How to design a shared kids’ bedroom: three easy steps inspired by Garnet Hill home stylists

Mix-and-Match Flannel Bedding. Shared Space? Here's a Tip: Play with Solids and Patterns to Create a Design that's Unified Yet Uniquely their Own!
Whether you have children sharing a room or a bunkhouse for the grandkids, crafting a space that looks unified while still reflecting different personalities can be a challenge.

We love this technique used by our Garnet Hill home stylists for photo shoots: incorporate mixing, matching, and layering for a room that feels well–coordinated yet full of individual personality.

It’s also a great way to get more mileage out of your favorite bedding sets!
Garnet Hill Kids' Bedding

Here’s how to get the look:

Step 1:
Decide how closely the sheets should coordinate. Are the kids similar enough in age and interests to enjoy a matching pattern, or would different designs in complementary colors better suit them? Once you know that it’s easy to build the rest.

Enlist their help if you can — the more involved they are in the decision-making, the more delighted they’re likely to be with the result.

Step 2:
Choose comforters, quilts, pillows and blankets. Now mix and match away! Try splitting sets between the beds (ie. orange blanket on one, orange sham on the other). And take liberties when deciding what to pair. Stripes with patterns, solids with dots, dots with stripes — get creative, and use what you already have on hand when possible.

Step 3:
Use accessories to define each space. If one child is an art lover and the other on the sporty side, accessories are a great way to showcase that.

Another approach could be to choose a brighter mix of colors and a playful rug for one, a more subtle color palette with sophisticated accessories for the other.

That’s it. And one of the best things about designing a room this way? The possibilities for mixing and remixing are endless.

Have fun!

Packing up for back-to-school season

It’s that bittersweet time of year: summer is almost over and back-to-school season has once again snuck up on us. But instead of lamenting the end of pool parties and barbeques, we at Garnet Hill choose to embrace the season of brand-new lunchboxes, fresh school supplies, and most importantly, stylish backpacks.

In celebration of a brand new school year, we asked a few of our favorite bloggers to share their kids’ reactions to our new backpack designs, along with a few tips to help prep for the season.

Garnet Hill Kids' Eco BackpacksGarnet Hill Kids' Eco Backpacks

“[Our daughter] plays with her new backpack every day and loves to play school at home. We love these bags because they are so durable. Izzy was rough on her backpack from last year, but is still in great shape,”

– Lauren, Heart of Deborah.

One of Lauren’s favorite school traditions? Stocking her kid’s backpacks up with their favorite reads.

Garnet Hill Kids' Eco BackpacksGarnet Hill Kids' Eco Backpacks

“I’m a person of organization, schedules and being a true introvert, having time to myself.  I absolutely love my kids and they are the best, but they are ready to be back in school,”

– Lulu, The Laurel Lane.

Her favorite characteristics about the backpacks? The matching insulated lunch bag, the security buckles across the front, and the multiple zippers to organize all the kids’ items and padded straps.

Garnet Hill Kids' Eco Backpacks

“My son is so hilarious with his backpack – it’s literally the same size as him but he is obsessed with it and wants to wear it all the time,”

– Melissa, Bubby and Bean.

Tell us: how are you preparing your kids for back-to-school?

 

Savvy tips for kids’ sun safety

Most kids agree that the best part of the summer (besides a break from school!) is hitting the beach, pool, or park. Before they rush outside, we wanted to refresh our sun-safety knowledge. Here are some easy tips for sun safety:

1. SUNSCREEN

Apply a “broad spectrum” (meaning that it protects against both types of ultra violet rays: UVA (A=aging) and UVB (B=Burning) sunscreen before your kids head outside — thirty minutes before to be exact. And being diligent about reapplication will help their sensitive skin in the long run. The fairer the child, the more dangerous the UV rays are for the child’s skin, but all skin types need sunscreen for protection.

2. CLOUDS DON’T HELP

Although children may not appear sunburned, they are still being exposed to “aging” rays, which are just as harmful. Clouds do not protect from harmful UV rays so use sunscreen even on overcast days.
Boys' Short-Sleeve Graphic Tee and Boys' Swim Board Shorts

3. COVER UP

Wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses is another important way of warding off UV damage, so keep their legs and arms covered whenever possible.

