Posts Tagged ‘ fun ’

This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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

Movies and Television

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are 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

Video Games

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

Apps

Eric Carle fans will love The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app. 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

Image courtesy of Paramount

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This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

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 PalaceWhen 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

Jump into action with Power Rangers Megaforce: The Great Dragon Spirit, out on DVD. In their latest endeavor, the group of young superheroes from the popular Nickelodeon series works to earn new ultra powers. 7 years+; $15

Doc McStuffins: Mobile Clinic teaches 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

Sites

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.

Apps

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

Video Games

Fans of the TV series will love Lego Legends of Chima OnlineCustomize 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

 

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

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This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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

Video Games

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 

Apps

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 Bingo makes 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

 

Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Win a $300 Bluetooth Speaker That Plays Karaoke from Singing Machine

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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.

Congrats to our winner Nina Lisk!

Itsy Bitsy Spider
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Itsy Bitsy Spider

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Give a Valentine’s Day Bouquet…of Bacon

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Thinking of buying flowers or chocolates for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Roses and bonbons are classics for good reason, but consider a more savory idea. Something you know your spouse really wants.

Yes, I’m talking about bacon.

Back in September I was the most popular girl in the office (and on my Facebook feed) after I received a bacon bouquet from Smithfield. At first glance it looked just like a bunch of long-stemmed roses. But after a closer look—and sniff—the flowers turned out to be little bundles of porky goodness.

Smithfield has kindly shared bouquet-making instructions with us. If you’re feeling crafty, this is one Valentine’s Day gift I suspect most husbands (and, heck, most wives) will swoon for.

Valenswine’s Day Bacon Bouquet

Makes 12 Roses

Materials:

1 Package of Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon

12 Rose Stems

1 Mini Muffin Pan

1 Drill with bit (1/8” suggested)

1 Broiler Pan

1 Glass Vase

STEP 1: Prepare your pan

Drill holes into the bottom of the mini muffin pan. These holes will allow the bacon drippings to drain while the bacon cooks. Place mini muffin pan on top of broiler pan.

STEP 2: Prepare your bacon rose buds

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Open pack of Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon and tightly roll the individual rose buds, one slice at a time.

Place all bacon rose buds into the mini muffin pan. Slightly push the bacon rose buds down for added support.

Place bacon rose buds, muffin pan, and broiler pan in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Check on the bacon rose buds occasionally.

STEP 3: Prepare your rose stems

While waiting for your bacon rose buds to cook, pull all roses off their stems.

Typical components of a faux flower include a rose stem, green leaves, a green cap, and petals. Discard all flower petals, and with only green components remaining, reassemble.

STEP 4: Assemble your bacon roses

When bacon rose buds are fully cooked, remove from oven and place on paper towel to cool.

Pick your best looking rose buds and carefully slide them onto the protruding stems.

Arrange roses in a glass vase to your liking.

STEP 5: Present & enjoy!

Share the deliciousness with someone you love.

Not in the mood for bacon? Find recipes for more traditional, no-pork-added treats

 

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Valentine's Day Treats: Waffle Heart Sandwiches
Valentine's Day Treats: Waffle Heart Sandwiches
Valentine's Day Treats: Waffle Heart Sandwiches

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This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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

DVDs and TV

Walk on the wild side with The Jungle Book Diamond EditionThe 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

Teach your child about important social and life skills with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Big Feelings and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Life’s Little LessonsThe PBS Kids series—which is inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—is coming to DVD for the first time. The little tiger attends many everyday activities such as going to school and visiting the doctor, but things never get boring when he utilizes his imagination. 2 years+, $13

Four popular films are returning to DVD on the My Little Pony: Classic Movie CollectionJoin the girls as they dance in the clouds, plan a party for friends, and deal with a dragon. 2 years+, $15

A young plane trains for a prestigious flight competition in WingsIn order to follow his dreams, he must remain determined and learn to become a hero. Rated G, $15

In Angelina Ballerina: On With the Show, Ms. Mimi loses her voice right before a big recital. But her performers get creative to keep the celebration going. 2 years+, $15

Video Games

If your family loved The Lego Moviecontinue the fun with The Lego Movie Videogame on 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 GamesCompete 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 25New 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

Apps

Experience The Little Mermaid like 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

Valentine's Day Heart Pop-up Card
Valentine's Day Heart Pop-up Card
Valentine's Day Heart Pop-up Card

The Jungle Book image courtesy of Walt Disney

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New Movie Release: Check Out a Behind-The-Scenes Clip from Free Birds

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

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:

"Free Birds": Behind the Scenes

Check out our selection of electronics on Shop Parents.

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Are You Addicted to Bitstrips Yet?

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!

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