish, Food & Nutrition, Fun & Fitness and Farmers Market.

Get them here, $25 for 30 variety pack

KRAVE Zero Sugar Jerky

KRAVE recently introduced a new Zero Sugar Jerky line that marries grass-fed beef with all the flavor and none of the sugar. Your kids will love the two new flavors: Sonoma Style BBQ and Southwest Hatch Chile. KRAVE Zero Sugar Jerky perfects bold flavor and tender texture for a snack that delivers on taste and nutrition—both 100% grass-fed beef jerky flavors have 12g of protein, 0g of sugar and only 1.5g of fat per serving.

KRAVE Zero Sugar Jerky is available now in select CVS stores nationwide and online at kravejerky.com, with availability in Meijer, Kroger and on Amazon coming soon.

Belgian Boys

Belgian Boys make delicious non-GMO European sweets and you're going to want to stock up on them for your next road trip. Kids will especially love the speculoos cookies that come in the too-cute mustache shape and the Belgian chocolate cookie bars (hide these, you'll want them for yourself). Try their frozen breakfast items like waffles and bite-sized pancakes for on-the-go munching.

Find them here or at a store near you

Brave Good Kind Tender Chicken Bars

Up your protein game this year with these in your backpack. Perfect for a day at the beach or a hiking adventure, these jerky bars are the savory treat your crew needs. Hot Honey is our favorite with its sweet kick. Tender Chicken Bars also come in teriyaki and original flavors. 

Get them here

Pure Batch

Plant-based eaters, listen up! Pure Batch has grab-and-go cookie batches that include four types of truffles, a protein brownie and  refrigerated-to-eat cookies. You'll love knowing that you are feeding your body with something nutritious while also enjoying a sweet treat. 

Get them here

2Betties

2Betties creates dairy-free, nutrient-dense mini donuts with no refined sugars. We love them for a hiking treat to motivate the kids to keep going! They are currently offered in six delicious flavors: Chocolate Chunk, Maple Cinnamon, Sweet Almond, Mocha Chip, Vanilla Bean, and Pumpkin Spice. Hide the wrapper and your guests will think you’re an expert donut maker.

Get them here or find them in a store near you, $2.99. 

DINO BARS

Developed by parents, DINO BARS are the healthy, travel-friendly bar that your kids will love eating. They are wrapped in edible paper and available in three fun flavors: strawberry, blueberry, and mango. Parents will love that they are non-GMO, USDA certified organic and free from nuts, gluten, soy, and dairy. 

Get them here.

Horizon Organic's Yogurt Pouches and Cultured Dairy Smoothies

Horizon Organic's newest offerings from their Growing Years line include a yummy dairy smoothie and yogurt pouches. The dairy smoothie comes in a small container that's perfect for school lunches or a quick snack. We also love that these new snacks were developed with the help of a pediatrician, so you'll know your kids are getting great nutrition. 

Available at Target, $4.99 for a 4-pack & up. 

RIND Skin-On Dried Fruit

Sink your teeth into RIND’s new Skin-In Dried Fruit snacks! The chewy, tasty snacks have no added sugar and 4-6g of fiber per serving. Because the skin is still on, kiddos will get more vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber than other dried fruit brands. Not only that, they are non-GMO project verified, Kosher certified, allergen-friendly and gluten-free. We love all the flavors that include Tropical Blend, Straw-Peary, Orchard, Tangy Kiwi, Coco-Melon and Coconut Crisps.

Get them here.

Seapoint Farms Mighty Lil’ Lentils

Enjoying lentils never tasted so good! Perfect to enjoy by the handful or tossed on a salad, these salty snacks pack plant-based protein, are gluten-free and have vegan options. Choose from Pink Himalayan Salt, Barbeque, Falafel and Cinnamon Sugar.

Get them here.

Quinn

Quinn is known for making crazy delicious and totally craveable pretzels and microwave popcorn using only 100% REAL, simple ingredients and kicking artificial ingredients and unpronounceables to the curb. We love the maple almond butter filled pretzels for family hikes and the whole grain sea salt pretzel sticks for school lunches. 

Get them here

Supernola

For on-the-go snacking that you can count on to be free of junk, look to Supernola. These superfood clusters come in Triple Berry Vanilla, Dragon Fruit Lemon Zest, Honey Sweet Goji, Banana Nut Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Nut Crunch. Supernola fits many specialty diets including Paleo, Keto (4 flavors), Vegan (4 flavors), and is naturally dairy, gluten, grain, peanut and refined sugar-free.

Get them here.

Tia Lupita Tortilla Chips

Chips made out of cactus? Just say YES to Tia Lupita! These grain-free chips come in flavors like sea salt (our favorite), salsa verde, hot sauce, and chipotle, you'll definitely find one that you love. 

Get them here

Clio Less Sugar Yogurt Bars

The world's first Greek yogurt bar wrapped in chocolate has two new flavors! Delicious enough to pass for dessert, the Coconut and Berry Açaí treats are just 100 calories, contain one gram of sugar and pack eight grams of protein.

The two newest flavors are available exclusively at Whole Foods and you can find the others by visiting cliosnacks.com.

Raisels Pick-Your-Mix

Raisels, the creators of the fun-flavored Golden Raisins, has just launched the perfect way to get the flavors you want sent right to your door. The new Pick-Your-Mix option will allow you to mix-and-match delicious Raisel packs to create a perfect, custom Raisels box. Choose from among 7 options to bring the sweet, sour and slightly-spicy Raisel flavors to you. We love these as an alternative for kids who love sour candies—they won't know they're really eating fruit! 

Bobo's Almond Brownie Oat Bars and Bites

Bobo's is back with new whole grain snacks! Get ready to let kiddos sink their teeth into gluten-free whole grain oats, cocoa, chocolate chips and chocolate almond butter in the new almond brownie oat bars and bites. Not only that, choose from brand new strawberry and apple stuff'd oat bites for a fruity snack that keeps you full.

Available here

Solely Organic Whole Fruit Gummies

Solely's new Organic Whole Fruit Gummies contain only two or three ingredients, real whole fruit and a little Vitamin C. Every pouch offers 0.7 ounces of fruit, is only 60-70 calories and has no added sugar, preservatives, gelatins, colors, or gums. They're also USDA organic, Kosher, and Non-GMO verified. Choose from Organic Mango and Organic Mango & Orange flavors!

Available exclusively at Whole Foods Market.

LesserEvil Lil' Puffs

We'll just come out and say it: these new snacks from LesserEvil are so delicious you'll want to buy one bag for them, and one bag for you. The brand-new line includes flavors like Veggie Blend, Sweet Potato Apple, Non-Dairy Cheddar and Strawberry Beet. The puffs, which are in fun star-like shapes, use organic coconut oil and offer zero grams of sugar. They're certified USDA organic, vegan, non-GMO project verified, grain-free and gluten-free. The tasty snacks are best for toddlers 12 months and older. 

Available at Whole Foods and LesserEvil.com

 

JUSTIN'S® Refrigerated Almond Butter Protein Bars

We love these refrigerated bars for on-the-go snacking as they come in kid-friendly flavors like Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Butter and Honey Almond Butter. Pop them in your purse for a protein-rich, plant-based snack that you can feel good about serving. With 10g of protein per bar, you can definitely keep the hangries away. 

