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
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!)
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and DVD
In Rio 2, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their kids leave Rio de Janeiro for an adventure in the Amazon rain forest. They soon discover that the jungle is under threat and that their nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo (Jemaine Clement, from Flight of the Conchords), is seeking revenge. G; opens April 11
Embrace Earth Day with Disneynature’s newest wildlife documentary, Bears. Follow a mother and her two cubs for a year, as they emerge from hibernation and evade predators. G; opens April 18
Spring may be here, but there’s still time to enjoy Disney’s Frozen. The hit movie based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen” warmed hearts of all ages over the holidays. Now, Blu-ray bonus features include deleted scenes, music videos, and behind-the-scenes footage. PG; $45
Set sail on a magical journey with Sofia the First: The Floating Palace. When our heroine visits the mermaid kingdom, she soon becomes involved in an attempt to rescue her friend Oona. Luckily, Princess Ariel is on hand to help. 3 years+; $20
Doc McStuffins: Mobile Clinicteaches that helping others is a delight. Doc and her dad have built a mobile clinic, and they’re now making house calls to fix toys in need—and singing some songs while they’re at it, of course. The DVD comes with a reusable tote bag too. 4 years+; $20
BatteryPOP is a new and free kids entertainment platform—and a safer alternative to YouTube. All of the videos are curated by Nickelodeon vets, so content is age-appropriate. Your kid will enjoy watching tutorials and sharing videos with friends.
Answer your kid’s toughest questions, such as why people speak different languages, with the Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) app. Or click “Surprise Me” to learn new info. 4 years+; $2 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
Make meals more fun for little ones with Yo Gabba Gabba! Party in My Tummy. The colorful characters encourage both healthy eating and trying new foods in this cute animated app. After feeding time is over, your child will need to help his friends clean up—and join them with a song and dance too. 3 years+; $2 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
Young Luna visits her grandfather and learns all about his exciting job in The Cloud Factory, an interactive storybook. Help gather ingredients for the clouds by swiping and tapping the screen. The black-and-white illustrations and smooth accompanying music give the app a classic and inviting feel. 5 years+; $2 for iPad
If your preschooler is interested in cars, she will love Things That Go ~ Touch, Look, Listen. The visual dictionary features interactive 3D-style animation, cheerful narration, and bright photographs of more than 55 vehicles such as trucks, tractors, and trains. And if your kid is bilingual, you can also let them learn in French, German, Spanish, or Chinese. 2 years+; $2 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
Anglophiles won’t want to miss Alph and Betty’s Topsy Turvy World, a charming storybook created by a development team that includes those who worked on the Harry Potter movies and Doctor Who. The tale follows an older British couple living in a house full of gadgets and inventions. Puzzles and mini games encourage letter recognition, rhymes, and alliteration. 3 years+; $3 for iPad
Fans of the TV series will love Lego Legends of Chima Online. Customize your outpost and your armor, complete missions, and explore new environments. Plus, a variety of parental controls provide peace of mind for Mom and Dad. 7 years+; free for basic version, with membership options available for extra features, for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and PC
Get three games in one with Cut the Rope: Triple Treat. Help the green monster Om Nom fill up on candy by avoiding obstacles and collecting bonus stars. With more than 650 levels to defeat, the challenges are exciting enough for adults, while still entertaining for young kids. 7 years+; $30 for 3DS
Help a little armadillo named Armillo travel through space while protecting the galaxy from Darkbots. Gamers roll and jump through different worlds, solve puzzles, and gather power-ups and orbs to gain more power. A variety of 2-D and 3-D graphics make the action even more interesting. 6 years+; $8
Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and DVD
An intelligent dog (Ty Burrell) and his adopted son (Max Charles) time-travel in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. While the two experience world-changing events and meet some of the greats, including Mona Lisa, King Tut, and Abe Lincoln, Sherman almost alters world history, with comical results. *What’s in it for you The goofy sense of humor and one-liners will bring out your inner kid. PG; opens March 7
The gang returns with Muppets Most Wanted. The sequel to the popular 2011 film opens with the characters on a sold-out tour around Europe. But mayhem begins when Kermit’s doppelganger—and the world’s number-one criminal—appears. PG; opens March 21
Action fans eagerly awaiting the next blockbuster can prepare with Transformers Prime: Ultimate Bumblebee. The DVD release features four exciting episodes about the brave and determined Autobot. 7 years+, $10
The DVD release of Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Help features three episodes focused on teaching children to help out whenever they can. Whether it’s Strawberry babysitting or Orange adopting a homesick tadpole, the girls learn that a little assistance can go a long way. 2 years+, $15
One of the highest-rated sports-game franchises is back with MLB 14 The Show. Realistic enhancements let users play faster than ever before, as well as save games to be carried over to future versions of The Show. 6 years+, $60 for PS3 and PS4, price not yet released for PS Vita
Mario lovers will want to check out Yoshi’s New Island, the third installment in the popular franchise. Use Mega Eggdozers to mow down obstacles, destroy pipes and blocks, and reveal hidden doors. The new binocular ability lets players uncover hidden areas and improve their aim. 6 years+, $40 for 3DS
School-age kids can test their vocabulary skills with the WordGirl Superhero Training app, based on the PBS Kids TV series. Players choose a superhero name, customize an avatar, and complete mini game challenges involving logic, navigation, and memory to defeat the evil villains. 6 years+, $2 for iPad and Android
Learning the alphabet is a blast with Jamaroos Musical ABCs. There’s an animal and an instrument for each letter. When you put them together, it creates a fun medley of music and sounds that will help preschoolers develop reading skills. Bright colors and bold graphics make the app even more engaging. 2 years+, $3 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android
Pet Bingomakes learning basic math—including addition, multiplication, and geometry—a playful and fun experience. As kids solve problems and complete bingos, they earn virtual pets. Plus, a Report Card section lets Mom and Dad keep tabs on all the activities. 4 years+, $2 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
Both kids and adults will get a kick out of Skee Ball Arcade, the only officially licensed game from the classic franchise. It’s all the fun of the original activity, without the need to spend your quarters or carry around a big bag of tickets. A variety of different challenges and power-ups keeps the activity fresh and exciting. 4 years+, free for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android
The Sesame Street gang is here to help your little one build her vocabulary with Big Bird’s Words. Using augmented reality technology, the app’s Word-o-Scope recognizes 1,500 food words through the device’s camera. As your kid hunts for certain items at home or in the grocery store, Big Bird offers trivia and encouragement. 3 years+, $1 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android
By high school I became a real choir nerd. I had always been in music class, but after competing in a singing competition my junior year, it became a serious outlet. I was a bit on the shy side growing up, so singing in front of a crowd helped me break out of my shell in ways I never thought possible.
