Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ubongo Game Time

I recently got to try out Ubongo, a fast paced spatial learning game by Thames & Kosmos, thanks to Tryazon. This is right up Nolan's alley. At school, they play ST Math on iPads and computers which isn't any numerical math but rather spatial puzzles, brain teasers, and such. He begs to do activities like ST Match at home so I'm always on the hunt for fun. He's a whiz at this stuff and way better than any 7 year old should be. He beat me in our first game!



Ubongo uses a gem stone reward system which is a huge hit with elementary school boys. Think Minecraft and Skylanders gem stones and more! You have a minute or so (hourglass timer) so solve a quick tangram puzzle and you're racing your peers. Then the puzzles reset and it all starts over for 10 fast rounds. It doesn't involve reading so although it says ages 8 and up our four year could also slowly work out puzzles and be included. The cards always change and there are two levels of difficulty so it is not a game JUST for younger kids. If you're looking for a game your child will love and you will be happy to play along with them too, this is it!








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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SyncScores

 My iPhone using friends....... Have you downloaded it yet?? Here is my hubby's newest app. This is an iMessage app, a new type of experience for the latest iOS.

Download it here: SyncScores

Once downloaded (it's FREE), you'll use it from your text/iMessage area. When you're in a text message/iMessage in the new iOS you'll notice that universal symbol for app (in blue on the image below), when you click there you'll see all your new iMessage Apps!! Fun stuff!



So what's it do, you ask? SyncScores is a fun way to keep your family and friends informed of the latest “scores” from any of your favorite sports. Are you at your son's soccer games while your spouse is off at golf? Send him junior's game updates in real time. Like to brag how your favorite NFL team is doing? Update your friends as you chat about the plays. You can get creative too! On my birthday I was exploring the new app and sent the latest "score" to hubby. 34 to 40 to my OLD man hehe.

How's it work? When the first person uses the app to insert a scoreboard into their iMessage chat interface they can update the "parts" of the scoreboard. Here you see the basic scoreboard. Additional sports scoreboards have the necessary parts for their sports like what "Down" it is for football. All of these fields are editable and update-able. 

 Here you see the Football scoreboard as it looks in my texting app. Want the rest of the details, like what Down it is and which yard the ball is on? Just click to view the expanded Scoreboard.

Once updated with a "new" score by your friend or yourself, the previous scoreboard image shrinks up, not taking up your whole chat field and the new updated one is front and center. In the above image you can see this.

New sports scoreboards are on the way! Check back soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

EQtainment Fun - Emotional Intelligence Improvement for Kids!

Do you like to practice better behavior and social skills with your young children? Do you struggle with fun methods for teaching them to explore their feeling while also learning better ways to react? If so, check out EQtainment and their products. I was able to explore a fun packet of many of their offering thanks to Tryazon and hosted an in home playdate using their game, Q's Race to the Top as a fun activity.



Starting at around age 3 Q's Race to the top is an interactive board game that helps kids explore their emotions, communication, manners, social skills, creative thinking, balance, and coordination. It's fast paced so even when we let litter sibling join in they were able to stay entertained!

I love the offerings this entire brand has from coloring books that explore more than just crayons to the Q Wunder app boasts being the first app to improve the world's social and emotional intelligence through entertainment. 

You're probably asking what emotional intelligence even is. Emotional intelligence includes: reading social cues, self-motivation, delaying gratification, coping with life’s ups and downs, managing relationships, decision making and problem solving. Research has shown that kids who score higher in emotional intelligence are better able to adapt and thrive both at home, school, and of course in the future.  

Carter was excited to try it out!!


Carter explores movement after landing on a "Do" card.
EQtainment has an On the Go Pack of fun where you can pick cards to quiz your kiddos on their ideas and feelings. It's small and portable but offers lots of entertainment or should I say EQtainment. This set is a great discussion starter and with us has led to really interesting conversations! I love that I can word the questions different with my 4 year old versus my 7 year old so everyone gets the most out of it. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Robot Fun with Ozobot!

I was recently lucky enough to be chosen to receive an Ozobot starter kit to share. I wasn't familiar with Ozobot at first but Im' a huge fan of STEM learning and activities. Ozobot is described as a small robot toy that helps your child become a maker of technology who learns some computer science basics.



Ozobot really is all about play. The start kit comes with paper activities, a protective sheet, stickers, and markers. In addition it can be used with a few available apps and an iPad. The Ozobot website even has more games which can be replayed over and over again just by printing. You can learn about all of the play option on their website here.



Ozobot itself is a small robot about the size of a normal bouncy ball. It comes with some paper and sticker decoration that help make the various games even more exciting and decorative for littler ones. My 4 year old loves customizing Ozobot when it's his turn but my almost 7 year old is more interested in the actual game not the accessories.



How it works?
It's a bit hard to describe but using colors (marker, sticker, etc) you can program the Ozobot to drive itself various ways. There are functions for jump codes and more too.

The Ozobot website also has links and information for teachers to use for lesson plans in the classroom.