Available online or at a grocery store near you.

Brave Good Kind Chicken Bites

We love this delicious line of tender chicken snacks made from real, wholesome ingredients like antibiotic-free chicken and various spices and we think you will too. They’re available in three flavors: Original, Teriyaki, and Hot Honey and they're the perfect option for hikes or to keep in your purse for when the hangries hit. High in protein, they can definitely get you through a playdate at the park that ran through lunchtime. 

Buy them here

Butterfly Nut Butter

Give their lunches a colorful boost with Butterfly's brand-new nut butter that comes in two unique colors and flavors: Blue Dream and Pink Panther. Each is a unique mix of walnut, cashews, macadamia and MCT oil. The color comes from pitaya (dragon fruit) and blue spirulina. Both new flavors are organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free.

Available at butterflysuperfoods.com

 

Serenity Kids Grain-Free Puffs

If your babe is a puff fanatic turn to the brand-new grain-free puffs from Serenity Kids. With zero grams of sugar and no fillers like rice and grains, Serenity Kids leads with cassava root and real veggies. Choose from flavors like Carrot & Beet with Olive Oil, Broccoli & Spinach with Bone Broth and Tomato & Mushroom with Bone Broth. The entire line is non-GMO and USDA Organic certified. 

Available at myserenitykids.com

Urban Remedy Plant-Based Protein Bars

This uber-fresh plant-based food company gets a 10,000/1000 rating from our editors, which basically means these protein bars are beyond tasty! Handcraft and plant-based, Urban Remedy's bars are low in sugar, high in protein and rich in healthy fats. Currently, they are available in Cacao, Matcha and Superfood Chaga flavors. 

Available at urbanremedy.com and amazon.com

Catalina Crunch Keto Sandwich Cookies

Ditch your traditional sandwich cookies that are loaded with sugar for these low-carb treats that taste delicious! Packed with 4g plant protein, 2g sugar and only 5g net carbs. 100% plant-based, nothing artificial, great macros and now available in four flavors: Chocolate Vanilla, Chocolate Mint, Vanilla Crème and Peanut Butter.

Available here

Bubbies Mochi Ice Cream

These delicious mochi ice cream bites are available in individually-wrapped packaging and are gluten free and non-GMO. Made with all-natural ingredients, they are a tasty, no-mess, perfectly portioned treat everyone will enjoy. The new single serve mochi are available in varieties including Vegan Chocolate, Vegan Strawberry, and (non-vegan) Green Tea, Triple Chocolate, Cookie Dough Bites and more at the self-serve freezers in Whole Foods and other grocery stores nationwide! 

CLIF Kid Zbars: Cinnamon Roll

Our tots adore Zbars (and we do, too), which is why we're eager to let you know about CLIF Kid's brand new flavor: cinnamon roll. It's packed with whole grain oats and swirls of cinnamon, and it tastes just like your fave doughy cinnamon rolls (but without the gooey, sticky mess). 

Available at shop.clifbar.com

Nature's Bakery Baked-Ins

Our kids can't get enough of Nature's Bakery fig bars, which means this brand has set the bar high for kids (and adult) snacks. Good news: Nature Bakery's brand-new soft-baked bars are just as delicious as their beloved fig bars. The new snack comes in two flavors: Chocolate Oat and Banana Chocolate Chip. Both flavors feature organic whole grains, fruits and veggies with 9 grams of whole grains, fruits, veggies and chocolate chips. They're free of high fructose corn syrup and are nut-, dairy- and soy-free. Our toddler loved the bar and we thought that it was soft enough to give to our 11 month old who devoured it as well.

Available at target.com

Mavericks Snacks Cookiez and Crackerz

Launched in early 2020, Mavericks Snacks is new to the snacking game. But that doesn't mean they're going unnoticed. Mavericks Snacks was recently voted "Best New Healthy School Snack" and are winning kids (and parents) over with their delicious Cookiez and Crackerz. Their Cookiez have 40% less sugar than the leading kids cookie and their Crackerz boast 8 grams of whole grains. All snacks are non-GMO and peanut-free.

Available at mavericksnacks.com

HighKey Snacks

This keto-friendly snack brand strives to make OG-tasting products in a healthier way. Each product is gluten-free, grain-free, made with clean ingredients and has no added sugar. Shop seven delicious products for 2021 that include Caramel Clusters, Salted Caramel Mini Cookies and Vanilla Shortbread Mini Cookies.

Available on Amazon and HighKey.

GOOD GOOD Krunchy Keto Bars

A great on-the-go snack, GOOD GOOD's Krunchy Keto Bars taste like a dessert. Packed with nutrients, each bar is loaded with eight to 13 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and has no added sugar. Choose from Raspberry Cheesecake and Caramel Friendly flavors in this snack that is great for parents and kiddos! 

Available at Amazon.

ICONIC Kids Protein Shakes

We all know how hard it is to get kids to eat healthy—the constant battle over sugar and veggies never ends. That's why ICONIC® Kids was created. It's a delicious kid’s drink with 0g of added sugar, a full serving of daily organic vegetables, Vitamin D3, and a taste that will trick kids into thinking it’s dessert. Try the sample pack and you'll get two of each of these flavors: Fruity Fiesta (tastes like the milk leftover from a bowl of Fruit Loops), Chocolate Carnival (as decadent as a sliver of rich dark chocolate cake) and Vanilla Vacay (tastes JUST like a vanilla milkshake). 

Buy them here

 

Without a Trace Power Bites

Gluten-free and plant based, Without a Trace's Power Bites are tasty as can be. The allergen-friendly bites are made with real ingredients and are free from chemicals, fillers, are non-GMO and the Big 8, plus sesame. Enjoy these fork-free morsels in Red Raspberry and Cinna-Monster.

Available at withoutracefoods.com.

Snacking Avocado from Earnest Eats

Snacking Avocado is a uniquely light and crispy clean-ingredient snack made with slices of real Hass avocados that are freeze-dried and simply seasoned with sea salt and spices. Available in three savory flavors, including Sea Salt, Sea Salt Lime and Roasted Chipotle, the nutritious new line is vegan, keto, gluten-free, Non-GMO, high-fiber and sugar free. 

Available on Amazon

Dark Chocolate Mint from Kate's Real Food

Addicted to Thin Mints but looking for a better-for-you option? Check this out! Kate's Real Food just launched their newest all-natural energy bar flavor, Dark Chocolate Mint, and you're going to love it. Like all Kate’s Real Food products, the Mint Bar is loaded with tasty USDA-certified organic ingredients, including cool peppermint extract, smooth dark chocolate, natural cacao powder, creamy peanut butter and certified gluten-free oats. It also includes organic, dried bits of cacao beans, adding texture to the bar with chocolate in a pure, unaltered form.

Available on Amazon

The Soulfull Project Granola

For a breakfast or on-the-go snack you can feel good about, we love The Soulfull Project's new granola. Made with steel-cut oats, brown rice crisps and puffed quinoa, your kids will love the "no junk" flavors of maple pecan, toasted coconut and dark chocolate cherry. You'll feel good knowing that for every serving of a Soulfull Project item that is purchased, one is donated to a food bank in that same region.