4. LOOK FOR UPF CLOTHING

Clothing varies in the amount of sun protection it provides. Items labeled with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating are numbered to gauge their ability to block out the sun. How does it work? It all has to do with the density of the fabric and the type of fibers (nylon and elastane block a lot of UV light). When wet, light-colored clothing lets in just as much sunlight as bare skin; darker colors are most effective.
Girls' Dip-Dyed Seaside Cotton Cover-Up and Girls' Ruffle-Trimmed One-Piece Swimsuit

The Glad Fest: celebrating Pollyanna in Littleton, New Hampshire

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Dick and Debbie Alberini receive the annual Pollyanna Signature Award.

Dick and Debbie Alberini receive the annual Pollyanna Signature Award for their service to the community and spirit of positivity. Photo by Zachary Sar

Do you remember the classic children’s novel Pollyanna? Written in 1913, it’s the story of a young orphan with an optimistic outlook who, after losing her father, is sent to live with her stern aunt in a small New England town. Pollyanna’s cheerful personality and Glad Game win over everyone including, eventually, her aunt Polly.

Every year in June, the town of Littleton, New Hampshire (just up the road from our Franconia headquarters) celebrates Pollyanna Day.

Author Eleanor Hodgman Porter was born and raised in Littleton, moved to Boston to study music, and later wrote a series of novels including her most famous — Pollyanna.

The town in the novel bears a strong resemblance to her hometown, and Littleton residents happily commemorate Pollyanna, and Porter, every year. This year, to mark the day’s 15th anniversary, it was a weekend-long Glad Fest!

Here’s a glimpse into the weekend’s festivities, captured by our friend, photographer Zachary Sar.

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. A passerby accepts the piano's invitation to "Be Glad... Make Music".

A passerby accepts the piano’s invitation to “Be Glad… Make Music”. Littleton’s Main Street boasts a number of brightly colored pianos for impromptu performances. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Photos on the library lawn.

Commemorating the weekends festivities with photos on the library lawn. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. A candid moment with Pollyanna host Rebecca Colby.

A candid moment with Pollyanna host Rebecca Colby in front of the bronze Pollyanna statue at the Littleton Library. Photos by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. "Not Your Mother" providing live music.

Local band Not Your Mother providing live music during Friday night’s events. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Garnet Hill's own Jae Kim performing with "Not Your Mother".

Garnet Hill’s own Jae Kim performing with Not Your Mother. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. The Upstage Players entertain with a selection from Pollyanna, the Musical.

The Upstage Players entertain with a selection from Pollyanna, the Musical. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Members of the Upstage Players enjoying the festivities.

Members of the Upstage Players enjoying the festivities. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Young GladFest goers wore their favorite Pollyanna-style hats.

Young GladFest goers wore their favorite Pollyanna-style hats. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Taking a break in front of the Littleton Diner.

Taking a break in front of the Littleton Diner. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Everyone is feeling glad.

Everyone’s feeling glad! Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH.


Megan Cunningham, Miss White Mountains Region 2016 (left), Jere Eames (center), and Natalie Cartwright, Miss Littleton Area’s Outstanding Teen 2016 (right). Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Playing at the Riverwalk.


All smiles, playing at the Riverwalk. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. A local artisan demonstrates his wood-burning technique.


A local artisan demonstrates his wood-burning technique. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Taking in the day in true Pollyanna style.


Taking in the day in true Pollyanna style. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH.


Natalie Cartwright, Miss Littleton Area’s Outstanding Teen 2016, posing with a friend. Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. The Positively Pancakes Breakfast.


The Positively Pancakes Breakfast at the First Congregational Church was absolutely delicious! Photo by Zachary Sar

Pollyanna Day in Littleton, NH. Illustration by local artist Kaio Scott.

We loved this photo of Glad Fest Photographer Zachary Sar, as illustrated by local artist Kaio Scott, during the weekend’s festivities!

Zach, in his own words: “A small-time local photographer living in Littleton, always walking to capture the street life and dogs of Main Street.”

Turning plastic bottles into backpacks: the NEW Eco Backpack Collection

The 2017 kids backpack collection is in!
And this year they’ve got a special, eco-friendly twist.

