Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!
Movies and Television
How to Train Your Dragon 2picks up five years after the original film ended, but Hiccup and Toothless are still an inseparable duo. This sequel promises plenty of adventure, a mysterious Dragon Rider, and an epic battle to protect the peace on the island of Berk. PG, opens June 13
Thanks toMickey Mouse Clubhouse: Around the Clubhouse World, you can take your little one all over the globe without ever leaving the couch. Join Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto on a trip to France, Italy, Egypt, and China—and keep an eye out for Monsieur Donald Duck and Gondolier Goofy along the way. 3 years+, $20
Disney XD is airing a fresh take on the seven dwarfs this summer. The 7D is an animated comedy series set in the world of Jollywood, where the dwarfs help Queen Delightful keep her kingdom in order and protect it from two hapless villains. 3 years+, premieres July 7
In SpongeBob, You’re Fired!, our hero must try out new kooky occupations—including working at the Chum Bucket, picketing with Squidward, and modeling in a commercial. The DVD release features 14 funny episodes of the hit Nickelodeon show. 6 years+, $15
Soccer lovers can get in on the action with EA Sports 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. New features allow better control of the ball and make the physics more realistic. Plus, you can play with up to 32 gamers through the qualifying rounds in tournament mode. 6 years+, $60 for Xbox 360 and PS3
Immerse yourself in Disney Magical World. Players can customize their avatar, interact with dozens of their favorite characters, and explore various Disney universes. Some activities include managing a café, planting crops, and helping to solve challenges. 7 years+, $30 for 3DS
Putty Squad, the early 1990s video game, is getting a makeover! Help a little blue blob rescue his friends by stretching, squishing and morphing through obstacles. New moves and modes add a modern twist. 10 years+, $30 for PS4, 3DS and PS Vita, $20 for PS3
Become a master of plants with Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends. Choose from more than 50 flower, fruit, and vegetable seeds, and then care for them with water and fertilizer. And when your animal friends ask for help, harvest and deliver your crops to their restaurants and shops. 7 years+, $30 for 3DS
Fans of the PBS Kids show won’t want to miss Cyberchase Shape Quest. The app uses augmented-reality technology to help kids develop geometry, problem solving, and spatial-reasoning skills. Print out the free game board online, and when the camera focuses on it, characters pop up onscreen. 6 years+, free for iPad
Make basic arithmetic exciting with Wonder Bunny Math Race. Players must solve addition and subtraction problems quickly to help the rabbit beat opponents. Three levels of difficulty make it interesting for older kids too. 3 years+, Free for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Kids can engage with a story in a whole new way with I Imagine. This interactive e-book lets your little one create the characters by choosing names, adding photos for faces, and customizing outfits. Then, he can join in the fun by helping the hero dance, build sand castles, draw pictures, and more. 3 years+, free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
It’s time for a Wild Kratts World Adventure! The app, based on the PBS KIDS show, lets young explorers virtually swing with orangutans, swim with dolphins, and hunt bugs with woodpeckers. Earn stickers as you complete levels—and don’t forget to take a “Creature Power Selfie,” which inserts your face on an animal’s body. 4 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
If your child is always begging to use your tablet or smartphone, teach her some boundaries with The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: ScreenTime. The interactive e-book introduces some manageable rules for using devices, and encourages an active lifestyle too. The photo-album feature lets her take pictures of herself having fun. 4 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android
Whether they’re assisting your little one at school or helping him feel more comfortable at the doctor’s office, nurses play a big part in your child’s life. Kids who are fans of animated shows will enjoy Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins episode, “The Big Storm” featuring Nurse Hallie, who saves the day.
Tune in to the Disney Channel to watch the new episode this Friday, May 16 at 9:30 a.m. ET/PT. In the meantime, check out this clip featuring Doc, Nurse Hallie, and the toys.
Below, a real-life school nurse offers tips on keeping kids healthy.
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, 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
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"
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
Bigis 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 Treasureexplores 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 BigGig. 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 Moand 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
Valentine's Day Treats: Waffle Heart Sandwiches
The Nut Job image courtesy of Open Road Films/Toonbox Entertainment
Math just got a little more fun with PEG + CAT, the new animated series from PBS KIDS. The show premieres this Monday, October 7, and promises to make problem-solving skills a breeze for your preschooler.
In each 30-minute episode, Peg and her lovable sidekick Cat encounter dilemmas that require some big thinking. Whether they’re trying a hand at adding and subtracting or learning broader concepts like size and geometry, the pair never back down from a number challenge (or a catchy learning tune). With backdrops like a pirate island or futuristic planet, the program proves math can be exciting and happen in the most unexpected places.
PEG + CAT comes at a vital time when children’s math skills are in dire need. National assessments have shown that 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels in math by the fourth grade, according to the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress Report.
Another inspiring element of the show: The main character is a young girl. While women make up 48 percent of the workforce, only 23 percent are in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Let’s hope a character as spirited and outspoken as Peg will be inspiration for boys AND girls everywhere to get their brains calculating.
Beyond math, PEG + CAT shows young ones the process of trial and error, such as figuring out multiple ways to move 100 chickens back to their coop. She may not get it right the first time, but Peg eventually learns from her mistakes and seeks help from friends along the way, both awesome life skills for the real world as well.
Want to get a sneak peek this weekend? Visit the show’s interactive website pbskids.org/peg, where you can also find local listings for the show, or download the PET + CAT Big Gig app for games and learning resources now.
Check out the video below to see how PEG + CAT was created!