Bubba's Fine Foods Sweet & Savory Nut Mixes

These brand-new nut mixes from Bubba’s Fine foods come in six different flavors, three savory, and three sweet. Each one is filled with real food ingredients, and pack a whopping seven grams of protein. The 1.2oz serving size makes this an easy snack for busy parents and kids alike. And, if you’re trying to eat a more keto-focused diet, these nut mixes also only have three grams of net carbs per serving, too! 

Available at Amazon.

Clio Less Sugar Yogurt Bar

Clio has launched a new less-sugar Greek yogurt bar in two flavors, peach and mixed berry. With only one gram of sugar and eight grams of protein, this is a sweet treat you can feel good about sharing with the kids.

Available at Clio and Walmart stores nationwide.

KIND EQUALITY Bar

You know and love KIND bars for their low-sugar combo of nuts, dark chocolate, salt and much more. Now, they've just launched their second-edition EQUALITY bar. While the bar itself is the favorite Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Nut, but the new wrapper is custom designed by a Black female artist, and it represents a world that’s beautifully diverse, inclusive and equitable. 

Available at KIND Snacks

Greater Than Performance Drinks

Ditch the sugary sports drink and hydrate with Greater Than instead. With new flavors that include Strawberry Lemonade and Peach Clementine, this electrolyte drink is non-GMO, gluten and dairy free, 100 percent vegan, organic and paleo friendly. It's perfect for busy kids and parents on the go!

Available at drinkgt.com

—Editorial Team

All images courtesy of retailers.

Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, all items were available for purchase. 

 

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The Best Store-Bought Snacks of 2020 

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Read next

They’re your go-to for stamps, and but when’s the last time you bought birthday presents for your children from the United States Postal Service? Turns out, not only can you buy shipping supplies and stamps online, the USPS has an extensive online shop full of toy trucks, cool t-shirts, toddler costumes, and more. We scoured through the site to bring you our top favorites here.

Editor’s note: At the time of publication all items were in stock. We’ll try to keep this post updated with items that are still available but they go quick! 

USPS Post Office Tent

The USPS partnered with Kid Trax for this awesome play tent. Now your mini mail carriers can act out in real style!

Get it here, $44

USPS Mail Truck Ornament

The USPS is here to bring holiday joy with this sweet glass-blown mail truck with a tree on top.

Get it here, $17

photo: USPS

USPS 1971 Jeep-White

Die-cast toy that is sure to bring some major mail happiness to your place space.

Get it here, $6

H.D. Truck Series 9

Deliver the goods to all your LEGO Minifigs with this cute tiny trailer truck.

Get it now, $13

photo: USPS

Dodge Durango

Not all mail trucks are jeeps! Check out this cute little Dodge Durango truck for your collection.

Find it here, $6

photo: USPS

The Art of Magic Kit

The USPS teamed up with acclaimed magician Mac King to make this card-trick set. Includes Art of Magic USPS stamps.

Get it here, $35

Dragons Pop-Up Book with Stamps

This 24-page book celebrating dragons includes six pop-ups and four dragon stamps. 

Buy it here, $35

US Mail T-Shirt

Show your love of the USPS with this 100% cotton tee.

Find yours here, $10

USPS Mail Carrier Costume (Toddler)

Available in size M (3-4) or L (4-6) these adorable costumes come complete with shirt with logo, pants, hat and mail carrier bag. 

Buy it here, $25

 

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The 41 Best Christmas & Holiday Books for Kids

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Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or other holiday traditions (or none), this time of year is perfect for curling up with a good book and with so many holiday books for kids to choose from, you’ll find one for every winter’s eve.  From snowy escapades to animal antics, Christmas lore, and more the following list includes new releases for 2020 that are sure to become favorites for your family year after year.

The magical illustrations and beloved stories will leave your little ones enchanted. Babies and toddlers will enjoy some of the hard-backed picture books, while preschoolers will giggle at Fritz the Farting Reindeer. Older kids will love reading chapter books like Junie B. Jones and Nancy Drew. Reading together as a family is a Christmas tradition that everyone can partake in. Also, don’t miss our Christmas jokes, Christmas crafts, and Christmas recipes.

photo: Peguin/Viking

The Legend of the Christmas Witch

The story introduces readers to Santa’s long lost, misunderstood sister, Kristtōrn, who just happens to have been raised alone by a witch of the woods. Kristtōrn embarks on a journey to find her twin, but is met with fear of her powers. And Kristtōrn has a temper. It leads to a confrontation that leaves the fate of Christmas itself in balance.

Ages: 5 to 8

Get it here, $16

photo: Candlewick Press

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Perhaps the most classic tale of the holidays, this newly bound version is a family tradition in the making.

Age: 1 to 6

Get it here, $18

photo: Welbeck Children's

Paperscapes: The Nutcracker

This reimagined version of the holiday classic is stunning and innovative. Press-out characters help tell the tale of Clara and her famed Nutcracker doll that immediately makes new fans of the Christmas ballet known across the world.

Ages: 6 to 8

Get it here, $17

photo: Simon Spotlight

Peanuts Countdown to Christmas

There's a story every day of December leading up to Christmas is this new collection. The entire Peanuts gang is here to celebrate the best things about the season, getting everyone in the spirit.

Ages: 6 to 8

Get it here, $10

photo: Random House Books for Young Readers

The Real Santa

Everybody loves Santa, but what does he really look like? Does he match the drawings in your favorite books, or does he look like you and me?

Ages: 4 to 8

Get it here, $17

photo: Candlewick

Where's Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search

Even Waldo is getting in on the holiday spirit. This creative new version of the man in the striped shirt comes with a "spotlight" that helps young searches find fun scenarios in an otherwise dark page.

Ages: 5 to 9

Get it here, $16

photo: Doubleday Books

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Peekaboo adventures await on this fun book that makes gifts magically appear.

Ages: 3 to 7

Get it here, $9

photo: Amazon

Snow Still

This larger-sized board book features beautiful wintery illustrations centered around a deer and other woodland creatures. By Holly Suprlice. 

Ages: 3 and up 

Find it on here, $9

photo: Cottage Door

Peek-a-Flap Ho Ho Ho

This adorable board book lets kids get super interactive with all of the fun, colorful flaps that are sturdy enough for even your roughest lil' reader. Written by Holly Berry-Byrd and illustrated by Yuyi Chen. Ages: 2-6 Get it here, $8

photo: Candlewick Press

Christmas ABC

Jannie Ho’s bright illustrations feature a ton of smiling little faces and iconic holiday imagery, this board book is a perfect way to learn the ABCs all year long.

Ages: 0-3

Get it here, $11

photo: Candlewick Press

Little Christmas Tree

Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lift-the-flap adventure is not your average board-book! With gorgeous illustrations, your little reader takes a journey through a wintery wonderland of nature, discovering woodland creatures along the way.

Ages: 2-5

Get it here, $12

photo: Little Brown

Snow Kisses

Judi Abbot’s sweet board book is like a snuggle in a story, full of cozy winter images. A perfect book to read over a cup of cocoa this winter!

Ages: 2-4

Get it here, $8

Looking for more holiday books for babies and toddlers? Check out this list.

