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
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage,” I used to sing gayly on the blacktop at recess as I jumped rope. It all sounds so nice and simple, like a present wrapped in a bow. But as we all know, life is not as easy as the jingle had us believe when we were young, particularly the part about having kids.
More women are beginning to discuss the struggles and more serious medical side-effects of giving birth— specifically postpartum depression—but the subject still feels taboo. Director/writer/producer Jon Avnet hopes that his new YouTube series Susanna on the WIGS channel will help eliminate the stigma associated with the condition. The drama tells the story of Katie (Anna Paquin), a new mom suffering from acute postpartum depression, and her younger sister Susanna (Maggie Grace), who must step in to care for her newborn niece when it is clear that Katie’s illness is dire.
According to Postpartum Support International, 15 percent of women experience major or minor depression after the birth of their child. Yet, so many of us are in the dark about the condition and its symptoms. Like Katie, women experiencing postpartum depression often feel a lack of connection to the baby they were so looking forward to meeting. As a new mom, Katie feels rejected, like her baby is a stranger to her. Avnet combines Katie’s feelings of insecurity with the sleep deprivation and uncertainty that every new mother experiences to create a relatable and powerful story.
Each episode is a quick but impactful 10-minute view into Katie’s world, showing suffering mothers that they are not alone, postpartum depression is more common than we think, and there is no shame in talking about it and seeking help.
Susanna starring Anna Paquin and Maggie Grace debuts with six episodes Friday, June 14 on WIGS.
The power of friendship, adventure and reading could soon be coming to a city near you!
The popular Emmy-nominated preschool TV series Super WHY! recently announced dates for an upcoming live tour “Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!” Written by the show’s creator Angela Santomero (also the creator of Blue’s Clues), the show features music produced by guitarist Jack Antonoff, of the Grammy Award-winning band fun. Kids (and parents too!) will love dancing and singing along with the cast of superhero characters plucked from the pages of classic storybook favorites, as they heroically take on challenges in the name of literature.
The tour kicks off April 2nd in Seattle, and will travel to 27 cities around the country in April and May.
Scott Walker’s Voucher Fight; School Safety Questions
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker first tangled with his state’s teachers union when he signed a bill that upended collective bargaining. (via Huffington Post)
Shedding New Light On Infant Brain Development
A new study by Columbia Engineering researchers finds that the infant brain does not control its blood flow in the same way as the adult brain. The paper, which the scientists say could change the way researchers study brain development in infants and children, is published in the February 18 Early Online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (via Science Daily)
Excessive TV in Childhood Linked to Long-Term Antisocial Behavior, New Zealand Study Shows
Children and adolescents who watch a lot of television are more likely to manifest antisocial and criminal behavior when they become adults, according to a new University of Otago, New Zealand, study published online in the journal Pediatrics. (via Science Daily)
Arkansas Senate Passes Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks
The Republican-controlled Arkansas state Senate approved a measure on Monday to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. (via Reuters)
Sugar mist Makes Veggies More Palatable to Kids
A light mist of sugar could help the broccoli (and other veggies) go down, according to new research that tested ways to make vegetables more palatable for children. (via Fox News)
You’ll see and hear the show’s familiar opening credits (except everything is, of course, upside down) before two Muppets appear (Carson, the butler, and the Dowager Countess). Hilarity ensues as the Dowager Countess tries to have afternoon tea…but nothing will stay put long enough! This parody will officially air on PBS on Monday, Februrary 4.
Education Rankings, Anti-Common Core Alliance: Ed Today
Education Week released its Quality Counts report, one of the most comprehensive education rankings in the United States. (via Huffington Post)
Carolyn Cain, Utah Teacher On The Ed Show: Teachers Should Carry Guns Without Telling Parents, Students
A Utah teacher doesn’t think parents “necessarily” have a right to know that their child’s educator is carrying a concealed weapon in the classroom. (via Huffington Post)
Taft Union High School Teacher, Campus Supervisor ‘Talked Down’ Shooter, Deputy Says
A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into a rural California high school on Thursday, shot one student and fired at others and missed before a teacher and another staff member talked him into surrendering, officials said. (via Huffington Post)
Smartphone App Helps Children With Autism Communicate Better
A smartphone application that has potential to help children with autism communicate more effectively is now available for download. (via Science Daily)
Judge Won’t Block New York City Circumcision Law
A Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform circumcisions and use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby’s penis to first obtain written consent from the parents. (via Reuters)
Screen Time Not Linked to Kids’ Physical Activity
Cutting back kids’ time watching TV and playing video games may not encourage them to spend more of the day running around outside, a new study suggests. (via Reuters)
Falling TVs Can Kill, But Few Parents Aware of Risk
Falling TV sets have killed more than 200 children since 2000, but parents remain largely unaware of the danger, according to new reports. (via USA Today)
C-Section Babies More Likely to Become Overweight
Children born via cesarean section are slightly more likely than babies delivered vaginally to become heavy or obese, according to a new review of studies. (via Reuters)
Delaying Childbirth May Reduce Risk of One Form of Breast Cancer
Younger women who wait at least 15 years after their first menstrual period to give birth to their first child may reduce their risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer by up to 60 percent, according to a new study. (via ScienceDaily)
Peanut Butter, Garlic Bread Back on School Plates
The Obama administration recently reversed some of the new school healthy lunch rules, and the kids are happy again. (via CNN)
Stroller Recalled Because of Collapsing Hazard
Baby Jogger City Versa strollers are being recalled because the frame can fail to lock in place and collapse while in use, posing a fall hazard to children in the stroller. (via Huffington Post)
Modest Results in Program to Reduce Kids’ Screen Time
A program aimed at reducing the number of hours young children spent in front of a screen didn’t accomplish that goal, but it did cut back on the meals they ate in front of a television, a new study found. (via Reuters)
Federal Appeals Court to Consider Arizona’s 20-Week Abortion Ban that is Earliest in Nation
A federal judge has upheld Arizona’s earliest-in the-nation ban of most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, but it now faces appellate court scrutiny. (via Washington Post)
ADHD Drugs Do Not Raise Heart Risk In Children
Children who take Adderall, Ritalin, and other central nervous system stimulants, do not have a higher chance of developing serious heart conditions, according to a recent study. (via Medical News Today)
Migraines May Hurt Kids’ Grades Too
Migraines may harm children’s school performance, a new study finds. (HealthDay News)
Magnetic Buckyballs Toys Discontinued
The popular Buckyballs and Buckycubes magnetic desk toys will be discontinued after children suffered multiple surgeries and hospitalizations from swallowing the toy. (via CNN)