During the holiday season, there are gadgets and gizmos a plenty, but the tech that caught our eye this year is the key to an great gift for that special someone (or yourself). These cases, stands, and tablets come with awesome keyboards to make typing on a device a breeze. Check them out.
For the iPad owner: Cygnett’s Lavish Connect has a Bluetooth keyboard cleverly attached to the protective case through built-in magnets. It tucks inside for easy storage and travel. Plus, the space-saver also has a kickstand on the back for instant movie night. Click here for details.
For the multi-device owner: If your husband, dad, or friend is one of those guys who has so many devices you (and probably he) can’t keep track of them all, Brookstone’s Tablet Station and Keyboard is a smart solution. The universal stand works with most tablets, comes with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard, and has two USB ports to charge multiple gadgets at once. Click here for details.
For the laptop lover: Of all the new gadgets that could be under our tree this year, we’re hoping Microsoft’s new Surface is wrapped and waiting. The nifty device combines what’s best about tablets (touch screen, apps, user-friendliness, portability) with what we love about laptops. The attention-grabber is the flashy removable keyboard (available in different colors) that clicks into the bottom of the device. But it also comes loaded with Windows 8, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other laptop favorites. Click here for details.
If you and your kids are long-time fans of Ranger Rick magazines, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) recently celebrated the magazine’s 50th anniversary by launching a new series, Ranger Rick, Jr., aimed at kids ages 4-7. The first issue (December 2012/January 2013) focuses on lions and introduces Ricky the Raccoon and Sammy the Skunk, friends who serve as guides to introduce fascinating facts, gorgeous photos, and fun games, activities, and stories. The new magazine’s format is simpler and the text is easier to read; plus, each new issue contains a pull-out poster that kids can display on their walls. (A subscription of 10 issues costs $19.95.)
Along with the magazine, the NWF also joined forces with Moonbot Studios and released a storybook app just for the iPad. In the Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures — Lions! app, Ricky the Raccoon and Lars the Lion help kids learn how lions in the African grasslands live. The app has an abundance of interactive stories, games, puzzles, music, and other features. (The app is now available on iTunes for $4.99.)
To also mark the 50th anniversary of Ranger Rick, the NWF collaborated with Fablevision Studios (founded by children’s book author Peter H. Reynolds) to create the magazine’s first iPad app, Ranger Rick’s Tree House. Geared toward kids ages 7-12, Ranger Rick brings kids to visit his home, a tree house in Deep Green Wood. Kids explore every nook and cranny of the tree house and customize it with seasonal decorations. Similar to the Ranger Rick Jr. app, older kids also learn aspects of outdoor wildlife by watching videos and playing interactive games and activities; there are also badges to be won and collected. (The app is now available on iTunes for $19.99, which includes an annual subscription of 4 issues with monthly bonus updates. Single issues are $4.99 with two monthly bonus updates.)
Help your kids learn more about animals and their natural habitats with these creative and educational magazines and apps.
Over the weekend, I popped into a bookstore and spotted the familiar-looking “Goodnight, Moon” cover with its classic blue, green, and orange, colors…but on close inspection, I realized that it was a parody called, “Goodnight, iPad.”
Written by Ann Droyd, the book mimics the rhyming style of Margaret Wise’s book but focuses on a a family of floppy rabbits being driven a little crazy by modern technology. The hilarious book is a reminder to say goodnight to all our mobile devices and gadgets in the evening. (“In a bright buzzing room, in the glow of the moon–and iPhones and Androids and Blackberries too–it is time to say goodnight…”)
Were you lucky enough to snag a new tablet from Santa this year? Or did you pick one up for yourself while you were busy shopping for everyone else on your list? If it’s the latter, we definitely approve, but either way we have some exciting news for you.
When you download all of your favorite books and magazines on your new tablet, don’t forget us! Parents has digital editions available for the iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook devices. And the best part? For most tablets, our digital editions are free for print subscribers.
Three of the hottest gifts for the holidays are the Kindle Fire, iPhone 4S, and the iPad 2. These big-ticket items may be a little too pricey for your gift-giving budget for friends this season (If not, friend me on Facebook. *wink, wink*), but you can still buy an awesome accessory for these devices. If your sweetie, BFF, or Aunt Marge already owns (or is about to own) one, consider giving a cool case to protect it.
For the iPhone 4S:
Two cases stood out for different reasons. First, the Juice Pack Air from Mophie serves as both a protective case and as a battery charger. This is great for people who are always on the go–and it helps with that pesky little battery-life problem the 4S seems to have. Mophie is also releasing a RED version of the case, which gives a portion of the proceeds to the fight against AIDS.
The other one is the CandyShell Flip from Speck. It solves one of the most annoying things about cases: You have to remove a lot of them to be able to dock your iPhone. Not an easy task once or twice a day. But the Flip’s bottom half bends back (without coming off) for easy docking. Genius.
For the iPad 2:
Speck also has a stellar selection of iPad 2 cases at different price points. But our hands-down favorite is Speck’s innovative case for kids. The iGuy makes it easy for kids to hold and carry the device–and harder for them to drop and break it. Plus, it’s just adorable-looking.
For the Kindle Fire:
G-Form wins the “Most Durable” award for its Kindle Fire case (It also has sleeves for the iPad 2). It’s water-resistant, impact-absorbing, and great for that klutzy friend on your list.
Ready for a daring, underwater adventure? Dive into the deep with Discovery Kids Shark app for iPad. Inspired by the buzz worthy television program, Shark Week, the app educates kids, ages 5-9, on the ocean’s greatest predators through live-action video footage, photos and animated games—including a feeding game! Kids can learn about the different shark species, their feeding habits and where they live. Download from iTunes for $5 and collect virtual trading cards as you scroll through the underwater scenes to share with family and friends via e-mail.
You Got Your Sperm Where?
In lifting the fog around infertility, doctors have moved nature’s most intimate act deeper into the lab, and created a population of prospective parents—straight, gay, single, and married—who crave a more human connection. That need is now being met by sites like the Free Sperm Donor Registry (FSDR), which joins a global boom in the exchange of free, fresh sperm between strangers.
iPads May Help Kids with Severe Vision Impairments
The iPad has the potential to increase communication skills in kids living with severe vision problems and become a “life-changing therapy” tool, according to research conducted at the University of Kansas.
We found one more way to help you get ready for another school year. Starting with the September Back-to-School issue, print subscribers can receive free iPad editions of Parents magazine. Head to the App Store for tablet extras like Playroom, where you can discover the latest and greatest books, toys, music, and more.
After you download the app, tap the red button under “Current Subscribers.” Then log in with your mailing address or account number (the 10-digit number printed on the mailing label above your name). You will be asked to enter your name and email–preferably the same account you use to register on Parents.com.
If you downloaded the app before Aug. 5, update it and follow all prompts. You won’t be able to subscribe via the old version of the app.
Not currently a print subscriber? No worries. You can get an annual digital-only subscription for $9.99! Customer service can be reached at 1-800-727-3682.
UPDATE: Some iPad users have reported that they can view only the first page of each story. If you’re experiencing this problem, it may be because you’re stuck in horizontal mode. Change to portrait mode, close out of the app, and re-open it. That should resolve the issue. Thanks for your patience while we work on a permanent solution.