So far we've loved sharing Ozobot with the grade schoolers in small groups. The boys are figuring out that if they don't create the marker lines correctly (too thick or too thin for example) their robot won't work. It's great seeing them trouble shoot to make it all work. Boy Scouts and after school playdates have been even more fun with robots!!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Grippies - Sensory Toy for Infants and Toddlers

I was lucky enough to be chosen to host  Grippies party. As part of the host kit Guidecraft sent their amazing sensory stimulating building blocks.
These are targeted to toddlers (18mo+) as a first building block. They are magnetic and easily attach and disconnect. The ball shape pieces are covered in a nice soft rubber coating that makes them less destructive if they're' whipped at your head or window by an overactive kiddo... ask me how I know! The longer connector pieces have different texture soft rubber making them easy to grip and handle. Oliver has been a huge fan since the day he first saw the toy arrive in the mail! His big brothers get in on the action all the time too!

We took our Grippies set on our recent Adirondacks get away and it was one of the favorite toys while hanging out on the screened in porch! It helped soften the pain of being told you can't explore outside on your own 20' from a lake when you're 18 months old!


If you're looking to start introducing STEM concepts and enjoy sensory and tactile exploration give Grippies a try. You'll be surprised if you check out Guidecraft's website at all the innovative and modern toys they now offer!

After our vacation and introducing Grippies to friends on our trip we shared our Grippies with our MOMS Club! They are a keeper and will be out at our playdates for a long time to come.

Monday, July 18, 2016

T-fal and time!


Life has been busy even though it's still summer break. Just a week before our long planned family vacation Oliver, then Carter, followed by Nolan all came down with hand foot and mouth disease. While they recovered in time to be cleared to head to the beach, it put a damper on our planned vegetable party with friends to highlight T-fal's new line of fun kitchen gadgets. Instead of hosting our veggie share playdate in mid July, we had to bump it to early August. That darn contagious virus!!

 I still want to share the new Ingenio line now in July with everyone and will come back and post pictures from the playdate. At our party, every mom is bringing along a favorite fresh veggie and we'll clean, prep, and chop them for the kids to explore and taste.



Included in the pack to share and show friends was the following:
T-fal Ingenio Rapid Chopper
T-fal Ingenio Micro Edge Peeler
T-fal Ingenio 4 Quart Bowl
T-fal Zen 6” Utility Knife
T-fal Ingenio Tripod Strainer
• Good Cook Poly Cutting Board

I've been using each ever since with lots of luck. Some of the highlights of each gadget include the small gouging piece on the side of the edge peeler which helps pop out potato eyes. My favorite, no surprise, is the hand powered rapid chopper. I made a fun video highlighting how well it works! I ALWAYS break the small electric choppers so this is the perfect replacement. It quickly prepped nuts for our salad. 



Knives are another gadget I need more of in my kitchen. Surprisingly we've never purchased a nice set and only have a mis match of non sharp knives. The 6" Zen utility knife has been great for prepping lunches for the kids. I chop veggies and fruit in no time and the cutting board has made for easy cleanup. 



If you thought T-fal was just pans you're going to be surprised! Check out their entire Ingenio line and more online at http://www.t-falusa.com/


 








Monday, May 9, 2016

IO Block building and play



Thanks to Tryazon and Guidecraft, the boys and I were able to try out the new IO Blocks and share them with our MOMS Club friends. We've been using them for building, counting, and more in our weekly TotSchool besides having a fun technology and IO Block playdate. 

IO Blocks are made from a soft rubber like material and snap together in various ways. Each set has 12 shapes of blocks and those shapes comes in 6 different colors. They can be slid up and down various pieces and aren't static like legos for instance. Guidecraft calls it a friction sit system which makes perfect sense. This allow open ended play and building. The blocks pair technology with fun, hands-on building through their App. You know my boys are app obsessed just like their iOS developer dad so this was amazing. 

The block set comes with durable cards showing models an ideas of what can be built and with a blank "tracker" card. Using the app and this tracker card you can get additional ideas front he app, see a model in 3D and get custom building tips.
Here in this photo you can see the tracker card and the app displaying a model I chose. Now using the App I can get detailed instructions on how to build. I have to admit it seemed slightly complicated for me but even my 6yr old jumped in and understood it within seconds. I love that when I'm being asked if they can please play on phones I can say yes now and still insure they are doing more than just vegetating on the couch!

IO blocks have a vehicle accessory pack coming soon that the boys have seen and are begging for!  This new set of 48 pieces comes with bumpers, spoilers, cabins, wheels and more. An IO Blocks® Hero figure is included too.  

I love waking up to see them playing bright and early instead of just wanting to watch a show. 

Sharing IO With our friends! They have been loved and tested here with kids ranging in age from 15mo to 8 years old! 
Overall I'm a huge fan and love the sturdiness of this set of blocks. They have been in our house for over 3 weeks now and there isn't a day that goes by that they aren't played with. Right now here is my via as I type this post! These are equally as loved as legos here and I love that they are unique!