Preschool & Early Elementary

New for 2020: Fritz the Farting Reindeer: A Story About a Reindeer Who Farts

This new book from Humor Heals Us brings you the story of a reindeer with gas. We know the kids are going to think it's a hoot for sure. 

Ages 2-12

Get it here, $12 

photo: Candlewick Press

The Shortest Day

Written by Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis, this magnificent book based on Cooper's "The Shortest Day" a poem written for John Langstaff's Christmas Revels. It is the story of the shortest day, of the Solstice, and how our Yuletide traditions have evolved from the desire to burn against the impending darkness of winter. Absolutely gorgeous. 

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $15

photo: Candlewick Press

Dasher: How a Brave Little Deer Changed Christmas Forever

This season's enchanted book award goes to the stunningly illustrated Dasher by Matt Tavares (Red and Lulu). As with other holiday tales in the hands of Matt Tavares, classic holiday icons meet a whimsical, magical new twist as we follow young Dasher as she meets Santa for the first time. 

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $10

photo: Penguin Random House

Little Robin's Christmas

Jan Fearnley's new book tells the story of a sweet little robin who has seven vests to wear for the seven days before Christmas. But one by one, he gives away all of his warm vests to other animals in need: the baby otter shivering in his mama's arms; a prickly hedgehog; and even a little mouse who is so cold Robin gives away his last vest. When Robin is alone shivering on Christmas Eve, he gets a very special gift. A sweet story, beautifully illustrated. 

Ages: 2-5

Find it here, $17

photo: Penguin Random House

The Crayons' Christmas

The blockbuster duo Drew Daywalt (author) and Oliver Jeffers' (illustrator) are back and this time it's a holiday theme! Readers can celebrate the holidays with Duncan and his beloved crayons as they make their mark on the holiday. The book is also made up of six envelopes filled with games, cards, punch-out ornaments, a poster and more, making it a great gift for kids. 

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $12

photo: Penguin Random House/Quirk

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Based on the film (written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus) and illustrated by Kim Smith, Kevin is back and he's lost in New York. Even if you haven't watched the movie with your kiddos, you'll laugh out loud reading the picture book version. 

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $17

photo: Chronicle Books

Construction Site on Christmas Nite

From the author (Sherri Duskey Rink) and illustrator (A.G. Ford) who brought you Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, this holiday book is an instant-classic for kids of all ages, but especially that preschool aged, construction loving crowd. Join Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck andCement Mixer as they get ready for Christmas. They're in for a few surprises, too!

Ages: 3-5

Get it here, $8

photo: Penguin Random House

The Snowy Nap

The newest book by acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator Jan Brett revists Hedgie from The Mitten as he travels around the farm preparing to hibernate. All the farm friends tell him how much he will miss out on in the winter so Hedgie tries to stay awake. Full of lavish illustrations with Brett’s signature detailed margin drawings, this is a story that can be read again and again.

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $9

photo: Penguin Random House

Little Owl’s Snow

Celebrate the winter season with this perfect book by Divya Srinivasan, the latest in her enchanting Little Owl series. Follow Little Owl as he experiences the first snow and the longing for old friends.

Ages: 3-5

Buy it now, $11

photo: Candlewick Press

Oliver Elephant

Little Noah heads out for a day of Christmas shopping with his mommy, his baby sister and his beloved stuffed elephant, Oliver. But then suddenly, Oliver is gone. Will they find him? (Spoiler alert: yes.) Rhyming text takes kids through the sights and sounds of a vintagey-feeling department store during the holidays.

Ages: 2-5

Get it here, $17

photo: Simon & Schuster

This Is Christmas

“What’s Christmas, mama?” asks the little chipmunk as he and his mama visit all of their forest friends. Is Christmas all about the decorations, the cards or the presents? The answer, you will find, is one that will make your heart three sizes bigger just by reading it. It’s all about the love. Tom Booth’s gorgeous retro illustrations make this a treasured book you'll read year after year. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now. $12.75

photo: Candlewick Press

Elf in the House

Forget that Elf on the Shelf, there’s a sweet but mischievous elf on the loose in a little girl’s house. Written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Adam Record, who previously teamed up for the popular Ghost in the House, this will be a treasured classic year after year.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $16

photo: Simon & Schuster

Plum: How the Sugar Plum Fairy Got Her Wings

Husband-author-dynamic duo Sean Hayes & Scott Icenogle inventive origin story of how the Sugar Plum Fairy came to be is the perfect new holiday book for any kid. Richly illustrated by Robin Thompson, find out how little Plum goes from orphan to magical creature, thanks to the her compassionate heart and the love of her dads.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now. $14.88

photo: Amazon

If Picasso Painted a Snowman

What would a snowman look like if Picasso created it? What about Georges Seurat, Marc Chagall, or Vincent Van Gogh? This clever book takes a winterscape and teaches children about many famous artists, and how different styles and points of view can illustrate the same thing: a snowman! By Amy Newbold, illustrated by Greg Newbold.

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $12

photo: Gibbs-Smith

Sherlock's Night Before Christmas

"'Twas the night before Christmas/on old Baker Street/and Watson and Sherlock/were quick on their feet..."This clever take on Clark Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem is just a slim little book, making it perfect as a stocking stuffer. Julie Peterson (author) and Sheryl Dickert (illustrator) have teamed up before on Mr. Darcy's Night Before Christmas and Scrooge's Night Before Christmas. 

Ages: All ages, best for 5 and up 

Get it here. $9.99

photo: Candlewick Press

Pick a Pine Tree

This enchanting, rhyming book by debut author Patricia Toht is best read by the light of your Christmas tree! You’ll love the gorgeous illustrations by Jarvis as you read all about the ritual and excitement of decorating the Christmas tree.

Ages: 3-7
Cost: $15.29
Get your copy here

photo: Candlewick Press

Red and Lulu

Meet two cardinals Red and Lulu, who make their nest in a very beautiful evergreen. It acts as their home and protects them from the sun in the warm months, and keeps them cozy and warm in the winter months. And once a year, the tree is decorated. Then, one day, the tree is gone. Set in New York City at Christmas time, will Red & Lulu find their home again? Written and beautifully illustrated by Matt Tavares.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $13

photo: Simon & Schuster

The Little Reindeer

Written and illustrated by Nicole Killen, the kids will love the story of a little girl befriending a lost reindeer and their magical adventures. The illustrations are mostly black and white with pops of red, and the book itself has lots of bells and whistles, like die-cut pages and foil.

Ages: 4-8


Get it here, $16

photo: Amazon

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

Santa’s sleigh is in a terrible state, and the elves try all manner of options—think zeppelins, big rigs and motorcycles for starters. Perfect holiday story for your vehicle loving crew. Fun, rhyming prose by Sherri Dusky Rinker and lively, colorful illustrations by Jake Parker.

Ages: 3-6

Get it here, $8

photo: Candlewick Press

A Christmas for Bear

On a chilly night Bear hears a tap at his front door and discovers Mouse is there to help Bear throw a Christmas party. Curmudgeonly Bear and hopeful Mouse make a hilarious pair as they rummage about for party supplies to throw the best possible party (and Christmas) for Bear. Written by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

Ages: 5-9

Get it here, $16

photo: Simon & Schuster

The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story

Befana, the witch who is always sweeping, always sweeping. She rewards good little boys and girls, just like a certain jolly old elf. From Tomie dePaola, the author of Strega Nona (of course!).

