Posts Tagged ‘
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Need something to entertain your kids while the family is stuck indoors this winter? Here are some of our favorite new movies, apps, and more!
A squirrel named Surly (Will Arnett) is banished from his park and must learn to survive in the city in The Nut Job. He stumbles upon Maury’s Nut Store, and wacky heist hijinks ensure.
*What’s in it for you Adults will get a kick out of stars such as Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser, and Liam Neeson voicing the crazy critters.
PG; January 17
In The Lego Movie, a case of mistaken identity takes Emmet (Chris Pratt) on a quest to defeat evil President Business (Will Ferrell) with the help of an old mystic (Morgan Freeman), tough girl Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), and Batman (Will Arnett again!).
*What’s in it for you This flick is a fun Lego experience for the family — sans cleanup!
PG; February 7
DVDs and TV
Big is turning 25! In his first Oscar-nominated performance, Tom Hanks stars as a 12-year-old who wakes up one morning to discover that he’s turned into an adult. The special anniversary edition offers plenty of bonus features including deleted clips, extended cuts, and behind-the-scenes footage. Rated PG, $20
Celebrate the season with Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Ice Skating Spectacular! Our heroine comes to the rescue of the Snow Princess and the Snowy Forest creatures when the Ice Witch steals their skates. The DVD comes with two other bonus episodes for extra fun. 3 years+, $15
Flint Lockwood’s infamous machine cause enough trouble the first time around, but in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the mayhem has only just begun. Now, the device has started creating crazy food-animal hybrids such as Wild Scallions, Shrimpanzees, and the fearsome Tacodile Supreme. Rated PG, $31
Based on the beloved children’s book by Sam McBratney, Guess How Much I Love You: Hidden Treasure explores the world of Little Nutbrown Hare and his father. This debut DVD release features seven episodes of the Disney Junior series, in which the son learns important life lessons, like embracing others’ differences and the value of friendship. 3 years+, $13
All aboard the Dinosaur Train! PBS KIDS is airing a new hour-long special called “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp.” Watch the family of pteranodons participate in fun activities ilke rafting and ziplining as little ones learn all about paleontology and geography from the lovable characters.
3 years+; January 20
Educate on the go with Sesame Street Family Play, which offers more than 150 games organized by curriculum, location, character, and mood. Simply input where you are — such as at the grocery store or in the kitchen — and the app will suggest a learning activity that doesn’t require screen time to play, such as organizing food items by size. 3 years+, $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Turn learning a language into a game with Quick Tap Spanish. Players gather around the device and race to match Spanish vocabulary words — in categories such as numbers, colors, and time — with the English translation. The app is also available for French, German, and Portuguese.
5 years+, free for iPad
Toddlers and preschoolers pick up knowledge while feeding their virtual pet with Sago Mini Pet Cafe. Games such as sorting treats and creating fruit smoothies teach about shapes, numbers, and colors. The critter animations are adorable and there are no in-app purchases, making this a great app for young children. 2 years+, $2 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Fans of the PBS Kids’ series can join in the fun with Peg + Cat Big Gig. Your child can make music by solving simple addition and counting problems — hitting the correct answer plays the next note. Aspiring composers can create original songs as well in Sound Check mode. 3 years+, $2 for iPad and Android
Snuggle up in bed with Goodnight Mo and your little one. The e-book — which features pop-up-style illustrations — tells the tale of a friendly monster winding down and preparing for sleep. The soft music will have everyone yawning in no time. 15 months+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Animal lovers can get up close and personal with Zoo Tycoon, available on Xbox for the first time. Design and manage the zoo, and take care of all the different species — and your customers too, of course. The game’s development team worked with experts to make sure everything is scientifically accurate, so kids can learn about the real environments and feeding habits while they play. 6 years+, $50 for Xbox 360
Explore the paper world of Tearaway. Gamers will meet a variety of friends and challenges while on a quest to deliver a special message. The technology of the PlayStation Vita allows players to actually see their fingers appear inside the game when they place them on the back touch panel.
6 years+, $40 for PS Vita
Get your groove on with Just Dance Kids 2014. For the first time, the hit franchise features original recordings of popular songs by artists such as Selena Gomez, One Direction, and The Wiggles. Younger children can develop their skills by moving to nursery rhymes and the Family Fun mode lets gamers play cooperatively. 6 years+, $30 for Xbox 360, Wii, and Wii U
The Nut Job image courtesy of Open Road Films/Toonbox Entertainment
Add a Comment
Monday, October 28th, 2013
If you’ve been on Facebook over the last few days, you may have noticed that your Newsfeed is now inundated with cartoon comic strips about your friends. At first, I thought my old college buddy had suddenly become very artistic, but as more and more people began posting the images, I started to wonder what the deal was.