While still packed with the ergonomic features parents love (including curved straps, padded backs, and sized-to-fit proportions), the collection now uses recycled PET fabric — made from discarded plastic bottles and reclaimed poly.
Garnet Hill Eco-Friendly Kids' Backpack Collection

Did you know?

Americans use roughly 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour.
Only about 30% of plastic bottles are recycled.
It takes between 500 and 1000 years for plastic to break down in a landfill.
It’s predicted that by 2050, the plastics in the oceans will outweigh the fish.

Those statistics are disheartening to be sure, but there’s a lot that we can do. Like avoiding plastic packaging when possible and recycling plastic when we do use it.

We love that these packs give new life to reclaimed plastic, which helps to keep it out of our landfills and water supplies! They’re also made to last, so be sure to hand them down to siblings, cousins, and friends when you can.

To learn more about all of the smart features in our backpack collection, check out our kids’ collection.

For games, activities, and more kid-friendly info about recycling and protecting the environment, check out EekoWorld from PBS Kids, the EPA’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Resources, and the Recycle Roundup from National Geographic Kids

Sources:

Recycle Across America
The Balance – An Overview of Plastic Recycling
World Economic Forum – The New Plastics Economy

Six sweet surprises for your summer-camp packing list

Summer Popsicles

Even experienced campers can feel apprehensive about setting off for another season.

So beyond the standard swimsuits and shorts, we thought it would be fun to pack a few unexpected surprises. Thoughtful items to help them get settled, get to know their new friends, and remind them that you’re never too far away.

A spare pillowcase (in white or a light solid color) and fabric markers

Sheets in the Wind

She and her campmates can get creative — adding their signatures and doodling all summer long. When she returns home, she’ll have a meaningful keepsake.

Tip: Other ideas for personalizing include a small wooden picture frame (minus the glass) and markers if there’s space, or quilt squares if you’re crafty.

Notes from home, photos, or other treats

Note and Orange Bowls
From parents, siblings, and friends. Invite anyone you know your child will miss to write a little note or send along a favorite photo.

Tip: Try to sneak them into inconspicuous places so they’ll stand a small chance of not being opened right away.

A new skill

Teach her how to make friendship bracelets ahead of time and send along some string for making them at camp. And be sure to make one for each of you to wear while she’s gone. It’s a sweet and simple way to help you both feel connected while you’re apart.

Ice breakers to help her get to know cabin-mates

Paper Heart
Include some easy conversation starters to help with initial awkwardness or rainy day doldrums. Check out your local bookstore for boxes of questions, joke books, yoga cards, or one of the many fun National Geographic books for kids.

A journal for recording camp memories

Pack it with colored pencils and a flashlight, for writing and sketching until lights out.
Green and Blue Pencils

Pre-addressed post cards to give to new BFFs at the end of the summer (and some blank ones too)

Because knowing it’ll be super-simple to stay in touch may make saying goodbye just a little bit easier.

What are your favorite ways to make your camper feel at home, away from home?

For camp-ready tees, shorts, water shoes, and UPF 50+ swimwear, check out our kids’ collection.

You’re the editor: Preview the 2017 backpack collection!

Tell us what you think.

2017 Kids' Backpacks: Garnet Hill Kids' Backpack Survey
Take the Garnet Hill Kids' Backpack Survey
Although it’s not quite the end of the school year, we’re already busy preparing for next fall. The brand-new 2017 backpack collection has just been photographed and we couldn’t wait to share a sneak peek with you!

New for 2017:

Every backpack and lunch pack in the collection is now made with recycled PET fabric, created from plastic bottles and reclaimed polyester.

And, as always, each bag is ergonomically designed to give your child the best possible fit.

We’re thrilled with how they turned out and would really love to know which ones you’ll like the most. Would you share your thoughts with us? Fill out our quick backpack survey.

Thanks for your feedback, and be sure to mark your calendar for June 15 to be among the first to shop the collection when it premieres online.