Ages: 4-8
Cost: $16.19
Buy it here.

photo: Amazon

Let It Glow: A Winter's Walk

A winter wonderland of die-cut landscapes, this truly unique book will bring you right into a snowy landscape with lit-up windows, carols singing and shining stars. This rhyming book by author and illustrator Owen Gildersleeve will delight the kids for years.

Ages: 4-8
Cost: $16.50
Buy it now.

photo: Amazon

The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker

The classic story of The Nutcracker comes to life with music in this exciting book that allows children to not only follow along with the storyline, it has press buttons to play excerpts from the corresponding music, composed by Tchaikovsky. Incredibly unique, for any fan of The Nutcracker or as an excellent introduction to the holiday classic. Written and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle.

Ages: 6-9

Get it here, $20

Chapter Books

photo: Penguin Random House

Christmas in Camelot (Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition)

This holiday classic by Mary Pope Osbourne got a makeover this year and now features beautiful illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo. 

Ages: 7-10

Find it here, $18.99

photo: Penguin Random House

Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (Deluxe Holiday Edition)

Your favorite sassy 1st grader is back in a special deluxe edition of the hilarious holiday story, Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (P.S. So Does May). Barbara Park's beloved characters come to life with Denise Brunkus's entertaining illustrations. 

Ages: 6-9

Get your copy here, $21.99

photo: Simon & Schuster

A Nancy Drew Christmas

Just in time for the holidays, your favorite girl detective is on the case! While spending her winter vaycay in Montana at a picture-perfect ski resort, Nancy soon discovers that all is not as perfect as it seems. A string of destructive crimes are riddling the resort and Nancy must solve them before Christmas is ruined!

Ages: 8-12

Get your copy here. $12.32

photo: Simon & Schuster

The Polar Bear Explorers Club

The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, takes your kids on a daring adventure full of winter magic, faraway places and a few outlaws. Stella Starflake Pearl wants to be an explorer, but girls are forbidden. To prove herself, she sets off on an excursion. When she and three other junior explorers are separated from the group, she gets her chance. 

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $12

photo: Simon & Schuster

Mistletoe and Murder (a Wells & Wong Mystery)

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending their Christmas holiday in snowy, quiet Cambridge. But just before Christmas a terrible accident takes place—or is it murder? It looks like their Detective Society is the only one around to solve it. And their lives (and their Christmas dinner) are at stake!

Ages: 10 and up

Get it here, $12.32

photo: Alladin

Silent (but Deadly) Night

For your older kids, this fart-friendly story will have them giggling the whole way through. Dr. Proctor, Nilly and Lisa are on the case again: this time they’re going to save Christmas. But what they need is a sleight, some flying reindeer, time-travel soap and—you guessed it—fart powder. By Jo Nesbo, illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $10

— Amber Guetebier & Karly Wood

 

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13 Books about Protecting Planet Earth

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If you buy something from the links in this article, we may earn affiliate commission or compensation.


 

If your kids are wondering what “climate change” means or what to do about trash in the park, reading a book to inspire them is a great step in becoming global citizens. These books stand out because they don’t just highlight problems: they offer actionable solutions that kids of any age can implement in their homes, schools, and communities and demonstrate that one person can have a huge impact on the planet. Read on to learn more.

photo: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Earth Book 

This classic by Todd Parr takes on the topics of environmental protection and conservation in a book for very young readers.  Printed on recycled materials and using nontoxic soy inks, this picture book has been in print since 2010 and is both an homage to our beautiful planet and a young Earth activist's guide to understanding why caring about the environment is so important. Ages: 3-6

Buy it now, $10

photo: Big Picture Press

Alba and the Ocean Cleanup

In this gorgeously illustrated book by author-illustrator Lara Hawthorne, we meet Alba, a fish who loves to collect objects that fall down to the ocean floor. The beauty and diversity of color and life in the ocean are showcased and then contrasted with the ever-increasing presence of trash. Ocean plastics are taking over: but what can Alba (and you) do to help? Read an enchanting story followed by actionable ways to save the ocean’s vital ecosystems. Ages: 3-7

Get your copy today, $14

photo: Cuento de Luz

A New Harvest: A Tale about Perseverance and Community

Printed on the publisher's signature environmentally-conscious paper (made from stones!) this is the story of a devastating tornado and a little boy who makes a difference in his community with his connection to the Earth. A tornado leaves Rodrigo and his family homeless but through a commitment to the Earth and his community,  he begins a farm, where he can grow food to not only feed his family but others like his. All of the author’s income from royalties will be donated to the Homeless Garden Project. Illustrated Miguel Ángel Díez. Ages: 4-8

Preorder today, $17

photo: ‎ Princeton Architectural Press

Endangered Animals and How You Can Help

In this exquisite book by Sam Hutchinson, children are taken on a journey through seven different habitats to learn about the animal kingdom’s struggles in that habitat. Children explore more than seventy different animal species that are endangered or threatened due to climate change and pollution as well as species that are thriving thanks to conservation efforts. The format is unique—illustrator Sarah Dennis uses her collage style to create seek-and-find and monochrome images, inviting children to explore further. The book also contains lots of tips about how we can help the species. Ages: 6-9

Get yours here, $9

photo: A Kids Book About

A Kids Book About Climate Change

The “A Kids Book About” series takes on challenging topics (racism, death, being transgender) and breaks them down into easy-to-read kids’ books that help both kids and their grown-ups have frank, honest conversations together. In A Kids Book About Climate Change, youth activists Zanagee Artis and Olivia Greenspan take the overwhelming topic of climate change and explain it in understandable terms offering facts about the current state of our planet, how we got here, and how to fight for our future. Ages: 4-8

Order your copy now, $20

photo: Beach Lane Books

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals

Katie S. Duffield’s forthcoming collaboration with Illustrator Mike Orodán celebrates nature through the wildlife crossings that exist around the world. From a bridge over a Canadian interstate to monkeys on rope bridges to bears under an overpass, Crossings teaches kids what happens when the non-natural world and the creatures of nature collide, celebrating both the ingenuity of animals and encouraging conservation and awareness. Ages 3-8.

Order your copy today, $15

photo: Greystone Kids

I Hear You, Forest

Forest bathing comes naturally to children and Kallie George’s new book reminds us all how the sounds of nature can be restorative to our minds and bodies. The forest has a lot to say if you listen. From the creaks of the trees to the nibbles of the squirrels, the forest is forever revealing secrets to those willing to listen. Read this book and head out for a hike. Carmen Mok’s illustrations are both whimsical and realistic, making you wish you were napping on a forest floor right now. Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $18

photo: Henry Holt and Co.

Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest

Author-illustrator Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw brings the story of Julia Butterfly Hill’s famous protest to life in this exploration of what it means to be an activist. Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a redwood tree for over two years to protect it from being cut down. The tree became affectionately known as Luna. Julia refused to come down from the tree until the lumber company who wanted to cut it down agreed not to. An inspiring reminder for kids of what just one person can do to make a difference. Ages: 5-9

Buy it here,  $17

photo: Chronicle Books

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Global Reefs

If you like the kind of book that makes you want to literally dive into its pages, this is the book for you. With dreamy illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, the powerful story of Ken Nedimyer’s quest to rescue the world’s coral reefs. This book written by Kate Messner reminds kids everywhere that “it starts with one.” Not only will you be enchanted by the layout of the book, but you’ll also be inspired by Ken. Includes a coral-reef glossary and ways kids can help. Ages: 6-9

Available at amazon.com, $13

photo: Kids Can Press

Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality

In this inspiring story, artfully told by Susan Hughes with beautiful, graphic-novel style illustrations by Nicole Miles, we meet young Victor and his twin sister, Linesi, two Malawi kids who love going to school. But when they turn eight, Victor learns that because Linesi is a girl, she is no longer allowed to attend school. Instead, she walks to the river to water each day. Soon, Victor begins to understand what gender equality means and comes up with a plan to change things. This is not just a story about gender equality, though. It is about unequal access to education. It is also about access to clean water, and how there are people in the world who do not have this. Your kids will not only learn how one person can make a difference, but they will also understand the importance of a global mindset. Includes a glossary of Chichewa words. Ages: 7-10

Get your copy today, $16

photo: Be a Good Human Co.

This Class Can Save the Planet

An excellent gift to any class, this book shows kids the huge impact they can have on the environment and immediate, actionable steps they can take to protect it. It’s full of great ideas that teachers can implement in their classroom (making paint from dry markers) or kids can do at home. It’s a positive way to approach climate change, with solutions that are completely doable, helping parents and kids talk about something that can feel daunting and scary for kids. Buy one for your kid’s class today. Ages: 4-10+

Get your copy here, $12.99

photo: ‏DK Children

How to Make a Better World: For Every Kid Who Wants to Make a Difference

This guide by Keilly Swift comes with a foreword by Jamie Margolin, a Columbian American climate activist, which sets the tone for the upbeat and inspiring book. While the author does not shy away from the grim reality, she offers tons of solutions, ideas, and advice for becoming an advocate for climate justice. Going beyond the lists of “what you can do to save the planet,” this book takes on the subtitles of what it really takes to help the Earth every day. She even discusses how to handle tricky situations when people aren’t always nice or empathetic to your cause. All in all, a smart book and welcome addition to the Earth activist library. Ages: 7-9

Buy it now, $17

photo: Andrews McMeel Publishing

You Can Change the World

Author Lucy Bell has a message for kids of the world: you can make a difference! This illustrated book is packed with colorful images designed to present solutions to children in a way they relate. From reuse (mending clothes, compost), recycling, and reducing (avoid single-use plastics and make conscious consumer choices), this is the practical guide for any family to make significant changes in their household starting today. Ages: 8-12

Buy it now, $12

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: Allison Sutcliffe

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100+ Amazing Facts Every Kid Should Know

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There’s no doubt about it: kids are sponges when it comes to learning (and picking up on swear words, turns out). We’ve rounded up some interesting facts for kids that will entertain and wow them (and you). Use these facts for kids at the dinner table or make it a trivia for kids night. Either way, we think these amazing facts will wow the family.

17 Delicious Food Facts

1. The world’s longest French fry is 34-inches long.  

2. Garlic bulbs are full of Vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and more. It also has 17 amino acids.

3. On the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha, potatoes were once used as currency.

4. The strawberry is the only fruit that bears seeds on the outside.

5. According to Tori Avey, coffee became a popular drink in America after the Boston Tea Party of 1773: making the switch from tea to coffee was considered a patriotic duty.

6. The double coconut palm produced the biggest seed in the world: 45 pounds.

7. Ice cream was once called “cream ice.”

8. Pound cake is so-called because the recipes once called for a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour. 

9. Peanuts aren't nuts! (They're legumes.)

10. Carrots weren't always orange: they were once exclusively purple

11. Cherries are a member of the rose family (Rosaceae) as are quince, pears, plums, apples, peaches and raspberries! 

12. Lima beans have an amazing ability to command wasps as a defense. If insects are eating the lima bean's leaves, the plant gives off a substance that acts as a signal to parasitic wasps to swoop in and destroy their enemy (i.e. the leaf-eating insects).

13. Apples float because they are one-quarter air! 

14. Ripe cranberries will bounce like a ball. (Go on, try it!). They also float. 

15. German Chocolate Cake is not from Germany. German is actually the last name of the man who invented a kind of baking chocolate (Sam German). 

16. Cilantro and Coriander are considered to be the same. 

17. SPAM is a mash-up of  the words "spice" and "ham"

 

14 Cool Facts about History

1. The Wright Brothers only flew together once (though both piloted the planes individually): on May 25, 1910 they took a six-minute flight piloted by Orville with Wilbur as his passenger.

2. Regardless of their size, naval tradition declares submarines be called “boats” rather than “ships.”

3. Hedy Lamar was a famous Hollywood film actress who also invented what became modern day Wi-Fi. 

4. Walt Disney started sketching regularly when he was just four years old.

5. Abraham Lincoln lost five separate elections before he became president of the U.S. (Never, ever, ever give up!)

6. Pablo Picasso entered art school around the age of 10. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain includes many “early works” from his childhood.

7. Frederick Douglass taught himself to read and write.

8. Before European contact (which caused populations to diminish rapidly ) California indigenous tribal groups spoke more than 200 unique dialects. 

9. Amelia Earhart first saw a plane at the age of 10, but didn't take an airplane ride until 1920 when she was 23 years old. 

10. Abe Lincoln was a professional wrestler long before he became the 16th President of the United States. 

11. After landing in Ireland after her first solo Atlantic flight, a farmer asked Amelia Earhart where she was from. When she said America, he almost didn't believe her! 

12. Frederick Douglass birth name was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. When he married he chose the last name Douglass after the hero clan in Sir Walter Scott's famous poem, Lady of the Lake

13. Frida Kahlo created 143 paintings. Of these, 55 were self-portraits. 

14. Babe Ruth was the first baseball player to hit a home run in the All-Star game, at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in 1933.

16 Incredible Facts about the Weather

1. Some tornadoes can be faster than Formula One race cars!

2. There are 2,000 thunderstorms on Earth every minute.

3. The wind is silent until it blows against something. 

4. There are ice caves in Iceland that have hot springs.

5. The fastest recorded raindrop was 18 mph! 

6. The US gets over 1200 tornadoes a year.

7. Lightning can, in fact, strike twice.

8.  Clouds look white because they are reflecting sunlight from above them.

9. Yuma, Arizona gets over 4000 hours of sunshine a year, making it the sunniest place on earth. The least sunny place is the South Pole, where the sun only shines on 182 days a year. (Which would you rather live in?) 

