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Tips on How to Introduce Kids to Geography

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Most families don’t have the funds to fly the whole brood across the globe, let alone the whole country. But that doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t learn about who and what’s out there.

Thanks to Amy Norman and Stella Ma, there’s now a fun and easy way (Jennifer Garner is a fan!) to teach your little ones about other countries and states.

To help get kids excited about geography, the two moms created Little Passports, a kids subscription service that sends monthly packages full of cool activities about different cultures, major landmarks, historic events and more.

Ready to explore the world with your tots? Norman and Ma share some helpful tips that you can follow without ever leaving your hometown. Check them out below:

Pull out a map. Take turns closing your eyes and picking a spot on the map. Then open your eyes and read the country’s name and capitol, and then discuss where that country is in the world e.g. how close is it to the U.S.A., to the equator, or to the North or South Pole.

Try a new recipe. Cooking can also be an excellent learning experience. If you plan on visiting a state you’ve never been before, find a recipe that is traditional to that area and make it with your family. For example, N.Y.C. and Chicago are famous for their pizza and California is known for their authentic corn tortillas.

Share old travel photos. Did you visit somewhere special in your teens or even as an adult without the kids? Whether it was a ski trip in the Rockies or a visit to the Eiffel Tower, pull out those old photographs and share your stories with your children. You can take it a little further by pulling out a map or globe and showing your child the location in relation to where you live.

Explore music from other cultures. It’s easy to forget that a lot of American music was influenced by all the many people who came here from other countries. Give your child a lesson on a specific genre – jazz is a good one because it has a rich culture and history – by borrowing books and CDs from the library. You can also attend a local concert so they can see and hear the music performed live.

Little Passports Amy Norman Stella Ma

Courtesy Little Passports

Take a virtual trip. If your budget doesn’t allow for a journey that involves a flight and a passport, traveling the Internet can be just as educational and rewarding. For example if you have Irish ancestry, search the Web for cool facts (history, traditions, foods and more!) and photos of Ireland. The Little Passports Pinterest page can also help you visually explore a specific country.

Watch foreign films. Movies are a very powerful way to introduce your kids to other countries. Do a quick Web search on the best family-friendly foreign films and then set a date to watch at home. Once the movie is over, spend some time discussing not only the plot, but the cultural differences you noticed. Also keep an eye out for local kids film festivals. They often include foreign movies that are worth seeing.

Attend a cultural festival. Many cities hold events that celebrate different cultures and they’re often rich with experiences that feel just as authentic as being at the real thing. For example, Seattle holds an annual Bastille Day Festival to celebrate France’s Independence Day. And every July, Denver and Boston host the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. On Labor Day, the West Indian Day parade makes its way through Brooklyn complete with beautiful floats from every island.

Little Passports Kids Subscription Company

Courtesy Little Passports

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AKM-GSI

We have to say, we’re big fans of the way Kourtney Kardashian dresses her little guy, Mason.

Whether they’re vacationing or out and about, the 3-year-old always looks really comfortable.

On May 9, Mason wore a black-and-white print ensemble from one of our fave kiddie labels, Mini & Maximus, while heading to dinner with his mom in Calabasas, Calif.

The matching tank ($50) and harem-style shorts ($58) are made with 100 percent linen and feature hip shark drawings that were actually created by a kid.

Now that his aunt has welcomed a daughter, we bet his new cousin will be wearing the brand soon too. Our pick for Kim and Kanye‘s mini princess: the organic cotton Shark Whisperer tee ($38).

Nothing makes us smile more than adorable kid fashions. So you can imagine our glee when we spotted Halle Berry‘s little girl, Nahla, in her Lemon Loves Lime Fairy Petals dress (now $25, originally $58) on July 25 while hanging at L.A.’s Century City Mall with her mom and stepdad Olivier Martinez.

Pretty and super soft, the fun frock is part of Lemon Loves Lime’s Spring 2013 collection and is made of 100 percent Supima cotton. Our fave feature is the multi-colored tiered skirt, which really takes it up a notch.

The 5-year-old loves the style so much she also has the pink version. On June 9, she wore it during a grocery shopping trip to Bristol Farms in Beverly Hills with red ballet flats and loose curls.

