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Peg + Cat: Fantastic New PBS Show

Friday, October 4th, 2013

FamilyFun’s Research Chief, Beth Honeyman, is our guest blogger today.

Premiering on PBS Kids on October 7, Peg + Cat (tap link for video) features a pair of winsome title characters: spunky, enthusiastic Peg and her purple feline pal. Together the two tackle problems both big (how to re-coop 100 escaped chicks) and small (finding a friend to join their pie picnic), all as the show deftly incorporates mathematical concepts in entertaining ways. My kids, ages 3 and 5, and I caught a sneak peek of one episode, and we adored the show’s whimsy: the talking cat, the catchy tunes, and Peg’s oversized reactions (“I am TOTALLY freaking out!). As a mom, I especially appreciated how Peg + Cat encourages young viewers to persevere and figure out their own solutions.

Check your local TV listings for air time.

Courtesy of (c) 2013, Feline Features LLC

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Tags: , , | Categories: Favorite Things

A Successful Sequel

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Ellen’s on vacation this week, spending time with her boys. Here’s a guest post from Digital Editor Sam Mead.

With Oscar talk starting to heat up, it seems appropriate to look back at some of this year’s past kids’ movies that delivered big laughs. Like many parents of elementary school-aged kids, my criteria for judging a family movie is based less on the quality of the story or animation as it is my kids’ reaction to it. There are simply few things I enjoy more than seeing my kids split their sides at what they are watching.

This type of reaction is rare with sequels. For adults, the issue might be an old story line that’s just rehashed, or different characters, which are just not as funny as the original ones. For kids, it’s much simpler: Is it funny?

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is an exception. In this sequel, Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman are trying to return to New York from Africa via Monte Carlo and with a travelling circus—talk about whack-a-doo! But the lines are funny, the cast of characters is better than ever, and the story, which includes a wonderfully dark French animal control officer, builds to a dizzying crescendo that delivers major jumping up and down.

Of course, the surefire test of whether a movie is a winner is whether the DVD version engenders the same reaction at home as it did in the theater. My kids went bonkers when we watched Madagascar 3 from the comfort of our couch. So in the category of animated sequels in 2012, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the winner!

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Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

IshOur friends at Red Tricycle recently announced their 2012 Totally Awesome Awards. There are a lot of great categories (Artistic Art Supplies, Wheely Cool Bike Gear), and even local picks for families (eateries, music classes) in large metro areas, such as LA and Chicago.

I was especially thrilled to see one of my favorite picture books, Ish, by Peter Reynolds, nominated in the Beloved Bedtime Stories category. The simple story celebrates creativity in kids and is part of Reynold’s Creatrilogy series, which also includes The Dot and Sky Color. My boys are teenagers now, but they’ll still occasionally pick up our copies of the books and reread them, always with a smile on their faces.

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Grammy Nominations

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Little Seed

Ellen’s on vacation this week, spending time with her boys. Here’s a guest post from Research Chief Beth Honeyman.

Grammy nomination
s came out recently and I was thrilled to see a nod for Elizabeth Mitchell, one of my family’s musical mainstays. Many of Mitchell’s albums run on semi-permanent rotation at our house, owing to the songstress’s gentle vocals and simple arrangements. The sweet songs provide a perfect calming note on otherwise crazy days and often help to soothe my four- and two-year olds through their challenging pre-dinner witching hour. Lately, we’ve been enjoying tracks from Mitchell’s latest album Blue Clouds, but somehow her nominated one, Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie, slipped past my eagle eye (or should that be “ear”?). You can be sure I’ll be correcting that oversight right away.

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Sweet Building Toy

Friday, December 14th, 2012

5020 Candy ConstructionHere’s a twist on the typical gingerbread house. Candy Construction Building Set looks as if tinkertoys got mixed up in a bowl of holiday candy. The 92-piece plastic set gives kids chocolate panels, peppermint connectors, large and small swirl sticks, colorful candy drops and more to turn into creative structures. The best part? They never go stale! Ages 4 to 8. Learning Resources, $34.99

Looking to make an edible gingerbread treat? Try our Gingerbread Biscotti or our marshmallow Gingerkids!

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