10. Rain contains vitamin B12. 

11. A bolt of lightning is five times hotter than the sun. 

12. A hurricane releases enough energy in one second to equal that of 10 atomic bombs. 

13. It can be too warm to snow, but never too cold. 

14. Tropical storms and hurricanes started getting "named" in 1953. 

15. You can tell the weather by counting a cricket's chirps! 

16. Worms wiggle up from the ground when a flood is coming. 

photo: The Presidio SF

22 Amazing Space Facts

1. The moon is very hot (224 degrees Fahrenheit, average) during the day but very cold (-243 degrees average) at night.

2. Venus spins clockwise. It’s the only planet that does!

3. One teaspoon of a neutron star would weigh six billion tons.

4. Sally Ride was the first American woman to fly in space, on June 18, 1983.

5. One million Earths could fit inside the sun!

6. Even in an airplane, a trip to Pluto would take about 800 years. 

7. Ham the Astrochimp was the first hominid in space, launched on Jan. 31, 1961. 

8. Neptune’s days are 16 hours long.

9. It takes eight minutes and 19 seconds for light to travel from the sun to Earth.

10. The footprints on the moon will be there for 100 million years. 

11. A neutron star can spin 600 times in one second. 

12. Jupiter is the fastest spinning planet in the solar system (it only takes about 10 hours to complete a full rotation on its axis). 

13. Sound does not carry in space. 

14. The Earth's core is as hot as the surface of the sun. 

15. The very first animals in space were fruit flies...they were sent up in 1947 and recovered alive. 

16. In 2011, ten-year-old Kathryn Aurora Gray discovered a supernova (a star that has run out of energy, explodes and then collapses before it dies) that no one else had seen before. 

17. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, has saltwater geyers that are 20x taller than Mt. Everest. 

18. Saturn's rings are made from trillions of chunks of orbiting ice. 

19. Alpha Centauri isn't a star, but a star system. It is 4.22 light years away. 

20. One day on Venus is almost 8 months on Earth. 

21. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a storm that has been raging for over 200 years. 

22. There are more stars in the universe than grains of sands on Earth.  

Looking for more space facts? Check them out here

21 Wild Facts about Animals

1. Many people believe that early mermaid sightings can be attributed to dehydration + manatees.

2. Sloths cannot shiver to stay warm, and so have difficulty maintaining their body temperature on rainy days.

3. In the wild, some reindeer travel more than 3000 miles in a single year.

4. Only half of the dolphin’s brain goes to sleep when asleep and the other half stays awake.

5. Other than humans, emperor penguins are the only warm-blooded animal to stay on Antarctica for the winter.

6. The biggest fossil of a spider was found in China. It is one-inch long and 165 million years old.

7. The largest living animal is the blue whale, which can measure as much as 100 feet. 

8. Nearly 10% of all of a cat's bones are in its tail.

9. In the winter time reindeer grow their facial hair long enough to cover their mouths, which protects their muzzles when grazing in the snow. Beard-os! 

10. Dolphins have been seen wrapping sea sponges around their long snouts to protect them from cuts while foraging for food.

11. Shrimp's hearts are in their heads. 

12. While pandas sometimes eat fish or small animals, 99% of their diet is bamboo. 

13. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. 

14. A fox uses its tail to communicate with other foxes. 

15. Dogs have wet noses because they secrete a thin layer of mucus, which actually helps dogs smell! 

16. The female hummingbird builds the world's smallest bird's nest (approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, around the size of a walnut!). She weaves it from spiderwebs which allows it to expand as the chicks grow. 

17. The largest land animal in Antarctica is an insect: the columbola (which looks like an earwig). Penguins are considered marine animals. 

18. There are 222 owl species in the world. Most are nocturnal, but a few are active during the daytime, such as the Barred Owl.

19. Sloths are strong swimmers, especially good at the backstroke. 

20. Sharks do not hunt humans or consider humans food. Sharks incidents occur when sharks are hunting for seals, dolphins or other "human-sized" prey. It's a case of mistaken identity!  

21. Koala's fingerprints are so similar to human fingerprints that they could taint a crime scene. 

Want even more fun facts about animals? Click here

photo: Wikimedia Commons

13 Spectacular Sports Facts

1. In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single NBA basketball game. No one has broken this record (not even Steph Curry!).

2. Babe Ruth began his career as a pitcher: Ruth was both a left-handed pitcher and left-handed batter.

3. The record for the long jump is held by Mike Powell: 29 ft. + 4 inches. That’s like jumping the length of two minivans!

4. The most medals won for Olympic basketball (male or female) are both held by women: Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie with four gold medals each.

5. Wilma Rudolph (who set the world record in 1960 for 100, 200 and 4x100-meter relay) had polio, scarlet fever and pneumonia as a child, leading doctors to believe she’d never walk again.

6. NFL Super Bowl referees also get Super Bowl rings. 

7. In 1919, Cleveland Indians pitcher Ray Caldwell was struck by lightning in the middle of the 9th inning. He kept playing! 

8. The 'G' on the Green Bay Packers helmet stands for "greatness" not Green Bay! 

9. Baseballs last an average of seven pitches. 

10. Manon Rheaume is the only woman to have played in an NHL game.

11. Golf is one of only two sports every played on the moon. In 1971, Alan Shepard hit a ball with a six-iron while on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission. The other sport was a javelin toss, during the same visit. 

12. The shortest player in the National Hockey League (NHL) was goaltender Roy Woters who measured 5 ft. 3 in. tall.

13. The tallest player in the NHL is Zdeno Chara, who is 6 ft. 9 in. tall. 

Get more facts about sports here.

photo: iStock

12 Crazy Cool Facts about the Human Body

1. The nose can detect a trillion smells! 

2. One-quarter of your bones are in your feet. 

3. Human teeth are as strong as shark teeth! 

4. Your blood is as salty as the ocean. 

5. Not only does everyone have unique fingerprints, but humans also have unique tongue-prints!

6. The average brain weighs about three pounds. A newborn brain weighs about 3/4 of a pound. 

7. Your nose and ears never stop growing. 

8. A human body contains almost 100 trillion cells. 

9. Fingernails can grow 4x faster than toenails. 

10. Eyelashes live for about 150 days before falling out. 

11. Humans are the only animals with chins. 

12. You can't breathe and swallow at the same time.  

—Amber Guetebier

Featured image: Pexels 

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Spoiler alert! If your kids can read, do not let them read this. Read this post in secret! 

letters to Santa photo: USPS 

You stay up late wrapping presents in secret and make a show of setting out cookies and milk, but there’s one more thing you can do to prove Santa is real. This year, take the classic letter to Santa to a new level by not only sending it but making sure your kiddos receive a response from the Jolly Old Elf himself. The USPS has an awesome program in place and if you’ve never done it before, this is your year. Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Write the letter!

photo: iStock

First things first: write the letter to Santa. Kids that can’t write yet can dictate to parents and spend a little time decorating the letter with stickers or a drawing. If your kiddos are learning their letters, you can always have them trace over some of the words. For kiddos that can write, make sure they have enough paper on hand but try and keep it to one page. Remember, this does not have to be a list of all the things they want for Christmas. They can also just send a letter thanking Santa for his hard work or asking him what his life is like. Be creative!

Have them put their letter in an envelope, addressed to: 

Santa Claus
North Pole

Try to avoid sealing this envelope without being too obvious.

 

 

Step 2: Write a response to your child.

photo: iStock

Okay, here’s the spoiler part! Using your stealth parenting-in-the-night skills, the same ones that power you to wrap presents and fill stockings undetected, you will need to write out the response from Santa (disguise your writing if you think necessary) and place it in an envelope addressed to your child with a return address of Santa Claus, North Pole. 

Make sure you put a stamp on this envelope: The current rate is 58 cents, or use a Forever stamp.

