Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and Television
Inspired by a true story, Dolphin Tale 2follows two other dolphins rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter, the aquatic star of the original movie, is back too, along with human actors including Harry Connick Jr. PG, opens September 12
Everyone’s favorite tank engine returns on DVD in Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave—The Movie. Our hero and his pals grow nervous after they notice unusual footprints on the island. But after a little adventure, they learn that friendship and courage can conquer any obstacle. 2 years+, releases September 16
Meet The Boxtrolls, those mischievous little creatures that live underneath the town of Cheesebridge—and happen to be raising a human boy named Eggs. When a villain starts capturing the Boxtrolls, Eggs ventures aboveground to help save his family.Like Coraline and ParaNorman, the film features dark animation and quirky humor. PG, opens September 26
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters is turning 30! To celebrate, special edition Blu-ray releases of the two films will soon be available. Bonus features include retrospective discussions with director Ivan Reitman and star Dan Aykroyd, a poster art gallery, music videos, and more. PG, $27 for set
Peg + Cat, the Daytime Emmy-award winning PBS Kids show, is coming to DVD for the first time. The animated series teaches math concepts and skills in a fun way, such as rounding up 100 chickens before the farmer realizes they’ve escaped. 3 years+, $13
In The Stream, it’s the summer of 1981 and Ernest is obsessed with Star Wars. When a bully breaks his “lightsaber”—it’s actually a Wiffle ball bat—Ernest and his friends set out for the mall to buy a new one. Naturally, a variety of coming-of-age scenarios occur along the way. A portion of the proceeds from the film benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. PG, $15
Thrilling new episodes of Turbo FAST are coming to Netflix! This batch includes stories of a snail-eating goldfish, a wild ride on a tank, and an underground race against pet store animals. 6 years+, $8 per month for Netflix membership
Want to keep an eye on what your child is learning? The PBS Kids Super Visionapp provides real-time information about what your little one is playing and watching on pbskids.org, so you can manage her screen time from anywhere and set a limit on how long she can play games. It also tells you what skills she’s building, and suggests related activities to continue the education offline. Free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
A group of fillies attempt to discover their hidden talents in My Little Pony: Fluttershy’s Famous Stare. Preschoolers can interact with the e-book’s characters by tapping the screen. And the text highlights important words to help develop early reading and vocabulary skills. 3 years+, $3 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Take creativity to a new level with the Crayola Color, Draw & Sing app. Kids choose a song to listen to while they work, and every action—including scribbling with crayons and choosing new colors—unlocks a new instrument or feature in that track. Your young artist will have completed a beautiful picture and song in no time. 2 years+, $3 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
If your child loves creepy crawlers, Animal Planet’s Real Scary Spiders app is a must. Augmented reality technology lets the player see a pet spider “brought to life” onscreen when he points the camera at an object. Be warned: the graphics are awfully realistic, so the squeamish will want to look away! 6 years+, Free for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
In The 7D Mine Train, players meet the reimagined Seven Dwarfs from the Disney Channel TV series. Your kid can choose her favorite dwarf and guide him along the twisting tracks, earning gems as she goes. Then, she can cash in for power ups or a cool, customized car. 6 years+, Free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Defy gravity with Mario Kart 8, where you can drive upside-down and on the walls. Plus, meet new characters such as the Koopalings, Baby Rosalina, and Pink Gold Peach. 6 years+, $60 for Wii U
Has your kid been begging for a puppy? Let him go wild with PlayStation Vita Pets. Players choose from four different breeds—Labrador, collie, husky, and Dalmatian—and get to know the canine’s personality. Then, it’s time to venture out onto Castlewood Island for a little exploration! 6 years+, $20 for PS Vita
Driveclub is a racing game all about teamwork and collaborating with friends to earn rewards. Users can join a club, experience high-speed solo racing, and customize cars. Made for the PlayStation 4, the high level of detail and great graphics make driving feel authentic. 6 years+, $60 for PlayStation 4
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and Television
