This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!

Movies

A group of kids discover and befriend alien life in Earth to Echo. The “found footage”-style movie (which looks as if one of the characters filmed it himself with a handheld camera) follows their journey to protect the creature from the government.
What’s in it for you The film features an adventurous plot to thrill the whole family, similar to classic kid-centric films such as E.T. and The Goonies.
PG; opens July 2

Our ambitious friend Dusty is back again in Planes: Fire & Rescue. This time, he’s forced to switch careers when engine damage threatens his racing ability. But he’s not idle for long; he soon joins up with a fire and rescue helicopter and a squad of all-terrain vehicles to fight a giant wildfire. PG; opens July 18

Everything is awesome now that The Lego Movie is coming to DVD! Emmet, an ordinary construction worker, accidentally ends up on a quest to prevent an evil tyrant from destroying the entire universe with glue. The wacky humor will appeal to both kids and adults. PG; $36

Based on a Belgian book series, Ernest & Celestine tells the heartwarming tale of a mouse and a bear who become friends under unlikely circumstances. The film—which was nominated for best Animated Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards—showcases beautiful hand-drawn and watercolor artwork and a number of celebrity voices, including Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, and William H. Macy. PG; $30

Video Games

Bring on the competition with Kinect Sports Rivals. Using the new Xbox One’s amazing technology, the game scans your body to create a “Champion” who looks like you—and eventually learns to act and play like you too. 10 years+; $60 for Xbox One

If your family enjoyed Toothless and Hiccup’s adventures in theaters this summer, you can continue the fun with the How to Train Your Dragon 2 video game. Become a master dragon rider by entering flight school, competing in tournaments, and completing training exercises. 10 years+; $40 for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U; $30 for 3DS and Wii

Ever imagine what your Mii might be up to when he’s not involved in your video games? In Tomodachi Life, players get to create and customize Mii characters, and then see how they interact with each other during daily life. Some might fall in love, others might become rock stars—and some will just take a nice long bath. 6 years+; $35 for 3DS

Apps
Your little one can learn all about her favorite prehistoric beasts with Dinosaur Train A to Z. Based on the popular PBS Kids show, the app introduces users to 26 interactive dinosaurs to feed and X-ray. Plus, the app’s Dinosaur Letter feature lets kids practice spelling. For even more learning, two additional app packages focused on carnivores and winged creatures are also available for purchase. 3 years+; $2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Reminisce with the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e Angel app, based on the popular virtual pet toys from the 1990s. The graphics are still charmingly retro, but users can now collect different wallpapers and shell designs. 4 years+; free for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android

Totally Monster Manners makes teaching your child etiquette a snap. The amusing e-book features adorable monsters who aren’t very polite—and soon suffer the consequences when no one wants to play with them! 2 years+; $1 for iPad

If your kid likes a little adventure before bed, check out Mike the Knight: Storybook Treasury. Three exciting new e-books—based on the popular TV show —will thrill preschoolers with tales of dragons, castles, and jousting. 3 years+; free for first book for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch; additional stories cost $2 each

When your little one needs a push to go outdoors, try enticing him with Plum’s Photo Hunt. Each mission involves taking a picture of something in the environment, such as leaves, signs of animal life, or unusual weather. Your budding photographer can then submit his findings to the PBS Kids site, and a select gallery will be published online each week. 6 years+; free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Travel the globe with Whole Wide World 2. Players meet characters from different countries and participate in games related to each culture, such as riding a kangaroo in Australia and finding hidden objects in Italy. The app’s scrapbook feature collects postcards from each stop. 5 years+; free for basic edition, $1 per additional country, $5 for premium access to all 15 countries for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Image courtesy of Xbox

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