5 Best Coloring Books for Moms
Yes, coloring books for grown-ups. According to a few recent studies, and internet chatter, coloring can be a great stress reliever for adults. The publishing world has definitely taken notice, filling shelves with coloring books aimed at an older demographic. And we’re not really complaining because coloring is pretty fun. 
How many times do you join the kids at the table and pick up a crayon to color along with them? And not only is coloring calming, it can be a great way to get your kids talking. Sitting down with them and sharing a box of crayons opens a great opportunity for discussion. I’ve always found kids can say some pretty insightful things with a crayon in hand. 
But we don’t blame you if you want something a little more challenging than the pages your kids are filling. There are so many options online for grown-up coloring books (some even a bit PG-13 rated), so to help narrow it down for you, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite ways to color as an adult. 
Colour Me Good: Ryan Gosling — Reminds us of the Ken pages in our old Barbie coloring books. Also, a great excuse to stare at Ryan Gosling for about 30 minutes. 
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford — This book is just beautiful. It’s one you can keep on the coffee table and grab while watching TV, or invite a friend over and have a boozy coloring party. The pages are definitely frame-worthy. 
Pixel Pictures: Bold Patterns — This whole post is actually because of this book. I bought the Retro Robots version on a whim yesterday and filled four pages while catching up on Cutthroat Kitchen. Something about filling the tiny boxes was strangely satisfying. 
Colored Pencil Postcards — This box is a bit different but it will definitely help you keep up your correspondence. The box includes a booklet on color theory and colored pencils as well.
Color Your Own Monet Paintings — The classiest coloring book we’ve ever seen. Dover has a whole series dedicated to famous artists if Monet isn’t really your guy. 
Do you often color with your kids, or do art projects on your own? Have you found it to be a stress reliever? Let us know at Facebook.com/MeredithPlays or tag your colored pages on Instagram with @MeredithPlays.
— By Alaina Buzas, Contributor

5 Best Coloring Books for Moms

Yes, coloring books for grown-ups. According to a few recent studies, and internet chatter, coloring can be a great stress reliever for adults. The publishing world has definitely taken notice, filling shelves with coloring books aimed at an older demographic. And we’re not really complaining because coloring is pretty fun. 

How many times do you join the kids at the table and pick up a crayon to color along with them? And not only is coloring calming, it can be a great way to get your kids talking. Sitting down with them and sharing a box of crayons opens a great opportunity for discussion. I’ve always found kids can say some pretty insightful things with a crayon in hand. 

But we don’t blame you if you want something a little more challenging than the pages your kids are filling. There are so many options online for grown-up coloring books (some even a bit PG-13 rated), so to help narrow it down for you, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite ways to color as an adult. 

  1. Colour Me Good: Ryan Gosling — Reminds us of the Ken pages in our old Barbie coloring books. Also, a great excuse to stare at Ryan Gosling for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Secret Garden by Johanna Basford — This book is just beautiful. It’s one you can keep on the coffee table and grab while watching TV, or invite a friend over and have a boozy coloring party. The pages are definitely frame-worthy. 
  3. Pixel Pictures: Bold Patterns — This whole post is actually because of this book. I bought the Retro Robots version on a whim yesterday and filled four pages while catching up on Cutthroat Kitchen. Something about filling the tiny boxes was strangely satisfying. 
  4. Colored Pencil Postcards — This box is a bit different but it will definitely help you keep up your correspondence. The box includes a booklet on color theory and colored pencils as well.
  5. Color Your Own Monet PaintingsThe classiest coloring book we’ve ever seen. Dover has a whole series dedicated to famous artists if Monet isn’t really your guy. 

Do you often color with your kids, or do art projects on your own? Have you found it to be a stress reliever? Let us know at Facebook.com/MeredithPlays or tag your colored pages on Instagram with @MeredithPlays.