Once my parents realized my interest, they got me my very own karaoke machine to practice on. I’m telling you, I used that thing religiously every day, not just for voice lessons but also for my own amusement. Despite the fact that writing will always be my first love, there are still days I miss practicing those tunes.
Not to get too carried away with the power of a karaoke machine for a kid, but mine really did help me find more confidence in myself. That’s why I got super excited when I learned about the Singing Machine Home, the first Bluetooth speaker to turn into a karaoke machine. All you have to do is plug this baby into your TV and connect using Wi-Fi to access a platform of 8,000 plus HD karaoke videos. It also lets you create playlists, choose avatars for singers and share clips on social media.
This week, ONE lucky winner will have the chance to nab the Singing Machine Home for their family; that’s a $300 value! To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day March 10. More Qs about our giveaway? Read the official rules. Be sure to check back on March 11 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Before you know it, you’ll have your own little star on your hands! Now, you can get your kid’s vocal chops going by having them sing along to this beloved tune.
Here are some of our favorite new movies, apps, and more!
DVDs and TV
Walk on the wild side with The Jungle Book Diamond Edition. The beloved film is coming to Blu-ray for the first time February 11.
*What’s in it for you Grown-up fans won’t want to miss the bonus features: behind-the-scenes interviews, an alternate ending, and a “Bear-E-Oke” sing-along. Rated G, $40
If your family loved The Lego Movie, continue the fun with The Lego Movie Videogameon February 28. Help Emmet save the world—with the help of some new friends, of course. 10 years+, price varies by platform for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, PC, and Wii U
Gamers of all ages will love celebrating the Olympics with classic characters in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Compete or work cooperatively in 24 exciting events including bobsleigh, skiing, figure skating, and snowboarding. 6 years+, $50 for Wii U
Football season may be over, but your little athlete can keep playing with Madden NFL 25. New technology allows gamers to have more control over moves and makes the physics seem more realistic. Plus, the brand-new Owner Mode lets your kid manage personnel, set prices, and build a new stadium. 6 years+, $60 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4
Experience The Little Mermaidlike never before with Ariel’s Musical Surprise app. Your child can explore Ariel’s grotto, teach fish to sing, and even create her own music. Unlock even more games by purchasing select toys, like a light-up dress or musical-instrument set. 4 years+, free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Help little ones recognize faces with NameGames. Start by uploading pictures of family and friends and record your voice saying each name. Young kids can then play games that will help them learn the important people in their life. 8 months+, free for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Kids can learn geography with Travelzoo’s Map the World app. Players select from nine interactive maps including the 50 states, oceans, and seas around the globe. A narrator announces the name of each place, so little ones can learn correct pronunciation. And for those looking for a challenge, the timer monitors speed. 4 years+, free for iPad
Encourage healthy habits with a new app from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. I See the Animals Sleeping stresses the importance of getting enough rest, whether you’re a child or a critter. Explore different sleeping habits from around the world with a story, coloring pages, a puzzle, and quiz games. 3 years+, free for iPad and Android
Sofia the First: The Floating Palace takes readers underwater for a thrilling adventure. In the interactive story, our heroine befriends a mermaid and must help save her kingdom. After the story is over, your little one can create and record her own virtual puppet show. 4 years+, $5 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Gather up to four players around your device for some word-building fun with Sushi Scramble. Compete or work cooperatively to collect letters from sushi boats, and complete challenges—such as creating the highest valued word—to “serve” customers. 4 years+, $3 for iPad and Android
Did your family catch Free Birds when it was in theaters this past holiday season? The animated film tells the story of two turkeys traveling back in time to make some alterations to the original Thanksgiving menu (perfect for vegetarians!) Stars Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler all lend their voices to the zany comedy.
Now, the movie is coming to Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, February 4. Aspiring film buffs will get a kick out of the bonus features, which offer an in-depth look at the production process, including the animation and composing the score.
Get a peek behind the scenes with some of the filmmakers in this exclusive clip:
Are you home with your kids this Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Then you’ll all be around for a children’s television event: the premiere of the first Western for preschoolers! Disney Junior’s Sheriff Callie’s Wild West follows a loveable feline law enforcer (voiced by Mandy Moore) and her friends on their adventures in the frontier town Nice and Friendly Corners. Each animated episode features two 11-minute stories focused on teaching valuable life lessons, such as the importance of sharing, honesty, and being a good friend.
We’re particularly excited about Sheriff Callie because she’s a positive female role model for kids. And as you would expect from a show utilizing the talents of singer Mandy Moore, each episode also features two original songs. Plus how can you resist that adorable cactus-wearing a cowboy hat?
Be sure to watch this exclusive preview of the show, and tune in on January 20th at 5pm EST/PST on Disney Junior!
Exclusive: Mandy Moore on "Sheriff Callie's Wild West"