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How we feel about 2020: Burn it down (but keep a few precious things we found this year).

Our 10 Favorite Stories from Cubby (So Far)

published Dec 30, 2020
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Hi there, Cubby friends! We started Cubby on the spur of the moment this fall (although the idea has been in our heads for a long time). We felt cooped up with our families, but we had a hunch that, while this year has mostly been a flaming dumpster fire of things we hope never happen again in our lifetimes, we might be left with a teeny-weeny bit of nostalgia for all this extra time with our cubs. Cubby was started as a place to share ideas to make this lockdown year easier as parents, while also discovering fun, smart, stylish ways to live together at home as families.

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Cubby is made by a teeny part-time crew of parents who mostly have other jobs, and who really love our homes and our kids. Everything you’ve seen on Cubby has been something that one of us wanted and felt would give us a little burst of energy to enjoy life at home more. We wanted to know the best ways parents have improved their homes for pandemic lockdown, and what books would bring a big dose of fun to bedtime reading. We learned how to build a Halloween candy chute, and we talked about how to plan gifts for a tween. We peeked into homes of families who have made small spaces work for vibrant family life. 

If you’re new to Cubby, or are just joining us, thank you for following along on this pandemic school-year adventure. Take a trip with us through our favorite stories (so far), plus some of the best tips that you, our readers, have shared along the way. 

The Single Best Thing 10 Families Did for Their Homes This Year

This launch feature was a favorite, introducing us to so many of the creative ways families have made their home live large this year. (That parkour garage!!)

Credit: Brian Hamill/ Getty Images; Design: Melissa Polhamus

17 Toys That Occupy Kids the Longest, According to Parents

We’re all looking for good toys to give us a little breathing space, and this list was such a hit with parents of kids of all ages.

The pre-pandemic plan was to have 2 guinea pigs for at least a year as “starter pets” to teach our 4 kids about responsibility. Now with a shelter pup and this week’s stray kitten rescue, we magically have 4 pets! We also now have a backyard zipline that the entire family has embraced. Never denying a request to play in the sprinkler or make mud pies has been paramount.

Cubby reader Lisa, on what has helped home life during quarantine
Credit: Amanda Kingloff

How to Make a Halloween Candy Chute for Trick-or-Treaters

We’re pretty obsessed with this easy, not-too-spooky candy chute. In fact, the Halloween candy chute is one fresh discovery we may keep even after the pandemic is over!

Credit: Leela Cyd

One Family, 1,000 Toys, Two Bedrooms, and Space to Work & Play

This home tour of a toy shop owner and her daughter in Los Angeles was an inspiring look at how one family makes a small space feel both playful and large.

When they were little, doll houses were hands-down the best toys for long periods of uninterrupted play. We started with a Fisher Price Little People House and then upgraded to a Twig Studio wooden doll house. That lasted well into the tween years. They would also entertain themselves for a surprisingly long time outdoors with ribbon wands.

Reader Anne on the best toys for long stretches of play
Credit: Leela Cyd

Organization Is the Secret to Fitting a Family Business and 3 Kids into 1,200 Square Feet

This second home tour also focused on a relatively small home and a family with smart, stylish solutions (and habits) for living peacefully together.

Credit: Stan Wayman/Getty Images

10 Parents on the 2020 Buys That Made Life a Little Better at Home

In a year of kids-at-home-all-the-time, parents looked to some clever entertainment and recreation ideas, which they shared here (such a good list).

This year I’m surprising them with glow-in-the-dark Silly Putty in their stockings. Such a throwback to my childhood! I can’t wait to show them how to make “copies” of newspapers on their Silly Putty.

Cubby reader Lindsay on Christmas stocking stuffers
Credit: IKEA

The Very Best IKEA Products for Families

Speaking of buys, we love IKEA so much, and Laura, our resident design expert, gave us her list of the ultimate IKEA shopping list for families. All classics that will last!

“Thankfulness Is a Responsibility”: How Parents Are Celebrating a Very Different Thanksgiving

In this topsy-turvy world, holidays like Thanksgiving were turned upside down too—and not just because we couldn’t go to Grandma’s. In this essay, a star chef reflects on the Thanksgivings of his childhood and those of today.

Credit: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

The One Thing We Should All Read About Food This Year

Credit: Everett Collection/Shutterstock

The Top Gifts & Stocking Stuffers of 2020, According to Independent Toy Shop Owners

This list of independent shops and gifts was soooo good—we bookmarked it for reference and shopping long beyond Christmas.

Credit: Karen Schipper

25 Kids’ Books That Are Pure Joy (We Want to Buy Them All!)

And same to this list of books that are truly fun and joyful to read; we promptly bought many and bookmarked others for buying and reading later in the year.

As a third-grade teacher—hands-down favorites were the Judi Blum books. We laughed and cried together as I read one after another. We all had a Fudge in our lives!!!!

Cubby reader Barbara on the book kids most enjoy

Ask Maxwell: Maxwell’s Top Advice!

Last but not least, Maxwell’s advice column was a fan favorite. Here are his top three questions and answers!

Thank you again for reading Cubby! Happy New Year!