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesare back, this time in a live-action adventure. The gang of Ninjutsu-trained fighters teams up with April O’Neil (Megan Fox) to save New York City from Shredder and his evil Foot Clan. PG-13, opens August 8
In Dora and Friends: Into the City!our bilingual heroine is moving to an urban area, making new friends, and exchanging her trusty paper map for a tech-savvy app. But her adventures, which focus heavily on community service and helping others, are still educational and entertaining for her legions of preschool fans. 2 years+, premieres August 18
Experience life under water with DeepSea Challenge 3D. The film recounts James Cameron’s personal journey exploring on a submarine in a way that will inspire both kids and adults. PG, opens August 8
Amazon Studios just launched Annedroids, an original kids’ series about a girl genius. The live-action adventure show explores her amazing scientific discoveries and the difficulties of growing up. The first six episodes are available through Prime Instant Video, and more episodes will follow later this year. 4 years+, premiered July 25 on Amazon
Your little Barbie fan’s imagination can fly free with Barbie and the Secret Door, a new DVD release. When the shy princess Barbie discovers a magical hidden world, she must gather her courage to protect the land from danger. Luckily, she has two new friends—a mermaid and a fairy—to help her. 3 years+, $20
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood kicks off Season 2 with some big news: Daniel’s baby sister, Margaret, is on the way! The arrival of a new family member lets the PBS Kids hit series explore difficult emotions, such as feeling left out and dealing with change. 3 years+, premieres August 18
Swing away with Mario Golf: World Tour. Players join the classic Mushroom Kingdom characters to putt and drive on a series of challenging courses. (Watch out for those vicious Piranha Plants!) 6 years+, $30 for 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS
Put your problem-solving abilities to the test with Pushmo World. Players push, pull, and climb blocks to solve more than 250 puzzles. Plus, a new feature called the World Pushmo Fair hub lets users easily share and play puzzles by other users around the world. 6 years+, $10 for Wii U
The lovable video game characters of the early ’90s are back in Lemmings Touch. The all new version was designed just for the PlayStation Vita, so players can use the touchscreen to guide the Lemmings through a variety of themed worlds, including Candy Land and Space. Keep an eye out for the mischievous Lemming while you’re at it! 6 years+, $10 for PS Vita
Eric Carle fans will love The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Exploreapp. The beloved characters and gorgeous illustrations come to life on your device in a series of activities that include counting and memory games for kids. 3 years+, $4 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Little Builders lets your child experience a construction site without any mess. He can mix cement, drive a digger, paint a house, or operate a crane with ease. But watch out, because you never know when a water pipe might burst! 2 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Teach your kid to care for the environment with Habitat the Game. Players adopt a virtual polar bear and must complete real-world actions—such as turning lights off and conserving water—to keep the creature healthy. Little ones will take pride in making an actual difference in the world with these exciting games. 4 years+, Free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
It’s Peppa Pig’s Party Time! Your kid can help her prepare by designing the invitations, decorating the party bags, and baking the cake. Afterward, join in the fun with some party games, including musical chairs and pass the parcel. Savor the memories with snapshots saved in the app’s photo album—and then start all over again! 3 years+, $5 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Sago Mini Space Explorer lets children explore the universe with an adorable dog named Harvey. Guide him past stars and planets, make alien friends, and take a spin in a flying saucer. The open-ended play experience encourages kids to make up stories as they go. 2 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
The constant barrage of parenting humblebrags, pin-worthy pedicures, and perfectly posed (and filtered) pics of well-dressed, angelic children is causing us to miss out on what’s right in front of us. So, bid adieu to that nasty FOMO feeling and embrace JOMO (joy of missing out). Let everyone else hustle to keep up with the Joneses while you enjoy the relief of doing your own thing, no matter how un-Instagrammable it may be. Start by:
Just Saying No When everyone’s volunteering for a PTA committee but you choose to binge-watch Orange Is the New Black instead, JOMO! When your single friend invites you to happy hour but you’d rather sing along to the Frozen soundtrack with the kids (again), JOMO! Only say yes to plans that truly excite you. Who cares if you don’t get tagged in the photo later?
Keeping It Real Find IRL experiences that mimic the sites you enjoy most. If you’re always pinning craft ideas or recipes, take a cooking class or pick up art supplies and get creative with your kids. Crave connection? Join a mom’s group for a real-life social meet-up.
Seeing the Bigger Picture For each image of a child quietly reading a book, there are hundreds of un-photographed moments where his behavior is…less than ideal. The next time you’re staring in awe (and envy) at a photo or status update, remind yourself that social media is not real life—and that all the good stuff happens off-camera anyway.
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
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
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
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 Angelapp, 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
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and Television
How to Train Your Dragon 2picks up five years after the original film ended, but Hiccup and Toothless are still an inseparable duo. This sequel promises plenty of adventure, a mysterious Dragon Rider, and an epic battle to protect the peace on the island of Berk. PG, opens June 13
Thanks toMickey Mouse Clubhouse: Around the Clubhouse World, you can take your little one all over the globe without ever leaving the couch. Join Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto on a trip to France, Italy, Egypt, and China—and keep an eye out for Monsieur Donald Duck and Gondolier Goofy along the way. 3 years+, $20
Disney XD is airing a fresh take on the seven dwarfs this summer. The 7D is an animated comedy series set in the world of Jollywood, where the dwarfs help Queen Delightful keep her kingdom in order and protect it from two hapless villains. 3 years+, premieres July 7
In SpongeBob, You’re Fired!, our hero must try out new kooky occupations—including working at the Chum Bucket, picketing with Squidward, and modeling in a commercial. The DVD release features 14 funny episodes of the hit Nickelodeon show. 6 years+, $15
Soccer lovers can get in on the action with EA Sports 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. New features allow better control of the ball and make the physics more realistic. Plus, you can play with up to 32 gamers through the qualifying rounds in tournament mode. 6 years+, $60 for Xbox 360 and PS3
Immerse yourself in Disney Magical World. Players can customize their avatar, interact with dozens of their favorite characters, and explore various Disney universes. Some activities include managing a café, planting crops, and helping to solve challenges. 7 years+, $30 for 3DS
Putty Squad, the early 1990s video game, is getting a makeover! Help a little blue blob rescue his friends by stretching, squishing and morphing through obstacles. New moves and modes add a modern twist. 10 years+, $30 for PS4, 3DS and PS Vita, $20 for PS3
Become a master of plants with Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends. Choose from more than 50 flower, fruit, and vegetable seeds, and then care for them with water and fertilizer. And when your animal friends ask for help, harvest and deliver your crops to their restaurants and shops. 7 years+, $30 for 3DS
Fans of the PBS Kids show won’t want to miss Cyberchase Shape Quest. The app uses augmented-reality technology to help kids develop geometry, problem solving, and spatial-reasoning skills. Print out the free game board online, and when the camera focuses on it, characters pop up onscreen. 6 years+, free for iPad
Make basic arithmetic exciting with Wonder Bunny Math Race. Players must solve addition and subtraction problems quickly to help the rabbit beat opponents. Three levels of difficulty make it interesting for older kids too. 3 years+, Free for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Kids can engage with a story in a whole new way with I Imagine. This interactive e-book lets your little one create the characters by choosing names, adding photos for faces, and customizing outfits. Then, he can join in the fun by helping the hero dance, build sand castles, draw pictures, and more. 3 years+, free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
It’s time for a Wild Kratts World Adventure! The app, based on the PBS KIDS show, lets young explorers virtually swing with orangutans, swim with dolphins, and hunt bugs with woodpeckers. Earn stickers as you complete levels—and don’t forget to take a “Creature Power Selfie,” which inserts your face on an animal’s body. 4 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
If your child is always begging to use your tablet or smartphone, teach her some boundaries with The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: ScreenTime. The interactive e-book introduces some manageable rules for using devices, and encourages an active lifestyle too. The photo-album feature lets her take pictures of herself having fun. 4 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and Shows
A familiar world is explored in a new light in Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return when our heroine (Lea Michele) travels back to Oz to find her old friends. On her journey, she meets a quirky cast of characters, including a man made out of marshmallows and a talkative tugboat. PG; opens May 9
Based on a true story, Million Dollar Armtells the story of a sports agent (Jon Hamm) who recruits talented cricket players to play Major League baseball. What’s in it for you: Jon Hamm! PG; opens May 16
Sleeping Beauty’s infamous antagonist tells her side of the story in Maleficent. It turns out she wasn’t always a villain—an act of betrayal when she was a young woman turned her heart to stone.
What’s in it for you: Angelina Jolie does a deliciously evil take on the character. And watch her daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt in her acting debut. PG; opens May 30
Remember Fraggle Rock? The Jim Henson series from the ’80s now has inspired an animated show called Doozers. The show focuses on the tiny hard-working characters as they design and tackle engineering problems in the community. More than 50 episodes—each is 11 minutes long—were just released on Hulu for your preschooler’s viewing pleasure. 3 years+, available on Hulu
It’s party time in Happy Birthday Barney! The lovable dinosaur’s friends are working hard to throw a surprise bash. 1 year+, $10
Go wild with the high-definition debut of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The animated film—which was nominated for an Academy Award when it was released in 2002—follows a stallion as he travels across the Old West, finding friendship and love along the way. The Blu-ray release features commentary, a drawing tutorial, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. G, $20
Jump into action with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Mayhem. The first six episodes of the popular Nickelodeon show’s second season are now available on DVD. When our crime-fighting heroes accidentally drop mutagen all over New York City, they have to rescue the citizens—and take on villains while they’re at it. 7 years+, $15
Take your film collection on the go with Disney Movies Anywhere. The app works as a cloud service for Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies. Simply link your iTunes account to watch already purchased movies and check out other films to buy. Exclusive video is also available for free. 3 years+, free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Keep track of your child’s household contributions with ChoreMonster 2.0. When kids help out, they earn virtual points, which can be cashed in for real-life rewards like extra allowance or an hour of TV time. Plus, interactive monster characters make the experience more engaging. 3 years+, free for iOS, Windows 8, and online
Dexteria Dots makes practicing math both fun and visually appealing. Each circle on the screen represents a number, and players must combine or divide them to solve math problems. As the challenges become more difficult, the dots are no longer numbered, so kids must rely on memory and other clues to complete the tasks. And when the correct answer is reached, entertaining characters pop up to reward children for the hard work. 3 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Your kid can virtually explore all over the United States and Canada with Critter Cruise. Players drive along four different routes—including the Pacific Coast Highway and Route 66—while admiring the colorful scenery and learning facts about the different areas. While making stops at famous roadside attractions, kids answer questions on math and language arts to fill the gas tank and collect digital bumper stickers to admire later. 6 years+, Free for basic version or $2 to unlock all routes for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Mickey Mouse: Mash-Up is perfect for aspiring animators. The interactive story takes users on an adventure with Mickey and Donald Duck—but our heroes often need help, so kids are asked to draw props, assist characters, and record sound effects throughout the journey. 4 years+, $2 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
It’s munch time at the Lazoo Zoo! The animals here include giraffes with spots that change depending on what they eat, and an ape that develops a new hairstyle when he has indulged too much. Little kids can use the game’s snack dispenser to feed the creatures, or draw a new appetizer to hand out. 3 years+, Free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Play along with the classic J.R.R. Tolkien story with LEGO The Hobbit. Gamers can recreate their favorite scenes as Bilbo Baggins accompanies Gandalf and the dwarves through Middle-earth. Each dwarf has his own special ability—such as using his stomach to “belly-bounce” his companions out of danger. 10 years+, $60 for Xbox One and PS4; $50 for Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U; $30 for PS Vita, 3DS, and PC
Go retro with Shovel Knight, an exciting action game with ’80s-style 8-bit graphics. The hero of the game has a straightforward quest: Defeat the evil Enchantress and find his missing beloved. Luckily, he has a ShovelBlade to help him dig and slash through the challenge. 6 years+, $15 for Wii U, 3DS, and PC
Classic arcade play gets a new look with Siesta Fiesta. Bounce the ball-like character to smash blocks and activate power-ups while exploring the game’s different modes and regions. The interactive blocks—which do everything from release confetti to launch fireballs—keep the fun going. 6 years+, $8 for 3DS
Have your kids been begging for a dog? I adopted a puppy about a month and a half ago, and I’m here to confirm what you probably already know: it’s a blast but so much work at the same time. One of the trickiest parts has been sorting through all the conflicting training advice. Everybody has a different opinion on what to do, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and concerned that I am somehow setting my little furball up for a lifetime of problems. (Yes, it’s a little like parenthood!)
I spoke to renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, known for his work on the television show Dog Whisperer, and here are his recommendations for families raising a puppy:
Make an agreement as a group. “Everybody focuses on what kind of breed they want, but first you need to all commit to the work ahead of you,” Millan explains. Often, a dog is brought into the family because the kids push for it, regardless of whether or not they are ready for the responsibility. Everyone needs to be prepared—and Mom and Dad need to make the ultimate decision together.
Consider fostering a dog before you bring home your own. Everybody benefits this way: The dog gets to experience a house with a loving family, and you can get insight into whether or not your clan is ready for a permanent pet.
Look for a dog with low or medium energy. “It has nothing to do with breed,” Millan says. “In a family of three kids, one will often be more active than the others even though they have the same parents. It’s the same with dogs.” Puppies with lower energy levels are more likely to be followers and won’t try to become the leader of the “pack.”
Don’t try to be your dog’s best buddy. “Dog lovers want to be friends with their pet rather than the authority figure,” Millan says. This can cause serious behavior problems from a young age. Millan adds, “Discipline is not punishment. It’s teaching him how to behave. In the long run, giving your dog constant affection and no discipline is far more hurtful to him.”
Let children help out by walking the dog. “Most kids want to chase dogs, but that’s encouraging a predatory behavior,” Millan explains. “They also like to carry puppies around like a baby. But puppies need to walk to experience their own environment. Otherwise, they’ll never learn the boundaries and rules around the house.”
Start training young. Sure, he’s just a puppy right now, but if you let him get away with jumping or barking from the get-go, you will have serious trouble setting boundaries later on.
For more expert advice, check out the finale of Cesar 911, which airs tonight on Nat Geo Wild. (But first, watch our video on teaching kids to be responsible pet owners below!)
Manners & Responsibility: Raising Responsible Pet Owners
One of my favorite children’s movies last summer was Turbo, a fast-paced adventure about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500. The film is full of humor and heart that kids and adults can enjoy—and who can resist Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of a snail?
So naturally, I was excited when DreamWorks released five episodes of the animated series Turbo FAST (that stands for “Fast Action Stunt Team”) on Netflix during the holiday season. Picking up right where the movie ended, the show is full of crazy stunts, thrilling races and all sorts of new challenges for the wacky group of friends. Now, the next batch of episodes will be released on Netflix tomorrow, April 4. Take a sneak peek at what’s in store with this exclusive clip from an upcoming episode:
Plus, families can prepare for the release with the viewing party kit, which offers instructions for creating a racing obstacle course, coloring pages, trading cards and more. (Personally, I’m looking forward to trying the instructions for creating your own taco stand!)