Posts Tagged ‘ Games ’

Your Kids’ Summer Essentials

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Summertime is right around the corner! But there’s always so much to pack and buy before the fun can start. Whether you’re prepping your little one for sleepaway camp, the beach, international travel, or just a trip to Grandma’s, we’ve got you covered! (Click on the pictures to shop!).

For the Little Camper 

Accessories: Your nature-lover will enjoy having a place to keep track of fun memories, friends’ contact info, and more in this journal with a woodsy design. (Chronicle Books, $10)

Games: A group activity like Mad Libs will be enjoyable for the whole cabin. (Ebeanstalk, $4) 

Tote: The duffel is a sleepover classic, but it’s also great for longer trips. This orange color makes it easy for your kid to identify his bag. (Paragon Sports, $45)

Don’t Forget: Stamps and stationery so he can send letters to friends and family (hey, snail mail isn’t dead!), fun snacks if he needs a break from camp food (as long as the camp directors say it’s allowed), and a note from mom and dad to dig out if a homesick moment strikes. Worried about kids’ belongings getting mixed up in the cabin? This camp-specific set of labels, on sale until June 30, is weather-resistant and will help him keep track of all of his stuff. (Mabel’s Labels, $40)

For the World Traveler 

Accessories: This notebook is tres chic! Your little travel companion can use it to doodle on the plane or make a list of must-sees. (Chronicle Books, $12)

Games: If you’re worried about overweight luggage, pack a lightweight card game that will keep kids occupied during long plane or train rides. Plus, kids will have a go-to activity if there’s downtime in the hotel room. (Diapers.com, $6) 

Tote: You may be traveling from destination to destination or have a ways to go from the airport to your hotel. A backpack is a practical way for kids to tote their stuff and pull a rolling suitcase at the same time. Make sure zippers stay shut and keep an eye out for strangers’ wandering hands so that nothing goes missing en route! (Amazon, $45)

Don’t Forget: That summer reading book (long plane rides are the perfect time for kids to tackle work), music and DVDs (plus headphones!) for additional entertainment, and chargers (plus country-specific converters) for all electronics. (Headphones: Sears, $25) 

For the Beach-Goer 

Accessories: Help her sun in style with this cheerful chair and umbrella set. (Hayneedle, $33). 

Games: Keep your little one occupied with a variety of toys to use in the sand. The multitude of options makes it easy to share with siblings. (Walmart, $21)

Tote: Kids can stash towels in this mesh bag which can later store wet swimsuits. (Paragon, $14)

Don’t Forget: It may seem like a no-brainer–but sunscreen is absolutely essential. Pack sunglasses to comfort sensitive eyes. This colorful lunchbox is cheerful and also keeps their snacks and drinks cool. (Paper Source, $23)

For a Visit with Relatives 

Accessories: A pillow will help keep little necks comfy in the car or on the plane and can double as a nighttime snuggle buddy if kids are wary about bringing favorite stuffed animals on vacation. Games: Grandma may not have tons of toys on hand, so be sure to pack some travel-friendly favorites! A game like Scrabble is fun for all generations. (Diapers.com, $19)

Tote: If Grandma is only a car ride away, you don’t have to be as concerned about weight limits and hauling hefty luggage. A canvas tote is a road trip must for keeping games, snacks, and books accessible. Plus, kids will love having their own personalized bag. (Grandin Road, $39) 

Don’t Forget: This vacation is all about relaxation and bonding time, so encourage your kid to choose some special activities to do with relatives. Is there a movie your daughter has seen recently that Grandpa would absolutely love? Rent it and bring it along to watch together! Is Grandma great at photography? Encourage your son to bring his camera so he can snap along with her. Is your little one curious about Uncle Jim’s life story? Bring along this ball filled with questions for kids to ask older relatives. (It  may help you learn more about your family, too!). (Walmart, $19) 

Have a wee one on board? Make sure Grandma and Grandpa’s house is babyproofed.

Babyproofing Your Home: Grammy¿s House
Babyproofing Your Home: Grammy¿s House
Babyproofing Your Home: Grammy¿s House

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This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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 Arm tells 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

Apps

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

Video Games

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

 Image courtesy of Clarius Entertainment

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Ideas to Keep Your Kids Busy

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

It’s a snow day here in New York City…super-rare for us, I can only remember my 11-year-old daughter having school called off a few times in her life. My kids ran right out to play, but it being 18 degrees, they didn’t last long. Now they’re inside and we’re looking at a three-day weekend that’s sure to include a lot of indoor time. 

Even if you’re not one of the 100 million people the weather forecasters say were hit by Hercules, you may still be out of creative things to do with your kids if they’re indoors this winter. Here’s a roundup of some of our best ideas!

Our 50 Ways to Play story, part of our October’s special creativity issue, includes short ideas to challenge your kids. Ask, “can you lie down and then get up without using your arms?” “If I blindfold you, will you know what food you’re tasting?” or “Can you play ‘mirror’ and mirror all of your brother or sister’s movements?” Click on the link for 47 more fun ideas!

Is your preschooler learning to write letters? We’ve got beginning handwriting videos that you can watch together. They’ll help you be more confident as you teach your child to write at home. May as well practice today…if not on paper, then maybe in shaving cream

If you feel like making something in the kitchen, these melting-snowman cookies feel appropriate! You can use refrigerated cookie dough to get to the fun decorating part fast.