Tip: USPS suggests writing the response from Santa on the back of your child’s letter to save space and to make sure your kiddo will remember what they wrote (plus this way you get to keep it without giving anything away!).

Step 3: Mail it.

Place everything into a larger envelope (like a Priority Mail Flat Rate or manilla envelope) and make sure there is adequate postage. A flat rate is great because you can buy the postage online and print the label, saving you a trip to the post office. 

Remember, in your envelope, you will have:

1 letter to Santa in an envelope addressed to Santa

1 response from Santa in an envelope addressed to a child with an actual postage stamp (and Santa’s return address)

Address this larger envelope to:

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr.
Anchorage, Ak 99530-9998

The rest is up to Santa’s busy elves at the Postal Service. 

Important: The USPS recommends having the letters sent no later than Dec. 10 so that they can arrive at the Anchorage, AK office in time. 

Learn more here

Good to Know

The USPS also operates Operation Santa, a letter-writing program for any kid in need. Children can write to a specific address and make requests. They even have a letter-writing kit. To learn more about this program, or to answer letters and donate for kids in need, click here

—Amber Guetebier

Featured image: Shutterstock 

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You’ve picked out the cutest things for your favorite friends and family members, but you’re going to want to make sure they arrive on time. This year, expect more delays than ever due to supply chain and worker shortages, so try to get some of your shopping (and shipping) done early. And remember to be kind to your delivery drivers! They are doing their best.

Here are the current holiday shipping deadlines for this year from FedEx, USPS, UPS and your other go-to retailers.

photo: USPS

United States Post Office 

USPS Retail Ground Service: Dec. 15

First-Class Mail, including greeting cards: Dec. 17

First-Class Packages (up to 15.99 oz.): Dec. 17

Priority Mail Service: Dec. 18

Priority Mail Express Service: Dec. 23

For more details on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, international shipping deadlines as well as shipping to any Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office addresses*, click here.

photo: iStock

FedEx

FedEx Express® 

FedEx Same Day®: Dec. 24

2Day and 2Day AM: Dec. 22

FedEx Express Saver®Dec. 21

FedEx 1Day® Freight: Dec. 23

FedEx 2Day® Freight: Dec. 22

FedEx 3Day® Freight: Dec. 21 

FedEx Ground® 

FedEx Ground® Contiguous US: Dec. 15

FedEx Ground® Alaska and Hawaii: Dec. 15

FedEx Ground® Economy: Dec. 9

FedEx Freight®

FedEx Freight® Priority: Dec. 15

FedEx Freight® Economy: Dec. 9

FedEx Freight® Direct: Dec. 15 

International, Canada, and Mexico, and Puerto Rico: Click here for 2021 deadlines. 

UPS

UPS

UPS® Ground:  Check the website for quote.

UPS 3 Day Select®: Dec. 21

UPS 2nd Day Air®: Dec. 22

UPS Next Day Air®:Dec. 23

For more about UPS holiday shipping this year, click here.

photo: iStock

Walmart

This year Walmart is extended its reach by extending store delivery hours, adding additional delivery windows for customers, and adding more items to what can be delivered from your local store. In addition, throughout the pandemic, Walmart has continued to offer convenient curbside pickup throughout its locations. 

Free Two-Day Delivery: Order eligible items until Dec. 19 

Standard (paid) Delivery: Dec. 20

Free Next Day Delivery: Dec. 21 

In-store Pickup: Order by Dec. 23 at 4 p.m. local time for in-store pickup on Dec. 24.

Curbside pickup and local delivery: Slots are available to book through Dec. 24, pending availability. Check with your local store. 

 

photo: Target

Target

Important for 2021: Target's website FAQ currently states that due to nationwide shipping delays, two-day shipping will be suspended during the holiday season. Target has increased its curbside and in-store pickup options. They are also encouraging shoppers to order early and try curbside, in-store, or Shipt. They also stated: 

  • While we do our best to provide our best-estimated delivery date to you, high shipping volume may result in delays to those estimates. Most packages will deliver within 1 to 2 days of the estimated delivery date.
  • We are seeing longer delays in the USPS network, due to the surge in holiday shipping.

     

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If they aren’t hiking through a forest or looking under rocks in the front yard, your little nature lover probably wishes they were. This year, encourage that love of the natural world with one of these gifts hand-picked by moms of nature-obsessed kiddos. From seed cannons to trail kits, read on for our favorites.

 


Stamp Garden

$25   BUY NOW

This beautiful rubber stamp kit is not only perfect for the budding botanist in your life, but you might want to borrow it for your own crafting needs. It includes 25 stamps and two, color ink pads.


Zoom Tube Monocular Telescope

$75   BUY NOW

Bring nature closer with this hand-held telescope that's easy for the whole family to use. It comes in six different colors.


Hello Nature: Draw, Collect, Make and Grow

$19   BUY NOW

A beautifully illustrated, interactive activity book to spark the curiosity of your little naturalist.


Our World: A First Book of Geography

$18   BUY NOW

It's a book, it's a globe, and it's a work of art that teaches children all about geography and our beautiful world. Written by Sue Lowell Gallion and illustrated by Lisk Feng.


Deuter Kids' Backpack

$40   BUY NOW

When they're big enough to pack their snacks for the hike, this adorable, sturdy bag is sure to do the trick!


Seed Cannons

$48   BUY NOW

An eco-friendly confetti cannon? Yes, pls! These babies shoot wildflower seeds. Set of 3.


Buggy Lights

$22   BUY NOW

These jars illuminate your kiddo's collection of crawling and flying friends.


Moulin Roty Botanist Case

$65   BUY NOW

This little set is so sweet it makes you wish you could go back in time and gift it to your seven-year-old self. Includes a flower press, field journals, treasure boxes and a magnifying glass in its carrying case.


Uncle Goose Planet Blocks

$21   BUY NOW

The solar system and the night sky are just a grab away. Each block features an illustration, the planet's diameter, distance from the sun and location in the solar system.


National Parks Road Trip Learning Set

$40   BUY NOW

There's both a book and an activity book in the set that'll help nature-loving kids discover our National Parks. Good for a road trip or anytime!


Sunprint Kit

$16   BUY NOW

Make cool prints for your nature lover's room by placing leaves or other objects onto the light-sensitive paper and watch the magic happen.


Woodland Animals Baby Tummy Time Toy

$69   BUY NOW

They'll love nature before they can say the word, thanks to this plush set that encourages active play and tummy time.


Multi Tube Propagation Kit

$45   BUY NOW

This sophisticated set will help grow your plant collection and teach kiddos about propagation, too. It comes in three colors (pink, white, and teal).


Tender Leaf Forest Trail Kit

$70   BUY NOW

When you go out in the woods today, pack this trail kit to help learn and grow along with the trees. Includes a magnifying glass, printed trail cards, and even an owl compass (which pretty much sold us on the set).


Wooden Forest Animals Set

$39   BUY NOW

Get some Forest School vibes in your playroom with this set of eight forest friends perfect for imaginary play.

—Amber Guetebier

Editor’s Note: Prices and availability reflect the time of publication. Images courtesy of retailers.

If you purchase something from the links in this article, we may earn affiliate commission or compensation.

featured photo: tung256 via pixabay

 

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