Creative tips for traveling with kids

Low-tech entertainment for your next family vacation

As the season of family road trips and airplane travel approaches, it’s a good idea to have some fresh strategies ready to keep kids happy and occupied. Tablets and phones can be great in a pinch, but we love creative and interactive activities. Here are a few favorites:


Ask the kids to document the trip with an instant-print camera

Ocean Photos
You know, the old-fashioned kind. Introduce your kids to the joy of snapping a photo and waving it around in the air as you eagerly wait to see what develops.

Pro tip: You’ll want to ration the film – maybe even hide some extra in your bag – so you don’t run out before you’ve even left the driveway.


Create a collection with free (or nearly free) found items

Travel Bag
Anything from rocks, to sea glass, to coins, to flowers for pressing. Next, decide on some creative ways to catalog where you found each item and what it reminds you of.


Pack a journal/scrapbook with supplies

Butterflies on a Book
Give your child a journal for doodling, writing, and pasting in their photos. A blank book plus a glue stick, stickers, crayons and colored pencils for the younger set, and markers for older kids are all a good start.


Bring along a family mascot

Golddish in a Bowl
Pack something meaningful, but not priceless, like a photo of a pet who couldn’t make the trip or silly knickknack from home. Tote them along for funny photo ops and share their journey with family and friends.


Play some travel-friendly family games

Remember I-Spy? License-plate bingo? 20 questions? All of those car-trip classics are just as fun for kids now as they were back then, and they have the added benefit of engaging little imaginations.

Refresh your memory on how to play, and discover more games you may not know.

If you have the space, pack UNO, Go Fish, and Travel Yahtzee for more options.


Make a big deal out of little thrills

Kids are experts at this. The hotel elevator, the frog in the grass by the parking lot, the tiny swing set at the playground (rather than the over-the-top rides at the amusement park).

As every parent knows, the things you expect to make an impression are often not what kids are still talking about months and years later. And really, that’s part of the magic.

Step back whenever possible and let the kids take the lead. You may find it’s the key to your best vacation memories.

What are your suggestions for keeping everyone happy on a family trip?

Ideas for When You’re Snowed In with Kids


There’s nothing quite like a snow day to get kids up and out of bed earlier than almost any other day of the year. Even the sleepiest of sleepyheads can’t seem to resist the promise of an unexpected, school-free day.

But once the initial thrill wears off, how do you keep your kids entertained during all that free time (and divert their attention from the television)? With no chance to prep activities, snow days can mean a whole lot of extra stress for busy parents.

Fortunately, we’re no strangers to snow days here in New Hampshire so we’ve collected tons of ideas from Pinterest for creative crafts and activities. Here are some of our favorites:

Kids Get Crafty: Ice Ornaments

Snowball Target Practice from Parents.com

Snowball Target Practice

How to Build an Igloo from Instructables.com

Igloo
Find more ideas for winter activities in our Fun Kids’ Projects board on Pinterest.

Mittens Give Back on National Mitten Day

Sharing Warmth and Joy with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

St. Jude Mitten PartySt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Their mission is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® And families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Because of this incredible commitment, St. Jude is very close to our hearts.

In honor of National Mitten Day today, and to celebrate our St. Jude Merry Mittens Campaign, we were honored to lend our support to the cause and donate a collection of colorful mittens and hats to St. Jude for its winter-themed Mitten Party. The children and their families made gingerbread-house crafts, enjoyed treats of mitten-shaped pops, and picked out a new pair of mittens and a cozy hat to stay warm this winter season.

So today, on National Mitten Day, we’re asking for your help in supporting an incredible cause.

Through December 24, you can make a donation to St. Jude just by taking a picture outside bundled up in your coziest winter gear (and don’t forget your mittens!). Upload your mitten photo to Instagram, or here, with #stjudemerrymittens and we’ll make a $10 donation to St. Jude (up to $15,000).

Thank you for joining us in supporting St. Jude.

The photos from the event brought a lot of smiles to us here at the Garnet Hill offices, and we thought you’d enjoy seeing them too.

St. Jude Mitten Party

A young St. Jude patient, hard at work on his gingerbread house.

Handmade Mitten Pops

What a treat! Handmade mitten pops were provided for all to enjoy.

St. Jude Mitten Party

It was a lighthearted afternoon filled with laughter and smiles.

St. Jude Mitten Party

The patients and their siblings picked out a new pair of mittens and a cozy hat to stay warm this winter season.