Stuck inside with a baby who is not yet ready to be a sous-chef? We also have these 11 Fun Activities for When Winter Weather Traps You Indoors, aimed at little ones who have already burned through their usual toys by noon.

Finally, before you take the tree down, you might make one last ornament. These polar bear ornaments are adorable and will remind you, when you pull them out next December, of these crazy snow days!

Christmas Crafts: Polar Bear Ornaments
Christmas Crafts: Polar Bear Ornaments
Christmas Crafts: Polar Bear Ornaments

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Shop Apps and Games Better with Easy Checklists

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!

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New Halloween Traditions Your Kids Will Love

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

October is finally here! I wait for this month all year around. Our family’s annual pumpkin-picking trip is approaching, as are our haunted-house and corn-maze trips. We love our traditions. But after years of doing the same things, I wanted to try something new. So I brainstormed and asked around for unique Halloween traditions, and I couldn’t keep these ideas to myself. Here are the top 5 new Halloween traditions that my friends, family, and I have come up with:

1. Pumpkin Painting Party

Gather your crafty kids for an afternoon of pumpkin art.  Mini pumpkins are perfect for little hands to paint, and your guests can take them home as favors.

Add a movie: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

2. Witches Brew Party

Give each of your culinary creators a bowl and the following ingredients to choose from:

Cranberry Juice
Ginger Ale
Apple Cider
Gummy Worms
Red Jellybeans
Raisins
Candy Corn
Milk Duds
Gum Drops
Black Shoestring Licorice

Watch them create and name their own witches brew.

Add a movie: Matilda

3. Harry Potter Party

Have your guests come dressed as their favorite witch or wizard. Supply the following and help them decorate their own broomstick and wizard hat:

Broom sticks
Glue
Glitter
Streamers
Fake bugs
Webs
Pencils, Markers, Crayons
Colored Paper

Add a movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

4. Scare Games

It’s not too cold for the outdoors yet! Get the kids outside for Monsters University inspired Scare Games. Adult referees can dress in costume, and the kids can compete in potato sack races, tug-o-war, and hula hoop contests. Award candy bag prizes to the winners, and end the day at home with a big pot of pumpkin soup.

Add a movie: Monsters Inc., or Monsters University after the October 29th DVD release date.

5. Spooky Sleepover

Get out your pumpkin pajamas for a halloween themed sleepover. Roast pumpkin seeds, make s’mores and swap scary stories deep into the night. Add to the fun with a Halloween craft like this adorable paper owl.

Add a movie: Monster House

For more Halloween ideas visit our 100 Days of Holidays page.

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win a Tickety Toc Toys, DVD, and Book Package Sweepstakes

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Do your kids love Nick Jr.’s show Tickety Toc?  My daughter does, and she added a Tallulah doll to her 2013 Christmas list right after opening all of her presents last year. The only problem is that there are no Tickety Toc products available in stores. Really. They don’t exist.

According to Ticktey Toc’s website, lots of parents have been requesting Tommy and Tallulah toys and our wishes are finally being answered. Tickety Toc products will become available in stores this September, which leaves Santa enough time to do his job.

What news could be better than that? This week we’re giving away a whole Tickety Toc product bundle to two lucky winners!

Leave a comment below, up to one a day, between now and September 4th for your chance to win a Tickety Toc prize pack that includes a  Clockhouse Train Set,  Talking Tommy Doll,  Talking Tallulah Doll, Tickety Toc “Chime Time Adventures” DVD,  Tickety Toc Floor Puzzle,  Tickety Toc Matching Game, and a  “Welcome to Tickety Town” Book. Each bundle is worth $118!

Here are the official rules. Goody Luck!

Congratulations to our winners Rachael L. Roberts and Renee Madeline!

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Rosie to the Rescue: My Top 10 Apps for Pre-K Kids

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Rosie PopeIf 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

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2012 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Contest

Friday, April 13th, 2012

It’s time to get your kids off the computers, Wiis, and cell phones and outside kicking soccer balls, swinging, and playing tag. Good old-fashioned outside play needs to make a comeback. On average, kids have eight hours less of outdoor playtime than their parents did. The folks behind CLIF Kid recognize the importance of outdoor play and are doing their part to help with their 2012 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year program. “This contest tapped into something that kids need, which is inspiration to get outdoors,” said Jennifer Yun, CLIF Kid brand strategist.

Kids ages 6 to 12 are challenged to create a unique backyard game for the chance to win big. Six finalists will be flown to San Francisco in July 2012 to show off their new games with one being chosen for the grand prize: a $10,000 educational scholarship, Marin Bike’s kid’s bike, and a Bell kid’s bike helmet. The other five finalists will each receive a $1,000 educational scholarship along with the bike and helmet.

Here are the ground rules and instructions for entering: Each game must be able to be played outside with two or more players. Bonus points for game creators who use equipment such as balls, hula-hoops, and chairs. Some past game innovations include Hoop Ball, a rolling-target game; and Eagle’s Nest, a strategic tag game. “The contest focuses on not just getting the kids outdoors, but the positive benefits of nature long after,” said Richard Louv, best-selling author and Chief Outdoor Officer for the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year. Sign-ups end on June, 17, 2012, so be sure to tell your kiddos about the contest and fill out the application here.

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