A Fresh Outdoor Book Nook Reveal

By Merrilee Liddiard

Written by Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag for Building Blocks.

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When Pottery Barn Kids asked us to create an outdoor book nook we were over the moon! We love what PBK has going on right now, we’re big fans of reading, and we love, love, love children’s books.

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Being a children’s book illustrator for years, we’ve acquired a great many children’s books from around the world (all in the name of research, of course). Many were stored long ago in our archives, but now, thanks to our book nook project, we have rediscovered them and are so happy to see them being loved and enjoyed again! And as for our kids: they’re actually taking breaks from their summer craziness to read and relax, or play with fun learning toys such as this Counting Puzzle. In fact, they insist on hanging out in the nook for at least 1-2 hours a day, which is nothing short of a miracle.

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When presented with the idea of an outdoor book nook, I immediately went to work sketching ideas for how we could make it an extra-special space where the kids would really want to read, play and stay for awhile. Together with my handy husband Jon, we threw ideas back and forth and finally decided on a design that was simple, modern and memorable. I was also inspired by the loft beds in my grandparents’ midcentury home in Boulder, Colorado, which they designed and built themselves. I have so many amazing memories of curling up with a good book in those beds, and so I set out to provide something similar for my kids.

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I chose some of my absolute favorite finds from PBK that would work perfectly in this space. The incredible Jute Squares Rug was the jumping-off point. I knew right away that the space needed to be built and sized around it. The next item that really dictated the design was this adorable mini lantern. I knew I wanted a circular window for the lantern to hang in. Other must-haves were these amazing galvanized catch all book shelves. And from there we filled in the rest of the book nook with other great items: this Adirondack chair (which all the kids love and claim as their own–so we’re going to have to invest in two more, for sure), Nesting Floor Baskets (to store more books and our giraffe friend), and an Ivory Fur Anywhere Bean Cube.

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When it gets dark, we love to put up these great lights, pull out our cozy pillow and Star Quilt, and get settled in for a good night’s cuddle and reading under the stars. Now that’s what I call summer magic!

Enter below for your chance to win a $100 PBK gift card to start creating a book nook for your little ones– Hurry, ends Sunday 7/20!

Gear Up With the Perfect Fit!

By PBK Editors

Whether you’re preparing for a family trip or their first day of school, make sure you search our new collection of backpacks to find one that’s the perfect fit! From favorite heroes and bright icons to multiple styles and sizes, we have what you need to make gearing up a cinch.

Watch the video above to learn more, or visit your local store to find the perfect fit in person!

Food for Thought: Tips for a Healthy Brain

By PBK Editors

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Keep your little one’s brain going this summer with a few food tips that make a positive difference. We gathered some advice from Deborah McNelis, M.Ed, Founder of Brain Insights, LLC and award-winning author of The Brain Development Series. These ideas highlight the importance that food plays in how children function, how they feel and how they behave.

“Nutrition is often thought of only in relation to the body,” she says. “But what is good for the body is also good for the brain.”

Tip #1
Providing a good breakfast sets your child up for a good day. Ensure that the first meal includes adequate amounts of protein (omega-3s and complex carbohydrates over sugary foods and beverages). This will contribute to a more content child with a better-functioning brain.

Tip #2
Establish routines for daily meals. Consistency each day provides a sense of predictability for young children. The brain feels more comfortable and safe when it knows what to expect next.

Tip #3
Offer choices. When children are given options, they’re more directly involved in an activity – and this often results in better cooperation. For example, ask if they’d like an apple or orange with their lunch, or if they’d like to drink their milk or finish their sandwich first.

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Finally, one of the best things you can do to to keep your own brain happy is to follow these same tips! Eat well, get enough sleep, follow a routine – and also take note of all the great things you did throughout the day. Parenting is not an easy job, but be proud of the positive ways you’re contributing to the healthy brains of your family!

This post was written in collaboration with Deborah McNelis for Happy Family. Nourish your little ones with snacks from Happy Family at our Story Time next week as our Summer Reading Challenge comes to an end. For more details, see our store events page.