— By Alaina Buzas, Contributor

6 Bags to Help You Schlep Your (Kids’) Stuff Through the Rest of Summer
Summer is about halfway over and it seems like the peak of beautiful days filled with park visits and playdates. And stuff. A lot of stuff. Sunscreen, a change of clothes, snacks, lots of water bottles, flip flops, sunglasses, toys, swim suits, towels… the list seems infinite. 
Bring a lot of sass and color to all that stuff with one of these cute summer tote bags. They’re colorful, cheerful, and will have a few jokes for mom packed-in, too. 
Emotional Baggage, from The School of Life
Thank God It’s Friday, from Etsy
Book *Wine Bag, from Etsy
Hooray Tote, from Ban.do
Blocked Tote, from Zappos
Standard Baggu in Cat, from Baggu
Have a go-to tote you carry around during the summer? Share it on the Meredith Plays Facebook page or Tweet it at @MeredithPlays.
—By Alaina Buzas, Contributor

6 Bags to Help You Schlep Your (Kids’) Stuff Through the Rest of Summer

Summer is about halfway over and it seems like the peak of beautiful days filled with park visits and playdates. And stuff. A lot of stuff. Sunscreen, a change of clothes, snacks, lots of water bottles, flip flops, sunglasses, toys, swim suits, towels… the list seems infinite. 

Bring a lot of sass and color to all that stuff with one of these cute summer tote bags. They’re colorful, cheerful, and will have a few jokes for mom packed-in, too. 

  1. Emotional Baggage, from The School of Life
  2. Thank God It’s Friday, from Etsy
  3. Book *Wine Bag, from Etsy
  4. Hooray Tote, from Ban.do
  5. Blocked Tote, from Zappos
  6. Standard Baggu in Cat, from Baggu

Have a go-to tote you carry around during the summer? Share it on the Meredith Plays Facebook page or Tweet it at @MeredithPlays.

—By Alaina Buzas, Contributor

How to get your phone-obsessed kid to be super creative all afternoon for $5.99.

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I have the extreme pleasure and challenge of chillin’ with my completely unscheduled 12 year old Truman all week while his brother is at camp and his dad is traveling.  There are writing deadlines, phone meetings, TV pitches, and unruly house chores to be handled, along with planning a week of fun days for my boy and me. I’ve been trying to get the work-stuff done in a couple hours per day because truthfully I want to be able to play with Tru and enjoy some one-on-one time with my growing-up-too-fast dude. 

During those several hours a day where I need some un-interruption, Tru would gladly cocoon in the cool basement with his bestie controller, battling zombies and mid-evil bad guys.  He’s 12. He loves the video games.

I feel like I am forever trying to desensitize the magnetic mega-strip his phone and all other screens possess.  It can be a constant pulling…him toward the artificial lights and sounds, me trying to bring him on back.  But  I also know that Tru loves to get lost in creative experiences. He just needs a really good nudge sometimes. And I needed a better plan for this week than the tiresome nag.

I was looking for ways to creatively engage him, in a not-so-obvious way. When getting my boy to jump into crafty play, not trying TOO hard, and making it some sort of competition is key. So on our quick trip to CVS on Monday I spied one of those cheap “activity buckets” stuffed with random craft materials for $5.99. Light bulb moment.

I grabbed it and told Tru we were going to try and make 5 cool things with the stuff in this bucket of bizarre.  He didn’t say no.

Here’s what we got in the bucket.  We added a container of q-tips, just for extra weirdness.  

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For the next several hours, on and off all afternoon really, Truman created 5 crazy things from the stuff in the bucket. I helped with the puff-ball people, but the rest were his creative masterpieces. image

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Here are the 5 crafty doodles he managed to create:

Popsicle stick poppers.  These explode when dropped on the sidewalk or hardwood floor.  Boys like explosions.

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Kooky Puff-ball critters.  Oddly adorable.image

A miniature golf course and golf club, with a bead as the ball. This one was my favorite. He really got lost in it.  Index cards we had in the “junk drawer”.

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A funny finger puppet that Tru named “Stephano”.  

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And lastly, something that started as a lame picture frame I was working on, that Truman turned into a Youtube channel for Stephano.  Complete with like and subscribe buttons.

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The moral of this post?  With a wee bit of pre-production, a slight kick in the creative arse, a smidgen of competitive spirit, and a random bucket of crafty bits, you too can get some work done while your kid’s brain actually grows rather than digitally deteriorates. 

Childhood is short…PLAY hard.

*If you do the Cheap Craft Bucket Challenge, send us your creations and we’ll share with the universe.

In case you missed The Today Show this morning, I wanted to make sure to share my clip all about rainy day fun during summer vacation. Here’s the list of toys I mentioned:

P.S. That fake thunder is pretty scary!