By Laura Richards

Princess Diana of Wales, smiles, wearing a blue dress, shakes hands with an AIDS patient whose back is to the camera.
Princess Diana of Wales, smiles, wearing a blue dress, shakes hands with an AIDS patient whose back is to the camera.
REX/Shutterstock

This past Friday, President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines that his administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were recommending that all Americans now wear non-medical masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to their website, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings or where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, and not know it, from transmitting it to others. The CDC site says, This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.” …


By Laura Richards

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Image by ambermb from Pixabay

It was December 14, 2012 and I was excitedly preparing lunch for an old friend who was coming to visit me and my youngest son who had just turned 5-months-old two days before. As my friend and I ate sandwiches, listened to Christmas music, and got caught up on life, my mother called crying asking if I had seen the news.

I had not.

She begged, “Please don’t let the three older boys see this.” My three older sons were in elementary school at the time.

Like 9/11, that clear December morning changed life forever and what began as a normal day, ended in unspeakable heartbreak as 26 lives were taken by gun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. …


By Laura Richards

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, philosopher and inventor who wrote important works on geometry, arithmetic and mechanics yet one of his greatest accomplishments was discovered in the bath! It’s proven that many ideas and creative concepts happen in the bath.

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According to experts, some of the best ideas and creative concepts happen while bathing or showering.

Archimedes was born in Syracuse on the eastern coast of Sicily and educated in Alexandria, Egypt. After his education, he returned to Syracuse, where he spent the rest of his life devoting time to research, experimentation and discovery in a variety of fields.

In mechanics, he defined the principle of the lever and is credited with inventing the compound pulley and hydraulic screw which raises water from a lower to higher level. But of all his discoveries, Archimedes is most famous for discovering the law of hydrostatics, also known as Archimedes’ Principle which states that a body immersed in fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces. Archimedes made this discovery while in his bath and upon discovering this concept legend says that he exclaimed “Eureka!” and went running through the streets repeating the phrase he was so excited! …


By Laura Richards

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Window display of an independently owned, neighborhood toy store.

With the recent closing of Toys ‘R’ Us, many parents and kids feel lost. Sure, it’s the end of an era, but it’s not the end of the standalone toy store. Of course, big box stores like Target and Walmart will be a likely destination for Toys ‘R’ Us customers but thousands of neighborhood toy stores across the country are ready and waiting for families to discover what’s always been there: an individualized, community experience.

Families can spend time at their neighborhood toy store to see what’s new and get to know the owners which fosters a wonderful sense of community. There’s nothing better than walking into a store where the people know your name or having something unique in mind just for your child. …


By Laura Richards

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National Find a Rainbow Day is April 3 and your chances are pretty good of spotting one because rainbows are most prevalent in early spring especially after a rainfall. Kids love rainbows and will love celebrating this fun day with these super colorful rainbow inspired toys, instruments, and games.


By Laura Richards

Mom of four and creator of My Magic Mud, the first activated charcoal oral care products on the market, has dominated the industry, rivaling places like Tom’s of Maine and entering big-box stores. But the big question people want to know is whether activated charcoal is safe?

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Jessica Arman (middle) founder and CEO and her husband Justin, president (holding baby) and the My Magic Mud Team.

Activated charcoal is one of the hottest health and beauty trends right now. It’s in face wash, masks, shampoo, toothpaste, and even froyo! But is it safe for teeth and are there true benefits? Yes, and YES! It all comes down a few essential things.

From Farmer’s Market to Global Company Player

Jessica Arman wanted something healthier for herself and her kids when it came to oral health. Before she became a mom, she didn’t notice what was in the products she used on her face or put in her mouth, but once she had her first child, she grew especially concerned about the ingredients in typical toothpastes. Arman’s daughter had very sensitive teeth and couldn’t use mainstream toothpastes which prompted her to create My Magic Mud. …


For most busy parents, just getting their older baby or toddler fed is challenge enough, never mind encouraging them to feed themselves. It’s messy and often time-consuming but self-feeding is a crucial skill. Here’s why and some products that can help your child to self-feed!

By Laura Richards

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Products like the Haakaa Fresh Food Feeder and Teether help babies and toddlers self-feed.

It’s a struggle that many parents face. Fostering independence versus “just getting it done” whether it’s zipping up jackets, tying shoes, or folding towels. It’s just SO much easier when we do it ourselves, but we know we’re doing a disservice to our kids to keep things on time and tidy.

The same goes for eating. When children are babies, feeding is efficient because we basically do it for them through nursing or bottle feeding. Then kids move to solids like cereals or mashed bananas and we still find ourselves feeding them for a variety of reasons including time constraints, efficiency and yes, no spaghetti bombs to clean. But by doing it for them, we aren’t encouraging a crucial skill that is so important: self-feeding. …


LÄSSIG designs bags, textiles, blankets, tableware and more for parents and kids but beyond the beauty and function of their designs, is their commitment to the environment, sustainability and giving back.

By Laura Richards

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Claudia and Stefan Lassig

In a time when profit often trumps quality and environmental or social responsibility, LÄSSIG manufactures their products with the earth and safety in mind. Tested for harmful substances, they refuse to use PVC, nickel, azo dyes, lead, or phthalates in their products.

They also use sustainable methods of coloring including Spin Dye which requires less water consumption, less liquid waste and a reduction of resources and energy. Their CYCLEPET® Certificate guarantees that the fabrics are made from postconsumer, recycled PET containers and bottles and their Repreve® certificate ensures that the fabrics are made of used, recycled PET bottles. …


By Laura Richards

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Image Courtesy of Yookidoo

Sensory play is crucial for babies and young children because it’s one of their first forays into understanding the world around them including concepts like cause and effect. Children with special needs may require extra sensory engagement to encourage interaction with their environment.

When my legally blind, hearing impaired son was small, he enjoyed his doorway bouncer because it gave him sensory feedback. His Teacher for the Visually Impaired would come to our home and put different objects with varying degrees of sensory feedback underneath his feet so he could feel different sensations as he bounced up and down. It helped him to feel and understand where the ground was when he couldn’t see it well experiencing different textures, temperatures and more. …


By Laura Richards

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Play for Peace Sculpture by Artist and Inventor, Jeffrey Breslow

In just a few hours, thousands will descend upon Navy Pier to attend the 15th annual Chicago Toy and Game (chiTAG) Week Toy Fair from November 18–19, 2017. ChiTAG was founded in 2003 by Mary Couzin and is the first and the largest public toy and game fair in North America targeting families.

About

Laura Richards

Bylines at The New York Times, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Boston Globe Magazine and more. Portfolio: www.LauraRichardsWriter.com

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