Nahla Aubry in Lemon Loves Lime Fairy Petals Dress

Splash News; AKM-GSI

There’s nothing cozier than a soft and roomy cotton sweatshirt. And as star moms including Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker prove, you can wear a stylish version with anything. That’s why their styles of choice are by LA-based brand, Nation LTD, which is known for its casual yet polished tees and bottoms.

On April 9, Garner rocked the brand’s Raglan Sweatshirt ($88) in bright blue with faded jeans in Pacific Palisades, Calif. And a month later, Parker wore a similar outfit on May 22 in N.Y.C. For a more refined take, Reese paired the charcoal gray Pomona Sweatshirt ($79) with green butterfly-print shorts while visiting a friend in Brentwood on Aug. 12.

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Ben Foster/Broadimage; Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic; Headlinephoto/Splash News Online

TELL US: Do you have a fave sweatshirt? How do you wear it? Do you dress it up or down?

Talk about adorable! Just two days apart, Jessica Alba treated us to not one but two cute instances of her girls in matching outfits.

On Monday, the actress (who wore a black polka dot dress, jean jacket and straw wedge sandals) and her daughters Honor, 5, and Haven, almost 2, attended Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2013 Children’s Show in Sagaponack, N.Y. and Alba’s little fashionistas-in-training both donned the brand’s Nautical Seersucker Dress ($50) and white Mary Jane flats.

And as if that wasn’t sartorially sweet enough, we spotted Honor and Haven wearing the same DVF for Gap Kids floral frock while out and about with their mom in Malibu, Calif. on Saturday.

Alba is clearly having fun playing stylist to her daughters. And what mother wouldn’t. Tell us, do you dress your girls up in matching clothing?

Jessica Alba's Daughters Honor and Haven Wearing Matching Dresses

Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc/Sipa USA; Splash News Online

Lizzie Parker Fashion Star Zulily

John Russo/NBC/Getty

The key to building a stylish wardrobe is to buy versatile pieces that make getting dressed a breeze.

Especially if you’re a mom on-the-go. And no one knows that better than Lizzie Parker (left). The Seattle, WA based designer, who has two kids of her own, is known for her chic yet comfortable designs that work for women of all ages.

She’s also appeared as a contestant on the first season of NBC’s Fashion Star. But it’s her new role, as business development manager for women’s fashions at Zulily, that allows her to help women find fashions that really work for their everyday lives.

Below is her list of pieces that every mom should have in her closet. Check it out:

Colored Leather Tote Zulily

Courtesy Zulily

A colored leather tote bag. Not only will it make your outfits pop, but it’s big enough to carry around all the important stuff (diapers, anyone?) you and and your kids need. I love bright blue or maybe an electric plum. It really works in my otherwise black wardrobe. Plus, a good carryall can go from the schoolyard to work to farmers markets.

Designer Jeans Zulily

Courtesy Zulily

A great fitting pair of premium jeans. Find a silhouette (skinny, flared, straight) that you feel fantastic in. These are definitely an investment item. If you get the right cut, they can make you feel great everyday.

Statement Necklace Zulily

Courtesy Zulily

A statement necklace. This can really dress up your day-to-day T-shirt and jeans look. I love a long pendant necklace with a little color.

Printed Sneakers Zulily

Courtesy Zulily

A pair of fun printed sneakers. I mean let’s face it, we all would love to run around in designer pumps, but the reality is that’s not really practical for most moms. That does not mean you can’t have fun. I love a fun sneaker with a print – they will always make you smile when you put them on.

Maxidress Zulily

Courtesy Zulily

An amazing dress. Special events are always popping up in the life of a busy mom. So to avoid frantically looking for an outfit day of, invest in a special dress or two that you love. You can always switch up your accessories to give it a different feel for each occasion.

In the August issue of Allure, Kate Moss shares the style rules she lives by. No. 1: No Sweats. “I try to be a little chic,” says the supermodel.

No. 2: No tan lines on top. “I don’t mind a bikini bottom. My husband likes lines on the bum. Men like white bums. [But] I try not to have a white boob.”

And along with her fashion and beauty musts, Moss also reveals a fun little nugget about daughter Lila. Apparently, the 10-year-old can do a mean impression of Anne Hathaway‘s character, Andy Sachs, from The Devil Wears Prada.