It turns out that the images are from a Facebook mobile app called Bitstrips. It allows users to customize an avatar, choose a scene and then add text to the bottom. (Check out my first attempt on the right!) You can also select a Facebook friend (or your child, if she has an account) to appear in the scene with you. And of course, once you’re done, you can share on your social media accounts. New background images are added every day, so it’s no wonder my friends have been so busy lately.
Bitstrips actually launched on Facebook back in December 2012, but thanks to its recent releases of iPhone and Android apps, it is now seeing a massive surge in popularity. Currently, it is the top free app in the iTunes store, and when I first went to check it out, the site was unavailable due to “unprecedented user growth.” According to the official Twitter account, the team is working hard on fixing the program so it will be available on all platforms again. Still, the delays and crashes do not seem to be deterring users. (FYI, if you’re receiving error messages on the website, you may want to try the phone app instead, as it seems to still be running.)
Have you tried Bitstrips yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Add a Comment
Friday, October 11th, 2013
With the hefty mix of apps and games available, it can be hard to determine what’s not only fun, but also appropriate for your child.
If you use LeapFrog products, they’re helping parents decipher the daunting world of gaming with their recently-released Parent’s Guide . From skill-building to privacy concerns, six key points help you decipher what to consider the next time you’re purchasing Leapfrog games or apps for young ones.
Another way to keep track of kids’ games, especially for the older crowd, is a free mobile app from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Search for titles by age rating and filter out apps that share personal information or location. You can also flag options that contain violence, strong language or other mature content. Check out how to navigate through the app below.
If you’re still at a loss, ESRB’s Resources for Parents offers even more websites to decode everything gaming for your son or daughter.
What ways do you check for fun and safe games and apps for your tyke? Do you try every app yourself? Ask other parents for their reccs? Share your strategies below and help other parents!
Add a Comment
apps, ESRB, ESRB app, Games, gaming, kids apps, kids games, LeapFrog, LeapFrog Insider Checklist | Categories:
Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Child
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
If you’re looking for a little portable entertainment for your child while traveling this summer or simply seeking a quiet activity out of the sun, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite apps for kids ages four and up. Moderation is my motto when it comes to screen time. But let’s face it: Sometimes it can be nice to keep your little one occupied for a bit while you enjoy some much-needed downtime. (After all, I enjoy a little screen time just as much as my little ones do.)
It can feel impossible navigating your way through the endless sea of apps to find ones that are entertaining, educational, and suitable for your wee ones. Plus, those 99¢ apps add up, and, before you know it, you’ve spent a whole lot of money on not very much value. Here’s my round-up of favorite apps for preschool-age kids:
1. More Pie by Maverick Software allows little ones to make 30 varieties of pies with over 45 choices of toppings. If your child enjoys this app, check out the others in the series, such as the cupcake making or BBQ grilling app. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
2. Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers by Nickelodeon is great for building math skills like counting and number identification. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
3. The Little Engine That Could by Once Upon an App is a fun starter app for any little train lover. Your child can choose to read the book by himself, or have the app read the story aloud to him. $4 for iPad and iPhone
4. Pip and Posy: Fun and Games by Nosy Crow features cute English accents as your child plays matching games and completes jigsaw puzzles with lovable characters. $3 for iPad and iPhone
5. What Does Not Belong by Brain-Go LLC builds vocabulary and classification skills which are essential for preparing your child for kindergarten. $2 for iPad and iPhone
6. Little Fox Music Box by Fox and Sheep is a fantastic interactive music app available in multiple languages for kids with over 100 interactive elements and sounds. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
7. Koi Pond HD Lite by The Blimp Pilots is a calming, introductory app to get your wee ones used to using a touch screen. Enjoy seeing the water ripple and the Koi fish react as your child plays the game. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
8. Dr. Panda’s Hospital by TribePlay Ltd. is perfect for little ones who love to role-play. In this app, your child can fix broken bones, ease stomachaches, and measure the blood pressure of furry patients. $2 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
9. Snackerdoodle by Maverick Software is a fun drawing app that allows your kid to use fruits and veggies to create their own pictures. Plus, it’s a fun way to start talking about healthy food choices with your child. $1 for iPad and iPhone
10. Zoo Train by Busy Bee Studios combines puzzles, music, and spelling games into one app filled with five fun activities featuring two kid favorites—trains and animals. $1 for iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8, and Android
Add a Comment
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Who doesn’t love Little Critter? We read the books all the time (see my son Joe with our favorite, about going into the city with Mom, down below) and I was thrilled to talk with the author and illustrator, Mercer Mayer, also shown, on the eve of his launch of the Little Critter app for iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle devices.