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Outstanding Sugar Cookies

By PBK Editors

Did you know today is National Sugar Cookie Day? We’re giving three cheers to one of our favorite sweet treats with these outstanding ideas to try with your little ones!

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Your kids will love creating their very own works of art with this Sugar Cookie Painting Technique from Bon Appetit.

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Turn one of their favorite foods into a new favorite dessert with this colorful Sugar Cookie Pizza from The Nerd’s Wife.

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Uncover creepy crawlies and spiny species with this fun Sugar Cookie Fossil Idea from Martha Stewart.

Don’t forget to check out Design Studio for more fun sugar cookie recipes, like our Coconut Glazed Seahorse Cookies or Elephant Sugar Cookies!

Get Outside with Summertime Crafts

By PBK Editors

Have you seen the amazing Vegetable Garden Coloring Sheet from our friend Made by Joel? We can’t get enough of his fantastic crafts, so we’re sharing three of his outdoor ideas to try this summer.

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These Flamenco Flower Dolls are bright, fresh and fun to twirl around. Try layering on a few different flowers to create an extra-colorful outfit!

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Turn natural keepsakes like driftwood and smooth rocks into a collection of familiar friends with this Driftwood Fish Idea.

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Does your little one love collecting pieces from the outdoors? String up a few favorites and create a beautiful Nature Mobile to showcase mementos from your adventures outside.

Looking for more great summer craft ideas? Visit Design Studio and Made by Joel’s blog to get inspired.

A Cozy Baby Book Nook Reveal

By Monika Hibbs

Written by Monika Hibbs of The Doctor’s Closet for Building Blocks.

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I’m thrilled to be kicking off the first week of book nook reveals for Pottery Barn Kids! Since my son Liam (now 14 months old) has started walking and leading the way, I wanted to add a touch of a “growing boy” to his nursery as it transitions to be a little boy’s room. The first idea that came to mind was to create a quiet place to read stories, enjoy cuddles and have some fun. So, a teepee reading nook sounded like the perfect place to start!

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Liam is one busy boy! He’s now running around looking for new adventures and places to explore, so I love how a simple yet dramatic teepee added some fun and coziness to his room. We pretend that we’re in the middle of the wilderness, reading beneath the stars!

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He loves his new reading teepee and cuddling into the pillows and soft blanket – he completely owns his new territory!

Multiple stories have already been read with the lights dimmed low, his grand light star shining the way through his new adventures.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing how my teepee book nook turned out – and guess what? You can create this look, too! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $100 Pottery Barn Kids gift card to get started on your child’s own reading space. Hurry – the giveaway ends this Sunday, July 13th!

Quick Ideas for 4th of July

By PBK Editors

Looking for a few easy ways to add more flair to your 4th of July celebration? Here are three ideas that you can quickly put together tomorrow.

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Add the littlest stars and stripes with a DIY Handprint Flag from Sweet Little Peanut for a quick patriotic touch.

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Make sure your little ones stay entertained with a fun activity, like these 4th of July Printables from 30 Days.

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Don’t forget a cool treat while you’re out in the sun – our Homemade Snow Cone recipe is sure to hit the spot!

Enjoy your 4th of July, and visit potterybarnkids.com to shop our 4th of July sale!

Seeing Stars: Festive Crafts and Activities for 4th of July!

By PBK Editors

Before the sparklers and fireworks display, bring an element of star-filled creativity with a few kid-friendly crafts and activities. Here are three of our favorite ideas to try!

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This Fruit Dyed Star Garland from A Subtle Revelry is the perfect summer craft to do outdoors. Your little ones will love experimenting with each fruit to see the natural dyes they can create!

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Add some extra flair to your little ones 4th of July outfit with a Stars & Straws Necklace from Babycenter. This craft is simple, mess-free and perfect for little ones of all ages.

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Create your very own outdoor game with this Lawn Star Idea from Sunset Magazine. Whether you try a ring toss or a build a hopscotch, your kids will love frolicking about on this fun floor design.

Ready for a day of stars and stripes? Visit potterybarnkids.com and check out our other 4th of July Ideas.