Kate Moss and daughter Lila Grace

MARIO TESTINO FOR ALLURE

Kate Moss and daughter Lila Grace

KP PICTURES/Splash News Online

“She’s got a desk in her room with a phone … She puts a little outfit on and picks up the phone: ‘Hello, Miranda Priestly’s office.’

I say, ‘Lila, do you know who Miranda Priestly is in real life?’ But she just doesn’t care,” says the proud mom.

“She’s like, ‘Hello, Miranda Priestly’s office. Can you hold? Patrick Demarchelier on the line!’ I died when I heard her do it. So funny. She doesn’t have a clue who she is, but it’s word for word.”

Talk about adorable! We have no doubt little Lila will be taking the fashion world by storm soon – just like her mom did years ago.

Shanelle Rein-Olowokere

Blue Ivy Carter Wears a Crown Beyonce

Courtesy Beyonc

Talk about swagger!

To further prove Blue Ivy is the heir apparent of hip hop royalty, Beyonc recently posted a photo of her 17-month-old wearing a pint size jewel-encrusted purple crown by Vivienne Westwood just a month after sharing this adorable snapshot of her daughter sitting on her own throne (well, custom director’s chair).

And although she didn’t add a caption, “Bow Down” (the title of the single her superstar mom released earlier this year) is more than perfect.

But Beyonc didn’t stop there. She also added pictures of items from Blue Ivy’s luxe-worthy closet: a pink frilly dress and mini fuchsia Tom Ford heels that are so gorgeous we wouldn’t be surprised if Suri Cruise is calling the designer right now to snap up a pair for herself.

We absolutely love Blue in all her finery, but our favorite photo is the mother-daughter duo sharing a sweet moment backstage (below).

In a recent interview for her animated film Epic, Beyonc revealed that she tones it down when crooning to her daughter.

“I keep my Beyonc voice for the stage and I have my simple mommy voice,” she laughed. “I remember hearing a story about C line Dion and she was saying, ‘When I sing [to my kids] they cried.'”

Mary Margaret

Blue Ivy Carter Wears a Crown Beyonce

Courtesy Beyonc

Mom Kourtney Kardashian has one! Aunts Kim and Khlo own one too. And now Penelope Disick is the latest family member to add Balenciaga‘s chic city tote to her closet.

“Penelope is wearing the little Balenciaga bag that I got her for Christmas!” Kim posted on Instagram Friday, along with an adorable photo of the mom-to-be with her 7 -month-old niece and her mini yellow handbag.

Is Kim gearing up for her little one? If she has a little girl, we have no doubt her wardrobe will be the envy of the playground. Although the expectant reality star recently revealed that if it’s up to dad-to-be Kanye West, their baby will be wearing lots of “big chains and leather pants.”

And to be fair, Penelope wasn’t the only Kardashian-Jenner kid to receive luxe fashions for Christmas. Kylie and Kendall also scored during the holidays.

Kim Kardashian, Penelope Disick and Her Mini Balenciaga Bag

Courtesy Kim Kardashian; Inset: Rex USA


– Shanelle Rein-Olowokere

Well-fitting jeans are a staple in any woman’s closet — especially moms. And as January Jones, Jennifer Garner and Malin Akerman prove, great denim can really take your style up a notch.

So what’s the secret to their polished everyday looks? Hint: It’s in their genes — er, jeans — from Citizens of Humanity.

For an Oct. 15 lunch date with son Xander, Jones was the epitome of Cali cool in her slouchy Dylan Boyfriend Jeans ($228), white embroidered top and low wedge sandals.

And on Feb. 8, Garner paired a chunky marled sweater and Isabel Marant Basley Boots with her dark wash Avedon Skinny Leg Jeans ($198) while out shopping in Santa Monica.

January Jones Jennifer Garner Malin Akerman Citizens for Humanity Jeans

Splash News Online; Beverly News; FameFlynet


Luckily, the brand makes styles for mamas-to-be too. On Feb. 6, we spotted Akerman rocking the Avedon Slim Leg Maternity Jeans ($226) while grabbing a drink to go in Beverly Hills.

Not only does the company’s denim come in plenty of cool silhouettes and colors, but they flatter a variety of figures, giving them a custom feel. Really, could a girl ask for anything more?

– Anya Leon

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