Q: First, what is Little Critter?
Mercer Mayer: “He technically is identifiable, but I don’t tell anybody what it is.”
Q: Is he based on you as a child? Or your own children?
MM: “Everything you do as an author is from that well of your own childhood. I got some advice many years ago from a publisher to ‘Just start with your childhood and lie like hell.’ Little Critter is full of things that happened to me as a child and then I exaggerate when I imagine what a kid might go through.”
Q: You have kids of your own, right?
MM: “Three boys and a girl, and now grandkids. They just added to the whole pastiche. I would love to find a way to get this into a book: When my eldest boy was 9 years old, he would never go to bed. I would throw him up in the top bunk and he’d scream that he was hungry, or had to go to the bathroom. Then one night he said he was sick. I didn’t believe him…and then he threw up all over me.”
MM: “I write about situations that kids get into that can be overwhelming. But now my books are getting an extra kick in the pants with the apps! There are more possibilities with them.”
Q: The apps sound like they’d be good for Spring break and Summer travel.
MM: “The games are simple for 3- to 7-year-olds. There’s animation and the story pops out. So there’s reading, and it’s educational, but also games, such as a hidden alphabet and color-by-number. The GamePak includes DigiStix, which are interactive stickers that a kid can move around. I know some apps are just for reading, but these two create a whole little world of adventure, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Q: Are you still writing new books?
MM: “Yes, I’m working on Just a Kite now and finished up Just a Little Love. I write about three a year. I’m still doing it. I guess I don’t know how to stop!”
You can get The Trip-Little Critter Reading Adventure for $3.99 at all the usual channels (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Barnes & Noble). And for the first 30 days of the launch, you can buy the additional The Trip-Little Critter GamePak for $2.99 (after that it goes up to $3.99). The GamePack is the one that includes more than 175 cool DigiStix digital stickers.
Want the chance to win both the apps and also a signed giclee print from Mercer Mayer? It’s this collage of Little Critter and his baby brother with their toys, and would look great in a kid’s room! It’s officially worth is $75 but I think it’s fairly priceless. Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, March 27th. After that we’ll pick one person at random to win both the print and a code for the apps, worth about $83 all together.
You can click here to read our official rules. Goody luck!
Add a Comment
Monday, December 17th, 2012
If you’re an Angry Birds AND Star Wars fan, you’re in luck this year! Now your family can shoot for the stars with Angry Birds’ new line of movie-themed toys, games, and an app, of course. We particularly liked Hasbro’s play sets for little jedi and princesses, which include the awesome Death Star version of the game Jenga, complete with a piggy Darth Vader. May the anger be with you!
Add a Comment
Friday, November 30th, 2012
This time of year can put children’s (and parents’) patience to the test — long trips in the car to visit family, seemingly endless shopping lines. Make the most of the time your kids will spend waiting with a fun new educational app, Little Ashby: Star Reporter.
Created by Parents’ celebrity correspondent and Entertainment Tonight co-host Nancy O’Dell and developed by StoryChimes, the app is an interactive storybook that allows children to follow TV reporter Ashby (named after Nancy’s daughter) and her crew on exciting assignments.
Ashby’s first job? To interview Santa! Children will love joining Ashby on her journey to the North Pole. Along the way, they’ll learn educational facts, values, and morals that will be reinforced with engaging activities and games.
Little Ashby: Star Reporter – Santa’s Big Premiere is available on Apple devices now for $2.99. A portion of the proceeds for the app will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in honor of Bryson Foster, MDA’s 2012 National Goodwill Ambassador and the voice of Arty, the little cameraman, in the app.
Remember to keep an eye out for more adventures with Ashby and her crew in the new year!
Read more from Nancy O’Dell on Parents.com:
Add a Comment
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
New Study Aims to Prevent Agricultural Deaths in Children
Teens are four times more likely to die on a farm than any other workplace. A new study seeks to prevent tractor related deaths in children. (via ABC News)
Children Protected from App Developers Collecting Information
App developers are hesitant to collect information from children’s apps because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (via Washington Post)
Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Child’s Chance of Obesity
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy predispose their infants to choose fatty foods, researchers reported. (via LA Times)
Breast Milk Banks See Increase in Demand
A breast milk bank director says demand for breast milk is up as more hospitals are using donated breast milk for pre-term infants. (via USA Today)
Teen With Down Syndrome Banned from Flight
Add a Comment
A 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome was deemed a flight risk by American Airlines and forced to switch to another flight. (via New York Daily News)
agriculture, apps, breast milk, breastfeeding, Down syndrome, Noelia de la Cruz, obesity, Parents Daily News Roundup, Pregnancy, smoking | Categories: